Date:         Tue, 27 Dec 1994 09:48:23 -0600
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 11
   1.    Weekly reading, Exodus 6:2-9
   2.    Psalm 147:3
   3.    New Testament, Matthew 3 (part 2)
   4.    From the editor
   5.    Books
1. Weekly reading, Exodus 6:2-9
In the previous chapter, Moses had gone  to Pharaoh to ask for freedom, but
the king did  not allow the people of  Israel to leave Egypt. It  even went
worse  to the people and their slavery became harder. Therefore, Moses said
to God: "Lord, wherefore  hast thou so evil  entreated this people? Why  is
it that  thou hast sent  me? For since  I came to  Pharaoh to speak in  thy
name,  he hath  done evil to  this people; neither  hast thou delivered thy
people  at all." (Exod.5:22,23) What answer  did God give to this complaint
of Moses? He said:  "Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what
I will do to  Pharaoh: for  with a strong  hand shall he  let them go,  and
with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land." (Exod.6:1)
That  is the  story  that  precedes  the  chapters of  this  week.  In  the
following texts, God says that  He surely will lead the people  out because
of His Own allegiance.
   2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
"I am  the LORD". This is the holy Name of God.  It is the translation of a
Hebrew word, which  is always pronounced as  Adonai, but in the text  it is
written as  Yahweh. Who takes this holy Name in his mouth, let he know what
he is  doing. Let him  pay homage to God.  Not only  when he is  using this
Name, but also when using the other Godly Names.
What does this  Name mean? It means  the Independent, the  Selfbeing, being
from  Himself from eternity to eternity. It  means the Origin and the Cause
of the  being of all  things. Therefore,  only the  true God deserves  this
   3 And I appeared unto  Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto  Jacob, by the name
   of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
Does this mean that God appeared unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob only  by the
Name of God  Almighty, but not by the  Name LORD? No, it  cannot mean this,
because already in Genesis  15, God uses His  Name LORD when speaking  with
Abraham. "And he said unto him, I  am the LORD that brought thee out  of Ur
of the Chaldees, to  give thee this land  to inherit it." (Gen.15:7)  There
are  many other places  where God is called  LORD. So, this  text must mean
something else. Let me first  explain the Name of God Almighty. "I appeared
unto  Abraham, unto Isaac, and  unto Jacob,  by the Name  of God Almighty".
This  means  that God  is almighty  to fulfil  His  promises. God  has done
promises to Abraham. He  promised that He would  give him the land  Canaan.
He promised that He would  make his seed like the stars in  multitude. When
God  says of Himself  that He is  almighty, He  means that He  will and can
fulfil His promises, although  He still has  not done it.  But now has  the
time come that the people Israel will be lead out  their land. Now has come
the time  that God shows that He  not only promised these  things, but that
He  also will fulfil them. Abraham had  not seen the fulfilling, nor Isaac,
nor Jacob. Therefore they  did not know God's  Name LORD. You can  see this
also in  the next  verse. God was  known to Abraham  as God  Almighty. That
means, He promised them the land of Canaan.
   4 And I  have also established my covenant  with them, to give them  the
   land  of  Canaan,  the land  of  their  pilgrimage,  wherein  they  were
"And I have also established My covenant with them".  See the covenant with
Abram: "In the same  day the LORD made a covenant  with Abram, saying, Unto
thy seed have  I given this  land, from the  river of Egypt unto  the great
river, the river Euphrates:" (Gen.15:18) See also  the covenant with Jacob.
Isaac calls Jacob, and  gives him the blessing  of Abraham: "And give  thee
the blessing  of Abraham, to  thee, and  to thy seed  with thee; that  thou
mayest inherit the land  wherein thou art a  stranger, which God gave  unto
Abraham."  (Gen.28:4)  The  land  Canaan  is  called  "the  land  of  their
pilgrimage", because  they still  had not inherited  is. Therefore, it  was
the land "wherein they were strangers".
   5  And I have also  heard the  groaning of the children  of Israel, whom
   the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
This groaning of  the children of  Israel, and this  bondage was  foresaid:
"And  he said  unto  Abram, Know  of a  surety  that thy  seed  shall be  a
stranger in  a land  that is  not theirs,  and shall serve  them; and  they
shall afflict them  four hundred years;" (Gen.15:13) When all  things would
go well  in Egypt, there  would not be  any reason to  lead the  people out
their  house.   Without  groaning   and  bondage,   they  would   not  need
deliverance. It is the  same with us. When  we live well in this  world, we
do not need  God. When there  are no oppressions  and no  needs, we do  not
need God  to save us.  Therefore, to us  has to happen  the same things  as
which happened to the  nation Israel. We have to feel the oppression of the
sin while we are  in this world. We have to groan because of our crimes and
bondage by sin and satan.  This story of Israel in  Egypt gives us a  clear
picture of our living in this world. We need to  feel the bondage, and only
then we will pray to God for deliverance.
Further,  God  says:  "I  have  remembered  My  covenant".  This  means:  I
remembered the  covenant with  Abraham, in  which  I promised  to lead  the
people out  their bondage. "And  also that nation,  whom they  shall serve,
will I  judge: and  afterward shall  they come out  with great  substance."
   6 Wherefore say unto  the children of Israel, I am  the LORD, and I will
   bring you out  from under the  burdens of the Egyptians, and  I will rid
   you  out of their  bondage, and I will  redeem you  with a stretched out
   arm, and with great judgments:
Saying:  "I am the LORD" means  that God is not  only the Almighty, Who can
do it. But  He is also the  LORD, Who will do  it. You can see this  in the
text that follows. I am the LORD, "and I will  bring you out from under the
burdens  of the  Egyptians. I  will redeem you  with a  stretched out arm".
This stretched  out arm  means the  great and extraordinary  power of  God,
humanwise expressed by  an arm. Doing great  judgments means that God  will
do  great  and  terrible  punishments  and  plagues,  as  a  proof  of  His
righteousness in judging the sins of the Egyptians.
Reader,  God remains  the same.  He  will also  judge your  sins, even  the
small. Therefore,  seek forgiving  in the  redemption of  Christ to  escape
these terrible punishments.
   7  And I will take  you to me for a people, and  I will be to you a God:
   and ye shall  know that I  am the LORD your God,  which bringeth you out
   from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
What  is the goal  of the deliverance from  Egypt? That the  people will do
their own will? No. The goal is:  "I will take you to Me for a people". The
peoples are  saved to serve  God, to  be God's people.  But there is  more:
"and I  will be to you a God". God promises that  He will take care for the
people.  He is  their God  and will  protect  them against  the surrounding
enemies.  People of  God, listen:  Be always  busy in  serving God  with an
upright  heart, and God will be  your God. Are you  saved from sins? Do not
serve the sins again, but  serve only God. Deny your  own will but do  God'
will. "And I will be to you a God".
Further, God says  that they will know "that I  am the LORD your God". They
will know God as the Faithful. He gives promises and also fulfils them.
   8 And I  will bring  you in unto  the land, concerning  the which I  did
   swear to give it to Abraham,  to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it
   you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
God tells them by all kinds of ways that He is the Faithful. "I  will bring
you  unto the land".  "I am the  LORD". No need for  doubt anymore. Did the
people believe God? Read it in the next verse.
   9 And  Moses spake so unto  the children of  Israel: but  they hearkened
   not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
Moses  spoke the faithful words of God  to the children of Israel, but they
did  not  hear  him.  They  did not  believe  it.  The  Israelites  were so
oppressed  and  brought down,  that  they  rather wanted  to  be under  the
slavery  of  the  Egyptians,  than  that  Moses  would  continue  to  their
redemption. They feared  that the oppression would be still  greater. Moses
had already  gone to the  king, but what was  the result?  More oppression,
harder work. Therefore, they feared, when Moses  would continue, that their
slavery would become harder.
They did not believe in  God. All what they saw seemed to be  against God's
promise. God promised deliverance, but the result was more distress.
They did not  know what the true belief  is. The true belief  is to believe
God,  even when all  becomes worse;  even when we  cannot see  result; even
when all things seem to be against us. To believe  God is to believe Him on
His word, and not to rely on what our eyes see from it.
Through  their unbelief they had a bad  time in Egypt. They were despondent
and  did not  have hope for  the future.  When they had  believed, how much
better  had that  been for  them. When they  had believed,  they would have
hope on God. No  matter how hard the slavery would be, but they had hope on
God. The hope makes the present distress bearable.
2. Psalm 147:3
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
"He  heals  the broken  in  heart". Who  is  He? He  is  the LORD,  see the
previous verse. The LORD heals  the broken in heart, and the LORD  binds up
their wounds.
What is  meant with  "heal"? What  is healing? This  word is  also used  at
other places. "O LORD  my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me."
(Ps.30:2) Here,  healing means that  God has saved him  from the  danger of
death. Often,  the plagues  and the troubles  are compared with  sicknesses
and  wounds.  The  spiritual  and  physical  deliverance  and recovery  are
compared with  healing and regaining  health. "See now that  I, even  I, am
he, and there is no  god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I  wound, and I
heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." (Deut.32:39)
He heals the  "broken in heart". How  do we understand this? Who  is broken
in heart? It might  be clear that not is meant here the  physical broken in
heart,  but the  spiritual broken.  Being broken  in heart  means that your
spirit is  broken down because  of the  troubles and the  misery. "Reproach
hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness:  and I looked for some to
take  pity, but  there was  none; and  for comforters,  but I  found none."
(Ps.69:20)  But it  is  God Who  will heal  the broken  in heart.  In other
words:  it is  God Who  will  comfort the  people  in the  misery. This  is
written for  us. Let we  have our hope  upon God, Who  heals the broken  in
He  "binds up  their wounds".  Compare this  with Luke  4, where  Isaiah is
quoted. "The Spirit of the Lord  is upon me, because he hath anointed me to
preach the gospel to the  poor; he hath sent me to  heal the brokenhearted,
to  preach deliverance  to  the captives,  and recovering  of sight  to the
blind, to set at liberty  them that are bruised." (Luk.4:18) God  heals the
broken in heart.  He preaches the gospel to  the poor to comfort  them. So,
reader, when you are  broken in your heart  because of your huge amount  of
sins,  know, that God is there  to bind up your  wounds. When you feel your
wounds,  come unto the  LORD asking  healing. Do not  leave Him  before you
feel that your wounds are bound and healed.
3. New Testament, Matthew 3 (part 2)
About John the Baptist and Jesus' baptism.
The last  week we say  the beginning of  this chapter, verse  one to eight.
John  was  baptizing  and  preaching.  Many  people came  unto  him  to  be
baptized,  confessing their  sins.  Also the  Pharisees  and the  Sadducees
came.  When John the Baptist sees them coming, he specially speaks words to
them. In  verse eight,  he said:  "Bring forth  therefore  fruits meet  for
repentance." (Matt.3:8)
   9  And  think not  to  say  within yourselves,  We  have Abraham  to our
   father: for I  say unto you, that God  is able of these stones to  raise
   up children unto Abraham.
Do not think to say  in yourselves: We have Abraham to  our father. Why may
they not  think this? It  is because  they relied on  being sons of  father
Abraham.  While they were sons, they meant that they were as holy as father
Abraham.  However,  they forgot  that  being only  sons  of Abraham  is not
enough. One needs also  to do Abraham's works.  Another place tells us  the
same. "They answered and said  unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith
unto  them,  If ye  were  Abraham's  children, ye  would  do  the works  of
Abraham." (Joh.8:39) Also in our times, there are many proud to be sons  of
Israel. Just  if that is  enough in the eyes  of God.  Let we know  that we
need  to do  the holy  works of Abraham.  If not,  we will  be damned, like
Ishmael, who also was a son of Abraham but did not his works. So,  John the
Baptist  says: It is  not enough,  Pharisees and Sadducees,  to be  sons of
Abraham. Do also his  works. He continues saying  that it is not  important
for God if they  are children of Abraham. For, when Abraham had no children
anymore, God is  even able to make  these stones to raise up  children unto
Abraham.  God does not need you, Pharisees and Sadducees! He can make these
stones  to holy  children. This is  also for you  important, reader. Do not
think that God needs you to make this world perfect. Even  without you, God
can make  the stones to  serve Him.  Thinking that  God needs  us makes  us
proud. God  rejects the proud  but gives  grace to the  lowly. When we  are
proud, God will reject and destroy us.
God  is able to make children from those despicable stones. God passes what
has  worth in  itself, and makes  the despicable to  His children. "But God
hath chosen the foolish  things of the world to confound  the wise; and God
hath chosen  the weak things of the world to  confound the things which are
mighty;" (1 Cor.1:27)  God has passed the wise Pharisees and Sadducees, but
He has chosen the weak.
Speaking  about the  stones  makes  an allusion  to  the stony  heart  from
Ezekiel. "And  I will  give them one  heart, and  I will  put a new  spirit
within you; and I will  take the stony heart out  of their flesh, and  will
give them an heart  of flesh." (Ezek.11:19) God  will take the stony  heart
out  of our  flesh, and  will make  us to  the real  sons and  daughters of
Abraham.  Taking away the stony heart means:  I will make from these stones
children unto Abraham. See  also: "A new heart also will I give  you, and a
new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony  heart out
of your flesh,  and I will give  you an heart  of flesh." (Ezek.36:26)  Why
does  John the Baptist and the prophet Ezekiel speak about our stony heart?
Surely not without reason. Our  heart is hard like stone. Stones  point out
the hardness  of our natural  heart. But God breaks  our heart  through His
Spirit. He  makes us serving Him, through  His power. Do you  want to serve
God? You  can try  it in  your own  strength, but you  will never  succeed.
God's power is needed. Ask for it.
   10 And now also the  axe is laid unto the root  of the trees:  therefore
   every tree which bringeth  not forth good fruit is  hewn down, and  cast
   into the fire.
By saying  that the axe is laid unto the  root of the tree, John means that
the day of judgement is  near. The punishment of God is drawing near. Every
tree  that brings  not forth  good fruit  is hewn  down, and cast  into the
fire. That means, everybody who not does the good  works, like Abraham did,
will  be knocked  down, and  cast into  the fire,  that is  into  the hell.
Pharisees and  Sadducees, you glory on  being Abraham's sons  without doing
his good works. You  will be hewn down  and cast into the fire.  Jesus says
at another place:  "If a man abide not  in me," to bring  forth good works,
"he is cast  forth as a branch, and  is withered; and men gather  them, and
cast  them  into the  fire, and  they are  burned."  (Joh.15:6) To  do good
works,  like Abraham did, you need to  abide in Jesus. Reader, notice this.
I say not:  Believe in Jesus without doing good works. That is the doctrine
of many  ignorant name-Christians.  But I  say something  else. Believe  in
Jesus and do also  good works through the  power of Him. Are you  not doing
good  works in  Jesus' power? Reader,  know that the  axe is  laid unto the
root of the trees: therefore  when you bring not forth good fruit,  you are
hewn down, and cast into the fire.
   11 I indeed baptize you  with water unto repentance: but he that  cometh
   after  me is  mightier than I, whose  shoes I am not  worthy to bear: he
   shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
"I  baptize you with water  unto repentance," but  Jesus "shall baptize you
with  the Holy Ghost, and with fire.  John describes the difference between
his  baptism and  Jesus' baptism.  John baptizes  with  water, calling  the
people  up to repentance while  he is  preaching. He cannot  do anymore. He
can only say that the  people have to repent, but  he cannot give them  the
repentance.  Giving  repentance is  the  work  of Jesus  as  God.  He shall
baptize you  with the Holy  Ghost, and  with fire.  The external  preaching
never  leads us,  and cannot lead  us to repentance.  Necessary is that the
Holy Ghost is given  us. John's baptism is  only external, but the  baptism
with  the Holy  Ghost will  save you.  That is  an internal  baptism, which
renews your heart.
There are many places  in the Scripture, where  is written the same.  "John
answered, saying unto them  all, I indeed baptize  you with water; but  one
mightier  than I cometh,  the latchet  of whose  shoes I  am not  worthy to
unloose:  he  shall  baptize  you  with the  Holy  Ghost  and  with  fire."
(Luk.3:16) "For  John truly baptized  with water; but ye  shall be baptized
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Act.1:5)  "Then remembered I the
word of the  Lord, how that he  said, John indeed baptized with  water; but
ye shall be  baptized with the  Holy Ghost." (Act.11:16)  "Then said  Paul,
John  verily baptized  with  the baptism  of  repentance, saying  unto  the
people,  that they should believe on him  which should come after him, that
is, on Christ Jesus." (Act.19:4) All these witnesses testify the same:  The
external  baptism  with water  needs  an  internal baptism  with  the  Holy
"He that comes after me is mightier than I, Whose  shoes I am not worthy to
bear".  Jesus surely  is mightier  than John,  for John only  baptizes with
water but Jesus with  the Holy Ghost and with  fire. John the Baptist is  a
right prophet, a  real child of God. Why? Because  he considers himself not
worthy to bear Jesus'  shoes. Bearing one's shoes  after him is the  lowest
service.  John does  not consider  himself worthy  to do  even  this lowest
service.  Look how  humble he  is.  That is  a true  characteristic of  the
children  of God.  When you do  not see this  characteristic in the people,
you cannot  consider them  to be God's  people. When you  do not  think the
same as John  about yourself, know that you cannot  belong to God's people.
In that case: repent!
   12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly  purge his floor, and
   gather his  wheat into the  garner; but he will  burn up  the chaff with
   unquenchable fire.
In this  verse,  John uses  the  picture of  the  threshing of  corn.  They
threshed the corn by  hitting it with  a fan. The  wheat was gathered  into
the garner, but the chaff was burned with fire. Jesus however did  not have
a floor of threshing, so we need to take this picture spiritually.
The fan is  the shovel by which  man throws up the wheat to  purify if from
the  chaff. The fan  purifies the  food: "The oxen  likewise and  the young
asses that  ear  the ground  shall  eat clean  provender,  which hath  been
winnowed with the shovel  and with the fan."  (Isa.30:24) The fan is  meant
spiritually  to purify the nation Israel:  "And I will fan  them with a fan
in the gates  of the land; I will bereave  them of children, I will destroy
my people, since  they return  not from  their ways."  (Jer.15:7) See  also
another  place: "And will  send unto Babylon  fanners, that  shall fan her,
and  shall empty her land: for in  the day of trouble they shall be against
her round  about." (Jer.51:2) In the  first Psalm, the wicked  are compared
with chaff: "The ungodly are not  so: but are like the chaff which the wind
driveth away." (Ps.1:4)
So,  John says  that the  Judge Jesus  is coming  near to  make distinction
between the  good and the evil.  The good people  will be brought  into the
garner, but the  evil will be burned with unquenchable  fire. The garner is
the place of  the good wheat. It  is the Kingdom of God, in  which the good
are gathered. The fire  is not common fire,  because common fire goes  out.
This fire, however, is  different. It is unquenchable fire.  Here are meant
the eternal  punishments in the hell  for the ungodly.  Compare the prophet
Malachi, who also makes  distinction between the good  and the evil.  "For,
behold,  the day  cometh, that shall  burn as an  oven; and  all the proud,
yea, and all that  do wickedly, shall be  stubble: and the day that  cometh
shall  burn them up,  saith the  LORD of  hosts, that  it shall  leave them
neither  root nor branch. But unto  you that fear my  name shall the Sun of
righteousness arise with healing in  his wings; and ye shall go  forth, and
grow up as calves of the stall." (Mal.4:1,2)
Why has John the  Baptist said this here,  on this place? He had  a special
reason.  In the previous verses, he called up to repentance. He used strong
arguments  to make  sure that the  day of judgement  surely would come. So,
repent you. Our verse is the strongest  argument. Repent you, otherwise you
will  be burned  with eternal  fire.  Also, when  you repent,  you will  be
gathered as  good wheat in God's Kingdom.  He mentions the coming judgement
so that the people  will not rashly forget  his calling to repentance.  The
terror of  the judgement must  urge the  people to  repentance and  belief.
"Knowing therefore  the terror of the Lord, we  persuade men." (2 Cor.5:11)
On the other hand,  the outcome of a righteous life also must  urge them to
a righteous life through the belief in the coming Jesus.
(will be continued the next time D.V.)
4. Books
John Knox, The Reformation in Scotland
Here  is  the  thrilling  story of  the  progress  of  the  Reformation  in
Scotland. These pages  breathe the spirit of excitement and  expectation of
an eyewitness and  participant in the unfolding drama of the work of God in
16th century Scotland.
ISBN 0 85151 358 1
392 pp. Paperback. Illustrated.
Price around $10,00. 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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