BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 2: Matthew 24:1-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus leaves the temple and predicts that the temple will be leveled (70 AD).  As Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives, the disciples ask him when this will happen and what will be the signs of his Second Coming and the end of the age.  Jesus replies to be wary for many will come in his name.  There will be wars, famines, and earthquakes.  You will be persecuted because of him.  Many will turn away and turn to false prophets.  Love will lessen but those who stand firm in the end will be saved.  This gospel will be spread all over the world.

Questions:

3a)  “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Verse 2

b)  “When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7)

“When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24:3)

“When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Mark (13:4)

c)  That Christ’s kingdom will reign until the end of the age.

d)  The temple fell in 70 AD when the Romans sacked the city to put down the Jewish rebellion.  Soldiers knocked down every massive stone in search of the melted gold that had run down as the temple burned.

4a)  Jesus is speaking of different time periods in the future.  He mentions things such as people coming in his name, wars, revolutions, earthquakes, famines, pestilences (verses 8-10).  Some of these have already happened and continue to happen.

Then Jesus switches to the immediate future, once he is gone, how the disciples will be persecuted, brought before kings and governors, betrayed, and put to death (verses 12-16).  This begins right after his death.

Jesus speaks of the End Times as well when he will come down in a cloud of power and glory to set up his kingdom on earth (verse 27).  He says this will take place when Jerusalem is surrounded (verse 20).

b)  “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Jerusalem has to wait on ALL nations and UNTIL the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, which is an indefinite amount of time.

5a)  Many will come in his name.  False prophets.  One William Miller in 1846 predicted Jesus would return and many believed.  When he didn’t, many fell away.  This is the warning to us all.

Wars and revolutions.  Too many to list: WWI, WWII, American revolution, French Revolution, Thirty Years War, Civil War, etc

Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Too many to list:  all the conflicts between England and France, American revolution where it was the US against England, conflict now in the Middle East, Turks versus the Ottomans, etc.

Great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences.  Too many to list:  Tsumani in 2004, Great San Francisco Earthquake, Dust Bowl, famines in Africa, Bubonic Plague, AIDS, etc.

Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies.  Too many times to list:  According to Wikipedia, Jerusalem has been fought over sixteen times in its history.  Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Increase in wickedness and loss of love.  Society will deteriorate, which I think most of us will agree is happening.  There will be less love for others and caring.

b)  The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through Christian missionaries in all parts of the world and even to the new generations at church and to current believers.  I don’t “preach the gospel.”  I teach it to my kids.  That’s about my extent.  I give to my church and they support missionaries.

Conclusions:  We spent most of this lesson in Luke.  Mark was ignored, a shame since I loved this nugget in Mark:  “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations (Mark 13:10)”, which makes question 5b clearer.  Jesus also mentions the Holy Spirit guiding the disciples during persecution, which must have been a great comfort upon hearing such dread events to come in their lives.  This was recorded in Mark only.

End Notes:  This is the last time Jesus will enter the temple.  He is departing for good.  The disciples are attempting to cheer Jesus after having been questioned by the Pharisees in the temple.  The temple was beautiful and magnificent to behold.  It was covered in gold and huge!

Titus’ soldiers burned the temple against his orders.  He wanted to preserve it.  However, once burned, Titus ordered the temple dismantled in order to retrieve the gold that had melted.

Titus was the emperor of Rome from 79-81 AD.  Before this, he was in charge of Judea and ending the Jewish rebellion there, which he did in 70 AD.  For this victory, he was awarded a triumph (a public ceremony honoring his achievement) and the Arch of Titus was built as a commemoration for him and for his military victories. It is one of two remaining arches still standing in the Roman forum and it was a model for the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The disciples probably correlated the destruction of the temple with the End Times.  Hence, Jesus’ long answer to correct their thinking.  There is much listed here, purposely vague, that scholars say are for different reasons including to confound the devil or have every generation ready for Jesus’ return.

These signs will intensify as Jesus’ return come near.  More and more earthquakes and famines. Luke says specifically there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.  The seas will toss; the heavenly bodies be shaken.

All we need to know is:  Jesus is coming!  So be ready!

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8 and 2 Kings 6:8-23

Summary of passages:  Jacob leaves Mesopotamia and heads for the Promised Land. On the way, he sees angels of God who meet him and camp beside him.  He sends messengers ahead to tell Esau that he is coming.  He calls himself Esau’s servant and asks to find favor in his eyes.

The messengers return, telling Jacob that Esau is coming to meet along with 400 men. Jacob is afraid and assumes Esau will attack him so he divides his band into 2 groups in hopes if one is attacked the other group will survive.

2 Kings 6:8-23:  Aram and Israel are at war.  A man of God (Elisha the prophet) tells Israel’s king exactly what the king of Aram is planning.  This enraged the king of Aram. He accuses his officers of warning the Israelites but they tell him it is Elisha.  So the king of Aram tries to capture Elisha in Dothan.  They surround the city.

Elisha’s servant who is afraid warns Elisha.  Elisha prays and the Lord opens the servant’s eyes to see horses and chariots of fire all around (the supernatural forces of God around us).

The Elisha prays and Aram’s forces are struck with blindness.  Elisha then leads Aram’s forces to Samaria.  He prays for their eyes to be opened and the Lord does so.  The king of Israel asks Elisha if he should kill them.  Elisha responds no but instead feed and water them and send them back home.

The king of Israel prepared a great feast for his enemies and they returned home and stopped raiding Israel.

Questions:

3a)  God is with us even when we can’t see him.  If you treat your enemies humbly and serve them, God will bless you.  Jacob humbled himself before Esau, calling himself his servant (when we all know the prophecy states otherwise) and Elisha feeds the enemy with a grand feast and sends them home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Treat even those whom we don’t like as we would want to be treated.  Remember God is all around us.  His forces surround us, protecting us from the devil even though we cannot see them.  If we call upon them, they will fight for us.  Something we need to remember.

4a)  Genesis 32:1-2:  God sends his angels to help us.  We can see angels.

Psalm 34:7:  Angels protect those who fear the Lord and delivers them.

Daniel 6:22:  Angels do God’s bidding.  Here, they shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel who was innocent before God.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3:  Since the saints (us) will judge the world we will judge angels as well (since we are above angels.  See Hebrews 1:4-14).

Hebrews 1:14:  Angels are ministering spirits sent to serve us.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Angels serve us and help us.  Good to know there are others sent to back me up in the spiritual battles I face.

Conclusions:  Mixed on this lesson actually.  It seems like every year we have a study of angels so I guess this was it.  I liked the 2 Kings passage.  It’s a great reminder that God is all around us, watching and helping us, even if we can’t see it, and He has sent helpers (angels) for our benefit.  And a reminder to treat our enemies kindly.  Then we will be blessed.

I would, however, like to see the camp of angels around me.  Cool, huh?

One interesting note:  Even though Jacob can see the angels around him, he quickly forgets God is with him and is still afraid–to the point he separates his group.  He should trust in God (and His army) to protect him from Esau’s wrath.

Map Work:  Map of Aram (or Syria) and Israel:  http://www.bccfbroadcasts.com/maps/Isrl_Jdea.gif

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: Ephesians 4:1-8

Explanatory Note:  I will be gone next week on vacation so I am posting these ahead of time and will try to get to your comments as soon as possible.  God bless!

Summary of passage:  Paul urges the Ephesians to live a life worthy of God’s calling: humbly, gently, patiently, and lovingly.  He calls for them to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace, reminding us there is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and of course one God and Father of all (who granted each of us grace).

Questions:

3)  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

4a)  A humble, forgiving attitude amongst others and a unity of believers, a Spiritual unity

b)  All believers share the same fundamental beliefs:  One God, One Son, One Holy Spirit in one.  “One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”.  Christ died for our sins.  We have faith and trust in God and Christ.  So surrendering our beliefs should not even be an issue here.

We keep this unity by doing what Jesus did:  forgiving others unconditionally, loving others, avoiding strife.

c)  No where in this passage is “organic unity” and “organizational conformity” mentioned.  So, we must look elsewhere for this answer.

According to Wikipedia, organic unity is “the idea that a thing is made up of interdependent parts.”  Like the body is made up of organs all working together.

Organizational conformity is when everyone in an organization is doing the same thing.

Thus, the difference is organizational conformity the parts are doing the same thing. Organic unity the parts work together to accomplish a goal.

d)  To work together, to keep the peace, maintain focus on what’s important:  God.

5)  One body–we all share in the body of Christ

One Spirit–we all receive the same Holy Spirit

One hope–we all hope in Christ

One Lord–there’s only one God

One faith–we all have faith in the One God

One baptism–we are all baptized in the Spirit upon believing

One God and Father of all–There is only One, True God

Churches all work for the same goal:  to bring those lost to Christ and to grow in Christ once found.  Everything else is secondary and churches should not get bogged down in other beliefs that are not paramount.  Our differences should not hinder the common goal.

Conclusions:  Anyone else think this lesson was stretching it?  Still baffled as to what 4c has to do with anything especially since it wasn’t really applied to another question.  I was also disturbed since “organizational conformity” is a sociology term mainly used to describe businesses.  I just don’t see churches as a business.  I don’t think Paul did either.

4b I thought was also out of place.  I just didn’t get how keeping the peace involved surrendering basic beliefs (something we should never surrender).  Any other thoughts would be very much appreciated.

The only thing I truly got out of this was in verse one and two:  the reminder of being humble, gentle, patient, and loving.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 24, Day 2 Isaiah 52:13-15

Summary of passage:  God’s servant will act wisely and be raised up and exalted.  Despite the number of people who were appalled at his appearance which was so disfigured and marred by beatings, he will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations and kings will be silenced.  And the people will see and understand.

Questions:

3)  Because He will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations of sin.  He will act wisely.  He will triumph.

4)  He will appear glorious and exalted yet He will also appear suffering to the point where many were appalled at His appearance because He was beaten so badly.

5a)  His back was beaten, his beard pulled out.  He was mocked and spit upon.  He was beaten so much His appearance was unrecognizable.  They stripped Him, put a scarlet robe on him, a crown of thorns and a staff.  He was insulted and told to save himself if he were indeed God’s son.

b)  Acts 2:32:  God has raised Jesus to life and we are all witnesses

Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9:  Jesus blessed the people and was taken up to Heaven before them, disappearing behind a cloud

Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9:  God exalted him to the highest place and give him a name above every name. He sits at God’s right hand and has received and poured out the Holy Spirit

Conclusions:  I like the contrasts here between the suffering Jesus endured yet His eternal reward.  Reading all Jesus endured for our sakes is heart-breaking and humbling but seeing His reward is uplifting and reassuring.

It’s comforting to us humans who go through various stages of suffering but know we will have our reward as well.  Most Americans and those in the developed word (and most of the developing world) won’t be physically tortured, paraded through the streets, and crucified.  But some face abuse (physical and sexual).  Just most crimes today are hidden behind closed doors.  Others are paralyzed by the fear of war and death.

The evils of the human heart are innumerable but Jesus saved us from them for all of Eternity.