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Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 38 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Numbers 22:35 The LORD's Angel and Balaam 2. Psalm 35, Prayer for God's help, part 1 3. John 1:11, Jesus' coming and rejection 1. Numbers 22:35 - The LORD's Angel and Balaam ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Num. 19 - 22 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. (Numbers 22:35) Balaam, after having nagged a long time, (as the wicked are wont to do) that he might go with the princes of Balak, God allowed it him. He is now on the way to Moab, to curse Israel. However, though Balak, king of Moab, has asked Balaam to curse the people, the LORD had said "Only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak", as we read in our text. So, Balaam was not allowed to curse, as Balak willed, but only God's word to speak. We see, first, that it is not in man's power to speak what he wills. When God restrains him, he will fall silent, Or, when God lays other words in his mouth, he shall speak those, and none other. The angel of the LORD said that he only would speak God's words, and what was the outcome? We will read it two chapters further. There, Balaam said, after having blessed Israel: "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do [either] good or bad of mine own mind; [but] what the LORD saith, that will I speak." (Numbers 24:13) We see it, Balaam was totally in God's power. He could not go beyond the LORD's commandment. It is also for us a good thing to keep that in mind. Too often, we think to arrange our own matters, but here, we see that only God has the ultimate power over us. Often, we forget this, thinking that all things are in our might. But this is a gross mistake, no, a fatal mistake. Thus erring, we forget God, and work our own destruction. Let we then always keep in mind, that we are governed by God. Reading our text, we see something else. The angel of the LORD said, that Balaam should speak only the word, that He laid in his mouth. Balak had hired Balaam to curse Israel, but the LORD prevented it. The LORD saved His people from the enemies. We see how blessed those people were, for they had the Creator of heaven and earth as their Defender. Blessed are all those, who trust in the LORD, and who are protected by Him. It might be that heaps of enemies come to slay them, but they will not succeed. Forty years, Israel had dwelled in the desert, surrounded by wild beasts, snakes, robbers, and what not. But God was their Protector. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence." (Psalms 91:1-3) In the text, we see also another thing. The angel of the LORD is speaking to Balaam. Does God than also speak to the wicked, you might ask? Yes, surely, for in our text, He does so. We ought to keep this in mind. For, not all to whom the LORD speaks, are righteous. Also the wicked are governed by Him. So, reader, when you think God has once spoken to you, or you experience His direction in your life, do then not conclude too hastily, that you belong to the righteous. Look to Balaam, a very wicked person. God spoke to him, but he wasn't righteous, neither became so. Not the words of the Lord, therefore, make you righteous. Only a renewed heart, a total conversion, will make you belong to God's children. It can go far with wicked. They may excel nearly everybody in knowledge of the Torah. They may shine in many things; they may have heard God's word - yet, when they not love Him, when they not are renewed, they stay wicked. When they excel in the Torah, they use it for their own honour. When they do many good things, their breasts swell of pride. We have an example of this, again in Balaam. When he prophecies, he not says: "Thus speaks the LORD", but he takes the honour for himself. Hear him speaking: "Balaam the son of Beor hath said". Again, "the man whose eyes are open hath said". Moreover: "He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty". (Numbers 24:3,4) Hear him boasting! He robs God of all His due honour, and takes it for himself. These things are the wicked's practices. When reading the Torah, they do it but for themselves, and hope that many will hear how skilled they do it. "And the angel of the LORD said", we read. Who is that angel of the LORD? It seems to be a being separate from the LORD, because he is not called "the LORD", but "the angel of the LORD". Who is he? In our text, it appears not whether this angel is a common angel, or someone else. But one thing, we see in our text. The angel says that Balaam must speak only those words, which the angel will speak unto him. That is what our text says: "And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak." (Numbers 22:35) So, the angel of the LORD puts the words in Balaam's mouth. Looking further, some chapters, we will now see who actually put the words in Balaam's mouth. He who does that, will be the angel of the LORD. Who put a word in Balaam's mouth? "And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak." (Numbers 23:5) Here is the answer. The LORD gave Balaam the words in his mouth. So, the being who is called in chapter 22 the angel of the LORD, appears to be in chapter 23 the LORD himself. Here, again, we come across the doctrine, that the angel of the LORD is often the LORD himself. A being, separate from the LORD, called the LORD's Angel, appears to be the LORD himself. Hence the doctrine of a plurality in the one God. The Bible teaches it us. Hence also, and from like places, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity originated. The Trinity is not something, invented in the early Church, but it has its roots in the Old Testament. Throughout the Bible, we hear that there is but one God. Yet, in the same Bible, we read about some plurality. So, who wishes to confess these things in one sentence, will speak about the Trinity, or about the Triune God. It is unbelievable, that the Jewish doctrine to firmly rejects this notion. That doctrine wrests all instances, where the Angel of the LORD appears to be the LORD Himself, - all instances where some distinction in the one God is taught - all these places are twisted to the Jewish denial of the Trinity. All means of escape are sought out, to maintain that wrong doctrine. They deem the Word of God not too holy, to be perverted, and to distort it to some human invention. They, thus perverting God's Word, attack Himself. I fear the punishment, due to such a wretchedness. How dreadful will that be! Let therefore all people of a sound mind adhere to Moses and the Prophets, who clearly teach these things of the Angel of the LORD, being separate from the LORD, yet being the LORD Himself. 2. Psalm 35, Prayer for God's help, part 1 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 [A Psalm] of David. Plead [my cause], O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. 2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. 3 Draw out also the spear, and stop [the way] against them that persecute me: Here again we have a Psalm of David, the man of God's heart. This time, he had much enemies, who strove with him, and who fought against him. As long as the enemies had David before them, yes, so long they had the upper hand. But now, look out enemies! David is praying to the LORD for help. Enemies, when you now continue to strive and fight with David, you no longer fight with him, but with the LORD Himself. Woe to such people, who strive with the LORD! In the prayer, we see what will happen to that kind of people. Do they strive with anyone? The LORD shall strive with them also, and He will conquer. Do they fight with somebody? The LORD also will fight against them, and He will beat them. Will they persecute David? Surely, they will find the LORD standing in their way, in order to stop them. Are they using several weapons, to overcome David? They can expect the same things to be used against them. God will take hold of shield and buckler, and He will defend David. It is sure, who fights against God's children, will find God in their way. But one blow, and they vanish. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. These are David's words. My Lord, say unto me: "I am thy salvation". David, being overcome by enemies, asks but a few words of God. Say, my Lord, that Thou are my salvation. When David has but these words, he will have the belief, that God will also accomplish them. Even when he is still amidst his persecutors, he needs but God's words, and he will believe that the salvation is coming nigh. The enemies will be removed, and he will be set in freedom. These things also we have need of. Being persecuted by sins, our great enemies, we have need of God's words: I am thy Salvation. Who else will save us from our enemies, namely, of sin, world, satan, own wickedness? Like David was unable to beat his enemies (for, why else does he pray?) - like David was unable, we also are unable to overcome sin. Pray then: Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. 4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase [them]. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. Let them be confounded, namely when the have lost to God. Let them be put to shame, namely when they flee before God. They seek after David's soul, but now, having lost, they flee to save their own life. All who seek to kill David and all God's other people, will be confounded. Let them be as chaff before the wind. When the farmer is threshing the corn, he divides the chaff and the corn. The chaff, being very light, when thrown into the wind, will be taken away, but the corn will remain. Let then the enemies of David be blown away like the light and vain chaff. The wicked often are compared by chaff. They will vanish before the wind. But the righteous are compared by corn, which is useful stuff. The righteous obey God, are the pillars of society, help others, and in short, are indispensable. They righteous are the corn, but the wicked are the chaff. Let the angel of the LORD, who is pleading David's cause, chase the wicked. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. We can imagine, what happens, when you are persecuted on a dark and slippery way. Through the darkness, you cannot well see where you walk. And then, with a persecuting angel behind you, you will crash into each obstacle in the way. Worse still, when the way also is slippery, and the angel if persecuting you, surely that you will fall. In short, the angel of the LORD will destroy the enemies. They will hurt themselves against the obstacles, and fall down in their ways. That is the portion of the wicked. 7 For without cause have they hid for me their net [in] a pit, without cause they have digged for my soul. Commonly, they digged a pit to catch wild beasts, as lions, and other beasts. They also used a net for that purpose. Sometimes, they spread the net on the ground, in order that the wild beasts got their feet entangled therein. Like men catch wild beasts, so have they tried to catch David. They hid their net and their pit for him, in order that he might be entangled unawares. But what is still worse, they did so without cause. Had David done something wrong? No, he was a righteous man. Why then, did they try to take his soul, without cause? Because they hated him. The ungodly always hate the pious. No great wonder that they hated David. On this, and the like passages, but also on daily experience is grounded the word: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12) 8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall. The sum of this verse is, that, while the enemy is busy in the setting op traps for David, let then an unexpected destruction come upon him. While he is setting up a net for another, let himself fall therein. "He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made." (Psalms 7:15) God often returns the evil one wishes to commit, upon his own head. This is so obvious, that there is a proverb, which says the same. The ungodly are aiming at the destruction of the righteous, and promise themselves all peace and prosperity in the matter. But their own ruin is at hand. 9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. When David will be delivered from his persecutors, his heart will be filled with joy. Not a joy like the world has, when their corn and wine increases, but another joy. His soul shall be joyful in the LORD. The love of God, Who gave salvation to him, will fill his whole heart. The true thank will originate from the deliverance through the LORD. The persecutors will be away; they have fallen in their own digged pit. David will be freed, and therefore his soul shall be joyful in God. These things show us, as in a picture, what happens to the sinner, when he is freed from sin and destruction. The law persecuted the sinner, saying: "I demand a perfect obedience". The poor sinner knew, that he had nothing to pay; yet, the law ceased not to persecute him, and to pronounce its curses upon the disobedient. But when the LORD will come, and set the sinner in freedom, that is, when He gives him salvation by forgiveness, his soul shall be joyful in the LORD. Then the sinner says: "my soul shall rejoice in His salvation". 10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? All the bones of David shall praise the LORD, that is, David, with his whole person, with heart and soul, shall say: "LORD, who is like unto Thee?". None is like our Lord, Who delivers the poor from his persecutors. The idols, consisting of wood, stone, or any metal, are dead. The cannot deliver, for they are nothing. But who is like unto our Lord, the living God? He delivers the poor from him that is too strong for him. None is too strong for our Lord, but we, in ourselves, being very weak, have many people who oppress us. As long then, as we think that we are strong enough in ourselves, to overcome all adversity, so long we have no need of the Lord. But when our eyes will be opened, and we find that we are very weak in ourselves (we are taken from the dust of the earth, and again return to that), we begin to need God. As long as we work in own strength, we will never rejoice in the Lord. But as soon as He has delivered us from our distresses, all our bones will begin to say: "LORD, who is like unto Thee, Which delivered me from my distress?" Yea, our God saves the poor and the needy from those that spoil him. Is not sin spoiling us? Surely, it does, for the wages of sin is death. And death will spoil us utterly. Therefore, only he who is delivered through the Lord from sin, will understand this prayer of David. 3. John 1:11, Jesus' coming and rejection ---------------------------------------------------------------------- He came unto his own, and his own received him not. The above text is said about Jesus Christ. When He came into the world, He came unto His own. He came into the world by taking upon Him the human flesh. He became a true man, with a body and a soul. When Jesus came upon the earth, He came unto His own property. His coming was not a little and unimportant thing. He came out of heaven, hid His divine nature behind His flesh, and became man. He came unto His own, that is, He came unto His people. When He came down, He came to Israel, which was a nation, chosen by God. Jesus came unto them in order to deliver them, not from the Romans, as many erroneously imagined, but from the power of sin. In the centuries before His coming, the Jews had obscured the true meaning of the prophets. They had invented a Messiah, who would deliver them from their enemies. Not the spiritual enemies, as sin, world, devil, etc., but from the Romans. They thought about an earthly kingdom, which the Messiah would restore. So, when the true Messiah, Jesus, came in the world, He did not answer their erroneous fictions, and consequently, was rejected. Therefore, we read in our text: "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." That is, Jesus came unto Israel, but they received Him not. They had not need of a Redeemer, for they imagined themselves to be righteous in God's sight. So, why then a Redeemer, to save them from their sins? They had much more need of a king, a leader, to captain them in their wars. A Messiah, Whose kingdom was not of this world? No, they didn't need that. They wanted a kingdom, here and now. They wanted to make a new paradise of this cursed world. Had they forgotten, that the world was cursed by God, because of Adam's sin? God had said to Adam: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;" (Genesis 3:17) How was it possible, that they thought that the curse could be taken away by a strong leader? Will not the curse vanish, when sin vanishes? Sin entered the world, and brought the curse into it. Therefore, only by taking the sin away, they curse could be removed. They expected a Messiah, who would beat the enemies, but they got a Messiah, who would pay for sin, bear the punishment thereof, and in that way would cleanse the earth. But, when Jesus "came unto his own,", they "received him not." The teachings of their leaders had obscured the Scriptures too much. The people, like a flock, walked after their blind leaders. Their leaders erred, and made also the people err. But, fortunately, through God's grace, a few believed. The majority rejected Jesus, but a few believed in His Name. Therefore, after having written "He came unto his own, and his own received him not", the evangelist John continues with: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name". (John 1:12) In as many as received Jesus, the truth had prevailed. Many perished, but a few became adopted sons of God. God, in His grace, saved the believers from their mistaken leaders, the priests, Pharisees and scribes of that time. The priests trusted in the outward stones and the brilliance of the temple. Many of the Pharisees and scribes were righteous enough, they thought. But as many as received Jesus, they got the power to become the sons of God. To which group do you belong, reader? To those, who rejected the Messiah? Or to those, who believed in His Name? Do you belong to them, who imagine to be righteous in themselves, or to those, who have need of God's grace? Are you expecting a kingdom with a temporal lustre, or one which endures forever? Are you blind for the truth, or are your eyes opened through God's renewing power? Have you still a heart of stone, or one of flesh? Are you still running toward destruction, or are you fleeing to your Saviour, Jesus Christ? Has the Redeemer come unto you, but you received Him not; or, belong you to the people, who receive Him? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teus Benschop | firstname.lastname@example.org | editor of the list Chr-Exp "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" More info? Send mail containing: review chr-exp Subscribe? Send mail containing: subscribe chr-exp Send that mail to: email@example.com Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-038.txt .