Ezra 1: 5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. Is there a difference between priests and Levites? Here we see both separated! Could a man be a priest and not be from the Levites?
NKJV - 5 Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.
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The priest is a minister of any religion. It is one who is consecrated to and engaged in holy matters. A Levite is one who descended from the tribe of Levi. Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. (Genisis 29:34) An event of transcending importance at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32:25-29) gave to the Levites as a tribe their place of privilege and responsibility in God's plan. This event transmuted the curse of Jacob's prophecy (Genesis 49:5-7) into the blessing of Moses' prophecy (Deuteronomy 33:8-11). The Levites were afforded their special ministry in the worship of God's ancient people. The Mosiac legislation made a sharp distinction between priests and Levites. The priests must descend from Aaron's family The Levites belong to the larger family of Levi. A priest was a Levite. A Levite was not necessarily a priest. Priests were consecrated. Levites were purified. (Exodus 29:1-37; Leviticus 8) Fundamentally, only a priest had the right to minister the altar, or to enter the most holy place. (Exodus 28:1; 29:9; Numbers 3:10, 38; 4:15, 19.
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