For or Against (K. Schilder) (1)

Luke 9: 50b ~ “for he who is not against us is on our side.”

Mark 9: 40 ~ “for he who is not against us is on our side”.

Luke 11: 23 ~ “he who is not with me is against me”

Matt. 12: 30 ~ “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad”.

The reader is warned that what follows is certainly not a meditation. Nor does it take any appearance of one. But we will try to read Scriptures.

What contributed toward writing this time was a letter, which I quote in part, the reader can know what the difficulty is.

On one of my trips here I received a bundle of meditations. In one of the meditations it struck me what the writer said about Luke 9: 50b “for who is not against us is on our side”. it comes down to this; God is merciful, and whoever is not against Him, well, they are for Him. Now I am acquainted with very many people (the letter writer is from Austria, K.S.) of whom I want to say: they are not against Him, so are for Him. And reasoning further, as the writer of the meditation did: if they are for Him, then they will not be condemned. This text came well in hand because it would be cruel to have to think that all those people, who are “not against Him” would be lost. (See also Mark 9: 40).

Now there are other texts opposed to this: Luke 11: 23: “he who is not with me is against me”, and Matt. 12: 30. Now I would ask you the following; Would you want to write in “De Reformatie”, the only church paper I receive here, about Luke 9: 50b in context as much as possible with the two other texts from Luke 11 and Matt. 12?”

So far the writer of the letter. His question has kept me busy more often than once. And I know from discussions, also from lectures, that many reason as he does. Which I can understand.

Yet this reasoning appears incorrect to me as I will attempt to show and, consequently, say what I must understand from this text, and series of texts.

The author of the above mentioned letter, along with what we call the “good company” of many, immediately equates one of the bible texts, written above, with the question of eternal condemnation or eternal salvation.

But that already looks improper to me.

There is no word in the text about it. Yes, but the author will immediately argue, isn’t the “for” or “against” Christ decisive for our “eternal weal or woe”?

I answer again: for our awareness it should no longer be a question of whether indeed “the decisive” choice would also at the same time be “decisive” over our eternal weal and woe. But still the immediate question: is such a decisive choice indeed meant with the being “FOR” or “AGAINST” which the text speaks of here?

To know that, we ask two questions: one, what actually is the “decisive choice’? And two, Is there a mention of that “decisive choice” here?

Regarding question one, I want to say that most people speak of the “decided” choice; not, as occurred above, of the “decisive”. But there is an immediate difficulty in that word “decided”. How many of those, who we immediately reckon as God’s regenerate children, (for whom God has “decided”) have not “decided” yet for themselves? And on the other hand, how many do think that they have “decided” for eternity, and have in fact not “decided” for eternity? There is still a third possibility. That someone actually knows well enough, via-via, whether someone is already “decided”. Think of Paul, on the way to Damascus and later in Damascus. One theologian (Dr. Kuyper) says that he was already regenerated: God had decided in him but he himself still had to make the conscious decision (in his conversion), although in principle he had already given himself to the God of his fathers. The other theologian (Ridderbos, student of Kuyper) says that he was not yet regenerated. Both, however different, say that if you ask Paul himself, he would have said before Damascus: I have decided; I am regenerated. But in Damascus would have said: I am completely unregenerate… woe me, I perish, I will pray to my judge for mercy.

In other words what we call “decided” is mostly a subjective opinion concerning an all or nothing decision.

But the subjective is never trustworthy. Even if usually it is reverently handled or carefully fostered in the declining church. Demas, with Paul while traveling, had made the “decided” choice according to himself, according to Paul, according to his contemporaries. It appeared later that it was not so. And Demas could also come back from his choice for “this present world”.

For this reason I would rather speak of the “decisive choice”, in other words the radical, inner, renewing of the heart, called regeneration, in so far as this brings movement for the first time in the will. Because regeneration is God’s work and it moves the whole person from within.

But the difficulty is again that the man, when he becomes regenerate, is very passive in it, in other words that the hour of “decision” is not chosen by him, absolutely not. And that regeneration comes, seizes, converts, moves, as power of renewal, to him later, to that man and all that is in him. Yet, the first “movement, urging, turning” to God is certainly not yet a conscious choice of the will.

We will not go further discussing those last words otherwise a great deal of psychology would have to come to hand.

But this is clear. If one wants it, a choice is usually an act, a self determination, a deliberation, by which the will, not without the conscious working of intellect, and cooperating with that intellect, reaches for a goal. Or it is an intellectual, researched, consciously formulated declaration for a particular truth, the acceptance of an intelligibly expressed proposition.

But it is not possible to firmly establish such a choice. On the contrary, also the will and intellect always go back and forth with that choice. About the question; have you made a “decisive choice”, Peter, while weeping on account of his betrayal, would have answered; stop, not I, not I. Yet he made what most would call: the deciding or decisive choice.

Do we know of an “irrevocable” CHOICE? Certainly there is mention of a “irrevocable” choice of God as giver and as re-creator (Rom. 11: 29). But God’s choice for me is something different than my choice for Him. The last is a consequence of the first. And concerning the last (my choice) we do read of an “un-regrettable repentance to salvation” (2 Cor. 7; 10); there is mention of “conversion” of the mind, which the mind will never regret, as often as it keeps the essence and goal of the conversion squarely in view.

But there could be a problem with last mentioned conversion once in a while. We BELIEVE (I repeat: we believe, having no externally convincing proof). We believe the perseverance of the saints. So we believe that in the root of their being, in the core of their personality, the choice, the inclination of the will toward God, can never be undone; and besides, the fruit of it will ever become more visible. But the same confession, which upholds this, also shows that this inner solidity often is not always apparent on the surface .

If we must talk of a “decisive choice” it will be possible only if we think of God’s “choice”. Because that which is decisive in us is ultimately not a choice but a birth. A rebirth. A birth ‘from above”. There are some who have this rebirth, and never make a choice (children from believing parents who die in infancy, Canons of Dordt 1: 17). There are others who are renewed from within but never “make” the choice at a particular moment, and if they do so today often doubt about it being-done-right. In each case it is clear that wherever such an “un-regrettable” choice is made it is always something different than a rebirth, which comes later.

Now I come to question two: is there actually talk of a decided or decisive choice in the cited texts?

I mean do the texts have anything to do with that.

Or more specifically whether they have anything to do with rebirth or true conversion.

I’ll point out directly that the expression “who is not against Him (God), is for Him” in the afore mentioned letter, or the other “They are not against Him, so they are for Him” is no where in the Bible.

Let us observe.

1. The name of “God” is not in the text. Even the name “CHRIST” is absent. It is JESUS the Nazarene who speaks each time. That makes a great difference. Because Jesus Christ is God, but at the same time true man. And He speaks as the Messiah here, in His historical appearance among His people, in His first phase. This appearance brings agitation and sifting among the people. There are those who acknowledge the Messiah in Jesus the Nazarene. Others don’t or don’t yet. So one speaks “for” and another speaks “against”. One walks “with” Jesus of Nazareth, another refuses because he declares himself “against” this Jesus. But is that a decided choice? A decisive choice?

Let us be careful for when Christ spoke these words Judas continued as a supporter. He said and affirmed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. He preached, did miracles, cast out devils with conviction. So, he was in favor at that moment, just as later he was against. But that takes nothing away from the fact of his being momentarily “for”; because he was “with” Jesus, and also “gathered” with Him. INDEED, he gathered the flock, brought many in. Yet the decisive choice of the heart, from which are the springs of life, for God, the God of the Word, is missing.

We must not separate, but nevertheless always distinguish the “Jesus of history” from the eternal God. And being for or against the “historical Jesus” is possible ~ remember Judas ~ on account of misunderstanding. It can also be ~ think of the other disciples ~ fruit of faith.

2. The outlook upon this simple reality becomes clearer when we pay attention to the plural: US. My letter writer and such people along with him keep citing: who is with ME, is for ME. Twice in the singular. But what is written is plural: US. Therefore the official circle of Jesus and His followers is meant here, a company visible for all to see. Also included in that “us“, and people should not hedge, is Judas. When Judas preached somewhere in Jesus name, there were people in favor of this preacher-missionary-miracle worker, and others who said they were not.

3. And everything becomes still clearer when we pay attention that the expression “FOR US” is alternated “WITH ME”. Now people could argue against me about the comment of a moment ago, when such strong emphasis was put on the plural (“us”) for here only the singular is used (with ME)! Yet I maintain what has been said; for we must pay attention to the switching of for and with. In my heart I can be for someone whom I have never seen, have never met personally. Then I can be “for” him, but not “with” him. However as soon as I go “with” someone then we form an ASSOCIATION. Then we “go up together” and do so now, even if later a break would come between us. Someone who was “against Jesus” at a given moment would, when requested, naturally refuse to go “with Him” in public, he would not associate with Him. But then he was at the same time “against us” ~ against the official association.

4. The idea which claims we must understand a decisive life decision with the words “for” or “against” , of an eternal standing inside, or outside the circle of God’s election, becomes absolutely null and void when we soberly ask ourselves: who are those already said to be “with Jesus’ the historical Jesus, in the New Testament?

The answer is easy. By comparing Matthew 3: 14, John 15: 27 and Matthew 26: 51, it comes up where it says of the twelve disciples without distinction (including Judas), that they were “with Jesus”. To be “with a rabbi“, a teacher, was an established expression for being in association with that teacher, Matthew 26: 71, Luke 22: 59, John 18: 26. Sometimes there were people who loved Jesus as Christ, yet had no opportunity to be “with” Him, but with whom the will was equal to the act: in other words spiritually still wanted to be His disciples, for example Mark 5 verse 18. Such a “ being with someone” can mean making a public proclamation in favor of someone’s behavior or teaching. So Jesus is “with” John, John 3; 26. Yes, still broader and more general the expression can be understood that many people were “with” Jesus who later rejected Him and helped throw Him out. The multitude was “with” Him, John 12: 17; and the multitude, well, that is ~ the multitude. In general “with” someone being with those people who accompany, and give a helping hand in the public work, with or without the right insight. David had such people Matthew 12: 4, Mark 2; 25, Luke 6: 3, and Paul, Acts 20:34, Titus 3: 15; Demas could be mentioned as being with Paul, also the man with whom David “ate bread” who had lifted his heels up against him.

5. In the end the whole suggested use of the familiar text series differs from what some claim to hear in them. If only we would ask ourselves what “against” and “for” actually mean in this context?

If “against” implied no more then “in disadvantage of” and “for” no more, and no less, than “in advantage of” (as for example an “accidental” vote for a certain candidate is to his “advantage” without the voter having any connection with that candidate, or even only “with” him via the party), what then??

Let us have a clear look at this question in the last (part of this) article so as to make a conclusion.

We posed the question what is meant in our text series with “against” and with “for”? Could “against” say no more than “to the disadvantage of” and “for” no more than “to the advantage of”?

If it appears that this is the case then it is clear that the dilemma which caused the writer so much difficulty disappears entirely.

Well, I do believe that we must seek the key for its clarification. I have already pointed out the meaning that “with” (in the context of “being with someone”) has in the Greek New Testament.

In the same manner we look for examples from the Greek New Testament of the use of “for” and “against”.

a) Regarding “against” (or being “against” someone or something or a group of people) a phrase can be found in 2 Cor. 13: 8 which immediately interests us because the same two prepositions (“for” and “against” of our texts) are written there; “for we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth”. Meant here is that we cannot hold back the course of truth, put the brakes on it, even if that is our intent. On the contrary the truth will always justify itself; we can be no more than instruments, by which it demonstrates its power even if necessary against our will (think of Balaam).

“Against means: “for the disadvantage of”, ‘for”: for the advantage of”. And the matter of someone’s “choice” or “heart’, even of the impression he makes on others, remains beyond deliberation (verse 7).

There are more of these expressions, for example Romans 8: 31: “If God is for us, who can be against us? (the same prepositions). Naturally there are many who are in their “heart” thoroughly against us; yes ~ that we dare mention God as “for us” will cause many to express hostile feelings. Yet no one is against us (if God is for Us), meaning that no one will be able to harm us, work to our disadvantage…. Again the “decisive choice” remains outside of consideration.

Also in Mark 14: 55: “now the chief priests and all the council sought (ceaselessly, according to the text, in other words, they search without momentary passion, but as diplomats) testimony against Jesus”, testimony to His disadvantage, (Matthew 26: 59, Mark 14: 55, 56).

How bitterly little the thoughts of the heart are taken into consideration in this “being against” of the New Testament, and how strongly attention is sometimes concentrated only on the result of someone’s open statements. This appears very evident from 1 Cor. 15: 15. The NKJV (also Staten Vertaling) has worked the word “against” away, but the Greek text speaks very lively: (if Christ was not raised up) : “and we are found false witnesses because we have testified ‘against’ God ‘in’ that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up ~ if in fact the dead do not rise” “as claimed“. Paul states the possibility that someone says nice things about God, certain praiseworthy things, with the best intentions, but, if it is not true then it is against God. The result is seen again separated from the subjective intention (further according to John 19: 11, Acts 21: 28 and 25: 3).

b) And now the word “for”.

In the original text something is stated which means as much as: to the advantage of, in the interest of, benefit of. Whoever is for someone, acts to his advantage that way, benefits him in his work, helps him proceed, is practically on his side.

Again let a few examples illustrate it: We already pointed to Romans 8: 31, also 2 Cor. 13: 8.

Beside that there is Philippians 4: 10 : “your care has flourished again” actually it says: to think of that which is my benefit, what is to my advantage; that is, Paul had received the proceeds of a sizable collection. In the same sense the Spirit prays for the advantage of the congregation, for their interest, Romans 8: 26

and Christ prays in concern for those who are His, Romans 8: 34, Hebrews 7: 25,

Christ has, for our advantage, for our profit, appeared before the Father’s countenance, Hebrews 9; 24,

Paul may (in his self vindication) speak to his own benefit, Acts 26: 1,

The members of the body must be busy for each others benefit, Hebrews 13: 17

As they also struggle in prayer for their interests, Colossians 4: 12

As the opposite also occurs, Romans 15: 30.

We will mention no more, and suffice with the word that my Dictionary of the Greek New Testament suggests 44 more examples without being finished.

The sum of it all is that we may interpret as follows.

Whoever does not assist with My mission work actually works to its disadvantage; for the message has haste; the crisis comes. Israel is becoming top heavy, it must come to a decision in view of the Messiah figure. Whoever does not contribute to the opening of the eyes, in the pure and clear posing of the question, to the wholesome pressure, to choose “yes” or “no”, to still make a choice, well, he works contrary. He holds back the kingdom, works against the breakthrough of the crisis (John 12: 31). Even if he is so tolerant, and so accommodating, he is a road block. Indeed Judas did help along, to pose the question, to hasten the crisis, and ultimately was powerfully affected by the crisis. He was against the revealed Christ, but he was “with” Jesus. In effect he did serve the kingdom although that appeared to end later in definite self-vindication.

But the contented bourgeois who “observes“ “for a moment” the cause of the Nazarene, works against.

And now the intention of the first text series becomes transparent to us. Whoever is not “with” Me, he is against Me, and who is not “with” Me, taken as student in My fellowship, and is busy with, takes part in the (messianic) work by bringing together the (scattered) people of the house of Israel, well now, he obstructs the work of uniting the flock, the work of the good Shepherd and in practice aids Satan’s desire of driving apart the flock, and who had come so far as to already cause the disintegration of Israel. In other words becomes responsible for the ongoing effect of the process of dissolution in the life of the people. Is forced, by Christ’s coming, to show his colors, not for the onset but for its course, as soon as he now had something to do with the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth.

We will also emphasize the last element of the text. It appears from Luke 11: 23 as well as Matthew 12: 30 that it has to do with what was said above, and that the meaning of the words is determined by this. Both texts are immediately preceded with the image of a castle lord who is forced to a duel and is beaten. It should not be forgotten that we must not wrench Jesus’ words out of their context. They always have a date, and no one has the right to scratch the dates from the messages. So also here Jesus’ words apply very specifically during the time in which the crisis was put very emphatically by His

public appearance.

There are times wherein everything remains of old, as, for example, the well armed castle lord who protects his castle and all that is in it. Satan is referred to here, or preferably Beelzebub, (lord of the castle). There are times when no offensives are opened up against the kingdom of Satan…. Then there is no urgency to chose a party, and then the words, as in our text, are not spoken. For these words are not a universal order which constitutes a fact. That is something quite different. It also does not touch the “world of the heart”, that mysterious matter of meditating, but regards the deadly serious matter of a public appearance.

So we should calmly read, calm above all (!) Luke 11:21. Beelzebub has the primary seat in his castle, there is no enemy in sight, not one comes to fight him, to “bind” him (Matthew 12: 30). And it goes this way in such times, the farmers who live around the castle of this robber-knight may growl, or sleep, or crawl, or act indifferent; there is no crisis, everything goes its way, there is no clear differentiation. Certainly there is still a serious being inside or outside the kingdom, an “all-or-nothing” of the “heart”, a serious election or reprobation, but the text does not deal with this.

A public appearance becomes visible. From there the revelation, later, of the other side. On a certain day (Christ came at a determinate point of time, not through slow evolution) an armed man suddenly appears. He comes to that castle of the robber baron, Beelzebub, with an army (disciples), the war begins. Now the neighborhood farmers must chose sides. Whoever does not grab a pitchfork, or makes a son available, or provision and quarter the army, that is whoever does not take part in the attack on Beelzebub’s fortress, works against it in practice. He hinders and is later forced by the other side to show his colors. He already actually works for the immediate “disadvantage” (this is what it comes down to) of the “offensive” of the hero who wants to eradicate the robbers nest, and helps the monster, the robber baron, with his mishandling of the illegally imprisoned brothers from the population around the castle. (The sheep whom the good Warrior, who is the Good Shepherd, would free in the struggle and wants to gather together).

Whoever does not assist in the heat of the battle will work against. When there is a crisis everyone “does” something, exactly as we would at the ballot box. The whole story becomes even clearer when we know that, with so many words, it has to do with exorcism (especially Matthew 12), the banishment of the devil. The Pharisees also participated (Matthew 12; 27) and so also appeared to fight the robber knight. But Jesus now comes with a different attack plan, and a different purpose. His fight (different than that of the Pharisees) is not only against the disease, but first against sin, not for a sickness (demon possession) individually, but he cares for the faithful existence of the flock Israel. In this He does not eye His own “advantage”, but gives Himself as Messiah. Therefore the Pharisees must chose sides; because if they keep practicing their business of exorcising demons with the conscious rejection of Christ’s battle method and purpose, then they actually still help scatter the poor sheep. Because a battle against evil as a disease leaves sin untouched and so sin, unbelief, and the non-messianic kingdom of Israel, still scatter the flock. Under Pharisaic leadership the “end” of “this generation” will be seven times worse then the beginning. The robber knight returns seven times as strong if we do not honor Christ in Jesus, do not work with Him (Matthew 12: 45). We can only understand the meaning of Jesus’ spoken word within this narrow context, on a specific date and in specific circumstances, and understand the general idea which guarantees the content of that phrase’s intention. (2)

And so the other (text) series also become understandable: whoever is not, like the Pharisees, “against” us” (plural twice and here only plural) after making our acquaintance, is for “our advantage”.

Even as the earlier series concerned only Jesus’ outwardly visible appearance ~ naturally with the warning, although that is not what it is about here, for all to see for themselves that the inner should be in agreement with the outer. It is the same in the second series which show the other side of the coin, and immediately helps interpret the script of that first side. Also Luke 9: 50 and Mark 9: 40 deal with Jesus’ army on the march (every army may have soldiers who later desert, consider Judas, while they fight at the moment), There was a man who mingled himself among those who practiced exorcism. He had apparently heard of Jesus for he used Jesus’ name publicly (always a miracle of faith to use this perfect, not so typical name, yet again). But he did not tie himself (yet) to the group that went with Jesus from city to city. Now John would have Jesus force this man to join or else to forbid him to mention Jesus’ name. It says to “prevent”. This the Savior refuses to do. In any case remember that this man supports the great movement in practice, out of his own “heart”. He makes Jesus’ name known, calls on everyone indirectly to commit themselves for Jesus, to chose a party.

And that is already to the “advantage” of the cause which Jesus stands for.

We should actually shake our heads over the misuse that is made of these words. I read recently of a Free Reformed (Christelijk-gereformeerden) leader (who reject living together with us on church terrain, in other words on that ground where it is “most relevant”, where the urgency is strongest and the tension is heaviest). He had in view some (maybe from a notion of being superseded, psychologically understandable) aspiration for “cooperation” on “different terrain” (some can cut the world so readily into pieces and are so very adept in keeping terrains from-each-other which in reality always touch each other): and said cheerfully : do not be so unbearable, because Jesus said: do not prevent.

Application; long live interdenominational cooperation!

I answered in another paper ~ it was versus the C.gereformeerden: say such a thing to the political party of Ds. Kersten (3) (remember reader I did not promise a meditation with dots, but the way of God runs right through concrete reality and so is still edifying, if that was only true). Once more; I say; tell that to the group of Ds. Kersten; they would (without suggesting how) allow the government the power to prevent by force (without pointing out any limits).

But who among us would, by force, “prevent” someone, someone who uses Jesus‘ name, “under cover” or who goes up “without us”? Moreover, if the Savior says of that man, that he, if he uses Jesus’ name publicly today, would absolutely not ~ even if it was on account of his own people ~ say something evil of Jesus in the manner of the Pharisees shortly afterwards, now, ~ then such a recommendation is not….

To-not-be-able-to-speak-evil. That is only negative and doesn’t even mean to not want to speak evil, in the heart. Do we then have to cooperate positively with such people? But Jesus especially leaves such a cooperation idea alone. John insisted on it but Jesus said: stop it.

And let us then also not say at assemblies etc.: so every church is “equally good”, and “the point is not “where you are, just as long as you…. and so forth”, and “in heaven they will not ask” ~ for Christ did not give His absolute approval to this exorcist-on-his-own. He only left him stand, besides the man did not constitute a church, and the Savior only spoke negatively; ‘that he would not quickly speak evil‘. If that is the “glory” of the church or becomes its “action”, it would be sad indeed. Has the Christ not said more perhaps? Did He not say in the Sermon on the Mount: everyone is compelled for himself and in his situation to come to the utmost intensity of obedience leaving nothing to chance or instinct.

I hope to have satisfied my questioner with this.

Regarding his question if it is not “cruel’ to consider all those people who are “not against” as “lost”. he should understand that the text does not deal with that but with the “upcoming call for disciples” (Van Leeuwen), for the outwardly emerging work. Christ lays full accent on the outward expansion of that work.

So now the application goes exactly in the opposite direction of what many look for. On the one hand Christ tells us that what you see of someone outwardly does not truly reveal what is inward. However on the other hand He comes to burden our own and everyone’s conscience with the serious idea of the responsibility of accepting the demand of obedience, because ~ after the distinctions are clearly established ~ whoever does not meet together surely helps scatter, and over against this there is a holy irony in the objective fact that whoever does not positively chose against, nor positively assist, is used for the service of the kingdom regardless, yet is not justified on account of it (we can avail nothing against the truth, but for the truth; also Noah’s opposition helped build the ark).

Every yes, and every no, every choice of staying or going, every tie and every separation require equal responsibility. Therefore the text series discussed above sets upon us all the equally heavy task; asks for the utmost consequence in the work of church gathering, because our deeds always do something, especially in our surroundings, and gives no one’s conscience a letter of dismissal to rest on their laurels nor to continue belaboring the matter of church. So, instead of false passivity have behind us the strongest passion and self-binding to the law of obedience for the public choice-of-a-church.

And if my correspondent lives in a neighborhood where many are “not against” but also “not for” then the text, ~ and how fortunate ~ preaches no need to ask curiously (Calvin) whether many or few will be preserved. No but it tells him there, and us here, the simple obligation to do that one thing: to ask the question clearly, to place the people before the choice, and to not then learn to sleep in with a bleak neutrality, or slackness, but to say with unyielding significance that when finally it all comes down to it my correspondent there and us here will get people (“who do not gather with Jesus”) against us. Yet God will leave us the possibility to work because many will yet keep listening although we will not immediately get them to come along (those “not’ against us).

That work remains until the last day. And at the same time is the work of the last day, because the distinctions (something different than self invention) mark out, by extrapolation, eschatological works. That is keeping up the calendar of Messianic work, which is always ongoing. For the Humiliated one, now the Exalted, is, yesterday and today the same in the process of the one work which God, Him and “us” have on hand.

(1) Church news Delft ~ 9th volume # 459, 460, 461, 462, Nov - Dec. 1931

(2) Take note of the accusations brought against Jesus by the Pharisees who in practice have already helped the robber-baron by stopping, resisting, working against Jesus attack against the robber’s nest with their impeachment, Luke 11: 15, 18. Also note the seriousness, whereby Jesus approaches people, who welcome him (verse 7) with beautiful but not helpful words, (tells) them that theirs praises are “well and good” but that today the point is of working, of doing: of having to believe that there is a castle of Beelzebub.

(3) Translator’s note: Ds. Gerrit Kersten (18182-1948) ~ Founded the Gereformeerde Gementen (Reformed Congregations), and the Reformed Political party. Caused the fall of Colijn’s first government. Had some sympathy for fascism and so was banned from Parliament after the war for collaboration.