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Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 40 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Numbers 29:40 - Moses, the faithful servant 2. Psalm 35, - Prayer for God's help, part 3 3. Romans 1:1-4 - Paul preaches Christ's gospel 1. Numbers 29:40 - Moses, the faithful servant ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1 And Moses told the children of Israel according to all that the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 29:40) Moses. He was the faithful servant of the LORD. He led the people out of Egypt, gave them the law, and brought them unto the borders of the promised land. In all these things, he did nothing unasked. All things, which he did, he did them according to the words of the LORD. As our text states: "And Moses told the children of Israel according to all that the LORD commanded Moses". Moses did not tell the children of Israel own inventions, but he delivered them the words of the LORD. All what the Lord had commanded him, that he had to do, so he did. As is elsewhere written: "Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he." (Exodus 40:16) What, for example, has Moses taught the people? He taught them all the words of the Lord, and he urged them to keep these. He said: "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgements, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it." (Deuteronomy 4:5) He didn't give only the truth, but he also insisted on the observance thereof. Only giving the truth is well, but not enough. A faithful minister, therefore, will teach the congregation not things of his own heart, but the pure Word. He will not teach the inventions of the scholars of this age, who deviate from the just Word, but he will teach them the Word, as the Lord has said him. Many people who claim to explain the Word, use but blandishments. They pervert the Word according to the will of their hearers. Moses did that not, neither does any true servant so. Many servants are there in our times, who tell you the truth. Yes, they give you the truth, and think that they are therefore good servants. Now, as we have seen by Moses, telling the mere truth isn't enough. They have also to press for obedience. The Word of the Lord must become reality in our lives, and the ministers must point out how that goes. The truth must be experienced in the heart. For the servants, to explain how it is experienced, it is necessary that they have experienced it themselves. If not, how can they tell you the power of the Word? How can a servant tell you about prayer, when he cannot pray with the heart? How can he tell you about the power of the law, when he has never heard it thundering from Sinai, or when he never has had some like experience? The Old Testament says us that the true servants of the Lord teach according to God's words. The New Testament commands the same, as appears from Jesus' words, when He charged His disciples. He said: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19,20) After He said that the ministers must baptise the nations in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, He said: "Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you". And Paul, a very faithful servant, said: "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:27) Paul didn't dream up his letters and his sermons, but He declared unto us all the counsel of God. He declared not more then God's counsel, but also not less. Let we then learn from Moses to listen only to such servants, who bring all the counsel of God, suppress nothing, nor invent anything. Listen to such servants, who are true, sent by God, and of whom it can be said: He told the congregation according to all that the LORD commanded him. 2. Psalm 35, Prayer for God's help, part 3 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (... continuing last week's issue ...) 19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: [neither] let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. 20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against [them that are] quiet in the land. They rejoice over David, when he will stumble and fall down. That is why they had hid a net for him in a pit. They wink with their eyes at him, giving him a nasty smile, and thinking that his time will come soon. "They hate me without a cause", says the prophet. That has always been so. Always the wicked hate the pious without a cause. The children of God, and the children of Satan never make their peace. Always and ever, the wicked seek the destruction of the pious. They speak not peace, but disturbance. They devise deceitful matters, for so is their nature. They cannot get the best by being true, so they try it by being false. They devise deceitful matters against the quiet in the land. They who are quiet in the land, that are the peaceful people. But the wicked, as if there must always be disturbance, device lies against the peaceful. Whatever happens, they must use deceit. 21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, [and] said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen [it]. 22 [This] thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. The ungodly, like raging wild beasts, opened their mouth wide against David. They wished to devour him, when they could. "They gaped upon me [with] their mouths, [as] a ravening and a roaring lion." (Psalms 22:13) In later times, when Jesus had said the truth about the Pharisees, they were "laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him." (Luke 11:54) Times don't change. Whenever you try to live according to God's will, they will rage against you. They said "Aha, aha, our eye has seen it". Now we have seen our wish, namely your destruction. But, fortunately, not only their eye has seen it, but also the LORD has seen it. "Thou hast seen, O LORD", keep not silence. This is a great consolation for us, that the Lord always sees us. When they storm against us, the Lord sees it. When they nearly overcome us, the Lord is near to help us. When they open their mouth to devour us, the Lord will devour them in His wrath. 23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgement, [even] unto my cause, my God and my Lord. 24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. David prays for God's help. "Stir up thyself", o Lord. "Awake to my judgement". He says "awake, o God", for when God not helps at the beginning of any distress, it seems to us as if He is asleep. Therefore, "awake to my judgement", unto my cause. And he continues, and asks for God's judgement over him. David is accused without cause by his enemies. He has done nothing wrong, and his conscience is good. That is why he dares to ask for God's righteousness. He knows that he, because he has done nothing wrong, will be acquitted. When he is summoned before God's judgement-seat, together with his enemies, he is sure that he will be acquitted. We see what a great help a good conscience is. It makes us dare to ask for God's righteous judgement. When our conscience is bad, when we have done evil, we fear God's judgements, because we know, and our conscience assures it us, that we will be condemned. But now, having done nothing evil, we call upon His Name, to help us. 25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up. The Hebrew has "Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, our soul". But because the words "our soul" would be unclear to the readers, it is translated with "Ah, so would we have it". David, then, prays to God, that He might help in good time, lest his enemies rejoice over him. They would then say: "We have swallowed him up". This are words of murdering enemies, who devour whoever they meet. 26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify [themselves] against me. They rejoiced at David's hurt, but now, let them fall in their own pit. Let them be ashamed, when they see that all their guiles succeed not. Let them brought to confusion together, namely when they are caught by their own nets. Let their rejoice at mine hurt be for a very short time. Let their rejoice be as short, as the crackling of burnings thorns under a pot; which is for a short time. Let them be clothed with shame and dishonour. Being clothed therewith indicates that they are wholly covered with shame. They are but shame, and nothing more. Let now the boasters brought to dishonour. 27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. Here again we see a very great difference between the ungodly and the pious. The ungodly, as appeared from the previous verses, rejoiced in David's ruin, but the pious shout for joy, when they hear about David's deliverance. "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause". A difference as between night and day. Let the ungodly vanish; we now engage in matters concerning the pious. They continually say: "Let the LORD be magnified, Which has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant". The righteous are glad. They rejoice before God: yea, they exceedingly rejoice. Sing then, O daughter of Zion; Shout, o Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! For the LORD has judged the righteous cause of David. The Lord chased off David's enemies, and has set His servant in freedom. 28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness [and] of thy praise all the day long. After the deliverance, David's tongue shall speak of God's righteousness, and praise Him all the day long. When God rescued David, his heart became so filled with love toward God, that he now praises Him all day long. During the entire day, he will speak of that good God, Who is so righteous. This is a lively picture of what happens, if God forgives one's sins, and frees him of the burden on his back. Who is thus freed, will always speak of God's righteousness. His mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD. He says: "let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever." (Psalms 145:21) 3. Romans 1:1-4 - Paul preaches Christ's gospel ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Romans 1. 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, This is the beginning of Paul's letter to the Romans. The apostle begins to declare who he is, and Who has sent him. "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ". To give due weight to his teachings, the apostle says that he does not come in own power, but that he is sent by his Master, Jesus Christ. He called Paul to be His servant. Nay, more, to be even an apostle; that is, one who is sent out, namely to preach the gospel to all nations. He is "separated unto the gospel of God", namely from his very birth. He says, in his letter to the Galatians, that it is "God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace," (Galatians 1:15) We see, that God foreordains His ministers and apostles, to preach the gospel. Nothing happens without God's decree and foreknowledge. When the appointed time was there, God sent to the heathens that apostle, whom he had prepared from his mother's womb. 2 Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures, The full sentence is, including a part of verse one: "Paul is separated unto the gospel of God; that gospel which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." The Old Testament is indeed very full of promises of the coming gospel, namely promises of the Messiah. A few follow here: - And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15) That is, God will put enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between the serpent's seed, that are the wicked, and between the woman's seed, that is Christ and all His believers. - And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18) In Abraham's seed, that is, in Jesus Christ, shall all nations be blessed. - And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; (Genesis 26:4) The Israelites will be as the stars of heaven in multitude, and in Abraham's seed, that is in Christ, will the nations be blessed. - The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be]. (Genesis 49:10) The kingdom will remain in Judah's tribe until the Messiah, that is Shiloh, come. The people will gather unto Him. - The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deuteronomy 18:15) The LORD will raise up a Prophet, that is, He will raise up the Messiah, Who will be from the midst of the Israelites. We know that Jesus was a Jew, and was born in the midst of His brethren, as is foresaid here. - And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12) God will set up David's seed, that is David's Son, that is the Messiah. His kingdom will be established. - The LORD hath sworn [in] truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. (Psalms 132:11) The LORD has sworn unto David, that the Messiah will sit upon his throne; that is, Jesus Christ sits upon David's throne now. - In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isaiah 4:2) That branch of the LORD, that is Christ. - Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) The virgin Mary conceived, and bare Jesus, and His name was Immanuel, that is, God with us. Rightly so, for Jesus was God, and He was with us. - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Jesus is a child born unto us, as is known from the gospels. He is Wonderful; look to His wonderful deeds. He is Counsellor, for He gives counsel in distress and difficulties. He is the mighty God. He is the everlasting Father, namely the Author of eternity, and by Whom the Church and every member of it will be preserved forever, and have immortal life. Jesus is also the Prince of Peace, for he gave us peace with God through His blood. - Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong [hand], and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him. (Isaiah 40:10) Jesus has come, as is foresaid here, and He has beaten all enemies, including satan, hell and death. - Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. (Jeremiah 23:5) Christ is that righteous Branch. He is King, reigns and prospers. He govern His Church; and all true members of that Church experience His mighty hand. He does justice in the earth. - In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgement and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15) In those days, that is, in the times Jesus was born, God caused the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David. - And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. (Ezekiel 34:23) This servant David, that is the Shepherd over the Church. - And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgements, and observe my statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:24) In the times of the Messiah, that is now, Jesus rules His people and is King over them. They form one flock, under one Shepherd. - Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24) Daniel has precisely foretold when the Messiah would come, namely seventy weeks after he prophesied this. Now, these weeks are not weeks of seven days, but are weeks of seven years. Seventy times seven years after this prophecy, the Messiah came, namely Jesus Christ. We now return to Paul's letter to the Romans. 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; When the previous verses are repeated, the text goes thus: Paul is God's servant, a minister of the gospel of God. It is that gospel, which He had promised afore, by His prophets, in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament. Paul is a minister of that gospel, namely that concerning God's Son Jesus Christ, Who is our Lord. Jesus Christ was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. We know that Jesus was born of Mary, the virgin, who was a daughter of David. Now, since Jesus' Father was God in heaven, He could not be a Son of David through His Father. Yet, Christ was a Man, consisting of body and soul. Whence, then, did He have His body, His flesh? He took it out the virgin Mary, one of David's descendants. In this way, Christ was a Son of David, according to the flesh. 4 And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: Christ declared to be the Son of God. How appeared it that He was God's Son? Because He stood up from the dead. Now, to be a conqueror of death, that shows that He is God Himself. When He would be only Man, he could not have overcome death. But now, He is the Son of God, and had the spirit of holiness, that is, He had the Holy Spirit. Since God sent Paul to us, let we then listen. Let we no longer harden our hearts, but obey God. Let we listen to God, Who speaks by His true servants, like Paul was. Listen not to the false servants, who are not called, who but preach for money. The false ministers flatter their audience, but let we forsake them. The true ministers, as Paul, can tell you of their calling. They knew when God called them to serve Him in the ministry of the Word. They tell you of Christ, the only Redeemer, Who reconciles us with God. Listen to the true servants, nay, to God Himself, Who preaches you the Messiah. When you are among the audience of such a true minister, you will experience the power of God's Words in your heart. Though there stands a common man in the pulpit, it will appear to you as if God Himself stood there. The mouth speaking there is no longer the mouth of that man, but it becomes God's mouth. His mouth is a two-edged sharp sword, which cuts through your inward parts. "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) Have you ever heard such a minister, reader? No? Then it becomes time, that you seek a true, called servant, one like Paul; a true servant of our Lord. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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-040.txt .