GOD'S OTHER TRIBE (by permission; chp 10 from Ray Prinzings Book - Whispers of His Call)
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for I under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar..." [Hebrews 7:11-13].
Significant indeed is the statement, that, if perfection had
come by the first arrangement and order, there would have been no need for any
further order to follow. While the law, Paul writes, "Is holy, and the
commandment holy, and just, and good." [Romans 7:12], yet its service was
but "a figure for the time then present, -- that could not make him that
did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, -- (but was) imposed
on them until the time of reformation." [Hebrews 9:9-10]. Because it could
not produce perfection, it became essential that God would bring forth another
arrangement, on a much higher dimension, whereby perfection could be accomplished.
It is to this higher realm that we are called!
Then the writer continues, "The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." All christendom is aware of the fact that the priesthood of Aaron was brought to an end. And precious have been the quickenings concerning the new order, the Melchisedec priesthood, which is now in preparation, and of which Jesus Christ is a forerunner in its expression. With a new order of priesthood, then it is of essential necessity that there be a changing also of the law-- a new covenant that belongs to the new priesthood. The former covenant-law, and its service, must indeed pass away. "He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second." [Hebrews 10:9].
A tremendous transition is now in progress! "For He of whom these things are spoken PERTAINETH TO ANOTHER TRIBE." We know that Melchisedec was not out of Abraham, he did not come from the loins of Abraham, but we do read that Abraham paid tithes to him, and, in a sense, so did Levi, while he was yet in the loins of Abraham. It is after his (Melchisedec's) order, that God is bringing forth another tribe.
The house of Aaron, and the tribe of Levi, gave attendance to the altar, fulfilling the services and ordinances thereof, for they were the priests of the first covenant and law. The other tribes were not allowed to do service at the altar. Furthermore, "It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood."
Jesus Christ, who was and IS the Priest of all priests, the great High Priest, did not come from the tribe of Levi, which had the order of the first covenant. Jesus came out of another tribe -Judah. Judah had no place of attendance at the altar of the first covenant. This readily signified the bringing in of a new order.
But first a little background consideration. Hebrews 2:14, 16, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same;-- For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham."
"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." [1 Corinthians 15:46].
So Jesus Christ, coming forth, partook first of the natural, and then went on to manifest the glory and reality of the spiritual. When He was "made in the likeness of men," [Philippians 2:7], He took on Him specifically THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. But even in this, there was immediate indication of a change, for He did not come through the tribe of Levi, and more specifically from the lineage of Aaron, for this would have spoken of a perpetuation of that priesthood and order. But rather, coming from the tribe of Judah, of which nothing is spoken of concerning the priesthood, we see the opening of a new order and priesthood.
The natural tribes of Israel were so-named as prophetic of what they would become in God. Every name has a definite meaning, and each meaning was prophetic of that which ultimately would be realized.
Significant to note that the Greek word for "bless" is "eulogeo" from which we get our English word "eulogize" meaning: to speak well of. In the natural way, after the order of man, we wait until the end of a man's life, to see how he has lived and acted, and then at his funeral there is a eulogy given. Someone picks up all the good points, and speaks well of the deceased. Our Lord, however, is able to do just the opposite. He does not give the eulogy at the end of a life, but AT THE BEGINNING, speaking of that good that shall become. He blesses, He speaks well of, and it becomes a prophetic word which will be fulfilled in due time.
And often in the Old Testament, we find that the Spirit of God moved upon the parents of a child to be born, and there was a certain name given to that child which was also quite a prophetic word. The reality of that name was not already personified in the child as soon as he was born, rather it was more like a prophecy of what that child would become as he matured into the reality of his name.
The name "Israel" is made up of two parts: el, meaning: strength, or God; and sarah, meaning: to prevail. Thus, literally, "strength to prevail."
Strong's Concordance gives an interesting definition for the name "Israel" as being: "He will rule as God." Which certainly is a tremendous, prophetic utterance. When God has finished His processings of His Israel, Israel shall rule as God. "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron. --To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcome, and am set down with My Father in His throne." [Revelation 2:26-27, 3:21].
Lest this study become too lengthy, we shall but note the names of the first four sons of Jacob, all born to Leah, before there were others by the handmaids, and by Rachel. And very interesting that the name "Leah" means: WEARY. For out of this weary, earth realm, of which we are partakers, GOD is going to bring forth SONS!
"For the creation was subjected to frailty -to futility, condemned to frustration." [Romans 8:20, Amplified).
Phillips gives, "the tyranny of change and decay ..."
Arthur S Way, "a seemingly purposeless existence ..."
The treadmill of natural life! Yet it is out of this wearisome realm of the earth, in all of its vanity and frustration, God is bringing forth a people that shall shew forth His praise. Leah does give birth to sons.
"And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah." [Genesis 29:32-35].
Four sons-- four is the number of earth in worldwide coverage, and also bespeaks of God's creative works. Example: Four great elements: earth, air, fire, water. Four regions of earth: North, south, east, west. Four divisions of the day: Morning, noon, evening, midnight. Four seasons: Spring, summer, autumn, winter; etc. Out of the travail of this creation which He brought forth, God is working a purpose of rare design, in bringing forth a people to His praise.
The firstborn son was named "Reuben," meaning: Behold a son. For, said Leah, "The Lord hath looked upon my affliction."
Truly, let it be said, when God smiles upon my need, when God turns His eye upon my condition of futility and frustration, He is going to bring forth a victory -- a new life. Only God can take that which is so barren, so weary, so empty, and create a new life to His glory. Yes, when GOD LOOKS UPON US redemption becomes a reality. He brings forth a new creation life.
We have been subjected to this weary earth realm, but IN HOPE, that we shall be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." [Romans 8:21].
Sonship-- what a tremendous destiny! "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." [1 John 3:1].
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son." [Revelation 21:7]. Verily, the vision of sonship is established. God is going to bring forth a people after His own kind. "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures." [James 1:18]. Praise His name!
The second son was named "Simeon," meaning: Hearing. For, said Leah, "The Lord hath heard that I was hated." Simeon was a living witness that God hears the cry of His creation. "He heareth the cry of the afflicted." [Job 34:28]. Indeed, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them." [Psalm 145:18-19].
Jonah declared, "I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice." [Jonah 2:2]. It matters not where we are, we are His creation, and His ear is attuned to our cry, when we cry unto Him in sincerity and truth.
"From heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; to declare the name of the Lord in Zion." [Psalm 102:19-21].
Full well He knows all about our state, when others hate us, scorn us, cast us aside as unwanted. He is well aware of our being as prisoners, under the tyranny of change and decay. But HE IS HEARING OUR CRY, and He is also working out a total redemption, for us, and ultimately for ALL creation.
Now, first GOD HEARS us, and then He works in us a hearing, also. "Mine ears hast Thou opened." [Psalm 40:6]. Interesting that in the Hebrew text this word "opened" is actually, DIGGED. So much accumulated debris and noise of this world is lodged within our ears, that God must indeed DIG OUT OUR EARS until we are able to hear Him. Ah, I was groaning in my distress, and God heard my cry, and came and dug out mine ear so that I could hear Him speak words of salvation into my spirit. Truly, may God work in us a hearing ear! "He that hath an ear; let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Greek, the called-out ones)." [Revelation 3:6].
Let us also make careful note of the sequence in John 6:45, "Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father; cometh unto Me." We cannot come until we know where to come, which requires that we learn of Him. But we cannot learn of Him until first we HEAR HIM speak to us.
Most religions will change the sequence entirely. They say come, hear, and learn. But God says, first I must open their ear to HEAR Me, and then I must teach them of MY WAY, and then they shall gladly come unto me. Once we have truly heard His voice, and learned of His more abundant life, it is self-evident that there will be a COMING unto Him.
Why should I come to One of whom I know nothing? Paul realized this, and so he worded it this way, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher (one who announces the message of truth)? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" [Romans 10:14-15]. If God does not send them, they have no true message FROM HIM. But when God does send a man, having placed within him a message of truth, then God will also go before him and OPEN THE EARS of the people that they might hear, learn, and come unto Him.
It is also very interesting that seven times it is given in the Word of God, beginning in Isaiah 6:10, "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." Why such blindness, deafness, lack of understanding? Because God purposes to bring "every man in his own order," [1 Corinthians 15:23], and He is working a purpose in both the time of blindness, and the time of sight. And since "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him," [John 6:44], it remains that our God controls the timing of our coming into new dimensions of His life. When He deafens the ear, who can hear? But when He digs out our ears, praise God, we hear, learn, and come unto Him.
Blessed indeed is that one whose heart, eye, and ear He has opened. "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." [Isaiah 30:21].
Are we daily listening? So that in our spirit we sense the witness of His Spirit to truth. Or, conversely, suddenly what we are hearing from man does not witness to our spirit. And while, at that moment, we might not be able to quickly quote a scripture which refutes what we are hearing, or give an instant answer of why we cannot accept what is being said, deep in our Spirit there is that still small voice, saying. "This is the way, walk ye in it," and we know that we cannot walk in the ways of the carnal mind. Because it is a DIVINE OPERATION, first HE HEARS US, and then HE helps us to hear Him.
The third son was named "Levi," meaning: Joined. For, said Leah, "Now will my husband be joined unto me." From this name we have that prophetic vision of our ULTIMATE UNION WITH GOD, for "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." [1 Corinthians 6:17]. God is bringing man into UNION with Himself. And Levi serves as a figure for this JOINING.
When it came time for the dividing of the inheritance among the tribes, after they had come into the promised land of Canaan, while all others had their allotted portions, we read, "Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; THE LORD IS HIS INHERITANCE." [Deuteronomy 10:9].
Truly, for those who are "going on to perfection," following that deep CALL OF THE SPIRIT to be joined unto the Lord, there is a union with Christ which becomes our glorious portion. "For it is in Him that all the fullness of Deity continues to live embodied, and THROUGH UNION WITH HIM you too are filled with it." [Colossians 2:9-10, Williams).
There is JOINING, there is a UNION, and it is with our Lord Jesus Christ, until He becomes the fullness of our inheritance. And certainly His inworkings of grace in our present processings, is to bring an end to all other unions, all other joinings which we have made. We read that "Ephraim is joined to idols." [Hosea 4:17]. Therefore God is now working in us to break all such relationships with our idols, whatever they have been. He alone shall become the Centre and the Circumference of our life-- yes, HE shall be our all in all.
The fourth son was named "Judah," meaning: Praise. For, said Leah, "Now I will praise the Lord." Forget the affliction and subjection to this weary, earth realm. He has imparted the vision of becoming HIS SON! Forget that I was hated, a thing despised, a prisoner of the negative realms, God hath HEARD my cry, and now I hear His voice leading me onward. Forget that I could not find a satisfying relationship with the things of this world, I will, now be JOINED unto the Lord. Therefore now I will offer my PRAISE to Him continually. "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." [Psalm 34:1]. Not only will I praise Him with my mouth, but, by His grace, I WILL BECOME A PRAISE UNTO HIM!
"This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise." [Isaiah 43:21].
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." [1 Peter 2:9].
Therefore all of the present trials of our faith are purposed to result in our being "found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." [1 Peter 1:7].
Signs and symbols are a marvelous thing in their place. Prophetic of that reality which is to come, we rejoice in the light they shed upon our pathway. And thus all that we see in the "Levitical priesthood" is filled with meaning-- as it points toward the greater, but it could not bring us into perfection. That which is "in part" cannot produce the "whole."
"But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." [1 Corinthians 13: 10]. The lesser shall be swallowed up into the greater!
The Aaronic priesthood bespeaks of the PROCESS OF BECOMING. But for all of their "attendance at the altar," it is not enough, so a transition is made. We shall have to go past "that tribe," past that priesthood and dispensation of the law. Certainly there has been plenty of attendance at the altar, we have had form and ceremony, ritual and tradition, until we have been fully saturated with them, but they were not enough to produce perfection. "HE of whom these (higher) things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe." [Hebrews 7:13].
In Christ we see the fulfillment of all four points touched upon in Leah's sons. HE was the Father's beloved Son. He heard only what the Father said. He already had that union with His Father, saying, "I and My Father are one." And He already was a praise unto His Father, "In Whom I am well pleased." So you see that by the time Jesus Christ was manifested on earth, HE WAS THE FULFILLMENT of all that which was prophetic-- of the SON, of the HEARING, of the JOINING, of the PRAISE. He was revealed as the "I AM." Not that He was going to be all these things, but right now "I AM!" That is where He starts His priesthood ministry-- out of the fullness of the "I AM."
This new priesthood which God is bringing forth, and to which we are CALLED, will begin its function upon earth when we have come into the more excellent glory. BEING His son, HEARING what the Father says, JOINED into oneness with Him, and BEING FOUND TO HIS PRAISE. "Conformed to the image of His Son," [Romans 8:29], so that "As He is, so are we in this world." [1 John 4:17].
"Of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood," [Hebrews 7:14], where all of this fourfold process climaxes, in becoming HIS PRAISE, that is where Jesus begins His ministry. And the writer to the Hebrews makes it clear, "it is evident" that of this realm Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood. But we perceive that there is yet more in this word, for the next verse reads, "It is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest." [Hebrews 7:15].
If the first is clearly evident, that a transition is made from one tribe (of Levi) to another (of Judah), then it is even more, FAR MORE evident that the transition continues into another order, or we might say, one more tribe. The word "evident" is used twice. The first time it is "prodelos." The prefix "pro" meaning: beforehand. "Delos" means: to be manifested. It becomes a clear manifestation, a visible evidence of a changing priesthood, when you go from the recognized tribe of Levi which continually attended the altar, unto the tribe of Judah which did not belong to that recognized altar service. Such evidence, right out there in plain sight for all to consider-- Jesus, according to the seed of Abraham, did not come via the tribe of Levi. So, knowing He was of the tribe of Judah, it was a direct indication of a CHANGE-- both of the law (order) and its priesthood.
But the second time this word "evident" is used, it is "katadelos." The prefix "kata" makes it much more intensified, so that it becomes TOTALLY OBVIOUS that when Melchisedec is brought into the picture, there has been a drastic change from the old Levitical order, into a thoroughly new order of much higher dimension and distinction. Jesus was not only of Judah, but He also was "made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." [Hebrews 6:20]. Now the transition is complete, here is ANOTHER TRIBE, if we be permitted the usage of the word "tribe," of which nothing has been spoken of concerning attendance at the altar, such as known by the order of Levi. The whole order, the service, the ministry, is so much higher, we cannot find the proper words to describe it.
"Who is made (Greek, ginomai, BECOME), not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." [Hebrews 7:16].
There is a new generation coming forth, those who are BECOMING IN HIM, a new order of priesthood. All of the lesser, needful in its place, must give way to the greater. Jesus DID take on the seed of Abraham, but He did not stop there, for we read? "Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and DECLARED TO BE THE SON OF GOD with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." [Romans 1:3-4]. Seed of David, yes, but also THE SON OF GOD. And there is a CALL gone forth from the throne of God that reaches down into the heart of man, to COME UP HIGHER, to be conformed to the image of His Son, and yes, to become a part of this Melchisedec priesthood also.
How we earnestly long for the majesty of the finished product. "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." [Psalm 17:1]. Brought into the power of an endless life." Power-- from the Greek word "dunamis," bespeaking of that creative energy force, divine ability, proceeding out of an endless life, i.e. God's continuous life. Interesting word, "endless" from the Greek word "akatalutos," meaning: not loosed down. This is a life that does not run down, is not exhausted, does not waste away in nothingness; but it remains vibrant, pulsating, gloriously victorious. And It shall be out of this creative source of energy that God's new priesthood shall minister.
In contra-distinction to such victory, we see how the first order of Levi was continually being "loosed down." He might be ever so much a godly man, totally dedicated to the service of the altar, and see a real revival among the people as he inspired them to serve God. But just as Israel began to turn towards the Lord to serve Him, this priest ran out of life-- death came, and that inspiring ministry was succeeded by another, who, perhaps, did not have the same vision and dedication. But as the years unfolded, and God drew this new priest into deeper spiritual life, and a new awakening was brought to the people, this one also died. Cycle after cycle, with no man able to carry the commission through to its glorious climax of total restoration for all men, because they keep being "loosed down" by death.
But of our Lord it is written, "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, SEEING HE EVER LIVETH ..." [Hebrews 7:25]. Out of the power of an endless life this greater ministry shall continue until "by Christ shall all be made alive." [1 Corinthians 15:22]. Hallelujah!
Furthermore, the writer to the Hebrews goes on, "Because He continueth ever; (He) hath an unchangeable priesthood." [Hebrews 7:24]. There will not be other transitions needed, such as going from Levi to Judah to Melchisedec, because this latter order is of AN ENDLESS LIFE-- He ever liveth, and therefore He shall continue His service until it has reached every man, and brought him into the fullness of salvation. "He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet." [1 Corinthians 15:25].
"And this is in harmony with God's merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it-- the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him." [Ephesians 1:10, Weymouth].
The wonder of all this outworking, is the fact that God is CALLING a people into UNION with Himself, to become a part of this glorious priesthood, this OTHER TRIBE, this ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC, to share in the ministry of reconciliation. To these He shall impart the life of the ages, so that they too, shall minister out of the ability of an endless life. To these He shall impart the fullness of His Spirit, so that "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water:" [John 7:38]. To these He shall impart the riches of His grace until they shall have "all sufficiency in all things," and able to abound to every good work. [2 Corinthians 9:8].
Truly this call is awesome! But let it ever be clear in our hearts, God never calls us to a task, but what He also will give all the resources necessary for its accomplishment. And thus, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." [Philippians 4:13]. Not only for this present time and daily travail, but also for the ages to come, as He lifts us into ever higher dimensions of his life and reality. Praise His name!
All tribes are His, we know 'tis true,
Each one bespeaks a certain grace,
The working of His love within,
Fulfills the calling of that place.
But every realm can be a step
That leads us to a higher score,
We need not stay on one plateau,
In Him there's life abounding more.
From Levi unto Judah passed
The priesthood, as the change was made,
For Jesus Christ of Judah came,
And former realms began to fade.
But there's another tribe we see,
Beyond these tribes of men of earth,
An order veiled in mystery,
Pertaining to a spirit birth.
Melchisedec-- we stand in awe,
What can be said of this new breed?
The image of God's holy Son,!
The first fruits of the christed-seed.
We're called in Him to become one,
That of his fullness we might share,
The power of an endless life,
To give to all men everywhere.