Date: Tue, 7 Mar 1995 10:54:52 +0100 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 21 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 1:4, The Burnt Offering 2. Psalm 65:1-3, Thou shalt purge my transgressions away 3. 1 Cor.14:1-25, Prophecy is more then unknown tongues (2) 4. Books 1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 1:4, The Burnt Offering ------------------------------------------------------------------------- And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Wesamach jado al rosh ha'olah wenirtsah lo lechaper. He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering. According to Maimonides, he did this with all his power. He shall lean with his hand on the head of that beast. This is a clear picture of what happens spiritually, as will be explained afterwards. The burnt offering shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. It made atonement for his sins in general. When he leans with his hand on the head of that beast, that shows how he leans on something else to make atonement for him. By doing so, he made visible that he could not pay himself for his sins, but that an atonement was needed; he leans on that atonement, given him by God. It will be clear that that beast does not countervalue against the sin of the man. A man has much more value than a beast. Therefore, also the sin committed by a man deserves much more punishment that could be paid by a beast. Above all, the sin of man committed is not a common sin, but is done against the infinite God. Therefore, that sin deserves an infinite punishment, and can never be paid by whatever. "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever." (Ps.49:7,8) While the offered beast cannot pay, we see that another atonement is meant here. It is the atonement, given by God. Like is written that the LORD will purge away the sins for His Own sake: "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake." (Ps.79:9) The burnt offerings depicted the future redemption through the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as is written that Christ "is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Heb.9:15) Making atonement, in our text, was not an automatic happening. One might bring a beast for a burnt offering, but that alone was not enough. Even when one put his hand on the head of that beast, also that was not enough. The man, who brought the offering, had to do this in the belief. The belief was essential. Through the belief, he received atonement. Through the belief, the man who offered, saw on the future redemption through the Messiah. 2. Psalm 65:1-3, Thou shalt purge my transgressions away ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ps.65:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. This is David's Psalm. He praises God because of the good things he has received of Him. This time, he does not praise God with a loud voice, but in silence. Therefore, he says "Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion." (Ps.65:1) In Sion, that is, in God's church, men praise Thee, O God, with silence and patience expecting Thy good deeds and grace. "Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation." (Ps.62:1) Men praise Thee, O God, with silence and patience expressing their thankfulness for Thy grace. What will that great grace be? Our text says it: "as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away". It was a habit, and a good habit, to promise a vow unto God, when one was in great dangers. Often they said something like this: When Thou shall save me from this dangers, O God, then I shall do this and that. See an example in Jephthah: "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." (Jud.11:30,31) David also has vowed a vow unto the LORD. Therefore, in our Psalm, he says: "Unto thee shall the vow be performed." God saved him, and now he will pay the vow unto God. It is necessary to make a remark here. Many people, when in danger, promise something unto God, when He but will deliver them. For example, when one is seriously ill, he prays to God for health, and promises to lead a better life, to give money to the poor, etc. But when God gives him the desired health? Go they to lead a better life? Give they money to the poor? Do they the other promises things? Nearly always, the answer is: No, they forget all promises, despise God, and lead their former lives. That is unthankfulness. They show by their deeds that God is fine when they need Him, but can be trodden when they think to help themselves. David did not so ungodly, but assured: "Unto Thee shall the vow be performed". Wherefore did he vow a vow unto the LORD? In what great distress was he; so great that he vowed a vow? You can see the answer in our text: "as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away". David felt he was in need of God's help, therefore he prayed unto Him. The children of God always pray to Him, for they feel that they always need His help. They have experienced, and daily experience, how dependent they are upon God. "Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust." (Ps.104:29) This was also David's experience. He always prayed unto God. Did God hear his prayer? Yes, He did. That is why David, in our text, expresses his thankfulness for this. He says: "O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." When the ungodly receive benefits from God, they forget God, and run away from Him with their benefits in their hands. When they have squandered their goods, they return to God, and begin to nag for new. The true believers however, do it otherwise. When they receive benefits from God, they are full of thankfulness. They wonder that so high a God looks down to so low a man. How is it possible, that the majestic God takes notice of me, a great sinner? "LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!" (Ps.144:3) The believer, seeing his unworth before God, wonders at God's grace. Again, in the sight of God's goodness, they better see their inequities. So a high God wants to have to do with so great a sinner? This is it, what happened unto David. For he says: "Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away." Being saved from his distress, he saw also his iniquities. But above all, what wonders him, is that God purges them away! Have you ever heard of such a great grace? God does not ask payment of David, but He forgives. Great grace! It must be experienced to understand that grace. The hymn of praise climbs out of Sion's halls until Thee, with silent respect. O God, there will they pay the vows, each day. Hearer of prayers! Thou hears them, who expect Thy salvation. Therefore will all sorts of families humbly come unto Thee. A stream of iniquities had the upper hand above me. But Thou reconcile and cleanse our recalcitrant transgressions. 3. 1 Cor.14:1-25, Prophecy is more then unknown tongues (2) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 so, 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 prophecied. The apostle Paul continues to prove that it is important to use easily understandable words. It must be known what is spoken by the minister. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. There are many kinds of voices in the world, not only of people, but also of animals, birds and other things. They all are not without signification. That is, you can discern them from the others. When you hear someone talking, you know who he is. When you hear a beast making his characteristic sound, you know what kind of beast it is. When one plays a musical instrument, you know what instrument it is. However, this common distinction is not in the speaking of unknown tongues. Therefore, speaking in tongues is something strange; it is not like the common order in the world. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. In this verse, Paul puts himself in the position of a hearer. If he not understands what the speaker is saying, because the speaker is uttering gibberish, they are barbarians for each other. A barbarian, that means one speaking a foreign language, like the old Greeks and Romans used that word. Imagine two persons; one speaks for example English, and the other a native African language. They will never understand each other. The same went it in the congregation of Corinth. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. They were zealous to get spiritual gifts. That was a praiseworthy zeal, but let that zeal be used to the edifying of the church, instead of the vain uttering of incomprehensible words. This verse is important for those, who are studying. Do not spoil your capacities to any vain study, but use your gifts for the edifying of the church. Do not waste your time in idleness, but apply your gifts in the service of God. This is an important hint for those standing before some decision. Let your work be to the honour of God, and the welfare of the people. Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. The apostle does not reject the gifts of the unknown tongues, but he wants that it is made useful. Let the speaker of unknown tongues than pray unto God, that he may interpret his speaking. Let him pray that God will give him, besides the unknown tongue, also the gift of being able to explain it in a known language. For, being able to explain something, and to do it clearly and understandably, was also a gift of the Spirit: "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." (1 Cor.12:8-10) He says that the Spirit gives to the one divers kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. Those people, speaking in tongues, themselves understood what they said, but they had not always the gifts to interpret it clearly. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. Paul puts himself in the position of the minister, who prays before the entire congregation. "My spirit prays", that is, I do in my mind a prayer through the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and that is good. "But my understanding is unfruitful". The sense of that prayer is not understood. So, my understanding is fruitless in the hearers; my mind is fruitless, because it yields no profit in the hearers. My work is than unfruitful, that is, it is totally vain. If I pray in an unknown tongue, it would be better that I kept my mouth. If I bring not forth good fruit, by using strange tongues, than I must take heed lest happens unto me what is written: "Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Matt.3:10) So, when one is unprofitable unto the congregation, his judgement is: "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness." (Matt.25:30) 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. "What is it then?" That means, what has one to do to make well use of these gifts? I will pray with the spirit, but also with the understanding. I will pray in a tongue, but also I will interpret it, that the people may understand it. The same will I do with the singing. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? There were people who "occupy the room of the unlearned". Those are them who sit among the listeners. It seems than, that the ministers sat at a special, raised place in the meetings, in order that they better could be heard by the people. An "unlearned" is not one who knows nothing at all, but one who does not understand the unknown tongue, or who not has a public ministry, or not has the spiritual gifts to teach in the assembly, to do the thanksgiving or the prayer. It was the habit in the congregations to say "Amen" when the minister was ready preaching. So, what Paul means to say is, that if the listener not understands what the minister said, then he could not say "Amen" at the end. When one says "Amen" that means that he agrees with the spoken things. Amen is: so is it; it is sure; truly; surely. Some examples of this use of Amen in the Old Testament follow. "Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen." (Deut.27:16) "Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD." (Neh.5:13) 17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. The Greek original text shows emphasis on the words "thou" and "the other". So, the apostle says: "For *thou* give thanks well, but the *other* is not edified". You do a good thanksgiving, which can edify you because you understand what is said. However, the other doesn't understand any word of it, and therefore receives no edification. We see that the minister is not there for his own, but for the congregation. His work must benefit the people. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Because Paul thanks God, we see that he does not reject the tongues. He only punishes the abuse of it. 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. The gift of the tongues is not despisable in itself, but in the church, it must not be used. The apostle rather speaks a few well understandable words, than streams of words in some strange tongue. Understandable words are clear, well-known and plain, which can be understood by everybody. We see how important it is, that the minister uses such speech, that everybody can understand it. Scholarly arguments must be rejected in the congregation. Another thing can we learn from this. In the congregation, the native language ought to be used. Not the Hebrew, which is understood by but a few, in the synagogues. What benefit gives it, when one reads the Torah in an unknown language? I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach also others, then ten thousand words in the unknown Hebrew. Some ministers, in the church, try to seem scholars by use of much words in the original language of the Bible. Let they do not so, for the congregation has no benefit from it. Let they explain the power of the original Hebrew and Greek words, but in the native language. 20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. Brethren, be not children in understanding. For it is absolutely childish to parade with unknown languages, without any edification. It may be that the children do so, but you, be men in understanding. Children are not allowed to speak before the congregation. Let they play, but not here. Be men in understanding, that is, increase daily in the understanding of spiritual and godly matters. Between the understanding you have now, and your future understanding, ought to be such a great difference, that it is as if you grew from children to adults. "Howbeit, in malice be ye children". Be like the children concerning malice. They don't know malice, and are innocent in it. Do not examine the bad things, but pass them by. There are people who enquire into the bad things. And when you ask them why they do such forbidden things, you get the answer: "I know that it is forbidden, but I do so in order to warn others for it". That is their guise. Let we, however, listen to the apostle: In malice be ye children. (to be continued) 4. 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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 End of The Scriptures opened, 21 -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-021.txt .