BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 26, Day 4: Revelation 21:1-8

Summary of passage:  After the final judgment, John sees a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem come from heaven.  God will dwell with men here and be their God.  The old order has passed, vanquishing death, pain, tears, and mourning.  God declares all to be new and He who believes shall inherit the new earth while the unbelieving rot in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

Questions:

7)  The world today because it is full of sin.

8 )  In the Garden of Eden, God walked alongside Adam and Eve until the Fall.  Once the Fall happened a separation between man and God took place and God dwelled in heaven.  He would appear to man however such as Moses in Exodus in a cloud or a burning bush or on Mount Sinai to guide them.  He also spoke to prophets such as Joseph, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc in dreams.

Until the tabernacle was toppled by the Romans in 70 AD, God dwelled in the holy of holies, close to man and accessible by the priests (Levites).  God sent His son Jesus to be Immanuel and walk alongside of us again.  Jesus sacrificed his life to usher in the Holy Spirit, which indwells all believers today and serves as our guide until Jesus returns.  After the Second Coming, a new Jerusalem will take place and this world will fall away and we will once again walk alongside God.

9a)  Personal Question that has nothing to do with this passage.  My answer:  It’s affected everything.  I pray for guidance in decisions.  I pray for peace of mind and His will to be done.  I try to walk with Jesus and do what Jesus would do in all aspects of my life.

b)  Personal Question we’ve answered many times before.  My answer:  He is everything.  Without Him I have nothing.  Hence, He is my hope, joy, and reason for worship.

Conclusions:  Would have liked more questions on the new Jerusalem.  Weak to say the least.

End Notes:  “Then I saw” begins the last major section of the book of Revelation, ushering in the new earth and the hope we all have.
The idea of a new earth was spoken of by many prophets:  Isaiah 65:17-19, 66:22; Psalm 102:25-27; 2 Peter 3:10-13.
Paul says death will the last thing destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25-26), which we see in Revelation 20. In 1 Corinthians 15:24 the end will come after Christ destroys every rule, authority, and power.
The first heaven here is not the one where God dwells.  The Bible uses “heaven” in three senses:  “first heaven” as the sky, “second heaven” as the stars in the night, and the third heaven where God dwells.

The Greek word new here (kaine) means fresh or better.  Scholars debate whether there will be a completely new planet or not.  Most say yes based on Luke 21:33 and Isaiah 65:17.
This new heaven is after the Millennial strongly indicated by the absence of the sea (Psalm 72:8; Isaiah 11:9, 11; Ezekiel 47:10, 15, 17, 18, 20; 48:28; Zechariah 9:10; 14:8).
The Jews of the day see the sea as a place of evil (Revelation 13:1, 20:13; Isaiah 57:20; Psalm 89:9) and scholars debate whether this is figurative or literal with no seas.  Some point out (Daniel 7; Revelation 13; Revelation 14) which show seas as representatives of people and therefore a removal of boundaries amongst mankind.
This new Jerusalem is the one of our hope and eternal dwelling place (Hebrews 12:22; Galatians 4:26; Philippians 3:20) prepared by God for believers and saints (Hebrews 11:16; John 14:2, 1 Corinthians 2:9).
The bride beautifully dressed is the perfect image for John of what the new Jerusalem will be like.  We saw this imagery of the bride in Revelation 19:7-8 where we see the bride as the holy people of God and the bright clothing representing the pure and righteous deeds of the saints (Ephesians 5:25-27).  More will be described about the bride of Christ in verse 9 through the rest of chapter 21.

This holy city embodies elements of Jerusalem, the temple, and the garden of Eden.
Some translations say “tabernacle” instead of “dwelling”, which gives us a better idea here.  Remember God dwelled in the tabernacle until it was destroyed in 70 AD.  Here, John is saying God will dwell among us with no curtain separating us.
God’s ultimate plan for mankind will come to fruition again as “they will be his people and God will be with them and be their God.”  Jesus rids the world of sin and delivers the new Jerusalem to God as a dwelling for Him and mankind (Colossians 1:15-18)
Here we see God speaking directly from His throne.  Note the present tense (known as prophetic certainty):  God is making all things new right now.  It has begun!  Paul conveys this idea when he says we are all being made new  (2 Corinthians 4:16, 5:17).
God’s plan was sin so that we could be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. Redeemed man is much greater than innocent man and we gain so much more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam.
There are no tears in heaven.  This is speaking of the tears here on earth.  Isaiah uses the same imagery to show God’s comfort (Isaiah 22:4; 25:8).
John was told to write.  He was so astounded by seeing this vision he had forgotten!
It is done!  (Ephesians 1:10).  It is finished!  Again Christ identifies himself as the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8), the first and the last, the beginning and the end of all things.  The crown of life has arrived! (Revelation 2:10-11).
Man being thirsty emphasizes his need for God’s drink (Isaiah 55:1-2).  Jesus said these words in John 7:37-39.
The cowards are most likely those who refuse Jesus and instead love their life more.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 26, Day 5 Isaiah 59:16-21

Summary of passage:  The Lord saw there was no one to intervene for the people and was appalled.  So God used his own arm to bring salvation and righteousness, putting on a breastplate and helmet (reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-17).  He will come like a pent-up flood and will repay his enemies according to what they have done.  Men will fear the name of the Lord and revere His glory.  The Redeemer will come to those who repent of their sins.  The Lord’s covenant is with the people as His Spirit is upon them and His words He put in their mouths will not depart throughout the generations.

Questions:

10a)  There was no one, no man to intervene on Israel’s behalf–to show them the way back to God.

b)  Those needing redemption:  are lost and blind in the dark, rebellious, treacherous, liars, violent, evil, and have turned their backs on God.  The Redeemer:  just, righteous, truthful, honest, wears the helmet of salvation, will bring retribution to his foes, will come like a flood with the breath of the Lord behind Him.

11)  The Redeemer will come to those who repent of their sins and God’s spirit and words will never depart from them or their descendants forever

12)  Isaiah 51:16:  I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand…”

Matthew 4:4:  “‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Luke 4:1:  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan…”

Matthew 3:16:  “Jesus was baptized…and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.”

Conclusions:  Sometimes I wish I could come like a pent-up flood with the breath of the Lord behind me. Or at least live as such.

I scoured the Internet for a good 45 minutes looking for verses for Question 12.  I found a lot of implied fulfillments such as Luke 22:20, which did not satisfy me.  I was looking specifically for where the Bible says Jesus is the Spirit and God has put words in Jesus’s mouth and was pretty unsuccessful.  Let me know what you all found!

I did find this website.  Fascinating stuff about the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies with a chart that gives the OT prophecy next to the NT fulfillment:

http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/messiah.htm

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 26, Day 2 Isaiah 58

Summary of passage:  God directs Isaiah to shout out to His people, the house of Jacob, their sins.  Day after day they seek me (God) and are eager to know His ways as if they were a righteous and law-abiding nation.  They ask for just decisions and for God to be near.

Yet the people ask, “Why have we fasted and humbled ourselves if you (God) have not noticed?”

God answers, “You do as you please and exploit your workers.  You quarrel and strike each other.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect to be heard.”  In essence, the people’s hearts were not God’s heart.  They fasted for wrong reasons and with evil hearts.

God asks, “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen where you bow your head and lie on sackcloth and ashes?  Is this acceptable to the Lord?”  The answer is No.  God reveals the fast He desires:

“To loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed free, and break every yoke. To share your food with the hungry and provide the poor with shelter. To clothe the naked and not abandon your relatives.”

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, your healing will appear, you will be righteous with the glory of the Lord at your rear.

Then when you call I will answer: Here am I.  [So when you fast with a heart of God, He will answer.]  Your light will rise in the darkness if you do away with oppression, malicious talk, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.

The Lord will guide you always and satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and strengthen you.  You will be a well-watered garden whose waters never fail.  You will rebuild and build up things.

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and doing what you please on God’s holy day then you will find joy in the Lord and He will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and feast on the inheritance of Jacob.

Questions:

3a)  The Israelites fasted, sought God day after day, seemed eager to know His ways, portrayed righteousness and obedience.

b)  They sought to please themselves.  On the day of the fasting, they did as they pleased and exploited all their workers.  They quarreled and hit each other.  They fasted without their heart on God.  They went through the motions of bowing their heads and putting on sackcloth and ashes but still their heart remained aloof.

c)  He did not answer their prayers and He told them what fasting He has chosen:  to see the oppressed free and break every yoke, to share your food with the hungry and provide shelter to the wanderer, to clothe the naked, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.  Only then will He say:  Here am I.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m working on praising God more in prayer and praying more for others.  When I feel far away from Him, I tend to pray less so I’m working on praying no matter what mood I am in.  Sometimes I do pray and my heart is not in it (mainly because my brain is elsewhere, dwelling on something I should have let go which I haven’t yet or on future events) but I feel it’s better than not praying at all and in time God will turn my mind and heart to Him again as long as I am seeking.

4a)  The purpose was to make atonement to God for your sins and to cleanse yourself of sins so you will be clean before the Lord.  The attitude was strict:  it must be on the tenth day of the seventh month and the people must fast (deny themselves) and not do any work. Everyone had to do this–whether native Israelites or foreigners living amongst them who did not necessarily believe in the Lord.  This was to be the Sabbath, the day of rest and to be a lasting ordinance.

b)  God desires an authentic fast:  one where we obeyed His commands and were eager to know Him.  We are to set the oppressed free, share with others what God has given us, and follow His will, not ours.  We are to do what pleases God, not ourselves.  And only then when we call will He answer.

c)  Donate to the poor or serve in soup kitchens.  Find charities that work with the poor and support them.  Help your relatives when they are on hard times (this could also be members of the church or Christian body as your own flesh and blood since we are all the body of Christ).  Give to your church to help your sisters and brothers who are struggling.  God ultimately wants our heart to lie where His does–which is with those struggling.

Conclusions:  God is so good!  This was EXACTLY what I needed to hear in this time in my life.  “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”  So, no matter where I go, I will have no fear or inhibitions because God is guiding me and He will satisfy my needs in that place.  He will build things, which I constantly see in my work.

If I honor God by not doing my own thing or going my own way, then I will be filled with joy in the Lord, ride on the heights of the land, and feast on the inheritance of Jacob.

What better message right now in my life than one of Hope.  I think this is my favorite message in the Bible for I know I can’t live without it.

End note:  We are no longer required to do no work on the Sabbath since we now find rest in Jesus.  This was only required before Jesus died for us.  Hebrews 4 explains it best.  We enter a Sabbath-rest:  “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 which is not necessarily on Sundays.  Or we are free to not technically “rest” at all.  But I think most Christians rest with God through prayer and in His word–essentially in God since His spirit now dwells in us.  See also Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11