Here are all of the posts from Leviticus put together into a word-cloud. The bigger the word, the more times it showed up in the posts.
Category Archives: Leviticus
After having gone through the book of Leviticus chapter by chapter, i see this book much as i did before. It is YHWH’s rules and regulation for the nation of Israel. It is a defining of His covenant with them. God both issues directives to obey the rules and promises to help and allow the people to obey and prosper.
Leviticus is an important book in that it sets the tone and direction for the expectations for the nation of Israel. It is the measuring rod by which the actions and motive of the nation are defined. Without Leviticus, there is no understanding of YHWH’s interactions with the nation of Israel. Without understanding that there are rules and what the rules are, we have no ground by which to judge the sin or righteousness of man. As such, we have no foundation for understanding sin and the need for salvation and a savior. While rules and laws may seem constricting and confining at times, they are actually more boundaries that when understood and followed allow us freedom to live happy, healthy, and satisfying lives without fear and stress of the aftereffects of our actions.
I really like C.S. Lewis’ quote from The Pilgrim’s Regress “When everything you eat is more or less poison, you need very strict rules to stay healthy” (rough quote). The point is that when sin abounds in the world, understanding where the rules and limitations are gives you the freedom to live life within those limitations and without fear of their destruction.
That is the beauty of Leviticus, or that should have been the beauty of Leviticus for the Israelite people.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is. I don’t quite know what i was expecting. For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.
Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe. It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages. Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee. What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.
When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee. If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee. After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.
Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood. When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee. It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person. They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period. This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.
The other major theme is that of tithe. Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God. As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him. Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH. Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.
The emphasis here is ownership. Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH. We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work. Do we view life and our work that way? Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH? Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case? Should we?
As we are closing up on the end of the book of Leviticus, God / YHWH paints a picture of what the rest of the Old Testament / Covenant will look like. It is a peek into the future of Israelite people, and a picture of both the good and the bad. I just wish that it wasn’t SO bad. Ultimately though, we begin to see the picture of the peoples relationship to God. We get a feel for just how much the people will turn away, and how that turning away will affect their relationship with YHWH and their own futures.
YHWH starts off with a command. “‘You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or… You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD (YHWH).” It’s simple really. Don’t worship idols / false gods, and keep His Sabbaths and reverence His sanctuary. How difficult can that be. Apparently that can be very difficult because it does not take long (a single generation after Joshua) for all of it to begin to fall apart.
Are we any different? Have we changed any from this in the thousands of years since it was written, or are we still going from generation to generation following the ways and directions of our culture over what God’s word says? This is the picture of the Old Testament, the entire 49 books. Yet, this is also the picture of today. Instead of pursuing God / YHWH, we are pursuing education and technology and financial stability and comfortable homes. Instead of keeping His Sabbaths and revering His sanctuary, we are keeping ourselves as busy as we possibly can with all of our “responsibilities”. We are too busy trying to stay busy, that we push away the very purpose of our lives. In the end, what does that bring us? …exhaustion, sickness, loss, anger, frustration, being overwhelmed, seeing the work that we have built coming to nothing?
Our pursuit needs to be not a pursuit of what’s the best, brightest, and shiniest. It needs to be a pursuit of YHWH first and foremost. We need to not make the same old mistakes that the Old Testament Israelites made. We must pursue YHWH.
John J. Camiolo Jr.
During this time that my hand has been in a cast, it has not been totally useless. As a result, i have been able to finally get chapter 25 finished.
As i am working through all of this, i’ve been starting to get a bigger / stronger picture. Leviticus 25 has been about ownership, and understanding our place in the bigger picture of it. The LORD promises to the people that He will give them the land of Canaan. Yet at the same time, even while He is giving it to them, it does not belong to them. The people of Israel are simply caring for the land and reaping of its harvest as a result. They do not have true ownership. God alone reserves that right.
Every seven years the people are to respect the land by letting it lie fallow / dormant for a year. This Sabbath rest allows the land to rest and heal from use and prevent abuse due to over-use. It is YHWH’s command to His people to not mistreat and abuse His land.
Then after every seven Sabbath’s is the year of Jubilee. In the year of Jubilee the land rests for a second year, all debts are released, and all land ownership goes back to the original caretakers. Anyone that has been paid for in slavery / servanthood is released and their freedom is returned to them.
It is a time of understanding that the land, the animals, the people; they do not belong to the people, they belong to YHWH. They are His and they must be returned to His plans for them. In the same sense, by understanding this concept, it means better understanding of and treatment towards others.
Outside of this project, i have also been reading about Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and slavery. In processing through all of this information, i think that i understand slavery a little bit better. There will always be the wealthy and the poor. There will always be those with more than they need, and the ability to improve on their financial situation. There will also always be those who just can’t seem to break free of poverty. Whatever the reason is, there will always be those who struggle to get by.
When the basis of a person’s understanding is that no one and nothing is truly owned by another. That there is no one of more value than another. That YHWH owns all and demands respect for His creation… Then, those who have more and have the ability to continually manage well what has been given them, can care for his fellow man by providing for them. So the riches of the rich help to sustain the poor while the poor is having difficulty sustaining themselves. The wealthy provide for the poor, in the meantime the poor work for and learn to manage that which belongs to the rich. Thus slavery is not about abuse and mistreatment of man. In fact, it is just the opposite. Slavery / servanthood becomes about taking care of and providing for those who cannot care for themselves.
However, this concept ONLY works when the wealthy (and everyone else) truly understand ownership. When those who are prospering understand that all belongs to YHWH and not themselves, then respect of personhood prevails. As a result there is not abuse and maltreatment, there is love, caring, and provision for those in need. Slavery / servanthood becomes about love and compassion rather than abuse and maltreatment.
It all stems from understanding ownership… do we?
“May your light never go out” – a blessing
YHWH gave a command to Aaron and Israel. Never allow His light to go out in the tabernacle. It was the priest’s job to keep the lamp in the tabernacle lit at all times. His light is to shine in the darkness, never consumed or put out. His light is to shine at all times and for all times. It is a beacon of hope to the world. It is holy to the LORD.
In the same way, the priest is to take fine flour and bake 12 loaves of bread and place them on the pure (gold) table in the presence of YHWH. These 12 loaves are to be continually before him, to be eaten by Aaron and his descendants and then replenished every Sabbath. They are holy to the LORD.
More than that, the Name of the LORD is holy. When a man blasphemes the Name of the LORD, there are consequences. It becomes a death sentence. To dishonor the Name of the LORD is to dishonor the LORD. That cannnot be allowed in the camp and presence of God. YHWH is not going to strike down every person who says something negative about Him, but He does expect His people to respond appropriately. He is the LORD, and His name is Holy.
Do we treat YHWH and His name as holy. Are we a light that never goes out, or are we on and off and on and off. Do we point to the bread of life, or only to ourselves?
That’s one of the things that i like about YHWH. It’s not all just about rules and regulations. It’s about utilizing all kinds of aspects of life. It’s about creativity and connecting the past, to the present, to the future. Worship is not just about sacrifices and burnt offerings. It’s also about bringing something before God that you are to consume in his presence. It’s about festivals and rest as well.
There are a number of festivals that are to be celebrated throughout the year; the Passover, Pentacost, the feast of weeks, the feast of booths, etc. They all have meanings and important interpretations. For instance, passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage and slavery under the Egyptians. It is a celebration of new life and hope. It is a celebration of freedom. Meanwhile, the feast of booths is a week long celebration in which the first day is a day of rest and the only work that can be done is the building of small booths made of the branches, boughs, and fronds of trees. It is a celebration as a reminder of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness where they had to rely on God for protection and provision. It is a time of blessing. The feast of booths begins and ends with a day of rest to the LORD. I mean honestly, how many religions do you know that celebrate rest?
Are we taking seriously what YHWH has done for us? Do we make it a point to remember and celebrate together the ways that He has brought health and healing to our lives? Do we remind one another and celebrate together His work and purpose in and through us? How can we do this more?