10017. And the priesthood shall be to them. That this signifies the Lord as to the work of salvation in successive order, is evident from the signification of "the priesthood," as being a representative of the Lord as to all the work of salvation (see n. 9809). That it denotes in successive order is because the subject here treated of is the priesthood of the sons of Aaron, and by his sons are represented the things which proceed, thus which succeed in order (n. 9807). The case herein is this. The priesthood which is represented by Aaron, is the work of salvation of those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, which kingdom is properly understood in the Word by the "kingdom of priests;" but the priesthood which is represented by the sons of Aaron, is the work of salvation of those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, which proceeds next from His celestial kingdom. Hence it is that by the "priesthood" is here meant the Lord's work of salvation in successive order. But the priesthood which is represented by the Levites is the Lord's work of salvation again proceeding from the former.
 There are three things which succeed in order: the celestial, which is the good of love to the Lord; the spiritual, which is the good of charity toward the neighbor; and the natural thence derived, which is the good of faith. And because there are these three which succeed in order, there are also three heavens, and in them goods in this order. The work of salvation of those who are in celestial good is represented by the priesthood of Aaron; the work of salvation of those who are in spiritual good is represented by the priesthood of the sons of Aaron; and the work of salvation of those who are thence in natural good is represented by the priesthood of the Levites. And as the things that succeed in order proceed from the good of love to the Lord, which is represented by Aaron and his priesthood, therefore it is said of the Levites that they were "given to Aaron," for the things that proceed belong to that from which they proceed, because the things proceeding or successive derive their being from it, according to what was said just above (n. 10011). (That the Levites were given to Aaron and his sons in order that they might perform the ministry of the priesthood under them, see the book of Numbers, chapter 3, verse 1 to the end of the chapter.)