Date:         Tue, 18 Apr 1995 09:49:53 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 27
  1. Weekly reading, Deuteronomy 14:23
  2. Psalm 111:10 - The fear of the LORD
  3. New Testament, Matthew 16:15-17
  1. Weekly reading, Deuteronomy 14:23
  And thou shalt  eat before the LORD thy God, in the  place which he shall
  choose  to place his name there, the  tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and
  of thine oil,  and the firstlings  of thy herds  and of thy  flocks; that
  thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
  In this  verse  are  several things  to speak  about.  When you  read  it
  through, several  times, you  see that is  spoken about  the tithes,  the
  firstlings, the eating them  before the LORD, the place God  chooses, and
  the fear of the LORD. Let we look at those things, one by one.
     Thou shall eat the tithe before the LORD, "in the place which he shall
  choose to  place  his  name  there". Immediately,  we  see  that  God  is
  sovereign. He  is our LORD, and  He is it, Who chooses the  place for His
  worship. When it  pleases Him, He honours a place  to place His holy Name
  there. When it also pleases Him, He  takes away His Name from there,  and
  the knowledge of God is  lost. He gives the salvation to whom  it pleases
  Him, and He  withholds His  service from other  people, according to  His
  will. He will not ask us: "May I dwell here?" No, He does not ask us, but
  acts  according  to His  will. For  a  time, He  has  chosen Zion,  as is
  written: "For the  LORD hath chosen  Zion; he hath  desired [it] for  his
  habitation. This [is]  my rest for  ever: here will I  dwell; for I  have
  desired  it."  (Psalms 132:13,14)  Later  on,  through  the  sins of  the
  Israelites, He left  that place, like is  written: "And the glory  of the
  LORD  went up from  the midst  of the city,  and stood upon  the mountain
  which [is] on  the east side of  the city." (Ezekiel 11:23)  Through that
  departure, the city will lay waste. God chooses to dwell in a place,  but
  we, through our sins, drive Him away. And when He, nevertheless, returns,
  it is in  His grace, not according  to our merits. It  is grace, when God
  dwells in  our heart, but it is righteousness when He leaves us. So, fear
  Him, asking if He will stay in us.
     They  shall come, and  eat before the  LORD, their God,  "in the place
  which He shall choose", to place His Name there. We see that there is one
  place, appointed by  God, where the worship  is done. Why one  place, and
  not more? Because God is  one, His worship is one, and there ought  to be
  one way of fearing and serving Him. Likewise is it now. There is one God,
  and all the believers in His Name are one.  All who believe and serve God
  with a  sincere heart, are one. They understand  each other, for they are
  the children of the same God. Own fabrications  in the service of God are
  abhorred. God is served according to His will, and not according to human
  inventions. "In  vain they  do worship  Me, teaching [for]  doctrines the
  commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9) All the human inventions of the oral
  Torah are in vain, for it are but human inventions, without any ground in
  Moses' Torah. Many of  these oral traditions destroy Moses' commandments,
  and are thus harmful. The people think to worship God by it, but it is in
  vain.  May their eyes once  be opened by the  true spiritual light of the
  Spirit of God, namely when God pours out His Spirit in their hearts.
     "Thou shalt eat the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and  of thine oil,
  and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks." The tithes were given
  to  the  Levites,  "for he  hath  no  part  nor  inheritance with  thee."
  (Deuteronomy 14:27) "And  the LORD spake unto  Aaron, Thou shalt  have no
  inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I
  [am]  thy part  and  thine  inheritance among  the  children of  Israel."
  (Numbers  18:20) When the people ate the tithes and the firstlings before
  the LORD, their God, it showed that all came from Him. God gave the fruit
  of the  land, to live from.  Therefore, the firstlings  were offered unto
  Him. God is the First, and He gives all. He gives  the growth. This is so
  in the natural  things, but also in  the spiritual things. God  makes all
  corn, wine,  oil growing, and  He gives the  life to  the people and  the
  beasts. Likewise in the spiritual things. He gives the natural birth, but
  also the spiritual  rebirth. He created the people  and gave them natural
  life. He also  gives His chosen the  spiritual life. Like we  cannot give
  life  to  ourselves,  even so  can  we  not give  the  spiritual  life to
  ourselves.  People are not able to give the  life, but they are well able
  to kill others.  Likewise are we in  spiritual things unable to  give new
  life, but we are well able to kill spiritual life through our sins. "Your
  iniquities have  separated between you and  your God, and  your sins have
  hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
     In the last place is said in our text, "that thou mayest learn to fear
  the LORD thy God always."  What is that, fearing the LORD? Our  text says
  that they must come before the LORD,  to learn fearing Him. So, when they
  stay at home, and do not come, they  learn not to fear Him. In the  place
  where He dwells, in Zion, there they will learn that. To explain what the
  fear of the LORD is, that  is above my power. You must experience it, and
  only then you  will understand. Yet,  to say something  about it, I  will
  quote some places of Scripture.
  - It is a hate of evil. "The fear  of the LORD [is] to hate evil:  pride,
  and arrogancy,  and the  evil way,  and the  froward mouth,  do I  hate."
  (Proverbs 8:13)
  -  The true  wisdom  begins therewith.  "The fear  of the  LORD  [is] the
  beginning of wisdom:  and the knowledge of  the holy [is] understanding."
  (Proverbs 9:10)
  - The years of  the life of him, who fears  the LORD, will be  prolonged.
  "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days:  but the years of the wicked shall
  be shortened." (Proverbs 10:27)
  - All life flows  from the fear of the LORD. God  is the only fountain of
  life, and He gives it to those who fear Him. "The fear of the LORD [is] a
  fountain  of life, to depart from  the snares of death." (Proverbs 14:27)
  "The fear  of the  LORD [tendeth] to  life: and  [he that hath  it] shall
  abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil." (Proverbs 19:23)
  So, we see what a blessed result the fear of the LORD yields. We also see
  now how good  the law was.  The law  commanded to go  up to God's  house,
  "that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always". In other words,
  that you may have a long life, the beginning of wisdom, that you may hate
  evil, that you  may receive spiritual life  of God. This, and  much other
  benefits are contained in fearing the LORD. In doing so, we will renounce
  our own will.
  2. Psalm 111:10 - The fear of the LORD
  The fear of the LORD [is]  the beginning of wisdom: a good  understanding
  have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever.
  What is the beginning of wisdom?  With "the beginning" is also meant  the
  main point of the wisdom. Wherewith  begins the wisdom, the true  wisdom?
  What is the main point wherein the wisdom consists? It is the fear of the
  LORD; that  is the beginning  of wisdom. The  world counts it  for wisdom
  when you are clever, when you have success in your work, when you reach a
  high and honourable position in society. Or  when you are so clever, that
  the court can never get you. God, however, judges otherwise. Whatever the
  world may err, the true beginning of  wisdom is the fear of the LORD. Our
  text says  the same  in the  next  sentence, where  is written:  "A  good
  understanding  have all  they  that do  [his  commandments]".  The world,
  again,  counts it for  dull when you  walk in  God's law, but  God judges
  otherwise. Doing His commandments is a  sign of a good understanding. Let
  the world count it  for a waste of time to fear the Lord, and to keep His
  commandments.  They err, and  perish, running headlong  into destruction.
  Only  those  who  fear the  LORD  are  really wise,  and  nobody  has any
  understanding but  who keeps  the law.  "His praise endures  forever", in
  contrast with the  praise of the worldly,  which endures but for  a time.
  "The  fear of  the LORD  [is]  the beginning  of  knowledge: [but]  fools
  despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)
     Why are we born, and put in this world? We read in our text that it is
  to  be truly wise, namely to fear  God. How dull is it  then when we give
  our time to the vain things of the world.  We ought to apply ourselves to
  the  true  wisdom,  which consists  in  the  fear of  the  LORD,  and the
  obedience of His voice. Let we therefore stop with the idle things, which
  are but temporal. Being busy  herein all the day is a sign of  a mind not
  understanding. He  who is  empty of any  true wisdom,  will count  it for
  wisdom  to live a pleasant life on this earth. But who is true wise, will
  seek for the  heavenly things. He is seeking God, and the eternal things.
  All what he is doing, have these godly things  as their goal. He does his
  temporal work thus, that He may fear  the LORD more and more. He  rejects
  the jobs wherein he cannot serve God, or wherein they hinder him, or such
  jobs which cause him to transgress God's commandments.
     The truly wise fear the LORD,  and do His commandments. Concerning the
  things belonging to this earthly life, they put them on the second place.
  They have  heard and obey  Christ's voice,  Who said: "Therefore  take no
  thought,  saying,  What  shall we  eat?  or,  What  shall we  drink?  or,
  Wherewithal  shall we  be  clothed? (For  after all  these things  do the
  Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all
  these  things.   But  seek  ye  first   the  kingdom  of   God,  and  his
  righteousness;  and  all these  things  shall  be  added  unto you.  Take
  therefore no  thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall  take thought
  for the things of itself. Sufficient unto  the day [is] the evil thereof.
  (Matthew 6:31-34) Who fears the LORD will be helped in times of need. Who
  not fears him, will  be left alone in times of  need. Who fears the  LORD
  will experience that He is a careful Father for them. They experience His
  love. Who, however, not fears Him,  will experience His fiery wrath.  So,
  reader, do not  deceive yourself. I  say not that  when you are in  rest,
  that this is a sign of God's love.  Maybe you are in rest to be  fattened
  for the day of slaughter. Only  when you fear the LORD, you are safe, and
  wise,  and understanding.  Negligence  of keeping  God's commandments  is
  dangerous, yes, it will  bring you to death. Unto man  God said, "Behold,
  the  fear of the  Lord, that  [is] wisdom; and  to depart from  evil [is]
  understanding." (Job 28:28)
  3. New Testament, Matthew 16:15-17
  He  saith unto them, But whom say  ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered
  and said,  Thou art  the Christ,  the Son  of the  living God. And  Jesus
  answered and  said unto him, Blessed  art thou, Simon  Barjona: for flesh
  and blood hath  not revealed [it]  unto thee, but my  Father which is  in
  Jesus here is  talking with His disciples.  He has just asked  them, whom
  men say  that He, the Son  of men, is. Some  consider Him to  be John the
  Baptist, some  Elias, and  some  others Jeremias,  or  one of  the  other
  prophets. And  then, we  come to  our text,  wherein Jesus  asks for  the
  opinion of His  disciples, concerning Him. He  asks: "Whom say ye  that I
  am?" And Simon Peter, who was often the first, and the most hastily, also
  this time was the first. He gave the right answer:
                Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God
  Jesus right away  confirmed this excellent answer,  and said "Blessed art
  thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and  blood has not revealed it unto  thee,
  but My  Father which is  in heaven".  This is in  short our text,  but it
  needs further explanation.
     We see that Jesus asks His  disciples, whom they say that He  is. This
  question will  be asked to  everybody, inevitably. Concerning  Jesus, men
  are for or against Him. A  middle course there is not. Either you confirm
  Him to  be the Christ, or you deny  Him to be so. He  puts men before the
  choice: Are you for  Me or against Me? It is but one of both. "He that is
  not with Me is  against Me;" (Matthew 12:30) This question  will be asked
  also to  you, reader. Either now, or in the  day of judgement, when Jesus
  comes on  the clouds of heaven  to judge the quick and the  dead. Be then
  for  Him, before it is  too late! Give now  answer for yourself: Whom say
  you that  Jesus, the Son  of man,  is? Give  answer: Is  He the  promised
  Messiah, the Son of God, or not?
     Simon  Peter gave  the  only right  answer. Jesus  is the  Christ, the
  Messiah, the Son of men, and the Son of God, even the living God. This is
  the only  right answer. All others are wrong.  The unbelievers are now in
  daily  danger of the wrath of God, for they have not believed in His only
  begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth. But I must add something here. It is not
  enough to  confess  Jesus  to  be the  Messiah,  with  your  mouth  only.
  Necessary is also  that you  show with  your good works,  that you  truly
  believe in Him. All His believers are righteous, for He makes them so. Do
  not like the people  of old did. "They did flatter  Him with their mouth,
  and they lied  unto Him with their tongues.  (Psalms 78:36) The confessed
  the LORD  to be their  God, but it  were but words.  Their heart was  not
  upright. Likewise who confesses Jesus to be the Son  of God (what is true
  and  undeniable),  with  his mouth  only,  does the  same  as  those just
  mentioned people of old. When you do so, you flatter Him with your mouth,
  and lie unto  Him with your tongue. In  the true believer, the  words and
  the deeds correspond.
     What is Jesus answer on the right confession of Him? Listen to what He
  says. "Blessed  art thou,  Simon Barjona".  You are blessed,  because you
  have done the  only right confession of  Me. Peter confessed Jesus  to be
  the Son of God. Yes, Jesus is God Himself. Peter, so doing, confirmed the
  words of  Isaiah, the prophet, who  foretold that they  would confess the
  LORD as their God. He said: "And it  shall be said in that day, Lo,  this
  [is]  our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the
  LORD;  we  have  waited for  him,  we will  be  glad and  rejoice  in his
  salvation." (Isaiah 25:9) It shall be said in that day, which is now: Lo,
  this Son of man, this  Jesus is our God. We have waited for  Him; we will
  be glad  and rejoice in  the salvation of  Jesus, the Christ,  the Son of
  God. We rejoice in the salvation, which He has earned for  us through His
  suffering, death, and resurrection.  We rejoice in that salvation,  which
  we were utterly unable to earn ourselves.
     Jesus continues  to explain  why Peter is  so blessed. He  is blessed,
  "for  flesh and  blood hath not  revealed [it]  unto thee, but  my Father
  which is  in heaven." The Father in heaven  has revealed unto Peter, that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of  God. Peter was not able to  believe that
  in own strength. He believed because the Father had revealed it unto Him.
  He was taught by God, as the prophet has foretold. "And all  thy children
  [shall be] taught  of the LORD." (Isaiah  54:13) Peter was taught  by God
  the  Father. Also we have need  of that. We cannot  believe that Jesus is
  the  Son of God, when the Father not teaches us that. Of course, many can
  flatter with their mouth that they believe in Christ.  However, when they
  do that in own strength, it are but words and lies. Nobody can believe in
  Christ, unless he be taught of  the Father in heaven. This is the  reason
  why  many Jews not  believe that  Jesus is the  Son of  God, the promised
  Messiah. They are not taught by  God. That is the whole problem.  Reader,
  are  you one of these? I assure you, that  when God teaches you, you will
  believe at once. Until taught by God,  you will persevere in your present
  unbelief.  But when you  become a child  of God (may God  give that), you
  will be  taught by Him. The present unbelievers  are not children of God,
  but of Satan,  the father of all  unbelief. He teaches you  the unbelief,
  and  you are  gladly  accepting his  lies.  The  reward of  that kind  of
  unbelief is  the death. Choose then the life.  Listen to the Messiah, who
  also now calls to you: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth
  on Me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47) And again: "This is the will of
  Him that sent  Me, that every one which  seeth the Son, and  believeth on
  Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
  (John 6:40) Do  then, with Peter, the right confession, in order that you
  may have eternal  life. Jesus, despised by  you and your forefather,  for
  centuries, is the Messiah. Who believes in Him will live, but who rejects
  Him will  die. What? Do you not  believe this testimony? You  will see it
  with your eyes,  and experience it, but  then it is too  late. Therefore,
  "Today if  ye will  hear his  voice, Harden  not your  heart,  as in  the
  provocation,  [and] as  [in] the  day  of temptation  in  the wilderness.
  (Psalms 95:7,8)
     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, 27

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-027.txt