BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 5: Numbers 31-36

Summary of passages:  Numbers 31:  The Lord orders Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites.  Moses orders 1000 men from each tribe.  Phinehas son of Eleazar accompanied the 12,000 men to blow the trumpets.  The wiped out all men from the tribe.  They captured all the women and children and took all of their animals back to the plains of Moab where the Israelites were encamped.

Moses was mad that the women were allowed to live when they were the ones who enticed the Israelites into sexual sin and brought about the plague.  He orders them to kill all the boys and every woman who has slept with a man.  Only the virgin girls are allowed to live.  Then all who had contact with a dead body or killed anyone in battle must cleanse themselves with water or fire and stay outside the camp for 7 days.

The Lord orders the spoils to be divided between the soldiers who fought and the rest of the community, including shares for the Levites.  Not one Israeli soldier died in the battle so they brought the gold they had taken as plunder as atonement to the Lord.

Numbers 32:  The Reubenites and the Gadites, seeing good land for their flocks where they were, asked Moses if they could stay here and not cross over into the Promised Land.  Moses reminds them the last time they refused to enter the Promised Land, the Lord’s anger burned against His people and He punished them by making them wander the desert for 40 years.  If they disobey again, Moses warns, they will be the cause of their destruction.

The Reubenites and the Gadites said they would fight with their brothers and take the land promised by God but that they wanted to stay here in the land on the east of the Jordan River.  Moses agreed but warned them they must keep their promised and fight.  So Moses gave them (including half of the tribe of Manasseh) the land they wanted.  They rebuilt the cities and drove out the Amorites.

Numbers 33:  Moses records the stages in their journey at the Lord’s command from Egypt to where they sit right now, on the Plains of Moab overlooking the Promised Land.  God says to drive out all of the inhabitants of the land, destroy all of their idols, take possession of the land and settle it, dividing it by lot according to size of the tribes.  God warns to carry out all of His commands or they will suffer what God does to the Canaanites.

Numbers 34:  God assigns the boundaries of the Promised Land for the 9 1/2 tribes on the West side of the Jordan River.  The 2 1/2 tribes on the East already have their inheritance.  The Lord appoints leaders from each tribe to assign the inheritance to the Israelites.

Numbers 35:  God commanded Moses to give the Levites towns to live in and pasturelands around the towns.  Six of the 48 Levite towns will be cities of refuge for those who kill someone to flee to so that they may stand trial and not be afraid of revenge killings.  If the person does not flee to the refuge town, then they open themselves up to be killed by relatives.

Numbers 36:  This solves the problem of what happens to the land given to Zelophehad’s daughters when they marry.  Thus God says Zelophehad’s daughters must marry within the clan of their father and this applies to every  daughter who inherits land for every Israelite must keep the inherited land in their family.  No inheritance may pass from tribe to tribe.


9a)  Yes because the Midianite women were the ones who seduced the Israeli men and introduced other gods for them to worship.  They defiled the land and made it unholy, making it impossible to have God occupy it without atonement (Numbers 35:34).  What atones?  Blood.  Thus, blood had to be shed to make it holy for the Lord.

b)  Whole books have been written on this topic.  Honestly, it’s not for us to know God’s reasons for vengeance.  He says attack, the people attack.  He is God and we don’t question His authority over us.  But as a just God, the penalty for sin must be paid and punished.  Here, the punishment is death which is the punishment for all sin.  It is God’s right to mete it out.  We merely do His will.

Common reasons given for the wars in the OT:  The Promised Land was always in God’s plan.  He promised it to Abraham.  The Canaanites were not innocent people.  They had sinned and as punishment the Canaanites would lose their land (Deut 9:5). We’ve read about their sexual sin and sacrifice of children to false gods.  The Canaanites would contaminate the Israelites and thus had to be completely removed (which didn’t happen because the people disobeyed and the Babylonians would punish them for that).  This was about believers and unbelievers.

10a)  They had very large flocks and herds and wanted to settle in land suitable for the livestock.  I would say they are tired of traveling and ready to settle down.  The land they saw was good and saw no reason (besides obeying God) to continue on.  They were willing to help their brothers take the land so were willing to compromise.  However, they were complacent.  They were content with this land.  Complacency is contagious and leads to stagnation.  We should never be complacent in our growth with God.  Little did they know, but God had greater things for them in the land of Canaan if only they had obeyed.

b)  No.  He chastised them and reminded them about what happened the last time the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land and basically said they would be the cause of God’s wrath and responsible for their destruction if they did what they proposed to do.

c)  Compromised.  The Reubenites and the Gadites agreed to help the Israelites fight to take the Promised Land and not return to their homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance.  They would not receive their inheritance on that side of the river, preferring these other lands instead.

11a)  So the Israelites will know from whence they came and the power of God who brought them thus far.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing.  My life is uneventful and not of import.  I would say my everyday living speaks for itself.

12)  In the culture of the day, if someone killed someone, their relatives could take revenge and kill you.  Here, God provides cities of refuge so if the killing was accidental, that person could have a fair trial.  This shows that God is the ultimate judge (who gives that authority to the proper authorities) to take a life and He protects His people from needless bloodshed.  God is the giver and the taker of life.  It is His decision.  He is the protector of His people out of His infinite love for us.

Conclusions:  Long lesson and not looking forward to next week where we are assigned to read the majority of Deuteronomy.  Awesome lessons of God reminding His people before they take over the Promised Land of what is important in their lives and just how far they have come.

End Notes:  Numbers 31:  The Israelites enacted vengeance because God told them to do so.  Today, our governments have been given the authority to enact vengeance by God, not us personally.

Note the priests went into battle with them–a sign of God’s blessing.

The custom was to kill the men and take the rest captive.  However, this was against God’s orders.

The male children had to be killed because at this time boys were raised to take revenge against those who had killed their fathers.  Hence, they were a threat to the Israelites.

Things that don’t seem a threat are what us as Christians stumble over.  That’s why it’s important to pray to God and let Him tell you what to do.  We can learn from the Israelites who didn’t eliminate the threat (the women) what can happen.

Purification was important–that’s why we have the Holy Spirit.

Normally the spoil would just be divided up amongst the warriors.  However, God didn’t want the reason for killing to be only about the spoils.  And a portion had to go to the Levites.  God wants givers and not just takers.

Numbers 32:  They were discouraging the others and saying by their example,”The fight was not worth it.  Let’s just be happy here.”  This should remind us of the 10 spies who discouraged the Israelites to not take the Promised Land the first time around.  Again, wholly following the Lord is not contentment with half of what God has for us.  We can accept others’ contentment except when it influences others.

Numbers 33:  Here we can see exactly how much the Israelites moved in 40 years!  For those of us who have moved a lot, this can be punishment in and of itself since it’s no easy task!

God accomplished two goals with the Israelites:  used them to judge the people of Canaan and gave them land promised long ago.

God’s warning will fall on deaf ears as the Canaanites are not completely destroyed and thus over time infiltrate the Israelites and bring about their destruction.

Numbers 34:  This is land given by God, not earned.  Debate over the “Wadi of Egypt” continues today: is this the Nile or some other stream?  Hence, the fight over the Sinai Peninsula continues.

God chose leaders to end any conflict once the land was split.

Numbers 35:  The Levites were distributed proportionately as well so that God’s people would have enough priests.  This reflects Christ as he went to the people and not just the people come to him.

Revenge killing is not bad per se.  It can work–except in the case of accidents.  This is where God steps in to protect His people.  If you murder someone, then yes you should suffer death as well.  However, accidents happen and God provides for that.  The difference between murder and kill here is important.

These cities were evenly distributed with good roads (Deut 19:3).  These cities were open to all and not just to the Israelites.

If found innocent, the man had to stay within the walls of the city until the death of the high priest.  Otherwise, he could still be killed.

The cities of refuge picture Jesus as he is our refuge.

We can murder someone’s reputation as well.

A murderer cannot buy his way out of proper penalty.

Unjudged murderers defile a land.  Unfortunately, a lot get away.  But God knows and they will face ultimate penalty with Him.

Numbers 36:  A picture of no perfect solutions in life.  If a daughter did choose to marry outside the tribe, she’d forfeit her inheritance.  They married their cousins so the land stayed within the family as well as the tribe.

End of Numbers:  We leave the Israelites about to take their final step into the Promised Land. They have come a long way but the last step is what counts.  Sadly, many Christians become lost in the Wilderness and never step into what God has for them.  Faith has brought them this far, but it will take even more faith to finish the journey.

Map showing division of the Promised Land:

Map of Wilderness Journey up to the Jordan River:

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25 Day 4: Numbers 28-30

Summary of passages:  Numbers 28:  God tells Moses to review the offerings with the people:  the burnt offerings, the Sabbath offerings, the monthly offerings, the Passover offerings, and the Feast of Weeks offerings.

Numbers 29:  God reviews more laws and regulations with the people, this time the offerings for the Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Numbers 30:  Moses discusses vows made to God and when one vows to the Lord, one must stick by it unless it is made by a daughter and her father or husband forbids it then it is not binding.  Any vow made by a widow or a divorced woman stays.  If a husband says nothing, then the vow stays for the wife but the husband bears the guilt if she doesn’t stick to her vow and he didn’t nullify it.


7a)  It’s always important to review so you don’t forget–it’s what happens in school all the time. Review before a test.  Here, God wants to make sure the new generation knows the offerings to the detail before they entered the Promised Land.  They needed to know the central place atonement has in their lives and without atonement they could not be with God.

b)  God expects His people to remember His laws and regulations and to follow them and abide by them exactly.  In doing so, this shows the people’s reverence for God.  Same for us.  When we worship, it is about Him and honoring Him.  God expects the same from all of His people no matter the point in time at which we live.

8 )  Making a vow before the Lord should be taken seriously.  It is interesting that the man has final say.  This shows protection of the woman just like God protects us.  I wish more women would accept protection of their man instead of fighting it.  Most men yearn to do nothing more than protect their wife, a role God has given them.

Conclusions:  Relatively easy lesson as it is all stuff we have covered before.  I like how God includes this as it’s an important lesson for us all how we must be reminded of things because we easily forget.  The Israelites are about to take the steps that they have been preparing for their entire lives; God wants to make sure they know what’s important (worshipping Him) before they get caught up in the hubbub of moving!

I liked the vows chapter.  Like I said, I wish more women would be receptive to men as their protector as God is our protector.  Someone has to be the final decision maker.  Two people can’t both have the final say.

End Notes:  Numbers 28:  God commands an animal be sacrificed for our sins every morning and night to remind the Israelites of who’s important in their lives.  Every Sabbath an additional lamb was sacrificed in the morning and at night.  The importance of atonement for our sins is here and omnipresent as it should be in our own lives.

Numbers 29:  The Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of God’s rich provision for the Israelites.  It celebrated God’s faithfulness to His people during the Exodus.

Note the lamb is the most common sacrifice–anyone see Jesus here?  The sacrifices listed here and in Numbers 28 was immense (over 1000 animals) and these are just the sacrifices the priests made for the people.  This does not include the individual sacrifices the people offered.  Can you imagine the expense?  And yet it was never enough!  Only Jesus was/is enough!

I can just picture the priests as this being their primary job–to offer sacrifices for the people and make atonement.  Little time left would have been for the preaching of God’s Word.

Numbers 30:  God takes our vows seriously so we need to be careful what we swear by.  God himself made vows (Luke 1:73, Acts 2:30, Hebrews 3:18, 6:13, 17) as did Jesus (Matthew 26:63-64).

The man was accountable for the woman’s fulfillment of her vow.  Authority always comes with accountability.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 3: Numbers 27:12-23

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses it is his time to die for his sins against him (Numbers 20:1-13).  But first he may climb a mountain and see the Promised Land before he dies.  Moses asks for a leader to be appointed to follow him so the people are not leaderless.  God said to appoint Joshua, a man with the Spirit in him, to take his spot through a ceremony performed by Eleazar, the high priest, to pass on Moses’s authority.  He will command the movements of the Israelites.  Moses did as the Lord commanded.


5a)  He allowed Moses to climb a mountain and lay eyes upon the Land.

b)  That someone else be appointed as leader of the people.  His only concern seemed to be the people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would pray for peace and faith when I died.  And no pain.  I would spend every waking moment with my family and pour out my heart to them.  I’d pray.  I’d cry.

6)  He had Joshua proclaimed leader in front of the entire community so all would know in the priest’s presence. He had Moses give him some of his authority so the whole community would obey him.  He had to ask the priest, Eleazar who would ask the Urim (see end note for more) for decisions.  He will command when the Israelites move.

He did not receive the fellowship of God like Moses did (no one has).  He did not know God face-to-face nor could he perform miraculous signs and wonders or awesome deeds and power that Moses could.  I wonder if God had been too close to Moses and too hurt by him to be as close to a human again while the human was on earth?

Conclusions:  Just like with Aaron and Eleazar, God laid out a plan of succession for Moses and Joshua since Moses was the only leader the Israelites had ever known in their lives.

I wish we would have read the parallel passages in Numbers with Deuteronomy instead of reading the whole book (almost) by itself and glossing over it (Lesson 26 coming up).  I loved it when we did that in the Study of Matthew last year.  That way we could see the different comparisons and glean more details and more understanding.  I learned a lot by studying just Numbers, but I feel I could have learned more.

End Notes:  Moses does get to step foot in the Promised Land in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9).  God is so gracious!

With the word shepherd here, Moses is previewing Jesus and showing us that Jesus will be the ultimate shepherd.

It is a specific mountain God wants Moses to climb but scholars are not sure which one it was.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 2: Numbers 26:1-27:11

Summary of passage:  Numbers 26:  Another census was ordered by God of the men who were over 20 years of age by family.  Reuben numbered 43, 730.  Simeon numbered 22,200 including the line of Korah which didn’t die out.  Gad numbered 40,500.  Judah numbered 76,500.  Issachar numbered 64,300.  Zebulun numbered 60,500.  Manasseh numbered 52,700.  Ephraim numbered 32,500.  Benjamin numbered 45,600.  Dan numbered 64,400.  Asher numbered 53,400.  Naphtali numbered 45,400.  Total number of men:  601,730.

God ordered that each inheritance of land was to be distributed by lot and according to numbers so larger clans would get more land and smaller clans smaller plots.

The Levites numbered 23,000 but were counted separately because they would receive no inheritance of land since they were the priests.

All those counted had previously not been counted in the Desert of Sinai for they all died except for Caleb and Joshua.

Numbers 27:  Zelophehad’s daughters approached Moses and Eleazar and asked for their father’s inheritance since he had died and had left no sons as an heir.  Moses brought the case to the Lord who established a lasting ordinance which said if there are no sons, then the property goes to the daughters or the nearest living male relative.


3a)  They were last counted in the Desert of Sinai about a year after they left Egypt.  So it’s been 38 years.

b)  In the first census there were 603,550.  In the second census there were 601,730.  A difference of only 1820 men.

c)  All had died–603,548–except two men–Caleb and Joshua.

d)  For the same reasons the first census was taken:  First, because God said to do it.  Second, to find out how many men they had able to fight for the Promised Land.

4)  They had courage to approach Moses and Eleazar as women in this culture.  But they believed they were right in having property for their families, which God agreed as well.  They understood God would provide for them and they asked in faith.  However, greater faith is shown here in that they asked God BEFORE they had reached the Promised Land about land they did not yet possess.

This shows they believed God’s words that they would inherit the land–something which we have seen time and time again with the Israelites that they didn’t have faith enough to take the Promised Land.  The new generation has grown in faith, haven’t they?  And God uses women here to tell us so!  Awesome!

Conclusions:  Fascinating how the numbers are almost identical.  God had completely replaced his people with the next generation like the human body replaces every cell every few years.  I wonder what Caleb and Joshua were thinking as the only “old guys” to make it.  How humbling!

Great story to include of the girls asking for their rightful inheritance.  Note how they stood as one–something we women need to do more of instead of fighting against each other. God is so just and merciful and loving of all His people–men and women alike.  Great example of stepping out in faith and asking God for what you believe is your right and in instances where God has told you is your right.

Loved this lesson.  We see God’s will and love everywhere and no more clearer here–in the numbers of the people and in his care for the daughters of Zelophehad (an obscure guy who was probably overlooked by his cohorts but not by God who cares for all His people equally).  God rewards faithfulness and it is displayed prominently in Numbers 26 & 27.  God is good!

End Notes:  Numbers 26:  Reuben’s tribe lost 2,770 men since the first census (6%).  Note that Dathan and Abiram came from here.  Scholars speculate that part of Dathan’s and Abiram’s resentment towards Moses was because Moses was descended from a younger son, Levi.  Both Dathan and Abiram were from Reuben, the first-born from Jacob.  They were a warning sign.

Differences in Population by Tribe in 38 years:

Reuben lost 2,770 (6%).

Simeon lost 37,100 men (63%).

Gad lost 5,150 (11%).

Judah gained 1,900 (3%).

Issachar gained 9,900 (18%).

Zebulun gained 3,100 (5%).

Manasseh gained 20,500 (64%).

Ephraim lost 8,000 (20%).

Benjamin gained 10,200 (29%).

Dan gained 1,700 (3%).

Asher gained 11,900 (29%).

Naphtali lost 8,000 (15%).

Total:  A loss of 1,820 or a .3% decline.

Analysis of the numbers:  This is fascinating.  Most populations grow over time.  However, note the Israelites stayed the same.  They were wandering around the desert, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, waiting.  They were stagnant.  Nothing produced.  No further advancement in society or civilization.  God was probably very, very sad.

[Side Note:  I’m sure all you mathematicians LOVED this lesson!!]

Yet hope is seen:  The tribes who undoubtedly grew in faith, grew in numbers.  The tribes who undoubtedly sinned and grew away from God lost numbers.  God rewards the faithful and punishes the unfaithful.

Don’t forget God ordered the Levites not to receive any property in Numbers 18:20 because their inheritance (God Himself) is much greater.

Numbers 27:  Daughters did receive a dowry when married so they weren’t completely forgotten before this new law instituted by God.

Note what Moses did:  Sought God for the answer.  A great example for us.

We will see Zelophehad’s daughters again in Numbers 36 because this rule now posed a problem when the daughters married.  Numbers 36 lays out for laws for this situation given once again by God Himself.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 5: Matthew 25

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.

Jesus tells his disciples another parable.  A master decides to go on a journey so he calls his servants and gives each some property to them.  One servant receives 5 talents, another 2, and another just 1. The man who had received the 5 talents went out and put his talents to work so that he gained 5 more.  The one who received 2 talents went out and gained 2 more as well.  But the man who had only received 1 talent went off and buried his under a tree.

The master returned and settled accounts with his servants.  Because the one with 5 talents had doubled his, the master praised him and put him in charge of many more things.  The same with the man who had doubled his 2 talents.  The one who had received the 1 talent was chastised by the master.  He had his talent stripped from him and given to the man with 10 talents now.

Everyone who has more will be given more.  Those who do not have will have even what they have taken from them and be thrown into the darkness.

The Son of Man will separate all the nations gathered before him.  Those on the right will inherit the kingdom of heaven and eternal life that has been prepared for them since the creation of the world because they took care of Jesus through taking care of others (his sheep).  Those on his left will go to Hell and eternal punishment for they did nothing for him nor others.


13a)  The meaning of the Greek word is “age-long”.  There has been debate on whether this means at some point the “age” will come to an end and the damned will have another chance at redemption.  But to believe this, then you must believe that the righteous “age” will also have an end.  Hence, most scholars agree that heaven and hell are ever-lasting, forever, and without end and once in, you cannot leave.

b)  Matthew 25:10:  It will be a banquet/party

Matthew 25: 21, 23:  You will share your master’s (Lord’s) happiness or joy.

Matthew 25:34:  You will share in the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world–your inheritance and your blessing.

c)  Matthew 25:12:  Jesus will not know you in Hell.

Matthew 25:30:  Hell is dark with weeping and gnashing of teeth and you will be worthless

Matthew 25:41:  The cursed will be departed from God into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

14a)  Personal Question.  My answer: [Note:  I think the Sheep and Goats is NOT a parable.  It’s a description of Jesus’ Second coming and the judgment that will happen at that time.  Hence, it is not teaching us anything per se, especially in a clouded way.  Hence, the question should either say two parables or just say in this chapter.]

They are all relating the importance of being prepared for Jesus’ second coming.  Being prepared physically, spiritually, with works, and with talents for His kingdom.  They are all emphasizing how it could be any time.  The groom comes at an unexpected time.  The master returns unannounced.  Jesus divides when he returns which we don’t know.  The importance of individuality here where it focuses on people themselves being prepared.  In other words, don’t worry about what others are doing; worry about what you are doing.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I loved how the kingdom has been prepared for me since the creation of the world.  To think I’m that special to God that He made a place just for me so long ago and He provided Jesus so I could be there.  It’s overwhelming to think about and definitely praise-worthy.  It is encouraging to know I have work to do.  It is encouraging to know my talents are my own and I have a unique commission in this life to fulfill it.  Furthermore, if I do even the littlest of things, even if insignificant to me, for others, it is doing it for Jesus.  Powerful stuff!

Conclusions:  I liked how all the verses we looked up was in this chapter and not elsewhere in the Bible.  A nice break.  I haven’t said this much this year but this is the first lesson I can remember all year that we’ve had a “review” day and studied the chapter as a whole on Day 5.  A filler day, but an important one to reflect on lessons learned.

Only 3 more chapters to go in the Book of Matthew.  Can you believe it?!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 4: Matthew 25:31-46

Summary of passage:  The Son of Man will separate all the nations gathered before him.  Those on the right will inherit the kingdom of heaven and eternal life that has been prepared for them since the creation of the world because they took care of Jesus through taking care of others (his sheep).  Those on his left will go to Hell and eternal punishment for they did nothing for him nor others.


10a)  A throne on earth in heavenly glory

b)  All nations, the world, people everywhere

11a)  By doing for their brothers (or others).  This includes feeding, clothing, inviting in, taking care of when sick, visiting in prison.

b)  By not doing for their brothers (or others).  This includes by not feeding, clothing, inviting them in, looking after them when sick or in prison.

12a)  They said they never fed Jesus himself or gave him something to drink or invited him in or clothe him or see him sick or in prison to care for.  The ones on the left said the same thing, adding they never saw him to help him.

b)  Romans 2:7-11:  If we do good and seek to do His glory, we will receive glory, honor, and peace.  If we are self-seeking and reject the truth and follow evil, we will meet with wrath and anger, trouble and distress.

James 2:14-17:  Act out your faith:  if you see someone in need, help them.  Offer clothing and food.

1 John 3:16-19:  We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If we see someone in need, we need to have pity on them and help if we are able.  Love with actions and in truth and then we will know we belong to Him.

Conclusions:  Sigh of relief!  Much, much easier than the last two days.  Basically, what you do for others, you do for Jesus himself.  Be kind and generous and do what Jesus would do since he is not here in person to care for his sheep, then we are to care for his sheep in his name.

End Notes:  This judgment is different than the one in Revelation 20:11-15.  This one happens on earth, right after Jesus returns and seems to be only for the Gentiles.

Sheep and goats were pastured together but at night separated since goats need to huddle for warmth but sheep with their wooly fur do not.

This judgment is based purely on works.  The ones on the left were condemned for being indifferent and doing nothing.  Hence, scholars believe this was a separation before Jesus’ millennial reign.  I am no expert in this area so I defer to our forthcoming study of Revelation to clear this one up.

This ends Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and Jesus’ teachings and now we will focus on the events that lead to Jesus’ death.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 2: Matthew 25:1-13

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.


3a)  They were all virgins.  They all had lamps they took out to meet the bridegroom.  They all waited for the bridegroom and all fell asleep doing so.  All woke up at the same time and trimmed their lamps.

b)  The wise virgins are believers who have accepted Jesus into their hearts.  The foolish ones are generally all non-believers but specifically those who have heard of Jesus but haven’t committed to him.

4a)  Matthew 7:13-14:  We must walk down the narrow, small road and enter the gate that leads to life that only a few find.

Matthew 7:24-27:  We must put into practice Jesus’ words because then we will be like a house with a firm foundation that no storm can topple.

Matthew 24:4-5, 42, 44:  Watch out for Christ for no one knows when he will come.  Watch out for those pretending to be Christ.

John 1:12:  Believe in Christ and you will become a child of God, born of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-8:  Be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet so we can receive salvation through Jesus and live together with him.  Encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:  Christ will allow us to be blameless at his coming and will give us peace and sanctification.

[I liked 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 better:  Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid evil, heed prophecy, have a fire within your Spirit.  Great stuff!]

b)  John 3:5-8:  You must have the Holy Spirit (accept Jesus) within to enter the kingdom of God.  When you accept Jesus, you are born again with the Spirit.

Romans 8:9:  If you have the Spirit, you belong to Christ and are controlled by the Spirit and not controlled by a sinful nature.

Ephesians 1:13-14:  Once you accept Jesus, you are marked with a seal of the Holy Spirit which guarantees our inheritance in God’s kingdom as His possession until we are redeemed at the Second Coming.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  These passages tell us that Jesus knows us and he calls us.  We are alive by the Holy Spirit and His children.  I am assured that with Jesus I will be at the wedding banquet on time!

Conclusions:  Very straight-forward parable about being prepared for Jesus.  Accept him now or you may not be at the wedding banquet.  Lots of verses today (and tomorrow) to look up so allow extra time to answer these.

Map of Mount of Olives:  As you can see, it’s in between Bethany where Jesus is staying and Jerusalem where Jesus is headed each day.

End Notes:  This chapter is a continuation of the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus is still speaking to his disciples on the Mount of Olives.  He is continuing the theme from Matthew 24 to be ready for his return.  He uses an example that every Jew would have understood 2000 years ago (which we don’t necessarily get).

It was Jewish tradition that after the betrothal, the marriage would take place and the groom would come for his bride at an unexpected time.  The brides’ maids who were usually about 10 in number would go out and meet him with lamps and bring him to his bride.

Breaking tradition, Jesus’ analogy has him as the bridegroom.  In the Old Testament, God had always been described as the bridegroom (Isaiah 54:4-5; 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 1-3, and many more).

Even though the brides’ maids slept, they were prepared.  And when the call went out in the middle of the night (an unexpected time), they answered.

If oil does indeed represent the Holy Spirit, then the truth is that without the Holy Spirit, you are not ready for Jesus.

We should be constantly re-filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit else we enter a period of lackadaisical living–unmotivated, purposeless, passionless, laziness, and unproductive overall.  This is my prayer today:  to fill me up more so I may overcome this period in my life.

The penalty is too severe if we are not prepared–eternal life without Jesus in Hell.  Are you willing to pay it?