Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 20:29:11 +0100 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 16 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Exod.25:40 2. Esther 3:2 3. New Testament, John 3:1-21, part 2 4. Books 1. Weekly reading, Exod.25:40 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Exod.25:40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount. This week's Sabbath-reading will be about the tabernacle, the mishkan. Moses got instructions for the form, the materials, and all other things of the tabernacle, how to make it. Besides those instructions, God expressly commands that he should make it after the pattern which he had seen on the mount Sinai. So, when Moses was on that mount, he must have seen a pattern of the tabernacle. There are other texts as well, which say the same. - Exod.26:30 And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount. - Num.8:4 According unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick. - Acts 7:44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. - Heb.8:4,5 There are priests that offer gifts according to the law. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. Exod.26 says that the tabernacle had to be according to the fashion thereof, showed in the mount. Num.8 speaks of the pattern which the LORD showed Moses. Also the New Testaments says the same things. What does that mean, that God showed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle? We use a pattern to make something after that. A pattern is an example for the copy. The pattern showed by God was the real tabernacle, and the mishkan on the earth was the copy of it. Therefore, the tabernacle served as a means by which the people had to think of the real, heavenly tabernacle. Also the whole service of the tabernacle was a copy of the pattern. The offerings, for example, were images of the real offering in heaven. The heavenly, real forgiveness was depicted by the earthly offerings. Those offerings did not give, of course, forgiveness by itself. For, nobody will think that the slaughter and burning of some beast have enough value to pay for the huge sins of the people. It was only a picture of the real forgiveness, which is earned by Christ Jesus' real offering on the cross. That is also the reason, why the offerings have ceased after His death. The whole service in the temple had then ceased. For, what function would that service have after the real offering had taken place? And further, the destruction of the temple has this advantage, that we are hold back from getting stuck in the outward service. So, the more must we direct our eyes of belief to Christ's eternal offering. Before the death of Christ, the tabernacle-service and temple-service had their value. The people could see in it the future perfect offering, when they believed in it. Every day, who wanted could see it. But now, after Christ has died, we have a more clear picture of His death in the Scriptures of the New Testament. So clearly is there described His death and offering, that we no longer need the shadows of the temple. To build the temple again would be a denial of Christ's offering. Let we above all keep the following in mind. The service of the tabernacle was there in old times. And now, also Christ's offering has happened. But that is not enough for the forgiving of our sins. The payment made must also be counted unto us through the faith. For only through faith, God will see us as righteous, and only through faith, payment is made for our sins. Therefore, the personal faith is necessary. Through faith, a man will be counted as righteous. That righteous person will as a result do good works. 2. Esther 3:2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Esth.3:2 And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. The story of Esther, Haman, Mordecai and all the Jews is well-known. Our text shows us Haman, passing through the gate. Everybody bows, but Haman not. Why does he not bow? Because he was a Jew. Real Jews only serve God, and do not give Godly honour to a man. Mordecai was an observing Jew, I think, and therefore he bowed not. However, it came to the knowledge of Haman. "And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath." (Esth.3:5) We know from the course of the story, that Haman intended to murder all the Jews for the only reason that Morcecai bowed not for him. So, Mordecai, by his loyalty to God's law, brought whole his nation in danger of death. Was that a fault of Mordecai? I think no, for how could it be wrong to keep God's commandment? Nevertheless, through his behaviour, he brought all the Jews in great distress. Mordecai must have had great doubts, if he had done well by not bowing for Haman. Had it not been better when he had bowed? Isn't bowing not so great a transgression of the Law? Then all the Jews had been freed from this danger. Yes, but this are human considerations. It is better when we delete those considerations of our own minds, and simply obey God. Why? For, at the end, God has showed that Mordecai had done well. God had turned the whole situation to the favour of the Jews, as we know from the story. Mordecai was obedient, bowed not, and God blessed him at the end. This is also an example for us. Let we, through God's grace, trust Him, and we will not become ashamed. "O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause." (Ps.25:2,3) Mordecai had experienced this. 3. New Testament, John 3:1-21, part 2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This time, we continue and conclude the explanation of John 3, verse 1 to 21. It is recommended that you read it through in its totality. You will then see that the short contents is as follows. Christ teaches Nicodemus about the necessity and the way of the rebirth, and punishes his ignorance in this subject. He uses the example of the serpent of metal to show that He had to be lifted up to save all people, who believe in Him. But those, who not believe in Him will be damned. Last week, we have come to verse eleven. Here follows again that verse, with its explanation. 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. Jesus speaks out his amazement that they not believe the eye- and ear- witnesses. He says: We speak what we know and what we have seen, but you do not believe our witness. It is a bad practice to deny the wisness of the people who have seen it, and to believe yourself, who not has seen it. The Pharisees did so. This a very unreasonable deed, not to believe the witnesses. With "we" are meant Jesus and John the Baptist, for they have seen the spiritual things, and have also spoken about the baptism with water and Spirit. With "we" is also meant Jesus and all the prophets, because they all spoke about the renewal of the heart, as is just proved. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? Jesus makes a difference between the earthly and the heavenly things. The earthly things are easy for us to see, but the heavenly things can only spiritually be seen. So, when Jesus told the common things, which are easy to understand, and they believe not, then they will absolutely not believe the difficult, heavenly things. With the "earthly things", He means that picture, which He showed of the rebirth. He used the behaviour of the wind to explain the spiritual rebirth. He used the earthly wind to explain the work of the Spirit. When they not believe the spiritual rebirth, when it is explained by the earthly wind, how shall they believe if Jesus explained the rebirth by heavenly things, as it is in itself? Jesus' method of explaining spiritual and heavenly things was "earthly". A useful lesson can be learnt by this. When you explain the Scripture, always be plain and clear. 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. Jesus says three things of Himself. 1. He has ascended up to heaven, 2. He came down from heaven, 3. He is in heaven. First, He has ascended up to heaven. He spoke this when He was still on the earth. He had still not ascended corporally up to heaven, so we must understand it not corporally but otherwise. When Jesus says that He has ascended up to heaven, He means that He has penetrated with His mind up to the perfect knowledge of heavenly things - these heavenly things whereof He just was speaking in the previous verse and here. He has the knowledge of the counsel of God concerning the salvation of the people, to reveal it to the people, whereof He spoke in the previous verse. He says: "no man has ascended up to heaven" but I, Jesus. So, no man can come with his reason up to heaven. The human reason is too weak to penetrate into heavenly things. Only Jesus can teach us the heavenly, spiritual things, and therefore, to do that, He came down from heaven. Secondly, He came down from heaven. When did He come down? Jesus came down when He was born of Mary. He added the human nature to His person, and as a result, the one Person Jesus has now two natures: a Godly and a human nature. Thirdly, He is in heaven. While Jesus was speaking this, He was on the earth. How then could He say that He was in heaven at the same moment? It is possible because of the two natures which He has. To His human nature, He was on earth when He spoke this. But to His Godly nature, he fills both heaven and earth, for God is everywhere. Therefore, when He ascended up to heaven, and when it seemed that He would leave His people on earth, He said: I will never leave you. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matt.28:20) 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: The Son of man compares Himself with the serpent in the wilderness. Like that serpent was lifted up, even so must Jesus be lifted up. Let we first look at that serpent in the wilderness. What was the reason for it to be lifted up? "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 goal of lifting up the serpent was, that everybody who wanted could see it and live. Who looked upon the serpent lived. So, that serpent was for the deliverance of the people. Without that serpent, they would have died, but now, there was deliverance from death. "Even so must the Son of man be lifted up". Even so, who look at Jesus, being lifted up on the cross, will surely live. He will be delivered from death. That is also the explanation which Jesus Himself gives of it in the next verse. 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Whosoever believes in Jesus should not perish because of his sins, but have eternal life. Jesus' deliverance is even better then that in the wilderness. For, in the wilderness they only got a temporal life, but Jesus offers us an eternal life. There are more texts, which teach the same. "Every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life." (John 6:40) Also the Old Testament commands to look upon God. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isa.45:22) Look now no longer at the serpent, but "look unto Me", says God, "and be ye saved". You are not saved by your works, but by looking unto God. That is, believe in God and you will be saved. While Jesus is God, believe in Him, and be saved, and get eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. How much must God have loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, His beloved Son! Who is there, who would do that? Giving your only beloved son to save your enemies? "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom.5:8) Jesus has said this two times to Nicodemus, namely in the previous, and in this verse. Why two times? For Nicodemus was of the Jews, who tried to be saved through the works. Therefore, Jesus repeats: Not through works but through the belief will one be saved. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom.3:28) 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. That is the first task of the Son, namely to save the world. His task was not to condemn the world. When nevertheless the world will be condemned, it is because they believe not in Jesus, the Son of God. So, it is a by- effect of Jesus' coming, not His first task. "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luk.9:56) 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He that believes on Jesus is not condemned, because through that belief, he becomes a righteous man, and will do, as a result of that righteousness, good works. The belief is decisive. Who believes is saved, but who not believes in already condemned. The unbelievers will not be condemned in the day of judgement, but now. Still now, through their unbelief in Jesus' Name, they are already condemned. Therefore, reader, believe in Jesus to your salvation. Not a belief, which consists only in words, but a true belief. A faith which is in your heart, and will be visible in your whole life. The believer will lead a life according to God's law, that is according to God's will. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The explanation of this verse is as follows: This is the condemnation, that Jesus is come into this world. But men loved to stay far of Jesus rather then to come close to Him, because they always transgressed the law. When Jesus is preached, and we do not go there, to the light, then we stay far of Him. Why? Because we do not need Him. Jesus is the Light of the world. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. The evildoer will not come to the light, for he thinks that too dangerous. It might happen that, through the bright light, his evil deeds would become visible. Then everybody would see how evil they were. The sinner thinks this too dangerous. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. Who knows that he does truth and good, will boldly come unto Jesus, the Light of the world. Everybody may see his deeds, and everybody will be a witness that his deeds are wrought in God. The knowledge that our deeds are done in God gives us a free conscience. We fear nobody, because there is nothing to fear. God is reconciled with us. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom.8:31) 4. Books ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity This volume is one of Thomas Watson's complete "Body of Practical Divinity" One of the most precious of the peerless works of the Puritans, and those best acquainted with it prize it most. ISBN 0 85151 383 2 300pp. Large Paperback. Price around $10,00. Ordering: ask your local bookstore or reply this description to email@example.com - Your order will be forwarded to a bookshop. 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-016.txt .