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Numbers 12 – Rank Unrest

The unrest continues.  In chapter 11 the people complained to Moses & the LORD yet again.  Moses became fed up with having to deal with it all the time and he complained to the LORD about the people.  So YHWH gave Moses 70 elders to assist him in leading the people.  Every one of them spoke prophetically when the Holy Spirit descended on them the first time.  Then the people’s complaints led to YHWH striking them with a plague.

Now, we arrive at Numbers 12, and it’s not done yet!  The people are doing it; Moses has done it; now Miriam and Aaron are joining the fray.  Everyone’s airing their complaints, now they are going to as well.  A while back, before the whole Exodus trip, Moses had been in the wilderness for 40 years and while there he married a woman of the people of Cush instead of an Israelite woman.  This is part of the problem as this is what leads into the other complaint, the real issue.  Miriam and Aaron use this as a stepping point to help justify their big complaint.  Moses is getting all of the glory!  He leads, and now he has just given these other people, these 70 elders some of the leadership and authority given to him by YHWH!

How do we know that these 70 elders are worthy of being leaders?  The Holy Spirit came upon them and they prophesied!  So if proof of God / YHWH’s divine calling is to prophesy, Miriam & Aaron should be able to lead as well!

Why does Moses get to do all the leading?  YHWH has obviously spoken in and through them as well.  These other leaders have only been doing this for a day and they are leaders of the people.  Miriam and Aaron have been at the forefront, been actively involved, and have been prophesying (being a mouthpiece of YHWH) since before Egypt for Aaron, and at least since they crossed the Red Sea for Miriam!  Yet here they are, playing second fiddle to these underlings!

Does that sound familiar to some of you?  Was there some merit in their argument?  Absolutely!… kind of.  They had been used by YHWH that whole time.  Aaron had even performed miracles in Egypt.  The reality is that Miraim and Aaron had been leaders the entire time.  They did not have the titles that these other “leaders” were given (although Aaron was High Priest), but they were just as much leaders, if not even more, than those appointed.  So what happens to Miriam and Aaron when they, as leaders, speak out against Moses, YHWH’s chosen leader?  “…behold, Miriam was  leprous, as white as snow…”  Miriam was the leader in this complaining (hence her name showing up first), so she received the responsibility and the brunt.  She got what she asked for.  She was the leader and she got the punishment.  Even then, her leadership was proven.  She ended up cast out of the camp for a week because of her uncleanness from the leprosy, and the whole congregation refused to leave where they were until she was back where she belonged.  THAT’S what a good leader looks like!  She may not have had the title she wanted, but she was a leader.

Are we so caught up in titles that we lose focus on our purpose?  Do we get upset when someone lower than us is “given” a leadership role we “deserve”?  Be careful what you speak against YHWH’s anointed.  YHWH does not take that criticism lightly.

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 9 – Anniversary

Wow, a year has passed since the people of Israel have come out of the land of Egypt!  So much has happened in all that time.  Now, it is time to look back on all that has happened.  It had been exactly one year previously that the people of Israel had still been slaves in Egypt.  They were celebrating their first Passover and were in wonder of all the miracles God / YHWH had done in their midst and to Egypt.  That night the angel of the Lord / YHWH passed-over the nation of Egypt and took the lives of the firstborn of all who lived.  However, those who were of the lineage of Israel and were celebrating the Passover feast were passed-over and their lives were not taken from them.

Now a year later they look back and see all the miraculous wonders of all that the LORD has done for them since then.  It is an amazing picture that is hard to put into words.  I am almost envious of them of this moment.  How many of us, in a year’s time, get to bee freed from slavery, watch the army of our biggest enemy buried by a sea right after we walk through it on dry land, complain and then see nasty foul water turned pure and clean by a tree placed in it, cross a dessert, come  to the mountain of YHWH, have YHWH speak to you from the mountain and completely shake your world, see a religious system (one of  the longest lasting ever) built in front of your eyes, watched THE tabernacle being built and erected, and a hoard of people become organized into a huge standing army that is about to be led by YHWH in a cloud by day that becomes as a pillar of fire by night?  It’s an amazing picture!

Maybe it’s time to look back on our own lives this past year.  What amazing and miraculous things has He done in and through us this year?  Are you able to come up with 100?  …how about one?  If you are having a difficult time coming up with even one miraculous thing that YHWH has done for you in the past year, maybe it’s time to start asking the question, “Why?”.  Why in a year’s time can I not think of a single miraculous thing that God / YHWH has done for me?  Why does it seem like God isn’t doing anything?  Is it God / YHWH, or is it me / us?

YHWH is always at work.  He is always doing the miraculous.  Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19)  Jesus spent His entire ministry doing the miraculous.  Every life that He came into contact with He touched and affected.  The very last verse of the Gospel of John says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” Jesus was continually doing the miraculous.  So His father… so much more!  If we cant see the work that YHWH has done miraculously in our lives, then we are either ignorant (which is fixed with education) or we are blind, and we need a touch of YHWH’s hand once again to help us see.

Lord, open my eyes and help me to see.  Also, open the eyes of the reader to see as well.  You make the seeing blind and the blind see.  You are a God of miracles, give us the wisdom and knowledge to see!  Thank you Lord / YHWH!  In Jesus name we pray… Amen (let it be done)!

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Numbers 8 – Levites

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.

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Numbers 7 – Dedication

It has come time for the alter to be dedicated and for the priests to do their duties.  The leaders of the tribes of Israel to step up and be leaders.  So they do.  Together they offer 6 carts and 12 oxen for use in the service of the tabernacle.  Then the leader of each tribe comes and offers the offering for a day, each in turn for 12 days.  They all offer the same things.  A silver dish and a silver bowl full of grain and oil, a gold pan full of incense; a bull, a ram, a male lamb one year old for a burnt offering; a male goat for a sin offering; 2 bulls, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs one year old for a peace offering.

I love to see the leaders being leaders!  They stand as not only instructing and directing each of their tribes respectively, but also serving and being an example to them.  They recognize that they have a responsibility to both YHWH and the people that they stand before.  They are the first to offer sacrifice and offering to the LORD and stand both in representation of their tribe, and as an example for their tribe to follow.  Everything is done right, and it is done well.  This is why these men are the leaders of their tribes.  They came first and they came before.  They served, and they served as an example.  They obeyed and they cooperated.  They were truly dedicated leaders.

This was a long chapter going through all of these offerings day by day.  It took me three days to copy over this chapter, but it also allowed me to finally get caught back up with my posting, so now i am once again posting on the same chapter that i am completing.  It’s a nice to be caught back up!

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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 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 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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