Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to YHWH by Yahshua Messiah…But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. (I PETER 2:5, 9)
It is obvious from the book of GENESIS that the man, as husband and father, was priest of his house. Cain, Abel, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, and Yacob all offered sacrifices and prayers for themselves and their families. This unwritten or oral Law of YHWH is and always has been in effect from Adam until today. A man is priest of his household. It was and still is his duty to ensure his family was/is familiar with the High Father’s expectations (the later Law and Scriptures) and adhered to them.
At the time of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Father initiated a new Law–that every firstborn male of man and cattle was to be sanctified and dedicated to Him.
And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast; it is Mine. (EXODUS 13:1-2)
This was to take effect from the time the Israelites entered the land of Canaan.
Now it shall come to pass when YHWH brings you to the land of the Canaanite…that you shall devote to YHWH the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to YHWH…and every firstborn among your sons you shall redeem. And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What is this?” then you shall say to him, “With a powerful hand YHWH brought us out of the land of Egypt, and from the house of slavery. And it came about when Pharaoh was slow about letting us go, that YHWH killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to YHWH the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem. So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a strong hand, YHWH brought us out of Egypt. (EXODUS 13:11-16 NIV)
The animals were to be slain as a sacrifice to YHWH, but the sons of men were to be redeemed. From the number of times Father tells the Israelites to tell their children about His great wonders and acts of salvation for them, there is no doubt the devotion and sacrifice of the firstborn–man and beast–was to be a reminder to them down through the pages of history. YHWH’s plagues upon Egypt were a judgment against that nation for enslaving Israel and killing their newborn sons, a horrific act after Yoseph, in YHWH’s wisdom, not only saved but profoundly blessed Egypt just a few generations previously.
By the sanctification of the firstborn males, YHWH was also establishing the men as priests in the service of the tabernacle, and later the temple in the Promised Land. The firstborn males of animals were given as offerings to remind them of sin, and as tithes, until the ultimate sacrifice of the Redeemer Himself, at which time the killing of animals for sacrifices was to cease. This was a picture of the Messiah: as the animals were sacrificed, so was He; as He redeemed men by His death, so were the firstborn sons redeemed from being killed, unlike the Egyptian firstborn who suffered YHWH’s full judgment for their sins.
As Paul points out in HEBREWS 10:6, Father took no pleasure in this sacrificial system. He took no pleasure in the killing of animals, or even in the killing of the firstborn sons of Egypt. It is important to understand that because YHWH hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh himself would not be judged for his acts of stubbornness that resulted in Egypt’s near destruction. It was all for glory for the Most High and to point out sin.
Father’s lack of pleasure was even more apparent when the firstborn of Israel disqualified themselves from service in the priesthood at the foot of Mount Horeb. After descending from the mount and seeing the people’s gross acts of idolatry, Moses stood in the gate of the camp and cried, “Whoever is for YHWH, come to me!” (EX. 33:26).
Instead of the chosen, dedicated, sanctified firstborn running to Moses, the Levites won the privilege of serving in the tabernacle. It was they instead who responded to Moses’ question, then executed the rebels. For this loyalty to YHWH, they became His special ministers. However, YHWH still states the firstborn are His (EX. 34:20). One day they are to come back into their own.
The Law of the firstborn was in effect until the incident of the golden calf at Horeb. When the Levites were taken as priests instead of the firstborn, the Law of the Levitical priesthood was added to the Mosaic Law given in the wilderness.
And thou shalt take the Levites for Me (I am YHWH) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel…the Levites shall be Mine: I am YHWH. NUMBERS 3:41, 45
As the firstborn son in Moses’ immediate family, Aaron became a priest. Because he acted as Moses’ mouth before Pharaoh during the exodus, YHWH also rewarded Aaron (and his sons) with a special priesthood. Following the choosing of the Levites as priests, there was this special class within that tribe whose ministry included the more sacred functions undertaken in the inner part of the Tabernacle–the Holy Place. Only Aaron himself at that time could enter and perform the duties behind the second veil of the Most Holy Place (I CHRON. 6:48-49). Aaron became YHWH’s high priest. This was made a hereditary appointment upon Phineas’ act of zealous loyalty to YHWH when halting the sin of Peor (NUM. 25).
Despite the added Levitical priesthood Law, Father promised that the Seed of Abraham would one day be a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (PSA. 110:4), who was without father, mother, or descent (HEB. 7:3), a pre-incarnation of Yahshua Messiah Himself in fact. Furthermore, according to the rendering in The Book of Yahweh Bible, ISAYAH 43:28, YHWH promised to dissolve the Levitical priesthood due to their sacrificing to other gods:
Your first father sinned, and your interpreters broke My covenant and turned away from Me in prayer; (praying to gods (Elohim) instead. Therefore I will dissolve the Levitical priesthood.
Yahshua took the place of the Levitical priesthood, the laws of which included the animal sacrifice.
In the time of the patriarchs, the firstborn son had a position of special honour and responsibility in the family structure. He was given a double portion of the inheritance (DEUT. 21:17) with which he was expected to care for his parents in their old age. YHWH proclaimed Israel to be His firstborn (EX. 4:22). With the death of Egypt’s firstborn, this matter of birthright took on a matter of new importance for the Israelites. Their firstborn were to be set apart for YHWH and it was necessary to make a sacrifice for their redemption. Picture Yahshua.
Following Yahshua’s death, with the destruction of the priesthood and Levitical services, the duties of service once again fell upon the firstborn–Israel! But Israel, like the original firstborn, disqualified herself, for they refused to accept Yahshua as their King, Priest, Messiah, and Redeemer. To this day, of course, YHWH’s firstborn remains in apostasy, as was Pharaoh of Egypt with his hardened heart (MATT. 21:42-44).
From the new era that dawned after Yahshua’s death, the service of the priesthood was no longer in the temple at Yerushalem–soon to be destroyed just as Egypt was–but in the temple made without human hands, composed of living stones of which Yahshua is to be the capstone.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of YHWH, and precious. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to YHWH by Yahshua Messiah. (I PETER 2:4-5)
…Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that shall believe on Him shall not be confounded. (IS. 28:16, I PETER 2:6)
The living stones, those rallying to His call, are not Levites, not even biological firstborn. These are, like Yahshua Himself, the firstborn taken from among men:
And He is the image of the invisible Father, the firstborn of all creation. (COL. 1:15 NASB)
But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living Father, the Heavenly Yerushalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to YHWH the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Yahshua the mediator of the new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling…
–those who accept Yahshua as their Saviour and King and become YHWH’s alone. They are the tithe, the ten percent who give one hundred percent of their lives to Father.
These so dedicated are not only priests in their own houses but to the wider house–the Church–and indeed, their nations.
In YHWH’s perfect world, there would be no government, no king, and no female priests! It is purely a male domain accept insofar as a husband and wife are one flesh. Wise men, and occasionally women, are chosen as judges. There are city states where priests minister to the people and expound the Laws of YHWH. A central place or city hosts the great Feast Day festivals where all YHWH’s people gather three times a year. And here it is that the high priest ministers to Yahshua the King on His earthly throne.