Date:         Wed, 14 Dec 1994 09:17:07 CET
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 9
   1.    Weekly reading, Genesis 48:21
   2.    Psalm 41:4
   3.    New Testament, John .3:2,3
   4.    Books
1. Weekly reading, Genesis 48:21
Genesis 48:21
And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but  God shall be with you, and
bring you again unto the land of your fathers.
This history shows us the man Israel at the end  of his life on this earth.
He is  standing before  his death, and  has now called  Joseph and  his two
sons.  Israel  stood  before  his  death.  He knows  this  very  well,  and
therefore  says: "Behold, I  die". That is  the end  of all people  on this
earth.  When  we  have  lived  our  lives,  shorter  or  longer,  the death
irrevocably comes also for us.
While Israel is going, while he is dying, is now  the hope of his sons also
dying with him? No, fortunately not. Israel says: "I die,  but God shall be
with you". People may  die, but God always  lives. While people fall  away,
God stays "with you". It is like Isaiah said: "All flesh is grass, and  all
the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the  field. The grass withereth,
the  flower fadeth: because the spirit of  the LORD bloweth upon it: surely
the people is  grass. The grass withereth, the flower  fadeth: but the word
of  our God  shall stand  for ever."  (Isa.40:6-8) This  is it  what Isaiah
says: The people die a grass, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.
Reader, do you think  about your coming death?  How will it be with  you in
the judgement of God? Are you righteous in God's eyes?
When we  see that  the people get  old and  die, we  can think: "what  will
happen with  mankind?" However, do  not think this, because  God will stand
forever. Rely therefore not on the people, but only on God.
It is as  if Israel says: Yes,  I die, but the truth of  God's promise does
not depend  on me but  on Himself.  God shall  be with you.  Although I  am
going the way  of all flesh,  God will be  with you,  "and bring you  again
unto the land  of your fathers". This  was the promise, and will  surely be
fulfilled.  God's fulfilling does not depend on  the live of Israel, but on
Himself. Let  we  bear this  in our  minds  when we  cannot  see how  God's
promises  will be  fulfilled. When  it seems impossible  to us,  then it is
God's time to stand up and do His work.
Later, Joseph  said the same  to his  brothers. "And  Joseph said unto  his
brethren, I die: and God will surely  visit you, and bring you out  of this
land  unto the  land which he  swore to Abraham,  to Isaac,  and to Jacob."
All people  die, but God will be with us.  All flesh is like grass, but the
Word of God stands forever.
Has God fulfilled this promise, to  bring them back to Kenaan, the  land of
the fathers? Yes, He  has done it. However, in later times,  because of the
sins of the people  Israel, He had to throw them out their  land to diffuse
them  among the heathens. But, in His great  grace, He brought the tribe of
Judah and parts of other  tribes back to their land. However, again because
of  their sins,  God again  had to  throw them  out of  their land  to live
between the heathens. This time, it  lasted thousands of years. But  again,
in God's great grace, He brought them back to Israel, the present state.
We see in this history  the faithfulness of God in sharp contrast  with the
godlessness  of the people.  Therefore, it  is only because  of God's grace
that  we  are still  living  now, not  because  of us,  or  because  of our
Let  us  keep this  in  our minds:  The  people  die, but  God  shall stand
2. Psalm 41:4
Psalm 41:4
I said, LORD, be  merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against
This Psalm  is of  David. At the  moment, he  is ill,  and the enemies  are
around him  expecting his fall.  He is in great  distress. Many,  when they
are  in need, begin to  complain about  themselves. What am  I in distress!
All the other  people have no problems, but look  at me; feel sorry for me!
When they are  ill, like  David here, they  groan and you  cannot speak  to
them. However, with David  it was totally different.  For he said: "I  have
sinned against  Thee". That is  the difference.  He did not  complain about
himself, but  he sought the guilt  of his distress  in his sins.  Surely, a
right thought  of him. It would  be useful for us  to do the same.  When we
get setback after  setback, let we seek  the cause in our  sins; it is  God
who is at work with us, and want to show us our sinful reality.
David  was punished  because of his  sins. He knew  this. Therefore, he did
not begin  to complain about those  punishments. Behind  these punishments,
he  saw the  hand of  God.  Through these  punishments, he  saw his  wicked
nature,  his sins.  Seeing this  is the right  result of  being punished by
Many,  when they  are in  the problems, become  desperate. They  do not see
outcome,  and have not the belief in  God. Being desperate is an infallible
sign of  not having belief in  God. For, when  they had belief,  they would
know  that God  is mighty  to  save them  out their  distress. See  this in
David. He did not  become desperate, but he began  to pray. "I said,  LORD,
be merciful  unto me:  heal my soul;  for I  have sinned against  thee." He
took  his  refuge to  God's  mercy. His  knowledge  of God  saved  him from
becoming desperate, and lead him to take his refuge to Him.
Was  it allowed  for David  to pray  for deliverance  from his  enemies and
needs? Yes, of course this  was allowed. David is even doing this  in verse
11. However, it is not allowed to stay here, and  to ask no more. Often, we
do  so. When we  have problems,  we pray  and ask if  we may be  saved from
those problems, and we  ask no more. This  is very bad.  Let I give you  an
example of this bad practice. When you are ill, and  you do not know how to
recover, you will call  the doctor. What will you ask him? Will  you ask if
he is willing to suppress the symptoms only? I think no. You  will also ask
if he will check you  and will seek the causes of  your illness. Right, the
same is it  with David. He does not only ask  if God is willing to save him
from his enemies, but  he is also and above all asking if God will heal his
soul. That  is the root  of his  problems. He says:  "be merciful unto  me:
heal my soul; for I have sinned  against Thee". He asks for healing  of his
David is saying: "heal  my soul, for I  have sinned against Thee". He  does
not say: I  have sinned against  Thee, but  wait Lord, I  will pay  through
good works. He  does not say this  because he knew  too well that  even his
best works had no worth in God's eyes. He does  not rely on his good works,
but on  the grace of  God, saying:  "Be merciful unto  me", o LORD.  Let we
look at this good example of David, and do the same.
3. New Testament, John .3:2,3
The same (Nicodemus) came  to Jesus by night, and said  unto him, Rabbi, we
know that  thou  art a  teacher come  from  God: for  no man  can do  these
miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Jesus  answered and said unto him, Verily,  verily, I say unto thee, Except
a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
These  two verses follow upon the first verse, where is written: "There was
a  man of the Pharisees,  named Nicodemus, a ruler of  the Jews". This man,
Nicodemus, was  of the Jewish  sect of the Pharisees.  They knew  very well
that Jesus came from God, as  Nicodemus said: "Rabbi we know that  Thou are
a teacher come from God". They  knew it by themselves, but denied it in the
public.  Look how hard their heart was. They saw the miracles which He did;
nevertheless they did not confess in the public that He came from God.
Let we now look  at the third verse. Jesus answered him, saying  that a man
needed  to be born again. Is this  an answer on what Nicodemus said? No, it
is not an answer. Why  did Jesus say this? He said  this, because he wanted
directly to come to  the point. Not wasting  time with speaking about  Him,
but directly to the point of the rebirth.
Jesus answered and said unto him: "Verily,  verily". Why this? Jesus wanted
to prepare  Nicodemus' heart for His  message. Verily, verily;  that means:
surely, what I am saying is true, pay attention to it.
"Except a  man be born  again", he cannot see  the kingdom of God.  What is
this, to be born again? Is this a natural  birth? No, because Nicodemus was
already  naturally born. What does it mean? It means a birth from water and
Spirit. "Jesus answered, Verily, verily,  I say unto thee, Except a  man be
born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of  God."
(Joh.3:5) To be  born again is to get  the spiritual life of  the Spirit of
God. A natural man, not born again, cannot come  in the kingdom of God. God
gives His Spirit in the man; and then he will be born again.
Do  not  think,  reader,  that this  is  something  special  from  the  New
Testament.  It is  taken from  the Old Testament.  See an  example from it,
that God gives His Spirit. "And I will put my  spirit within you, and cause
you to walk  in my statutes, and ye shall  keep my judgments, and do them."
(Ezekiel  36:27) When a man is born  again, he will walk in God's statutes,
and he will keep God's judgements, and do them.
Nicodemus did  not understand  this. "Nicodemus saith  unto him, How  can a
man be born when  he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's
womb, and be born?" (Joh.3:4) Why did he not understand  this? It was not a
common teaching among the Jews of that time, although  Ezekiel had said it.
Also in  present times, the doctrine  of the rebirth is  rejected. However,
without any reason; that means, without any biblical reason.
Let  us accept  this teaching as  a divine teaching:  Except a  man be born
again, he cannot see  the kingdom of God.  Only accepting this teaching  is
not enough. More is  needed. Reader, it is necessary that  also you be born
again; otherwise, you will not enter the  kingdom of God. It is needed that
also  you get the  Spirit of God.  Pray for it, because  you cannot give it
yourself; God's action is needed here.
4. Books
John Calvin, Sermons on Timothy and Titus
Calvin's  expository  sermons to  the  great congregation  of  St. Peter's,
Geneva,  were among the  most sought-after volumes of  the 16th century. In
the  late 1570s, translated from the French, none was more popular than the
"One  Hundred Sermons  on the  Epistles of St.  Paul to  Timothy and Titus"
which appeared for the first time in 1579.
This is a magnificent facsimile of that edition.
ISBN 0 85151 374 3
1280 pp. Cloth-bound.
Price around $55,00. Ask your local bookstore or order from:
   Slaak 4-14
   3061 CS Rotterdam        tel. 31 104111607
   The Netherlands          fax. 31 104136682
   Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
             Editor: Teus Benschop  -
      No copyrights on this publication  -  Translated by a Dutchman
          Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands

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