The Order of the Camp. Numbers 2 and 3.
The Camp was arranged around the Tabernacle in the manner prescribed by God. The Tribe of Levi was separated from the other tribes for the immediate service of the Tabernacle. Numbers I. The setting of it up…the taking of it down…the transportation of it while on the march. Numbers Ch.1
The separation of the Levites is described in Numbers 3:6-13. Ch. 8:14.
The Levites consisted of three families. The sons of Kobath, the sons of Merara Ch. 3:7. The Gershonites camped on the west. V.23
The Kohathites camped on the south. V.29
The Merarites camped on the north. V.35
Moses and Aaron and Aaron’s sons were of the family of Kohath V.38 and pitched their tents on the east, directly in front of the Tabernacle.
Moses was a king in their midst. Deuteronomy 33:4,5. “And he was king in Jeshuran (Israel) when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.”
Aaron and his sons filled the priest’s office.
The Gershonites had charge of the coverings of the “Tab,” hangings for the door of the Holy Place, the curtains and the hangings of the court and the cords. Numbers 3:25-26.
They were given two wagons and four oxen to transport these items. Numbers 3:7. The sons of Morari had charge of the boards, bars, pillars, sockets and pins and the cords of the court. Numbers 3:36-37. To them was given four wagons and eight oxen. Numbers 7:8.
The Kohathites were entrusted with the ark, the table, candlestick, the alter of Incense, the Brazen Alter, the vessels of the sanctuary and the Veil. Numbers 3:31.
They had to carry these items of their shoulders. But unto the sons of Kohath he gave no oxen of wagons because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders. Numbers 7:9.
The rest of the Tribes pitched their tents in a definite and strict order. Judah—Issachar—Zebulon were on the east side. Reuben—Simeon—Gad: south. Ephraim—Manassah—Benjamin: west. Dan—Asher—Naphtali—north. See how the Levites were placed—the reason for this-Ch.1:53.
There were at least 600,000 soldiers in the camp. On the outermost fringe of the camp were the soldiers. Next there were the workers. Innermost were Moses and the priests with the Levites. Note that there was a place for everyone in the camp. See 1 Corinthians 12. Everyone had his allotted place. Each was expected to be in his place by the Lord. When the camp was being pitched there was no confusions, each one knew his place and was expected to be in it. Their order was ordained by God. Consider assembly truth.
This arrangement had its spiritual significance. The CENTER was the Tabernacle. Without the Tabernacle there would have been no order in the camp. There would have been constant changing, shifting, leading to chaos.
Jesus Christ is to the church what the Tabernacle was to Israel. Without Him there is no rallying point, no standard, no order, no final authority.
If the church would be victorious and fruitful, fulfilling its God-given ministry, Christ must be the Head, center, and circumference.
Note also the threefold division. There were the Warriors…Workers…Worshippers. The warriors were on the fringe of the Camp to protect it from enemies. The Camp was never left unprotected day or night.
So with the church (local). We must be vigilant to guard sacred truths delivered to us. As individuals, immediately a person becomes a believer he comes face to face with these challenging—assaulting—insatiable enemies.
As a believer he is called upon to endure hardness as a good soldier. 1 Timothy 2:3. He has to put on the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:13. We have to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Jude 3. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.
One of the areas in which we have to stand firm is protecting His Deity, Virgin Birth—His atoning work on the Cross—His priestly office—His kingly glory—His triumphant return first to rapture the Church and secondly to establish His kingdom. Example.
As Paul approached his departure, he declared triumphantly, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my coarse, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7.
Not only have we been called to be soldiers, we have also been called to be Levites. They were the servants of the high priest. We are no longer slaves to the god of this world, but bond slaves of Jesus Christ. See Paul as an example of being a “bond slave.”
It is a great thing to be a soldier of Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to be a worker, this is a step nearer to Him. Note the new relationship in John; servants—friends. A servant and friend comes in from the battle field and stands in the Lord’s presence waiting and listening for that precious word.
As we seek to serve Him, we must draw closer to Him. So close that we can hear “the still small voice.”
There is a privilege beyond that of being a worker. It is a position of being holy priests (royal priests). This position brings us through the Holy Place and unto the most Holy Place. The Holy of Holies. It is the place of Worship in the immediate presence of the triune holy God.
The warrior stands in the line of battle facing the enemy. The worker stands ready to receive instruction from the Master and carries the burden allotted to him. The worshipper enters the Most Holy Place, through the veil, lifting up the sweet incense of thanksgiving, praise, and adoration.
In this glorious presence it is our great privilege to magnify and adore Him, to worship Him who gave Himself for us, and who sits upon this radiant throne of glory.
While being occupies with the Lord alone, it is our privilege to sing the song of the translated Church.
“Thou art worthy….for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood…and has made us a kingdom of priests unto our God and we shall reign on earth.”
True worship is the soul ascending in the fragrance of its faith, like incense from the golden altar. We glorify Him as our great God and Savior. We rejoice in Him as “the altogether lovely One,” the “chiefest among the tens of thousands.”
Even though our soul is filled with the ecstasy of the glory of our blessed Savior we should feel the thrill of His love flowing back into us, holding us until our will is absorbed in His will.
True worship will not leave us in a state of contemplation or ecstasy, but will send us forth again as warriors and soldiers into the front line, and as workers for service, till the Captain of our salvation shall come with a triumphant shout, voice, and trumpet sound and call us home to glory.
Warriors—Workers—and Worshippers that was the order. It was God’s order for the encampment. It was not of man’s devising, but according to the will and word of the Lord.
Brining the truth into the present day, God has mapped out the order for the Church in her journey through time. There is no room for misunderstanding. God had carefully recorded His divine instructions. In this regard see God’s order for the building of the Tabernacle. May the Lord give us discerning spirits and open ears to hear the still small voice.
To one family was given the responsibility of carrying the Tabernacle. Each tribe was given the position it was to occupy in the camp, and the position it must hold on the march.
When they followed God’s plan their march was like an army with banners. God was in their midst.
To the church today, the Holy Spirit in the name of the risen and ascended Lord says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40.
For the order of the march, see Numbers 2 and 10.