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Date:         Tue, 22 Aug 1995 10:50:54 +0200
Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 45
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

1. Deuteronomy 16:1 - The Passover
2. Zechariah 2:13   - Be silent before the LORD!
3. John 1:16        - A fulness of grace

1.   Deuteronomy 16:1 - The Passover

Reading: Deut.11:26-16:17

Observe  the  month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the  LORD  thy
God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth  out
of Egypt by night.

The  book  of  Deuteronomy consists of several sermons, pronounced  by
Moses, directed to the people, while they stood before the borders  of
the  promised land. In this sermon, he speaks about many subjects. One
of  them  is in our text, where Moses exhorts the people to  keep  the
passover unto the LORD.
     "Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto  the  LORD
thy God". Why must they observe this month? And why must they keep the
passover? And why must they do it unto the LORD their God? The  answer
follows.  Do  so, "for in the month of Abib the LORD thy  God  brought
thee  forth  out of Egypt by night". God delivered the people  out  of
Egypt,  that  house  of  bondage, and therefore  they  must  keep  the
passover.  God, in His grace, saved them from their utterly  desperate
state  of  slavery, their in Egypt. He showed them His  kindness,  and
paternal care. Because God was the First, to do the people well,  they
now  will  be  thankful, and keep the passover unto the  LORD,  for  a
remembrance of His mercy. Remember then always, people, how  you  were
delivered  through the mighty hand of the LORD. You were not  able  to
deliver  yourself. You cried unto the LORD. He heard your voice,  came
down from heaven, and sent Moses to bring you out. Keep then always in
your  memory, people, the paternal goodness of God. Observe  therefore
Abib,  the month wherein you were saved from your oppressors. In  that
month,  you  were  delivered through a mighty hand, and  your  journey
through the desert began. In the midst of the night, that last day  in
Egypt, the LORD smote all the firstborn of Egypt, and led you out.
     For us, it is long ago that these things happened. Very long ago.
It  is  impossible  for us to understand what that has  been  for  the
people of Israel, to be delivered from their oppressors, and to be set
in  freedom after so many years of bondage. When we wish to understand
these  things,  it is necessary that we are delivered ourselves.  Only
he,  who is freed from his enemies, will understand a little of  these
things.  It can be, that we think that we live in a free land. However
it be, each of us has need of being delivered from the bondage of sin,
world, own depraved lusts, etc., which keep us under a heavy yoke.  To
some  of  the people, God has showed His eternal pleasure, to  deliver
them from the hand of Satan, who kept them in bondage during all their
life. To such people may be said, with a variant on our text: "Observe
the commandments, and keep them unto the LORD thy God; for in the time
of  His pleasure the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of the  house
of  sin."  To  set His people in freedom, God sent His Son  Jesus;  to
deliver  them,  "who  through fear of death were  all  their  lifetime
subject  to bondage." (Hebrews 2:15) Like the children of Israel  were
kept  in  bondage, also these people were kept in bondage of  sin.  As
long as Pharaoh did not oppress them, they lived in Egypt without much
problems. Likewise, as long as sin does not oppress us, we live in the
world  without  much problems. By the time, that God  would  save  the
people  out of Egypt, He made the bonds of slavery very hard for  them
to  bear,  in  order  that  they would cry  to  Him  for  deliverance.
Likewise,  by the time that God will save some sinners, He  begins  to
make  them feel the sins, and He makes the sin like a heavy burden  on
their  backs. When the sinner feels that burden, he begins to  cry  to
God for deliverance. When the time is there, God will save him through
Christ, and set him in freedom. "Serve Me then, saved sinner, for I am
your  LORD".  "Serve the Lord". (Romans 12:11) "Serve  the  LORD  with
fear,  and  rejoice with trembling." (Psalms 2:11) Saved sinner,  keep
always in memory, that God was the First. It was His pleasure to  save
you,  not  because  of something in you, but because  of  His  eternal

2.   Zechariah 2:13 - Be silent before the LORD!

Be  silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up  out  of
his holy habitation.

This  verse is the last one of the first two chapters of this prophecy
of  the  prophet  Zechariah. In these chapters, we read  God's  words,
given through the holy prophet, concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem
and  the  cities  of Judah, after the destruction by the  Babylonians.
After the seventy years, the LORD would again show His compassion.  He
promises  the restoration of the nation. Some texts of these  chapters
will make that clear.
-   The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. (1:2)
-   Then  the  angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD  of  hosts,
    how  long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the  cities
    of   Judah,   against  which  thou  hast  had  indignation   these
    threescore and ten years? (1:12)
-   Cry  yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities  through
    prosperity  shall  yet be spread abroad; and the  LORD  shall  yet
    comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. (1:17)
-   And  said  unto  him,  Run,  speak  to  this  young  man,  saying,
    Jerusalem  shall  be inhabited [as] towns without  walls  for  the
    multitude of men and cattle therein: (2:4)
-   And  many  nations shall be joined to the LORD in  that  day,  and
    shall  be  my people: and I will dwell in the midst of  thee,  and
    thou  shalt  know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me  unto  thee.
The  prophet begins with the cause of their captivity. Then  he  shows
the angel, praying for mercy on Jerusalem and Judah. The LORD promises
that  He shall comfort Zion, and that there will dwell a multitude  of
people  therein. Moreover, many of the nation shall be joined  to  the
LORD on that day.
     All these things seemed nearly unbelievable. For, when there  was
but  a  rest in Babylon, how could they become such a great multitude?
There  promises were so great, and the enemies were so many,  that  it
was difficult to believe it. The fathers had sinned so grievously, and
would the LORD now show mercy?
     To  assure  his  hearers of the truth of these  good  words,  the
prophet  says, in our text: "Be silent, O all flesh, before the  LORD:
for  he  is  raised  up out of his holy habitation."  In  saying,  "be
silent, O all flesh", he means: Submit yourself, people, to the  LORD;
be  silent  before  Him. God's people, does it seem  unbelievable?  Be
silent, for God is true, and He will surely accomplish all, even above
your  expectations.  Unbelievers, be  silent  before  the  LORD;  stop
ridiculing  God's words, as if they are unfeasible. Be silent,  O  all
flesh,  before  the  LORD:  "for He is  raised  up  out  of  His  holy
habitation". The LORD seemed to do nothing during these seventy  years
of devastation, but now, He again will show that He is God, and nobody
else.  He is raised up out of His holy habitation. He sat down  there,
doing  nothing special for Jerusalem and Judah, but now, He is  raised
up  to  their help. "Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, like  a
mighty  man that shouteth by reason of wine. And he smote his  enemies
in  the  hinder  parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach."  (Psalms
     It is then sure, despite the sabotaging enemies, despite the weak
power  of  the builders, despite all adversity and unbelief, that  the
LORD  will rebuild Jerusalem, and will give then a safe dwelling place
there.  Be silent then, both unbelievers and believers, for  the  LORD
has  spoken it; and that is why it is true. He is raised up out of His
holy habitation, to fulfil His words.
     This  holy  habitation is heaven, as appears from  other  places.
"Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people
Israel".  (Deuteronomy 26:15) "Look down from heaven, and behold  from
the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory." (Isaiah 63:15)
     If  then  there is one, who has heard the word of God,  the  good
word,  the merciful word, and if these things seem too great for  him,
let  him then pay attention to our text. If the unbelieving reasonings
inside  of  him raise their wicked voices, let him say: "Be silent,  O
all reasonings, for God is faithful". If all external enemies laugh at
you,  because you have put your trust in God, say then: "Be silent,  O
all  flesh, for the LORD is at my side". If things seem too great  for
you,  say to yourself: Be silent, O weak unbeliever, before the  LORD:
for  He  is raised up out of His holy habitation", to do all  what  He

3.   John 1:16 - A fulness of grace

And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
(John 1:16)

John, the apostle, the author of the book John, is here speaking about
His  beloved Master, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.  John  is
speaking  about the grace he received. And not only he, but  also  the
other  people, to whom he belonged. "We all", says he, "have  received
grace for grace, of Jesus' fulness". Grace for grace, that means, that
we all received the one grace after the other. There was and is no end
of  God's  graces, exhibited in Christ His Son. The one grace  follows
the  other,  and they all come from His fulness. Jesus is so  full  of
grace, that there is never an end of it.
     It  is a great grace, that we are called by God according to  His
purpose.  The  first grace was, that God foreknew us.  Then  the  next
grace  followed, when He predestinated us to be conformed to the image
of  Jesus, His Son, that we might be His brethren. After the grace  of
predestination, the grace of our calling followed. The next grace  was
our justification in God's sight. The next grace follows, when we will
be  glorified. All these graces flowed from Jesus' fulness,  of  which
there  was  no  end. His fulness can be compared with  the  vine.  All
branches  which are in the vine, receive from its fluid. That  is  why
Jesus  said: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that  abideth  in
me,  and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without  me
ye  can  do  nothing."  (John 15:5) There is never  an  end  of  Jesus
fulness,  "for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
(Colossians  2:9) Therefore, there will also never be an  end  of  His
graces, which He bestows on us.
     Does anyone lack something? Are you trying to please God, but you
experience that all your attempts fail? If this is the case, you  have
need  of  God's grace, yea, graces for graces. Only with these graces,
you  are  able  to please God. Have you lack of righteousness?  Go  to
Jesus,  who is full of righteousness, and is ready to give it  to  all
who  call  upon His Name. Are you wearied of all your attempts?  "Come
unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest." (Matthew 11:28)
     On the other hand, are there perhaps people who are abusing God's
grace.  Are  you thinking, "once saved is always saved; so it  matters
not  what I am doing, for I am saved"? If you think thus, then you are
abusing  God's grace, and it will be taken from you. What you  fancied
to  have,  (but not had in reality) will be taken from you. For,  when
you  really had received God's graces, you also had received the grace
of  holiness. But since you are unholy, you proved that you  are  not,
and never have been, a partaker of God's graces.
     Come  to Me, says Jesus, all you that labour and are heavy  laden
(not  those who lay at an idle rest); come to Me, all you that labour,
and bear an unbearable yoke, and I will give you rest.

Teus Benschop  --  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
Listowner of chr-exp@nic.surfnet.nl
"A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel"
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-045.txt