Date:         Tue, 10 Jan 1995 11:05:21 -0600
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 13
     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
  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
  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
  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
  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
     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
     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
     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,  -  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  -
        No copyrights on this publication  -  Translated by a Dutchman
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands

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