BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21

Image result for joshua 21

Summary Joshua 21:

The Levites receive towns and pasturelands as their inheritance out of the other tribes’ promised land as the Lord had commanded through Moses. They received a total of 48 towns scattered about within the other tribes’ land–4 from each tribe.

Every promise of God was now fulfilled as all of Israel took possession of the Promised Land and all the Israelites’ enemies fell.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 5: Skim Joshua 21:

12) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship. They only received towns because they were to depend completely on God, not on the land. They were called to serve God. God was “their share.”

13) The Levites were the priests to the people who were to be dispersed amongst the people in order to instruct the tribe in the law and lead worship, so that all can hear God’s word. Remember, no one could read in ancient times but the priests. The people only knew of God from them.

14) 1 Peter says our inheritance “can never perish, spoil, or fade–and it’s kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The deposit is the Holy Spirit as Ephesians says was given to us as a gift from having believed in Christ as our salvation, which guarantees our inheritance (heaven and eternal life) until the Last Days.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: God keeps His promises–all of them. God is with me no matter what, directing me, taking care of me, fulfilling my every need. He is there, helping me in all my trials. He is the hope we all need.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

I love how God is there in the details (the allotting of land) as much as He’s there in the big picture (the taking of the Land). I love how this ends: With all of God’s promises fulfilled. Such hope. Even though it took 40 years. It’s all in God’s timing and not ours. Patience and He will do what He says He’ll do.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 5: Joshua 21:

God would be the Levites’ inheritance (Joshua 13:14, and 13:33).Image result for joshua 21

The Levites are the only ones without their own land and together. God wanted the Levites “sprinkled” all throughout the land of Israel. He never intended there to be one “state” of Levi, but every tribe was to have the priestly influence and presence in their midst.

In the same manner, Christians (being priests, 1 Peter 2:5 and 2:9) are to be “sprinkled” all throughout the world and society, instead of heading off to make a “Christian country” somewhere.

Further note the Levites or the priests received their cities last of all the tribes. Priests are appointed to serve, not to be served, and there is something priestly about letting others go first.

Historical Notes: This is the point where Israel stopped commemorating Passover as if equipped to travel as described in Exodus 12:11). Now they will eat the Passover reclining at rest (as described in John 13:23) because the LORD had given them rest in the land.

Our take-away from Joshua:

Any failure to fully possess the land was not because God had not made adequate provision, but because Israel had failed to fully follow the LORD.

Ask yourself: God has been completely faithful to you and made provision for continual victory. He has given greatly, but what do you possess?

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34

Image result for joshua 20

Summary of Joshua 20:

God told Joshua to pick sanctuary cities for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The person was to state his or her case before the elders of the refuge city, and then he or she must be admitted and given shelter. He has to stay in that city until he has stood trial or the high priest dies. Then he or she may return home.

The chosen cities were: Kedesh, Shechem, Kiriath Arba (Hebron), Bezer, Ramoth, Golan.

Summary of Numbers 35:6-34:

48 towns were given to the Levites, which would serve as cities of refuge for those who accidentally killed someone. This does not apply to those who premeditate murder. Those shall be put to death. The one seeking shelter must stay at the city of refuge or be killed if he leaves if found by the avenger. Blood pollutes the land and thus must be paid for in blood if murder occurs.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

9) The sanctuary cities were for those who accidentally killed others to flee to for refuge from the avenger until they could stand trial. The purpose and intent was to protect the person who accidentally killed someone until they could stand trial, so like our guilty before found innocent procedure in the US.

10) These cities reveal how God cares about justice enough to protect His people since in ancient times the policy was an eye for an eye with no questions asked.

11)  Personal Question. My answer: It’s a comfort, knowing how God thinks of everything, knows everything, and provides for everything. Justice is one of God’s defining characteristics. It’s why He is slaughtering the pagans in Canaan–as punishment for their sins–justice. God’s justice applies to all without exception. All are equal in His eyes. God loves us. Period.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

God is just and cares about the individual as much as the whole population. All are equal. He provides. He shelters. He protects. God is good.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 4: Joshua 20 with Numbers 35:6-34:

This is the fulfillment of Numbers 35.

The Hebrew word is goel, and in ancient times a representative from the victim’s family was charged with making sure justice is carried out against the murderer of the family member. Murderers were held responsible and it was the goel (avenger of blood)’s job to do so.

Capital punishment goes back to Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. The state’s right to use the sword of execution is also stated in the New Testament (Romans 13:3-4). Unpunished murderers defile the land (Numbers 31-34).

The avenger of blood tracked down the murderer and would delivered him over to the authorities for execution if the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses could confirm the guilt of the murderer (Deuteronomy 17:6-7).

Israel’s legal system was much advanced for the times.

After being declared innocent of murder by the proper authorities AND after the death of the standing high priest, the slayer could go back to his home and be protected against the wrath of the avenger of blood

On a map, we see that the cities of refuge were well spaced throughout the country. No matter where you were in Israel, you were not very far from a city of refuge.Image result for map of cities of refuge

Deuteronomy 19:2 tells us that proper roads were to be built and maintained to these cities of refuge. The city was not much good to the slayer if they could not get to it quickly.

The Cities of Refuge as Jesus

The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God:

Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless Image result for joshua 20someone could get to the place of refuge.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.
  • With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.

How are the Cities of Refuge different from Jesus?

  • The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.
  • Atoning grace (Old Testament) versus saving grace (New Testament).
  • Temporary and now permanent.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19

Image result for joshua 15-19

Summary of Joshua 15:

The allotment of land for the tribe of Judah is laid out, which includes Hebron, the land Joshua gave to Caleb as his reward. Caleb drove out the Anakites from Hebron. He gave his daughter in marriage to whoever captured Kiriath Sepher in Debir. This was Othniel, son of Caleb’s brother. Judah cannot drive out the people in Jerusalem.

Summary of Joshua 16:

The allotment of land for Ephraim and Manasseh is laid out. However, they could not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer who became forced labor for the Israelites instead.

Summary of Joshua 17:

A continuation of the allotment of the land for the tribe of Manasseh. The daughters of the tribe of Manasseh also received an inheritance because there were no male heirs born. Again, the Israelites were unable to drive out the Canaanites in a few pockets, but did eventually force them into labor. Here, we see the first complaint as the people of Joseph (whose sons were Ephraim and Manasseh) claimed their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.Image result for map of promised land tribes land

The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country.

Summary of Joshua 18:

A gathering took place at Shiloh at the Tent of Meeting to divide up the rest of the land amongst the remaining tribes. Joshua appearing a bit aghast, asks those remaining why they haven’t taken over their share yet? Joshua is dividing the land into 7 parts once surveys are taken and will cast lots before God to divide them up. The tribe of Benjamin receives their lot.

Summary of Joshua 19:

The allotment of the land for the tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, and Joshua are assigned. The Simeon’s inheritance was taken from Judah’s since Judah’s portion was huge and more than they needed. The Danites had trouble defeating the Canaanites in their territory alloted so they took Leshem instead, thus dividing themselves in the land.

Finally, Joshua himself received his inheritance–the town of Timnath Serah in Ephraim.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 3: Skim Joshua 15-19:

6) God includes these detailed lists of land boundaries, so there would be no doubt and no disputes amongst the Israelites in the future. It shows how God keeps His promises to His people by giving them the land He promised hundreds of years before. We see God reward both Caleb and Joshua with land for being the only two men of faith.

7) Caleb gives his daughter to the strongest warrior, ensuring a strong husband and her protection in the future. His daughter, Acsah, asked Caleb for land, and he gave it to her as well. The Lord also put in provisions for when a man does not have a son (see also Numbers 27:1-11 & Numbers 36), which would ensure the father’s name would not vanish. The daughters also had to marry within the clan so the land would stay within the original tribe’s hands. This ensures that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. The Lord provides for those who ask and seek Him (Matthew 7:7).

8 ) The Manassites’ complained that their portion of land given was too small. Joshua said to go and clear the forests then in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites. The people complained again about how these people were superiorly armed with iron chariots. Joshua told them to quite underestimating their power. They have a huge army and can easily drive out the Canaanites in the forested hill country. In essence, they did not want to fight for the land; all they wanted was a free hand out.

Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to fight for his inheritance and his land and instead of asking for an unoccupied piece of land, Caleb asked for the hill country where the feared Anakites dwelled so he could drive them out himself. He relied on the Lord to do whole-heartedly what God said He would do.

Nothing is impossible with God. Have faith. He will guide you through the impossible every step of the way like He did with Caleb. God wants us to choose the good fight for Him and use God’s strength to spread the word and give God the glory. If we do, our rewards will be riches.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

We see God keep His promises, but the people still must do their part and continue to kick out the Canaanites. We see the difference in gratitude and ingratitude to what the people have been given with Caleb’s example and the example of the tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Dan. Great reminder for us that although God provides, He doesn’t want us to sit idly by and not do anything.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 3: Joshua 15-19:

Joshua 15:

Caleb was not only a man of great and bold deeds (the driving out of the children of Anak), but also a man who encouraged others to great and bold deeds as we saw with the giving of his daughter in marriage. Anyone bold enough to conquer a city for a woman is in love indeed. Caleb’s daughter inherited his boldness. We see her asking for blessing and choice springs. You cannot receive unless you ask. (Matthew 7:7)

We begin to see and in Judges 1 how pockets of Canaanites remain. Albeit Jerusalem is on a hill, Judah should have been able to drive them out if they had had faith in God. Instead, David must do so (2 Samuel 5:6-10). These unconquered tribes will become thorns in Israel’s side.

Joshua 16:

We see again how within the Promised Land important work remains to be done and battles still to be fought (like in our own lives) as the Canaanites live in the land of Ephraim. Perhaps the Israelites wanted forced labor (to be lazy and not do the work themselves in essence). This does not justify their disobedience to God. If you can subject people to work for you, you can certainly conquer them completely, especially since Gezer was a city that Joshua had already conquered (Joshua 10:33 and Joshua 12:12).

Compromising God’s word and picking and choosing what to obey and not to obey is a sin. It’s the beginning of so much more and worse sins such as idolatry and immoral worship. This came to the people of Israel and the Canaanites are the reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges.

Why did the Israelites allow some Canaanites to stay?

  • They wanted peace at any cost. Remember it took 7 long years to conquer the Promised Land. I’m sure many are weary of fighting.
  • They wanted wealth.

What do we Learn from the Israelites’ incomplete possession of the Promised Land?

  • Obeying God is a marathon. It’s hard. It’s unglamourous. It’s a lot of work.
  • The Israelites fell short of what God had for them – Will you fall short as well?

Joshua 17:

It was highly unusual for women to receive an inheritance and why it’s mentioned here. It was more important that the land remain in the ancestral families than it was to follow this custom. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad could inherit their father’s land. This is a decision arrived at by Moses (Numbers 27:1-11) and expounded on by God (Numbers 36).

Manasseh failed like Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites (Joshua 16:10). The Israelites lacked determination and fortitude to do so.

Manasseh and Ephraim, large tribes, complain about the amount of land allotted to them. They have plenty of land, Joshua says. You just have to go and work to have it (clear the forests, etc). Joshua was a direct descendant of Joseph and one of them, so perhaps they thought he would show them favor.

Theme of Joshua 17: If you desire more, have faith first in where God has placed you and in what He has given you. More will surely come if you do so.

Joshua 18:

Why would the Israelites hesitate to take the Promised Land?

Note the hesitation on the Israelites part to go and take the land. Probably they are afraid; afraid of change. Maybe even a bit incredulous: really?  This is all ours? Also, remember these people have been wandering the wilderness for 40 years with never a real home, living out of tents and nomadic, so the idea of living in a real “home” is a foreign (and perhaps scary) concept for them.

Joshua 19:

Joshua received his share but at the very end. He received humbly and after everyone else was taken care of–just like Christ.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 4, Day 2: Skim Joshua 13-14

Image result for joshua 13

WHAT’S AHEAD: This is the dividing point in the book of Joshua.

The rest of Joshua tells about what happened 5-7 years after the crossing of the Jordan River. Chapters 13-22 give a kind of land-title record for the nation. Genesis 48-49 and Deuteronomy 33 provide background material. For example, Reuben’s tribe forfeited the right to first choice because of sexual sin, and Simeon and Levi lost their rights because of their violent past.

Summary of Joshua 13:

God tells Joshua there is still much land to be taken, and that He’ll drive out the Sidonians. The land east of the Jordan River is divided up amongst all the tribes except the Levites who were set aside as priests of the nation.

Summary of Joshua 14:

Caleb approaches Joshua and demands what God had promised him for his work 40 years prior as a spy who wholeheartedly followed God’s orders. At age 85, Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. The land had rest from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

3) All kept their word/promises. God rewarded Caleb with land for faithfulness (as most leaders do). The Israelites did not argue, but settled their portion of the land without question, nor were they greedy.

4) Personal Question. My answer: Caleb is rewarded for not following others and obeying God instead. He had faith the Israelites could take the land, and he had no fear as he encouraged the Israelites to do so. In the end, the bad report won out and God cursed His people because of it, dooming them to die in the desert–all except Joshua and Caleb. Caleb was promised land by Moses as his reward, and he asks for it. This inspires me to buck the trend and follow Jesus and be bold and ask for things from God.

5) Personal Question. My answer: He has always provided no matter what and always led us to the next step in His  journey for us. My whole family is flourishing and for that I am extremely grateful.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13-14:

I love the cooperation amongst the Israelites because what could have been a very ugly situation with the allotment of land was peaceful and faithful. I love Caleb’s reward–not only with seeing the Promised Land but with gaining a portion of it for himself. The whole process is very organized–impressive for such a monumental task.

[Note on “Skim”]: I believe this is the first time ever I have seen BSF tell us to “skim” a passage of the Bible. I don’t believe God wants us to just “skim” His word ever. If it’s in the Bible, it’s important, it’s there for a reason, and it’s for us from God. Please don’t “skim” anything. You may miss that one phrase that is exactly what God wants you to hear. Save skimming for the news.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 4, Day 2: Joshua 13:

Age does not define you. Even though Joshua is old, God still has work for him to do.

The Israelites were meant to possess the Promised Land. We were meant to possess Jesus. How much of him do you have? How much of his words? How much of his heart for others?

God gave all the tribes the land, yet they still had to take it. We are to walk in God’s promises, not lie down and rest.Image result for joshua 13

Only two small tribes of peoples were not replaced by the Jewish tribes settling on the east side of the Jordan: the Geshurites and the Maachathites.

We see these tribes show up later in the Bible: David marries a princess from Geshur and had a son, Absalom, with her (2 Samuel 3:3). Absalom returned to Geshur and used it as a place to plot against his father, David (2 Samuel 13:37-38, 14:23, and 14:32). What a son to be proud of.

The Maachathites may have come from the Maachah mentioned in Genesis 22:24 who was a nephew of Abraham. Later, when Sheba rebelled against David and he fled, David may have taken refuge in one of the cities of the Maachathites (2 Samuel 20:14-15).

The Levites as priests would survive off of what the other tribes gave them for administering to the spiritual duties of the nation; they had no need of land to grow food. In fact, their inheritance was the greatest of them all since they were closest to God.

We are like the Levites as well.  We are called priests (1 Peter 2:5) and have a special inheritance in God (Ephesians 1:11Colossians 1:12, and 1 Peter 1:4).

Themes of Joshua 13:

Be happy with where God has placed you. He is our inheritance. Your lot in life is nothing in comparison.

Math Challenge: Just How Long Did the Capture of Canaan Take?

We can deduce this from what’s recorded in the Bible. Caleb was 40 when Moses first sent him to explore the land. Israel spent 38 years in the desert (Deuteronomy 2:14), making Caleb 78 at the beginning of the invasion. Caleb tells us here he is now 85, so for the last 7 years, the Israelites were fighting. Him and Joshua were the only old people still left.

Answer: 7 years.

Joshua 14:

Caleb was one of the only two spies to come back with a good report, a report of faith, believing that God had given Israel the land and would enable them to conquer it (Numbers 13:26-14:9). The other ten spies believed that Israel would be destroyed in the attempt to take Canaan, and Israel believed the ten doubting spies.

The other faithful spy was none other than Joshua. The ten faithless spies measured the giants against their own strength, but Joshua and Caleb measured the giants against God’s strength.

This was the cause of Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness; God would not allow that generation of unbelief to enter in, so He waited for them to die in the desert (Numbers 14:26-38). The only ones of age at the time of the rejection who actually entered the Promised Land were Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies.

Caleb asks for the land of the Anakim (the giants). He knows these enemies of God must be faced and defeated and he has the faith to do it. He did not pick the easy way out as he easily could have. The work is his, and he boldly claims it.

What if all of Israel had the heart of Caleb? What if no one in Israel had the heart of Caleb?

Theme of Joshua 14:

God rewards faith.

God rewards the wholly giving yourself over to Him.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 2: Romans 3:1-4

Summary of passage:  After having just warned the Romans that what matters is the heart and just because you are outwardly obeying doesn’t mean you have salvation, Paul comforts the Jews, saying that they are God’s chosen people and God is still faithful to them and to His promises to them.

Questions:

3a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The Jews of the day (as we discussed last lesson in Day 4 & Day 5) believed they were superior to others because they were chosen by God and they were circumcised.  They thought they could do whatever they wanted (sin-wise) and still receive salvation.  Paul explained in Romans 2 this is not the case.  I don’t have any expectations in terms of spiritual advantages.  Yes, I’ve been blessed to know God since a child, but I have no expectations because of this.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They were chosen by God and before Jesus guaranteed a spot in heaven.   Imagine being chosen in pagan times before people could read and write to keep God’s words and prophecies until Jesus came.  Awesome!  Having God’s word and the Bible is a huge advantage.  We are not brainwashed as to what God says.  His words are not twisted.  We can read all He expects of us and all He desires of us and all of our comforts and His promises as well.  It’s an amazing blessing!

4)  God promised Abraham to make him and his offspring into a great nation.  He will bless them and curse all who oppose him.  God gave him the land of Canaan to live on.  He promises His people abundance.  He is our life (awesome!), the reason for being, the reason for progress.  He will always be with us and be His nation.  All of these promises still hold for the Jews.

5)  You.  Free Will.  God does not tempt anyone.

Conclusions:  Jews first.  Gentiles second.  Good lesson when we get on our high horse as a Gentile.  For me, I’m just happy He chose me too!  Order does not matter!

End Notes:  In Romans 9:4 Paul will expound more on the advantages the Jewish people have.  The Jews have a duty when God entrusted them with His word (the Old Testament).  It’s a big responsibility to disseminate it, keep it, and spread it!

Paul says just because the Jews in general have rejected Jesus doesn’t mean God has abandoned them!  God never fails His people!

Verse 4:  God cannot lie.  God does not change.  What Gods says is the Truth.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 3: Revelation 2:1-7

Summary of passage: John addressed the church in Ephesus and its angel (or messenger or priest or church). Jesus says he knows of the church’s hard work and how they have tested false prophets and endured hardships. Yet, they have abandoned him and need to repent or face the consequences. To those who hear him and overcome, they will receive the tree of life or the paradise of God.

Questions:

7)  The people have forsaken Jesus.  They are not repenting of their sins.

8a)  By doing things Jesus wouldn’t do and going against his will.  By being selfish, prideful, sinful.  By kicking God out of the center of your life and putting another idol there instead.  By not loving others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Walk in Jesus’ ways.  Know God’s word.  Obey Him.  Share the gospel.  Do what Jesus would do.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Repent means to turn away from sin and turn towards making changes in your life.  It’s a heart transformation and an honest effort to change.  My words.  My actions.  My selfishness.

10a)  In Genesis, the tree is an actual tree that grew and bore fruit.  In Revelation, Jesus in our tree of life and in him lies our fruit.  Jesus is our life.  The tree in the Garden was man’s death.  Believing in Jesus gives us life.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  All we must do is believe in Jesus to have life and live in Paradise with God.  It is hope defined.  To walk with God.  Forever.  There is no greater hope.

Conclusions:  I liked the comparison of the trees.  So simple.  Even for Adam and Eve it was simple.  I think that’s why we fail all the time.  It’s so simple it’s hard for us to believe it.  We always think there’s a catch.  But there’s not.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Period.

End Notes:  This is commentary on verses 4-7.  See Yesterday’s POST for commentary for verses 1-3.

Forsaken means abandon–a deliberate act.  The church hasn’t “lost” love.  It has turned away from it.

What “love” is this?  The love of Jesus or the love of people?  Probably both here.  We must do both. It’s easy to get caught up in the “doing” rather than the “loving”.

The first step is to always remember.  Then the next verb (an action of doing) is to repent–turn away from what you are doing and go a different path.  Then do the things you did at first (study God’s word, pray, evangelize, spend time with other Christians and others).

If they do not repent, Jesus will leave (“remove your lamp stand”).  Immediate judgment.

Not much is known of the Nicolaitans (mentioned again in Rev 2:15).  Some scholars say they were followers of Nicholas who was ordained by the apostles and who believed in revelry, adultery, and indulgence to the extreme.  Other scholars say they were more gnostics who believed a physical body was intrinsically evil and denied the fact a pure, omnipotent God would take such a form.  Hence, some claimed Jesus was a phantom or that God left Jesus before he was crucified.  The Greek root words of Nicolaitan means “to conquer the people.”

What’s important here is this:  Jesus HATED their practice.  The Son of Man who was pure love hates. That in and of itself should tell us they were sinful people to the extreme–enough to be mentioned twice by Jesus.  Not good.  Not good at all.

This message is for us (to all who have an ear) who will overcome sin and coldness and have his heart.  Reward?  Heaven.  The tree of life refers to Eden–Paradise.  Where God lives.  Paradise originally meant garden of delight.  Now it means where God lives.  God is paradise.  In eschatology and in Revelation paradise is where God and believers are restored to the perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world.

“He who has an ear let him hear”.  This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).  A challenge to take to heart what Jesus is saying.

“To the one who overcomes”.  This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).  A challenge to be victorious over evil.