Phineas and God’s covenant of peace
YHVH God makes and keeps covenants. He is righteous and faithful to keep them all until they be completely fulfilled. This makes them everlasting: until He fulfills them, no matter how long it takes; and, until the end of history. It is the New Covenant – a better covenant – which not only finds fulfillment in time – through the coming Millenial Kingdom of Messiah – but, even more so, seals the promise of eternity, when time is no more, and will be the foundation of the new heavens and new Earth which God will create for all those who love the Father and His Son.
One of the most interesting covenants which YHVH has made is often overlooked. He made it while Israel was still in the desert before they entered the promised land of Canaan, around 1400 BC. This covenant preceded the Davidic covenant by several hundred years, yet is just as significant regarding the Levitical priesthood as David’s is pertaining to the throne. (Jer. 33:19-22)
Phineas (Pinchas in Hebrew), son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the High Priest, was zealous for the honor of YHVH his God at a time when Israel was unfaithful to God and His holiness. This was reckoned to Pinchas as righteousness (Ps. 106:28-31; Ja. 2:14-24). The LORD promised to Pinchas, and to his descendants after him, an everlasting priesthood – a covenant of peace, in which the one true God would forever show His favor upon the family line of Pinchas. We see the beginning of this in Judges 20:27-28 where Pinchas is honored by serving God before the Ark of the Covenant in the Land of Israel (about 1380 BC).
Just as Israel’s history seemed to collapse, God knew His way to restore us as a nation and will fulfill all His covenantal promises to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob… and to Phineas.
Let’s trace this out:
1 Sam. 2:12, 34-35 – Eli the priest had two corrupt sons who did not know YHVH; God will replace them with a faithful priest after His own heart and mind, and will walk before His anointed forever.
The rebellion against the heir of the throne of David, first by Absalom, then by Adonijah:
2 Sam. 15:24-36: 1Kg. 2:26-27 – Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to YHVH in fulfillment of YHVH’s word concerning the house of Eli.
1 Chr. 29:22; 2 Sam. 8:17; 1Kg 1:34 – Zadok was established instead of the son of Abiathar as priest to YHVH by Solomon when he became King of Israel, and Zadok was the priest who anointed Solomon as king after his father David.
Who was Zadok?
1 Chr. 5:27-41 [6:1-15 Eng.] – Zadok was a descendant of Pinchas!
Who was Jozadak’s son?
Ezra 3:1-2 – Jeshua (Yeshua in Heb.) the priest is Jozadak’s son, and is, therefore a descendant of Zadok and Phineas.
Who was Ezra?
Ezra 7:1-6,10 – Ezra the priest, who loved the LORD and His Law, was a descendant of Zadok and of Phineas!
God was keeping His promise to Pinchas over 850 years later when some of the Jews returned to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.
Who is Jeshua (Joshua/Yeshua) the priest?
Zech. 6:11-13 (Hag. 1:1; 2:2) – The BRANCH (Tzemach in Heb.), who will build the Temple of YHVH and be a king and priest on YHVH’s throne! “And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
This is a clear reference to Yeshua the Messiah, whose right to the priesthood transcends the promise to Pinchas – fulfilling it and going beyond – and is fulfilling the promise of God to Messiah, Son of David, the Branch (netzer, shoot, from out of the roots of Jesse) (Is 4:2; Jer 23:5-6), that He would be a priest forever [not after Aaron and the tribe of Levi, but] according to the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4; Heb 5 & 7), and also King on the throne of David, of the tribe of Judah. This carries us beyond time and also manifests God’s kingdom of priests over Israel and the nations in time. Yeshua is Lord of Heaven and Earth!
Ezek. 40:46; 44:15; 48:11-12 (2 Sam. 15:24-36; 1Kg 1:8,34) – during the Millennial Kingdom on this Earth – fulfilling the promises of God which He has made in His covenants for Israel, for the nations, for the animal kingdom, for all nature and the created order – it will be the sons of Zadok, the descendant of Phineas, who was a faithful priest to serve YHVH, who will have the honor of the priesthood. Our God is faithful and able to fulfill His promise made over 3400 years ago to Pinchas, who acted with holy zeal for the glory and honor of his God. God has staked His holy name and the entire created order on His promise and ability to faithfully fulfill to the family of David (the kingship) and to the family of Levi (the priesthood) His covenantal promises. (Jer. 33:14-26)
God our Father knows each of us. The lists of genealogies in the Bible prove His power and love and His personal interest in His people and His Kingdom. They help us to know the history and to have confidence in God’s promises. Even if we are unfaithful or unable, He is not. YHVH our God knows how to fulfill His word to each of us, too, even when it seems all has collapsed or that others have somehow ‘gotten in the way’.
Through our faith in Jesus, we have each and all together received exceedingly great and precious promises, including God’s peace, a peace which surpasses understanding.
2 Peter 1:2-4 – Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We are called to be salt and light in the Earth. There are times we must “confront the issues rather than adjust to them” (Francis Frangipane, 20.1.06), and to “care enough to act” with God’s jealousy, like Phineas, to put the fear of God in our society, and to protect and give the possibility of liberty to those under the influence of evil. Jesus says He will be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father and the holy angels, of whoever is ashamed of Him and His words in this adulterous and sinful generation (Mk. 8:38).
In Messiah, we have received even greater promises than Pinchas. Let us, like him, be zealous for the Name of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who for the zeal of His Father’s house, died on the cross for God’s righteousness to make atonement for the sins of His people.
God honors those who honor Him. (see 1 Sam. 2:30)
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 14, 2017, and reposted with permission.
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Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.