The priesthood of Israel was made up of Aaron and his sons – with Aaron as High Priest. Aaron and his family were Levites, but the Levites were not priests. That position was confined to Aaron’s family and its descendants. The Levites in general were divided into three groups: descendants of Kohath, Gershon, and Merari – all sons of Levi (with Gershon being the eldest – Exodus 6:16).
Though Aaron was of the Kohath group, his family was treated differently because they comprised the priesthood. Authority in Israel came from God, through the Priests, to the Levites, to the people. Israel was not a democracy. The priests ministered before the Lord. The Levites served in the religion administered by the priests. The people fought in the army for the protection of Israel. Everyone had a job in the community, and the community was structured along specific lines of authority.
I believe it helps us to understand that even today, there is structure and authority in the Church. The Church is not a democracy. God appoints special servants in the Church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (see Ephesians 4:11ff). There may be others, but when people are appointed to these positions, they are to live as examples to the church and the church is to follow them (Hebrews 13:17).
In America, Christianity has become far too democratized. Church members, rather than seeing their place as one of service, hold themselves out as voters with equal power to affect the polity of the body of Christ on earth. If they don’t get their way, they split churches or simply leave and go where their opinions will have more acceptance.
The Kingdom of God was not intended to be this way. Christ is our King. The Church must act like Jesus in all things, for it is His body and life on earth. Members are not on their own, each to do whatever is “right in his own eyes.” We are subject to one another (Ephesians 5:21), and subject to our leaders in the church, and supremely subject to Christ. There is no place for the abandonment of the body of Christ in order to be subservient to God. That notion is simply not present in the Bible.