BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 2: Revelation 18:1-3

Summary of passage:  Another angel from heaven announces Babylon has fallen and repeats Revelation 17:2, saying the kings have committed adultery with Babylon.

Questions:

3a)  John saw another angel descend from heaven who announced Babylon has fallen and all the nations have drunk her adulteries as well as all the kings

b)  A home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit and every unclean and detestable bird.

4a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  You lose God.  It’s that simple.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Heavenly things.  I’m about split down the middle. We have to deal with this world because we live it in and life takes place here.  But as long as God is at the center and our earthly life is for Him then we’re good!

Conclusions:  BSF kept it simple here.  The questions were straight out of the text.  The personal questions were very elementary.  No questions on what is Babylon and what it represents.  Should have combined this day with tomorrow’s.

End Notes:  So what is Babylon?  We discussed this last week as well.  Babylon could be either Rome, Jerusalem, or the world system as a whole.  Scholars are divided and no one is sure.  For us, Babylon is evil like verse 2 says.  The details here are unimportant.

So is this the same Babylon of Revelation 17?  Scholars say there are distinct differences.  Babylon of 17 is more a religious system.  This Babylon of 18 is more a commercial/economic/political Babylon.  But both should be seen together as one–just 2 different aspects.

Is Babylon a real city or a symbol?  Since Babylon now does not exist, most scholars say this is a symbol in correspondence with apocalyptic writings and with Revelation and its use of symbols.  However, Saddam Hussein did begin to build a palace on the ruins of Babylon before he was deposed.  Who knows what the future will hold?

Babylon, the city, was predicted to fall in the Bible by Isaiah (Isaiah 21:9, Isaiah 14:22-23) as well as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 50:13;  51:26).

This angel having just come from God’s presence glows!  He illuminates the earth.  How cool is that!  It’s like Moses whose face glowed after having spoken with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:29-35).  Awesome!  I want to glow too after seeing God!  Wonder if that’s why angels are depicted with light around them in the movies.  Other references to glory lighting the world:  Psalm 104:2; Ezekiel 43:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:16.

Note the phrase is repeated that Babylon has fallen for emphasis.  Sad thought since Babylon used to be one of the richest and most prosperous cities of the world and now is a haven for demons and spirits.  Just shows how much man can corrupt.

Babylon committed idolatry (adultery) and was concerned with the luxuries of this world instead of God. That is her sins.

John says this in the past tense so even though Babylon hasn’t fallen it is assured it will.

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God’s Faithfulness

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

God’s faithfulness keeps me alive
I used to be so unaware
I know now how to survive
When I pray I know He’s there

I didn’t want to let Him in
But He wouldn’t give up on me
He just kept right on knocking
Waiting so patiently

He knew I belonged to Him
Chosen before time began
He wouldn’t easily let me go
He loved me, sinning as I was

Once I opened that locked door
His love took over my life
How did I miss it before
His faithfulness was my guide

Now I am so aware
I see His faithfulness everywhere
In gratitude I kneel in prayer
My life surrendered in His care.

By :

Lissette Trahan

Comments on God’s Faithfulness

Why did it take me so long? I think back and realize He
was always there. What made me finally look and
know that is was all true.

My first look was in the Bible, but even then I did not
look with an open heart. I remember being so skeptic.
The one thing I did right, I kept seeking. I was about to
give up. I sincerely cried out and asked
“Are You really there?”

God was faithful. I have since read in the Bible
“Seek and you will find me when you seek me with all
your heart”. God kept that promise and my life
changed.

There is no secret. You have to really want it, want to
know Him.

God will be faithful to the end. I almost rejected Him
completely but He would not let me go. I thank God
that He did not let my heart become hardened.

I would not have survived.

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
“You will seek me and find me when you
seek me with all your heart”

Why People Do CrossFit

You will hear a ton of reasons to do CrossFit.  It’ll make you fitter.  You’ll get stronger.  You’ll get muscle definition.  It’s fun.  It’s not boring.  It’s challenging.  It’s something different every day.  No workout is ever the same.  All these are true and more.

But there’s something deeper, something more meaningful, something that drives CrossFitters to do it.

And it’s this:

The feeling one gets when they accomplish a move they thought impossible.

It’s an endorphin rush like nothing else.  It’s a high for all day.  It’s confidence unimaginable.  It’s plain awesome.

The first time I climbed a rope, I was on a high all day.  I never thought I’d ever be able to climb a rope.  It’s downright fun.  Where were ropes when I was a child?  I feel like I’m re-capturing something I should have done thirty years ago.

The first time I did a pull-up.  Wow was that awesome.  I’ve been working out for most of my life.  I’ve always wanted to do a pull-up.  I’ve never been able to do one even though I considered myself fit.  It was in a workout with 60 pull-ups and I did them all.  I also tore a callus in the process, a badge of honor in my book.  So, so worth it.

I signed up for the CrossFit Open, obviously with no chance of winning, but just to see how I measure up against everyone else.  I read the CrossFit Open Workout 16.1 and was worried and scared.  Can I do this?  Can I hold a 65 lb bar overhead and lunge?  And what about chest-to-bar pull-ups?  I’ve never done those.  I was nervous all day long.

Yesterday, during the Open Workout 16.1, I did a chest-to-bar pull-up for the first time.  I didn’t think I’d be able to do one.  I did 16!  I RX’d the Workout, including the 65 lb overhead lunges.  Was it pretty?  No.  Did I do it?  Hell, ya.  And I feel amazing for taking the time (even with a low score) and doing it.

This morning I’m sore.  REALLY sore.  Do I care?  Nope.  Not one bit.  Because I accomplished something yesterday.  Something I’d never thought I’d be able to do.  Something I thought only the pros could do.  And here I am doing it!

I’ve only been doing CrossFit for a little over 3 months.  I thought it’d take me a lot longer to do all of this.  The possibilities in my mind are endless.  Where will I be in a year?  The thought is exciting.  The possibilities are endless.

Did I do this alone?  No.  The coaches in my box are amazing.  They keep pushing.  Keep helping me.  Keep rooting me on.  All of that matters.  Yesterday, my coach said to me, “I’m making a commitment to you to work on your kip.  It will change your world.”  Those words are indescribable to me.  As much as I am committed to getting better, so are my coaches.  Having supporters in this world makes all the difference.

That’s why I do CrossFit.  For the indescribable feelings I get from accomplishing physical exercises I had never thought I’d ever be able to do.  For the true amazement at what my body can do.  Every time I do something previously undoable, I think how amazing this body is that God designed and gave us.  It definitely gives a whole new meaning and appreciation to your body as a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and how you are God’s.  When I accomplish something, I honor Him.  And that is truly powerful.

That’s why I practice.  Why I work hard at home and at the gym.  Why I get up at the butt-crack of dawn and haul my butt to the box.  Honoring God.  And honoring myself.  Giving me the self-confidence I need to face the heartaches of this world.  It’s truly a gift from God.

What’s next?  The sky’s the limit.  I’m aiming at double-unders (still my nemesis) and the Olympic moves which I struggle with all of them.

Who knows what the next 3 months will bring?  All I can say is this:  I can’t wait!

The Holy Spirit

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit abiding in me
Your gift gave me power, the truth I can see
It was the Spirit that changed my life
Your love for me, Your sacrifice

What is the greatest gift God gave me?
The Word says “Lo. I am with you always”
A Comforter, a helper, leading the way
Filling that yearning for which I pray

It is not my effort, but Christ that achieves
The life of freedom that God has for me
The Holy Spirit fills me with peace
It is Christ in me

The Cross, the Risen Christ and the Spirit released
O Lord, My God, What a Great Victory

By:

Lissette Trahan

COMMENT ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is God. The Bible says
He is omnipresent.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee
from Your presence? I go up to the heavens, You are
there, if I make my bed in the depths, You are
there.”

When I accepted Christ, that Holy Spirit–that God–
came and dwelt in me. Christ’s disciples were
ordinary people like you and me. At Pentecost
something definitely happened.

When they were filled with the Holy Spirit, their
life changed. It wasn’t something that happened
quietly. These men were behind closed doors full
of fear. When they received the power of the Holy
Spirit what happened to their fear?

I didn’t see the same results as the apostles did, but
I know that I ceased being ordinary.

The Bible says I am a new creation,
born again. My hearts desire is to glorify and
please God. The Holy Spirit changed my heart,
changed my desires. It says I am sealed. I will
never be forsaken.

1 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new
creation has come: The old has gone, the new
is here.”

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 5: Revelation 17:15-18

Summary of passage:  The angel tells John that the woman is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.  The waters are the peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.  The beast will kill the prostitute according to God’s purposes and allow the beast to rule.

Questions:

12)  God is in control and He’s the one who puts it into their hearts what to do.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control here and always to accomplish His purposes here on earth.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Knowing God wins makes it easy to proclaim His glorious name.  I’m not experiencing persecution at this time and haven’t really.  Knowing God’s word helps me see through deception.

Conclusions:  Question 12 & 13 are redundant and the same.  Question 14:  It’s not about knowing God wins; it’s about knowing God.  Weak lesson.

End Notes:  We are told who the woman is:  “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”  Some scholars say this is Rome and in the minds of the first century Christians it was definitely Rome.  Still, futurists say the city could be Jerusalem or the entire world system.

All the people will come together under the Antichrist until God turns their hearts to destroy the great city.  They will turn on themselves and destroy the prostitute.  Scholars say this is probably during the mid-point of the Tribulation.

God is the one orchestrating all of this as the angel states.  He is using the ten kings to judge the prostitute.

In the next chapter we will see Babylon’s destruction.

Conclusions to Lesson 22:  The most powerful lesson here in Revelation 17 is one we often forget:  God orchestrates world events.  He makes world leaders act for His purposes.  God is a God of action.

Secondly, we see that God wins and therefore, as Christians we win.  We cannot be defeated by Satan.  Emmanuel, God is with us, and if we’d keep that in mind–the big picture–our everyday circumstances and trials will be nothing but chaff in the wind.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 4: Revelation 17:6-14

Summary of passage:  The angel told John he’d explain the mystery of the woman and the beast she rides.  The beast will be destroyed.  The inhabitants whose names are not in the book of life will be astonished to see this.  The 7 heads are 7 hills and 7 kings.  5 kings have fallen, 1 is, and 1 will come.  The beast is the 8th king who will be destroyed.

The 10 horns are 10 kings who have yet to receive their kingdom but will for 1 hour.  They have 1 purpose and will hand over their power to the beast.  They will war with the Lamb but the Lamb will overcome along with the Lamb’s faithful.

Questions:

9a)  The mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides.

b)  The one goal of the 10 kings is to give their power and authority to the beast and war against the Lamb.

c)  The Lamb wins!

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every.

10)  The Lord:  “who is, and who was, and who is to come”

The beast:  “you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up and go to his destruction”.

Verb tense jumps out at me right away.  The beast exists for a finite amount of time.  God is eternal, always, and forever.  He is past, present, and future.  The beast is a moment in time.  He appeared once, is not presently evident, and will in the future again make his presence known.

Remember also the beast was killed, resurrected, and raised (who was, is not, will come). (Revelation 13:3).  God has always been, never killed, and will always be.

11a)  Because the beast will make every effort to deceive the faithful and turn them from the Lamb.  The wisdom comes from God. (Revelation 13:18).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Read and study the Bible, pray, grow closer to Jesus, do His will in my life. I try to follow His will and His commandments in all things in my life.  The results have been good.

Conclusions:  Groaned at Question 9d.  11a was intuitive.  11b is what we all should be doing to have Godly wisdom in our lives.  So much more we could have analyzed in this passage especially the symbolism of the numbers and the Antichrist, but instead we focused on an elementary reading of the passage.  See End Notes for more in depth analysis of passage.

Question 10 was my favorite.  It’s important to remember God is in control and He controls the beast who will only be allowed to reign for a finite amount of time.  God reigns forever.

End Notes:  Scholars note the similarity of the beast’s description with Revelation 13:3 “had a fatal wound, but it was healed” and all were astonished (read impressed) and followed.  Here, the people marvel as well when the beast once was, is not, and will come.

The beast is persecuting God’s people but its destruction is coming.

In Revelation 13:18 we saw a call for wisdom as well and here for the people to have insight into the true nature of the beast.  We also saw in Revelation 13 how the heads, crowns, and horns represented the beast’s authority, power, and strength.

This is one of the most difficult and controversial passages to interpret in the book of Revelation.

Now we see the 7 heads representing 7 hills.  Some scholars say there is no doubt this is Rome, built upon 7 hills and 7 emperors of Rome.  Rome was built on 7 mountains and a Roman coin shows the goddess Roma sitting on 7 mountains.  A few scholars bring in the Catholic Church with its reference to Rome.  This was used heavily in the push-back against Rome in the Reformation.  Now, however, most scholars dismiss this interpretation altogether.

However, Daniel refers to mountains as governments (Daniel 2:35).

Everything we read in Revelation is a symbol for a historical reality unless the text states otherwise.  We have understood all the sevens in the book (seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls) as symbolically representing a complete judgment against a nation.  However, there is one seven that we took literally:  the 7 churches because they were named individually.

Here, we are told the 7 heads represent 7 kings.  Scholars who argue that this passage is about Rome point out that if the angel had left the image at this we would be forced to understand the 7 kings as a symbol representing all the kings of the Roman Empire and what they would do.  However, the angel numbers the 7 kings and gives details about them:  “Five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.”  This leads scholars to say these are the specific emperors around John’s time.  Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero are the five who have fallen.  The one who is reigning now is Vespasian.  Then the one to come who will “remain only a little while” is Titus who ruled only from 79-81 AD.  After Titus is Domitian.  He is the eighth emperor who is like the beast, belongs to the seven, and goes to destruction.   These scholars say the 10 horns is the 10 provinces of the Roman Empire.

However, the 5 that have fallen could be the empires that have fallen before John’s day:  Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, and Greece.  One could be Rome.  The one yet to come could be the revival of the Roman empire or the world order before the End Times.  This one will be eclipsed by the Antichrist.

Daniel 2 & 7 had Daniel see visions of these empires as well as we studied in Lesson 8.

One thing we know for sure is verse 11:  The beast is the 8th king and he will be destroyed!  Yeah, God!

The 10 kings could be literal or symbolic as of a coalition of nations.  Some commentators see this at the EU since those nations can be traced back to the Roman Empire or even NATO.  The point is we are already seeing sovereign nations join with others and give their power over to a single ruler–which is what the Antichrist in the End Times will do.

Whoever they’ll be, they have one purpose:  to war against the Lamb in the battle alluded to in the sixth and seventh bowls (Revelation 16:12-21).

Conclusions to commentary:  A difficult passage to be sure but one thing is certain:  Christ wins!  Keep that in mind when reading all the details of the before.  The end game is what is important; how we get there, albeit relevant, not so important.

Who is In Control

WHO IS IN CONTROL

Time now seems to rush on by
Where does it go, I have to ask
On my mind I can’t rely
Everything is such a task

My house needs to be cleaned
There is laundry, groceries—and the pills
How will I get it all achieved
Not to forget to pay the bills

That is the way my life is
If I forget who’s in control
God’s Word is clear about this
There is no peace without You, Lord

I don’t need to struggle
My burdens You will bear
Instead of trying to juggle
I’ll go to You in prayer

At times it is not easy
But all I have to do
Is know how much You love me
You want the best for me

I give You all my burdens, Lord,
Please take complete control

By:

Lissette Trahan

COMMENT ON WHO IS IN CONTROL

God is the creator, nothing happens by chance.
Everything is controlled by God.
I don’t believe in coincidences.

Even when it seemed impossible He has provided.
Instead of thanking Him, I assumed I had
changed the circumstances.

I look around my home and I can see that even
the things that I have purchased thinking that
I made a mistake have turned out to be exactly
what I needed.

I look back at the time that I fell in love with
a house, I just had to have it. When I tried to
purchase it, everywhere I turned a difficulty
came up. I didn’t get the house.
Now I can see it would have been a big mistake.

I met my husband of 50 years in Venezuela.
How that came about was a miracle.

The only thing I have control of is whether to
obey or disobey Him. What I do know is God
loves me and that gives me peace.

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who
are called according to His purpose”