Date:         Tue, 2 May 1995 09:02:07 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 29
  1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 19:2
  2. Hosea 3:1
  3. New Testament, Mark 4:3-8, The parable of the Sower
  1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 19:2
  Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.
  Our text is short, but it contains much. The commandment is: You shall be
  holy.  And the reason is added: because the LORD  is holy, and He is your
  God. The command "be  holy" is repeated in both Old and New Testament. In
  the same  book Leviticus, it  is repeated:  "I am the  LORD your  God: ye
  shall  therefore  sanctify yourselves,  and ye  shall be  holy; for  I am
  holy." (Leviticus 11:44) Also the New Testament is full of the call to be
  holy.  One instance will be written out: "As  he which hath called you is
  holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written,
  Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1  Peter 1:15,16) The entire Scripture calls
  us up to be holy.
     What does  that mean, to  be holy? It means  to be separated  from the
  world, and to be devoted  unto God. "Ye shall be holy unto me:  for I the
  LORD am holy, and have severed you from [other] people, that ye should be
  mine." (Leviticus  20:26) In  this  text, both  elements  are  mentioned:
  separation from the  other people, and devotion unto God. To be holy, you
  shall therefore live  according all God's laws  and commandments, both in
  your daily life and in the worshipping of God.
     You shall be holy. What  does this mean? It involves, that we  be holy
  in our works, in our talkings, but also in  our thoughts. It is sure that
  we all transgress in our works. Who is there, who acts according to God's
  will?  There is  nobody, who  does so.  Still worse  is it in  our words.
  Concerning our thoughts, there we  commit much, very much sins. Everybody
  is his  own  witness  herein.  What  a thoughts  do  we  sometimes  have!
  Fortunately for us,  that the other people cannot see what we think. When
  they knew our thoughts, they would not dare to come close to us. But now,
  let we return to our text: You shall  be holy. Is it enough, when we  are
  holy in our works,  words, and thoughts? No, for when  this was the case,
  the Scripture had not said: "be you holy", but "act you holy",  or "speak
  holy", or "think holy".  But now, Scripture said: "Be you  holy". We must
  *be* holy. That  is, we must be  holy in our essence.  Being holy in  our
  acts, words,  and thoughts is not enough. We  must be thoroughly holy, in
  our essence. We, being sinners from our birth, are  unable, therefore, to
  be holy. How can defiled sinners, as we are,  ever be holy? To *be* holy,
  we have need  of being cleansed. Our unholy nature must be converted to a
  holy  nature. A  renewal is  necessary. We  need a  new heart  and  a new
  spirit,  to be holy. We  see now, that God's grace  is necessary, to take
  away our old nature, and to give us a new, holy nature, born of God.
     Ye shall  be holy. That is, you shall be void of all pollution, of all
  idolatry, and of all superstition. Not only in deeds, words and thoughts,
  but our entire person must be  holy; that is, be  holy both in your  soul
  and body.
     This call  "be you holy, for I the  LORD your God am holy", admonishes
  us to obedience.  Let we not worship  God according to our  own thoughts,
  but let  we listen  to God's  will. Own  imagination in  the worship  are
  pollutions of it; they are  rejected by God. Let we, therefore,  starting
  now, begin with a holy way of life. How difficult is  this! How difficult
  is it, to deny the lusts and wills  of our own flesh, and to follow  God.
  Our own flesh likes rest, peace, and the like. But now, to follow God, on
  this earth, is like a battle. We love it, instead of being holy, to cover
  our sins with  a so-called holy  cloth. Instead of  being holy, we  cover
  ourselves with a mock-pious, outward  appearance. That is our doing. When
  we  not confess our  sins before God,  He will judge us  on His time, and
  show our sins to all the world.  Then all our self-made covers fall away,
  and  we stand  openly in our  spiritual nakedness.  Shame will  cover our
  faces then.  Therefore, reader, begin  now! Be holy,  for the  LORD, your
  God, is holy.
     A child  often looks like  his father.  Also God's children  look like
  their Father, that is, they have the spiritual image of God. That is what
  our text says.  I, the LORD, am  your Father, and therefore,  My children
  shall look like Me. The Father  is holy, therefore the children also  are
  holy. So,  when you claim to be a  child of God, it will  be seen in your
  holy conduct.  But when  you  sin, that  means  that you  are  not  holy.
  Sinners, therefore, are  not children of God, but of the devil. The devil
  was  a  liar  of the  beginning,  and  all his  children  look  like him.
  Therefore, reader, when  you are  a sinner,  you have the  devil as  your
  father, not  God. When  this is the  case, I call  you up to  repent, and
  change your life. Call  upon the Name of  God, in order that  He may give
  you grace through Jesus Christ, His eternal Son.
     To  the unholy, I say:  You will soon be  with your father, the devil,
  namely in hell, when you not repent.
     Concerning the holy, they will be with their Father, namely in heaven.
  Keep on fighting in this earthly life, until you reach the end of it. Are
  you still tempted  by your flesh, to commit sins? Resist that temptation,
  in the power  of God. "Blessed is  the man that endureth  temptation: for
  when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath
  promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
  2. Hosea 3:1
  Then said the LORD unto me,
     Go yet, love a woman beloved of [her] friend,
     yet an adulteress,
     according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel,
     who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
  In this text, God says to the  prophet Hosea, that he must go out, love a
  women, marry her, although she is an adulteress. The prophet must do this
  to show forth  the relation between Israel  and the LORD. Also  God loved
  Israel, married her;  but they looked to  other gods and loved  their own
  flesh; they were adulterers.
     "Then said the LORD unto me".  God commands the prophet to depict,  in
  his own life, the relation between Israel and Him. The prophet had  for a
  long time preached unto Israel, saying, that  the must return to God, and
  leave the idols.  But they did not  repent. They let the  prophet preach,
  but they  listened not. Therefore, God will do  it otherwise. He now must
  not only preach, but also depict. The  natural relation between a man and
  his wife was well known to the people. Also, they abhorred adultery. When
  they then  saw that  the woman  of the  prophet was  an adulteress,  they
  abhorred also her. The task  of the prophet was  now, to show, that  they
  were  like  that  adulterous  woman.  Perhaps,  they  could,  with  their
  spiritual blind heart, perceive something of their own sins.
     "Go yet, love a woman beloved of  her friend, yet an adulteress." When
  of this woman is said that she was beloved of "her friend", that does not
  say that she was but engaged with him. She  was married with her man, who
  was her friend, loving  her. In the book of  Jeremiah, we read the  same.
  There we see a wife, treacherously departing from her friend; that means,
  from her  husband. "Surely [as]  a wife treacherously  departeth from her
  husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith
  the LORD."  (Jeremiah 3:20) Her husband, that is, her friend, had married
  her, but  she left him. Likewise  did Israel, who  treacherously left the
  LORD. Concerning Hosea, this was not the first time that he had to depict
  the  relation between  Israel  and  the LORD,  through  marriage. Also  a
  previous time, he had to do so. It was even the first thing he had to do:
  "The beginning of  the word of the  LORD by Hosea.  And the LORD  said to
  Hosea, Go, take  unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms:
  for the land  hath committed great whoredom,  [departing] from the LORD."
  (Hosea  1:2) The beginning  of his  ministry was, to  warn the Israelites
  against their adulterous behaviour, in  leaving the LORD. His sermons did
  not better the situation, therefore, a second time was necessary. In this
  way,  God dealt mercifully  with Israel. He  still sent his  prophets, to
  bring them back unto Him. Yet, there  will be an end of God's  mercy, and
  then, He will reject his people.
     "According to the love of the LORD  toward the children of Israel." In
  commanding the  prophet to  love an adulterous  woman, God  shows how  He
  Himself dealt  with His church. He was the  first, to love the adulterous
  church. He went forth, to  love her. Israel, that  is, the church of  the
  Old Testament, was still sinning, but God went out to love them. His love
  was the first; He went out to call Israel, to become His wife. Even, when
  Israel was God's nation, and they began  to serve the idols, God did  not
  withdraw His love  in the beginning. Though He destroyed His people for a
  time, yet, His love did not cease forever.
     "Who look to other  gods, and love flagons of wine."  Israel looked to
  other  gods, even  while  they had  their  own  God, the  one God,  their
  Protector and Husband. To look to other gods, while  we have our own God,
  is a sign of  great ingratitude, is an infamy, is very  wicked. Yet, they
  did it. We know that they  had their images, which is rightly abhorred by
  the present  Israelites. Also in  our times, some  have images, like  the
  Roman Catholic Church. They despise the one  God, and look to other gods,
  having images.  Though God forbade  the images, in  the Ten Commandments,
  yet, they  have them.  This church is  rejected by  God, and  have chosen
  themselves other gods,  namely of wood and stone and  gold. However, when
  we have not such visible gods, it is possible that we have other kinds of
  idols. Some make an idol of their  own body. They serve it, to keep it in
  the best condition, to be strong, healthy, beautiful, etc. They, to speak
  so,  worship their  own  body. Much  of  their  time and  money is  spent
  thereon,  and thus, much of their   time and money is withdrawn from God.
  God  said, that we should love  him with our whole  heart, soul and body;
  that we shall spend  our time in serving Him and our  neighbours. But who
  spends his time to other things, is in fact an idolater.
     It is said of Israel, that they look to other gods, and  "love flagons
  of wine".  Loving much wine is  also like adultery. Having  carnal minds,
  indulging  in lusts  of the  flesh, is adultery.  So, having  nice meals,
  drinking and eating much, "loving flagons of wine" is against the love of
  God. The  rabbis say  that you  must make  appetising meals  to make  the
  Sabbath-day a delight, but they greatly  err. Listen, reader, not to your
  erring teachers, but  listen to the  Word of God.  They loved flagons  of
  wine, and were  therefore punished by God.  Therefore, who love the  nice
  meals on the Sabbath,  will receive his punishment. Lovers of  flagons of
  wine are adulterers. They give themselves wholly to pleasures, and cannot
  stop, like those who are drunken of the wine.
     Think, reader,  about  the pain,  which God  will have  in His  heart,
  because his people err.  He loved Israel, but they love  their flesh, and
  therefore trampled on His love. Of course, when I say, that  God has pain
  in His heart,  it is a human expression, to show in  human terms, what we
  do against God  with our great  sins. He loved  Israel, but they  behaved
  themselves as an adulteress. They loved the flagons of wine, the meals on
  Sabbath, but  they forgot their  Benefactor, Who  had saved  them out  of
  Egypt. The time  will come, reader,  when you not  repent, that His  soul
  will loathe of you. Choose between  the lusts of your flesh, and  between
  the service of God. You cannot serve  both your belly and God. Make then,
  I pray you, the good choice.
  3. New Testament, Mark 4:3-8, The parable of the Sower
  Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
  And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side,
  and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth;
  and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
  But when the sun was up, it was scorched;
  and because it had no root, it withered away.
  And some fell among thorns,
  and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
  And other fell on good ground,
  and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased;
  and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
  Jesus  was teaching  the people by  the sea  side; a great  multitude was
  gathered around Him. They crowded round Him, so that He had to enter into
  a ship.  While He was  in the ship,  and the multitude  stood by the  sea
  side,  He was  teaching  them. He  taught  them many  things,  also using
  parables. He used the natural  things around them, which they understood.
  Using these  parables, He hoped  that they could  understand something of
  its spiritual meaning.
     One of Jesus'  parables was thus: Hear  to Me, He said.  Behold, there
  went out a  sower to sow  seed on His  land. He went  over the land,  and
  sowed  with generous sways of  his arm. Th sower  is he, who preaches the
  Word of God to the multitude.
     And  it came to pass, when  he was sowing, that  some seed fell by the
  way side. The  fowls of the air came down,  after the sower, and devoured
  it up. That seed  is lost, and will  never bring forth corn. The Word  is
  also sown  by the  way side.  These  are the  people, while  hearing  the
  sermon, they understand  it not. Not understanding  what they have heard,
  the things  quickly vanish  from their  memories. While listening  to the
  Word, Satan comes immediately, and blinds their minds. When you sit among
  such people, you easily can see it.  Many sleep, others sit there with  a
  meaningless face. The Word, that was sown in their hearts, is immediately
  taken away. Already before  the sermon is ready, they  have forgotten all
  what they have heard.
     There was also other seed, which fell on the stony ground. This ground
  had  a stony subsoil, but was covered with a thin bed of ground. When you
  walked along,  it seemed  good ground. The  seed grew up,  but it  had no
  depth of earth. When the sun was up, and  it became hot, it was scorched.
  And  because it had no root, it withered  away. With whom must we compare
  the Word  sown on  the stony  ground? These  are the  people, who,  after
  having heard the  Word, immediately receive it  with gladness. They think
  they believe,  and are  like the  seed,  which quickly  grows up  in  the
  shallow earth. They  do, however, but an  outward profession; their heart
  is not changed. Therefore, they have no root in themselves, like the seed
  on  the stony ground had  not. So, when the  sun rises up,  that is, when
  affliction or  persecution arises for  the Word's sake,  immediately they
  are  offended. They cannot endure the heath of the real Christian battle,
  for they  have no  root in  themselves. The  pleasantness of the  Gospel-
  promises attracted them, but their heart remained stony. They had lack of
  what  Ezekiel said, that their stony hard also must be taken away by God,
  and a heart of flesh given  them. The majority of the people, hearing the
  Gospel, are to be compared with this seed. They have joy in the Word, but
  have no root. They shrink from even the least persecution.
     There was also  a third place, wherein  some seed fell. It  fell among
  thorns. The thorns, more quickly growing up, choked the tender corn. Also
  this seed yielded no fruit. This  seed is to be compared with the people,
  who, after having  heard the Word,  choke it by  the worldly cares.  When
  they have heard  the sermon, they begin  to talk about the things  of the
  world, and forget all  what they have  heard. They start drinking  coffee
  after the  sermon, speak  about the vain  things, and forget  God's Word.
  They involve  themselves in several  things, which  ask their  attention.
  Also the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things enter in,
  and  choke the Word. All these things are compared with the thorns of the
  world, which  choke the Word  just sown. These  people become unfruitful,
  and will,  together with the thorns, be devoured  through the fire in the
  harvest, that is, on the day of judgement.
     But, there was also some other seed. This fell on the good ground, and
  did  yield fruit that  sprang up and  increased. This  seed brought forth
  more  or  less   fruit.  Some  thirtyfold,   some  sixtyfold,  and   some
  hundredfold. These are the  people who receive  the Word in their  heart,
  and bring  forth the blessed fruit of belief  and repentance, each in his
  own measure. Their heart was like good  ground, well ploughed through the
  working of  the Spirit. Their heart  was like good ground,  well cleansed
  from the pollution of sin, through the working of God.
     The  believing people  belong  to  the minority.  Though  the Word  is
  preached many times,  yet the majority will not believe it, in order that
  the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Who
  hath believed our  report? and to whom is the  arm of the LORD revealed?"
  (Isaiah 53:1)
     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, 29

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e: s-open-029.txt