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Matthew 28 – The End Begins

Part 1 of all of time and life has ended.  Part 2 now begins.  Christ has risen.  He has risen indeed.  This is an interesting rendition of this his-story.  It is short and sweet.  It hits the highlights of the main story.  It tells of the reactions of the guards and the religious leaders, and it tells of the directions given to the disciples.

It’s at these directions that i want to dwell.  I learned something a long time ago.  It is something that has changed my outlook on this great commission.  It’s may not be super deep and life redefining, but it is an interesting revelation none-the-less.

First off, I love how Christ starts this.  It is classic YHWH.  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  (You) Go therefore…”  It’s just like when God spoke to Moses, “I am going to free My people Israel… now you go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!”  YHWH says He is going to do it, then He tells us to.  It’s great!

My big note relates to vs 19-20.  Jesus tells the disciples to go and make disciples… baptizing in the name of the Father and of the the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…  Yet, when you look at the scriptures talking about the disciples baptizing in Acts, these are the statements you get (2:38) Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  (8:14-16) Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Nowhere else does it give an account of what is said during the baptism.

What you notice here is that there is nowhere in these or any other accounts in which it is said that they baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  In the accounts of water baptism the people are baptized in the name of Jesus, the Christ.  Yet when we baptize, WE say, “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Why?  Because in the book of Matthew, Christ tells us to.  But, isn’t that what He told the disciples as well?  Is there something we’re missing here or was it something the disciples were neglecting?

The more I’ve studied this, the more I’m convinced that we’re missing something here.  For instance, no where in the great commission does it say anything about coming to God in repentance, or even to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s not there.  But when you do look at what the disciples did, there was more to the story than just water baptism.  Acts 2:38 says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”  There are three parts to this.  1) Repent  2) Water baptism in the name of Jesus, and 3) Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So how are these connected to being baptized in the name of…

In order to understand that, you have to understand what baptism is.  Baptism is in essence the representation of a death, a burial, and a resurrection (what Christ did for us).  In water baptism you “die” are “buried” in the water (hence not sprinkled), and are “resurrected again into new life.  When we are water baptized it is a physical representation of what, that we have already done?  It is a physical representation of our repentance… 1) death of self 2) burial in God / YHWH’s grace, and 3) resurrection as a new man.  Thus repentance is a baptism.  Water baptism is an outward baptism expressing what we have already done in our heart, and baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Thus it is baptism in the name (name represents power) of the Father (repentance) and of the Son (water baptism), and the Holy Spirit (the HS’s empowerment for the building up of the saints for the work of service).

So what does this mean for us?


Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.


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Matthew 3 – John the Baptist

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.

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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 5 – Repentance?

In chapter 4 God gives Moses instructions about the types and ways of guilt offerings.  Here in chapter 5 God gives some instruction and examples of unintentional sins and the guilt offering required for them.

It’s funny how much our world changes.  We live in a culture where even most Christians don’t take repentance seriously unless there are consequences that drastically affect them.  We sin daily, and we talk about having a relationship with God and our prayer life, but how often does our prayer life consist of a list of demands to make our life more enjoyable and “better”?  How often are we so worried about our own “problems” and wants that we completely ignore the directions and instructions that YHWH puts in our life?

Sin, both intentional and unintentional, becomes so commonplace in our lives that we begin to not even recognize that we have sin that we need forgiveness from.  Yet God takes even minor, unintentional sins (like touching a dead body or swearing thoughtlessly) seriously.  Do we take time daily to come before God daily for repentance, or do we see YHWH as our buddy, buddy?

I know that i fall into that struggle, and that it is something that i need to be doing daily, yet it is something that i rarely do.  Maybe it’s time for me to change that… Lord, you know me, my comings and goings, my desires and actions.  YHWH I want to be obedient and not carry all of these sins around with me.  YHWH forgive me and help me to turn away from…

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Exodus 40 – Anointing Presence

The time has come for all the work to find completion.  The design and construction work have been completed and inspected, and now is the time for the assembly and final work to be done.  This appears to be a work that Moses, himself does, or in the very least that Moses directs.  He anoints it all with oil and puts everything together.  Piece by piece and part by part, the work gets done and the tabernacle is erected, “just as the LORD commanded him.

There is something fascinating to me about the process of anointing oil and anointing with oil.  I know that anointing oil and anointing with oil (among other things) are used to represent YHWH’s spirit being poured out as well as being anointed or consecrated for a work.  This is what is being represented here.  It is a preparation of these materials for the work that YHWH has for them.  They are set apart for a holy purpose, and somehow anointing them with oil helps to do this.

Anointing with oil is something that some churches and denominations do, and some do not.  It serves the same purposes, it is anointing in preparation of materials for the work of service.  It is also to set something / someone apart as holy for God’s use and purpose.  The third primary purpose of oil / anointing oil is for healing.  Oil used to be used to cleanse wounds to prevent infection and other problems.  As such, it is also used to represent the supernatural healing work of God’s Holy Spirit.  This can be physical healing as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual healing.  It’s a beautiful image of some of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Overall though, the real beauty of this chapter comes in the last verses of the chapter; “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”  The work is completed.  The tabernacle has been anointed and erected, and now the reason and purpose of not only the work and the tabernacle but the very book of Exodus and the Bible is here.  The LORD… YHWH, and His glory (weight / presence) fill this place.  His is the true anointing presence.

Thus ends the book of Exodus.

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Exodus 38 – Court of the King

So the tabernacle and all that it will contain has been made.  Now on to the court and the alter.  If i thought that the ark of the covenant was small, the alter is HUGE!  At 5 cubits long (~7 1/2 feet) and 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits (~4 1/2 feet) tall, this thing was not small at all.  But then again, when sacrifices included bulls, size does matter!

So the court of the tabernacle is underway with its pillars and linen hangings.  All around the tabernacle are these hangings of fine twisted linen connected to pillars of bronze with hooks of silver.  The entryway was to the east, to the rising sun, and the work of making all of the tabernacle and its tools of worship is finished.  All that’s left is the priestly garments, putting everything together, and… the results.

All of this came  together with structure and a plan.  It took time, and effort, and finances to make it happen.  It wasn’t just God doing it because it would be faster and easier for Him to do it Himself than to rely on humans to do it.  He gave us the work.  He gave us the plan.  He gave His people the desire to make it happen.  Do we have a structure and plan for our spiritual growth?  Are we willing to invest ourselves into that plan?  Are we willing to put our time, effort, and finances into loving God and loving others, or are we only willing to do the absolute minimum in order to get away with the least we can.  Are we giving our firstfruits or our leftovers?  Do we want to enter the court of the King, or are we satisfied with just passing it by and knowing that it’s there if we need it?

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Exodus 37 – Furnishing

Well, the tabernacle proper and the alter have been built.  Now it is time for the very core of the tabernacle; the furnishings.  We have the table, the lampstand, the alter of incense, and most importantly, the ark of the covenant.  When i was a kid i always thought that the ark of the covenant would be BIG.  It would be taller than me and so big i wouldn’t be able to touch from end to end.  Almost like it would be the length of a big dining room table, but it’s actually very small.  If a cubit is the distance from the average person’s elbow to the tip of their middle finger, and the ark of the covenant is 2 1/2 cubits long, it’s really not very big.  Add to that the height and width each being 1 1/2 cubits, it’s something i could easily jump over from a standing position (not running)… not that i would.  I’m just saying that it would have been feasible if i had wanted to and God hadn’t struck me dead for even thinking it.

It’s even more interesting when you consider that the ark of the covenant sat on the floor / ground and not on a table.  So chances are that the ark of the covenant didn’t even come  up to most people’s waists.  It was the throne of YHWH, yet while standing up you looked DOWN on it!?!  I guess it’s surprising to me because i would think that the throne of the God of the universe and everything would be a wee bit bigger than… well, than that.  But it’s His ark.  I’ll let Him make it as big or small as He wants it to be.

The other interesting thing i wanted to note is how you hold it.  I grew up watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of  the Lost Ark.  My dad really liked that movie.  So i know what the Ark of the Covenant looked like.  It was covered in pure gold, it had the two cherubim on top and the rings for the carrying poles about 3/4 of the way up.  But wait!  According to the text, the rings for the carrying poles were at the feet of the ark?…  It was the same way with the table.  The rings for the carrying poles were on the feet.  It’s almost like YHWH wanted  everyone to be able to see it when they travel.  Almost as though it wasn’t just meant to be hidden away in some tent 24/7/365.  Hmm, what an interesting concept!  You mean God isn’t just some hidden away god that we aren’t allowed to see or interact with?

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