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Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
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From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 33
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Numbers 1:1,2       In the wilderness of Sinai
Isaiah 40, part 2   The voice of the crier
Revelation 1:10,11  The Alpha and Omega

Numbers 1:1,2 - In the wilderness of Sinai

Weekly reading: Numbers 1:1-4:20

And  the  LORD  spake unto Moses in the wilderness of  Sinai,  in  the
tabernacle  of  the  congregation, on the first [day]  of  the  second
month,  in  the second year after they were come out of  the  land  of
Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children
of  Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers,  with
the  number  of  [their]  names, every male by their  polls;  (Numbers

This  is  the beginning of the book Numbers. It begins with  "And  the
LORD  spoke unto Moses". Happy people, who begin with the word of  God
spoken  to them. The LORD had elected them, and therefore He made  His
word known to them. Before the Bible was written, God often spoke unto
men  by dreams or by an audible voice. Here, He speaks unto Moses. But
now, while the Bible is ready, He uses Scripture to speak to us.
    The  LORD  spoke  unto  Moses in the  wilderness  of  Sinai.  They
journeyed  through the wilderness. Very hot on the days, and  cold  in
the  nights.  It is a living picture of the lives of all  children  of
God.  While  living  on this earth, they make a  journey  through  the
wilderness. Sins attack from all around them. They feel like Israel of
old,  journeying through the wilderness. But happy are they, when  the
LORD  speaks to them. Either by their minister, or by His Word, or  in
their heart.
    The  LORD  spoke  unto  Moses. Where? In  the  tabernacle  of  the
congregation.  This is important to notice. God often  speaks  to  His
elect  people  when  they  are  in the  congregation.  Of  course,  He
sometimes  speaks to them on other places. But here, in our  text,  He
spoke  in the tabernacle of the congregation. While we know this,  let
we  therefore  go  to  the  church;  the  present  tabernacle  of  the
congregation.  He speaks to the people while they are in  the  church,
and  listen  to the sermon of the minister, or while they are  singing
the Psalms of David.
   It is remarkable that Moses well knew when the LORD spoke unto him.
It  was on the first day of the second month, in the second year after
they  were come out of the land of Egypt. He precisely knew where  and
when  the  LORD spoke to him. That is always the case. When  the  LORD
speaks  to His people, they know it. He does not speak doubtfully,  so
that  they cannot say: "Did he speak or not?" True oracles of God will
never be forgotten.
    The  LORD had led Israel out of Egypt, that house of bondage. They
had  for  a long time been slaves there. It was, however, foresaid  to
Abram,  there forefather. God "said unto Abram, Know of a surety  that
thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall
serve  them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years." (Genesis
15:13)  What has been foresaid, also has happened. They were strangers
in  Egypt,  abhorred by the inhabitants. They have served  them,  with
hard  labour.  They are also afflicted for a long time. But  now,  the
LORD  has  redeemed them; He took them out of Egypt. Happy are  those,
whom  the  LORD takes out of the house of bondage, out of their  sins,
and  redeems them through the precious blood of His eternal Son, Jesus
   The LORD commanded Moses to take up the sum of all the congregation
of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their
fathers,  with the number of their names. He had to count from  twenty
years old and upward. When he had completed this counting, it appeared
that  they  were an exceedingly great multitude. They  were  with  six
hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. In
this  number are not included their wives, and all the people  younger
then  twenty  years.  We  see that God abundantly  has  fulfilled  His
promise to Abraham, that his seed would be like the stars of heaven in
multitude,  and like the sand of the sea. In four hundred years,  they
were become several millions of people, including wives and children.
    When God's temporal blessing is so abundantly, how much more  must
be  His eternal blessing, namely for those who fear and love Him,  and
obey His voice. Let we then serve this God. Let we not do like many of
the  Israelites  in the desert, who deserted God, and perished  there.
When  we then enjoy His temporal benefits, let us keep in memory, that
they are given us in order that we love Him.
    He  led Israel through the wilderness to promised Canaan. Likewise
now, He leads His elect people through the waste howling wilderness of
this life, unto the heavenly Canaan, whereof the earthly Canaan was  a
picture.  Let  we  then take heed, lest happens  to  us  the  same  as
happened  to  them. Of the more then six hundred thousand  of  people,
older  then  twenty, but two men reached Canaan. The rest perished  in
the desert, through their disobedience. Let we take heed, lest happens
the same to us. Let our walk then, while we are still on earth, be  in
heaven, like Paul said. When this is so, through belief in God and His
Son Christ, then we will enter that Canaan.

Isaiah 40, part 2, The voice of the crier

3  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the  way
of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Here  we  hear the voice of the crier in the wilderness. He is calling
us up to repentance. It is known that in later times, John the Baptist
was  crying, preaching, in the wilderness. What is the message of  the
man  that  cries?  He  says: "Prepare ye the way  of  the  LORD,  make
straight in the desert a highway for our God". We hear it: the LORD is
coming,  and  we must prepare our ways. He calls us op to prepare  for
His  coming. We know, that God is a Spirit, and that He does not  need
real  ways through a desert, to come. He does not need that  we  clean
the  ways  from  stones,  to  prepare it. He  is  spiritual,  and  the
preparation  of  our  ways is also spiritual.  The  message  is:  stop
sinning, people, and become righteous. Become straight, and desert the
crooked  ways. People are wont to make their says crooked,  especially
in the darkness, when no man sees them. Make then your ways righteous,
in  preparation of the coming of the LORD. Make your walk righteous in
the  wilderness of your sins, cries the preacher. It is just the  same
as  what John the Baptist preached. Rightly is he a fulfilling of this
prophecy.  He  prepared the way for the coming of the LORD,  our  God,
namely Jesus Christ.

4  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be
made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places

Every  valley  shall be exalted. What does this mean? We already  know
that  God is spiritual, and that He hasn't need of an exalted  valley,
to  come  through.  Here is meant, that all must  become  evenly.  The
depths of sin must be levelled out; that means, stop sinning. Likewise
every  mountain and hill shall be made low. Nothing is in the  way  of
our  Lord,  to come to us. Mountains often are a symbol of  might,  in
Scripture.  So, we may understand it thus, that no earthly powers  can
prevent the coming of our Lord. The powers shall be made low; that is,
they have no power against our God. All pride shall be abased for  our
Lord  Jesus.  Further,  he  says  that  "the  crooked  shall  be  made
straight".  For  crooked is used the same word as  in  "The  heart  is
deceitful  above  all", (Jeremiah 17:9) The crooked,  deceitful  heart
shall  be straight. We see, looking around us, and above all,  in  us,
that it is time for the LORD, to come, and to make our hearts upright.
Crooked  hearts  prevail  everywhere  in  the  world,  especially   in
ourselves.  What  will happen more? "The rough places  shall  be  made
plain".  Those  places,  which formerly were rough,  will  now  become
plain, in order that people may live there.

5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see
[it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

The  great grace, and the goodness of the LORD will be made known unto
the  people. It will be revealed. Men will experience it, and see  it.
The  glory  of the LORD is so great and eminent, that even  all  flesh
shall  see  it. When will it happen? We have just read it: when  every
height will be abased, and when all lowly will be exalted. The prophet
adds,  to remove all doubt, that it surely will happen, "for the mouth
of  the LORD has spoken it". The LORD has so many times proved in  the
past, that, what He speaks, also will come; so that we may be assured,
that also this will come. When the mouth of people speak something, we
cannot  be sure of it. Totally else is it with the mouth of the  LORD.
When  He  promises something, it will surely come, though it may  last
some time to try our faith.

Revelation 1:10,11 - The Alpha and Omega

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,
and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying:
   I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:
   and, What thou seest, write in a book,
   and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia;
   unto  Ephesus,  and  unto  Smyrna,  and  unto  Pergamos,  and  unto
   Thyatira,  and  unto  Sardis,  and  unto  Philadelphia,  and   unto

John,  the  servant of God, was in the Spirit on the Lord's  day.  The
Lord's  day  has  this  name because of the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  His
resurrection from the death happened in the early morning of that day.
It  was  Sunday, the first day of the week. On this day, Jesus Christ,
our  Lord,  has  revealed Himself more then on other  days,  unto  His
disciples.  Also  in our text, we see His revelation  unto  John,  His
servant. John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. With being  in  the
Spirit is meant, that he was in a spiritual condition. The Spirit came
upon him, as also happened unto the prophets of the Old Testament. The
Spirit  was  upon  him, and showed him a vision. We  know  that  these
things  happened  sometimes to the other prophets also.  Ezekiel,  for
example, got visions. Daniel also, and also Isaiah. There were more.
      John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind him a
great voice, as of a trumpet. The voice was as clear and loud as of  a
trumpet. It was God speaking behind him, with a great voice. His  word
ought  to be preached, as clear and loud as a trumpet. God Himself  is
here  speaking  with a great voice, and also in the Old Testament,  He
did  so. He commanded the prophet Isaiah, to lift up his voice like  a
trumpet: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet,  and
shew  my  people  their transgression, and the house  of  Jacob  their
sins."  (Isaiah  58:1) The present true servants of God  will  do  the
same. They cry aloud; they spare nobody, they lift up their voice like
a trumpet; they show the people their transgressions and sins. They do
so, because they know that it is their duty. Though they speak with  a
clear  voice also during the weeks, yet, Sunday is their special  day.
When  their hearers are in the Spirit on Sunday, they also hear  God's
voice  through  the  ministers.  They  no  longer  hear  the  minister
speaking, but even Jesus Christ Himself.
      Let  we now listen to the voice. He said: I am Alpha and  Omega,
the  first  and  the  last. Alpha is the first  letter  of  the  Greek
alphabet, and Omega is the last letter. John wrote the book Revelation
in  the Greek language; so he uses the common language of those  days.
"I am the first and the last", says the voice of God. He is the first,
because  He  was of eternity. An eternity before the creation  of  the
world, God was there. He has no beginning, nor any end. Therefore,  He
calls  Himself  "I AM". Or, "I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE". God  lives  from
eternity  unto  eternity. He is the First and the Last;  that  is,  He
comprehends all.
      What does the Lord Jesus say? He gives a command to His servant,
to  John.  "What  you see, write in a book, and send  unto  the  seven
churches which are in Asia". John will be shown an vision, and he must
write  it  down, and sent it to the people. No clearer could be  said,
how  the Bible is made. God revealed His words unto His servants; they
wrote  them  down,  and  sent  them to  the  churches.  When  I  write
"churches",  I  mean Israel in the Old Testament, and  all  righteous,
both  of  Jews  and  Gentiles in present times. Send  this  book  unto
Ephesus,   Smyrna,   Pergamos,  Thyatira,  Sardis,  Philadelphia   and
Laodicea.  Paul has preached a long time in Ephesus, and there  was  a
Christian congregation. "Send it unto them", the Lord commanded.  Also
Paul had written a letter to them.

When we then hear God's voice, coming unto us through the preaching of
the  Word, let us not reject it. Of course, many reject it,  but  when
God Himself, through His Word and Spirit, comes unto them, their mouth
is  shut. When God Himself comes with the power of Scripture in  their
heart, they no longer contend against the truth, but fall at His  feet
as  dead. When He cries with a voice like a trumpet, the ungodly fear,
but  the  godly spring up of joy. "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout,  O
Israel;  be  glad  and  rejoice with all  the  heart,  O  daughter  of
Jerusalem." (Zephaniah 3:14) Be glad, because the Lord comes. Let  the
ungodly fear exceedingly, because the Lord comes to their destruction.
But  let the righteous be exceedingly glad, because the Lord comes  to
their  salvation. When we then hear His voice, like a trumpet, let  we
obey. He says: "Believe in Me, and you will have everlasting life".

Teus Benschop  |  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl  |  editor of the list Chr-Exp

           "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel"

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