MEMBER OF THE TRIBE
In high school, many of our family discussions occurred around the dinner table. As I was the oldest and the only girl, I had to initiate the path for dating. If I announced at the table that I had a date, my father's first question was almost always, "Is he a member of the tribe?"
Now if you are reading this and you are Jewish, you know EXACTLY what he meant. But if you are reading this and you are not Jewish, my father was not asking if my date was a Sioux, or Pawnee, or Mohican. My father's intent was to determine if the young man was Jewish. "Member of the tribe" is one of those Jewish "clichés". I do remember asking my father from what tribe are we? And I was very disappointed when he told me that we were from the tribe of Judah. For even now in the synagogue, the 'tribal' system is still in effect.
On each Shabbat, when one is called up to read the Torah (called an Aliyah ah-lee-yah), not just anyone can be called up. Only those Jewish men with the last name of Aaron, Cohen, Cohn, Kahn, Cahn etc are allowed, as their last name signifies that they are from the lineage of Aaron, the Aaronic priesthood. Thus, their last name, Cohen (or derivative) indicates that they are a descendant from Aaron, and the word "priest" in Hebrew is Cohen (ko-hain).
If your name is Abramowitz or Sternberg or Mallin you will NEVER find
yourself up at the Bema (dais) to read the Torah as the first reader. And in some synagogues,
the number two reading goes to one named Levy, Levine,Levitt, Leviton etc, as their name comes from the tribe of Levi.
Finally, on aliyah number three, us commoners can come forth. All the others would be from the Tribe of Judah, unless they are from some of the lost tribes which are now coming forth, those from Ethiopia and China.
Our LORD Yeshua Jesus was from the tribe of Judah - the common people. Back when Jesus lived on earth, the Temple was the heart and center of worship. The sacred enclosure in Greek was called the hieron. The Naos is the Greek name for the Holy of Holies.
Jesus never entered the Holy of Holies during His earthly ministry. The right of such entry was only allowed by the Jewish priests, and to them, Jesus was a commoner. In the Contemporary English version of the Bible, we read in Hebrews 7:11-26 various verses:
Even though the Law of Moses says priests must be Levi descendants,
those priests cannot make anyone perfect. So there needs to be a Priest
like Melchizedek (who was NOT from Cohen or Levi) rather than one
from the priestly family of Aaron.
The person we are talking about is our LORD, who came from a tribe that had never had anyone to serve as a priest at the altar. Everyone knows that He came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never said that priests could come from that tribe.
Since the law couldn't make man perfect, a new system was necessary.
Melchizedek never had mother or father, yet he served as a priest (Genesis 14:17-20).
God made a promise when He appointed Jesus as Chief Priest.
I the LORD promise that You will be a priest forever!
And I will never change my mind!
Yeshua Jesus guarantees us a better agreement with God.
There have been a lot of other priests, and all of them have died.
But Yeshua Jesus will never die!
He is forever able to save the people He leads to God, because He lives to
speak to God for them. Hebrews 7 CEV
Yeshua Jesus is the High Priest (Cohen Gadol in Hebrew) that we need. He
was holy and innocent and faultless, and not at all like us sinners. The place that was restricted to Him on earth, He has made access to it for us, through His flesh. His highest calling was to lay down His life and die. And God brought Him back to live and rule and reign, and now He sits at God's right hand. And He intercedes for all – all nations, colors, races, peoples, and tribes.
"Because You were killed and with Your own blood You bought for God
people from every tribe, language, nation and race.
The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom,
strength, honor, glory and praises. Revelation 5:9,12