Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 13:34:26 CST Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 24 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 12 2. Psalm 25:7 3. New Testament, Matthew 23:1-12 1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 12 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The uncleanness as a result of a child born, and the atonement for it. 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. This chapter of Leviticus describes the law concerning the uncleanness of a woman, when she brought forth a son or daughter. "If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child, then she shall be unclean seven days." We see herein that the born child made his mother unclean. She will be unclean seven days. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. After the seventh day, the eighth day follows, whereon the child will be circumcised. 4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. After that, she will be unclean another three and thirty days. We can ask now, why that child made his mother unclean? Is the birth of a child a reason of uncleanness? Clearly yes, for the text says it. Forty days will the mother be unclean, as a result of the birth of her son. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. When she got a maid child, she would be unclean twice the time, namely eighty days. What is the reason of it? Obviously, the birth of a son or daughter defiled the mother. One can only be defiled by unclean things, or unclean people. We see therefore, that the child which is born, must be unclean. Otherwise, he or she had not been able to make the mother unclean. What is the reason that the child is unclean? Has he sinned perhaps? No, when a child comes on the earth, it has still done nothing. Nothing good, and nothing evil. So, it has not sinned. Why, then, is he unclean? The reason must be this: the child has an innate uncleanness. It must be so, for another explanation there is not. So, even before the child has done anything good or evil, it is still unclean before God. Even so unclean, that the woman was not allowed to touch a "hallowed thing, nor to come into the sanctuary". She was unclean before God. So, also that child was unclean in God's sight. What will be the origin of that sinful nature of that child? It is the original sin, coming down from our first father, from Adam. That original sin makes the child unclean before God, and also his mother. This doctrine of original sin is well-known in Christianity, but the Jews reject it. However, they reject it without reason; yes, that rejection if even contrary to the Scripture. We clearly see that a child defiled its mother, even before it has done any sin. It is therefore, that David says: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Ps.51:5) Also Job testifies the same, when he says that no one, being born of a woman, will be righteous: "What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" (Job 15:14) For the same reason, we read of Adam, that he begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image: "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:" (Gen.5:3) Had Adam sinned in eating the forbidden fruit? Was he therefore defiled, and now a sinner? Then also his son, being in his likeness, after his image, was defiled and a sinner. We see that the Scripture clearly testifies about the original sin of men. This sinful nature makes it utterly impossible for a man to come unto God in his own strength. A man will never, and is utterly unable to come unto God in own power. When the broken relation between God and man must be healed, God must take the initiative. And that we see in our text, in the following verse. 6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. To clean the woman who has given birth to a son or daughter, a burnt offering and a sin offering were necessary. The priest shall offer it before the LORD, "and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood". We see it, that the woman was unable to become clean in own power. She needed a sin and burnt offering, and then the priest would make an atonement for her. Payment due to her sin of uncleanness was necessary, and then she was clean. And her sin? What had she done? She had done nothing more than give birth to a child. The sin? What was the reason of her uncleanness? The original sin, which descends from Adam upon all his descendants. Reader, are you a son of Adam? Yes, of course, you are. Then you have the original sin on you, and you are unable to return to God in own power. Atonement is necessary. So, in short, we learn two things from our text. 1. We are taught about the general decay of our nature: original sin. 2. We are taught about the remedy against it: atonement. Who denies these things, denies parts of God's Word. May God give that you, reader, believe these things, which have such a clear testimony in the Scriptures. Remember therefore, that when you and I were born, that we defiled our mothers. Our nature was so very sinful, that we not only were unclean ourselves, but made also others so. The following prayer ought to be ours: "For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great." (Ps.25:11) 2. Psalm 25:7 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. This is a Psalm of David. He is persecuted by his enemies. Therefore, he prays for help unto God. Being in this danger, he has thought about the cause thereof. He has found that his sins are the reason of his distress. So, when God will help him, his sins must be taken away first; they must be forgiven. We have this part of his prayer as our text. "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions". While in need, much sins of his youth pop up in his mind. The longer he meditates about that, the more sins he sees. Was David then such a sinner in his youth? Surely, he was, though he was not worse then the other people. But seen absolutely, he was a great sinner before God, like we all are. How do we know it that David sinned in his youth? We know it out the Scripture, which says that all the people are sinners from their youth. "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen.8:21) This saying is general, and includes both David and us. David saw, when he came in distress, this truth. Have you, reader, already seen this truth concerning yourself? If yes, pray the prayer of David. If no, you are blind; pray for the opening of your eyes. The children of Israel of old had the same experience. They say, through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah, that they were sinners from their youth even unto this day: "We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God." (Jer.3:25) What a blessed result if this! When God brings you in need, and in all sorts of danger, He does so not without great cause. He wishes that you remember what a great sinner you are from your youth until now. All the little sins will come back in your mind. The money you stole from your mother. The cakes you ate, when your mother saw it not, though she often had forbidden it. Your impolite behaviour in relation to your friend. Your lying to the teacher. Your disobedience to your elders. Your rude behaviour. Your quarrel with your brother or sisters. These all, and much more, will you remember. Your prayer will be: Remember not the sins of my youth, but remember me in mercy, O LORD. That is it what David said. His sins were great, but also God's mercy was great. "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." Blot out, O LORD, my transgressions for Thy goodness' sake. He knows that he has no merits, on the account whereof he could ask that God would forgive. He says not: LORD, I'm upright, so forgive my sins. No, far from that. This is the speech of the hypocrites, or of those who are righteous in their own sight. But this is not the language of David, nor the speech of every other true believer. Blot out my sins, O LORD, not for my righteousness, for I have not righteousness, but for Thy goodness' sake. We need God's mercy. For, a sinner from his youth until now, what merits would he have? He hasn't. It is deplorable that many people think that they, though not sinless, are rather righteous. In my opinion, and also in the opinion of David, they are blind. For they see not their present and former sins. Therefore, while I am such a sinner, O LORD, "Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." (Ps.25:6,7) And in the following verse, David calls himself a sinner: "Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way." (Ps.25:8) Thou art good and upright, O LORD, and therefore Thou will teach sinners, like I am, in the way. David is not such a man, who calls him righteous in the sight of God. David, of course, was righteous in the sight of the people, and we also ought to be that. But in the eyes of God, he was not righteous. And again, in verse eleven, he confesses himself to be a sinner: "For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great." (Ps.25:11) And again, in verse eighteen, he remembers his sins: "Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins." (Ps.25:18) How deeply was David humbled! And this all was the result of God's grace, which used the circumstance of his distress and danger. This is often God's way. When He wants to humble us, and wants to bring us back to Him, He brings us in needs. For, when we always are in surety, and never have problems, we will never be humbled, nor humble ourselves. We, people, cannot without God's humbling grace. When the yoke is taken away from our shoulders, we jump into the height, and run away from God, like the unreasonable animals. We will then choose our own paths, which are the paths of the world. But when we are taught by God's Spirit, we will do like David. We ask for God's paths instead of our own: "Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths." (Ps.25:4) 3. New Testament, Matthew 23:1-12 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. Jesus says to the crowd and His disciples, that they ought to listen to the scribes and the Pharisees, but that they do not after their works. The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, that means, they explain Moses' law. They are the called teachers of the people. And as far as they explain Moses, the people must obey their voice. But as far as they lead a wicked life, the people must not follow after their works. They speak about doing this and that, but they do it not. Their mouth sounds well, but their works testify against them. When we see our teachers leading a wicked life, often will we also despise their teachings. But Jesus will prevent this. The law of Moses is holy, and must be observed. Though the teachers observe it not, yet, the people must listen to them, and observe it. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Observing the law of Moses is like heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne. Yet, the people must obey. The scribes and Pharisees however, speak about the Torah, but do it not. They themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. They think that their work is to teach them, not to do them. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. They speak about the Torah, but do it not. Of course not, for they have something else to do. They must walk before the people, to be seen of them. They must make broad their phylacteries. They go to the tailor to enlarge the borders of their garments. All this do they to be seen of the people. Further, they spend their time in the feasts, and love the uppermost rooms there. In the synagogue, they are present to be seen by all the people. Therefore, they occupy the chief seats. And when their time is still not filled, they go to the markets to receive the greetings of the people. "Shalom Rabbi", that is what they like. When they are called "rabbi", their breasts swell up of pride. So, we see, that they have enough to do. For the observing of Moses' law they have no remaining time. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. Jesus, having seen these wrongs, will give us the right teachings. Do not like it to be called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ. Jesus Christ reigns His church, and we all are brethren. Do not give the undeserved honour to those scribes and the Pharisees, but give honour to Christ. He is our one Master. Likewise the father. Give nobody on earth the honour of being your spiritual father, for that would take away God's honour. One is your Father, Which is in heaven. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. The greatest among you shall use his gifts for the benefit of the people. He will serve them. And Jesus Himself has given us the example. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) This is easily said, but difficult for us to do. Who is there, who will serve his brothers, and be the least? Who gives his time to be the servant of the people? This lesson is difficult to learn, and difficult to execute. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. The scribes and Pharisees exalted themselves, but they will be abased. "A man's pride shall bring him low." (Prov.29:23) And let we draw a lesson from this. Let we listen to the apostle Peter, who said: "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet.5:5) God resists the proud. So, when we are proud, we are assured of God's resistance, which will destroy us. Let we therefore be humble, for then we receive God's grace. The scribes and the Pharisees have experienced God's resistance, and they are destroyed. Much better experience had the humble, for they received God's grace. Before God abases us, let we humble ourselves. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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, 24 -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-024.txt .