Moses was the grandson of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, whom God renamed Israel. Moses wrote the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. God appointed his brother, Aaron, as the first high priest of Israel when he established the nation of Israel after freeing them from Pharaoh’s hand. From that time Aaron’s sons served as the priests of Israel. But Aaron’s sons were only part of only one of the eight clans of the Levite tribe.
14 And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 “List the sons of Levi, by fathers’ houses and by clans; every male from a month old and upward you shall list.”16 So Moses listed them according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded. 17 And these were the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon and Kohath and Merari. 18 And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their clans: Libni and Shimei. 19 And the sons of Kohath by their clans: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20 And the sons of Merari by their clans: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites, by their fathers’ houses. (Numbers 3:14-20)
Aaron’s descendants formed only a small part of the Levite tribe and they were given a very special role in their service to God by being chosen as priests of the Most High. But, as we have seen, the rest of the Levites were not forgotten by God. He chose them to replace all of the firstborn sons of Israel and then consecrated them in order that they might serve him. As we saw in previous posts these Levites serve as a prophetic type of all overcomers who will one day comprise the Biblical “manchild” revealed in Revelation 12. Now we will consider another function of these overcomers in their very high position in the government of God.
47 But the Levites were not listed along with them by their ancestral tribe. 48 For the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel. 50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle. 51 When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death. 52 The people of Israel shall pitch their tents by their companies, each man in his own camp and each man by his own standard. 53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the people of Israel. And the Levites shall keep guard over the tabernacle of the testimony.” 54 Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 1:47-54, ESV)
Moses makes something very clear in this passage. He doesn’t just say the Levites shall be responsible for “the tabernacle.” Three times he uses the phrase “the tabernacle of the testimony.” Anyone can build a tent or a tabernacle, but only God can oversee the building, caring for, and protection of the “the tabernacle of the testimony.” What is this testimony?
Strong’s says that the word testimony is translated from the Hebrew word ”`eduwth” (ay-dooth’) and is translated as either testimony or witness in the King James Version. Further he says that the word comes from the Hebrew word “`ed” (ayd) and means, “concretely, a witness; abstractly, testimony; specifically, a recorder, i.e. prince.” Yet, the King James Version only translates this word as “witness.” The context within the verses where this word is used shows that it typically means “to be a witness for the truth” of some particular matter. If we think in terms of a court trial a witness gives testimony concerning the truth of some particular matter or matters.
The word translated “testimony” first occurs in Exodus 16:34 in the following passage:
31 Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. (Exodus 16:31-34)
Verse 34 looks forward to the time when Aaron actually placed the jar of manna next to the testimony within the “ark of the testimony,” for at this particular time in history God had not yet given the testimony to Moses. The following passage first reveals God’s commands concerning this ark.
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits[b] and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it withpure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.
17 “You shall make a mercy seat[c] of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; ofhammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. (Exodus 25:10-22)
God gave Moses the first writing of his “testimony” at the end of Moses’ first 40 day visitation with God on the Mountain of God. Scripture says, “And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Ex. 31:18) It was during this time that Israel fell into idolatry with her golden calf because the nation did not know what had become of him. Moses was so outraged when he came down the mountain and saw their sin and idolatry that he threw down and broke the two tablets God had given him. After this ordeal God invited Moses up the mountain again. In the following passage Moses reveals the testimony which God gave him to put into the ark of the testimony which in turn was put in the tabernacle of the testimony.
The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to meon the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone.5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9 And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become asnare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when theywhore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
17 “You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
18 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male[b] livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
25 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26 The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
27 And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.[c]
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. (Exodus 34:1-29)
Verse 28 above says that the writing on the tablets of the testimony was the “the Ten Commandments.” It is not clear whether the tablets of the testimony included only the Ten Commandments, which are recounted in Exodus 20, or if they included the other laws mentioned in Exodus 34 above or the many laws Moses wrote down in Exodus 21-24. One thing, however is clear, and that is that these tablets contained the very words of God which included commands for how Israel was to to live in consecration and holiness before him. They defined the standard of relationship he demanded from his people. These tablets, therefore, were the testimony to the covenant or relationship between God and man.
Thus we see that God specifically chose the Levites to guard and protect not only the physical structure of the tabernacle, but the literal testimony, or truth, of God’s covenant with Israel. This written testimony resided within the ark which itself stood in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle of testimony. And it is exactly this which defines the work of those currently called to overcome and become part of the manchild. They have come out of Babylon, the defiled mixture of Christian and all religion. They do not hold to Babylon’s doctrines and are thus cast out or shunned within churches where they dare to speak the truth they know. The very words of God have been and still are being written upon their hands, their minds, and their hearts. And like Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, grandson of Levi, who slew the fornicating idolators of Israel, they will not rest until all carnal flesh has been destroyed by God’s word. These are the ones who rule with a “rod of iron,” the very word of God.