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Date:         Tue, 7 Nov 1995 08:46:30 +-100
Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 56
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

1. Genesis 18      - The three visitors of Abraham
2. Proverbs 10:16  - The labour of the righteous and of the wicked
3. Galatians 3:2,3 - The Spirit received by the hearing of faith

1.  Genesis 18 - The three visitors of Abraham

Reading: Gen. 18:1   -  22:24
Text:    Gen. 18:1-22

1   And  the  LORD  appeared  The LORD appeared unto Abraham.
unto  him  in the plains  of
Mamre:  and  he sat  in  the
tent door in the heat of the
2   And he lift up his  eyes  Three men stood by him; they seemed  to
and  looked, and, lo,  three  be men unto Abraham. In reality, One of
men  stood by him: and  when  them  was  the  LORD Himself,  and  the
he  saw  [them], he  ran  to  other  two  were angels.  This  appears
meet   them  from  the  tent  from the continuation of the story.
door,   and  bowed   himself
toward the ground,
3  And said, My Lord, if now  "If  I  am  worthy of this  favour  and
I  have found favour in  thy  friendship, pass not away from me".
sight, pass not away, I pray
thee, from thy servant:
4   Let  a  little water,  I  "Let  me  give you some water that  you
pray  you,  be fetched,  and  may  wash  and refresh your  feet,  and
wash  your  feet,  and  rest  that you may have some rest".
yourselves under the tree:
5  And I will fetch a morsel  Bread,  that is all sorts of food.  The
of  bread,  and  comfort  ye  text also says "therefore are ye come".
your  hearts; after that  ye  Abraham means that God has led them  to
shall pass on: for therefore  him in His providence.
are ye come to your servant.
And  they  said, So  do,  as
thou hast said.
6  And Abraham hastened into
the  tent  unto  Sarah,  and
said,   Make  ready  quickly
three measures of fine meal,
knead  [it], and make  cakes
upon the hearth.
7   And Abraham ran unto the
herd,  and  fetcht  a   calf
tender  and good,  and  gave
[it]  unto a young man;  and
he hasted to dress it.
8   And he took butter,  and  We  see the hospitality of Abraham, who
milk, and the calf which  he  stood by to serve them.
had  dressed, and  set  [it]
before them; and he stood by
them  under  the  tree,  and
they did eat.
9   And they said unto  him,
Where  [is] Sarah thy  wife?
And  he said, Behold, in the
10   And  he  said,  I  will  One  of  the  three men is  foretelling
certainly  return unto  thee  that  Sarah  will have a son.  At  this
according  to  the  time  of  moment, Abraham knows that one  of  the
life;  and,  lo,  Sarah  thy  three men was not a common man, but  at
wife  shall have a son.  And  least  a  prophet,  since  he  foretold
Sarah heard [it] in the tent  this.
door,   which  [was]  behind
11   Now  Abraham and  Sarah  Sarah  was  too  old to have  children,
[were]   old   [and]    well  according to human thoughts.
stricken  in age;  [and]  it
ceased  to  be  with   Sarah
after the manner of women.
12   Therefore Sarah laughed  Sarah  did not believe it, and laughed.
within    herself,   saying,  She laughed "within herself", so nobody
After I am waxed old shall I  could  see or hear it; also she was  in
have pleasure, my lord being  the tent behind the man. So, they could
old also?                     hear nor see that she laughed.
13   And the LORD said  unto  One  of  the  three  men,  who  is  the
Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah  speaker,  is here called the  LORD.  It
laugh, saying, Shall I of  a  appears  that this man, the LORD,  also
surety  bear a child,  which  knows the thoughts of Sarah, because He
am old?                       knew that she laughed, what was neither
                              visible nor audible. He also knew  what
                              she thought in herself. Clearly, one of
                              the  three  men  is the  LORD  Himself,
                              appearing in human form.
14   Is  any thing too  hard  "Nothing is too hard for Me", says  the
for  the  LORD? At the  time  man, who is the LORD.
appointed I will return unto
thee, according to the  time
of  life,  and  Sarah  shall
have a son.
15    Then   Sarah   denied,  Sarah   feared  because  her  sin   was
saying,  I laughed not;  for  discovered. Because of this  fear,  she
she was afraid. And he said,  denied  the  truth. But this  does  not
Nay; but thou didst laugh.    help:  "Nay, surely you laughed",  said
                              the LORD.
16  And the men rose up from  They  moved  to  Sodom. What  are  they
thence,  and  looked  toward  going to do there?
Sodom: and Abraham went with
them  to bring them  on  the
17  And the LORD said, Shall  One  of the three men, the LORD, begins
I  hide  from  Abraham  that  to speak of His work to Abraham.
thing which I do;
18    Seeing  that   Abraham  All nations will be blessed in the seed
shall  surely become a great  of Abraham, that is, in his posterity.
and  mighty nation, and  all
the  nations  of  the  earth
shall be blessed in him?
19   For I know him, that he  "I  have  elected  him,  that  he  will
will  command  his  children  instruct  his house that they may  keep
and his household after him,  the   way   of  the  LORD,   in   doing
and  they shall keep the way  righteousness and justice".
of  the  LORD, to do justice
and judgement; that the LORD
may  bring upon Abraham that
which he hath spoken of him.
20    And  the  LORD   said,  The  sin  of the people is so  grievous
Because the cry of Sodom and  now, that it has risen to heaven.
Gomorrah   is   great,   and
because  their sin  is  very
21   I will go down now, and  God  will check now if the people  have
see  whether they have  done  fulfilled the measure of their sins.
altogether according to  the
cry  of  it, which  is  come
unto  me; and if not, I will
22  And the men turned their  Two  of  the three men turn  to  Sodom.
faces from thence, and  went  These  two men were angels, as  appears
toward  Sodom:  but  Abraham  from   the  first  verse  of  the  next
stood yet before the LORD.    chapter: "And there came two angels  to
                              Sodom at even". (Genesis 19:1) But  One
                              of  the  three men is the LORD,  before
                              Whose face Abraham still stands.

Then Abraham is going to plead for the people, that the LORD might not
destroy them, if there are still some godly people in the cities. Even
if there were but ten righteous people, then the LORD will not destroy
the  cities. But we know, that only Lot was righteous. And as long  as
Lot  was  in  the city, the LORD could not destroy them. But  the  two
angels  will  lead Lot out, that he not perishes with  the  rest.  The
whole  wicked  rest was destroyed through the fire  coming  down  from
heaven.  This is a picture of what will happen in the end of the  days
of  the  earth,  when all the wicked people will be  judged  according
their  works, and when all the righteous people, the children of  God,
will  be  led out in safety, before the final destruction of the  city

How happy are then all the children of God. They will be protected  by
Him.  They  may say with the Psalmist: "Therefore will  we  not  fear,
though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried  into
the midst of the sea". (Psalms 46:2) It is true and certain, that they
who  dwell in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the
shadow  of  the Almighty. They say of the LORD: "He is our refuge  and
our fortress: our God; in Him will we trust." God will cover them with
His feathers, and under His wings they shall trust. His truth shall be
their shield and buckler. They also shall not be afraid for the terror
by  night, nor for the arrow that flies by day, nor for the pestilence
that  walks  in  darkness,  nor for the  destruction  that  wastes  at
noonday. A thousand of ungodly shall fall at their side, and even  ten
thousand  at their right hand, but it shall not come nigh  them.  Only
with  their  eyes they shall behold and see the reward of the  wicked.
Why?  Because they have made the LORD their refuge; they made the most
High  their habitation. No evil shall befall them, neither  shall  any
plague come nigh their dwelling. He shall give his angels charge  over
them,  as  we  saw in Lot who was led out by the angels. These  angels
will  keep  them in all their ways. They shall bear them up  in  their
hands,  lest they dash their feet against a stone. Blessed  are  they,
who made the LORD their refuge.

2.  Proverbs 10:16 - The labour of the righteous and of the wicked

The labour of the righteous is to life:
the fruit of the wicked is to sin.
                        Proverbs 10:16

This  is again one of the wise words of king Solomon. This king was  a
son  of  David. And also in his sayings, this can be seen. His father,
David,  had said in one of his Psalms: "A little that a righteous  man
hath is better than the riches of many wicked." (Psalms 37:16) Solomon
walks in his footsteps, and confirms his father's words by saying  the
words  of our text: "The labour of the righteous is to life: the fruit
of  the wicked is to sin." Centuries later, Paul the apostle shows the
truth of his doctrine, by again repeating the same things. Speaking of
the righteous, he says: "And we know that all things work together for
good  to them that love God. (Romans 8:28) And speaking of the wicked,
he says: "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)

The labour of the righteous is to life.

It may be that the righteous man has nothing more than that, for which
he  labours hard. He eats the labour of his hands, and that labour  is
to  life.  When he has food, clothing and accommodation, he  does  not
desire anymore. It is not his wish to be rich and eminent, but  he  is
content when he is able to care for his family. He not only cares  for
his  family, but also tries to help others, when they are in need.  He
is "working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have
to  give  to  him  that needeth." (Ephesians 4:28) All  the  righteous
labours for is that he may do good; it is to life.

The fruit of the wicked is to sin.

The  fruit  of the wicked, it may be the fruit of his labour,  or  the
fruit  of his theft; however he has acquired his fruit, it is used  to
sin.  Or, it tends to sin. He uses his money to kindle his lusts,  his
pride and his luxury. He uses his fruit to do evil instead of good. He
hurts therewith, and becomes hardened in his evil ways. In short,  the
fruit of the wicked tends to sin. When he has left some money, he does
not give it to the poor, but lays it out on his sin.

We  see that the same things can be used in good or in evil ways.  The
same  money;  the  same fruit of our labour; you can do  two  opposite
things with it. You can use it to life, or to sin. The natural man, as
he  is  born, uses it to sin, but the spiritual man, when he  is  born
again, sometimes, when not his old nature sits on the throne, uses  it
to life, through the power of God.

3.  Galatians 3:2,3 - The Spirit received by the hearing of faith

This only would I learn of you,
    Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law,
    or by the hearing of faith?
    Are ye so foolish?
    having begun in the Spirit,
    are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
                                Galatians 3:2,3

The  congregations in Galatia were founded by Paul, when  he  preached
there  the  faith  in  Jesus Christ. No, I must  say  it  better:  The
congregations  in Galatia were not founded by Paul, but  by  God,  Who
gave  His  Spirit. While Paul was preaching the faith in  Christ,  God
worked  the faith in the hearts of the hearers, and they received  the
Spirit.  It  may  be  that they formerly had tried  to  keep  all  the
commandments of the law, but they had not received the Spirit  through
that. Through the keeping of the law, the Spirit was not given by God.
But  when  Paul began to preach, all changed. While he was  preaching,
and  evidently  setting forth Jesus Christ crucified, God  co-operated
and  gave His Spirit. In this way, several congregations were  founded
in Galatia.
     After  Paul  had  continued his work also  in  other  places,  to
establish congregations there, other preachers took over his place  in
the  congregations of Galatia. But soon it appeared that they were not
as  Paul.  They seemed to preach the same, but in fact, they taught  a
wholly  different gospel. They taught that you cannot obtain salvation
by faith only, but that also the works of the law are necessary.
"People", they said, "besides believing that Jesus is the Christ,  you
also  should keep the law, be circumcised, and do all other things  we
command  you". After Paul had heard of this false prophets,  and  that
they destroyed true faith in Galatia, he began to write a letter. From
this letter our text is taken.
     He writes: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that  ye
should  not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ  hath  been
evidently  set forth, crucified among you?" (Galatians 3:1) They  were
fallen  from  the  truth, not so much on purpose, but  rather  through
being  bewitched. They were bewitched by the false prophets, who  came
in  the  clothes of sheep, and feigned themselves to be Christ's  true
servants.  But they bewitched the Galatians, preaching a  half  faith,
which is no faith at all. Paul has so clearly showed them Christ, that
it was as if Jesus had been crucified before their eyes. And yet, they
forgot  this,  and  followed  the false teachers,  who  brought  their
hearers back to the covenant of works.
     But  let now God show who speaks the truth! When did He give  the
Spirit? Did He sent down the Spirit when they were trying to keep  the
law,  or  when they heard of the faith? "This only would  I  learn  of
you",  says Paul. Let God be my Witness. "Received you the  Spirit  by
the  works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" The answer of  the
Galatians  will  be, without doubt: "We received the Spirit,  when  we
believed,  and not when we tried to keep the law". Then Paul  answers:
If  you then got the Spirit through faith, and not through works,  why
have  you then returned to that old law? To that law, which never  has
given life to you? Why did you not continue in faith only? Why did you
forsake  the  faith, through which you received the Spirit?  And  Paul
continues  with: "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit,  are
ye  now  made  perfect  by  the flesh?" This  means:  You  began  with
receiving  the  Spirit, and why have you now returned to  the  outward
forms of the law? They did not give life to you, so why have you begun
with life, and wish to be made perfect by death?
     This  is  the  regrettable result of the  sermons  of  the  false
prophets.  These  law-preachers seem to be solid. For,  who  will  not
consider  solid  such  preachers, who urge on keeping  the  law?  Such
preachers,  you not often hear, they will say. Many preachers  are  as
loose as sand. They all are lawless. So, when there finally appears  a
preacher  of the law, who would not welcome him? But it is false.  The
law-preachers cannot give you the Spirit. God shows which preaching He
prefers, by withholding the gift of the Spirit to the one, and  giving
Him to the other.

We should look out for preachers who are not called by God. Such hand-
made  prophets don't have the real knowledge of God. What they  preach
is  but of own fabrication. Either they are too heavy, or they are too
light. Either they go too far on the one side, and begin to preach the
law  as  the way to heaven. Or they go too far on the other side,  and
preach a lawless religion. But God's called ministers, taught of  God,
will  tell you the real way to heaven. They tell you the way as it  is
described  in  Scripture. They are the true prophets, of  whom  it  is
said: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee" (namely the words
of  the true teachers), "saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,  when
ye  turn  to  the  right hand, and when ye turn to the left."  (Isaiah
30:21) When such ministers see some of their flock departing from  the
way  at  the left hand, they warn him. "This is the way, walk in  it!"
And  when  they see someone departing from the way at the right  hand,
they warn also him. "This is the way, walk in it!" It is a narrow way,
which leads to heaven. Too many have erred. Take heed then, that  also
you  will  not err. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide  is  the
gate,  and  broad  is the way, that leadeth to destruction,  and  many
there  be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and  narrow
is  the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find  it."
(Matthew 7:13,14)

"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
Written by Teus Benschop  --  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-056.txt