We usually do not make the connection between this and the question that the disciples asked Yeshua in Acts 1:6 "Are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel at this time?". The disciples knew what the Hebrew Prophets had written. Israel would become divided, they would eventually lose their sovereignty because of their disobedience, some would be exiled from the land and those who remained/returned, would be ruled by foreign powers. However Messiah would come, gather the exiles, reunite Ephraim/Israel and Judah and He (Messiah) would take His seat on David's throne.
This raises all sorts of questions, especially for those who do not see the Biblical prophecies as literal occurances. However, if we see ADONAI as the covenant keeping God, then we understand that EVERY covenant that He has made with His people are literal and are still in effect. So here are a few things that you may have missed about the priesthood
The Priestly Covenant and the Kingdom to Come
Numbers 25:1-13 tells us about the account of Phineas (Pinchas in Hebrew). He was the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the High Priest, and he defended ADONAI's holiness at a time when Israel was unfaithful to Him. The LORD promised Phineas, and his descendants after him, an everlasting priesthood; a covenant of peace. During the time of Israel's united Kingdom, we learn that Zadok, a descendant of Phineas, was the Priest (1Chr 6:1-15). The Zadokites continued to serve in the Temple.
Although Israel as a nation was punished by the LORD, He never forgot or broke His covenant with them. In Jeremiah 33, we read of God's promise to restore them. This includes the kingship and the priesthood. We read:
"For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’” (Jeremiah 33:17-18)
During the Millennial reign when Israel is reunited and Yeshua sits on David's throne, the Levitical priesthood will also take their place in a rebuilt Temple. Ezekiel 44:15-31 gives us a detailed discription this. At that time, the question that the disciples asked in Acts 1:6 will become a reality - the physical Kingdom will be restored and Yeshua will be their King! But isn't Yeshua also a Priest? Absolutely - but not from the Levitical order.
The Current Priesthood
In Psalm 110:4 as well as in Hebrews 7:17, 21 we read that Yeshua is a Priest in the order of Melchizedek. The Melchizedek priesthood is a superior order that existed long before the Levitical priesthood. It is not based on one's tribe or man's appointment but is passed on from a Father to a Son. It is also eternal. As an aside, the first priest from this superior order of priesthood would be Adam - but that is for another discussion.
A closer look at Hebrews 7 shows us how Yeshua entered into the Most Holy Place once and for all and sprinkled His own blood upon the mercy seat and made atonement for our sins. Today, Yeshua is seated at the right hand of the Father, carrying out His High Priestly duties in the heavenly Tabernacle making intercession for us. He is an Eternal Priest!
As believers in Yeshua, we are a part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation in the earth (1 Peter 2:9). Our bodies are the Temple and as priests we minister before ADONAI daily. However, this does not take away from the fact that in the Millennial Kingdom, the sons of Zadok will daily offer up sacrifices before God. Why? Because God never breaks His covenant!
Do you have questions on the Levitical or the Melchizedek Priesthood? Feel free to comment below or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org