Tag Archives: holy

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 6 – Blessed

I really like this chapter of Numbers.  In it we see the law of the Nazirite.  It is a special vow that a man or woman may make in order to dedicate him or herself to the Lord / YHWH for a period of time.  With this vow, he abstains from any alcohol or strong drink; there is to be no drinking or use of vinegar, not even grape juice or fruit of the grape vine of any kind can be consumed.  During this time of dedication no razor shall go over his or her body.  The hair should continue to grow long.  He shall not touch anything unclean for he is holy to YHWH.  If somehow unintentionally or out of their control he or she becomes defiled, then he has to become clean once more and start all over again.

The Nazarite vow is not necessarily an easy task, but it is meant to set someone aside to be holy and dedicated to the Lord / YHWH for a time.  At the end he shall make an offering and shave his or her dedicated head of hair.  Then he or she is free to drink of the vine.  I honestly believe that every person should, at some point in their life, go through something similar to this Nazarite vow.  Every man and woman should set themselves aside for a time to be holy to YHWH.  To pursue Him and to be holy in His sight.  I believe that this should be something that we do on a regular basis (like fasting) to help us to be holy and line our lives back up with YHWH.

The last six verses of this chapter, especially verses 24-26 are absolutely beautiful.  They are a blessing that YHWH gives to Moses to give to Aaron to speak over the people of Israel.  It is YHWH’s blessing to the people:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;

 The LORD make His face shine on you, 
And be gracious to you;

 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, 
And give you peace.

In the copy of the Bible that I am writing I wrote the English NASB translation of the verses that make up this blessing, then from right to left (sentences & words) i wrote out the Hebrew transliteration.  It looks something like this:

The LORD (YHWH) bless you, and keep you;

ramahs HWHY karoB

 The LORD (YHWH) make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you; 

nanahc le’ myinap HWHY erO

 The LORD (YHWH) lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.

molahs mwus le’ myinap HWHY ‘asaN

This is such an amazing blessing.  When you break it down piece by piece, there is so much here that i could write 3-4 posts on this blessing itself.  If you love to study God’s work like i do, then do a deep study of this blessing / these blessings.  It is an amazing three verses of scripture.

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 5 – Defiled

YHWH takes a strong stance on defilement.  He is Holy, and He cannot have sin in His presence.  So when He puts His name on and makes His residence among the people of Israel, it is, must be, and must remain a big deal that the people remain pure.  As much as God / YHWH is Love, even more so He is Holy.

So we come to chapter 5.  God / YHWH makes it clear, that anyone who becomes defiled cannot be in the camp.  They must reside outside of the camp.  As such, anyone with leprosy, anyone with a discharge, anyone who has touched a dead person, anyone who was unclean had to be sent outside of the camp.  So the Israelites did it.  They sent them outside the camp.  What’s amazing to me is that this is one of those things that the people of Israel continued to do.  They didn’t just do this for a little while and stop.  This separation of the defiled from the rest of the people of Israel extended up to the time of the downfall of the city of Jerusalem.  We see in Jeremiah that when the Assyrian army was at Jerusalem’s doorstep, it was the leapers and outcasts that were outside of the city walls that went to the Assyrian camp and found that the army had been destroyed.  Even when Israel had abandoned almost all of the other laws of YHWH, this is one that remained.

The second part (majority) of the chapter deals with a husband that suspects that his wife has had an affair.  If a husband suspects that his wife (who is under his authority) has cheated on him, he has the ability to bring her to the tabernacle and have YHWH pass judgment on whether she has defiled herself.  The priest offers a sacrifice and goes through a specific ritual including taking the dust from the floor of the temple and using it as part of a holy water for this woman to drink.  The woman makes an oath that she has not been unfaithful and that if she has been, she will be cursed with her abdomen (stomach) growing big, her thigh (fertility) would waste away, and she would be a curse among her people.  It was very shameful if she truly had disrespected her husband and marriage by coming out of her husband’s authority.  If she had not, then she was truly justified in front of her husband, the priest, and all of Israel.

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Numbers 4 – Duties

I think it’s interesting that God / YHWH tells no one how to do their jobs except for the Levites and priests.  Everyone has free reign to choose the job / position / role that they want to play.  They could choose to herd sheep, be an artisan, run a shop, take care of kids, teach, whatever.  But not the Levites.  They were not just set aside as holy, they were set aside with a purpose.

Not only did the Levites have to serve the priests, temple, and God / YHWH, but they also each had their own tasks depending on their families.  The Kohathites for instance, were in charge of moving and caring for the most holy things.  Even in this, the Kohathites were not allowed to see the most holy objects.  It was the duty of the priests to cover the objects such as the alter, the lampstands, and the ark of the testimony.

Next the Gershonites were responsible for the coverings and hangings of the tabernacle.  They were responsible to take care of the screens for the doorways, the hangings of the court, and the covering of the tabernacle.

Then finally, the Merarites were responsible for the frame of the tabernacle.  They took care of the pillars, the boards, the bars, etc.  They were responsible for the very skeleton, the frame of the tabernacle.  If they did not do their jobs right, the whole of the structure would fall down upon them.

Does God give us duties, or simply roles.  Does He direct our every step, or are we responsible enough to seek the Lord and all He is and allow obedience to His overall calling guide us?

 

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Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

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?

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Leviticus 24 – Holy to the Lord

“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?

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Leviticus 22 – Priestly Laws

The priestly laws continue.  It must be hard to be a priest in Biblical times.  The rules and regulations you had to keep track of.  Some of them are obvious of course… like if you touch something unclean you will remain unclean until evening.  No leaper of the sons of Aaron may eat of the holy sacrifices, and while the family may eat, the married daughters may not eat unless she is divorced or widowed with no children and returns home to her father’s house.  It just seems like the laws and rules never end, but they are there for a reason.  An important reason.  Because someone needed to represent the people to YHWH, and YHWH to the people.

So the priests were responsible for the sins of the people and their relationship with YHWH.  They are the ones who placed their lives on the line day after day to make sure  that the people’s sins were covered.  They are the ones who had to do everything perfectly every day and every time.  They had to teach the people the precepts of YHWH.  It is their responsibility and their honor.  YHWH is a holy and a jealous God.  To serve Him day by day is an honor and a responsibility of a lifetime.

Do we take YHWH seriously, or do we just use Him as a rescue raft.  Do we worship the Holy God, or do we demand assistance from a galactic servant.  Do we pursue a relationship with Him in awe and wonder, or do we attempt to flippantly use Him for our advantage and advancement?  We are the servants of the Most High.  Maybe we need to start acting that way… if that’s alright with you.

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