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Imperfect Prototypes Of The Perfect Messiah

Aaron, the brother of Moses and Miriam, was of the tribe of Levi. He married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab of the tribe of Judah, with whom he had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Aaron's four sons were assigned to assist their father in the Levitical priesthood, however the oldest two, Nadab and Abihu, were put to death by The Lord for disobeying His instructions (an early object lesson in why the self-centered, self-righteous "I Did It My Way" method of worshipping and obeying God is not a good idea). After the death of Aaron, the priesthood continued through Eleazar and Ithamar, with the office of High Priest (the priest in overall charge of the The Tabernacle In The Wilderness, and later the Temple in Jerusalem) alternating between them at least once during subsequent Bible History.

Eleazar

After the death of Aaron (for the reason that The Lord did not permit Aaron or Moses to enter the Promised Land, see the verses below and Heartbreak Mountain; for the reason that the Israelites spent 40 years on a journey that could have been completed in 40 days, see A Journey Without A Destination), Moses appointed Eleazar as the new High Priest:

Passover In Egypt

"And The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor: And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there. And Moses did as The Lord commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount." (Numbers 20:23-28 KJV)

Eleazar served as a close assistant to Moses, and then to Joshua:

"And it came to pass after the plague, that The Lord spake unto Moses [see also The Education Of Moses] and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho" (Numbers 26:1-3 KJV)

"And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in The Land Of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them." (Joshua 14:1 KJV)

Eleazar was Israel's High Priest for the rest of his life, until he died and was buried in the land of Israel. The High Priesthood continued in Eleazar's line until Eli, who was descended from Ithamar, but was restored to Eleazar in later years, as recorded below.

Ithamar

After the death of Aaron, Ithamar served as a priest under his brother Eleazar:

"Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father" (Numbers 3:4 KJV)

"This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest." (Exodus 38:21 KJV)

The line of Ithamar continued serving as priests until the High Priesthood was assumed by Eli (i.e. Eli had charge of the Tabernacle), who was a descendant of Ithamar. The Lord later removed the High Priesthood from Eli's family line because of Eli's corrupt sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and Eli's weakness in not removing them himself from the priesthood, however it was not fully competed until years later when King Solomon removed disloyal Abiathar and appointed Zadok, of the line of Eleazar, in his place.

"Wherefore The Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before Me for ever: but now The Lord saith, Be it far from Me; for them that honour Me I will honour, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed ... And I will raise Me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever." (1 Samuel 2:30,35 KJV) (for Who was being ultimately referred to in the last verse, see the Fact Finder below)

"And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest The Ark [see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark] of The Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto The Lord; that he might fulfil the word of The Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh ... and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar." (1 Kings 2:26-27,35 KJV)

Fact Finder: How is Jesus Christ an actual fulfillment of the symbolic High Priesthood that was held by Aaron and his descendants?
See High Priest to King of The World


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