J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
The connection of the Levitical service with priesthood leads, I think, to some blessed instruction; because priesthood, in its full sense, is the connection of man with all that is revealed of God in redemption. Only there is another element to be taken into consideration now - the Father revealed in the Son. The Levites were first wholly given to God, according to the efficacy and cleansing power of Christ's sacrifice. Then, for their service, they were given to Aaron, and accomplished their appointed tasks. Now, it is only under the hand, and at the disposition of the priest they can act, though their service be appointed; so we, the priesthood is for man, but to God, and is based on all that in which Christ, in connection with man's lost estate, has glorified God, and in which all that God is in love, grace, righteousness, majesty, truth, and holiness is glorified, and that in bringing man to Him in knowledge of all He is, and formed into blessing for God's glory according to it, of which Christ is the fulness - the veil now rent, and the way into the holiest open - we entering in there - He appearing in the presence of God for us.
So, it is when Christ is ascended up on high, having gone down to the lower parts of the earth, and then gone up on high so as to fill all things according to this redeeming work, that He gives gifts of ministry, and to bring the saints to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. And it is only as coming from this excellent fulness and nearness to God, that we can exercise true ministry, the spring, quality, subject, and resulting effect in confirming souls to it, are all there. Here is, besides this, the revelation of God Himself, of the Father in the Son. But this follows the same rule; He comes forth from the Father and manifests Him, but it is ever as in the bosom of the Father, "No one has seen God at any time - the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father" (not who was, but who is) and in the full concentrated love of the Father, as the only-begotten of the Father, and in this nearest enjoyment of, as in His bosom, He declares Him. It is in this constant association in receptive fulness and communication as Man, that Christ's ministry was carried out, and that in absolute consecration to His Father flows forth.
159 And this is our path of ministry, only that for us it must be "always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested." In Him it was personal perfection. It gives a wondrous character to ministry.