Date:         Tue, 31 Jan 1995 20:29:11 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 16
     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
  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
  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
  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."
     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
  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  - 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  -
                      No copyrights on this publication
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands

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