As assistants to the Aaronic priesthood, the Levites played an important role in establishing the Tabernacle tradition and the later Temple of Jerusalem.
In the Divine Principle's analysis, the Temple was the central object of faith for the people of Israel during the national course of restoration in preparation for the coming of the Messiah (see DP Part 2, Section 2). The Temple represented the Messiah and his Bride (The True Parents). Thus, the Israelites' unity centering on the Temple served to prepare them to accept and unite with the Messiah. Moreover, the timing of the Messiah's coming related directly to the Israelites' success or failure in making the necessary conditions centering on the Temple. The response of the Levites—especially during the period after the Babylonian exile—was a key part in the successful establishment of the foundation for the Messiah, leading up to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
However, when the Messiah finally arrived in the person of Jesus, the priests and Levites were not among those who recognized him. Thus, the special status of the Levites and the difficulties they endured as a result of not having their own land came to naught. Later, when the Temple was destroyed, their role became obsolete.
In the contemporary world, the religious leaders of Christianity are in a similar position to that of the Levites of old, upholding faith in Jesus as the incarnation of the Temple, and mediating between the people and God. However, they also face the danger of failing in much the same way that the Levites of old did. To quote the Divine Principle, describing the situation of Korean Christianity in the 1960s:
The current leadership of the Korean Christian churches is fast asleep. Spiritually ignorant, they go about their ministries oblivious to these signs of the times. This is similar to what happened in Jesus' time. The priests, rabbis and scribes, who should have been the first to recognize the birth of the Messiah, remained entirely ignorant of it because they were spiritually blind. The astrologers and shepherds who received revelations were the ones who knew of Jesus' birth.
Some may wonder if a particular group within the Unification tradition itself might not have similarities to the that which is identified with the Levites. The Levites were physical descendants of one of the 12 sons of Jacob
. Reverend Moon
also places great stock on the restorational aspects of physical descent.