A STUDY ON BIBLICAL PRIESTHOODS   

Fr Leo Benjamin

In our continued study of the garments, there is an interesting commandment in, “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” Or, better known as(Strong’s H8162). Strangely enough, Josephus and the Dead Sea scrolls tell us that wool mixed with linen was used exclusively by the priesthood, and not to be held in common. We see this evident with the incense and oil used by the priests as well.

In our continued study of the garments, there is an interesting commandment in Deuteronomy 22:11, “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” Or, better known as sha`atnez (Strong’s H8162). Strangely enough, Josephus and the Dead Sea scrolls tell us that wool mixed with linen was used exclusively by the priesthood, and not to be held in common. We see this evident with the incense and oil used by the priests as well.

When it comes to the tzitziot (fringes), it reads in Numbers 15:38, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue.” This blue strand is indicated by ancient sources to be made of wool.

It was all of Israel that was given this commandment. If it is true, was God contradicting himself? Here we see the mixing of the materiel used in the garments. I believe what we are seeing here is that the Lord God is connecting the Aaronic priesthood to the original intent of the priesthood. We read in Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Also in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” This dovetails back to an article we wrote called THE PRIESTHOOD FOR TODAY The blue woolen thread connects the priesthood as a priestly people, as well as showing there is a hierarchy to the priesthood.

The basic hierarchy of the priesthood

Let us first be reminded that the Aaronic priesthood is a shadow or a training of the Melchizedek priesthood that Jesus brought each of us into by his death on the cross. By doing this he opened the priesthood to each one of us, but we also must understand a priestly people means there is an order, that is why it is called the order of Melchizedek. In this order, you have the Levites from the family of Aaron which includes the High Priest, and priests. Also, you have the Levites that helped with all the articles and vessels of the tabernacle, and the priestly people from the rest of the tribes. They are tied together with a linen and a blue woolen thread.

We see this order being challenged with the rebellion of Korah. First we read in Numbers 15:39, “And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring.” Then right after this in Numbers Chapter 16 we read about the rebellion of Korah as a leader of the Levites and cousin of Aaron and Moses. He was feeling insulted and overlooked in the sharing of the priestly leadership and roles. He became jealous of Aaron and Moses and started a rebellion for the authority and ranking of the priesthood. I believe it all started as a result of the blue woolen thread that was in the fringes (tzitzit) of Numbers 15:38-39, where we see the blue woolen thread. Korah was not satisfied with being a Levite, he wanted the full honors of the priestly authority and it cost him his life and the lives of those he convinced to rebel with him.

Wool & Linin

Is it also interesting that the materials used in the garments can be traced all the way back to Cain and Able. Cain was a tiller of the ground and offered the fruit of the ground. Genesis 4:3 shows where we get linen. Able’s offering was firstlings of his flock (Sheep). Genesis 4:4 is where we get wool.

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