Tag Archives: law

Update

Well, it’s been a long year.  I set this up to do a chapter a day knowing that there would be days I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Little did I know that I’d get halfway through the year and run into major medical issues, then with a new job and stressor after stressor I just wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Since I last posted in the end of September / beginning of October I haven’t stopped copying, I’ve only stopped posting.

As of New Year’s Eve I finally finished the last chapter of Deuteronomy.  So I currently have Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy finished.  I reached one major milestone.  I have the entire Torah/law finished! (with the Matthew bonus).  Deuteronomy 17:18-19 says,

“Now it shall come about… he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll… It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God…” (NASB)

Technically I have completed the task that these verses state.  So I could stop right now, but I don’t think I want to.  While the task is to fulfill this command, the life goal is to do the entire Bible.  So now it’s time to move on to the rest of the historical books.

I don’t know if I’m going to start posting again.  I absolutely love it, but there are way too many other things (family, work responsibilities, sleep, sanity, etc.) pulling me in various directions, and not nearly enough readers to justify the time sink.  Either way let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

John C.

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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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Matthew 27 – 1 – Trials

Wow!  These Jewish leaders!  They seem like such bitter and angry people!

Judas comes and seeks remorse and a restitution of sorts for his involvement in this situation.  He knows he is wrong and that he is at fault.  So he comes in remorse and repentance, and they basically say, “Yup!  You da man!  You are at fault and in judgment, and we’re not lifting a finger  to help you.”

They bring Jesus before the secular, gentile law because they cannot sentence Him to death on their own.  If they could have avoided Pilate and dealing with the spited gentiles, they would have.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, they could not sentence Jesus to death on their own.  Pilate, having dealt with these Jews before, had some major issues with what was going on.  He knew that the Pharisees and religious leaders were doing this because they were so angry and bitter, and they hated Jesus for what He did and stood for.

Pilate knows that this is a sham trial, and he tries to stop it.  But what God / YHWH has put into place, Pilate certainly cannot stop.  So Pilate does what he can to help end this fiasco, but to no avail!  He risks a riot and if that happens again, he could lose his jurisdiction and even his life if Caesar is in a foul mood when he hears of it.   His wife even sends him a message telling him to have nothing to do with this man because of a dream she has, but in all truth, there is nothing that he can truly do to stop it.  It’s all going forward like a train wreck, and all he can do is stand back and watch.  “Let it be…”

It’s sad when i consider the Pharisees.  They go through all of this work and trouble.  Why?  Because they truly believe that Jesus is a threat to God / YHWH; because they are constantly trying to fight the Roman invasion and raping and pillaging of their culture, religion, and people and are taking it out on Jesus; or because their pride has been hurt hurt by this teacher that makes them look like fools and idiots when they are the most dedicated and learned men of their times?  Here are “men of God” doing everything that they can to destroy what they should be rejoicing to have.  The Pharisees have spent all of their lives pursuing the truth the only way they know and have been taught how.  Now this young upstart turns around, is attempting to destroy so much of what they have worked so hard to build, and the only way to stop him is to break the very laws that they have spent their lives dedicated to studying, understanding, living and teaching.  I look at that, and I come to the conclusion… “If not but for the grace of God, there go I”

Christ is on trial, but the trial is not His.  It is theirs.  It is mine.  They have been placed in the balance and have been found lacking.  Yet, if not for a 2000 years difference, and they could have been me.  “If not but for the grace of God…”

Rev.  John

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Matthew 22 – Gauntlet Pie

Matthew 22 is a direct extension of Matthew 21.  In my Bible i have actually crossed out the chapter number for 22 to de-emphasize the separation.  Overall, the day that these chapters represent would have been a day to sell tickets to, pop some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show!  Things are starting to get interesting!

Jesus begins the discussion with a parable.  A kings son is getting married and he invites the important people to the wedding feast, but no one is willing to go.  Rather they abuse and kill his messengers.  So he destroys them, and he invites strangers from the street… anyone willing to come.  The Pharisees know that this parable is directed towards them, so they fire a couple of volleys back.  They try to trap Jesus between the law of the land and the sentiment of the people.  Jesus walks through that trap pretty easily.  Next the Sadducees (who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead) test Him.  Jesus not only clears that trap, but He also answers to and clarifies the truth / theology to respond to their confused beliefs.  So instead they send in a legal expert to test Him.  The legal expert questions Jesus, and of course He answers beautifully.  Finally, Jesus asks them a tough question about the Messiah and how the Messiah does not fit their viewpoint / expectations.

All of this silences the pharisees… “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.”  He wins the debate.  He wins the day, and many of His enemies are now solidified against Him.  Ultimately though, it’s all part of the plan, and He prevails.

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Matthew 6 – Religion & Relationship

Jesus sermon while on the mount continues through chapter 6 and into 7.  Here we get into more depth of life and ministry.  Jesus begins to deal with what it means to serve and worship Him.  Here we begin to see and get an understanding of what religion is, our purpose, and having a relationship with the Father.

From chapter 5 to 6 there is a transition from dealing with personal relationships to how we relate  to the world and to God.  Jesus criticizes the Pharisees and religious leaders because while they obey the letter of the law, they do so for personal and political gain.  It’s not that they care for the poor and orphans.  It’s that they desire to show the world that they are obeying the commands of God.  Meanwhile Jesus is saying here not that doing those kinds of things is wrong, they’re not.  In fact the pharisees are completely correct in giving to the poor and praying and fasting and everything else.  The issue is not so much in what they do, rather it’s in how they do it.

Jesus the Christ seems to be saying here that why and how we do what we do may be even more important than our doing it.  He tells the disciples that the pharisees have the action and obedience right, which was more than most, but at the same time He was very critical of them for how and why they were doing it:
Give to the poor, but do it in secret so you will have treasure in heaven.
Pray like this, but not in vain repetitions.
Forgive others so it may be forgiven you.
Make sure you fast, but don’t let others see or know you are fasting.
Don’t store up your treasures here on earth.  Store them up in heaven where they have real value.
You can’t serve God / YHWH and wealth.  You can either serve the maker or the tool.

Then last but certainly not least… Do not Worry!  God / YHWH is in control.  He provides all things for all.  Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will continue and be added.  I honestly believe that this is one of the most accepted sins in the church.  When we worry, we live by works and not by faith.  We say, “We know You say You are in control, but I don’t really believe that.  Not fully.”  I know that this is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

John Camiolo

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Leviticus – Conclusion

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.

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Leviticus 18 – Defiled

This chapter is a very controversial chapter and tends to bring up all kinds of questions and debate.  In it YHWH deals with defilement (primarily sexual defilement); what defiles the people and what defiles the land.  In this chapter YHWH gives instruction for the people not to uncover their relative’s nakedness (or have sexual relations with them).  Incest is forbidden including incestual relations between a man and his mother, a father and his daughter-in-law, a man and both a woman and her daughter, and other relations.

There are other issues at work in this chapter as well.  For instance there is the command not to uncover a woman’s nakedness during her menstrual period, not to sleep with a neighbor’s wife, and not to sacrifice your child to Molech (this doesn’t happen anymore… does it?).  Each of these issues is very important and significant and should in no way be minimized.

However, the most controversial verse in this chapter (according to the current cultural view) is verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  You can see where a big part of the controversy begins here.  There are many that say that this passage does not apply anymore due to Christ having fulfilled the law.  That since Christ came and died and was raised again, and the curtain to the most holies was torn, we are no longer bound by the law.  We do not have to fulfill the sacrificial rules and regulations because Christ became the perfect sacrifice.  Since this passage is part of the legal instructions given to the Israelite people, it is completed and fulfilled and no longer applicable to us.

To some extent, that is an accurate (albeit flawed) understanding of Christ’s fulfillment of the law.  This entire chapter holds a different kind of sway than most of the rest of the law.  It is true to some extent that the law was for the nation of Israel, but this chapter is about what supersedes that law.  Verses 24-25 explain this a little bit better:
Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.
It doesn’t take an exegetical genius to understand that the commands in this chapter aren’t limited to the people of the Israelite nation.  These are laws that defy nature itself.  They are not limited to the people of Israel.  They apply to all people and all time.  It is because of these kinds of sins that the Israelites have the right, and the responsibility to not only conquer the land of Canaan, but to destroy its inhabitants as well.  The land itself has judged the Canaanites and is spewing them out because of the sins listed in this chapter.  The Israelites are simply tools to the fulfillment of that justice.

So how should we respond to those caught up in these kinds of sins?  Are we to judge and condemn them?  Is that our “right”?  I don’t believe so.  God says, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”  In that passage He is referring to not judging those of the world.  That judgment is His, not ours to dole out.  However, in I Corinthians 5 we are instructed to judge those within the body that are sinning against the body, and the sin refereed to there is a sin directly related to this chapter.  It was a sin being accepted and even praised within the church that should have been condemned.  That is a pattern we would be wise to heed.  The leaders of the church are responsible for understanding and responding appropriately to sin within the body.  In NO WAY should the church be lifting up and encouraging within the body what YHWH has condemned.  We are to be the light of hope to the troubled and struggling, not following in the defilement of the world.

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