Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 09:49:53 +0100 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 27 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 heaven. 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 - email@example.com 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 .