BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 4: Joel 2:28-3:21

Summary of passage:  Joel 2:28-32: After the people repent, God will pour out His Spirit on them.  He will show wonders in heaven and earth and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Joel 3:1-21:  God will gather all nations and judge them.  The Lord will take vengeance on those who have done wrong against His people Israel.  He will sell their sons and daughters to the people of Judah like their enemies did to the Israelites.  God will dwell with His people in Zion and Jerusalem while other places will be desolate.


10a)  Peter repeated the fact that all believers will receive the Holy Spirit indwelt “in the last days.”

b)  It serves as a sign to those of us here on earth that the Second Coming is upon us.  It also is a sign to non-believers that this is your last chance to come to Him.

11a)  After Jesus, the Holy Spirit now leads all believers.  Hence, any Christian throughout history could be said to have made an impact in some way.  I’m thinking of Joan of Arc, all the Popes, all of England’s kings and queens, the Crusades, other holy wars (think Protestants versus Catholics), Constantine, etc.

Genesis tells us the Holy Spirit created the world.  John tells the Spirit will give access to the kingdom of God to believers and lead us to truth.  2 Peter 1 tells us the Holy Sprit allows us to hear prophecy.  Now that Jesus is gone, God works through people; people make history according to God’s plan through the power of the Holy Spirit.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It prompts me to write.  To work for Him and His goals.  To teach my children about him.  To be more like Jesus.  Whatever you are doing for God is powered by and driven by the Holy Spirit.

12a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, delivered, and be among the survivors.  It means I don’t have to worry about the future for I will be saved.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve had this question before.  In order to be comforted, you have to be distressed or grieved, troubled or worried.  I’m just not when it comes to the End Times.  Never have been.  Hence, Joel doesn’t comfort me.

Conclusions:  I just did a recent poll on my sidebar, asking if you were afraid of the End Times.  53% of you said “No, not at all.”  Another 21 % said “a little” and only 8 % said “yes, a lot.”

I live my life day to day.  Sure, I plan for the future.  But I don’t worry about it.  God is there, and He will always be there.  I’m wondering if people do worry about the end of the world.  I just don’t.  If it happens, there won’t be anything you can do about it.  Philippians 4:6-7 is my mantra: “Do not be anxious about anything…and the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

End Notes:  Joel’s greatest contribution is 2:28.  This prophecy is quoted in Acts 2:14-21 by Peter in his sermon on Pentecost after Jesus rose from the dead.  This was the first time the Spirit was predicted to be upon all believers.  Under the Old Covenant, the Spirit would come upon people to help them serve God (Judges 6:34; 1 Sam 16:13) for specific tasks only:  Joseph (Genesis 41:38), craftsmen (Exodus 31:3), Joshua (Numbers 27:18), Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29) Samson (Judges 13:5, 14:6, 14:19, 15:14), Saul (1 Samuel 10:9-10), and David (1 Samuel 16:13).

Under the New Covenant, we all have the Spirit.  Peter uses Joel’s prophecy to explain to all (and especially to those who thought the 120 were drunk after having received the Holy Spirit–Acts 2:13) that things are different now.  Both Joel and Peter say to repent first.  Then Peter says the Holy Spirit will come (Acts 2:38).

It is important to remember:  Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled, but not CONSUMMATED.  Pentecost ushered in the last days, which we are in.  We must now continue to watch for signs (like the wonders in heaven and earth and the sun and moon).

EVERYONE who calls on the Lord will be saved.  This includes the Gentiles.  God will not turn His back on anyone who calls on Him.  He wants us all.  The more you know God, trust God, and rely on God, the more He’ll know you and your ailments and be able to help you.

Joel 3:  Joel is talking about the Last Days here, continuing from the end of Joel 2, which began at the Ascension of Jesus and the birth of the church at Pentecost.  We are in the Last Days and remember God’s “day” is not our day for it’s been almost 2000 years since that time.

Verses 1-3 were fulfilled at the return of the exiles from Babylon.  The Babylonians did seize captives, divided them up by lots, and then traded them for prostitutes and wine.  Here, God will revenge this.  This passage has an immediate fulfillment and an End-Times fulfillment.

There is no “Valley of Jehoshaphat”.  Jehoshaphat must be figurative then which means “The Lord judges”.  This prophecy is foreshadowing the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16) where all nations will gather for the final showdown with God.

The nations have mistreated His people, Israel, and the Church.  Here, God says He will avenge us.  Jesus says this will be a criteria for judgment  (Matthew 25:31-46).

God basically challenges the nations who come against Him, saying He will retaliate.  The Roman emperors beginning with Nero who persecuted Christians all were murdered or died horrible deaths.  Everyone who comes against Him will be crushed in judgment despite their preparations (Revelation 16:12-16).  God will laugh (Psalm 2:1-6).

“The winepress is full.”  Revelation 14:14-20 also uses this image of the winepress of the wrath of God to describe Jesus’ judgment on the nations at Armageddon.

“The valley of decision” is where God will decide man’s ultimate fate.  We decide to believe in Jesus and God decides the rest.

After God’s final victory, there will be abundance with water flowing (Ezekiel 47; Zechariah 14:8).

The valley of acacias (or valley of Shittim) saw both failure and victory in the Bible.  It’s located on the eastern side of the Jordan River to the north of the Dead Sea.  Here the King of Moab sent his young women to the men of Israel to seduce them into idolatry and sexual immorality (Numbers 25:1-3).  Here the armies of Israel set out against Jericho and Canaan (Joshua 2:1 and 3:1).

The idea is when water from the house of the LORD flows down to the valley of acacias, then God’s grace, mercy, and provision covers our past sins.

Joel begins with judgment (the locusts) and ends with redemption (The Lord dwells in Zion–the Holy Spirit).  Ezekiel ends the same way (The Lord is there).  How amazing!  It all ends by God’s side!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 11, Day 4: Exodus 32:25-29

Summary of passage:  Moses was not pleased that Aaron had made the Israelites a laughingstock to the world. Moses asks whomever is for God to come to him. The Levites come. God told the Levites to kill everyone else who is not for the Lord and they killed about 3000 that day. They will now be set apart and blessed for their loyalty to God.


8a)  They were running wild, not thinking or caring about their sin

b)  Aaron

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am responsible for those in my charge.  I set the environment and if it’s sinful, then all will be infected.  If it’s full of God, all will be filled with God.  I need to be more mindful of what I do.

9a)  He asked, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.”  Those who didn’t come to him, were slaughtered.

b)  As punishment/judgment for their sin for He knew their hearts would never change.  The same reason why He wanted to kill all of them in Exodus 32:10.

c)  They were set apart as disciples (and we know as priests) for the Lord.  They became worthy of the Lord because they put Him above their brothers, sons, and family.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, another easy day.  We are all responsible for ourselves as well even if we have no one immediate under us or in our care.  We affect everyone we come into contact with.  We either shine the Lord or we don’t.  Which are you?

Again like with Pharaoh who witnessed God firsthand, we see here that some people will never change and will never come to the Lord and we can do nothing about it and neither can God.  In this case, He kills them as their judgment.  Good reminder in our struggles with others to come to God.  We can only do so much.

End Notes:  Other translations say the people were “unrestrained”.  Basically, they had no moral compass and were following whatever made them feel good.  Hence, their hearts were hard and they paid the ultimate price.

The Levites were the only group who decided, acted, and separated for God.  So we must as well.

Stand for God, or you stand for nothing.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 4: Matthew 10:17-31

Summary of passage:  Jesus is still instructing the disciples and he tells them to be wary of men who will hand them over for their work but do not worry: for the Holy Spirit will instruct you on what to say when you are captured.

Family members will betray one another all because of Jesus but if you stand firm, you will be saved.  Flee to another city, which will need to hear the Good News if you are persecuted.  No one is above another.  Do not be afraid for your soul is saved and God is in charge.  Everything will be revealed in time for you are worth more to me than two sparrows.


8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “At that time” (verse 19) and “The Spirit of the the Father speaking through you” (verse 20) could be referring to after Pentecost when the disciples and all believers received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4)

“Witnesses…to the Gentiles” (verse 18) since Jesus has not sent them out to the Gentiles yet.

“You will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (verse 23)  Scholars believe this refers to the judgment on Judea in 70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground and not referring to Jesus’ Second Coming for this would clearly not fulfill prophesy.  Still, this is almost 40 years in the future that Jesus is talking about.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The time after Jesus’ death as chronicled in Acts and Romans where the disciples spread the Good News and establish the early church.  First century AD.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Scholars believe this refers to the judgment on Judea in 70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground and not referring to Jesus’ Second Coming for this would clearly not fulfill prophesy.  This event did happen BEFORE the gospel came to EVERY city in Israel.

The sacking of Jerusalem was indeed worse than the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 15).

Others believe this refers to Jesus’ second coming.  Logically, the disciples (all Christians) will not finish their work before Jesus comes again for God’s work is never finished until every person on this planet is converted.  But this is very broad.  If we just consider Israel and just the 12 disciples, then the former interpretation must be correct.

9a)  Betrayal by men who will hand them over to authorities and flog them.  They will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses.  They will be arrested.  They will be hated and persecuted and forced to flee.

b)  Prominently in the Middle East, China, and other Muslim-dominated or communist countries.  Christians face difficulties everywhere in the world just in varying degrees.

c)  Persecution often produces growth in Christianity.  The scattering of Christians leads to them going to areas they normally wouldn’t and converting others in those areas.  Other ethnic groups and cultures are exposed to Jesus and are thus converted.  It’s how any religion spreads.  Persecution draws attention and if unjust, draws sympathizers.

10a)  Verse 19 “…do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say”

Verse 26 “ not be afraid” for what is hidden will be exposed and verse 28 “Do not be afraid” of bodily death for the soul will live.  Rather be afraid of  God who has the power to destroy your soul in Hell.

Verse 31 “…don’t be afraid” for you are worth more than many sparrows (two sparrows are worth a penny).

b)  The concealed or hidden things is whether people have earned eternal salvation or eternal damnation which will be revealed at Jesus’ Second Coming where God will judge through Jesus men’s secrets.  We will know all when that day comes.  Jesus as God’s Son was meant to be proclaimed from the roofs.  If you accept Him, you will have eternal life and live with him in glory.

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  Do not worry in general because God will guide me and my husband down the right path.  Be still and know it to be true.  Work towards Him always.

Conclusions:  Admittedly, I was not feeling this lesson.  I didn’t want to do it.  I did half and then stopped when I came to question 10b where I had to look up all those verses.  It was just too much.  To me, these lessons are getting harder and harder and more time consuming.  Maybe I’m the only one…

Lesson for you all:  It’s okay not to finish a lesson for that day.  It’s okay to put it down and come back to it when your mind and heart are right.  It’s even okay not to finish at all and just leave it.  In time, God will speak to you about it.

This lesson was challenging.  I definitely needed a commentary to decipher Jesus’ words today.

I liked the lesson BSF did not focus on:  how a student is not above his teacher nor a servant above his master.  This speaks to our pride and how we are all equal especially in God’s eyes.  No one is better or less.  Thus, we should not expect to be treated better than Jesus was.  It is enough to be like Jesus.  My goal anyways!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 12:4-9 & Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15

Summary of passages:  Genesis 12:4-9:  Abram obeyed God and set out for Canaan at the age of 75 with his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and all the possessions and people they had acquired in Haran.

At the tree of Moreh at Shechem the Lord appeared to Abram and told him he will give Abram’s offspring this land (which was currently occupied by the Canaanites).  Abram built an altar there for the Lord.

Abram continued on his journey, stopping at Bethel to build an altar to the Lord and call upon his name and then continuing towards Negev.

Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15:  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Abraham had faith when he answered God’s call and traveled to Canaan to receive his inheritance even though he had no idea where he was going.  He moved to a strange land, lived in tents, and raised his family–all while looking forward to the city of God.  He was looking for God’s heavenly country and not a country on Earth.


7a)  FAITH

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think we all have experiences if we follow God most days of our lives.  For God is in the little things just as much as He is in the big things such as moving.  God wants all of us all the time.

I have been praying and praying about my husband’s job for he will be moved across country again.  I have been praying and praying about what God wants me to do with this talent I have.  The key is to respond in faith and live faith every day of your lives.  I homeschool my kids cause I believe that is God’s calling for me.  I write this blog every day as I believe that as well.  I write my heart into the stories I write and weave God into them through faith in Him and what He wants me to do with this life.

c)  “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”

8a)  Verse 4 (“So Abram left) and verse 5 (“took…all the possessions they had and the people.”

b)  God, Sarai, Lot, other people from Haran

9a)  “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So not only to Abram but to his kids as well.

b)  He built an altar and presumably worshiped God and offered sacrifices

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through all my husband’s layoffs, we have been provided for.  All the moves have been in His plan.  Right now, I am doing my work in Faith.

10a)  He moved on to Bethel and built an altar to the Lord and called on His name and then he continued toward the Negev.  In essence, he continued following God’s plan for him.

b)  Colossians 1:23:  Continue your life in faith and not moved from the hope Jesus gave us.  Verse 22 adds we are reconciled to God through Christ if we continue in faith.

Colossians 2:6-7:  Continue to live in Christ Jesus, rooted in him, strong faith in him, and overflowing thankfulness in him.

Hebrews 6:1:  Continue to mature in Christ, continue faith in God and repenting from acts that lead to death

Hebrews 10:35-38:  Persevere in God’s will for your life so you will receive what He has promised and live by faith.  Have confidence in what God is doing with you.

1 Peter 2:2:  Continue to grow in God’s goodness (verse 3) and in your confidence in your salvation by craving God’s goodness and purity

Conclusions:  BSF should subtitle the Study of Genesis as the Study of Hebrews.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, Abram was FAITHFUL.

However, IMPORTANT NOTE:  Abram did not obey God fully.  The Lord says in verse 1 “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household”.  Abram did not do this.  He brought Lot and other people from Haran with him.  We will soon see how Lot turned out.  Like the rest of us, Abram is human, too.

Also, a big deal is made in Hebrews about tents.  Even today people who live in tents are travelers, not permanent settlers.  Like when you go camping.  You pitch a temporary home.  The writer of Hebrews is trying to drill that point home.  Abraham lived in tents because he was looking forward to his permanent home in God’s kingdom, heaven.  He could have built a house once he settled but he didn’t.  He was just passing through this world.

End Note:  Map of Negev HERE.  The Negev is a desert region in Israel where Abram was headed.  It still is called the Negev today.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 11, Day 4: Hebrews 5:11-6:3

Summary of passage:  You (the people who are doubting whether to choose Christianity or Judaism) are slow to learn and need to be taught the elementary truths of God’s word again.  You live on milk and thus are not acquainted with righteousness.  Those on solid food are able to distinguish good from evil.

Let us go on to maturity in Christ’s teachings and truly understand the foundations of repentance from acts that lead to death, faith in God, baptisms, the laying of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.


9a) Personal Question.  My answer:  Laziness.  Not taking the time to know God and who He is.  He has it all laid out bsin His Word and yet people still don’t read it.  Or they choose not to know.  Following God’s law and God’s will for their life is too hard so they choose the easy way–their way–and not God’s.

Ignorant means lacking the knowledge.  This is something that can be rectified by seeking out the knowledge.  Most never seek.

Romans 1:20:  Men are without excuse for knowing Him since God’s invisible qualities have always clearly been seen.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Immature means lacking complete growth and development.  I think we all all spiritually immature in some ways.  There is always more to know.  We can always be closer to God.  We can always learn more about who He is.

For me, laziness and distractions I guess.  Not a priority.  I could learn more but there’s so much that fills my day.  Devoting more time to seeking, learning, believing, listening, reading, and obeying Him.

10)  The inability to distinguish good from evil and not understanding righteousness.

11) The meat, the heart of God’s teachings–the Bible and understanding it to its fullest

12a)  Repentance from acts that lead to death and faith in God–admitting your sins and asking forgiveness and having faith God will forgive you.  Also having faith in God himself and believing in Him.

Baptisms and the laying on hands–laying on of the hands is a way to connect the message with the messenger.  It must be accompanied by faith in order to have effect.  (Taken from here.)

Baptism is an outward sign that you are now living a Christian life, you have faith in Jesus Christ and believe he died for your sins.

Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment–Revelation 20 puts together both nicely in terms of the first and second resurrection as well as the final judgment.

There were so many passages to support both resurrection and judgment.  This website here lists most with a great explanation on how the two are connected.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would say repentance and faith I’m pretty good at.  I’ve been baptized.  Laying on the hands still makes me uncomfortable (I’m not a touchy-feeling type person).  Definitely not resurrection and eternal judgment.  These are all areas of the Bible I have not studied yet but I’d love a Revelation study (hint, hint to BSF!).

Conclusions:  I liked this lesson for making us think about what we each need to work on in terms of our spiritual growth.  Question 12 in and of itself (the basic doctrines) is a lifetime to understand thoroughly and be mature in.

Good reminder we all have areas in which to grow in, we are not perfect, and despite all we may think we know about God, Jesus, and the Bible we definitely don’t know it all.  I would say we’re no where near.

End Note:  I did a post on which is better:  knowing or not knowing, in terms of my dilemma with homeschool.  You can read it here but it applies to everything in life.

I never want to be ignorant.  I hate that.  I want to know everything, especially when it comes to God.  That’s why we are all in BSF, right?  We are all searching and yearning to know Him.