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The Lemba and the Levite


Hebrews 9:23-28

Thus, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

This revelation of truth tells us that Christ’s sacrifices were plural in nature. This is because in His one sacrifice, He covers the entirety of the many different aspects of the Jewish sacrificial system. In other words, there were many sacrifices under the law of Moses. The many sacrifices performed by the Priests of the Levitical system each predict, foreshadow and prophesy different aspects of the singular sacrifice of Christ. It looks like this:

  • In the Hebrew burnt offering you see the consecration of Christ to God.
  • In the cereal or grain offering you see Christ presenting unto God the redeemed of the world as the first fruits of his labor.
  • In the peace offering you see the reconciliation that Christ brings to the human family.
  • In the sin offering you see His atonement.
  • In the trespass offering you see Christ defending the righteousness and justice of God.
  • In the Day of Atonement, you see Christ, not only as a sacrifice fulfilling all the sacrificial typology of the Old Testament, but also as the fulfillment of the priestly functions involved in that sacrifice.
  • In the Passover you find Christ liberating His people from the bondage to sin.
  • In the red heifer sacrifice you find Christ eliminating and removing all of the physical and spiritual defilements that sin brings upon the human family.

All that is a study to itself – but, we are going to leave it right there in order to move on towards our connection point.

Historical Context

Who are the Priests we are talking about? They are from the family of Levi one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel). The tribe of Levi were initially a disobedient group – so they missed out on the inheritance and blessing of the promised land as the other eleven tribes. But because of their faith repentance and humility they were chosen by God to serve all the people from all the tribes of Israel as Priests in the temple. From the tribe of Levi came Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 40:15

And it shall be for them an appointment as priests forever, for all generations.

Deuteronomy 18:5

For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to serve in the name of the Lord, him and his sons forever.

This line of descendants carried the name Kohane or some variation of it (i.e.; koheniem, cohen, coheimn). In Exodus 19:5-6 God makes this statement to the children of Israel after he rescued them out of Egyptian bondage,

Exodus 19:5-6

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

In the exodus, during Israel’s forty-year struggle in the wilderness, it was only the Levites who remained faithful to God throughout. They would continue forward to establish the Levitical system of offering and sacrifice for the people of God for centuries. Sadly, they became corrupt again and this time when they became corrupt, God (categorically), made them obsolete and extinct. He did this with the Incarnation – the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. It was finished with the slaughter of the entire Priesthood in 70 AD. when Rome destroyed both the Temple and Jerusalem.

All that is again another study unto itself – but we are also going to leave it right there in order to move on towards our connection point.

Prophetic Context

I believe as many others that the Levitical Priesthood was ended for the purpose of God’s plan for salvation and redemption for all mankind – that includes of course you and I. Once Christ became the High Priest offering Himself as the sacrifice and forgiveness for all – He became the way the truth and the life. But that is not the end. Once the church of Jesus has been established here on earth, God will once again turn His attention back to the Nation of Israel and its millions upon millions of scattered people. God will restore and use the Levitical Priesthood to lead His people back (Aliyah) to their promised land – Israel. The Aliyah of the Jewish people is happening now – as true bloodline Jews are qualified for re-entry into Israel. They come back to Israel being pulled by the promise of the glory of God over His people and the restoration and reclaiming of the Temple Mount. It is a spirit greater than the logical reason and will of man. The allure and heart cry for the reinstitution of the Levitical Priesthood with full sacrificial temple worship would make that process complete for the Jews. It is entirely possible that this will happen during the biblical tribulation and be fully restored during the Millennium. In order for that to happen there must be direct descendants from the tribe of Levi to serve and perform temple practices for the people.

Again, that is another study unto itself – but we will use part of it this time to reach our connection point.

The Lemba and the Levite Context

It is known fact that King Solomon had a brief liaison and then a son with the Queen of Sheba (of course he did). Sheba converted to Judaism and went back to southeast Africa with their child, Levitical priests, a full complement of Jewish/Hebrew servants, and they say an exact copy or replica of the Ark of the Covenant.

It is also believed that when the Babylonian and Assyrian Captivities occurred that many Jewish tribes fled or ended up, post-exile into southeastern Africa. They went there in large part because they knew through Solomon’s liaison and lineage with the Queen of Sheba that Levites and other Jews were present there.

In the late 1990’s, after living for centuries in relative obscurity within the tiny nation of Zimbabwe, an obscure tribe of people called the “Lemba” was discovered. Incredibly, the Lemba were practicing various forms of Judaism and temple worship, yet no one knew how or why they had learned or accessed this religion. To answer that question, in 2010, many of the tribe submitted themselves to be DNA tested. The Lemba tribe can be found not only in Zimbabwe, but in remote locations within South Africa and Mozambique. The results? By actual DNA science, the Lemba have been genetically linked with Israel. In fact, there are twelve clans of the Lemba, one which is known as the Buba (Boo-bah). Within the Buba they remarkably carry the Cohen Modal Haplotype, a set of Y chromosome characteristics typical of the Jewish Levite priesthood. This characteristic is present in the Lemba/Buba at about the same rate and even slightly higher than that of even major Jewish populations. “This was amazing,” Professor Tudor Parfitt from the University of London told the BBC. “It looks as if the Jewish priesthood continued in the West by people called Cohen, and in same way it was continued by the priestly clan of the Lemba.”

If you are wondering, the Lemba are eligible for the Jewish cry and call to Aliyah. But why would Aliyah be important to them? Unless, somehow, they were needed in Israel in sacrificial service to the Jewish people within the restored Jewish temple…

#DareToServeThere #ReunionCommunity #PastorSteveIsaac #Sermon

Published by Dr. Victoria Isaac

Dr. Isaac has been involved in Christian ministry for over three decades. She has served as an adjunct professor at several Christian universities, created Christian leadership courses, and written course curricula, and now serves as the President of the Fully Equipped Bible Institute.

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