Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 15:17:24 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 20 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Exod. 39:6,7, A memorial to the children of Israel 2. Psalm 42:1,2, My soul thirsteth for God 3. 1 Cor.14:1-25, Prophecy is more then an unknown tongue (1) 4. Books 1. Exod. 39:6,7, A memorial to the children of Israel ------------------------------------------------------------------------- And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses. In our chapter, Exodus 39, Moshe wrote about the clothes of service of Aharon, the high priest. He described how they had to be made, as the LORD has commanded him. The holy garments are made "of the blue, and purple, and scarlet." (Exod.39:1) On the shoulders of the ephod had to be stones, "with the names of the children of Israel" graven in them. What was the function of these stones? "They should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses." They made it as the LORD commanded Moshe. Read the command: "And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial." (Exod.28:12) So, what have we seen? Aharon, the high priest, had to bear the names of the children of Israel on his shoulders, when he came before the LORD, for a memorial. When Aaron entered the sanctuary, and came before the LORD, he bore the names of all Israel. He represented as it were the entire nation, when he came before God. When he served God in the tabernacle, he bore the names of the tribes of Israel. You see here, that he was a sort of mediator between the nation and the LORD. Aaron was not a high priest for his own, but for the whole nation. All the Israelites were, as it were, united in him. It was therefore the task of the high priest, and of course also of the other priests, to pray for the whole people to God. The high priest was as the mouth of the people. He prayed before them. Of course, this does not mean that the people not prayed themselves. They could not say: "Aaron prays for us, so we are free". No, a personal belief in God was needed, as it is also now. But in the figure of Aaron, the high priest, is the idea of a mediator depicted. Also in christianity, Christ is the High Priest for us, the Mediator between God and us, to bear and bring our names before God. He has this in common with Aaron. Moreover is said that "Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD." (Exod.28:12) The people had need of to be borne by Aaron, the high priest. Of course, for what is the man? When he is not borne, he will fall. Who is able to stand before the LORD in own power? We have need of being borne by God. Only the power of God can keep us upright. We have not power in ourselves to resist evil, to fight against sin. Who has power to resist himself, his nature that always is inclined to sin? Who is able, I ask you? Nobody is, but we all must, being aware of our weakness, call upon the Name of God, and ask if He will bear us. Our texts remind us of two things: - there must be a mediator between God and us, - we have need to be borne. This is what the Old Testament teaches us, and the New say the same. - there must be a mediator between God and us. 1 Tim.2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Christ Jesus is the one mediator between God and men. - we have need to be borne. John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. Like the branch is borne by the vine, and thus bears fruit, so are we borne by Christ when we abide in Him, and thus we do good works. Jewish reader, I know that you reject the idea of a mediator. But, please, open your eyes, and see it in your own Bible. Look at Aaron, the high priest, who was a mediator. You also reject the idea of to be borne by another. Please, read your own Bible, and you will see it. Aaron, the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes, and likewise have you need to be borne by the present High Priest, Christ Jesus. Maybe, there are still descendants of Aaron, but they are not in function as high priests. This function has ceased already many centuries ago. Therefore, expect your salvation from Christ Jesus, the present priest and mediator between men and God. 2. Psalm 42:1,2, My soul thirsteth for God ------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? The prophet is driven away from the public worship of God. In going up unto God's house, each Sabbath, or each time of feast, or on any other occasion, he found always great delight. It was, in former days, his greatest gladness, when he could go up, with the crowd, to the preaching of God's Word, and to the temple-service. He said: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Ps.122:1) But now? He was driven away from the public services. They had chased him away from his greatest delight. How much longed his soul for those happy former days! The prophet, to express his great longing, uses the picture of the hart. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." When there is a great heat, how much longs the hart for water to drink it and to be refreshed. Or when the rain has not fallen for a long time, and the brooks and rivers are dry, how much pants the hart after water! He does not pant after the brooks in general, for they are dry now, but he pants after the waterbrooks. These are filled with refreshing water. Or, when the hart is persecuted by a hunter, how much does it, thirsty through the long and fast flight, pant for the waterbrooks! These pictures can be applied to the prophet, for he says, that as the hart pants after water, "so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Maybe, the prophet had suffered persecution for a long time. How much did he long to some rest, to be refreshed. He was now cut of from the public worship for a long time, and so much longed his soul to God, that it seemed him like a real thirst. We know how difficult it is for a lover, to be faraway from his beloved. The greater the love is, the more difficult it will be. Now we can imagine, how much the prophet longed, yea even panted after God, his beloved God. Therefore, he adds: "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God." The prophet could have said with "David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." (Ps.63:1) His soul thirsts, that is, longed very much. He says that he thirsts to the "living" God. Why does he add this? Perhaps, he was now between the dead gods, the idols of stone and wood. He abhorred all those dead gods, but he thirsted to the living God. The God of Israel is the living God, and all the other pieces of stone and wood, and whatnot, who bear the name of god, are dead things. A real lover of God will experience the same, when being surrounded by the idols of our times. When he sees the people watching the dead gods of this world, how much will his soul long to the living God! When he lived among the lovers of the world and its idols, his soul pants after the living God. He may be surrounded by television- looking people, who despise the service of the LORD. He is surrounded by people who make a god of their house, their wife, their husband, their work. These people serve their idols. All their time, they spend on their work, house and family. They give no time to God, and maybe some time to religion, as a surrogate god. When being surrounded by these idolaters, how much pants my soul after thee, O living God! To express the more his longing, the prophet adds: "When shall I come and appear before God?" As if he said, when will my persecution stop, and when will I be brought back unto the real service of God? When will God save me from the dead gods, and will bring me back to the true worship? When shall I come unto the house of God, where the ark of the covenant is, and where the public worship is, and there the offerings are, and above all, where God Himself is? The panting hart, escaped from the hunt, does not cry out more to the enjoyment of the fresh streams of water, then my soul longs for God. Yea, my soul thirsts after the LORD. God of life, ah!, when shall I approach before Thy eyes, and exalt Thy Name in Thy house? 3. 1 Cor.14:1-25, Prophecy is more then an unknown tongue (1) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Short contents The apostle Paul concludes the previous exhortation to love. He continues to learn that the people, who follow after spiritual gifts, must most follow after the gift of prophesy. Nevertheless, the gift of the unknown tongues must not be despised, but used with an explanation of it. He proves this using the parables of a pipe, a harp and a trumpet. He shows that using unknown tongues, without explanation, is contrary to the nature, and that it is nothing else then if one spoke to barbarians. He moreover teaches that men must pray thus, that is does not happen with the spirit only, but also with understanding. Otherwise, who not understands that unknown tongue, cannot say "Amen" on that prayer. He confirms his saying with his own example, and exhorts that they do the same. He proves from Scripture that the unknown tongues sometimes are more a punishment than a gift. Further, it would be ridiculous when they all spoke unknown tongues, but edifying when they all prophesied. 1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. "Follow after charity." This is the conclusion of the previous chapter, where Paul wrote: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Cor.13:13) He says that we have to "desire" the spiritual gifts. This means that everyone must desire those so, that the one tries to exceed the other, in order that all get much spiritual gifts. One has to desire the spiritual gifts, but also the more common gifts. The gift of prophesy however, is of more value than the here mentioned spiritual gifts. What does the apostle mean with the "prophecy"? The answer is in verse three, where he says that the prophecy is the edification, and exhortation, and comfort of the congregation. So, the prophecy is not here, that you can speak of future things, but it is a more common gift. The edification, exhortation and comfort are more useful for the congregation than the supernatural gifts. Let we keep this in mind, when we hear and read about those sensational things in our times. These spectacular things but makes the man arrogant. Therefore, desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may edify, exhort and comfort the people. When you do so, you are of far more use for the people, then when you have some other spiritual gifts. 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. Paul explains here, what he has said in the previous verse. An unknown tongue is a language which cannot be understood by the people. Men were ecstatic; the understanding did no longer work, vs.14,19. However, it belonged to the signs of the believers, like was written: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues." (Mark 16:17) Also in the book of the Acts, we see that they spoke in other tongues, as a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:4) Here however, it is understandable, for "we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:11) Paul says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue, "speaketh not unto men, but unto God". He speaks not unto men, for they do not understand what he says. The purpose of the language and the speech is that one make known to the other his thoughts, and the things of his heart. So, when they not understand him, he speaks in vain for them. But he speaks "unto God", for God does understand it, in contrast with the people. This however is not enough, for the prophecy is meant for the audience. They must be able to understand it. Further is written, that "in the spirit he speaketh mysteries". What is meant with these mysteries? It can be explained twofold. - He speaks in mysteries, that means, he speaks about the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. These mysteries are too outstanding then that they may be presented without any result, and in an unknown tongue. - A better explanation is, that who speaks in an unknown tongue, does no more then if he presented some hidden things. Nobody can understand them. So, with these mysteries are meant strange, incomprehensible things. 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that prophesies is he who explains the Scripture in a known tongue. Everybody can understand it. The preacher tries to speak so clearly as is possible, in order that everybody can understand it. He "speaketh unto men", that is, he speaks thus that the people understand it, and receive benefit from it. He speaks "edification, and exhortation, and comfort". He speaks those things, which serve to the "edification" or the teaching of the ignorant and the knowing, and which serve to the "exhortation" of the disorderly and ungodly, and which serve to the "comfort" of the sadly. All the explanations of God's Word must be directed to these purposes. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Rom.15:4) "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Tim.3:16) It is because of this reason, that the prophecy is better then the unknown tongues. Let we keep this in mind, and depart from those congregations, where they seek this sorts of extraordinary things. Seek those preachers, who edify, exhort and comfort you. These are the right preachers, the real followers of Christ and the apostles. 4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. He that speaks an unknown tongue edifies himself, and is thus useless for the church. Let him do it elsewhere, but not before the congregation. Let him not waste their time when they must listen to some unknown babble. He that prophesies however, is very useful for the congregation. The prophet serves to the edifying of the people of the church. There are congregations where they speak about all but God's Word. They come together to listen to some music, to listen to some lecture of the minister. However, he does not edify the church. His lecture or so-called sermon serves to nothing more than to fill the hall with some vain sound. They fulfill what was written: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Tim.4:3) Let those ministers, those false prophets, not sent by God, get out. They deceive their congregation, not speaking in edification, nor in exhortation, nor in comfort. Those fill the eyes of their audience with nothing, and they waste their time. Reader, go you to such a church? Go you to such a synagogue? Flee, as fast as you can from that place, lest the wrath of God comes upon you. Run away! Flee! 5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Paul does not want the gift of tongues have despised. Far from that. Therefore, he would that they spoke with tongues. But, he is not ready with speaking. He would rather that they prophesied. For the prophesier is greater then the speaker in tongues. The goal of Paul is the edifying of the church. All spiritual gifts must serve that purpose. So, speaking in tongues must not be done, except he interpret. When one explains the unknown tongue, then all is fine, for the church will receive edifying. You see how far the apostle is from seeking extraordinary things. The receiving of edification is the way God works the conversion; not by strange tongues and the like. 6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? Now the apostle directs the attention of the congregation to an example. He takes himself as an example, saying, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what profit do I give you? Answer: nothing, you have come in vain to us, for we have no benefit from you. Right. Therefore, I shall speak in revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine. These are the things which favour you, and serve to your advantage. Revelation. This is the first thing which profits you. What is it? By the revelation, the speaker reveals some mysteries. This means, that he speaks things which the audience, or a part thereof, still did not know. Some examples follow. "And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ." (Luke 2:26) "The preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began." (Rom.16:25) "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal.1:12) Knowledge. This is the second thing by which you get profit. What is it? It is knowledge to know you ought to behave yourself in matters wherein you are not sure. "Ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." (Rom.15:14) Above all, it is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Saviour. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet.3:18) Prophesying. This is the explanation of the Scriptures, as the apostle Paul has said before. Note that this is the profitable and useful explanation, not the vain and idle. Doctrine. This is the fourth thing which profits you. What does it mean? This is the explanation of articles of our faith. The points of doctrine are derived from Scripture, are explained, and confirmed by other places of Scripture. The doctrine, for example, that Jesus payed for the believers, and thus redeemed them, is confirmed in many places in Scripture. Many other points of doctrine are learnt. Let is however, be so that the points of doctrine are profitable. Reject the bad doctrines, like is written: "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." (Heb.13:9) 7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? This example is taken from common life. We know pipe and harp. We know them because we hear that they give a different sound. How badly would it be, when there was no distinction. Then it should be one great sea of sound, and all would be the same. With this example, the apostle proves that speaking in an unknown tongue is useless. For, nobody understands it. It is him like a stream of tones, always the same, and without any distinction. In common life, when a musical instrument gives a bad sound, we repair it, or throw it away. The same, when one speaks an unknown tongue, let him reconsider his speaking. 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? It was the habit to call up the soldiers to the battle by blowing the trumpet. Of course, a loud and powerful sound was necessary, and above all a clear sound, lest the soldiers were not sure, and did not gather to the battle. When the trumpet-blower gave an uncertain sound, he would gather no soldiers to the fight, and the enemies could triumph with ease. The same is it with the prophecy. When you speak some dark and uncertain words, nobody will understand what you mean. And also nobody would be prepared to fight the battle against the world, the satan, and his own sins. Therefore, a powerful preaching is necessary, in order that the people fight the holy battle against sins with courage. It is therefore no time now to fill the ears of the audience with unprofitable sounds and words, for nobody will prepare himself for the battle. 9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. So likewise ye, preacher, utter clear words, which can be understood with ease. When you do so, you will call up the people to a holy life, according to God's law and will. But when you mumble some unknown words, or even worse, when you speak strange tongues, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air. This means, that your words will vanish away into the air, without doing any benefit. You will speak over the heads of your audience, and they will look to you with amazement, thinking: "What does he mean?" To such speakers, I say, please better your life, and if not, stop speaking. See in our Lord Jesus Christ how one ought to speak. "And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" (Matt.13:54) His power of speaking was clearly visible and hearable. (to be continued) 4. Books ------------------------------------------------------------------------- William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour "In our judgement, the best thought-breeder in all our library. John Newton said that if he might read only one book beside the Bible, he would choose 'The Christian in Complete Armour'." C.H. Spurgeon ISBN 0 85151 196 1 1240pp. Cloth-bound. Price around $32,00. 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 End of The Scriptures opened, 20 -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-020.txt .