“Adonai said to Moshe, “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. Here is how you are to cleanse them: sprinkle the purification water on them, have them shave their whole body with a razor, and have them wash their clothes and cleanse themselves.“-Numbers 8:1-2
Right off the bat in verse 5, we are given a very important reminder.
We are told the Levites are to be separated from Israel.
Do you recall why?
It is because they had replaced the status and purpose of Israel’s firstborns.
Hence, they are no longer a normal part of Israel and thus will no longer be counted as a tribe of Israel.
The whole point of the earlier census taken of the Levites was to demonstrate this point.
Of course in terms of bloodline, the Levites remained a part of the Hebrew race and lived in Israel amongst the 12 tribes but from this point on, they would no long consider themselves Israelites and neither would God.
Again, I can’t stress how important it is to get this point firmly embedded in your cranium as we move forward in the Scriptures, and later on you’re going to realize how important it is to understand this once we get into prophecy.
Let’s move on by taking a look at verse 7.
“Here is how you are to cleanse them: sprinkle the purification water on them, have them shave their whole body with a razor, and have them wash their clothes and cleanse themselves.”-Numbers 8:7
The situation here is that before the non-priestly common Levites can begin their service to God, they must be cleansed or purified.
You’ll notice that Moses and NOT the priests is the one performing the rituals.
This is simply because the priests have not yet been consecrated.
Once the priesthood is consecrated, Moses will no longer perform these rituals.
Another point I need to mention is that these rituals are NOT the same as what occurred in the ordination of the priesthood.
Remember an ordination or consecration ceremony always involves being anointed with oil.
However, since this is a purification ritual, water is being used instead.
The whole purpose of this ritual was to cleanse the Levites so that they would be CLEAN enough to work around and near the sanctuary.
I say “CLEAN enough” because the common non-priestly Levites were forbidden from entering into the sacred areas.
They were also forbidden from performing any of the sacred rituals that were performed by the priests.
The priests were considered to be at a higher level of holiness than the common Levites.
Interestingly, the water used to purify the Levites here was the same type of water used to purify a person who had become UNCLEAN due to coming into contact with a corpse.
This water was beforehand mixed with the ashes from a Red Heifer, so obviously we know a Red Heifer ceremony had already taken place.
Now don’t confuse this purification water with “Holy Water“.
Remember “Holy Water” is the same thing as “Living Water” which in Hebrew is MAYIM CHAYIM.
MAYIM CHAYIM has the following characteristics:
-It is water that comes from a moving source like a running spring or river.
-It is water that after taken from a moving source was usually poured inside of the giant copper laver that sat inside the Tabernacle courtyard.
-The priests used “living water” (taken from the copper laver) to wash their hands and feet before, during, and after performing their rituals.
So understand there were two key ingredients needed for purification: “Living Water” and the “Ashes of the Red Heifer“.
These two were mixed together.