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 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ps.49:21 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. 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." (Ezek.36:25) 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 works: 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 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-017.txt .