MIME-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 08:48:00 +-200 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, 79 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Leviticus 12 - Purification after child bearing 2. Ezekiel 3:17-21 - Israel's watchman 3. Matthew 5:3 - The poor in spirit 1. Leviticus 12 - Purification after child bearing ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Leviticus 12 - 13 Leviticus 14 - 15 Leviticus 12. 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. 6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. 8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean. In our text we have the laws for the purification of a woman who has brought forth a son or a daughter. When she has given birth to a son, then she shall be unclean for seven days. But in the case of a daughter, she was twice as long unclean, namely fourteen days. In these days she was separated from society. Nobody might tough her lest he or she would also be unclean. She should be separated from the people during the seven or the fourteen days. On the eighth day the boy was circumcised, but even after that the women remained unclean. During three and thirty days after the circumcision she remained unclean. And in the case of a daughter twice as long. In the verses six to eight we read that the law commands that she should offer a lamb of the first year. Not an offering to thank the LORD that He has given her offspring, and that a new human has come on the world. The offering she was obliged to bring was not to thank the Lord. But she should bring a burnt offering. And also an offering for sin. The priest shall then make atonement for her, and then she shall be clean. We might ask: "What is wrong in bringing forth children? Why is the woman unclean so long? Why is she not obliged to bring an offering to thank the LORD, but an offering to atone for her sins? Why must she bring a burnt offering and an offering for sin? What has she done wrong? Hasn't the LORD said: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth"? Genesis 1:28. What is wrong in bringing forth children, and in obeying His command to be fruitful?" The answer to this all is very easy. It might be that she has fulfilled the command to be fruitful, but yet at the same moment she has brought a new sinner into the world. And *that* God has not commanded. God commanded to be fruitful, not to bring new sinners into the world. This is the reason of her uncleanness. This is the reason why the priest should make atonement for her, that she might again be clean. The new born child inherits the sinful nature of all posterity after Adam. The woman has brought forth one with a sinful nature, a new sinner. Surely, this makes her unclean. Why didn't she bring forth good children? Why has she given life to sinners? We, people, can bring sinner into the world, but it is God only Who can cleanse that sinner. Only through regeneration the new born child can be acceptable in God's sight. The first generation is a natural generation. Through our first generation we come into being. Yet, this is not enough. We need a second generation, a so called re-generation. The first, natural generation needed a burnt offering and an offering for sin, and a priest to make the woman clean. But the second, spiritual generation, the regeneration needs nothing of that sort. The second generation makes a sinner really clean. Only through a new heart we can be acceptable in God's sight. Only then we become righteous. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Joh 3:3. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Joh 3:7. Marvel not about this. You may think that the natural birth is enough, and that we ourselves should make us acceptable in God's sight. But then you forget that you, when you came into this world, made your mother so unclean that she was separated for a long time from other people, lest they also should become unclean because of you. You came as a sinner in this world, and you will be damned as a sinner, unless you be born again, the second birth. Only a new birth, through the Spirit of God, can make you clean. Are you born of a woman? Yes, of course you are. So you are born of flesh. Flesh, what will bring it forth? Will flesh bring forth a spiritual man? No, but flesh will bring forth flesh. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Joh 3:6. Flesh, born of flesh, has nothing to do with God, because He is a Spirit. God is not flesh, but He is Spirit. And He must be worshipped in spirit. How can a man, who is flesh, worship God duly, unless he is born again and is become spiritual? Can such a man, who defiled his environment at birth, ever please the holy and perfect God? No, he cannot, because what is born of flesh is flesh. Only when he is born of the Spirit, he becomes spiritual, and can please the spiritual God. Regeneration, that is what you need. The second birth - without that you must eternally die. Only when you are born again you will see the Kingdom of God. Only spiritual people, pleasing God, will come there - not carnal men. That what is born naturally is carnal, but what is born of God is spiritual and holy, like God is holy. "Be holy", said God, "because I am holy". But how can carnal men ever be holy, unless they are born from the Holy Spirit? The first birth of a person defiled his whole environment, including his mother. But the second birth, the regeneration, has a cleaning effect on us. Through regeneration God will make us holy, and this holiness will be seen and heard in our behaviour and speech. Let's earnestly pray for this second birth, that cleanses us from our first, defiling one. A second birth is not something that happens to you automatically. It is a special gift of God. He grants that to some, namely to such as He pleases. Let's therefore pray Him that He also gives us this invaluable great gift. When God regenerates us, He gives us also the faith in Jesus Christ, His Son. These two go together, regeneration and faith. Also righteousness is given us then. We have seen above the law for the purification of the woman that has given birth to a son or a daughter. The birth defiled her, and she was unclean for a rather long time. This behaviour of the unclean woman, her separation, her burnt offering, her offering for sin, the atonement of the priest - these all show us that there has happened a terrible unclean thing: a child has been born. This all shows us the original sin. The child, even before it has done something good or evil, already defiled his mother. Its birth was so unclean that many things should be done to purify all again. The original sin has defiled this child, in its very birth. The intervention of the priest, and offerings were necessary to purify all. Likewise have we need of the intervention of our High Priest, Jesus Christ the Son of God. And in like manner have we need of several offerings for sin. The only and perfect offering of Jesus Christ is what we need to make us clean from our own sins and from our original sin. Regeneration, that is what we need. When we are born again, then Christ's offering for sin is applied to us, and we are clean again. LORD, purify us, because we are defiled from our very birth. Through faith in Christ Jesus, we will become holy, and there will be made atonement for us. LORD, purify us. Though the birth of a child defiles the whole environment, yet on the other hand there is lawful joy. "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." Joh 16:21. So, when a child is born, let us be filled with a mixture of two feelings: On the one hand we mourn because a new sinner is born, but on the other hand we thank God and are filled with delight that a new man is born into the world. But much greater is our joy when a man is born again, and is reconciled with God. 2. Ezekiel 3:17-21 - Israel's watchman ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. The prophet is made watchman for Israel, to warn them for coming evils. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. When a prophet does not warn the wicked, and they die, then the wicked one dies in his sins, but also the prophet is guilty. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. If the wicked man dies because of his sins, but he is warned by the prophet, then the prophet is blameless. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. When a righteous man begins to sin, but the prophet hasn't warned him, then when that man dies, the prophet is guilty. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. When the man is warned by the prophet, and he sins not, then the prophet has delivered his soul. We have here an account of the important task of being prophet of a nation. A prophet is like God's mouth. When a prophet speaks to a nation, they hear not a man's words, but God's. This applies, of course, to a called prophet, not to a false one. Like the task of a prophet was heavy and demanding, also the task of the present minister is difficult. He should be faithfully performing his duties of explaining the Word and of warning the people. The Word of the LORD to Ezekiel was: 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. Ezekiel is made a watchman unto the house of Israel. What is that, a watchman? A watchman is one standing on the high towers or elsewhere, to warn the inhabitants of a place when the enemies come, or some other danger. A faithful watchman will watch always that he might see whenever the danger comes. And when he sees the danger, he will warn the people of that place, that they might be on their guard. The prophet Ezekiel is made of God such a watchman. Not only Ezekiel is put in that office, but also the other prophets, and all the other ministers of the Word of God. They are required of God to warn His people for all dangers. That might be dangers coming from a loose manner of life, or dangers ensuing from false doctrine. "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion." Isa 52:8. A faithful watchman will warn in good time, as soon as he has seen the coming evil. But when we look around us, in our own times, it seems that multitudes of watchmen are fallen asleep. The world is literally full of false doctrine, and many live a loose live under the cloak of some religion. Where are the watchmen? Why don't they lift up their voice to warn their congregation? Why speak they of peace, instead of coming danger? Nay, instead of the enemy being already in the city? Why are the walls broken down, that every enemy might enter the city and burn down any true and valuable thing? Why don't the watchers warn? It is because they are fallen asleep. Or they are blind. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." Isa 56:10,11. Since the world is so full of errors, and so full of people living loosely, it appears evidently that our watchmen are spiritually blind; they are dumb dogs, unable to bark, loving to sleep, lying down and slumber. And indeed, sometime ago I heard one say that he stood up not before nine in the morning, and went to bed early, so that "I am fit", he said. Yea, loving to slumber, lying down, sleeping, a silent dog. But let's repeat the command to Ezekiel, and the charge every true minister of the Word has: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me." This is the work of a true watchman: 1) Hear the Word at God's mouth, and 2) Give them warning from God. How should a spiritual watchman deal with the wicked? 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. In this verse we read the task of a true prophet and watcher in the case he meets a wicked one. "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die". This is the first thing a minister should do: Hear the word of God's mouth. And what says God? He says that the wicked will surely die. These words the watcher must first hear, and secondly, he should act accordingly: tell it to the person concerned. But in the case a watcher is blind, or ignorant, or loves sleeping, or in the case he is timid and fears the faces of the people - in all these cases the prophet will not warn the wicked. If "thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity". So, we see that the warnings of the prophets, though they seem harsh, have the goal to "save his life". The wicked, when they listen to the warnings, are saved. But when the prophet keeps his mouth, and warns not, then the wicked one will die in his sins. When the prophet hasn't performed his duty in warning the wicked people, and they therefore die in their sins, is the prophet blameless then? No, for though the man shall "die in his iniquity," yet "his blood will I require at thine hand", says God. The prophet is guilty because he kept his mouth. The blood of the wicked people will be required of his hand. So, we see how vitally important the work of the ministers is. They should speak, and warn, and admonish, and persuade, and teach, and give a good example by their life. They should do all to turn the people to God. It is said in this verse that the watchman should speak "to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life". Not that any man is able to save the life from any other man, but the verse means that the wicked might turn from his ways, his sins might be forgiven, and he thus might be saved. The prophet's word is then the power of God. God saves a sinner, when he turns from his evil ways. "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Cor 1:18. Yes, God's word is "the power of God" to save sinners. What happens when the watcher faithfully has warned the wicked people, but they yet refuse to listen? 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. In the case the prophet has performed his duty but the wicked go on in their own chosen ways, then the prophet has delivered his soul. The watchman has delivered his soul from the wrath of God that would have come over him in case of his negligence. So we see that the ministers should labour in the Word, but that they are unable to make the Word fruitful. They may labour, but God gives the power to the Word. "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." 1 Cor 3:6,7. We see that the prophets should labour always and ever, day and night, but that they should leave to God the increase of the Word in the lives of their hearers. Ministers may sow the seed, but when the hearts of the people are of stone, then it will never come up. But their labour, how unfruitful it may be, has yet this one advantage: "Thou hast delivered thy soul". The spiritual watchman have a task not only for the wicked but also for the righteous. Many say or think of themselves that they are righteous, so the watchmen have work enough. Many pretend to be righteous, yet, when you ask if they know Christ, and how they got this knowledge, then all is silent at a sudden. Yet they think to be righteous. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. In this verse we read that it is possible that "a righteous man does turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity". Men may have lived neatly, but become sinners afterwards. If they do that, God will "lay a stumblingblock before him", that he may fall in eternal destruction. God hates the sinners, and will lay a stumblingblock before their feet, that they may stumble and fall down in the pit. When "I lay a stumbling block before him", says the Lord, then "he shall die". How shall he die? In his sins, that is, without forgiveness of them. He will die eternally. But it is the task of the watchmen to warn these people before God lays a stumblingblock before them. When the watcher sees the righteous people turning form their ways, and becoming sinners, he should warn them as soon as possible, lest they stumble and fall down. This is the task of our watchers. When they are not asleep (like many sleep on), they will see the coming danger. When the sinner continues in his ways, God will destroy them. But yet the same God has given ministers to warn the sinners. Let the ministers then warn them, that they may be saved in good time. Our verse continues with that sinner. In the case he shall die "because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand". So, when the minister keeps his mouth, or when he is blind or drowsy, God will punish that unfaithful minister. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. If there is a righteous man, and he is warned by the prophet, that he does not sin, he shall surely live. We see that it is the task of the ministers, not to flatter the righteous people, but to warn them, that they sin not. Even the righteous people need God's warning, lest they sin. If the minister performs his office faithfully, then the righteous "shall surely live, because he is warned". Further, by doing this, the servant of God "has delivered" his soul. 3. Matthew 5:3 - The poor in spirit ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Is there any one poor in spirit? He is blessed. The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is for them. Blessed are those that are poor in spirit. They are not rich in spirit. They are not righteous in themselves, but they are poor sinners. Who are the poor in spirit? What kind of people are these? The poor in spirit are the humble. They are the people that are broken of heart. They understand painfully their worthlessness. They have a low esteem of themselves, and know that they cannot rest on own strength. Because they are without any good in themselves, they no longer trust on own power or on own righteousness, but they have put all their trust in the LORD. They trust on the grace of God in Jesus Christ. They are poor in spirit, because they have nothing in themselves whereon to rest or wherein to put confidence. They are so poor, that they have and see nothing in themselves. The poor in spirit; those that are spiritually bankrupt. They formerly were blind, and therefore thought they had all in themselves. But since God has opened their eyes to see the real truth, they discern so much evil in themselves, and so much vanity in their heart, that they no longer trust in themselves. They are the poor in spirit. Jesus said that they are blessed. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Ps 51:17. No, God will not despise a broken and a contrite heart. Instead of that, God will bless that one. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The world thinks to be blessed when they have enough, and when they can do whatever they like. Like the pigs are at rest when they are full, so is the world in silence when they have enough. The worldly people think that this is a good blessing: having enough of all things. But Jesus' doctrine is totally different. And not only Jesus doctrine differs from the world's doctrine, but also Moses said, that, when they became full, they kicked against God. "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered [with fatness]; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." Deut 32:15. As said, Jesus' doctrine differs from the world's. Not those that are at rest like the full pigs, are blessed, but: blessed are the poor in spirit. The world thinks to be blessed because they have all goods they desire, but the poor in spirit are blessed, not because they have the earth's riches, but: blessed are they because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Let then the world have their perishing goods, but we have the kingdom of heaven, which will remain always and ever. All flesh is like grass that withers, but God's Word, and His Kingdom, are for ever and ever. Let your treasures be in heaven, where they are safe. The earthly treasures are often stolen, or otherwise corrupted. But the poor in spirit are blessed, for their treasure is an eternal treasure. Some are indeed poor in spirit. But they are not poor in such a ways as Jesus means here. They are cowardly and afraid. They are subjected to the will of satan. They don't resist their corruptions of the body, but cowardly subject themselves and enslave themselves to them. Their spirit is so poor and void of all courage, that they listen to people, rather then to God. But this chicken-heartedness is not meant here. Not a sinful poverty of spirit is meant here, but a blessed poverty. Who are the poor in spirit? The poor in sprit are content with the measure God gives them here on earth. They are thankful for everything God gives them. Are they poor? Yet they are satisfied therewith. Are they despised by the people? They delight in that. Are they held in contempt? They accept it. Many are poor in money, but they are not content with that. They always and ever desire more and more. These, though they are poor in money, are yet not poor in spirit. Their spirit is always fighting against God Who has given them but a meagre portion. But the poor in spirit are blessed, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The poor in spirit are humble and meek in their own eyes. They think not high of themselves, but very mean. Some are rich in grace, but yet poor in spirit. How is this possible? How can one be rich in grace, and yet poor in spirit? Very easy. The abundant outpouring of grace in one's soul, makes him think low of himself, but high of God. Through the outpouring of the Spirit on one, he begins to see his sinful nature, and his corruption. These make him think low of himself. He becomes, through the received grace, poor in spirit, and thus blessed, for he is an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- email@example.com "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 -- firstname.lastname@example.org ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-079.txt .