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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 

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

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

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

"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.

"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-069.txt