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
  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
  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
  After the seventh  day, the eighth day follows, whereon the child will be
     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
     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
     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  -
                      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