Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 09:02:07 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 29 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org 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 .