Hebrew Roots/Holy Priesthood/The Firstborn Priesthood
The First-Born Son
Adam, the first to be called to fulfill the role of priesthood in the earth failed to fulfill God's eternal purpose and bring forth a kingdom of priests. His personal failure to function in sanctification and consecration resulted in the loss of his dominion over the earth. Although his birthright was not withdrawn, he now lacked the authority to function in it, in his fallen state. Through the plan of redemption revealed to him of the sacrificial Lamb to come, he resumed a measure of delegated authority which was passed down through the firstborn sons of his posterity.
As the "first man", he was Yahweh's first-born son in the earth. Had he been faithful to his commission, he could have brought forth a race of firstborn sons, in the same likeness and image in which he was created as a son of the Almighty God.
This was his commission to have dominion, and to fill the earth with his own kind. Genesis 1:26-28
The role of priesthood, even after his fall from his original status, was passed down to every subsequent first-born son of his offspring, down through each of the patriarchs to Noah, to Shem (Melchizedek), to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then to the nation of Israel. Each of these functioned in the inheritance of the first-born priesthood.
Israel is the family that became a nation. From the patriarchal family that carried the lineage of the firstborn priesthood through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel was born as a nation of firstborn sons. Israel had this calling on a national level. They were to be the nation that showed forth the Father’s glory and taught His laws to the rest of the nations of the world.
The First-Born Nation
With the nation of Israel, Yahweh declared, "Israel is My Son, My firstborn" ::Exodus 4:22 This was the first nation/kingdom to come forth from a righteous seed in the earth (Abraham).
As soon as they were delivered from Egypt, out of bondage and foreign dominion to Himself, Yahweh instructed, "Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn", ... "all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem" Exodus 13: 2, 13; 22:29 Yahweh redeemed and sanctified them to Himself during the slaying of Egypt's first-born which had been in lieu of theirs. Numbers 3;13; 8:17 They were purchased with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, as of a lamb without spot or blemish, a type of THE Lamb which was to come and redeem His people. Exodus 12
These firstborn of every family, as patriarchal heads, were then the officiating priesthood until the time of the golden calf incident, when the tribe of Levi was appointed instead of them. Exodus 19:22,24
Yahweh called them as a whole nation to be His first-born, His kingdom of priests on the earth, with each man of each family being a functioning priest. "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you will be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exodus 19: 5-6
A Priestly Nation
The name “Israel” speaks of one who strives with Elohim, who overcomes by the power of Elohim, or who rules and reigns with Elohim. This was the original call of Adam, the firstborn among men. Israel is called to be a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation. They are the firstborn nation of Yahweh God. Their priesthood is a royal priesthood - people who overcome, people who rule and subdue. Exodus 19: 5-6
Moses said to Pharaoh, “Thus says Yahweh, Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I said to you, ‘Let My Son go, that he may serve Me;’ but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn” (Exodus 4:23-24). This is what Yahweh did and led our forefathers to Sinai and gave them the Covenant. He basically said, “IF you obey My voice IF you keep My covenant, then you will operate as priests in a firstborn, royal priesthood."
This was what Yahweh called them to be, a kingdom of priests, a nation of priests to reach the rest of the world. As we know, Israel as a nation also failed as did Adam, to enter into their role of first-born priesthood and keep His covenant, and the order of priesthood was changed from the Firstborn/Melchizedek order, to that of the Levitical - the tribe of Levi fulfilling the function as priests for the rest of the nation.
They forfeited their priesthood when they were unfaithful to the covenant and went into idolatry worshipping the golden calf and because of this great sin, the covenant was broken and the privilege of being His firstborn priesthood, after the original order, was annulled.
Because of the failure of the firstborn priesthood to reflect Yahweh’s holy character and walk in the priestly calling, Yahweh chose the Levites who rose up and stood with Moses and Yahweh - "all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him" (Exodus 32:26) and they went through the camp exercising their priestly function and judged the nation for their sin (Exodus 32:27-28). As a result Yahweh chose the tribe of Levi as His firstborn priesthood. So that, instead of them being a nation of priests, now one tribe exercised the priesthood for the nation.
The Firstborn Service of the Levites
“Again Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am Yahweh.” Numbers 3:11; also verse 45
Also a system of redemption was established in lieu of the firstborn being priests unto Him by the payment of five shekels for each firstborn son in a family who should have fulfilled the priestly role. Instead of moving forward into the new order of every man functioning as a priest and them being His firstborn nation, the Levites were established as a priestly tribe instead. See Numbers 3:40-51
The Levites served as a replacement for the firstborn priesthood for a time. The ordained order of the firstborn was violated but not superseded, and this replacement for which they had to pay in redemption money, was a temporary substitute for a time.
Yahweh still retained ownership of the firstborn. A redemption price had to be paid for them according to His principles/His Torah, but for a time the Levites were to serve in their place until the 'firstborn' (Israel) became sanctified and mature, and was able to walk in their Royal calling and accurately reflect the character of their Father. They needed to be redeemed and empowered to fulfill the calling.
The Levites have an eternal priesthood, but their priesthood was never meant to be the preeminent priesthood. The Levitical priesthood is a subset of the royal priesthood.
The Levitical priesthood also failed in time, became corrupt, and had to be judged. With the failure of the Levitical priesthood at the time of Eli, the Ark of the Covenant was taken captive and the function of the priesthood became an empty ritual without the presence of Yahweh in their midst until its restoration by David. 1 Samuel 4: 1-10, 22
For a short period David superseded the Levitical order and established a form of worship with a Tabernacle pitched solely for the Ark of His Presence. The worshipers entered within the veil in type of the greater David who was to come and initiate an entrance into the very presence of God for us. David as a type of Messiah functioned as a Priest, Prophet and King, a royal, priest.
For the rest of their history until Messiah came, the ministries of priest and king were separate, and the priesthood through the Levites came short of fulfilling Yahweh's ultimate purpose. Apart from some individual instances and for short periods, there was no corporate expression of the Firstborn priesthood in Israel functioning in His power and anointing.
Y'shua came to the lost sheep of the House of Israel to redeem the nation from the bondage of corruption that they might fulfill their calling to become the Firstborn Son of the Father and walk in their spiritual calling and appointment. Matthew 15:24
At the time Y'shua came, the priesthood was once again corrupt and estranged from Yahweh God.
Y'shua the Firstborn Son and the Last Adam
Y'shua was the firstborn of Yahweh's chosen handmaid, Miriam, fathered by the Spirit of God and He inherited the right of the firstborn priest. The Son of God, by entering a tabernacle of human flesh, became a descendant of Adam, a firstborn son of Mirium and a firstborn Son of God, an Israelite according to the flesh and thereby our kinsman.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth". John 1:14
He did what the first (Adam) failed to do -- “Subdue and have dominion (rule)” when the enemy came to test Him. Although dominion over the earth was given to Adam potentially, he failed to actually take hold of and secure that dominion, by exercising and retaining it under contest. You only truly possess what you can maintain under testing. This failure caused him to lose it to Satan, who overpowered him.
Y'shua came and dealt with sin in order to reconnect the original priesthood of the firstborn with the God of Israel and to reinstate the broken covenant. He came so that all Israel could be empowered to walk in the authority of the original calling and do what they were originally supposed to do - to be a kingdom of priests in the earth. (Exodus 19: 6)
We read in 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” He appeared to destroy what the devil had done - subverting man’s dominion and upsetting Kingdom order.
He fulfilled His commission as the firstborn in the royal priesthood, He became the first of a new order, an order of firstborn sons. He was the last of the old order (the last Adam) and the first of a new order - a second man. (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). He became the only begotten of the Father, the "firstborn of all creation", the prototype of Firstborn sons. Hebrews 1: 6; Colossians 1:15
The New Order
As a son of Adam and a Son of God, legally according to the Father's eternal principles - His laws (Torah), He took the authority back from the usurper on behalf of, and for, all the other sons that He would also bring into His glory as part of the 'firstborn' company.
The new order of 'man' which He established is that of sonship with the Father, the restoration of that which was lost in Adam. In doing so, He has called out a people from the old fallen Adamic order to be an "ekklesia', “called out ones,” of THE Firstborn. This calling is a restoration of all things which were lost to Adam's race which the Father gave to him as an inheritance. It is a restoration of man's original creation in the image and likeness of Yahweh God, as well as his position as a king/priest over the earth.
He came to His own people and called them out of the systems of this world, out of the then established Aaronic/Levitical system and back into the Melchizedek/Davidic order, the original order which He established in Adam. He has gone within the veil as our High Priest, with the atonement for our sin and opened the way for us as priests of the Firstborn, to enter into the very presence of the Almighty and function as priests in this new order.
We have entered into the spiritual counterpart of the functioning of the priesthood on Mount Zion which King David established, where the priests ministered continually in worship before the Ark of the Covenant in the literal Shekinah of the Holy One, with no veil dividing them from His Presence.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly (ecclessia) and church of the firstborn, who are registered in heaven .. .. .. and to Y'shua the mediator of the new covenant" Hebrews 12:22-24a
- (Mt.Zion was the place of David's Tabernacle)
Our Mediator has opened up the way for us to come up to Mount Zion and worship Him in the "beauty of holiness", to behold Him in the sanctuary as a 'man' restored to the "image and likeness" of Yahweh God and bring in the holy incense before Him on behalf of the people. Psalm 29: 1-2; 96: 7-9
He has restored our dominion over creation and over he who became the "god of this world".
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory" (Revelation 19: 7)