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Date:         Tue, 12 Dec 1995 08:29:34 +-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, 61
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

1. Genesis 40:23 - Forgetfulness of the favoured
2. Isaiah 2:1-4 - The Kingdom of Christ
3. Romans 16:20 - God bruises Satan

1.  Genesis 40:23 - Forgetfulness of the favoured

Weekly reading: Gen. 37-40

Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.
Genesis 40:23

The story of Joseph in prison is well known. The LORD was with him and
made all prosperous what he did. The chief of the prison saw that, and
he  set  Joseph  over all the captives. In that function,  Joseph  had
contact  with  all. One day the chief butler and the chief  baker  had
dreamt. They told their dream to Joseph, who explained and interpreted
them. All what he had foresaid them came to pass. The chief baker  was
hanged, but the chief butler was restored to his butlership again, and
he gave the cup in Pharaoh's hand. Joseph had asked him, "But think on
me  when  it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray  thee,
unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this
house:  For  indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the  Hebrews:
and  here  also have I done nothing that they should put me  into  the
dungeon." (Genesis 40:14,15) But after the chief butler was freed,  he
did not keep his word. As our text says, "Yet did not the chief butler
remember Joseph, but forgat him." The chief butler forgat Joseph,  who
had  explained and interpreted his dream. Perhaps he was again so busy
in  his  work for Pharaoh, that he entirely forgat Joseph. Being  busy
all the day, he did not remember that dark prison, but forgat it.
     Were  it only that chief butler, that forgat his benefactor!  But
the world is full of such people. Job, when it went evil with him, was
forgotten  through his best friends. "My kinsmen have failed,  and  my
familiar  friends have forgotten me," Job 19:14. And also Solomon  can
tell  us  of these things. He says, "There was a little city, and  few
men  within  it; and there came a great king against it, and  besieged
it,  and built great bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it  a
poor  wise  man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet  no  man
remembered  that  same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom  is  better  than
strength:  nevertheless the poor man's wisdom  is  despised,  and  his
words  are not heard." (Ecclesiastes 9:14-16) It was great ingratitude
of  that  city,  and of Job's friends, and of that  chief  butler,  to
forget  their  friends and benefactors. But that  is  common  in  this
     How  is it with us? Are we better than that chief butler? Are  we
better  than  the  friends of Job? Are we better then  the  ungrateful
inhabitants  of that city? How is it with us? When we have  been  ill,
and  God has again given us the strength and health, aren't we  always
forgetting  him?  Who is there that, after he is healed,  thanks  God?
Aren't  we  often, if not always, forgetting God? Who gives  us  food,
clothes, the Word, a house, work, friends, and all we need? Isn't  God
our  Benefactor.  Yet few, acknowledge Him to be so. Few,  show  their
thankfulness.  And if somebody does a short hurried prayer,  to  thank
God,  that is of course no real thank. It is but a ceremony; our heart
isn't in it.
     The chief butler forgat Joseph. And God did govern also that.  It
was His will that Joseph stayed for two full years in that prison. Did
this  time, during which Joseph was imprisoned, have any benefits  for
him?  Yes,  it was very advantageous for him. The Psalm says  us  that
there  was a great advantage. "Until the time that his word came:  the
word of the LORD tried him," Psalms 105:19. Joseph had God's word that
his  family  would bow down before him. He had dreamt that twice.  But
after  that dream, the fulfilment seemed not to come. And when he  was
sold into Egypt, and at last thrown into prison, the fulfilment seemed
to  become  impossible. Yet, Joseph knew that it was God's  word.  His
believed in God, and believed that His word would once become reality.
But  when?  And why had God thrown him in prison? Why had God  allowed
that  he  was  slandered? All these question will have  raised  up  in
Joseph's mind. Where was his God? And where was the fulfilment of  His
word.  That is what the Psalm tells us. "Until the time that his  word
came: the word of the LORD tried him," Psalms 105:19. Joseph was tried
by the word of God. Having the promise, but not seeing the fulfilment,
it  was  a trial for his faith. What God true? Hadn't He said it?  Why
did He not fulfil His words? The word of God tried Joseph. He learned,
through  the delay, to trust God on His word, without seeing it.  That
is  the  real  faith. Seeing nothing, but yet trusting  God.  Joseph's
faith  was  tried, until the word came. When the word came, there  was
put  an  end  to this trial. God appeared to be a God of truth,  doing
what He has said.
     To  try the faith of Joseph, God made the chief butler to  forget
his promise. And to try the faith of His children, God brings them  in
sometimes severe evils. To try the faith of Job, God allowed Satan  to
attack him. And when at the end the faith was tried, they saw that God
was  a  true  God, fulfilling His promises. Through that trial,  their
faith was strengthened. They experienced that God was true. From  that
former experience, when in a next trial, they could have hope on  God.
Remembering God's former deliverance, they could in the new trial hope
again  on Him. That is what Paul says. "We glory in tribulations also:
knowing  that tribulation worketh patience; And patience,  experience;
and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
us." (Romans 5:3-5)

2.  Isaiah 2:1-4 - The Kingdom of Christ

1   The  word  that  Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning  Judah  and

Here  follows  the word that Isaiah saw. Through a  vision  he  saw  a
picture of teaching, exaltation and peace in the last days, as we read
in  the  following  verses. He saw these things concerning  Judah  and
Jerusalem. These were at present involved in many and great sins, like
those of Sodom and Gomorrah. We read that in the previous chapter.  In
that same chapter, we also read of their recovery. "And I will restore
thy  judges  as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning:
afterward  thou  shalt  be  called, The  city  of  righteousness,  the
faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgement, and her converts
with  righteousness."  (Isaiah 1:26,27) So, Isaiah's  vision  in  this
second chapter is a confirmation of the one in the first chapter.  God
did  not  speak only once, but He repeated the same things  that  they
might be more sure.

2   And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of
the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and
shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

The  prophet begins with "and it shall come to pass in the last days".
Nobody is doubting that these "last days" are the days of the Messiah.
And  it  shall  come  to  pass in the days of the  Messiah,  says  the
prophet.  The  restoration of Israel and of  the  church  among  them,
depended  on the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed, the  Christ.  It
was through Him that the decayed house of Israel would be restored  to
the  true worship of God. And it shall come to pass in the days of the
Messiah,  "that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be  established
in  the  top of the mountains". This mountain of the LORD'S  house  it
mount Zion, whereon the temple was built. Isaiah does not prophesy  of
the establishment of the temple itself, but of the mountain whereon it
was  built. That mountain "shall be exalted above the hills". Not that
mount  Zion,  a hill not so very high", would be lifted up  above  the
other  hills,  but the prophet does speak here of the  glory  of  that
mount.  When Christ sets foot on that mountain, and when His  doctrine
begins  to  become public, then that mountain is established  and  set
above the hills. The doctrine of the Messiah will be so exalted,  that
it  can  be seen and heard by everybody and everywhere. Not only  will
the  mount be exalted, but also "all nations shall flow unto it". When
the  kingdom  of  Christ  will be enlarged by  the  preaching  of  His
heavenly doctrine, many that have heard it will agree with that.  They
will  become the followers of true doctrine. That is what is meant  by
"all nations shall flow unto it."
     Looking back we know that the very Person of Christ has  been  on
that  mount. They have beheld His glory, and have heard His words.  In
His  time  on earth, there was only the beginning of His kingdom.  But
after His ascension, His followers have spread His word also among the
heathens.  Many nations did flow unto that truth. When they heard  the
message of life, they obeyed.

3   And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the
mountain  of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and  he  will
teach  us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of  Zion
shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

When  many  people  shall have heard of the message of  God,  preached
through  the followers of Christ, they shall consider it and say,  one
to another, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to
the  house of the God of Jacob". We have heard of that God through the
preaching  of  the Word, and we want to serve Him. The God  of  Jacob,
that is the only true God. Let's ascend Zion and go up to the house of
Jacob's God. He is also our God.
     Why are they going up to the mountain of the LORD? It is, because
they wish to receive instruction of Him. Let us go to the house of the
God of Jacob, they say, "and he will teach us of his ways, and we will
walk in his paths." They come willingly, and with the end to be taught
through  God.  In  this  respect they differ much  from  many  present
people, who are unwilling, and even when they come to God, bring  with
them  their  own  thoughts.  The people whereof  Isaiah  is  speaking,
however,  have a ready ear for God's doctrine. Putting aside  all  own
thoughts, they ascend mount Zion, enter the house of the LORD, and set
themselves among His disciples to receive the doctrine of salvation.
     The  prophet continues with, "for out of Zion shall go forth  the
law,  and  the  word  of the LORD from Jerusalem." This  prophecy  was
accomplished when the Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, and then
went  out  from there into the rest of the world. Both the instruction
and  the Word of the LORD went forth from Jerusalem, when many of  the
first Christians went out to preach through all the world.

4  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people:
and  they  shall beat their swords into plowshares, and  their  spears
into  pruninghooks:  nation shall not lift up  sword  against  nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

God  is the Judge. He will judge among the nations, and He will rebuke
many people. Through the law, which goes out of Jerusalem, and through
the  Lord's Word, the people will be convinced of their sins. The  law
acts  as a sharp rebuker, for it forbids sinning. Through that rebuke,
the people will acknowledge their sins, and turn back to God. And when
they  are rebuked, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares,  and
their  spears  into pruninghooks". The fruit of the preaching  of  the
Gospel is that they will become peaceful. The Gospel of peace will  be
preached  among many nations, and when they subject themselves,  after
having been rebuked sharply, they become peaceful. They put off  their
former  enmity,  and  become peaceful men. Formerly,  everyone  killed
everyone, but now they will do good one to another.

The  prophet Isaiah foretells here the spread of the gospel, beginning
from  Jerusalem,  and continuing until the ends of the  earth.  Jesus,
just before His ascension, commanded His followers to do so. Listen to
His  words: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost  is
come  upon  you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in  Jerusalem,
and  in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the
earth."  (Acts 1:8) Isaiah also foretells us of the peace  there  will
be.  And if all, to whom the Gospel has come, had obeyed Christ,  then
there  would have been no war. But since many confess Jesus with their
mouth, and deny Him with their hands, the vision of Isaiah is not  yet
fulfilled  completely. We expect a still greater  fulfilment,  even  a
perfect  one.  Not  on this earth, but in heaven. There  all  will  be
perfected, which is now confused and defective.

3.  Romans 16:20 - God bruises Satan

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.
Romans 16:20

Peter  once wrote, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary  the
devil,  as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
(1  Peter 5:8) And having told us that Satan is looking for prey among
us,  he  continues with, "Whom resist stedfast in the  faith,  knowing
that  the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that  are
in the world." (1 Peter 5:9) We are commanded to resist our enemy, the
devil.  We  cannot resist him in own strength, but  we  should  do  so
through  faith. But since our faith daily fails, we will fall  in  the
hands  of  our  devouring enemy, were it not that God is  our  supreme
King.  When our faith fails, and when Satan tries to jump upon  us  to
devour,  then  we have still our God. As the text says,  "the  God  of
peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." This enemy will  be
bruised, so that he no longer is able to attack us. Yes, this  is  the
work of the God of peace. To bruise the enemies under our feet, and to
make  peace  then. The enemy sought war and destruction,  trouble  and
death, but the God of peace will bruise him shortly under your feet.

"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-061.txt