BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 5: Romans 11:25-32

Summary of passage:  God’s plan is to harden the hearts of the Jews until the full number of Gentiles has come in and then all of Israel will be saved.  Israel has become disobedient so that God may show them mercy like He has done the Gentiles.

Questions:

11)  All of Israel could mean that literally:  all people of ethnic, Jewish descent or it could mean all of Israel that God has chosen to be saved by faith in Jesus (the elect).  I think all of the elect because we know faith is a choice.  Man must choose God.  And not all will choose Him (even His chosen people).

12)  They will be saved.  We can be sure because God says so through Isaiah.  God will once again turn His attention to the Jews.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God has reasons behind all His actions.  He loves all His people and wants as many as will turn to Him to come.  God works through all for His purposes.  I am comforted because I know God’s ways are not mine and everything has a purpose for Him.

14)  He showed mercy by allowing them to be disobedient and then forgiving them and offering them salvation.  We all need mercy because we are all sinners and deserve death.  Instead, God offers us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without mercy, heaven would be empty.

Conclusions:  This is the first time I have read all of Israel will be saved at the End Times and I was hoping to dive into this truth more.  I love gaining insight into God and His ways and seeing how He won’t leave any behind is awesome!  God never gives up on you, on me, on the people of Israel, on anyone.  Just imagine what a world this would be if all of us embraced that truth!

End Notes:  The mystery religions of Paul’s day used the Greek word (mysterion) in the sense of something that was to be revealed only to the initiated.  Paul uses this word to refer to something formerly hidden or obscure but now revealed by God for all to know and understand.  This word is used of the incarnation, the death of Christ, God’s purpose to sum up all things in Christ and especially to include both Jews and Gentiles in the NT church, the change that will take place at the resurrection and the plan of God by which both Jew and Gentile will be included in his kingdom.

Paul continues from Romans 11:11-24 by saying Israel is blind for the sake of the elect Gentiles.  God’s attention is temporarily off the Jews until He is finished with the Gentiles.  However, He will come back to His people.  The hardening is partial and temporary.

“All of Israel” does not mean every last person of Jewish descent.  It means Israel as a nation.  And they will be saved the same way the Gentiles are saved:  by faith in Jesus.  There is no special or other way for the Jews.  Salvation is not universal.  All must choose God.

Jesus will not return again until God turns the focus of His saving mercies on Israel again, and Israel responds to God through Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:39Zechariah 12:10-11).  Isaiah confirms this truth.

The Jewish people will always be loved by God for the sake of the patriarchs.  God has not given up on them (or us) as His calling endures.

Paul reminds all of us we are lawbreakers and all of us have received mercy from God.  None of us are better than another.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 3: Romans 11:1-10

Summary of passage:  God did not reject His people.  They have rejected Him, but not all of them.  God has chosen a remnant (the elect) by grace and the others hearts’ were hardened towards Him.

Questions:

6)  Israel sought a law of righteousness.  They did not obtain it because righteousness is by faith, not works.

7 )  Personal Question.  My answer:

Isaiah 29:10-14:  The Lord has blinded some to faith and others He hasn’t.  Many have only a superficial faith–all words with no heart.

Psalm 69:22-26:  Some have eyes that cannot see the Truth and will face God’s wrath.

Matthew 13:12-15:  Jesus spoke in parables in order to reach those who do not understand and have hard hearts.

John 12:37-43:  Many did not believe in Jesus even after his miracles.  God had blinded them to the Truth and deadened their hearts. But some did believe.

Acts 28:24-28:  Paul would preach to the Jews and many would not believe.  Hence, God turned to the Gentiles who would listen.

Conclusions:  Nothing new here.  Many references in the Bible to the same idea:  Many heard the Truth and turned away.  Some believed.  This is true for us today.  Just tell the Truth.  Some will believe; some won’t.  It is God who chooses/elects.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s].  In the Old Testament, the Jews and Israel are God’s elect, those chosen to be those whom God revealed Himself and His will to, and through whom he could exhibit and declare to the world his purposes and salvation.  In the New Testament, Jesus is the Elect One, and through Him the church, replacing the old Israel in the purposes of God.  This new race is mostly composed of poor and ordinary people (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

The question as to whether the Jews are, as a people, still the elect of God is faced by Paul here in Romans 9-11 in the light of the salvation of God in and through Jesus.  In chapters 9 & 10 Paul painfully admits that, on the whole, the Jews did not believe in Christ.  Despite all the advantages of Old Testament history, they “stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone'” (Romans 9:32).  In chapter 11, Paul goes back over that history and asks whether it was futile.  Will the Jews come to believe in Christ some day?  Did their tragic experience produce any advantage for the rest of the world?  This chapter clearly shows God’s eternal love for his chosen people.  Paul will conclude with a poetic outburst, celebrating God’s mysterious ways of working on earth.

Paul answers in Chapter 11:  If Israel’s rejection of the gospel was somehow both consistent with God’s eternal plan (Romans 9:1-29) and Israel’s own choosing (Romans 9:30-10:21), then does this mean that Israel’s fate is settled, and there is no possibility of restoration?  No!

For one, Paul is a Jew and he has been saved. We first look to ourselves for God’s grace.  There is a remnant of Jews who embrace Jesus and like Elijah, God will work through them for the sake of the others.  God often works in small groups and in the first century Jews believers in Christ were small and in Elijah’s time it was just him!

A remnant is “something left over”.  In the Bible, it’s those who would survive God’s judgement and become the new, true Israel.  The elect are those whom God has chosen for salvation out of His great love, not merit.

And it is by God’s grace (not works), and elect was chosen.  God enlightens whom He so chooses because He’s God and can do whatever He wants.  The Jews of Paul’s day were so secure in their idea of being the chosen people that the very idea became the thing that ruined them.  This spiritual dullness had continued since Isaiah’s day.

The passage from Psalm was probably originally spoken by David concerning his enemies; Paul uses it to describe the results of the divine hardening.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 19, Day 3: John 14:15-26

Summary of passage: Obey Jesus out of love for him. The Father will send us the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) to be with us and in us and we will live.  Whoever obeys God’s commands loves God and will be loved by God and Jesus.  The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything Jesus has said.

Questions:

6)  Counselor, Spirit of Truth, and Holy Spirit.

7)  The Holy Spirit is a teacher who “will teach you all things and remind you of everything.”  The Counselor will be in you always and will be with you always.  You will know him.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Love is obeying Jesus’ commands.  Well, we have to learn Jesus’ commands in order to obey them.  Hence, we study the Bible to know what those commands are so we can obey.  The Holy Spirit helps us to understand God’s commands.  As we obey and understand God’s commands, we love Him more.  I feel like I hear God more, but it’s never any easier I feel to obey what He says.  I know what I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m in a stop-gap where I’m trying to earn money for my family to pay our bills.  So it’s quite a quandary.

Conclusions:  Again, like yesterday, I feel I’m not much help with these questions.

End Notes:  This is the first in a series of important passages about the Holy Spirit since Jesus has not mentioned it before.

Love is not just an emotion or a feeling. Jesus says love is an action, doing, keeping his commandments. This shows you love him. Love, like faith, cannot be separated from obedience. You don’t have to enter a convent and give up everything. It’s simple.

Here is the 2nd Assurance: Jesus will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help believers.

“Counselor” is the ancient Greek word parakletos. The idea is someone called to help someone else or it could be an advisor, a legal defender, a mediator, or an intercessor. It’s often translated as “Comforter” which comes from the Old English and Latin.

The devil is the accuser. Hence, “Helper” for the Holy Spirit.

“Another” means in the same kind. So the Counselor is in the same kind as Jesus and the Father and hence, the Trinity. Besides Jesus in essence.

The Holy Spirit will not be temporary–he will be with us “forever.”

The Spirit is characterized by truth in essence and action. He brings people to the truth of God. All three persons of the Trinity are linked with truth. The world takes no notice of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit was already with the disciples (Jesus) but it would be in them (John 20:22). Acts 1:8 tells us the disciples will receive power when they receive the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit eliminates the distance between Jesus and ourselves.

Jesus’ 3rd assurance: He will not leave them as orphans, but will come to them. To the Hebrews, the disciples of a particular teacher called him father; his scholars were called his children, and, on his death, the disciples were considered orphans.

Jesus repeats this promise from 14:3 and fulfills it when he rises again after the cross.

Because Jesus lives is the only reason we still live. The Holy Spirit allows us a union with God here on earth.

Jesus says the world won’t see him so Judas naturally wonders why not and how will he do this.

Judas is called ‘Judas of James’ in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 or brother of James or son of James.  He seems to be identical with the Thaddaeus of Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18. Some of the apostles were known by more than one name.

We know in John 13:30 that Judas Iscariot is not there, but these words are added by John to make it clear since he is now a traitor.

Jesus repeats himself again to Judas, emphasizing love, obedience, and union with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.  He repeats his 2nd assurance, emphasizing how God will send the Spirit in the Son’s name–the Trinity.

God the Father sends God the Holy Spirit at the request of God the Son.  Beautiful!  Both are involved in the sending.

Their work will continue through the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is a general promise to us today if we listen carefully enough but specifically to the disciples who were commissioned to spread the Word, establish the early church, and to write the Word for all of us (the Bible).

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.