Reading the Bible Yourself – Part 11


Suggested answers and explanatory notes

Chapter 1

(a) Numbers 15:35

<spanalign=”left”>What: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”‘

Before: A man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath.
After : The assembly took the man outside and stoned him.
Who: The man concerned was an Israelite. The assembly was the Israelite nation.
When: After the Law had been given. Compare this verse with Exodus 31:12-17.
Why: The Sabbath was to be a sign between God and Israel. The Lord always keeps promises – and sometimes these are promises of punishment for a specified sin.
(b) Jeremiah 31:34

What: “No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying,’Know the Lord’, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Before: The Lord is describing details of future times (‘I will make’ ‘after that time’, etc. verse 33).

After: The Lord states that only if the heavens can be measured, etc (verses 36,37) will Israel be rejected by God.

Who: The house of Israel and the house of Judah (see Appendix 4 -Glossary of Terms under ‘Israel’).
When: This verse speaks of future times – prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled.
Why: To further illustrate God’s plans for mankind, and the place that Israel is to have in these plans. Note how the “new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31) is related to Israel’s future, and does not mention the believers of today.

Chapter 2

(a) Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
To whom is this passage written? Israelites (Exodus 20:2).
About whom is this passage written?
Israelites (note the constant use of the word “you” whilst speaking to the Israelites).
Does this passage apply today?
No. The strict observation of the Sabbath is not necessary today (see Colossians 2:16-17).
Does this passage apply to me? No (see previous answer).

(b) 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. “
To whom is this passage written?
God’s elect, strangers in the world (1 Peter 1: 1); i.e., Jewish believers who were not currently living in their homeland.
About whom is this passage written?
While today’s believers could be classed as “belonging to God”, this verse is referring to Israelites once again. Look up Exodus 19:6.
Does this passage apply today?
No. It applied for the believers of the Acts period (which was when I Peter was written), but not for today’s believers. We are now living under a dispensation in which Jew and Gentile are equal before God (Ephesians 3:6). During the Acts period the Jew had prior place in God’s plan. See Chapter 4 of this booklet under “Jews and Gentiles”.
Does this passage apply to me?
No (see previous answer).
Chapters 3 & 4
(1) (a) Yes. That was the correct course of action for that dispensation.
(b) Believers under this present dispensation need not worry about being judged concerning the Sabbath because that particular law was given to Israelites while they were still dominant in God’s plan (i.e., before the end of the Acts period).
(2) Generally speaking, the Ten Commandments form the basis of our society’s laws. However, it must be noted that Scripture makes no distinction between these commandments and the rest of the Law. For example, directly after the Ten Commandments are given, we read of instructions for an altar (for the burning of sacrifices) to be built (Exodus 20:24). We cannot say that we should keep these commandments but ignore the rest of the Law – because these ten commandments were a part of the Law.
While most of the Ten Commandments are instructions we would probably support in this present dispensation, we must observe that there are differences between these commandments and some verses in the epistles written after Acts:
(a)  The Sabbath (vs 8-10) no longer needs to be observed. See Colossians 2:16.
(b)  Believers today are not destined for any “land” (v 12). See Colossians 3:2; Philippians 3:20.
(3)  In these two verses we see two different sets of conditions for two different dispensations. The first (Matthew 6:14) shows that believers at that time were not automatically forgiven for their sins; the second (Ephesians 4:32) emphasizes the fact that believers today have already been forgiven.

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