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.
It always seems like God has a plan. Even when it comes to the mundane things. He always knows what He wants done, how and why. Everything He does has a purpose and a reason, even if it’s not obvious to us. His plan is perfect, even when we aren’t.
In numbers 2 we see that God / YHWH even has a plan for the arrangement of the camp:
To the East was the camp of Judah which included the tribes of Judah, Issachar, & Zebulon. They spread East with 186,400 people.
To the North was the camp of Dan which included Dan, Naphatali, and Asher. They spread North with 157,600 people.
To the West was the camp of Ephraim with Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. They spread West with 108,100 people.
To the South was the camp of Reuben with Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. They spread South with 151,400 people.
Meanwhile, the tribe of Levi directly surrounds the tabernacle with the Levites acting as a buffer between YHWH and the people.
This is how it would likely have looked from above.
Isn’t that amazing? YHWH always seems to have a plan and a purpose.
Well, Genesis is almost done. It is the beginning’s end. I really liked copying this chapter down. It was easy to process and write as there is a solid thought on each line (or in the least a solid chunk of a solid thought). It makes the process, oh, so much easier!
Israel has some final words to say to each of his sons. It is here that Jacob makes changes to the natural order of his progeny. Reuben was the firstborn, but here he officially loses that honor and privilege due to his hasty actions of sleeping with his father’s concubine. Yeah, now that was smart, Reuben </sarcasm>! Simeon and Levi are next in line, but they both lose that honor due to their rash decision to annihilate the Hivites (chapter 34) whose prince raped their sister Dinah. In fact, Simeon ended up receiving no natural inheritance at all when the Israelites reentered the land of Canaan.
So that left Judah to become heir apparent. He received the lion’s share of the blessing and inheritance (and gave some to Simeon because it was too much for them). Judah also received the blessing of having the Messiah, the Christ, come through his line.
It’s interesting to note that this is probably the last time that Joseph specifically gets named in the listing of the sons/tribes of Israel. From now on, Joseph’s place is taken by the half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s two sons that Israel claimed as his own in chapter 48).
After charging his sons (i like the way this brings the word “charging” into a clearer understanding than the way we recognize it today) to bury him with his fathers in the cave at the end of the field bought from Ephron, Jacob finally breathes his last.
What do we do to ruin our inheritance? Are we like Reuben, Simeon, and Levi allowing our rash, unthinking, and angry natures to destroy our blessings? Is that even possible? Think on these things.
Also of note, there are some interesting names of God that appear in this text: Abir Yacob (Mighty One of Jacob), Ra-ah (Shepherd), Eben Yisrael (Stone of Israel), Shaddai (Almighty), and of course El (God).
It is chapters like this that make the Bible that much more real. We see the sons of Jacob as real people. They come alive with both their good and bad features. The story is not just told of the warriors of old who battled great serpents and monsters and creatures of the deep: who then went on to live perfect little lives playing heroes and growing prosperous as a shining light for all to see and desire to be like.
These are real men who are dealing with real problems. Sometimes they do the right thing. Sometimes they do the wrong thing, and sometimes they do nothing when they should be doing something.
They don’t always make the right choices, and when they don’t sometimes it can have a huge lasting impact on their lives and the lives of the people around them for generations. Ultimately, we see all things working together for good to all according to God’s purpose. He can take the worst, and make the best.
The impact of what happens here, the total annihilation of a city-state by the work of these two men, affects them for over a thousand years to come. It’s amazing how in one small (or not so small) choice there are waves of repercussions spreading out throughout time.
Do we take the time to consider how our actions will affect us and those around us for the next week; for the next month; for the next year; for the next hundred years? What kind of an example are we setting to our children / families / future generations? Does it even matter?