Date:         Mon, 16 Jan 1995 11:24:02 -0600
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 14
     1.    Weekly reading, Exod.20:18,19
     2.    Isaiah 9:5
     3.    New Testament, Matthew 4:1-11 (part 2)
     4.    Books
  1. Weekly reading, Exod.20:18,19
  And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise
  of  the trumpet, and  the mountain smoking:  and when the  people saw it,
  they removed, and  stood afar off. And  they said unto Moses,  Speak thou
  with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
  The nation Israel has  come to the lawgiving at the  mountain Sinai. They
  have seen the terrible holiness of God, Who does not allow any sin. He is
  holy, and  He shows it by signs understandable  for the people. The whole
  nation saw the  thunderings, and the lightnings. God uses  the weather to
  show  His signs. Also in our times, He does the same. Let we keep this in
  mind, when  it is  thundering and  lightning. These  are God's  signs, by
  which He shows His holiness, majesty and power. The people also heard the
  noise of  the  trumpet, that  is the  shofar.  This was  not an  ordinary
  trumpet, but  it was  God's sound. The  mountain also  smoked because  of
  God's presence  there. All these  great sins  had as a  goal to  show the
  people  God's holiness. They had to be brough away from the idea that God
  is only a  lovely Father. He also is  righteous, holy, majestuous, truth,
  high,  terrible. When we  hear the  Commandments, we ought  to have these
     "When the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off."  Who would
  not be frightened  by seeing and  hearing those signs of  God's presence?
  They now saw and heard signs of God in His pure majesty. Who will be able
  to stand  upright when God shows His  power? Nobody! God is  so holy that
  people cannot  see or  hear  Him and  stay  alive. They  felt  this,  and
  therefore they removed, and stood afar off.
     "And they said  unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and  we will hear: but
  let not God speak with us, lest we die." They were so frightened by God's
  majesty, that they  knew that they could not  exist before Him. Therefore
  they asked Moses as a mediator between them and God. "Speak thou with us,
  but let  not God speak with  us". We see here,  that there needs  to be a
  mediator between  man and  God, lest he  dies. God  is so  holy, that  he
  cannot have directly  to do with the  unholy people. The holiness  of God
  would devour us because of our sins.
     We can learn something of this.  Many people always say that they  not
  need a mediator between God and them. But in this text they will see that
  they will die without someone between them  and God. In the desert, Moses
  was the man who stood  between God and man. In later times,  the prophets
  brought God's words to the people. But in the times of the New Testament,
  it is Jesus Christ, Who is the Mediator between God and people. He is the
  chief of all the prophets, and the only Saviour we have. Who would try to
  go to God without Him will be devoured. The  office of the Messiah, Jesus
  Christ is fore-depicted in Moses.
  2. Isaiah 9:5
  Isaiah 9:5
  For unto us a child  is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government
  shall  be upon  his shoulder:  and his  name  shall be  called Wonderful,
  Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
  The rabbis  of  old times  have rightly  connected this  verse with  this
  week's reading. The  coming Sabbath you  will hear of the  legislation at
  Sinai, and of the impossibility for man to keep the law. They asked Moses
  as the  mediator between  them  and God.  Rightly,  the old  rabbis  have
  connected  this  verse of  Isaiah  with  the  reading.  For here,  Isaiah
  prophecies the coming  of the new Mediator.  That Child, Who is  born, is
  called Wonderful and Counsellor.  But above that, He is also  called God,
  yea, even the everlasting Father. This cannot be  only a man, but He must
  be also God.  For only God is  called mighty God, and  only God is called
  everlasting Father. This prophecy speaks about the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
  For, as you know, the New Testament teaches us that Jesus is both God and
  man. This teaching justly fits this prophecy, which also speaks about one
  who is both man and God. He is man,  because he is called a child who  is
  born. God cannot  be born like a  man, because He is  everlasting. Isaiah
  also speaks about  God, because he calls Him God and everlasting. When we
  therefore this prophecy say in our own words, we get the following:
  "For unto us a child is born",  namely Jesus Christ, who was born  of the
  virgin Mary.  "Unto us a  son is given",  namely Jesus Christ  the Son of
  David. "And  the government  shall be  upon his shoulder",  because Jesus
  Christ is made  the ruler over his kingdom. "And His name shall be called
  Wonderful", because Jesus Christ did many wonders in the time that He was
  on  the earth.  "Counsellor",    because Jesus  Christ  gives counsel  to
  everybody who asks Him for it. "The  mighty God", because Jesus Christ is
  God, and has all powers both in heaven and on the earth. "The everlasting
  Father",   because Jesus  Christ was God,  is God, and will  be God. "The
  Prince of Peace", because He gives His peace to everybody who believes in
  Him, and  confesses Him as the given Mediator between  God and us, and as
  the Messiah of God.
  3. New Testament, Matthew 4:1-11 (part 2)
  The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (part two)
  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. In the  fourth chapter, we  have seen the  last time that  the
  devil tempted Jesus. First he tempted  Him by saying that He Himself  had
  to make bread to alleviate His hunger. Secondly, the temptation consisted
  in perverting the Scriptures by keeping silent  about a part of the text,
  and saying that Jesus had to jump down from the temple.  In the following
  text, the devil starts the third temptation.
     8 Again, the  devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and
     sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
  "The devil takes Him  up into an exceeding high mountain."  And from that
  very high place, he "shows  Him all the kingdoms". We know that  there is
  no mountain, whereof you can see the whole world. Therefore, there is not
  written that  he showed  all the  world,  but "all  the kingdoms  of  the
  world". We have to  take the exceeding high  mountain literally. So,  the
  devil took  Him op  unto mount Nebo  (806 metres)  or mount  Hermon (2814
  metres), or any other high mountain. And while they were on the mountain,
  the devil  showed Jesus all  the worldly glory  in the spirit.  This is a
  common temptation  of the devil. He  often tempts people  by showing them
  the worldly glories. But who is  taught by God will know that this  world
  is vain, and  vanishes away. The Scripture says about this world, and its
  glory: "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower
  of grass. The grass  withereth, and the flower thereof falleth  away." (1
  Pet.1:24) But  Satan, in his  never-ending opposition  to the  Scripture,
  tries to show the glory as if it was solid and everlasting. A comfortable
  house, a loving wife, a good husband, a good job, lovely children, a safe
  country,  a nice  car, etc., all  this vanishes  away, and is  idle. "All
  flesh is grass, and  all the goodliness thereof is  as the flower of  the
  field. The  grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the
  LORD bloweth  upon it: surely the  people is grass.  The grass withereth,
  the flower  fadeth:  but  the word  of our  God  shall stand  for  ever."
     9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee,  if thou wilt
     fall down and worship me.
  He said unto  Jesus: "All these things will I give  thee". The Satan here
  arrogates himself a power which he not has, for only God gives all things
  to whom He wills. "I have made the earth, the man  and the beast that are
  upon the ground, by my  great power and by my outstretched arm,  and have
  given it unto whom  it seemed meet unto me." (Jer.27:5)  So, if one needs
  some  things of this earth, like food or a  place to live, or cloths, let
  him ask God. He does not need any other.
     All these things will I give thee, "if thou wilt fall down and worship
  me". All  centuries, the  satan has  done  it so.  He promises  all  vain
  things, when you only will worship  him. There have been people who  sold
  their soul and salvation to Satan, in order that he gave them some power,
  or any  other vanishing and temporal  thing. Here, he  tempts even Jesus.
  Jesus came unto the world  to save the world  through His payment by  the
  cross and the death and His resurrection. But here, the Satan tempts Him,
  saying: "You need  not to go that difficult way.  When you only fall down
  before me, and worship me, I will  give you all the world. Why  would You
  do it  difficult,  while  it is  also possible  in  this easy  way?"  The
  temptation consisted herein, that Jesus would transgress the Commandments
  by worshipping any other than God,  and secondly that Jesus would  choose
  another way to save the world, than ordered by God.
     There is another  temptation of the satan,  which has also to  do with
  our  salvation. While  the Old  Testament  abundantly shows  the  need of
  sacrifices  for the forgiving  of our sins,  yet, the Jews  are fallen in
  satan's  snare, and  now believe  that it  is also  possible  without any
  sacrifice. Reader, when  you also are fallen in this point, then I advise
  you to turn back from  that snare. You need a sacrifice,  because that is
  the way which God commanded. While the animal sacrifices have ceased, you
  need the only  offering of Jesus Christ, the  Sacrifice for everybody who
  believes in Him. And when you reject His sacrifice, I say you, that there
  is not any other possibility for you to have your sins forgiven. You will
  then receive God's severe punishment, which is too dreadful to speak well
  about it.
     10  Then saith  Jesus  unto him,  Get  thee hence,  Satan:  for it  is
     written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only  shalt thou
  Jesus, as  the Victor, resisted  the temptation, and  conquered him. "Get
  thee hence, Satan". Satan is  the adversary, the opponent, the hater.  He
  is called so because he is the enemy of all people.
  "It is written:  Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,  and him only shalt
  thou serve".  This quotation comes  from: "Thou  shalt fear the  LORD thy
  God, and serve him." (Deut.6:13) The same is written in: "Thou shalt fear
  the LORD thy  God; him shalt thou  serve, and to him shalt  thou cleave."
  (Deut.10:20) Fearing  God involves worshipping  Him. You shall  not serve
  Satan, but only God.
     11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered
     unto him.
  Jesus resists the devil, and as  a result "the devil leaves Him". In this
  example we see how true it is what James wrote: "Resist the devil, and he
  will flee from you." (James 4:7)  See also Peter, when he writes that  we
  have to resist the devil. "Be sober, be  vigilant; because your adversary
  the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he  may devour.
  Whom resist stedfast in the faith." (1 Pet.5:8,9)
     "Behold,  angels came  and ministered  unto him".  The angels  are the
  messengers of God. They are called good spirits because they are sent out
  by God to execute His orders. "Bless  the LORD, ye his angels, that excel
  in  strength, that do his commandments, hearkening  unto the voice of his
  word." (Ps.103:20) These  obedient spirits, the angels, came  to minister
  Jesus. Jesus  was hungry, what  was one  of the causes  for the devil  to
  tempt Him. But now, after Jesus  had gotten over, He needed no  longer to
  be hungry.  He also  did  not need  to make  bread for  Himself from  the
  stones. Because of His relying on God His Father, God sent His messengers
  to serve Him. They gave Him all what He needed.
     Let us draw some  good lessons from this story. It is not allowed that
  we  help ourselves without  relying on  God. By the  way, all  what we do
  without faith  is sin. Who  does not have  the faith, cannot  please God.
  Therefore, all what  we do in our life,  we need to do  it in faith. Yes,
  also our daily work. Also when we eat our food, which is given us by God,
  and which  needs His blessing.  "Therefore take no  thought, saying, What
  shall  we eat?  or,  What shall  we drink?  or, Wherewithal  shall  we be
  clothed? (For  after all  these things  do the  Gentiles seek:)  for your
  heavenly Father knoweth that ye have  need of all these things. But  seek
  ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all  these things
  shall be added unto you." (Matt.6:31-33)
  4. Books
  John Bradford, The writings of John Bradford
  Although converted to Protestant Christianity only in 1547, imprisoned in
  1553 and burned to  death in 1555, Bradford in the  influence of his life
  and preaching belonged among the foremost of the English Reformers.
  2 Volume Set ISBN 0 85151 359 X
  Vol 1 604 pp. Vol 2 480 pp. Cloth-bound.
  Price around $42,00.
  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

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-014.txt