Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 11:05:21 -0600 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 13 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Exod.13:21,22 2. Psalm 22:16-18 3. New Testament, Matthew 4:1-11 (part 1) 4. Books 1. Weekly reading, Exod.13:21,22 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Exod.13:21,22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. Dear readers, how great is it, when you have the LORD as a defender. When His cloud covers you and protects you against all enemies. How great is it to have such a LORD! Happy are the peoples of God, because nothing evil can happen to them, and nothing harmful. Miserable on the other hand are the peoples who live without God. They have nothing to defend them but themselves, what is a vain protection. How live you? With God or without? I want to show you the nation Israel of old, how happy they were when they submitted themselves to God. These two verses begin with saying that the LORD went before them. Important to notice, that He is called the LORD here. Else is the same LORD called the Angel of God. "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel" (Exod.14:19) The same foregoer is sometimes called the LORD, and sometimes the Angel of God. This Angel is God Himself. The Angel of God is the LORD. Here you see that there are more Persons in the one Godhead. This Angel was the Word of God, namely the Messiah, Who is God's Word, and is called God's Angel. You come inevitably to this doctrine by comparing Scripture with Scripture. "The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way." When the people saw the cloud, they knew the way to go. The cloud, however, still had a more important function. "He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night." (Ps.105:39) The cloud was also for a covering against the heat of the sun. You know that it can be very hot in the desert. Without God's extraordinary help, it is sure that the nation could not stay alive there for a long time. But God dimmed the great sun-heat by his graceful cloud. This cloud was a picture of God's spiritual dimming of the heat of the worldly life. Some people are so attacked by the heat of the world, by the heat of their own sins, by the heat of the enemies, and by other heats, that they would fell dead without God's extraordinary help. God spreads His hand above them, to protect them against the superior powers. Happy are the people, who are protected by God. The LORD also went before the nation "by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night". Blessed are those people, who had God as a Leader, even at night. How would they have found the way without a light? Think also about the wild animals, who would come and tear the people at the borders of the camp. But now, God protected them by a fire in the night. This fire deterred the wild beasts. Happy people, who are led by God at night, by His light. Also now, you need this. When you walk in the night of your own sins, you need God's light to show you the way. When it is dark around you, you need God's light. Happy would you be when you have God at your side. Unhappy are you when you are not of God's people. When you not are for God, then you will be deterred by His fire. When you are for God, you will be protected by the same fire. One fire has distinct consequences. The same cloud protected Israel, and frightened Pharaoh and the Egyptians. When Isaiah speaks about the Branch of the LORD, he also mentions this cloud, spiritually however. In those days the Branch of the LORD will be glorious (Isa.4:2), and the remainder of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be called holy (Isa.4:3). Also God will have washed the filth of His people and cleaned them by His Spirit of judgement and burning (Isa.4:4). "And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence." (Isa.4:5). The grace of God has no end. He is graceful in spite of our sins. I say not that he allows our sins, because He cannot have to do anything with our sins. He is too righteous than that He can see them. He will wash His chosen and make them clean. "He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." God kept on being their Protector. He took not away the cloud by day and the fire by night. Even after the forty years, God keeps being the same. Did He not take away the cloud after forty years? Yes, he took that cloud away, but not the protection of that cloud. The visible cloud and the visible fire protected them against the heat of the sun by day, and the cold of the night. Look at the following promise. Although the visible cloud is away, still the protection is there: "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." (Ps.121:6) You have seen the happiness of God's chosen, but I have to add a warning. Not everybody who receives the temporal benefactions of God receives also eternal life. I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 2. Psalm 22:16-18 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ps.22:16-18 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. Though there are in this Psalm many things which can be applied to David, the author, nevertheless not all things fit on him. For example, when were the hands and feet of David pierced? Therefore, this Psalm has to be applied on the Messiah, Jesus Christ. "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me." With these dogs are meant the people who caught and accused Jesus. "And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled." (Matt.26:57) "And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate." (Luk.23:10,11) "And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed." (Luk.23:23) These people are called dogs and wicked because of their behaviour. Like foolish dogs they accused and surrounded Him. "They pierced my hands and my feet." Were David's hands and feet pierced? I think no. Whose hands were pierced? Christ's hands and feet were pierced when He was nailed unto the cross. When He had stood up from the death, He appeared sometimes to the disciples and the other people. One time, when Jesus appeared, Thomas was not with them. "The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." (Joh.20:25) From Thomas' words is clear that there were great holes in His hands, wherein you could put your finger. "I may tell all my bones". Jesus' body was so stretched out on the cross that His bones stuck out. You could tell them. "They look and stare upon me". While Jesus hung on the cross, everybody saw it. "And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days," (Mar.15:29) "And the people stood beholding." (Luk.23:35) You will notice another seeing on one which hung on the wood. When the children of Israel were in the desert, they were, because of their disobedience, bitten by serpents. God commanded Moses to make a fiery serpent, and to put it upon a pole. Everybody who was bitten, and looked upon it, would live and not die. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Num.21:8,9) The comparison with Jesus hanging on the cross is evident. Because also everybody, who looks upon the crossed Jesus through the belief, will live and not die. You may be bitten by the serpent of the sin, and therefore perish. But through the belief in Jesus, when you look upon Him hanging on the cross, you will live. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (Joh.3:14,15) Also now reader, when you not look upon Jesus, but ridicule at Him, and not accept Him as your Saviour, you will surely perish. It does not matter me if you believe it or not; the truth stays fast. Whether or not you believe it, you will see it. But then it is too late. Therefore, I command you in the Name of God: while you still are in the wilderness of this life on earth, look upon Jesus hanging on the cross, and you will live. You are warned now; your blood be upon you. Choose then the life, while it is offered you. "They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." This applies to the soldiers. "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did." (Joh.19:23,24) "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." (Matt.27:35) The soldiers parted Jesus garments because of their desire for beautiful cloths. So, this is a negative desire. There is, however, another desire for Jesus' garments. This is a very good desire. It is when you receive His' righteousness, the clothes of His righteousness. With your own defiled feigned righteousness, you cannot come before the holy Judge, before the LORD. He only accepts a complete righteousness, which is not found among men. That is why we need the complete righteousness of Jesus, to make us righteousness. Getting His righteousness is called putting on the clothes of Christ's righteousness. 3. New Testament, Matthew 4:1-11 (part 1) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness In the previous chapter, Matthew 3, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. While Jesus came up out the water, He got testimony by the voice of the Father from heaven, and by the Holy Ghost Who came in the form of a dove upon Him. God the Father said about Jesus: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt.3:17) After this, the story continues. 1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Immediately after Jesus had gotten testimony of His father, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The Spirit led Him; the same Spirit who was just given Him in an overflowing degree, see the previous chapter. The devil had no power by himself. You see that the Spirit led Jesus, and He allowed the devil to tempt him. What is that, to be tempted of the devil? It means to be put to the proof. The devil proofs, as you will see in the following, by lie and deceit. Also God proofs a man, namely to test if he is obedient. But God tempts otherwise that the devil. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor.10:13) Why was Jesus tempted? He was tempted to know, according to His human nature, what it was to be tempted. And so He could help His people, when they also were tempted by the devil. "For in that he (Jesus) himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them (the people) that are tempted." (Hebr.2:18) In this verse is spoken about the devil. The word "devil" is the translation of the Greek word "diabolos", what means a slanderer and a false accuser. But this liar has no power anymore; he is defeated. "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Rev.12:9,10) This deceiver is wounded to death, but in this times he still beats with his tail. But it are the last motions. However, his temptations are for us, weak people, not bearable unless we are helped by God. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. This fasting has been a miraculous fasting, what cannot be followed by us. The same was the fasting of Moses (Exod.34:28) and of Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. The tempter came to him. The devil is called the tempter because he tries to bring the people to sins and to backsliding. See Genesis 3, where the same devil tempted Eve and Adam. How does the tempter tempt Jesus here? "If thou be the Son of God", namely as the previous voice testified in Your baptism (Matt.3:17). The satan uses the same technique as he did in the garden of Eden. He throws doubt on God's Words. God said of Jesus: This is My Son. The devil says: If thou be the Son of God. It is as if the devil says: "Yes, God has said that You are His Son, but was that true? Are you really His Son? And if You are, show it me." How had Jesus to show, according to this devilish temptation, that He was God's Son? By making bread of these stones. In the previous verse, you read that Jesus was hungering after forty days and forty nights fasting. So, the devil took Him at this weak place, and there he fell on Him. Make bread, Jesus, and your hunger will be alleviated. Reader, perhaps you do not understand why this was a temptation. Why was it not allowed that Jesus made bread for Himself? Wasn't He a wonder-doer? You will get the answer in the next verse. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Jesus answered saying "It is written". He takes the Scripture as the unshakable base of all truth and belief. Do you the same, reader. Listen not to all heresies of the devil and his human servants, but take the Scripture as God's Word. There is written! This must be enough to close the mouths of all enemies. And when they not believe the Word, than they will see it afterwards, when is it too late. Let not the human reason prevail above the Word, but believe the Word as it is written. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." This means that the bread alone not is enough; more is needed. Bread alone is not enough, but the most important is the blessing, which God can add to the bread. People have not to live like the beasts, who start eating without any thought about God, but the people have to ask God's blessing before they eat. How could this answer resist the temptation of the devil? And wherein consisted the temptation? Was it not allowed for Jesus to make bread, ask God's blessing, and eat? No, this was not allowed. Jesus had to be, and was satisfied with the part which God gave Him. Gave God Him no bread, like now, He was satisfied. Men have to live according to God's will. Jesus did not solve the problem of the hunger, but He relied that God would save Him, whether by bread, or by another means, or without any means. You see here a great difference between Adam and Jesus. Adam had no hunger in the garden of Eden. He had all things which men could wish to have. But he fell on the temptation of the devil, and ate from the forbidden tree. Jesus however was hungry, had nothing, but He resisted the temptation. He fell not. And so was it always. Men sin, but Jesus sins not. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, The devil was the loser in the previous attempt. Now he starts the second. The holy city is the city Jerusalem. He put Jesus on a high place of the temple. 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. The method of the devil is the same: questioning if Jesus is the Son of God. By the way, you can see the influence which the devil has until now on every person who not believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Reader, do you belong to this group of people, who are fallen in this snare of him? Please, save yourself from his claws and believe that Jesus is God's Son. All centuries, the devil says: Jesus is not God's Son. But we know that this liar is a liar from the beginning. Do not believe him lest you die. The content of this temptation is: cast yourself down because God will surely save you. To "prove" that God will save Jesus, the Satan tears a piece of Scripture out of its contexts and quotes it partly. Jesus used the Scripture, saying: "it is written". The devil apes Him, saying the same. Until now, Satan does so. He always apes God's work. Here, he cites a part of Ps.91 "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Ps.91:11,12) He omits the words "to keep thee in all thy ways". With these ways are meant the ways which God has commanded to walk therein. Since God never has commanded to "cast thyself down" from the temple, He also would not give His protection in this way. The ordinary way down from the roof of the temple was by the stairs; not through the air. Ps.91 promises God's protection against all sorts of attacks of the enemy, but not against suicide and damage of oneself. We see therefore that Satan abuses the Scripture. Knowledge of the Scripture is needed, reader, lest you fall in the same snare. I mean a sacred knowledge, which only God can give you. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again is written: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God". This comes from: "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah." (Deut.6:16) The Israelites tempted the Lord in Massah. What was their sin there? They had lack of water. "Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?" (Exod.17:2) They were thirsty, and tempted the LORD. This temptation consisted herein, that they asked proof of God that He would give them water. It were better that they relied on God instead of chiding with Moses. They did not believe that the same God, Who had lead them out of Egypt, also would give them all their needs. They tempted Him saying: "Show now that You are God. Give us water". To tempt God is because of unbelief in God, or because of pride, leave the Godly rule, the good order and the common means, and to follow own pleasure, and to take proof of God, His qualities and will. In Jesus' situation consisted the temptation herein, that the devil would make Him leave the common means of getting down, the stairs, and to go His own ways, casting down from the top. And to test if God would save Him in these unusual way. This was the temptation of Satan. Some examples will make it clear. When someone does not earn his money in the common way, by working, but in a self- chosen way, for example by speculating, that is temptation. Or if you do dangerous things, which God has not commanded. Examples are in the top sport. The people hurt themselves by asking too much of their bodies. They tempt the LORD. Also building unsafe houses, ways and bridges; when you, while doing this, pray if God will save you, you tempt the LORD. Driving in old and unsafe cars on the ways is tempting God. Climbing the mountains through unsafe ways is temptation. There is nearly no end of the examples by which the people nowadays sin in this way. (will be continued D.V. the next time) 4. Books ------------------------------------------------------------------------- J.C.Ryle, Five English reformers The conviction that martyrs, through dead, can still speak to the church, led J.C.Ryle to pen these pungent biographies of five English Reformers. Along with an analysis of the reasons for their martyrdom, he points out the salient characteristics of their lives. ISBN 0 85151 138 4 160 pp. Paperback. Price around $7,00. Ordering: ask your local bookstore or reply this description to the editor, firstname.lastname@example.org - he will forward your order to a distributor. When ordering by reply, include your full name, address, ZIP-code and state and/or country. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - email@example.com No copyrights on this publication - Translated by a Dutchman Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-013.txt .