The Tribe of Levi and the Coming Third Temple

from the July 24, 2007 eNews issue (

A group of Jews believed to be members of the ancient tribe of Levi gathered in Jerusalem last week to edify one another and to bless Israel. There is more to the gathering than a simple family reunion, however. Moses and Aaron were Levites, and the sons of Aaron were called to be the priests of Israel and to minister in the Temple. These descendants of the priestly line of Israel cannot gather together without awakening the hope for rebuilding the Temple.

The Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and, ever since, the priests of Israel have felt a keen hole in their calling. The sons of Aaron were given the job of ministering in the Temple and serving as priests to Israel, not just for a set period, but forever:

“…and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” -Exodus 29:9

“And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” – Numbers 25:13

Yet, for nearly 2000 years there has been no Temple in Jerusalem, and the Dome of the Rock sits on the Temple Mount. Yet, certain groups like the Temple Mount Faithful and members of the Tribe of Levi wait with hopeful expectation for the day when the Temple will be rebuilt.

When that day comes, the Aaronic priests, a “Cohen” in Hebrew, will be necessary to minister in the Temple. They also serve another vital function; no Jew will be able to enter the Temple to worship without first going through ritual purification, which can only be accomplished by a Cohen.

The Cohen-Levi family members who gathered in Jerusalem last week believe that they are direct descendants of Aaron, qualified to perpetuate the priestly holy calling once the Temple is rebuilt. They point to DNA research that has demonstrated that members of the Cohen family scattered across the world have a common set of genetic markers on the Y chromosome – which is passed from father to son without recombination.

Certain religious Jews note that there are many problems still standing in the way of building the Temple, not the least of which is Muslim opposition. There are also questions about the exact location of the First and Second Temples, the precise spot to put the altar, the ability to assemble a Sanhedrin to appoint a high priest, and other vital issues.

They, like us, await the arrival of Elijah and the Messiah, who will answer all questions and put everything right.

The lack of a Temple in Jerusalem is no difficulty for the Christian. Paul pointed out that our bodies are the Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). We have a High Priest who has passed through the heavens, and who sits on the right hand of God interceding for us (Heb. 4:14; 7:25-28; 8:1). We do not need the blood of lambs and goats to cover our sin, for we serve the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29; Heb. 9:12-14).

We do await, however, the rebuilding of the Third Temple. The Bible indicates it will be will be defiled by the Man of Sin (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess 2:4) before Christ returns to set up his Millennial Kingdom. There is still a future purpose for the Temple in the service of the LORD, as the throne of the Messiah.

Related Links:

Israelite priests hold first gathering since Temple era – Israel Today
The Discovery of the ‘Cohen Gene’ –
Why Don’t We Rebuild The Holy Temple? – Being
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement –


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