1 Chronicles 24
1 Chronicles 24 Kingcomments Bible Studies

Divisions of the Priests

Here we see that the priests are divided by David, but that whoever performs the service is determined by lot. This means that God designates and determines who does service and not David (Lk 1:8-9). Because of the death of two of the four sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2), there are two remaining lines along which the priesthood is divided.

Eleazar was appointed by God to be the high priest, but the line of Ithamar got it. After Solomon, the generation of Ithamar disappears. Zadok from the line of Eleazar is the priest according to God’s thoughts. Of the twenty-four divisions that David sets up, sixteen go to Eleazar and eight to the descendants of Ithamar.

Everyone is a priest of his own division. This teaches us that everyone is a worshiper in his own way, each has his own feelings. Each of the twenty-four is different. Yet we are never a single priest, we are one of the twenty-four. If we do priestly service together during worship, worship is most rewarding when we see that all brothers act as one and not each individually acts on his own, without concerning about others. It is about together “with all the saints” (Eph 3:18).

The believer who does priestly service with others is part of the whole company of priests, while still having his own place. Small communities of Christians has the advantage that every brother has the opportunity to express himself. No one will dominate either. In large meetings the danger of inactivity of the majority is obvious.

Aaron had four sons (1Chr 24:1; Exo 6:22), all four of whom went out of Egypt with the people. They all four seemed to be priests, yet there was a distinction between two who were ‘spiritual’ priests and the other two who were ‘religious’ priests. This was reflected in the way they approached God. Two of them brought strange fire to the altar, which the LORD had not commanded them. He had to punish this with death (1Chr 24:2; Lev 10:1-2).

The religion of the flesh, to approach God in its own way and according to its own insight, cannot exist before God. He must judge that. Their status as priest and the fact that they are descendants of such an excellent man in Israel as Aaron, did not prevent them from being punished by God’s judgment. This kind of priesthood ceases to exist because we read that they had no sons. The fleshly mind of the church in Corinth also brought with it judgment from God (1Cor 3:1; 1Cor 11:27-34).

David, the king, divides together with Zadok and Ithamar, the priests – together they are a picture of the Lord Jesus as the King-Priest – the work of the priests (1Chr 24:3). Only the Lord Jesus indicates who are priests. These are all those who are connected with Him by faith in Him. He also indicates how and when they should perform their service.

The division of the priestly divisions is done by casting lots (1Chr 24:5). The casting of lots to know the will of the LORD is characteristic of the Old Testament. The lot is also used in dividing the land (Jos 18:8-10). In the New Testament there is one more reference to the use of lots, and that is to know who the Lord designates as an apostle instead of Judas (Acts 1:26). In Acts 2 the outpouring of the Holy Spirit takes place (Acts 2:1-4). From that moment on, there is no longer any question of lots. The Lord makes clear through the Spirit what He wants, as He has made His will known in His Word.

Shemaiah records the divisions so that it can be consulted later (1Chr 24:6). In the way in which this happens, we see, in picture, again the King-Priest: the Lord Jesus has authority and is the true High Priest. Before His face, in His presence, under His watchful eye, everything takes place. As Shemaiah records everything for later consultation, we have the Word of God in which is recorded how the service can be done ‘in order’, as God wants and through His Spirit leads.

Zacharias, the father of John the baptist, belongs to the eighth priest division, that of Abijah (1Chr 24:10), for he is “of the division of Abijah” (Lk 1:5). The number eight indicates a new order of things. This is the case with the announcement of the birth of John.

Aaron (1Chr 24:19) is a type of the Lord Jesus as the High Priest. Today every priest is subject to Him.

The Levites Help the Priests

Levites and priests are relatives, or brothers (1Chr 24:31), one is not above the other. It is the same for us. The service of each of us is different, but we are all subject to the King-Priest. Also the ‘family head’ is not above the youngest brother. Different in age, but each is subject to the King-Priest.

This does not mean that there should be no mutual respect in the service, nor that young people should not be subject to the elderly (1Pet 5:5a). In Christ there are no such differences, but He does give each one his own task and responsibility in the functioning of the church on earth.

Similarly, in Christ there is no difference between a man and a woman, whereas in the church when she comes together this is the case (1Cor 14:34). This difference must also be visible when praying and prophesying in public by whether or not head covering and through the hair (1Cor 11:1-16).

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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