Date: Tue, 27 Dec 1994 09:48:23 -0600 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 11 Contents -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 Name. 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 strangers. "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." (Gen.15:14) 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 heart. 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 Spirit. "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: Lindenberg 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-011.txt .