Olam – Levites and the Ark of Covenant
Olam (“owlam”) means to the “age” (a limited time period into which a Covenant is to hold or be in force) and not forever.
Here’s a simple example using “verses” only (Let Scripture interpret Scripture regarding the meaning of ‘Olam’ too).
“Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” (1 Chronicles 15:2, NASB)
Firstly, the word translated as “forever” in verse above is the Hebrew word “olam” (or “owlam”) which means literally as ‘pertaining to the age’ (which is an unknown but limited time period which is of focus or is highlighted for the Fulfillment of the Will of God).
The “Ark of God” in verse above refers to the “Ark of Covenant” and the “Levites” refers to the “Levitical priests”.
Now, if “Olam” means “forever”, please consider the following:
Then the verse (in 1 Chronicles 15:2) clearly implies two things, namely that the “Levitical priesthood” & the “Ark of Covenant” must both last “forever” so that the tasks aforementioned may be carried out “forever too” as even king David re-affirms this well known fact from the Old Covenant itself.
Now please consider the following two ‘contradictions’ (which only exist if Olam means forever):
The “Ark of Covenant” itself vanished from among the Israelites somewhere in the previous Old Testament age itself proving that the Fulfillment of that Command was to that age only.
Where is the Ark of Covenant now?
In God’s Temple in the Heavens:
“And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:19, NASB)
Some Jews (messianic or otherwise) might interject and say that when the Messiah’s Reign is established on earth in the future, the Levites would continue to carry out that command “forever”.
If their ‘claim’ is true, both the “Ark of Covenant” and the “Levitical priesthood” must exist “forever” too. Surprisingly, both the “Ark of Covenant” and the “Levitical priesthood” are said to be “NOT forever” in verses below:
Thus their “claim” is false as proven clearly in these “verses” (not opinions):
(i) The Ark of Covenant is NOT forever and even ceases to exist eventually
“It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.” (Jeremiah 3:16, NASB)
(ii) The Levitical priesthood is NOT forever and has ceased to exist
Yes, the Levitical priesthood is replaced by the Melchizedek Priesthood with Lord Jesus Christ as the only High Priest:
“If indeed, then, perfection were through the Levitical priesthood — for the people under it had received law — what further need, according to the order of Melchisedek, for another priest to arise, and not to be called according to the order of Aaron?
for the priesthood being changed, of necessity also, of the law a change doth come,
for [it is] evident that out of Judah hath arisen our Lord [Jesus Christ], in regard to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
And it is yet more abundantly most evident, if according to the similitude of Melchisedek there doth arise another priest,
who came not according to the law of a fleshly command, but according to the power of an endless life,
for He doth testify — ‘Thou [art] a priest — to the age, according to the order of Melchisedek;’
for a disannulling indeed doth come of the command going before because of its weakness, and unprofitableness” (Hebrews 7:11 – 12, 14 – 18, YLT)
The Covenants and the Priesthoods are to the “age” (not forever) till their Purposes are “Fulfilled” by the “Will of God” through “Lord Jesus Christ”.
After that “age” and these are ‘Fulfilled’, God’s Eternal Will which was accomplished through His Covenants Remains and the Covenant itself passes away, even “vanishing” since it has been “achieved” (i. e. the Fulfilled Will of God Remains) as the verse below implies too regarding the “Old Testament (Covenant)” from the “previous Olam (or “age”, not forever)”.
“When He [God] said, “A New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13, NASB)
“In that He [God] saith, A New Covenant, He [God] hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13, KJV)
“in the saying ‘New,’ [Covenant] He [God] hath made the first old, and what doth become obsolete and is old is nigh disappearing.” (Hebrews 8:13, YLT)
Are we able to understand it?
‘Let Scripture interpret Scripture’ – Clement of Alexandria
“Jesus is the Stone you builders rejected, which has become the Cornerstone.” (Acts 4:11, NIV)