We talked about the weight of being chosen and the wages as well. Now we look at the purpose. Aaron & his sons and the rest of the Levites were not chosen for the fun of it. They were given a reason, a purpose. This is where we begin to see that.
This is where we see the ordinance of the red heifer. The red heifer is meant to be a sacrifice, but not just any sacrifice. It is the sacrifice that cleanses the tabernacle. That is one of the primary roles and purposes of the priest. They are to offer the sacrifices and teach the people so that they can be purified and so that their sins can be covered. Their purpose is to serve YHWH, and to help the unclean to become clean before the LORD.
What happens when the unclean does not become clean… when the priest does not do his duty as he has been called by YHWH to do?
20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD;
If the priest did not do his duty, the peoples sins were not covered, and they were forever separated from the assembly … the people … the congregation of YHWH. That’s quite the responsibility.
Aren’t you glad that there is both a perfect Sacrifice and a perfect Priest. One who cannot fail in his priestly duties because He is both the one who cleanses us, and the one who makes us clean. The one sent of YHWH to answer the perfect call with perfect purpose.
Thank you Jesus the Christ. The one prophesied to come, and the one to fulfill all of the prophesies. Now we too can have a purpose!
Rev. John Camiolo Jr.
It looks like i got ahead of myself. I went and did the word cloud before i finished the last post!
I finished the book of Matthew, and i need to give my post-copy impressions. This is kind of hard for me as i haven’t really noticed a difference in my view and attitude about the book since i did the work. So there aren’t really any “BIG” new impressions. I knew going into this that Matthew is a book for the Jews. It was written to a Jewish audience in order to make clear the events that occurred and to make a clear case for Jesus, the Christ. You can see this as you go through Matthew’s gospel. In the very first chapter you see Jesus genealogy and how He is a clear descendant of David. Also, throughout the book there have been numerous purposeful reference back to the (O.T.) Scriptures, and especially referring to Jesus fulfilling the prophesies about the coming Messiah / Christ. But all this i knew ahead of time. And I really wanted to get a new impression after having finished this book.
Although, the more i process all of this, and the more I think about it, the more i do have a bit of a different outlook on it. One thing that i have liked about posting about Matthew has been the chapter titles. I really put a lot of thought into my chapter / section titles, and it can be pretty frustrating when i just can’t find the right descriptor that communicates about not just one section of the chapter, but the whole thing. The nice thing about Matthew, is that the author kept everything neat and clean. At the same time that Matthew talks about Jesus healing the blind man so he can see, you also get Jesus reprimanding the Pharisees and talking about how even though they have eyes, they just can’t see (ch. 20). You can also see this in Chapter 16 – Response. In the beginning of the chapter we see the Pharisees starting to get fed up with Jesus. So they respond to Him by attempting to test / trick Him, but it fails. Jesus responds to them in ways that blow them away so badly that they decide not to ever do that again. So first we have the Pharisees’s response to Jesus, then His response towards them, then finally Jesus asks Peter for his response to who people say He is. It’s all very beautiful the way it’s all laid out. Each and every section / chapter seems to have its own theme, which in turn just makes it all the more fun, seeing / finding those common themes.
In all honesty, I’m definitely pretty glad that i made the jump to Matthew at this time, and I think that interspersing the NT books in with the OT books will continue, for the time being! Well, that’s been my thoughts on Matthew, and I’m glad to share them. I hope you get half as much out of my notes as i have by doing the project.
God bless, and onward to Numbers! Woo Hoo!
John the Baptist had a purpose for his life. He was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. His purpose was to point people to THE Christ. His primary message was, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Once the Christ came, he was to decrease so that Christ could increase.
How often do young people, and even older people, seek purpose for their lives? How often do they pursue understanding for who they are, and what they are to do and become? But, what if we did know? What if we did know that we were to prepare the way for something great… and then, that’s it. What if we knew that we would spend years and years of our lives dedicated to the work of preaching, teaching, calling, etc. Then it would lead up to ONE day! …one minute! …one moment! And then… what?
You’ve just spent your entire life getting ready and it’s over. Now “He must increase, and I must decrease.” None of the rest of it matters all that much. Your purpose is done, and the rest of your life is mostly meaningless. Not only for that to happen, but to know that that was going to happen. Wow, that’s tough.
I really wonder if in today’s world we could handle knowing the truth? I really wonder if we aren’t so caught up in ourselves that if God / YHWH actually told us what we wanted to know, how many of us would simply run away. There are those that would say that in those times people were made of sterner stuff. I don’t know to what extent i would agree with that. People are people. Someone may be taught to be stronger, better, wiser… whatever, but we are still made of the same stuff.
Would you or I be able to simply let go, knowing that our purpose has been served and we have nothing left but to push people away and tell them to follow something else… not because we had done something wrong, but because we had done it all right? John the Baptist was an amazing man. He lived the life that YHWH had made him f or, then when that moment was over, he decreased so that Christ could increase. I don’t know if i could do that.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
This is one of those things that i find so awesome about the Bible and the scriptures. How even the little things mean a whole lot. And, how everything seems to just come together. It becomes clear that God is a step ahead of man and his work… or hundreds, even thousands of years ahead. In this chapter we see AT LEAST four different prophecies being fulfilled in those first years of His life.
What’s even more interesting to me is that of these four prophecies, three of them seem to be contradictory of one another. The first one states that from Bethlehem of Judah will come forth the ruler (Messiah). Thus Jesus, the Christ, is born in Bethlehem. The second says that “Out of Egypt I called My Son”. So the Messiah is to come out of Egypt… wasn’t He supposed to come out of Bethlehem of Judah, not Egypt? Yet here He is, the Messiah coming out of Egypt as well. Then there’s the prophecy that, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” He shall be called a Nazarene because He came out of Nazareth. So now we have three different conflicting prophecies being fulfilled by the same child.
This is what i love about the scriptures. In what seems like an insurmountable conflict and opposing ideas, there is a smooth and elegant solution that surpasses and bypasses our lack of understanding. Prior to understanding how all of this comes together in the end, these three passages could almost seem impossible to reconcile together. Yet God / YHWH brought it all together. That brings us back to the conflict mentioned in chapter 1’s post. The conflict seems almost insurmountable with no real answer in sight, and it may remain that way through your entire life. Yet, as we can see from this chapter; what seems impossible to man, is more than possible with God / YHWH.
I have answers to the conflict of Chapter 1, but i will not give them at this time. Faith, Hope, and Love abide. In this conflict, pursue those things.
Rev. John Camiolo
It’s interesting to me to see not only the life and lives of the scriptures coming to life, but also the arguments and debates.
This first book of the New Testament is clearly written for Jewish people. This is seen from the very beginning of the very first chapter. Matthew 1 begins with a genealogy for Jesus the Messiah that sets up Joseph the husband of Mary as a direct descendant of David and Abraham. This genealogy serves at least a dual purpose. 1) It shows that Jesus has every right and privilege of being King David’s direct descendant. And, 2) It takes a step toward proving that Jesus is indeed the Messiah by showing the fulfillment of prophecy through this genealogy. It is the history of a Jew for Jews.
One of the debates that comes up is about the genealogy itself. According to Matthew’s depiction of the genealogy there are 14 generations defined from Abraham to David, 14 generations defined from David to the fall of, and 14 generations defined between the captivity and Jesus the Messiah. It’s a great pictorial representation, but it’s not without its issues. For instance, there appear to be discrepancies between this listing and the listing in the book of Luke, but my issues are more direct than that. How can there be 14 generations between Abraham and David?
When i go through this genealogy I see “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.” That’s 4 generations between the time of Moses and the time of David. 1) Salmon to Boaz 2) Boaz to Obed 3) Obed to Jesse 4) Jesse to David. So according to this listing, all that happened between Moses bringing the people to the Jordan River in the end of Deuteronomy to David being anointed King by Samuel occurred within that 4 generation time span. That includes all of the book of Joshua (very feasible as it would have been done within one generation), and all of Judges (not so feasible?).
That’s where i get a bit more skeptical. Just looking at Judges 10 we see numerous minor Judges who served for a number of decades, died then another judge arose and judged Israel, and died and the people sinned again and are afflicted for decades again before we hear of another judge arising. Then when Samuel is born, the word of the Lord appears to have been scarce for a long time and he serves as Judge and priest for a long time before ever anointing David. That’s just a sampling of the issue. There’s still Deborah & Barak, Sampson, Gideon, etc. How could all of that fit into 4 generations?
Considering that all my life and experience with God / YHWH has shown me beyond a doubt that the scriptures truly are written by the inspiration of God and are infallible, how do i reconcile this and other difficult questions? The answer to this and other quandaries is much more simple and elegant than we may think. I have my answers / solutions to the puzzle, but what are yours? 😉
I’m making a little bit of a shift right now. I just finished Leviticus and i decided that i needed a little bit of a break from the Torah. I was planning on doing the entire Torah and then breaking for a couple of books of the New Testament, but i think that now is a good time to make a quick switch.
The Gospel according to Matthew is an interesting book. Many seem to see a parallel between Mattew’s Gospel and the five books of the Torah, seeing five sets of narratives and discourse meant to build that parallel. When looking at Matthew, it becomes pretty obvious that the book of Matthew is all about Jesus fulfilling the role of the Messiah. We see time and again how the life of Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of who the Messiah was to be and His role and purpose.
All in all, i’m looking forward to studying this deeper and getting a better feel for what sets Matthew apart from the other gospels. Come join me on this journey.
John J. Camiolo Jr.