And from among the priests: the descendants of Habaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name).
I. THAT THE PRIESTHOOD HAD ITS PRIVILEGES. These were -
1. They were sanctified to the service of God.
(1) Distinguished from the tribes whose inheritance was in the soil (see Numbers 18:20).
(2) Distinguished among the Levites. They were sons of Aaron. Were served by the Levites. While they served in the holy places, at the altar, within the veil (see Numbers 18:7).
2. They ate of the most holy things.
(1) As Levites, they had tithes from the nation.
(2) As priests, they had tithes from the Levites (Numbers 18:20, 21, 26-28).
(4) They ate the shew-bread of the Presence, viz., of the Shekinah, the visible glory of God. All this symbolically expressed near fellowship with God.
II. THE LAW PRIESTS WERE TYPES OF TRUE CHRISTIANS.
1. In their birth, as sons of Aaron.
(1) Aaron was a type of Christ. See arguments in Epistle to the Hebrews.
2. In their office, as priests of God.
3. In the privileges of their office.
(1) They draw nigh to God. The law priest entered the holy place. We enter the most holy (see Hebrews 10:19-22).
(2) They feast with God. This glorious fellowship is now expressed in the Lord's Supper.
III. THOSE WHO ASPIRE TO THESE PRIVILEGES MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW A VALID TITLE,
1. As to the priesthood under the law.
(1) Case of the children of Habai and Koz. These not elsewhere otherwise mentioned. Here acknowledged as sons of Aaron. Their reputed descendants could not show their genealogy from them.
(2) Case of the children of Barzillai's daughter. Honourable mention made of Barzillai (see 2 Samuel 17:27-29; 2 Samuel 19:31-39). This accounts for descendants of his daughter assuming his name rather than that of their father.
(3) They were therefore excluded (Hebrews, polluted) from the priesthood. Lost the sanctity; also the privileges.
2. As to the priesthood under the gospel.
(1) As with the aspirants through Habai and Koz, the reputation of being of the family of Jesus will not avail. Have you evidence of spiritual birth?
(2) As with the aspirants bearing the honourable name of Barzillai, respectability will not avail in place of a spiritual title. We must be real.
(3) The Tirshatha will scrutinize our claims. We must all pass the scrutiny of the judgment.
3. But is it possible for us to make up a valid title?
(1) What does the Tirshatha say (see ver. 68)?
(2) The Urim and Thummim were wanting then. These were used in the breastplate of the high priest for obtaining responses from the Shekinah of God in the temple. Neither these "lights and perfections" nor the Shekinah to illuminate them were found in the second temple.
(3) We have an High Priest who stands up with these, even Jesus, who ministers in the grander temple. Through his glorious Spirit, the true Shekinah, we have in our breasts the most perfect illuminations. By these we ascertain our spiritual birth with its titles. Have we this most sacred, this most indubitable assurance? - J.A.M.
The number of the men of the people of Israel.
I. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FACT OF THE RECORD.
1. It Was an honour to the pious and patriotic ones who returned.
2. It is an illustration of the Divine record of God's spiritual Israel (Luke 10:20).
3. It suggests that every one of His people is precious in the sight of God (Isaiah 49:16).
II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CONTENTS OF THE RECORD. We have in this list —
1. Significant persons.
(1) (2) 2. A significant place: Bethlehem (ver. 21). 3. Significant numbers. (William Jones.)
(2) 2. A significant place: Bethlehem (ver. 21). 3. Significant numbers. (William Jones.)
2. A significant place: Bethlehem (ver. 21).
3. Significant numbers.
I. THAT THERE ARE VARIOUS SPHERES OF SERVICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD (Ephesians 4:11, 12).
II. THAT THE HUMBELEST SPHERE OF SERVICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD IS A PLACE OF PRIVILEGE AND HONOUR.
III. THE PRIVILEGE OF SEVICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD IS NOT LIMITED TO ANY PARTICULAR RACES OR CLASSES OF MEN.
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