Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 16:48:28 +-100 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: ChrExp, The Scriptures opened, 69 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Exodus 20:15 - Thou shalt not steal 2. Jeremiah 45:5 - High things? No 3. Hebrews 1:1,2 - God has spoken to us 1. Exodus 20:15 - Thou shalt not steal ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Exodus 18:1 - 20:23 Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. The eighth commandment of the Law is: Thou shalt not steal. Only four words in our language; and only two in the original tongue: Lo tignov. This commandment is short, but it contains much. And it is often transgressed. You shall not steal your neighbour's goods, but on the contrary, study to save his property. It is said that love is the fulfilment of the law. But love is not empty. Love can be seen and should be proved. When we say that we love our neighbour, and in the mean time don't benefit him, or help him, then we have spoken empty words. We said we loved him, but by our deeds we show that we don't care for him. Love is the fulfilment of the law, also of this eighth commandment. And the fulfilment can be seen in our works. This eighth commandment deals with the property of others. You shall not steal the property of your neighbour. But you shall help him, whenever necessary. God gave us a portion of the goods of this world. We obtained it in a honest way, by working, or by any other means. It is our portion, and it is given us by God. We should be thankful for that portion; we should be content with it. We should not be afraid to use it, and trust God for the future. God is the Owner of all the goods of this world, and He distributes it to whomever He wills. We need not fear then, but let we trust our heavenly Father. He cares for us. Stealing is not necessary, but God gives us our portion to live on. Stealing. How is it done? There are many methods of stealing. One more refined than the other. One more unknown than the other. There are crude ways; there are crafty ways. Stealing. How is it done? Some impose upon the ignorance of others. They use his ignorance to deceive him, or to abuse him. Some impose upon the easiness of others. Because they are easy and careless, they are deceived. Imagine, you are in the shop. You pay, but gets back too much. If you say nothing, and have yet seen it, then you are a thief. You use the easiness or the error of the assistant to steal. This is against God's law. Some impose upon the necessity of others. The other urgently needs your help or goods, and you charge him twice the price. That is stealing. He is in necessity, and you abuse his condition. All such ways of stealing are scarcely blamed in society, but God's eye has seen it. You once should justify yourself for that. When during war the soldiers plunder everything what is loose, or what is not loose, they steal. When the great men of this earth rob kingdoms and lands, though they are above human justice, yet they are not at liberty to transgress God's law. Maybe human justice does not punish them, but then still God is above all. God, the King of kings, will not allow His law to be transgressed, even through the rulers of this earth. Some defraud the government. They wrongly fill in the tax assessment, and thus rob the government. This is stealing. Some borrow money, while they know that they are unable to refund the sum. They intentionally borrow, without prospect of paying back. This also is stealing. Some try all means to evade payment of just debts. They have bought something, but refuse to pay, pretending that the thing doesn't work as it ought. And they pay not for a not working machine, they pretend. They evade payment of the bill. This also is stealing. All extravagance is like stealing, because we abuse our money, using it for some extravagant goal, while it should be spent on useful things. The money we spent in our extravagance and luxurious life, could have had a better purpose; for example helping others. There is need enough in the world. Why should we abuse our money, and all the goods God gave us? Didn't He give it us, that we might be good administrators? God gave us the money, that we might help others therewith. So, when we live extravagant, we rob our poor and needy neighbour. Some live upon charity, while they don't need it. This is stealing. Some hastily insure when the big expenditure is at hand. It is against the eighth commandment. Some live upon the unemployment benefit, while they also work at moonlight. Others live lazily, and feed on the unemployment compensation, while there is nothing wrong with them. They are healthy, but cause themselves to be declared unfit for working. This is against God's will, and while they have a lazy life here on earth, they will receive their just reward on the day of judgement. Some squeeze the poor in their wages. They try all means to pay as little as possible. When they were able, so to speak, they would bleed dry their employees. But they forget that God cares for them that cry unto Him. God hears the poor and the abused and the oppressed. He will show Himself to be their Protector. The command "you shall not steal", requires industry, frugality, contentment with your portion, honesty, helpfulness, and so on. Let we then do to others, about worldly property, as we would they should do to us. Paul wrote, "That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified", 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Also the soldiers got an advice. "And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." Luke 3:14. Paul assures us that a thief will not enter into God's Kingdom. "Nor thieves ... shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6:10. And in another place he advises the thieves to work, that they may help the needy: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Ephesians 4:28. Further, we read that "A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight." Proverbs 11:1. Let then the thief, in whatever form, coarse or cunning or seemingly gentle, steal no more, but work with his hands, repent from his sins, believe in Christ Jesus, be forgiven, and become righteous. 2. Jeremiah 45:5 - High things? No ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeremiah 45:5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. Will you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, reader, because seeking great things for yourself, and honouring God, cannot go together. Seek not the great things, because these aren't our portion on this earth. "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." Rom. 12:16. The five verses of this 45th chapter of Jeremiah are for Baruch. "The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah", verse one. The prophet said this, namely not to seek high things, when Baruch had written this prophecies of Jeremiah in a book, out of the prophet's mouth. Baruch also had read these words in public. Being the prophet's writer and his reader, was not a job without honour. Accordingly, Baruch began to seek great things for himself. He wished for the Jewish nation and for himself a prosperous state. He hoped for a flourishing future. But now, when he had read the prophecy in a public meeting, and when the words had come for the king, all his pleasant dreams about the future vanished. For, the king burnt the book in the fire. Baruch hoped on a return of the nation to God, but instead of that the king rejected God's words, and destroyed them. All the hope of Baruch on a better future vanished as snow before the sun. It appeared that being the prophet's writer and reader was not a job without dangers. Besides the dangers connected to the prophetical office, there was more. The contents of the prophecy; they were full of threat. All sorts of destruction were predicted. A great devastation was at hand. Take this together, the dangers connected to the office of prophet, and the future misery, and you understand why Baruch complains: "Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest", verse three. And what is God's answer to Baruch's complains? Will God comfort him, and say that it will turn out better than expected? No, but God confirms the prophecies of destruction and devastation. "The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land", verse four. Baruch, don't expect to have honour and credit because you are the prophet's writer and reader. When you began, you expected much honour. But now you experience the truth of being God's servant. You sigh and experience sorrow. You faint and find no rest. In thinking to have honour, Baruch showed his infirmity. A man commonly expects to receive honour, because he is proud. Baruch had his work in writing for Jeremiah. It was his work to put his prophecies on paper. Also he should read them in the public. But for doing so he was threatened by the king. And in general, we know that the young beginners in the religion are apt to be discouraged, even with little difficulties. Experiencing some small difficulties is common in the beginning of the service of God. Baruch complained about them, and feared. This fear show his lack of faith, because he didn't trust that God would save him and protect him against the king's sword. Baruch had raised his expectation too high in this world, and that made the distress and trouble he was in harder to be borne. When you expect high things, and then must bear some difficulty, that is not a light matter. It is foolish, therefore, to expect any honour while obeying God. The frowns of the world would be more easy to be borne, if we did not foolishly flatter ourselves with the hopes of the world's smiles, and court and covet them. Be wise, and remember that Jesus has foresaid that everybody that wish to live godly, will be persecuted. What a folly is it therefore to seek great things for ourselves here down, where every thing is little, and where nothing is certain. When we are in such a situation, and we are discouraged because of some disappointment, let we know than that the cause is our pride. The Lord knows the real cause of our fretfulness and despondency better then we do. Therefore let we beg of Him to examine our hearts, and to repress every wrong desire in us. Seek you great things for yourself? Seek them not: for, behold, the LORD will bring evil upon all flesh. That which He has built will He break down, and that which He has planted He will pluck up, even this whole land. Let no servant of God therefore expect honour and credit in this world. Yes, the false prophets have honour while they are in this life, because they flatter every sinner, and everybody that walks according to the imagination of his foolish heart. But the true prophets will warn everybody; however their message will not be received in gratitude. Do you seek great things for yourself, honour, and credit, and being lauded by everybody? Are you such a minister that flatter the people? Seek not the honour and the great things, but be a true servant of God. Tell them the truth. The LORD will bring evil upon all flesh, because they refuse to return to Him. At the end, God promises, that though the whole land will be destroyed, yet He will save the life of Baruch. Behold, "I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest", verse five. Baruch was so greatly discouraged, but the Lord promises him that his life will be saved. Everywhere where Baruch will go, the Lord will give him his life for a prey. However great then the threat of the king might be, the LORD guarantees the life of Baruch. Let then the ministers of God, the true ones, take courage. When they faithfully perform their office, God will protect them until they are ready. And when they are ready with their job on this earth down, they will be taken up in honour. No, there will be no honour here in this world, but we await and expect to be crowned with glory with Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. He has given us the example, when He was on earth. He was crucified, and He was the target of all reproach and ridicule. Let we then learn from Jesus Christ, our Example. Shall we seek high things? No, seek them not. Faithfully perform your office, in the mean time "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2. Let we be warned by the example of the servant of Elisha. He also sought honour, but his reward was leprosy. When Gehazi came back from getting his money by deceit, he stood before his master. "And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow." 2 Kings 5:25-27. Let we then be warned, because worldly honour and riches cannot go together with serving God. Seek you high things in this world? Seek them not, because the world runs to its ruin. Instead of seeking honour and credit, seek the life which is in Christ Jesus. 3. Hebrews 1:1,2 - God has spoken to us ---------------------------------------------------------------------- God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Unto the fathers God spoke by the prophets, but unto us He spoke by His Son. The fathers listened to the prophets, who spoke God's words, but we listen to the Son, Who speaks the truth. The fathers listened to prophets, men; but we listen to the Son, God. See the difference in glory. They heard their prophets, but we hear the Head of all prophets, Jesus Christ. Moses was their greatest prophet, but we have a Prophet Who is more then Moses. Moses was their mediator, between God and them, according to their question at Mount Sinai. But we have a better Mediator, namely Jesus Christ. He stands between the Father and us. He presents our prayers to the Father, after having purified them. In the past, God has at sundry times and in divers manners spoken unto the fathers by the prophets, but unto us, He has in these last days spoken by Jesus His Son. God has in the past spoken by the prophets. How? By visions and dreams. God uses visions and dreams to reveal His will to the prophets. As is written: "If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Numbers 12:6. To the prophets God spoke by dreams and visions, but unto Jesus, He speaks directly. Since Jesus is God, He doesn't need dreams or visions. He is God, and can speak with God directly. "In these last days", God has spoken unto us by His Son. He calls our times "the last days". The apostle has a reason for doing so. We live now in the last days, because we don't expect any change in doctrine or covenant or teaching. All will remain the same, from the time of Christ until the last day of the world. We live in the "last days" now. The prophet Joel has prophesied of these last days. His words are repeated in the Acts. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams", Acts 2:17. Since that time, in the last days, the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Jesus is called God's Son. Also the prophets are called God's sons, together with all the believers. God gave the believers power to become sons of God, as is written: "But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name", John 1:12. And elsewhere we read, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God", 1 John 3:1. But though all the true prophets, and all the believers are called God's sons, yet Christ is the natural Son of God. Christ is the only begotten of the Father, infinite higher and more honourable then any of the humans. Christ is God in the flesh, the real Son of the Father. Through Him God has spoken to us. So, God has spoken to us by the Son. And what was the content of that speaking? It was, stated briefly: Repent. As is written: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17. So, that is what we have to do: repenting. Repenting, yes, but from what? Repent from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. The day of judgement draws near, and then God will give everybody according to his works, whether good or bad. The sinner will have his due reward, and the righteous one will receive glory. The sinners should repent, because the time is short. But a short time, and He, that is about to come, will come. Repent therefore, for the kingdom of God is drawing nigh. Prepare yourself, that you may be able to stand before God on the last day. Repent from your sins, and flee to Christ Jesus, that He may heal you. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org "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 -- email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-069.txt .