BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 5: Revelation 16:15-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus will come like a thief and will bless those who are ready.  The kings will gather at Armageddon.  The seventh angel pours out his bowl, completing the judgments.  Jerusalem (“the great city”) splits, other nations’ cities collapse, Babylon disappears, mountains and islands vanish, and huge hailstones fall from the sky.  Still, God is cursed by unbelievers who refuse to turn to Him amidst this calamity.

Questions:

12a)  Jesus

b)  The seventh bowl unleashes total devastation upon earth and its inhabitants:  Jerusalem (“the great city”) splits, other nations’ cities collapse, Babylon disappears, mountains and islands vanish, and huge hailstones fall from the sky.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I have experienced a tornado.  We’ve all probably heard of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (Pompeii anyone?), tornados, hail storms, etc.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It means that God will make it so overwhelmingly obvious that this is the End Times that those who don’t turn to Him are not to be saved.

13a)  Be ready for Jesus could come at any moment.

b)  The clothes are our garments of salvation and righteousness.  Romans says they are Jesus as well as Galatians.  Christ is our clothes.  Therefore, to remain clothes means to stay true to Jesus.

See Ephesians 4:20-24 as well.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This relates to Lesson 19 Day 5 Question 13.  Because God loves us so much, He corrects us and judges us.  Because He does love us so much, He brings justice and vengeance against His people.  Sin and disobedience deserve God’s wrath.  Otherwise, how else would we know right from wrong?  What would stop us from murdering anyone who angers us?  God sets the laws and He enforces them.  That is the definition of love–just like as a parent we do to our children–out of love.

Conclusions:  I wonder how people can be so stupid in what is obvious happenings from the One, True God.  Sickness and sorrow, pain and poverty, disease and despair do not lead to God.  They strengthen believers who suffer such hardships.  Those whose hearts are hard will remain so.

I love how we clothe ourselves with Jesus.  What a beautiful image!

Questions were so-so.  Would have liked to have explored Armageddon more.  Hopefully we will as we read more about it.

End Notes:  Jesus speaks to us and we see this elsewhere in the Bible (Matthew 24:42-44; Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3) and is always directed to believers, not to the world.  This could refer to the Rapture or the Second Coming, depending on whether you think Christians will be here for the Tribulation or not.

Note the Third Beatitude of Revelation in verse 15.  Awesome amidst all this mayhem and destruction we are still blessed!  God is so, so amazing!

In Hebrew, Armageddon is Har-Megiddo with Har meaning mountain and Megiddo meaning valley.  Is this an actual place or merely symbolic?

Well, Megiddo is in an actual place located in northern Israel (See Map HERE) frequently associated with decisive battles.  It is about 14 by 20 miles long.

Armageddon has been the site of many military struggles throughout Israel’s history.  Deborah over Sisera (Judges 5:19); Gideon over the Midianites (Judges 7); Pharaoh over Josiah (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22).

Some historians say more wars have been fought here than in any other location in the world.  Over 200 battles have been fought in the region, from 1468 B.C. (with Pharaoh Tuthmosis III) to 1917 (with Lord Allenby of the British).  This is just RECORDED history–battles that we know of.  No telling how many skirmishes and unrecorded battles there have been.  Thus, it is an appropriate symbol/location for the final battle of the world between good and evil.

Answer:  It is best to see the place as literal, as the region of Megiddo and the valley of Esdraelon (“God sorrows”). Revelation 16:14, 17:14 and 19:19 described an organized battle that must center somewhere, even if it extends much further.

“Naked” in verse 15 means put on one’s own covering instead of God’s (Genesis 3:7; Isaiah 64:6).

Note this judgment is poured out in the AIR as opposed to the earth.  This could reference Satan himself (Ephesians 2:2).

We’ve seen earthquakes many times in Revelation.  We see it in Hebrews 12:26 as well.

Babylon will be re-visited in depth in Revelation 17 & 18.  Just note Babylon received both kinds of Greek word anger (thymus & orge).  Not good for Babylon.

We’ve seen hail as a tool of judgment before as well:  Egypt (Exodus 9:24), the Canaanites (Joshua 10:11), apostate Israel (Isaiah 28:2), and Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:22).  This is an appropriate ending to the judgments considering that God has made blasphemy punishable by stoning (Leviticus 24:11-16).

This is the end of the Tribulation judgments. (“It is done!”)

Conclusions to Revelation 16:  We must remember Satan and his lackeys are always lingering, ready to strike and deceive God’s people.  They are made immortal through worship.  We must be ready at all times!  No nation ever thought they’d fall.  Yet every empire throughout history has–except one:  Israel–God’s people who have persisted to this day and the Bible says will persist to the end.

Revelation is a “great” chapter (or synonyms and various translations thereby):  (Revelation 16:1, 9, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21).  Everything about God is great!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 4: Revelation 16:1-14

Summary of passage:  God orders His wrath poured out on the earth.  The first bowl caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.  The second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.  The third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.  The fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people.  The fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.  The sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  Spirits in the shape of frogs came from the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet sent to deceive man and gather them up for Armageddon.

Questions:

9a)  First Bowl (Exodus 9:8-11):  This reflects the plagues in Exodus.  This one is the plague of boils that God sent on Egyptians that broke out on their skin.  Here, the first wrath caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.

Second Bowl (Exodus 7:14-25; Revelation 8:8-9):  This is the plague of blood where Moses turned the Nile into blood, polluting the water, killing all the fish, and eliminating drinking water for the people.  The second trumpet judgment had a third of the sea turn to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships.  Here, the second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.

Third Bowl (Revelation 8:10-11):  In Revelation 8 the third trumpet turned the rivers and springs bitter, killing people who drank the water.  Here, the third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.

Fourth Bowl (Deuteronomy 28:22; 2 Peter 3:7):  A predicted judgment by Moses says God will send scorching heat and drought which will kill them.  Peter says fire will be reserved for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  Here, the fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people and people still refused to repent and glorify God.

Fifth Bowl (Exodus 10:21-23):  This echoes the plague of darkness God sent upon Egypt.  No one could see anything except of the Israelites who had light.  Here, the fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.

Sixth Bowl (Exodus 8:1-15; 14:21-27):  God sent the plague of frogs onto Egypt and dried up the Red Sea so Egypt could escape the pursuing Egyptians.  Here, the sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  We also see the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet in the form of frog’s spirits deceiving the people.

b)  God has complete sovereignty and power over creation.

10a)  Same.  Pharaoh refuses to repent and even in the end chases the Israelites.  The people here refuse to repent and they curse God as well.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It creates a bit more urgency because the end is bad, VERY bad.  And reading about it is heart-wrenching for unbelievers.

Conclusions:  Interesting comparison with the plagues of Egypt.  It’s as if God is preparing us throughout all of history for His final judgment.  He gives us glimpses, previews into His final wrath, which unbelievers ignore and still ignore.  God is so awesome to do so!

End Notes:  The bowl judgments are the third woe from Revelation 11:14.  They are punishments and chastisements with the purpose of bringing repentance from some.  Scholars believe these to occur at the end of the Great Tribulation right before Jesus’s return.  Some say these occur over the 3 1/2 year time period of the Great Tribulation.

This part of Revelation is hard for those who believe this is fulfilled history.  Some suggest “earth” here is the Roman empire,  or people, or the Catholic church.  Most agree God means “earth” when He says “earth.

We saw a preview in Revelation 8 when God struck 1/3 of the earth.  Here, the whole earth is struck; judgment is complete.

The sea might not necessarily become blood but become like blood–foul and sickening.

Some scholars say the second and third bowls also represent economic devastation and famine as our food sources and drinking water supplies end.

With no water to drink man cannot survive long.  Jesus’s return is near!

LOVE verse 5!  Those who shed the saints’ blood must now drink blood!  God is awesome!  It’s sad how they could have drunken Living Water.  This is the only reason given for the bowl judgments–the killing of God’s people.  However, sin is and will always be the cause of judgment.  The angel here could be a different angel or the same from the third bowl.

The voice from the altar in verse 7 could either be the angel, the martyrs (Revelation 6:9), or the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3-5).  The altar may also represent the cross.

The blessing of the sun and what gives life here on earth is now a curse.  Malachi 4:1 calls it a day “burning like an oven.”  The darkness aligns with Joel 2:30-31 which we studied in Lesson 11 day 4.

It’s sobering to see here how man doesn’t repent; how those who don’t have a heart for God never will.  We need to keep this in mind when we evangelize.  Our job is to impart knowledge.  God’s is to turn hearts.  It’s in His hands to convert, not ours.

This is a preview of hell as men gnaw their tongues in agony (Matthew 25:30).

The Euphrates River separated Rome from the East and was a natural barrier for invasion.  In ancient times, it was much longer and wider than in modern times of dams.  Kings from the east would be China, India, and Japan.

The ancient Israelites viewed frogs as repulsive and unclean.  The Egyptians worshipped a frog goddess.

The false prophet is the second beast of Revelation 13.

The sixth bowl goes more into detail of the judgment.  The drying up of the Euphrates River is how Cyrus conquered Babylon (Isaiah 11:15; 44:27-28; 50:2; 51:10).  The kings coming from the east also has a couple prophetic references in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:2; 46:11).

The nations are coming together to battle God.  How many battles will there be?  Upon investigating, I found a myriad of answers.  One was this: Revelation and the End Times:

  1.  The battle of Gog, Magog and her allies come against Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
  2.  The battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist leads the world system against a returning Jesus (Revelation 17:12-16, 17:14, 19:19).
  3.  The final battle, when Satan and his allies, after the millennium, make war against God (Revelation 20:7-10)

Another has 9 (see explanation HERE)  Another has 7 (See Explanation HERE)  There are many other interpretations.  This is just a sample to get your juices flowing and for your overall edification.  For me, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I will know based off the signs God has given us in the Bible and I’ll be amongst the saved.

AND GOD WINS (the Great day of God Almighty)!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 3: Revelation 15:5-8

Summary of passage:  Out of the temple in heaven came 7 angels with 7 plagues.  One of the 4 living creatures gave the angels 7 bowls containing the wrath of God.  God was in the temple and all were banned until the 7 plagues had been completed.

Questions:

6)  The tabernacle of the Testimony where 7 angels emerged wearing clean linen and gold sashes.  He saw one of the 4 living creatures give the 7 angels 7 golden bowls containing God’s wrath.  Then he saw smoke for God’s glory and power in the temple.

7)  Smoke accompanies God from His glory and power.  Exodus says God is a cloud from God’s glory and no one can enter the tabernacle when God is present.  2 Chronicles says the same thing:  the temple is filled with a cloud which is God’s glory and no one could enter.  Isaiah describes the temple as filled with smoke.  It also indicates God is about to act.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Been asked about comfort, help, and confidence so many times I’ve lost count. Basically because God is with me, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  I live and breathe because of God and will continue to do so in heaven afterwards.  And for that I am unequivocally grateful.

Conclusions:  Very basic questions.  Passage is straight forward.

End Notes:  This is the heavenly temple referred to in Exodus 25:8-9 and Hebrews 8:9.  It was also the dwelling place of God during the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings (Exodus 40:34-5).  It’s name comes from the fact the tent contained the two tablets of the covenant law brought down from Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:15; 38:21; Deuteronomy 10:5).

The angels come from God so there is no doubt this is His judgment.  Their clothing reminds us that God’s judgment is pure and holy and righteous.

We see bowls of wrath in Isaiah 51:17, 22.

Conclusions to Revelation 15:  Even though God is patient He will not excuse sin.  Because He is holy and just He must judge sin.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 2: Revelation 15:1-4

Summary of passage:  John saw 7 angels with 7 last plagues, having God’s wrath completed.  Standing around a sea of glass were the victorious over the beast and they sang the song of Moses and of the Lamb to God, praising Him.

Questions:

3)  John saw a sea of glass with fire and saw those victorious over the beast standing beside the sea.  They held harps and sang the song of Moses and the Lamb.

4)  God does great and marvelous deeds.  Just and true are His ways.  He is King of the ages (forever).  He alone is holy.  All nations will come and worship Him and His righteous acts.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Praise Him for His faithfulness, His absolute control over my life and this world, His love for me and those I love, and for His Son, Jesus, who He sacrificed so I could be with Him forever.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward questions re-stating the passage.  Love again how in heaven God is praised continually.

End Notes:  Revelation 14 we saw the blunt of God’s fury with unbelievers.  Now John will step back to the throne room in heaven and detail the judgments, the preparations before Chapter 16’s judgments.  This is very common in prophetic literature–Saying what will happen and then pausing to describe it more.

These angels we see again in Chapter 16.  The 7 angels hold 7 bowls with 7 plagues, one in each bowl which will be poured out on the earth.  These are the last judgments, completing God’s wrath.

We see 7 plagues in Leviticus 26:21.

The Greek word for wrath used here (thymus) is a burning passionate anger as we saw in Revelation 14:10.  The Greek word urge (a more mild form of anger) is the more common word for God’s anger in the New Testament.  Thymos is used only 11 times, and 10 of which are in Revelation.  Wouldn’t it make sense when God is angry against those who are rejecting His only Son?

The Greek word for complete (etelesthe) in verse 1 means to reach an aim.

We’ve seen this sea before in Chapter 4 of Revelation but this time it has fire mixed with it, which scholars say speaks to divine judgment.

Allusions to Exodus are all over this chapter.  Some say the red of the fire speaks to the Red Sea.  We see plagues, the songs of Moses, the tabernacle, and God’s glory in a cloud.  This is the ultimate Exodus:  the freeing of God’s people from sin in the world.

Those who are standing over the beast are the martyrs from Revelation 7:9-17–the 144,000 and from chapter 14.  We are still in the Tribulation here; it is not over.  The bowl judgments are yet to come (Chapter 16).  However, they are victorious because they have been faithful–this is NOT a military victory.  This is a victory of faith.

This is another example of prophetic certainty.  The beast is defeated although it hasn’t happened yet.  What would happen if we truly embraced that truth in our lives?

Many scholars believe the sea of glass represents God’s word, connecting to the tabernacle and baptism.  This would mean the martyrs are standing on God’s word.

The harps were given to the 24 elders in Revelation 5:8.  Now the martyrs have harps as well to praise God with!

This is ONE song sung with TWO names:  The song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.  The Old Covenant and the New Covenant, the law and the love.

In this song we see God’s:  works, ways, worthiness, and worship.  The song is all about God–note only the pronouns you and your are used.

Prayer Requests for Week of February 7th, 2016

Hey all!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Please post a comment below with your prayer requests or email them to me at atozmom.wordpress@gmail.com Post your answered prayers or praises as well especially if you’ve posted them here and we’ve prayed for them!

Mine:  Protection over my husband’s job and guidance in career choices for me!

Thanks and God bless!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 19, Day 5: Revelation 14:14-20

Summary of passage:  John sees Jesus on a white cloud with a golden crown and a sharp sickle.  An angel tells Jesus to reap the harvest of the earth with his sickle and he does.  An angel emerges from the altar in heaven and tells another angel who emerges from the temple to gather grapes with his sickle.  The angel did and threw the grapes into the winepress of God’s wrath where they were trampled and blood flowed.

Questions:

11)  Jesus and he was called to reap the harvest of the earth.

12a)  Unbelievers

b)  The sickles:  To reap and to separate out the harvest (believers) from the grapes (unbelievers)

The winepress:  Judgment.  (Isaiah 63:1-6)

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is serious.  He will punish those who sin and refuse to accept His grace.  He will reap those who follow Him in the harvest.

Conclusions:  Good dissection of passage.

End Notes:  Revelation 15 & 16 has the 7 bowls judgment and some scholars see this scene as the preparation of the faithful before the judgments to come.  Here, Jesus is going to separate good and evil and gather in the faithful like in a harvest and then assemble all for judgment (Joel 3:12-14; Matthew 3:12; 13:30).  This is seen as well in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30; 13:36-43).

Christ in clouds:  Revelation 1:7,13 and in Daniel 7:13 and Matthew 24:30.

Here, Jesus has on his head the crown of victory.  Quite the contrast with the crown of thorns.

The Greek word for “ripe” has the sense of withered.  Thus, the indication is God is waiting for sin to be overripe.  He is in no hurry.

Some translations have verse 18 as “fully ripe”, meaning when the grapes are bursting and ready for harvest.  A winepress was a rock-hewn trough about 8 feet square with a channel leading to ta lower and smaller trough.  Grapes were thrown into the upper vat and trampled with bare feet.  The juice collected in the lower vat.  This is a common Old Testament analogy for the execution of divine wrath (Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 1:15; Joel 3:13).  When trampled, the grapes burst and their juice squirts out–like the blood described in verse 20.

A horse’s bridle is a few feet high and 1,600 stadia is about 184 miles.  Can you imagine how much blood would have to be shed and how many people would have to die to create a flow of blood that would pour out for 184 miles a few feet high?  This is the carnage in the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 16:16 and 19:11-19 and a graphic symbol to the world.  Turn to Christ now or face judgment.

However, some scholars say this is just a splattering of blood and not an actual blood flow. You make the call.

184 miles is a huge distance for a battle–almost unseen in Ancient Times.  But not in modern times.

Revelation Chapters 15-19 will reveal the fulfillment of these prophetic declarations of the angels.

Conclusions to Lesson 19:  In Revelation 13 we see the power of the beast.  In Revelation 14 we see who’s really in charge and who will win in the end.

Make sure you are part of the 144,000.  Be holy and pure and do not worship false idols.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 19, Day 4: Revelation 14:6-13

Summary of passage: John sees 3 angels. The first proclaims the eternal gospel to the earth and says to turn to God because the judgment has come. The second says how Babylon has fallen. The third warns that whoever worships the beast or bears his mark will have God’s fury, be tormented with burning sulfur, and have no rest. God says blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Questions:

9a)  The mark of the beast appears on those who have chosen to worship Satan instead of God.  They may prosper here but for eternity they will drink from the cup of wrath which Jesus did for believers and be tormented for eternity day and night by burning sulfur.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I touched on this last lesson about how I wish more churches would discuss the consequences of choosing Satan over God.  Unbelievers face a grim, dismal, and undesirable future in hell. It is not a pretty picture.  Fully understanding what unbelievers face (and we’ll see more details later on in Revelation and talk more about this) does make me more concerned especially about family members and loved ones who don’t believe.  Yet at the same time, knowing we all have a choice, there are no excuses for not knowing Him, lends me little compassion at times especially when I read about indiscriminate killings and abuse.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God encourages the saints (those who accept Christ during the Great Tribulation) to be steadfast during the judgments and remain faithful and their deeds will be remembered in heaven.  Same goes for us–our deeds will follow us to heaven.  What we do here matters.

Conclusions:  Good lesson.  I like the emphasis on what happens to those who don’t believe.  Very important since like I said a lot of churches these days focus on “kind, loving, and accepting Jesus” and ignore the wrath of God.

End Notes:  See YESTERDAY’S notes.