It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ, in his illustration of the good Samaritan, made the difference between a "Levite" and a "Priest" (Luke 10: 31,32 "Now by coincidence a priest was going down on that road (...) Likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him"). In a simple answer, it can be said that every priest
was a Levite, but not all Levites were priests. The tribe of Levi consisted of three great families from the three sons of Levi (Genesis 46:11 "Gershon, Kohath, and Merari"). In the great family of the Kohatites, Jehovah chose only one family or "house" to
be a priestly lineage: the house of Aaron (part of the Kohatite family): "You are to summon from the Israelites your brother Aaron, along with his sons, so that he may serve as priest to me" (Exodus 28: 1).
The difference is easy to understand, the tribe of Levi as a whole was not priestly, but only a tiny part of this tribe, the house of Aaron and his sons were part of the Levitical Priesthood (Hebrews 7:11 "Levitical priesthood"). And
to better understand the difference, Jehovah God had decreed that the entire tribe of Levi would be "given" to the house of Aaron and his sons, as servants of the priests: "Bring the tribe of Leʹvi forward, and stand them before Aaron the priest, and they
will minister to him" (Numbers 3: 6). As the apostle Paul wrote under inspiration, these divine dispositions are going to have a fulfillment in earthly paradise: "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the
things" (Hebrews 10 : 1). And the prophecy of Ezekiel 40-48 confirms this by mentioning the future existence of a priestly class, the sons of Zadok, served by future sons of Levi. Who will be the future sons of Levi? It is the book of Revelation that clearly
answers this question by the vision of the great crowd that will come out the great tribulation: "I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues (…) they are rendering him sacred
service day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:9-17).
In the ancient Israel, the Priests and Levites were serving in the Temple: According Revelation, the great crowd will
be the group of sons of Levi, from whom will be anointed the "sons of Zadok" and the non-priestly Levites
(Numbers 3: 5-10). These "sons of Levi" owe their salvation through the "blood of the Lamb", Jesus Christ. As a "first-born" group of the future humanity, in the earthly paradise, Jehovah will use them in the spiritual temple for sacred service.
The Nonpriestly Levites
“But the Levites who strayed far from me when Israel strayed from me to follow
their disgusting idols will bear the consequences of their error”
question is, why, in Ezekiel 44:10, there is the mention of Jehovah God regarding their spiritual infidelity, while He made them to come out of the Great Tribulation? The answer is in the prophecy of Zechariah 13: 8: “And in all the land,” declares
Jehovah, “Two parts in it will be cut off and perish; And the third part will be left remaining in it””. In the context of this prophecy, regarding Jehovah's Day, the great tribulation, Jehovah announces that he will have mercy on one-third
of humanity, in fulfillment of what is written in Exodus 33:19: “I will favor the one whom I favor, and I will show mercy to the one to whom I show mercy”. Therefore, it is obvious that Jehovah God's reproaches to a large part of the great crowd, as "sons of Levi" (which will represent an important part of the present humankind), will be fully justified: "Everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that come against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths"(Zecharia 14:16).
This text shows without a shadow of a doubt that Jehovah will have spared an important part of humanity who symbolically "come against Jerusalem" or would not be part of this holy city (at first
time), coming out of the great tribulation. On the other hand in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48, here is what is written about the Jehovah's reproach against the Levites, a significant part of the great crowd, who will have survived the great tribulation:
"But the Levites who strayed far from me when Israel strayed from me to follow their disgusting idols will bear the consequences of their error. And they will become ministers in my sanctuary to oversee the gates of the temple and to minister at the temple.
They will slaughter the whole burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they will stand before the people to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their disgusting idols and became a stumbling block causing the house of Israel
to sin, that is why I have raised my hand against them in an oath,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and they will bear the consequences of their error. They will not approach me to serve as my priests or approach any of my holy or most holy
things, and they will bear their shame because of the detestable things that they did. But I will make them caretakers of the responsibilities of the temple, to take care of its service and all the things that should be done in it’" (Ezekiel 44:10-14).
There is, it seems, a convergence between this text and Zechariah 14:16, which mentions people who will have survived the great tribulation as they came "against Jerusalem" and the Levites who
followed their "disgusting idols" (Ezekiel 44:10). Jesus Christ made an important statement which shows that sin in error does not always incur spiritual death: “Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We
see.’ Your sin remains"” (John 9:41). Jesus Christ speaks of unintentional spiritual blindness, the sin of which is not counted. Many people today are in involuntary spiritual blindness, according to this text, many of them could benefit from the
mercy of God on the day of the great tribulation.
It is interesting to note, according to this same prophecy of Ezekiel, how the Sons of Zadok are described, in contrast with the non-priestly
Levites: "As for the Levitical priests, the sons of Zaʹdok, who took care of the responsibilities of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they will approach me to minister to me, and they will stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood,’
declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘They are the ones who will enter my sanctuary, and they will approach my table to minister to me, and they will take care of their responsibilities to me'" (Ezekiel 44:15,16). Obviously, the Sons of Zadok who will
approach Jehovah as priests, in the spiritual sanctuary, will be faithful and discreet Christians who will have well performed in their Christian ministry in the old system of things, "when the Israelites strayed from God", and will have survived the great
tribulation (Matthew 24:45,46; 25:21,22).
This understanding, at first glance, seems at odds with the vision of the great crowd which survived the great tribulation and whole, manifesting
their faith in the atonement value of Christ's sacrifice (Revelation 7:9,14). This difference is biblically easily resolved by an important information given in the prophecy of Zechariah, regarding this spared third part of humanity. It is written: "And I
will bring the third part through the fire; And I will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ And they will say, ‘Jehovah is
our God'” (Zechariah 13: 9; Malachi 3:2-4). When should this essential refinement take place in order to continue living in paradise? According to Zechariah's prophecy and Revelation (11:19), Jehovah's Day will be on Ethanim (Tishri) 10. According to
Ezekiel's prophecy 39:12-14, there will be a seven months cleansing of the earth, from Tishri (Ethanim), 10, to Nisan, 10 (with the intercalary month of Veadar). It seems obvious that it is in this time, that Jehovah will "refine his people", in order to prepare
it for the coming to earth, of the New Jerusalem on Nisan, 10, following the great tribulation.
In Ezekiel 40:1,2, the vision of the temple city on earth, is on the date of Nisan, 10,
which is the beginning of the earthly administration of the Kingdom of God. It corresponds to the description of the descent of New Jerusalem to Earth, in Nisan, 10 (Revelation 21:1-4). The vision of Revelation 7:9,14, of the great crowd which survived the
great tribulation, is in Nisan, 10, by comparison with the text of John 12:12-16: "The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and they began
to shout: “Save, we pray you! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name, the King of Israel!”". If we compare this text with Revelation 7:9, it is a striking resemblance. What is the evidence that in John 12:12-16, Jesus Christ did indeed
come as king into Jerusalem on Nisan, 10? A text that describes the same event informs us that immediately after, Jesus Christ drove out the merchants from the temple who were selling animals for the Passover (Matthew 21:10,11). When the Israelites had to
buy the Passover lamb? In Nisan, 10: "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they should each take for themselves a sheep for their father’s house, a sheep to a house" (Exodus 12:3).
The description of the judgment by the King Jesus Christ, in Matthew 7: 21-23 and 25: 31-46, is mainly directed at the Christian congregation, because in the two quotes indicated, the people who have a judgment of condemnation
seem to know Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:22; 25:44). The framework criteria for judging all of humanity, Christian and non-Christian, seem summarized in Jehovah's words in Ezekiel 9:4: "Jehovah said to him: “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put
a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the city”" (Compare with James 4:4). Nevertheless, this destruction and selective preservation of the whole of humanity is also described
by Jesus Christ: "Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned" (Matthew 24:40,41) (Either one in two, will survive (repeated
twice by Jesus Christ)).