Date:         Tue, 7 Feb 1995 10:23:22 +0100
Reply-To:     t.benschop@pobox.RUU.NL
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 17
     1.    Weekly reading, Exodus/Shemot 28:1
     2.    Psalm 49:21
     3.    New Testament, Hebrews 10:19-39, part 1
     4.    Books
  1. Weekly reading, Exodus/Shemot 28:1
  Exodus/Shemot 28:1
  And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother,
  and his sons with him,
  from among the children of Israel,
  that he may minister unto me in the priest's office,
  even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.
  We now come to  the second part of the service of  the Law, namely to the
  priest's office. We must keep in mind  that we must have a closer look at
  three things: the tabernacle, the priest's office and the sacrifices. And
  indeed,  the whole  brilliance of  the  tabernacle, as  described  in the
  previous chapters  of the Law,  would be an  empty splendour  without the
  priest.  The priest  intervened thus  that he,  reconciling God  with the
  people, in  a sense connected heaven  with the earth.  That the Levitical
  priests wore the picture of Christ is above all doubt, because they were,
  considering their task, more outstanding  than the angels. And that would
  absolutely be  not suitable, when they not were  the pictures of Him, Who
  Himself  is the head of  the angels. It  is true that,  among the heathen
  nations, the priests were leaders of the holy things, but in reality only
  deceitful phantoms, for there is not made mention of a Mediator  in order
  that the people  would know that God is  reconciled in no other  way, and
  that the prayers are heard in no other way, then that a Reconciler stands
  between God and men.
     The principle of  the Levitical priesthood is totally  else. Here, the
  Israelites  are taught  that they  all  were unworthy  to  put themselves
  before the  face of  God. And that  therefore was  needed a  Mediator who
  would reconcile God. They had already received the  general rule that all
  had to be  according to, and had to be brought back,  to the pattern what
  was showed to  Moses on the mount.  Therefore, their hearts had  to raise
  higher. This was also easily to gather from many notions. The whole crowd
  saw a man  like themselves, who not could enter the sanctuary trusting in
  own innocence, and whose worth laid in  the additional things, namely the
  anointing and clothing. So, there glittered not the whole truth, but only
  an image, what had to point  to the complete truth. Therefore, they  were
  without  doubt warned  in  order that  they not  would get  stuck  in the
  earthly things.  And  further,  an  explanation was  added,  because  the
  promise  of  the  Priest,  who would  finally  come  after  the  order of
  Melchizedek, only would be fixed when it would be applied to the Messiah.
  See for  this promise  the Psalm:  "The  LORD hath  sworn, and  will  not
  repent,  Thou art  a  priest for  ever after  the order  of Melchizedek."
  (Ps.110:4)  In this  verse, there  are  done two  things. First,  God has
  "sworn", and secondly,  he is  priest "forever".  So, here, by  a way  of
  contrast,  the  Levitical  priesthood  is  compared  with  another  which
  differed  from it.  The priesthood  after  the order  of  Melchizedek was
  "forever", so the Levitical was  temporal. The priesthood after the order
  of Melchizedek was consecrated by an oath, so it excelled the Levitical.
     It is  without doubt that David, while he  is a reliable explanator of
  the Torah, had showed more clearly  what was darkly pictured there. Until
  now, we have heard that the Levitical priesthood was posed to be a shadow
  of the true Mediator. Now it would be worthwhile to indicate  shortly the
  characteristics,  through which  the only  and  eternal Son  of  God, our
  Priest, must be  discerned from the old priests. We have already seen the
  first  difference; the  picture was  temporal.  For the  lasting  must be
  sought in the truth. From this we learn that there was not established by
  Moses a priest's office that would keep on for always, but that  it would
  lead the nation  to a better expectancy.  What is said about  this matter
  can suitably be applied to the persons. Under the Law, there was only one
  High Priest, and one from his  family would follow him up later,  because
  they all were  mortal. Nobody  but Christ was  therefore a suitable  High
  Priest  for nobody  else  could  keep  on eternal.  This  is  the  second
  difference.  The third  is  located in  the Godhead  of  Christ. This  is
  confirmed by the fact that the priest after the order of  Melchizedek has
  no beginning. For men  do not find the origin of  Melchizedek. Only once,
  and suddenly, he is put in the centre, as if he came falling from heaven.
  The  fourth  difference  is  the  combination  of the  kingship  and  the
  priesthood. Under the Law, God wanted that the one was king and the other
  priest, and it  was not allowed to mix the one task with the other. Well,
  with the honorary title  of king is He  honoured, of who is  said that He
  would be  Priest in  the stead of  Melchizedek. The fifth  difference is,
  that the priest under the Law appeared before the face of God only in the
  visible sanctuary;  but Christ  penetrated into  heaven in order  that He
  would  present us to the Father, not in the outward signs of the precious
  stones, but in reality. He does  so, that we all may be gathered together
  to God in Christ as our Head. The sixth difference is lain in the perfect
  righteousness of Christ. For the  priest under the Law needed, because he
  was one of the sinners, to pray for  grace for himself. But Christ, being
  undefiled by any guilt, achieves for us the grace through His purity. The
  seventh difference was that the  priest derived from the outward pictures
  those things,  which are come  to truth and  reality in Christ.  The holy
  clothes indicated something more then  humanly. The anointment was a sign
  of the  Spirit Who  dwelled in  Christ. Therefore,  He  was not  hallowed
  through outward and transient oil, but through the  fulness of all gifts.
  The  old priest  refrained  from the  intercourse with  a  woman when  he
  entered  the sanctuary. It was him  only permitted to take  a virgin to a
  wife. But in Christ,  the complete and  spiritual cleanness is enough  in
  itself. The eighth and last difference lays in the offerings itself. This
  will be  a longer topic,  but for now, it  must be known that  Christ not
  through the  blood of animals, but  through His own blood  has reconciled
  the world.
  2. Psalm 49:21
  Man that  is in honour,  and understandeth not,  is like the  beasts that
  In  this last  verse  of the  Psalm,  the  prophet repeats  in short  the
  intention of  this Psalm. It  may be that  the wicked men become  rich in
  their lives, that  they become proud and  high, that they are  in honour,
  but their end is like the beasts who perish.
     In  their lives  they  do evil  instead  of doing  good, surround  the
  righteous  to oppress him  instead of helping  him, trust  in their goods
  instead in God, boast themselves on the multitude of their riches instead
  on  God's  grace, think  that  their houses  will  be forever  instead of
  knowing that all here beneath is temporal, call the lands after their own
  names instead using names like "With  God's help" or "This must be  left"
  or the like. They act like the beasts who  not understand that there will
  be  an end of the life in  this lower part. They use  not the wisdom like
  the prophet did: "My mouth shall  speak of wisdom; and the meditation  of
  my heart shall  be of understanding." (Ps.49:4) They  act like the beasts
  whose most important goal it is to fill their bellies with food, and when
  that is done, they lay themselves down. So do the wicked. They fill their
  bellies with food, their heads with vain honour, their purses with money,
  their lands with houses, and forget  that they have a soul to look after.
  They understand not that there is a God, or they  will not understand it.
  They  think not  about  a day  of judgement,  where they  will  be judged
  according to God's law. "Have you honoured  God instead of yourself? Have
  you loved  the LORD  with your  whole heart,  soul and  powers? Were  you
  reconciled  with God  through the  forgiving of  your sins?"  The ungodly
  forget this; their own goal is becoming rich and fat.
     This their  way is their  folly, yet their  posterity do the  same and
  approve their words. Silly and thoughtless.
     The life and death of the understanding  is otherwise. It is true that
  they  have many sorrows and distress in this  life, but their end will be
  good. The wicked will die forever,  but God will redeem the souls of  the
  godly from the power of the grave, and He will receive them. Let they not
  fear when a man becomes rich and when the glory of him is increased. For,
  at the end of his life,  when he will die,  he shall carry nothing  away.
  His  glory  will  not descend  after  him.  Man that  is  in  honour, and
  understands not, is like the beasts that perish.
  3. New Testament, Hebrews 10:19-39, part 1
  The apostle here begins the second  part of the letter to the Hebrews. In
  the first  part, he  wrote about  the excellence  of the  Person and  the
  offices of  Christ, using a very  godly style. This  second part contains
  the incentives to the due  obligation of the believers, namely  the faith
  and the christian conversation.
  In the rest of this tenth chapter, he urges them to
  - boldness in the belief (19-22),
  - firmness in the confession (23-31),
  - patience in the oppression (32-39).
     19 Having therefore,  brethren, boldness to enter into  the holiest by
     the blood of Jesus,
  "Having therefore".  This word  "therefore" makes  clear that there  is a
  connection with the previous versees. What is the connection? The apostle
  has presented until now  the Person and the offices of  Jesus Christ, the
  Mediator. His last words about Him  were written in the last verse:  "And
  their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of
  these is,  there is  no more  offering for sin."  (Heb.10:17,18). "Having
  therefore, brethren, boldness". So, why  do we have boldness? Through the
  blood of Jesus, that is because there is remission of sins  (last verse),
  that is because  the sins and the  iniquities will no more  be remembered
  (verse 17).
     "Boldness". This  is freedom in  the mind, freedom in  the conscience.
  One does  not feel  himself guilty,  but acts  in the  belief that it  is
  allowed to "enter into the  holiest". The boldness rests on the remission
  of sins "by the  blood of Jesus". Under the old covenant,  the common man
  was not allowed to  enter into the holy; certainly not  into the holiest.
  But under the new covenant, we may enter by Jesus' reconciling blood.
     "To enter into the holiest". What does this mean? It is  going through
  faith, hope and prayers, straight  unto God in heaven. We have therefore,
  brethren, boldness to  enter into  the holiest, that  is heaven, "by  the
  blood of Jesus".  In the service of  the temple, the priest  depicted the
  remission  of  sins  by offering  goats  and  calves,  but Jesus  did  it
  otherwise. Of Him is said: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but
  by his own blood he entered in  once into the holy place, having obtained
  eternal redemption for us." (Heb.9:12) The offering of Jesus on the cross
  has obtained an  eternal redemption, in contrast  to the offerings, which
  had always to be repeated, and never were enough.
     20 By a new and living way,  which he hath consecrated for us, through
     the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
  We have now boldness to go to God "by a new and  living way". This way is
  new. This  word "new" means  here, according  to the  Greek word,  "fresh
  slaughtered".  Here is  meant the  sacrifice  of Jesus,  which  was fresh
  slaughtered and always  remains effective. The way  is also "living". Why
  is the way living? Because Jesus is living. "I am  the living bread which
  came  down from  heaven: if  any  man eat  of this  bread, he  shall live
  forever." (John 6:51) The way of the belief in Jesus is living, and gives
  life. Jesus is also called a "way" to God,  because we have access to God
  through Him  and His merits, like  by a way. "Jesus saith unto  him, I am
  the way, the truth,  and the life: no man cometh  unto the Father, but by
  me." (John 14:6) The believers  enter into the holiest "through the veil,
  that is to say, His flesh". Why is Jesus' flesh compared with the veil of
  the temple? The  veil in the temple  covered the ark of  the covenant and
  the mercyseat, and  the whole holiest. Likewise  Jesus' flesh covered His
  godly  nature. He  was  God, but  His human  body covered  that somewhat.
  Through His body, which was crucified, redemption of sins is made, and we
  have access unto God.
     21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
  We have Jesus as a  High Priest over God's house. The priest  offered for
  the  reconciliation  of  the  sins.  Likewise  Jesus  offered Himself  to
  reconcile our  sins. "Who  needeth not daily,  as those high  priests, to
  offer up sacrifice,  first for his own  sins, and then for  the people's:
  for this  he (Jesus) did  once, when  he offered up  himself." (Heb.7:27)
  With "the house of God" is meant  the whole congregation of God. Hebr.3:7
  says that we are  God's house when we stay in  the belief. "The house  of
  God, which is the church of the living God." (1 Tim.3:15)
     22  Let us draw  near with  a true heart  in full assurance  of faith,
     having our  hearts sprinkled from  an evil conscience, and  our bodies
     washed with pure water.
  The  connection with  the previous  verses  is thus.  We  have, brothers,
  boldness to go to God in faith (verse 19) by the way of  Jesus' sacrifice
  (verse 20), and  having Jesus as a  High Priest over the  congregation of
  God (verse 21), "let us draw near  with a true heart in full assurance of
  faith" (this verse). A true heart means an unfeigned, upright  mind. Full
  assurance  of faith  means  that  we draw  near  without doubt.  For  who
  believes  will not  doubt, but the  matters are  for sure. "Faith  is the
  substance  of  things  hoped  for,  the  evidence of  things  not  seen."
  (Heb.11:1) Believing wherein? We believe in Jesus Christ, namely that His
  sacrifice is done also for us, and that His righteousness is counted also
  to us.
     This faith  gives two  things. Our hearts  will be sprinkled,  and our
  bodies  washed. Both  the  inward and  the  outward man  will  be washed.
  Formerly, we had an evil conscience, and  dared not to draw near to  God.
  But now, having our heart cleansed from  an evil conscience, we serve God
  in boldness. Also our bodies are washed, like is foresaid by the prophet:
  "Then will  I sprinkle clean water upon you, and  ye shall be clean: from
  all  your  filthiness, and  from  all your  idols,  will I  cleanse you."
     This verse  shows us that God  will wash the whole man.  The whole man
  must be pure, both from the  inside, the heart, and from the outside, the
  body.  The heart  must be purified  by the  belief, and also  the outward
  works must be visible. Both are necessary, and God will give them both to
  His  chosen. Let we keep this in  mind. When we meet someone, and he says
  that he has the belief, and he has not the good works, we know that he is
  misleading  himself. For he  lacks the good  works. When we  on the other
  hand meet someone,  and he  says that  he is righteous  through his  good
  works, we know  that he is misleading  himself. For he lacks  the belief,
  the cleansing of his heart.
     23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for
     he is faithful that promised;)
  "Let us hold fast  the profession of our faith". The  apostle here writes
  to a congregation who was  in many oppressions. Therefore, they could  be
  tempted to  say: "Let we  not show  our faith to  the world, lest  we are
  persecuted." Many think so, that it  is enough to have the faith only  in
  the heart.  The apostle however,  says otherwise. Also  the profession of
  faith is necessary,  therefore, "let us hold  fast the profession of  our
  faith".  Compare this  with Daniel  the  prophet, who  prayed  before his
  opened window, in the sight of everybody who wanted to  see it, even when
  he knew that the death  penalty would be the result of it. He  truly held
  fast  the profession  of his  faith, yes,  also "without  wavering". This
  great man, full of belief, given him  by God, will be an example  for us.
  Let  us  therefore profess  our  belief  without  wavering,  even in  the
  greatest dangers. Why do  we not need to waver? "For he (God) is faithful
  that promised". God is faithful  to fulfill what He promised. He promised
  the salvation  through Christ's  merits, whereon  our hope is  built. The
  reliability of God  is the ground of  our faith, and thus  the ground for
  our firmness.
     24 And let us consider  one another to provoke  unto love and to  good
  This word "consider" means in Greek to spy on, and that word "to provoke"
  means to drive in an unfavourable sense. So, in the world, to spy on each
  other leads to  provoke to angry words and envy. This must not go thus in
  the christian congregation.  There we must well  consider one another, to
  make each other the more zealous in love and good works. The congregation
  considers each other for a better purpose than the world does.
     (to be continued)
  4. Books
  Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments
  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 146 5
  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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