The line of Levi. 1 Chronicles 6
The line of Levi
1 Chronicles 6
Last week we began our study of the book of 1 Chronicles together. 1 Chronicles begins with 9 chapters
devoted to tracing the line of David from Adam through the return of the exiles from Babylon to about the
year 450 BC.
The reason the line of David is the pre-eminent focus of these 9 chapters is because as for his human
nature, Jesus is of the line of David. Jesus is the ultimate object of the genealogies of Chronicles and
more than that- he is the focus of the entire Bible.
A little review
-Chronicles written by Ezra around 450 BC and spans 3500 years of history (beginning with Adam)
-Written to encourage the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon- that they still God's people and
that God not done with them
-The genealogy traces the history of the Jews
-The genealogy exists in part to stir up the Jewish hope for the promised Messiah
-The genealogy belongs to us who are in Christ- for as ones in Christ and so grafted into the promises of
God, the history of 1 Chronicles 1-9 is our history too.
Today's focus: 1 Chronicles 6
This morning we are going to take a look at 1 Chronicles 6. 1 Chronicles 6 is a very long chapter that is
entirely focused on Levi (one of the sons of Israel/Jacob)
The amount of ink given to Levi and his descendants in chapter 6 and in the Book of 1 Chronicles (for
chapter 9 and all of chapters 23-26 are all about him and his descendants) indicates the importance
of him, his family, and the place of the ministry they had)
For those of you who are wondering who Levi was and why he was such a big deal- know this: He was one
of the 12 sons of Jacob (who was renamed Israel) who formed the tribes of Israel. From him his
descendants served as the priests and caretakers of Tabernacle, the Temple. They were charged with
leading the people to God, teaching them His ways, preparing the people for the coming of Jesus the
Messiah, setting an example in the holy living that God requires.
The structure of 1 Chronicles 6
1. The line of priests traced from Aaron to the time of the exile v.1-15
2. The line of Samuel (the last Judge of Israel - he also a prophet-before the time of the Kings) traced
v.16-30. Though he lived in Ephraim, Samuel was of the line of Levi
3. A tracing of the lines of Levi responsible for worship and the care of the Tabernacle and Temple v.31-49
4. The land allotted to the Levites throughout the 12 tribes of Israel v.50-80
Note: A total of 48 towns were allotted to the Levites. They were equally dispersed throughout every
tribe of Israel
A peculiarity of 1 Chronicles 6
It features ascending and descending genealogies of Levi. Verses 1-15 feature a descending genealogy,
tracing the line of priests from Levi to Aaron and on down to the exile. Verses 31-49 feature ascending
genealogies (going from the person in focus and then tracing their way back to Levi)
Note: I'm not totally sure what the spiritual significance of this is, but its interesting for the fact that
Levi's line is traced front to back, back to front, left to right, right to left, showing how important the
Levites and their service to the Lord was.
Read 1 CHRONICLES 6:1-15 which traces the priestly line of Levi from Aaron to the exile
As I read pay attention to the names and see which ones you can recognize.
LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT AND AS IT RELATES TO THE LINE OF LEVI
1. Levi is a great example of going from being CURSED by God to being BLESSED by God. Such is our
experience in Christ
Levi's story: It starts out badly
In Genesis 34 we are told that one of the daughters of Jacob (father to Levi) is raped. Weirdly enough,
the man is also said to have loved the girl and was intent on marrying her. After approaching Jacob to
find out what he needed to do to marry her, Levi and Simeon tell the man (Shechem) that they only would
agree to the marriage if he and all the men in his family were circumcised. They agreed. While in the
midst of recovering from their surgery, Levi and Simeon showed up at the city were Shechem and his
family was and killed every last male they could find and then proceeded to take their women and
children as plunder.
This act of Simeon and Levi upset their father.
Years later, just before Jacob died, he called his sons to himself and prophetically said these words to
Simeon and Levi ""Simeon and Levi are brothers- their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter
their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen
as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and
disperse them in Israel." Genesis 49:5-7
Jacob's words came to pass: The tribe of Simeon was absorbed but for the tribe of Levi, there was a
THE BIG TURNING POINT FOR THE LINE OF LEVI occurs in Exodus 32
Moses is on Mount Sinai with God. To Moses, God gives the 10 commandments (the basis for the
relationship between God and the people of Israel). God then tells Moses that he better get back down to
the people because they had turned away and were worshipping an idol in the place of God. Moses goes
down the mountain, sees a golden calf and the people dancing around it, freaks out, breaks the 10
commandments and then we read these words....
Verse 25-29 says; "Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of
control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and
said, "Whoever is for the Lord, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. 27 Then he said to them,
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth
through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'" 28 The
Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses
said, "You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and
he has blessed you this day."
How incredible for Levi! What a testament to the mercy of God- who turned their curse into a blessing--
for now they represented the people to God and stood as examples of holiness in his sight.
Application for us:
Apart from Christ we are dead in our sins and trespasses and under the judgment of God.
In Christ we have the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the indwelling Holy Spirit, every spiritual blessing
that can be had
How is such received? By faith in Christ!
The text that captures it all: Ephesians 2:1-10
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed
the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those
who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesha
and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because
of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with
him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the
incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you
have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9not by works, so
that no one can boast. 10For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do
TURN TO CHRIST FOR SALVATION!
2. Aaron and the priests after Him were a type for Christ who is THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST after the
order of Melchizedek
Priests and High Priests: Offering sacrifices to God (for sin, as worship). Problem: They sinners. Blood of
bulls and goats not sufficient for the forgiveness of sin. There intercessory ministry was always being cut
short by their eventual deaths.
High Priest: Special role of entering into Holiest of Holies to sprinkle the mercy seat with blood for the
forgiveness of sins of the nation.
In his role of Savior, Jesus holds 3 offices: PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING
Jesus in his office of Great High Priest: He offered the ultimate sacrifice for sin- Himself.
All other sacrifices the priests offered from the time of the Tabernacle to when he died, had to be
repeated endlessly-- for the blood of bulls and goats is not sufficient for the forgiveness of sin. What is
required is a perfect sacrifice. This is why Jesus came and lived a sinless perfect life-- that He might offer
himself as a once for all sacrifice for sin
A great verse about Jesus as our great High Priest: Hebrews 4:14-16
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with
our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin.
16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find
grace to help us in our time of need.
As our great High Priest Jesus continues to intercede for us
Hebrews 7:23-25 says; "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from
continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he
is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for
1 John 2:1-2 also says; "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if
anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the
propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
3. A STRANGE AND WONDERFUL THING: By the grace of Christ we who are the followers of Jesus
are now regarded as a Royal Priesthood, a chosen people, a holy nation, and God's special
In 1 Peter 2:4-5 it says; "As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and
precious to him- 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy
priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Then in 1 Peter 2:9-10 it also says; "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's
special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his
wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not
received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
To what do we owe this high standing before God?
It is not our works. It has nothing to do with our deeds or intentions. This honor and precious standing
owes itself to the mercy of Christ who has lifted us up.
As a royal priesthood and people belonging to God, we have, by pray, unhindered access to the throne of
God- that we might present our petitions, praises, and intercessions to God.
I'm also reminded of the song: I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God.
I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God, I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint
heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I'm part of the family, The Family of God.
From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King, No longer an outcast, a new song I sing; From
rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I'm not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!
4. The clans of Levites whose job it was to lead the people in the praise and worship of the LORD,
remind us of that priority in our lives. See v.31-32
In Revelation 4:11 it says; "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for
you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
Psalm 100 says; "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come
before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not
we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his
mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
God is worthy of our praise and worship. It's a very important part of following God. He inhabits our
praises and draws near when we do so in Spirit and in truth.
5. The Levites- living amongst the tribes of Israel- remind us our calling to be SALT and LIGHT in this
spiritually dark world
As noted before, the Levites, as ones set apart to the Lord and specially belonging to Him- with He being
their inheritance (a good reminder to us for their is not our home), received no tribal allotment of land as
did their brethren. Rather they received 48 towns spread throughout all of Israel. When not on duty at
Jerusalem they lived here, farming the land, setting a godly example, and teaching the locals about how
to follow God
There function was much akin to what ours is to be in our culture, country, city, neighbourhood.
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said; "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can
it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled
underfoot. 14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do
people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your
good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
We are to be known for our good deeds and godliness- all done in the name of Christ.
CLOSING SONG: Greatly blessed, highly favored.