Tag Archives: fulfillment

Numbers 8 – Levites

There was a guy that i worked with for a while who was of the sons of Levi (per self-report).  He stated that He was of the direct lineage of the Priestly line (a high priest).  A great, great, great, great, great… grandson of Aaron.  He was a kind of chubby, dirty, greasy kind of guy, but he was good with pipe organs and other construction work.  I learned how to wire ceiling lights and put up drop-ceiling work from him.  He was the man that was called when a church in NYC’s pipe organ tumbled down off of the wall and buried a man underneath the pipes and other equipment.  After a day or two of work, the buried man was unburied and found relatively unscathed beneath the pile of pipes.

I don’t even remember the guy’s name, but I remember him talking about how, when he was a child he saw the garments of the high priest.  These were the robes that would have been worn by the high priest in all of his tabernacle / temple duties.  I remember him talking about the symbolism even in the decoration of the priestly garments; how in the decorative work of  the headpiece right on the forehead was the symbol of three crosses.  That that symbolism had been there; the priests had spent millennia walking around doing their duties as priests with three crosses on their foreheads completely unaware of what that meant and represented.

It’s amazing when you think about it, yet at the same time, it’s completely a God / YHWH thing.  Our God loves to hide amazing wonders and miraculous things in plain sight.  He loves to share His wonders with the world, yet the only ones who see it are those who seek it and whose eyes are open to it.  It’s like the parables; earthly stories with heavenly meaning.  Open to all to hear, but only those who pursue the answer from the source, really get the whole picture.

This same man who was purportedly of the line of Aaron, reported that he had rebelled when he was younger and he ended up becoming the high-priest for the church of Satan.  He wouldn’t talk much about this part of his life as he was clearly ashamed of it and seemed to have some very PTSD type symptoms as a result of it.  It’s funny because i’m inclined to believe much of what he said (whether it’s true or not) because it just seems like something that would happen.  The enemy takes a fallen of the dedicated and holy of the children of Israel, and turns him into his servant.  The enemy loves to take that which is most beautiful and precious to YHWH and turn it into the most despised.

I don’t really know what this story has to do with Numbers 8, other than that this is where the Levites are cleansed and prepared in holiness to do the work of service.  But i believe that it is here for a reason.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

 

P.S. When i last saw this Jewish man, he was a Christian; continually in the background doing the work of service.

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Numbers 1 – Promises

Moses has, with YHWH’s direction and doing, successfully brought the people of Isreal out of their bondage in the land of Egypt.  He has brought them to Mount Sinai, the Lord’s / YHWH’s mountain, and brought them face to face with God / YHWH.  From there, YHWH has given the people direction, understanding, and instruction.  They have built a tabernacle for YHWH to go with them, and it is getting ready for the people to start heading out.

In the meantime, the people need to be prepared.  They will be taking the promised land.  They will be fighting battles and defeating nations of people who had allowed their sin to consume them to the point of their being vomited out by the land they live in.  As such the men of Israel need to be aware of who they are, what they are capable of, and how many of them are going out to war.  So God / YHWH calls them to do something simple.  Number yourselves.  Figure out how many there are who can fight and go to war.  So every male 20 years old and older has to register by their families and tribes.  They must make themselves known and be prepared for war.

So the leader of each tribe goes about getting their people registered.  In the end, all the males 20 years old and up of the sons of Israel amounts to 603,550 men.  Not counting women and children under the age of 20, and not even counting one of the tribes.  The Levites have been set aside to serve the LORD / YHWH.  As such, approximately 1/12th of the people aren’t even considered for the census  That is a lot of people!

What’s amazing to me is that just over 500 years before this census occurred, God made a promise to 1 elderly man and his elderly, barren wife;
Go forth from your country,  And from your relatives  And from your father’s house,  To the land which I will show you;  And I will make you a great nation,  And I will bless you,  And make your name great;  And so you shall be a blessing;  And I will bless those who bless you,  And the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:16)
So from 2 elderly and barren people and a promise from YHWH, around 500 years later is this huge, massive nation divided into 12 tribes with an army of over 600,000 men aged 20 and older with 1/12 of them not even involved in that number.  Now that’s what I call fulfilling a promise!

What kind of promises has God / YHWH made in your life?  Are they promises you are working to fulfill, or are you trusting completely in Him to do all the work and fulfill them for you?  Think about it…

Rev. John

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Matthew 27 – 2 – The Beginning Ends

I have a hard time writing about this section.  I don’t know why.  It is such a rich section of the scripture with beauty, majesty, & strength.  I look at this section of scripture and it seems like time is slowing down and almost coming to a standstill.  Like if you could be there, you could almost see every drop of blood and hear the cry of every vulture.  It’s almost like every bit and piece of reality is slowed down and magnified.  Like all of life and time itself has been preparing for this moment and is now holding its breath in anxious anticipation of this, the very moment that it exists for.  Distantly, in the background, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” ringing through all of reality.  The flutter of the wings of a bird; the racing heartbeat of a little boy; the sound of the laughter of the roman soldiers slowing down as a moment is extended into five.  It is almost deep and primal, and then… it is done!

Jesus, the Christ, has died!  The heaven’s mourn.  The Father / YHWH tears His veil, as the priest had torn his robes only hours before.  The very earth and rocks cry out.  They expel the very bodies of the dead righteous, just as the blood of righteous Able called out to YHWH from the ground that had swallowed him up from the hands of Cain.

Nothing else matters in all of history and time, as what happens in that very moment when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

… except maybe what happens on the third day

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Matthew 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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Matthew 25 – “The End is Near…”

This is the last chapter of teaching in Matthew before Passover comes, Jesus has His “last supper” with His disciples, and He is betrayed by Judas.  There are three parables here.  All three deal with Christ’s relationship with His people at the end of the age.  All three are preparation for the kingdom to come.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to 10 virgins…”  Are we living our lives in preparation for the kingdom to come?  Are we ready to work and be prepared for the bridegroom to come any time?  Are we pursuing God’s / YHWH’s purposes for us, or are we simply living life as if it doesn’t matter.  Christ is returning, and He could return at any time.  Are we foolish virgins who have not prepared for a long wait and sudden entrance, or are we the wise virgins who are expecting Him at any time and living life as if it matters?

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”  We have each been given talents and financial provision.  What are we doing with those gifts?  What is our purpose and what does it mean?  Are we investing what we have and helping it to grow, or are we ignoring and burying our gifts and finances using it only for our own good?  God is expecting a return on what He has given us.  He is expecting us to use what we have for something more than we started with.  He has not blessed us for our sake, but rather for the growth of the kingdom.  If we are not working towards kingdom growth (not our own), all that we have will be taken away.

All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left…”  The judgment is coming; what’s the difference between the sheep and the goats?  Christ says that the difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep don’t just sit on what they have been given.  The difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep have passion / compassion for others (or just obedience towards God).  They reach out and help those in need.  They step out of their own lives and into the lives of others.  They do the opposite of what our culture teaches.  They reach out and touch the lives of those around them.  Do We?

John

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Matthew 21 – Jesus & the Pharisees

Things are starting to come together.  The end is nigh and the countdown is beginning.  This chapter begins with the triumphal entry.  Jesus enters Jerusalem for His / the final passover.  The disciples find the colt as He predicts.  He rides the colt into Jerusalem with the bystanders worshiping YHWH and giving Him adoration calling for Him to fulfill His mission as Messiah to save  them and desiring Him to free them from Roman tyranny.  However, as is the case quite often, our expectations of what YHWH should do, and what He does, are two different things.  Even when we have the same message / prediction.

Christ comes in and begins the process of redemption and rescue from tyranny… He drives the money changers and the seats of those who were selling in the temple.  Those who were turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves.

The next morning he was hungry and came upon a barren fig tree.  It should have had fruit, but it didn’t.  He cursed it, and it began to wither and die.  This is a great analogy of the pharisees.  They too are not bearing fruit to righteousness.  As a result, they begin to wither and die as Christ sacrifices Himself to build the church.

The rest of this chapter is focused on this dynamic action – reaction of Jesus and the Pharisees.  They challenge His authority wanting to know what right He has to teach preach, and do these things.  Christ in turn He puts their actions and those of sinners into perspective.  He shows that knowing the law and being sinless are two very different things, and He criticizes them for it.

Jesus continues with another parable about a landowner who builds a vineyard, rents it out to vine-dressers, and sends his servants out to collect the fruits of the vineyard.  The vine-dressers instead beat the representatives and eventually kill the owner’s son.  This is the final truth of their relationship.  The pharisees will kill the landowner’s son, but the landowner will destroy the vine-dressers and redeem His people.

The relationship between Jesus and the pharisees is such a contrast.  Jesus cares for the fruit of the vine, while most of the Pharisees care more about what they can get from the fruit than they do about caring for the fruit.  They are killing the vineyard from the inside out, and they just didn’t seem to care.  This dynamic seems to define and explain all that follows.  It is  the reason and purpose for all that follows.

This is a key turning point in Jesus ministry and the pharisees focus when it comes to Jesus.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 17 – Metamorphosis

Things are beginning to change (even more).  The disciples have seen and gone through so many things with Jesus.  They have even begun to change (metamorph) and have done things they could never have imagined being able to do before.  Yet the wonders never cease!  Here they go again.  Back up to the mountain to get away and spend some time in prayer.  Yet again, all their expectations are going to be blown apart by reality.  Jesus and His inner circle three go, pray, and there they become a part of something never seen before by human eyes.  Jesus was transfigured / transformed / metamorphosed in front of them.  He is no longer the “Man” that they have known Him to be.  What’s more, not only is Jesus there, but so are Moses and Elijah.  How they knew that it was Moses and Elijah i have no idea.  The text does not tell us, but there it is, the disciples meeting Moses and Elijah face to face!  It’s interesting, the three disciples see the three transfigured, one of whom is one part of the trinity.  Maybe  there’s more here to look at?

So the disciples bear witness to this transformation of the son of man, and a voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  Wow!  To have been there!

We go on through the chapter and we see yet another transformation.  A man comes and falls at Jesus feet begging for healing for his son.  The disciples had not been able to heal the child (another message for another time), so he came to the Source, Jesus.  So Jesus brings transformation into the life of the little boy and the father.

Are we experiencing and living out transformation?  Are we being metamorphosed by the Holy Spirit, or do we look similar now to how we did before we met Christ.  Before we accepted and began to live out the gospel (good news) of Christ?  What new metamorphosis still needs to happen?

John Camiolo

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