Date:         Tue, 28 Feb 1995 15:17:24 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 20
     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
  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."
     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  - 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
End of  The Scriptures opened, 20

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