The Tribes of Israel Reconsidered, The new way into the New Jerusalem - the way of Levi
by Rev. Michaël Merle
In Chapter 21 of The Revelation to John (The Book of the Apocalypse: Revelation) we read part of the description of the New Jerusalem, a picture of a mighty vision experienced by John in the Spiritual World: “The city has a great and high wall and twelve gates. And on the gates twelve angels, and names were written on them: the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.” (verse 12)
This year we hope to uncover an understanding of the twelve ways in which we can enter the New Jerusalem.
The way of Levi
Levi, the third son of Jacob, has a name that opens up a very significant way for human beings to find the source and meaning of their lives. His name means “attached” or “joined”. This is the meaning of “ligare” in Latin (to bind, attach, join together) which forms the basis of the word re-ligion in English. Religion thus means to re-attach, to re-join. In this way it is the path back to a relationship with the Divine. Levi represents the personality that dedicates his/her life to serving a higher calling. Levi is the priest, who in this way frees himself from the bounds to material service and attaches himself to Divine service. The breastplate of the high priest is the symbol for Levi. This is the breastplate with the twelve precious silicate stones that are re-imagined in the foundation of the New Jerusalem as envisioned by John in the book of Revelation. We are all called to recognize these twelve stones in the soul processes that lead us to the virtues of our future development. The way of Levi reminds us that we are all called to the religious path – to re-attach ourselves to the Divine impulse.
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