BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 5: Revelation 4:9-11

Summary of passage: John sees four living creatures honoring and thanking God and when they do, the 24 elders fall down as well and worship him forever and ever, saying God is worthy of worship as the Creator of all things.

Questions:

10)  They are falling down before God, laying their crowns at God’s feet, and worshiping Him, giving Him all the glory, because He is the Creator of all things and it is by His will they even exist.  It’s important to note the elders are following the creatures lead.

11)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Worship.  We were created to worship and that’s what we will do non-stop in heaven.  It’s what we should do here.  Everything we do should be worshipful in some way to God.  I will try to be more cognizant of this and ask myself if what I’m doing is worshipful or not.  If not, then I will not do it.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Needs to be more about Him and not me or others around me.  At church it’s easy to look around and see what others are doing.  I need to focus more on God.  Focus more at home on God.  Analyze if what I am doing is worshipful or not.  Strive to put more worship in my daily life.

Conclusions:  Great application to the passage here.  Worship is central to God, who He is, and why we were created.  It can get lost in all of our busy-ness.  God’s will needs to be done on earth.  We each were given a job by God to accomplish here on earth and that needs to be central to our lives.  Discovering it and fulfilling it.  Along the way, we need to acknowledge it’s Him and praise Him for that.  That is our purpose.  Period.

End Notes: Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most scholars think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

We see the Lord WORTHY. The 24 elders all wearing crowns symbolizing their authority lay down their crowns, giving God all authority under heaven.

Can you see it? The living creatures are crying out God’s holiness and in response the 24 elders fall down before God and proclaim His infinite glory and worthiness and power. This scene never stops repeating itself.

In days of old, lesser personages would lay down their crowns at the feet of rulers as a sign of submission. In Roman times, the emperor would then give the crowns back to these lesser rulers most likely ones the Romans had conquered as a symbol that their authority comes from Rome. Same symbolism here.

The crowns are the crowns of victory and rewards for deeds (Greek stephanos) like those given at Olympic games, not royalty. The elders are giving their achievements over to God.

Smyrna was promised a crown of life for faithfulness (Revelation 2:10) and Philadelphia was told to hold onto their crown so no one will take it from them (Revelation 3:11).

Spurgeon points out the 24 elders acted as one and says how we all should be unified in our desire for God.

God is worthy because He is the creator of all things and He allows us to exist. King James Version says “for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were created to please God and for nothing else. We don’t fulfill our purpose here on Earth until we do.

The elders represent us. God is waiting for us. We each have a crown in heaven and a throne in heaven and a song in heaven and a part in giving God all the glory He deserves.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 4: Revelation 4:8-11

Summary of passage:  John sees four living creatures with 6 wings and eyes all around.  They never stopped praising God.  The 24 elders fall down as well and worship him forever and ever, saying God is worthy of worship as the Creator of all things.

Questions:

8a)  Holy, holy, holy means God is infinitely holy.

b)  Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8). Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how he is fully God always.

c)  Who was, and is, and is to come means God has always existed and will always exist.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Giving glory to God means worshiping Him as the Creator, acknowledging that He is the source of everything you do and everything you are humbly, and being grateful for it.  Paul says in Romans to do God’s will and remember we are His and are created for worship.  Ephesians reminds us to live with a grateful heart as we praise God through singing hymns and doing everything in His name with thanks.

I am giving God the glory for all.  I am powerless on my own.  I pray for God’s will to be done in my life.  I listen and respond.  I worship and express gratitude at my complete inability to do anything without Him.

Note:  1 Chronicles 29:11-13 is David’s famous prayer of humility and giving God all the glory for everything.

Conclusions:  Would still like to explore the living creatures more.  Awesome passage in the Bible.  One of my favorites.  We see we were created by God for God to worship Him and we see in heaven complete and total worship of Him.

End Notes:  Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10). The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus. Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics. Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle. All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness. It is the only characteristic of God repeated 3 times.  Never do we see in the bible “love, love, love” or “anger, anger, anger”.  God wants us to know above all else He is HOLY.  It’s His authority and power emphasized here.

Isaiah 6:2-3 repeats these words but the creatures are called seraphs.  Psalm 99:1-9 also says God’s holiness above all else.

The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most scholars think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Next, we see the Lord WORTHY.  The 24 elders all wearing crowns symbolizing their authority lay down their crowns, giving God all authority under heaven.

Can you see it?  The living creatures are crying out God’s holiness and in response the 24 elders fall down before God and proclaim His infinite glory and worthiness and power.  This scene never stops repeating itself.

In days of old, lesser personages would lay down their crowns at the feet of rulers as a sign of submission.  In Roman times, the emperor would then give the crowns back to these lesser rulers most likely ones the Romans had conquered as a symbol that their authority comes from Rome.  Same symbolism here.

The crowns are the crowns of victory and rewards for deeds (Greek stephanos) like those given at Olympic games, not royalty.  The elders are giving their achievements over to God.

Smyrna was promised a crown of life for faithfulness (Revelation 2:10) and Philadelphia was told to hold onto their crown so no one will take it from them (Revelation 3:11).

Spurgeon points out the 24 elders acted as one and says how we all should be unified in our desire for God.

God is worthy because He is the creator of all things and He allows us to exist.  King James Version says “for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  We were created to please God and for nothing else.  We don’t fulfill our purpose here on Earth until we do.

The elders represent us.  God is waiting for us.  We each have a crown in heaven and a throne in heaven and a song in heaven and a part in giving God all the glory He deserves.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 3: Revelation 4:1-8

Summary of passage: John was invited into heaven for a glimpse. He was in the Spirit. Before him was a throne. Sitting on the throne was one who appeared jasper and carnelian and a rainbow and 24 other thrones with elders surrounded the main throne. Seven lamps or spirits of God shone before the throne. Thunder came from the throne. Four creatures surrounded the throne: a lion, ox, one like a man, and an eagle. Each creature had 6 wings with eyes everywhere and were singing God’s praises constantly.

Questions:

5)  Colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13) or God’s glory (white). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man. God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us.  Flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him.  In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

6)  In Exodus, Moses and others saw a pavement made of sapphire (colors again).  Isaiah sees the same seraphs singing the same song to the Lord.  They also had 6 wings.  The temple shook and smoke filled it.  Isaiah was cleansed before the Lord.  Ezekiel sees the same living creatures John saw.  He sees lightning and light and fire.  He sees a throne of sapphire as well.  He sees glowing metal, fire, and brilliant light and a rainbow.

Micaiah (2 Chronicles 18:18), Ezekiel, Daniel, and John saw God on a throne.  Stephen saw the glory of God and Jesus at his right hand (Acts 7:55).  Jacob saw the Lord in heaven (Genesis 28:12-13).  Paul was caught up to the third heaven and heard inexpressible things (2 Corinthians 12:2-6).

7a)  Verse 5 says God is on the throne with the seven lamps (Jesus) burning and seven spirits of God (Holy Spirit).

b)  Being God is the Triune God, if you have a relationship with God then you have a relationship with all three.  The Holy Spirit lives inside all of us and “teaches us all things and reminds us of everything”  (John 14:26) and “guides us into all truth, speaking only what he hears and telling you what is to come” and “making it known to you” (John 16:7-15).  The Spirit “intercedes for us” and helps us pray (Romans 8:26-7).  The Spirit marks us as His (Ephesians 1:13).  We believe in the saving grace of Jesus as our Savior, which makes us righteous before God who is Lord over all, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega.

Conclusions:  Had to dig for number 6.  Very interesting.  In Revelation we see the Triune God as in no other book and their interlinkedness.  All three are integral to God and who He is and we need all three.  All passages in 7b refer to the Holy Spirit.

I love the study of colors.  For all those opthamologists out there, this is fascinating.  All color is white and color changes based on its reflection and absorption when it hits other materials.  And it’s our brain and eyes which tell us which color is which.  Something that is black absorbs all colors.  Amazing how God has designed us to see color and how He has color in heaven.

Was hoping to discuss the living creatures more.  These are fascinating to me.  But maybe because they have so many interpretations BSF did not want to open that can of worms.  See End Notes for a discussion of possible meanings to the living creatures and comparisons to those Ezekiel saw.

End Notes:  These are the same from yesterday’s lesson.  Nothing has changed.

We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where one breaks it up is different) with the words “After this”. We are going to study Revelation 4-5 and then take another break and jump to Joel. These are a heavenly perspective and deals with God’s judgment on earth and its people. This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduce the rest of Revelation. The number 7 will be prominent here.

After Jesus finishes speaking to the 7 churches, John is called up to heaven to see events that will take place –leading up to Jesus’ return to earth. This echoes Moses’ call up to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. Many see this as symbolic of the rapture as John is taken to heaven before the judgement. Chapter 6 will describe the wrath. As noted before, the word “church” is not used from Revelation 4-19. This will bring in the debate about the Tribulation but we’ll save that for later on.

John immediately sees a throne in heaven whereupon sits God. Note he doesn’t describe God as a figure but as emanations–colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man (Genesis 9:13-16). God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us. This is a reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace for us.

The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most scholars think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Lightning, rumblings, thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him. In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

7 lamps are the Holy Spirit. 7 Spirits of God are completeness again (Revelation 1:4).

Sea of glass–scholars are divided whether it is literal or figurative. The “Sea” in the Old Testament is the basin of water priests would wash in before administering in the temple (1 Kings 7:23-26). See also Exodus 30:17-21. This was before we were made clean with the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5). Hence, it may symbolize our righteousness before God.

Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10). The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus. Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics. Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle. All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness.

Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8). Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8)  Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how he is fully God always.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 2: Revelation 4:1-8

Summary of passage:  John was invited into heaven for a glimpse.  He was in the Spirit.  Before him was a throne.  Sitting on the throne was one who appeared jasper and carnelian and a rainbow and 24 other thrones with elders surrounded the main throne.  Seven lamps or spirits of God shone before the throne.  Thunder came from the throne. Four creatures surrounded the throne:  a lion, ox, one like a man, and an eagle.  Each creature had 6 wings with eyes everywhere and were singing God’s praises constantly.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God.  Appeared like jasper and carnelian.  God is to be worshipped constantly.

4a)  24 elders.  Elders could be angels or man–most likely man. White represents righteousness and glory.  Angels are sometimes presented in white robes or garments (Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10), but saints also have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14) for righteousness (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:5-18). We never see angels crowned but believers will be (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).  This shows man as heirs with Christ and reigning with Him (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12). (See End Notes for full explanation and interpretations).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal.  Crown of life (James).  Crown of glory that will never fade  away (Peter).  Crown of righteousness (Timothy).  Crown that will last forever (Corinthians).  To be honest, on this day, a Saturday at 6:25 am, it doesn’t encourage me.  Not one bit.

Conclusions:  Being far from encouraged today and being tired of being asked about how I am encouraged in this study when truthfully I’m pretty down-in-the-dumps, I decided to count how many times we are asked this (so far).

Lesson 1:  We are asked what hope, comfort, and/or confidence we receive 3 times

Lesson 2:  We are asked what gives us alarm, hope, and/or help 3 times

Lesson 3:  We are asked what helps, strengthens, and comforts 2 times and encourages 2 times.

Lesson 4:  Hope 1 time.

Lesson 5:  Encouragement 2 times, comfort 1 time

Lesson 6:  Confidence 1 time

Lesson 7:  None.  Mainly factual lesson.

Lesson 8:  Encourage 2 times.  Hope and confidence 2 times.

Totals:  Encourage 6 times.  Hope, help, comfort, confidence 13 times.

Being that the definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.” (we talked about it in Lesson 8 Day 5) has the words “hope” and “help” and “hearten” which means confidence, we can probably add all of these together for a grand total of 19 times.

Maybe I’m being petty or cynical or what-have-you (and I’m sure you all will let me know if I am).

The book of Revelation does not intimidate me.  It does not scare me (check out my poll in the sidebar.  Half of you aren’t scared by the End Times either).  It is like any other book of the Bible–given by God for us to discover a bit more about Him and His desires for us.  It is no harder than say Matthew to study or any other book.  I don’t understand why Christians shy away from it (my church included. In the 11 years I have been attending it has NEVER done a series on Revelation which is a travesty in my opinion).

I think this is why people are intimidated–no one talks about it.  Plus, with all the doomsayers out there, putting out movies (which are fiction) and writing novels (fiction as well) about Revelation, people can’t separate fact from fiction.  It’s simple:  Bible is fact.  Everything else fiction.  Believers have nothing to worry about.  Nonbelievers do.

Point of my rant:  Knowing I have an eternal future doesn’t encourage me when the bank is calling and I’m late on my mortgage and it doesn’t encourage me the day I file for bankruptcy, hold my baby close, and cry, knowing I’m leaving the house all my children were born in.  Daniel’s story doesn’t encourage me when my husband loses his job.  It doesn’t encourage me when my husband is passed over for promotions because he lives out God’s words in his deeds.  Knowing there is a kingdom awaiting me doesn’t give me hope in my daily life at times when loved ones are in car accidents, my dogs die in my arms, or cancer strikes friends and relatives.

(Note to prevent emails:  All of this stuff has happened to me, some of which I have written about here.  I’m actually in a really good place right now.  Just goes to show you whether your down in life or up hope and encouragement can still be far away.  The main thing weighing on my heart right now and is probably the root cause in all of my down-in-the-dumps attitude is my inability to get a book published–my life long dream and God’s will for my life I believe.  When doing God’s will for your life ends up perpetually at a dead-end road, discouragement, disappointment, and heartache reign and skew your vision of life–be it daily life and eternal life.  I’m working to pull myself up but am not there yet).

At the end of the day, God does give me encouragement when I pause to listen and pray.  But every day?  No.  It just doesn’t.

I mentioned in Lesson 8 Day 5 I have become numb to most of the world’s happenings in order to maintain my sanity.  I think the same is try for God’s encouragement and hope.  Yes, I should be encouraged and filled with joy that there is more for me besides the daily grind.  But do I believe it and live it out every single second of the day?  No.  Will I?  Perhaps.  Am I getting closer each day?  I’d like to think so.  I recognize it though.  That’s the first step to changing it.

Sorry for the information dump.  Sometimes when BSF asks questions about hope and encouragement and comfort and I don’t feel any it can be depressing.  (I have mentioned this before in other studies).  But I shouldn’t feel guilty about it (and neither should you if you are in my boat).  Because God will comfort and encourage and give us hope when we need it.  Not necessarily when we are asked the question.  Not everything has to encourage.  In fact, it can be the opposite.

Note:  We were asked about the crown as well with the exact same reference Bible passages in Lesson 6 Day 3 for Revelation 3.

End Notes:  We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where scholars break it up) with the words “After this”.  We are going to study Revelation 4-5 which begins John’s visions when he was taken up to heaven and then take another break and jump to Joel who prophesied about the Day of the Lord.  Here we’ll see a heavenly perspective and how God metes out judgment on earth and its people.  This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduces the rest of Revelation.  The number 7 will be prominent here.  A separate post on the significance of numbers in the book of Revelation will follow this lesson.

After Jesus finishes speaking to the 7 churches, John is called up to heaven to see events that will take place –leading up to Jesus’ return to earth.  This echoes Moses’ call up to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19.  Many see this as symbolic of the rapture as John is taken to heaven before the judgement.  Chapter 6 will describe the wrath.  As noted before, the word “church” is not used from Revelation 4-19.  This will bring in the debate about the Tribulation but we’ll save that for later on.

John immediately sees a throne in heaven whereupon sits God.  Note he doesn’t describe God as a figure but as emanations–colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red).  Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13).  Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man (Genesis 9:13-16).  God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us.  This is a reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace for us.

The 24 elders are either human or angels.  Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24).  Most think they are human in glory (the white).  Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).  Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14).  Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Lightning, rumblings, thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him.  In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

7 lamps are the Holy Spirit.  7 Spirits of God are completeness again (Revelation 1:4).

Sea of glass–scholars are divided whether it is literal or figurative.  The “Sea” in the Old Testament is the basin of water priests would wash in before administering in the temple (1 Kings 7:23-26).  See also Exodus 30:17-21.  This was before we were made clean with the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5).  Hence, it may symbolize our righteousness before God.

Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22).  The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord.  Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10).  The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus.  Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics.  Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle.  All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness.

Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8).  Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8)  Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how He is fully God always.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 4: Exodus 23

Summary of passage:  Laws pertaining to justice and mercy:  Do not gossip falsely.  Do not follow the crowd.  Do what is right.  Do unto your enemies as you would unto yourself.  Don’t put innocent people to death.  Treat the poor fairly.  Do not accept bribes.  Do not oppress foreigners.

Laws pertaining to Sabbath:  Sow the land for six years and leave it fallow the seventh year and allow the poor to glean from it.  So work six days and rest on the seventh day.  Do not worship false gods.

Three Annual Festivals:  Feast of Unleavened Bread where you eat bread for seven days made without yeast.  The Feast of the Harvest where you bring your firstfruits to me.  Feast of Ingathering at the end of Harvest season.  At these times you will offer sacrifices to God.

God’s Angel:  God is sending an angel ahead of His people to guard them and protect them and be an enemy to those who oppose His people as long as they do not rebel.  Do not bow down before other gods.  Worship God and He will bless His people.  God will drive out the other peoples of the Promised Land little by little to allow their numbers to increase enough to fill the land.  I will give you all the land between the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates.  Do not allow foreigners to live in your land for they will cause you to sin.

Questions:

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be nicer to my “enemies” or people I don’t really care for.  Help them instead of being indifferent.

b)  Worshipping and honoring God

c)  God will do everything for His people as long as they obey Him and revere Him.  He also wants His people to set the moral standard and do what is good and right towards others.  He wants the best for us, which includes telling us to rest, work, and honor Him.

8 )  Jesus.  In Exodus 14:19, Jesus is the angel of God here so Jesus has been with the Israelites all along.  In Exodus 3:2, Jesus is the angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush.  Hence, this must be the same angel of the Lord.

[See End Notes for thought-provoking article on the angel in this passage.]

9a)  11

b)  God promises to send an angel ahead of them to the place He has prepared for them (verse 20).  God will be an enemy to your enemies and oppose all who oppose you  and wipe them out (verse 22 & 23).  He promises to bless their food and water and take away sickness and barrenness and give them a full life span (verse 25 & 26).  He will send His terror ahead of them and throw into confusion  every nation and make them run (verse 27).  He will drive their enemies away (verse 28).  He will establish their borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates (verse 31).

c)  Pay attention to him (angel) and listen to what he says and do not rebel (verse 21 & 22).  Do not bow down before their gods or follow their practices and break their sacred stones (verse 24).  Worship God (verse 25).  Do not make a covenant with them or their gods (verse 32).  Do not let them live in your land (verse 33).

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God makes it easy for His people to take their land back.  He gives them only as much as they can handle though by not giving them all the land at once which would cause them trouble.  He waits on His people.  He allows them to grow steadily and not all at once.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has decreased my stress level enough so I can better deal.

Conclusions:  We basically copied out verses 22-33 for Question 9.  What I got out of it is God does much for us and asks so little in return.  We have an awesome God!

End Notes:  More laws for judges given by God to Israel.  The focus is on justice, truthfulness, and kindness.

Following the crowd has been around since the very beginning when Adam followed Eve into sin. This was important to remind the people to hear from God, not others.

Note how you feel about someone should not determine how you treat them.  You treat them like Jesus did.

Some interpreted the Sabbath law as only cultivating 6/7 ths of their land in any given year.  Failure to follow this directive by God extended the Israelites punishment in Babylon (Leviticus 26:32-35, 2 Chronicles 36:21).

Cooking a goat in its mother’s milk was a common pagan ritual at the time so God felt the need to specifically outlaw it. Pagans did just that–boil a young goat in its mother’s milk and sprinkle it all over their fields, hoping for a better harvest the next year.  Makes you wonder if God had to specifically outlaw this, then some or many of the Israelites themselves were doing this.

Jesus goes before us to prepare a place in heaven for us as well.

Note the stunning difference in the Old Testament Covenant and the New:  in the Old Testament you had to obey to be blessed.  Now, we are blessed through Jesus so although there are consequences to sin, we are still blessed.  I wonder if this is why others around us who are un-Godly, are richly blessed.

Just because God has given us things does not mean we will possess it.  Case in point in Israel’s boundaries.  Israel has never possessed all of God’s promised land.  When your faith is strong enough, you will have it.

The Israelites do make a covenant with others in their land (Joshua 9).  Note how no humans have ever kept God’s commands perfectly.

Fascinating article on the angel of the Lord, which here says that God never spoke to the people Himself but this is Jesus here who is communicating with Moses the entire time since no one has ever seen nor heard God.  See article HERE

This was an eye-opener for me.  I had always assumed this was God speaking and never thought it was God in the person of Jesus although I looked back at my answers and had put this previously.  It’s just now clicking for me!  I tend to think in terms of God and Jesus being separate and they are not.  This I think will be a grand theme for me this year.

Bible Scholars differ on the locations of the Promised Land from Genesis 15 to here in Exodus 23

One Interpretation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Map_Land_of_Israel.jpg

Another Interpretation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Greater_Israel_map.jpg

Modern Borders:  http://www.historicjesus.com/maps/israel.html

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 3: Exodus 21:33-22:31

Summary of passage:  More laws on Animals and Property:  A man is responsible for digging pits and animals falling in.  He’s also responsible if his animal harms another animal and if it had harmed animals before, he is to pay compensation.

The rest of the laws govern restitution fitted to the crimes.

If a man steals another’s animal, he must pay back much more (five times for cattle and four times for oxen). If a thief is killed in your own home, the homeowner is not responsible for bloodshed unless it’s during the day.  The thief must pay for what he has taken.  Wandering livestock, fire, stealing silver or gold, lost property or livestock, or borrowed property or livestock all must be restituted.

If a man seduces a virgin, he must compensate her.  Death penalty for those who has sex with an animal.  Don’t mistreat aliens.  Don’t take advantage of others especially widows or children or others you lend money to.  Don’t curse God or hold back offerings.  Give up your firstborn to God and the firstborn livestock.

Questions:

5a)  Harm to personal property or loss of personal property

b)  Restitution means “an act of restoring or a condition of being restored as a restoration of something to its rightful owner or making good of or giving an equivalent for some injury”

c)  Exodus 21:33-36:  Dog bites or deaths

Exodus 22:1-4:  Stealing any thing will fall under this.

Exodus 22:5-6:  Wildfires today

Exodus 22:7-15:  Watching someone’s pets and they die.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any in this passage.  If you harm other’s property, you pay for it.  From a broken toy to a pet to a wildfire.

6a) Pre-marital sex (verses 16-17).  Sorcery (verse 18).  Sex with an animal (verse 19).  Sacrifice to other gods (verse 20).  Mistreat a foreigner (verse 21).  Mistreat an orphan or widow (verses 22-4).  Money-lending (verse 25-7).  Cursing God (verse 28).  Not offering to God (verse 29).  Give firstborn (verse 29-30).  Not eating dead meat (verse 31).

b)  “You are to be my holy people.”

Conclusions:  Did not like this lesson like I did last lesson especially question 5.  All of the examples and laws listed here are current examples that do happen today and to any of us from livestock to stealing property to looking after others’ property.  Question 6a was merely a listing of the passage.  No depth here, in my opinion.

End Notes:  Rest of Exodus 21 is negligence and restitution.  Personal responsibility for your actions.  Period.

We must remember that the unlikely death of an oxen or a cow may result in poverty and death for a poor farmer. Hence, the gravity of these laws God institutes.

For us, it’s not a cow or sheep but our words or actions which we must restitute.  Do we do this enough?

We can harm others by what we fail to do as exhibited by the livestock grazing on others property and by carelessness or indifference on our part.

No law of “finders keepers” here.  If found, property must be returned.  If you claim it’s yours and it’s not, then you pay double.  Wish we instituted that nowadays.

One must swear by the Lord in the dispute and one must accept the other’s version of the story if there were no witnesses.  Proof must be given of guilt.

If you had pre-marital sex, you were to marry her and/or pay a bride-price.  Period.  This made many men think before taking advantage of girls.

God has no toleration of anything of the devil and of the spirit world.  Hence, death for sorceresses.

Bestiality was common in the ancient world and is legal in some areas of the world today.

The least (widows, orphans, foreigners, poor) must be treated compassionately and taken care of.

Money could also be substituted for the firstborn.

These laws were meant for living in Canaan.  Little did the Israelites know it was a long wait.

We must act differently than animals.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 9, Day 2: Exodus 21:1-32

Note to Readers:  We are now entering the second half of Exodus.  Here, we will shift from the flight from Egypt (the first 20 chapters) to mainly laws and regulations given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai to govern the life of this new nation.  These are laws given specifically to the judges for the Israelites.

Summary of passage:  Laws regarding Hebrew servants:  A Hebrew slave may serve you for six years but then go free in the seventh year.  A wife may go with him.  However, if the wife has children, then they must stay behind as they belong to the master.  If the man wants to stay, he must pierce his ear with an awl and be a servant for life.  If a man sells his daughter as a slave, he gets her back if her master is displeased with her.

Laws regarding Personal Injury:  If a man strikes or kills another, he is to be killed.  If a man attacks his father or mother or curses them, he is to be put to death.  If he kidnaps others, he is to be killed.  If a man hurts another, he must be compensated monetarily.  If a man beats his slave, he is to be punished if the slave dies.  If a man beats a pregnant woman and she loses the baby, he is to be fined.  If she dies, then he is to die.  If a master hits a slave and blinds him or knocks a tooth out, the slave can go free.  If a bull kills someone, the bull is to be stoned.  If the bull has done this before, both the bull and its owner is to be stoned.  But if it’s a slave, the bull dies and the slave’s owner is to be compensated.

Questions:

3a)  The Book of the Covenant

b)  Israel is God’s treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation set apart from others.  God holds higher standards for His people and thus all these laws that set a moral precedent.

c)  James 3:1:  “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

Luke 12:48:  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

We have been given everything; thus, we are expected to be more and give more.  Teachers of God’s Word are also called to be more as they impart God to others.  Plus, we are doing God’s bidding, not our own, when He gives us a task.  It is His will and as He is the Lord of all we must obey whole-heartedly.  If we fail, we fail God and whatever purpose He had for us.  It has greater implications than just failing our own will.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It makes me strive for more, do more, and have a higher moral standard than others. Do the right thing always not just when “I feel like it”.  I do things I don’t want to do and am the better for it.  I go to church when I don’t feel like it.  I help others when I’d rather be home reading a book.  I give more and am enriched by God because of it.  I hope my kids see this example and I try to impart this knowledge to do more than what is expected.

4)  God talks a lot about slaves and women and their rights.  By beginning with laws protecting the lowest on the social scale (slave and women), God was teaching the value of every human being.  Every one matters is what God is saying here.  To Him.  Thus, they should matter to His people.

Conclusions:  We are about to embark on a bunch of boring and tedious regulations that is hard for us to grasp since most do not apply to us anymore (for example slavery but also because of the New Covenant).  However, there is much to be gleaned here as BSF did a fabulous job here flushing out what we can get out of laws regarding slaves and women and hurting one another:

To God, everyone matters.  You and I.  Our neighbors.  The beggar on the street corner.  The adulterer and murderer.  I love how God addresses pregnant women here, giving unborn babies value.  Thankfully, we (at least those of us in the West) don’t live in a society where it is common to hit women although it does happen.  But here God values even the unborn.  If He values them, then what does that say about our value?

End Notes:  Many of these forthcoming laws set a new standard of morality for God’s people to live by, giving value to slaves and women, the poor and the aliens.  Israelites were the first to give slaves rights and say what is right and what is wrong.

Note how God addresses slavery first–to a people whom He just rescued from slavery!  Slavery was a fact of life in the ancient world and here God is working to tame it.  He knows in time it will die out.  He is setting the first precedence for that.

Most of slavery with the Israelites was of an indentured servant type.  None was meant to be life-long and only was used to get out of debt or some other extreme life circumstances.  It was limited in other words.  Note how the life-long servitude was chosen–not mandated–by anyone else.

The piercing of the ear reflects Jesus as he was pierced for our sins and chose to die and be a servant to us all (Philippians 2:7).

The selling of the daughter in this passage was when a father sold his daughter as she was engaged to be married to a son in the family.  This may have been done ahead of time in order for her to work off her bride-price.  Hence, she was to be returned if the marriage did not take place.  She was to be treated and cared for and never harmed.

Our laws for murder and capital punishment originate here–the Bible.  Since Genesis 9:6, God has laid down what is just in this respect.  Furthermore, God says there is to be no mercy nor protection at the altar (in ancient times, people could find sanctuary at an altar).  God is clear on His desires here.  In Numbers, we learn unpunished murders defile the land.

God establishes sanctuary cities later on for those accused of murder to flee in order to await trial and to be protected from avenging relatives since in the ancient world if you murdered someone, their relatives then had the right to kill you.

Kidnapping for the purpose of enslavement is what God is aiming to punish here, something very common in the ancient world.

The cursing of your father and mother was to protect the older generations and establish respect.

Personal injury laws began here.  If you hurt someone, you were responsible, especially if they couldn’t work.

Slaves in ancient cultures were not human so could be killed at any time.  Here, God tells the Israelites this is not okay.

We are either slaves to Satan or to Jesus.  Which are you?

Laws of retribution establish limits.  If injured, you are rightfully due compensation.  But limited to what was taken.  If an eye, compensation for an eye, not with a life.  Numbers 35:31 tells us money could be substituted instead of a life.

Caution when dealing with your slaves; least you hurt them they could be set free.

Interesting precedent here with animals as we can/should learn from this.  If the animal has no previous history, then the animal only dies.  If there is a previous history, then the owner dies as well.  This is the difference between intent and neglect.