Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 20:10:13 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 18 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Exodus/Shemot 34:28-29 2. Psalm Ps.72:18-19 3. New Testament, Hebrews 10:19-39, part 2 4. Books 1. Weekly reading, Exodus/Shemot 34:28-29 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Exod.34:28,29 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. This is a remarkable story. Moses was on the mount with the LORD during forty days, without eating, and when he came down, his face shone. To understand it, we need to read it well, follow the text, and compare it with other texts in the Bible. Moses was on the mount Sinai "with the LORD". Moses was so great a prophet, that he, like a friend with his friend, spoke with the LORD, and was with Him. The LORD Himself says of Moses: "With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold." (Num.12:8) He was there with the LORD during "forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water." No common man can live without food and drink for so long a time, forty days and forty nights. Moses however did, through God's extraordinary power. This was to show the more to the nation Israel, that Moses was not a common prophet. He was not a common man, but he had an extraordinary function. He received the Law on the mount. This Law was not a common law, like the heathens have, but it was given from heaven, from God. Moses had been so long without food, and showed thereby the truth of the Scripture, which says "that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (Deut.8:3) Afterwards, Moses came down from the mount. While doing so, he did not know that his face shone. The text says, that it happened "when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him." Moses had been during forty days with the LORD on the mountain. There, he had seen His glory. See herein, what will happen with the people who live close to God. Their face will shine forth a remnant of God's glory. Moses' face shone like that of an angel. God is a Light, and He is excellent. Moses had been forty days with the LORD, and his face shone. How much the more will the chosen people shine, who will, not forty days, but eternally be with Him in heaven. At the other hand, how great will the darkness be of the disobedient, who are thrown away from God's excellency and glory. Who has received eyes, to see the glory of God, also sees some glory in the common things of the world. Listen to David, that holy prophet. This man says: "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens." (Ps.8:1) David believed in God, loved Him through God's grace, and therefore saw God's excellency "in all the earth", yea, "above the heavens". May God give also to us His grace, in order that we also see His glory. When we see His glory, what will be the result in us? Will we become proud with it? No, far from that. Listen again to David, in the same Psalm. He says, as a result of having seen God's glory: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Ps.8:4) He knows that a man is only like dust of the earth, nevertheless, God visits him, and gives him all what he needs. What is man, that insignificant being, o LORD, that Thou are mindful of him? That is the result of having seen God's glory. We exalt God to the highest, and humble ourselves to the deepest. Reader, ask God for grace, that He shows His mercy also to you. Without having seen a little of God's glory, and without humbling yourself, you will not enter the Kingdom of God. 2. Psalm Ps.72:18-19 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ps.72:18-19 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. The Psalm containing our text is spoken out by David, for his successor Solomon. David says glorious things about his son, like for example in verse eight: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." (Ps.72:8). Further that they shall fear him as long as the sun and moon endure. "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations." (Ps.72:5) We know however, that all these, and other things, have not happened during Solomon's life. Also not during the other kings of Judah or of Israel. Therefore, we conclude that David in this Psalm, besides speaking about Judah's kings, also speaks about the Greatest of the kings of Judah, the Messiah, Who will be King over the whole world. His dominion shall truly be "from sea tot sea", and "unto the ends of the earth". His kingdom shall endure as long as the sun shines and moon is there, throughout all generations. When we now go to the end of this Psalm, our text, we see that David, who begun with saying things about Solomon, now fully has addressed himself to the LORD God. "Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things." He calls his God blessed, the God Who cares for Israel. He has done "wondrous things" while saving the land from the hands of the enemies. David has experienced and seen this, and he believes and knows that God will do the same in the future. In God lies his belief, that Israel's kingdom will endure forever. This earthly kingdom has ceased now, but it continues in the Person of the Messiah, thus fulfilling this Psalm. Had the Messiah not come, Israel's kingdom now being ceased, this Psalm had not been fulfilled. It says that David's kingdom will endure forever, not that it will cease after some centuries. "And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen." In Exodus, we saw and heard in this week's reading, that God's glory was on the mount Sinai. Therefore, Moses face shone, namely to show this glory. God's glory has extended from that place to the nation Israel, especially in the temple. But now, David goes further in this Psalm. Let God's glory be, not only in the temple, and in Israel, but in the whole world. "And let the whole earth be filled with his glory." God's glory only being in Israel, that is too little an honour. Therefore, let now the whole earth be filled with His glory. David prophesied this, and we know that this has happened now. The whole world is filled with God's glory, through the preaching of the gospel. It may be that the people not accept God's Word, nevertheless, the gospel shines like a light in a dark place, and it shows God's glory. Let the whole earth be filled with God's glory; Amen, and Amen. 3. New Testament, Hebrews 10:19-39, part 2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The apostle here begins the second part of the letter to the Hebrews. In the first part, he wrote about the excellence of the Persons 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). The previous time, we came to verse 24, which will be repeated here. 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. 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Let we not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. These assemblies are the christian meetings, set up to hear God's Word, do general and public prayers, and use the holy sacraments. Some examples of these assemblies: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42) "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." (Acts 20:7) The apostle warns us not to forsake these holy assemblies, but to attend them. Some had the bad manner to forsake them. Why did they so? This is not written down, but we can imagine that some left the truth because of fear of the Jews, or through negligence, or because of a proud feeling of themselves, or that they through "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things," (Mark 4:19) began to forsake the meetings. This happens often. The people forsake God through several vain excuses, and walk after the lusts of their flesh. These people will receive their reward of God. Let we not do so, but "exhort one another" to God's service in faith and repentance. After having said that we have to exhort one another, the apostle adds: "and so much the more as ye see the day approaching". He speaks about "the day". So, it must be a great day, when it simply is called "the day". He means here the day of judgement, the last day of the world. This day is also called "the day of the Lord". "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Pet.3:10) In this very important day, The Day, everybody will be judged after his works, good or evil. This is so very important, because here falls the definitive, eternal decision. Let therefore everybody prepare himself for this day! Let we therefore exhort one another, and so much the more, as ye see "the day" approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. When we wilfully sin, having received the knowledge of the truth, forgiving is impossible. What this sin is, the apostle will further explain it in verse 29. For now, it is enough to know that, who wilfully sins, wilfully falls away from the belief he had accepted before. The apostle does not speak about all sorts of sin, but of this sin, which Jesus Christ calls the sin of slander against the Holy Ghost. "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matt.12:32) "After that we have received the knowledge of the truth". After somebody knows the truth, and is convinced of it, and then falls away from it, that man wilfully sins, and commits the sin against the Holy Ghost. For him, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins". For there was one sacrifice for sins, namely Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Who rejects this sacrifice, has no more another. This sacrifice of Jesus was the one, the only, the complete. No other is there to expect. When you not accept this sacrifice through the belief, there remains not another. When you do this, what can you expect? Without forgiving of your sins through Christ's sacrifice, you will expect God severe and fiery judgment, like is written in the next verse. 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. What will happen to the disobedient? What do they have to expect? "A certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." God will punish the disobedient. Who rejects God will be rejected by Him. Who rejects the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, accomplished on the cross, has to expect God's severe judgement. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb.10:31) The fiery indignation will devour the adversaries. Do not think easy of it, for it will be awful judgement, and a burning fire which will consume you, when you are an unbeliever. When you wilfully reject Jesus' offering, and His doctrine - terrible will it be! The "adversaries" meant here are the enemies of God, the apostates of the truth, the persecutors of God's people. The apostle continues to clarify his doctrine, using Moses' law. He is, in his letter, not inventing something new above the law, but he applies the same law. Look therefore at his comparison. 28He thatdespisedMoses' lawdiedwithout mercyundertwoor threewitnesses. Despising of Moses' law costs one his life. Despising the law means that he wilfully rejects it, wilfully forsakes it, wilfully denies it. Here is not a matter of sinning by accident, or sin which one confesses, but of designedly sinning. That man will die under two or more witnesses. 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Moses had a certain value, but the Son of God has infinite more value. When one rejected Moses' law, he was put to death. Of how much sorer punishment will he be worthy, who rejects the Son of God. So infinite more as Jesus is then Moses, so infinite heavier will the punishment of the unbelievers be. The despising of the law was punished with death. But when one rejects the Son of God, the punishment will be much sorer. When the apostle writes that one "has trodden under foot the Son of God", he means that one has rejected Him, and counted Him of no worth. For, what we reject are we wont to tread under the feet. When one not believes in the salvation, offered by Jesus' blood, then he counts that blood of the covenant an unholy thing. Doing so, he also does despite unto the Spirit of grace. For that Spirit offers the blood of God's Son to everybody who hears the gospel. When you then not accept His offer, you do despite unto Him. The apostle is here speaking about those, who have confessed with their mouth their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, but afterwards apostated from that faith. They were, as it were, sanctified by that blood, but afterwards counted it for an unholy thing. When one, who has been a christian, afterwards falls away from that belief, how dreadful will it be for him! 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. The apostle quotes the Old Testament to show that God is terrible for the disobedient. First, he quotes: "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence." (Deut.32:35) The LORD promises that He will avenge His people on their enemies, and that He will judge them against all persecutors and oppressors. The LORD will protect His nation, and judge the hypocrites and the apostates. And again: "The LORD shall judge his people." (Deut.32:36) Or: "The LORD will judge his people." (Ps.135:14) The LORD will judge His people to their profit. He will protect the righteous, but the false believer will be judged to his damage. Therefore, reader, take heed. Keep in mind what a judging Lord we have. Do not play with Him; serve not the world; do not sin wilfully; believe in the LORD, and in His Son Jesus Christ. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. It is very fearful for the sinner when he falls in the hands of the righteous God. The God Who cannot see any spot without punishing it. Sinner! Look out, for it will be fearful to meet that God in the day of judgment, when you are still not reconciled with Him through Jesus. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" (Isa.33:14) The sinners and the hypocrites in Zion were afraid, for they saw something of how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of that living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; "After ye were illuminated". What is this? Being illuminated means becoming a believer, and afterwards being incorporated in the christian congregation through baptism. It is Jesus' work to illuminate the believers, "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." (Acts 26:18) The sense of this sentence is therefore: Remember the former days. After you began to believe, you endured many afflictions. How much the more must you, now believing during a long time, be steadfast. 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. This verse, and also the next, are examples of what the apostle had said in the previous. There, he made mention of their former distress, saying "ye endured a great fight of afflictions". In this verse, he gives examples of it. The two examples go about two sorts of afflictions. Partly own suffering, and partly sharing others' sufferings. They "were made a gazingstock, both by reproaches and afflictions". Being made a gazingstock means that their sufferings were public to everybody. The christians were often made a spectacle, being thrown in the theatres before the beasts. See Paul, who fought against the beasts: "After the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus." (1 Cor.15:32) They were also, in the public, in the synagogues and courts of justice, scandalously displayed and badly treated. Christ has foresaid this. "They bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers." (Luke 12:11) "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." (Luke 21:12) Also the apostle Paul has said this of himself and of others. "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." (1 Cor.4:9) 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Also in this verse, we see two sorts of afflictions, namely having compassion with others, and own sufferings. They had, though being persecuted themselves, compassion of the other people in the bonds. Moreover, while their goods were robbed, they joyfully accepted it instead of mourning about that, as the world does. Those early christians took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, for they knew that they had a better good in heaven. Who not believes that his better and enduring substance is in heaven, he will cleave unto his earthly goods. But now, through the belief, they were able to bear all afflictions and robberies. This all according to Jesus' commandment and promise: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matt.5:11,12) Also the apostles gave this good example: "And they (the apostles) departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his (Jesus') name." (Acts 5:41) Reader, the true belief will loose you from your goods, from your seeking of honour, from your pride, from your maintenance of yourself. On the other hand, it will give you patience in the afflictions, hope for an enduring good in heaven, true faith in God and His Son to your salvation, firmness in the midst of the enemies, love to your brothers, compassion with the persecuted and afflicted, offering yourself to the service of God, and the hope on eternal life. Choose then. Choose the life, and forsake death, so that you may live. Choose life by believing in Christ Jesus. (to be continued) 4. Books ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thomas Watson, The Lord's Prayer 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 145 7 300pp. Large Paperback. Price around $10,00. Ordering: ask your local bookstore or reply this description to firstname.lastname@example.org - 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 - email@example.com No copyrights on this publication Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-018.txt .