“The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.” (Deuteronomy 18:1-2)
Because they were given to God and were to eat the offerings and sacrifices, the tribe of Levi was not to receive a land of their own, God was their supply, and they were to depend especially on him. Like the Levites, Christians are given to God in a special way. I Peter 2:9-10 declares, “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: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Like the Levites, Christians have no permanent place here on Earth. Hebrews 13:14 reminds us, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Both Matthew 6 and Luke 12 warn not to waste our time seeking earthly belongings or prestige. In the story of the rich fool who had accumulated great wealth “… God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”, in Luke 12:20. Jesus went on to warn, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment,” in verses 21-23.
Like the Levites, we have a different inheritance described in I Peter 1:3-5. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
“And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.” (Deuteronomy 18:3-5)
While all Levites were dedicated to God, only Aaron’s descendants were chosen as priests. A particular portion of each sacrifice was to be given to the priests. In I Corinthians 9:13-14, Paul declares that the same principle is to apply to pastors and teachers today. “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” This does not exclude him from earning some part of his income if needed to set an example before the people, as Paul makes very clear by his own example.
“And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose; Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD. They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.” (Deuteronomy 18:6-8)
Levites from other areas who moved to where the Tabernacle was and devoted their lives to service there were to receive same pay as those who had been there the entire time, but they were not required to give up the proceeds of their property. Each Levite had a portion of land of his own and the proceeds were his, even though his primary support might be from his services at the Tabernacle.
“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
When Israel came into the land, they were not to use any kind of mechanism to try to foresee or influence the future. Many of the practices are common today, and are often treated and just an idle amusement. Few consider the implications of reading tea leaves. palms or Tarot cards or using an Ouija board as an attempt to obtain find out the future by bypassing God. God will never be pleased with sacrificing our children to attain our goals, but many heathen groups have physically sacrificed their children in an effort to get what they want. Unfortunately modern Christians sometimes sacrifice their children on the altar of their own ambition.
Many modern peoples base their planting on the different phases of the moon, newspapers run horoscopes and astrological columns, and many adjust their lives to fit some preordained future such as that of the Chinese belief in the characteristics of different years such as the year of the horse or rat.
Ancient alchemy, was an effort to exercise godlike powers by mixing chemicals and using magic spells to accomplish a particular goal. Modern chemistry was the result of learning that they could not change God’s laws. Numerous potions and concoctions are used even today to make things happen or appear to happen. Poisons and hallucinogenic drugs were often used to produce desired effects. The ancient beliefs of flying witches appears to have been the result of using witch hazel in secret ceremonies, for example. These are the kind of things referred to with the word enchanters.
Witches or whisperers of spells are those who depend on certain combinations of words or sounds to produce a specific result. In Navajo tradition the efficacy of a certain ceremony depends on the singer repeating the exact words at the proper pitch. Unfortunately many supposedly Christian practices are dependent on the use of certain word, the evangelist who advised his listeners to start saying “the blood of Jesus” over and over when the felt depressed was essentially recommending a form of witchcraft. How many have been taught that saying “in Jesus Name” when praying forces God to give what they ask for?
The word translated charmer means to join and is one who fascinates, mesmerizes or attempts to control others thinking by hypnosis, manipulation and seduction. Séances and mediums are examples of those who consult with familiar spirits. The word wizard means one who has superior secret knowledge. Modern druids are one example of such practices, as are many shamans of various religions.
Necromancers are those who worship or are guided by the dead. It is the basic tenant of Scientology, but many supposed Christians believe those who have already died are guiding or protecting them. Praying to saints is a widely accepted form of Necromancy.
Anyone who practices any of these things is an abomination to God, because they are seeking to bypass God’s power and laws. Christians ought not be involved in these types of things. Israel was not to allow anyone to practice them.
“Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” (Deuteronomy 18:13-14)
The Jews were to maintain their faith in God, and not to be influenced by outside influences such as drugs, mind control, signs in the tea leaves, fear of magical spells or external events. As Romans 14:23 says, “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”