Tag Archives: son

Matthew 2 – Coming Together

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

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Leviticus 25 – Understanding Ownership

During this time that my hand has been in a cast, it has not been totally useless.  As a result, i have been able to finally get chapter 25 finished.

As i am working through all of this, i’ve been starting to get a bigger / stronger picture.  Leviticus 25 has been about ownership, and understanding our place in the bigger picture of it.  The LORD promises to the people that He will give them the land of Canaan.  Yet at the same time, even while He is giving it to them, it does not belong to them.  The people of Israel are simply caring for the land and reaping of its harvest as a result.  They do not have true ownership.  God alone reserves that right.

Every seven years the people are to respect the land by letting it lie fallow / dormant for a year.  This Sabbath rest allows the land to rest and heal from use and prevent abuse due to over-use.  It is YHWH’s command to His people to not mistreat and abuse His land.

Then after every seven Sabbath’s is the year of Jubilee.  In the year of Jubilee the land rests for a second year, all debts are released, and all land ownership goes back to the original caretakers.  Anyone that has been paid for in slavery / servanthood is released and their freedom is returned to them.

It is a time of understanding that the land, the animals, the people; they do not belong to the people, they belong to YHWH.  They are His and they must be returned to His plans for them.  In the same sense, by understanding this concept, it means better understanding of and treatment towards others.

Outside of this project, i have also been reading about Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, and slavery.  In processing through all of this information, i think that i understand slavery a little bit better.  There will always be the wealthy and the poor.  There will always be those with more than they need, and the ability to improve on their financial situation.  There will also always be those who just can’t seem to break free of poverty.  Whatever the reason is, there will always be those who struggle to get by.

When the basis of a person’s understanding is that no one and nothing is truly owned by another.  That there is no one of more value than another.  That YHWH owns all and demands respect for His creation… Then, those who have more and have the ability to continually manage well what has been given them, can care for his fellow man by providing for them.  So the riches of the rich help to sustain the poor while the poor is having difficulty sustaining themselves.  The wealthy provide for the poor, in the meantime the poor work for and learn to manage that which belongs to the rich.  Thus slavery is not about abuse and mistreatment of man.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about taking care of and providing for those who cannot care for themselves.

However, this concept ONLY works when the wealthy (and everyone else) truly understand ownership.  When those who are prospering understand that all belongs to YHWH and not themselves, then respect of personhood prevails.  As a result there is not abuse and maltreatment, there is love, caring, and provision for those in need.  Slavery / servanthood becomes about love and compassion rather than abuse and maltreatment.

It all stems from understanding ownership… do we?

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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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Leviticus 16 – Day of Atonement

Most of the sacrifices previously mentioned have been for the individual.  Whether it was a burnt offering, or a peace offering, or a wave offering, or a grain offering.  Each person would bring their sacrifice to the tabernacle to cover their own sins or for themselves and their families.  However, the day of atonement is different.

The day of atonement is very special in comparison to the other “daily” sacrifices.  The day of atonement occurs once per year on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  It is a time when all of the congregation of Israel was to get together at the tabernacle / temple for a special sacrifice for all.  The day of atonement is about bringing cleansing to the high priest and his family; to the tabernacle, alter and tools of worship; and to the congregation of Israel as a whole.  It’s about purifying and bringing all to right.  It’s kind of like rebooting or restoring a computer.  It cleans out the system and gives a fresh start.

This is very important over the succeeding centuries, and if it had been done and taken seriously as it should have been, it would have gone a long way to help prevent the corruption and downfall of the nations of Israel and Judah.  Yet it didn’t.

This principle still applies today.  While it is important for each individual to come to repentance before the LORD, and that seems to be a lost art.  Even more so the repentance of the nation.  How often do we take responsibility for the sins of the nation.  How often do we come to YHWH in worship of Him and seeking not only forgiveness and healing for our own sins but for those of our nation.  How often do we take responsibility for the decisions and direction of the nation.  It is something that the leaders of the nation especially are to do, but that the people of the nation need to pursue and take accountability for as well.  It is our nation and our responsibility.

Rev. John Camiolo

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Leviticus 13 – Leprosy

We are beginning to see more that God is not simply talking to Moses.  In the very first verse we see YHWH speaking to Moses AND Aaron.  As Aaron has begun to take on his new role as the high priest, we see God communicating with him as well as Moses.  There are more expectations of Aaron, while Moses continues to be the leader of the people.  He continues to lead and guide the masses, but Aaron begins to take on more and more important of a role in this infant nation.  That is a good thing.

As we move on from motherhood, we come to the next major topic for the law of the Levities.  So, who wants to talk about leprosy!?!  “Anyone, anyone?”  What, no takers?  You mean that leprosy isn’t an exciting, world changing subject?  Well, it certainly is to the one who has it!

Imagine being the person who wakes up one day to find the white mark in your hand or arm.  You wonder what it is, and you hope that it isn’t serious.  As the days go by you notice it more and more.  You try to ignore it, but there it is starting at you ominously.  Others begin to notice and tell you that you need to go see the priest.  You finally go, the priest looks at the mark and decides that you need to be isolated for a week.  So you are separated from your friends and family and everyone that you love waiting and hoping and praying for this mark to heal.  Meanwhile it is ever so slowly getting worse and you are stressed, panicked, and all alone.  You come before the priest, he looks over your wound and the rest of your body, and… you could be spending the rest of your days an outcast.  What do you do?

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Exodus 21 – Treatment of Others

Yesterday was on the 10 commandments and the Israelite’s reaction to God, so i don’t know what i expected for chapter 21, but it certainly wasn’t this.  To put things in perspective a little bit; there were originally no chapters and verse in the scriptures.  They were added later on to help people study and reference the Bible better.  As a result when the text was originally written, there was no real division between what was commanded in 20 and then in 21.  So, God gave the people the 10 commandments / promises, then almost immediately we get into the topic that opens chapter 21: slavery!

Now i know that back in the day both supporters of and those opposed to slavery used the Bible to prove their point of view.  Ultimately though, it was those who understood that God’s view of humanity being created in His image and his redemption bringing equality to all that overcame and was a driving force in especially Great Britain’s move to make slavery illegal.  But when i started copying this chapter over it hit me.  Almost immediately after giving the 10 commandments / promises God begins the rest of the law and legal instructions with rules about slavery?  Isn’t that a huge piece of evidence that God is in SUPPORT of slavery?  Doesn’t that justify that abominable practice?

I was really struggling through this idea and concept for a good chunk of my writing this morning.  It was really bothering me.  Then, as i was writing, struggling with this, and questioning God about it; He brought an answer to my mind.  It’s not that He supported slavery.  It’s that He knew slavery was going to occur no matter what.  He set His 10 primary promises / commands then immediately He set the rules to protect those who would end up as slaves.  It wasn’t an attempt to encourage the mistreatment of His creation.  It was making it a priority to protect those least able to protect themselves.

The chapter continues by dealing with how to respond to murder / accidental deaths from other people as well as animals.  Obviously this is a very important aspect of the law to deal with.  This theme of protecting the innocent continues with the instruction that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is struck resulting in premature birth but no harm is done, then the husband may demand any fine he requests.  If there is an injury it is an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burn for burn, hand for hand, etc.

If we call ourselves Christians, are we protecting those less able to protect themselves?  Do we live our lives taking responsibility for those around us?

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Exodus 18 – Perspective

Isn’t it nice to have an outside perspective sometimes.  We look at our own situation time and time again.  We see the same problems the same ways.  We walk through the same doors and fall into the same traps.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our own way of doing things that we lose track of the idea that there may be another, better solution.  We also get so used to seeing the same blessings that we fail to see them as blessings.  We see our successes in light of our situation and lose track of how amazing they can be sometimes.

Moses had started to get into some of these kinds of ruts.  He was hearing the same people complaining about the same problems while doing the same things over and over.  Then along came Jethro, his father-in-law, bringing Moses wife and two sons, and they saw it all anew.  They heard the stories for the first time.  They learned about the situation and saw all the blessings that God was doing for the people off Israel, and they were amazed.  Jethro was the priest of Midian.  He was a man of experience and wisdom, and yet he said, “Now I know that the LORD (YHWH) is greater than all the gods.  Indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.”  He saw how God had treated those who stood proudly against His people, and Jethro, the priest of Midian, knew that there was no God like YHWH.

In response Jethro took a burnt offering and sacrifice to the LORD.  He prepared it as a meal and invited the leaders of Israel to eat a meal together before God.  He served in his role as a priest, yet he also set a precedent for the leaders; one of fellowshipping together before the LORD.  Don’t you love a good perspective!?

The chapter finishes with Moses sitting before the people judging them.  They came to him with their conflicts and problems, and he judged between the people.  As i was reading this, it reminded me of the incident in chapter 2 “He (Moses) went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, ‘Why are you striking your companion?’  But he said, ‘Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and said, ‘Surely the matter has become known.’”  So Moses has become the judge that he had tried to be.  He went from poser to the man of the hour; yet ironically, it was too much.

Jethro to the rescue!  He tells Moses that this is too much work for him alone; that he needs to abdicate the work to others.  To those who hate injustice so that it does not become too much of a burden.  Do we pursue an outside perspective for our lives?

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