BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 3: Romans 8:29-30

Summary of passage:  Christians are conformed to the likeness of Jesus.  They are predestined, called, justified, and glorified.


6a)  Foreknew:  God knows who will come to Him and who won’t and He chose believers as well.

Predestined:  Christians are chosen ahead of time. (Also called election).

[Foreknowledge in Biblical terms is also called election and predestination and are frequently lumped together.  For God to predestine is for him to decree or foreordain the circumstances and destiny of people according to His perfect will. For God to elect if for Him to choose for salvation and/or service a people or a person; the choice is based not on merit but on His free, sovereign love.  Taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary].

Called:  We are called by God to be believers.

Justified:  Through Christ’s blood we are able to stand before God.

[We’ve already defined this previously:  Justification is the judicial act of God by which on the basis of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and received through faith, God declares the sinner absolved from sin, released from its penalty, and restored as righteous.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

Glorified:  Through Christ as well we are glorified.

[We’ve discussed this previously as well:  The glory of God is the worthiness of God, more particularly, the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.  We participate in God’s glory (are able to be worthy) through the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

b)  God knows everything.  He’s in control.  He called and chose all believers to be like His Son and justified us.  It’s good news because we are like Jesus and we can be with God forever.

7)  Through our sufferings, persecution, and through the Holy Spirit.  Through His Word which teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us and teaches us obedience.  There’s one main reason:  sin.  Temptation, fleshly desires, selfishness, “it’s too hard”, the excuse of “God will forgive us so what’s the point” that Paul refutes.  Jesus’s life was hard.  We don’t want a hard life.  We want an easy life.  The easy life is sin.  The hard life is following Jesus despite yourself.  A Christian life is and supposed to be uncomfortable and painful.  Man by nature hates this.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every day is a challenge to be more Christlike and some days I fail miserably.  We are challenged every day to love others, be kind and compassionate, be sympathetic and helpful, be God’s light, and sacrifice for God.  All these little moments in my day are challenges God puts there so little by little I can be more like Christ.  The devil keeps throwing obstacles in my way and God is seeing how much I rely on Him to pull me through.

Conclusions:  Question 6 we’ve seen before and answered before.

End Notes:  Paul explains that God has always planned to save us from beginning to end (predestination).  We work to become more like Christ because that is why God saves us–so that Christ will be of highest honor in the family of God.

God knew us before we knew Him and He knew us before the beginning of the world.


BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 3: John 11:17-44

Summary of passage:  Jesus arrives in Bethany four days after Lazarus had died.  Martha went out to meet Jesus and said if only he had come sooner.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him.  She says yes.  Mary then went to meet Jesus when Martha returned and said the same thing.  Mourners followed Mary to meet Jesus as well.  Jesus wept with the mourners.  He told the people to remove the stone away from his tomb.  He thanked God and told Lazarus to come out, which he did still wearing his grave clothes.


6)  Martha knows Jesus could have healed Lazarus and now that he’s here she knows he can ask God to do something.  Jesus asks her if she believes in him even though Lazarus died.  She says yes.  She returns to get her sister.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.  They mean I will have eternal life.

8 ) Part personal Question.  My answer:   Jesus cares deeply for his people.  He was moved by how much pain they were in because of Lazarus’ death and was sad for them.  Jesus cares about my pain and shares in it.  He wants to comfort me and alleviate my pain.  When I suffer, he suffers.

Conclusions:  The personal questions to me are becoming redundant and are too simple and broad.  Great passage.  Needed more meaty questions to digest it thoroughly.

End Notes:  Why 4 days?  The Jews believed at the time that the soul hovered near the body for 3 days, hoping to return.  Then it left.  So Jesus wanted to be sure the time frame had passed and the miracle was indeed seen as a miracle from God.

It was tradition for mourners to stay with the family for an extended period of time after a death.  All work stopped and hence Mary and Martha were at home.

Martha honestly tells Jesus she is disappointed in his arrival.  She believes in his ability to heal the sick but not in his power to raise the dead.  Yet Martha “even now” has faith.  This is what we must have.  Despite our disappointment in Jesus not doing our will but his, we still have to have faith.

Raising Lazarus from the dead did not cross Martha’s mind so she assumed he meant in the Last Days.  This reaction is true.

Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.  He didn’t say “know” or “understand” or “have.”  He IS!  This is the 5th of the “I am” Statements in John.

Jesus of course is speaking of a physical death we all must suffer due to Adam’s sin.  But Christians never suffer a spiritual death.

He asked for belief.  However, if she had said no, Lazarus still would have risen since Jesus had already said he would (John 11:4).

Other Bibles say “secretly” instead of “aside”.  Scholars think this was so Mary could speak to Jesus without mourners around.

“The Teacher”.  Not a teacher but The Teacher.  There is only one.  Also, a woman uses this term.  Rabbis did not instruct women, but Jesus does.

Mary’s response to Jesus is the same as Martha’s.  Is it out of faith or criticism?  We don’t know and aren’t told here.

Jesus was moved as God is by our tears and pain.  All the mourners would have been wailing.  It is culturally acceptable 2000 years ago to cry unlike in our era, which is taken as a sign of weakness.

Fun Fact:  The word for “wept” (the only place this form is used in the entire New Testament) that Jesus did is a quiet one.  It is not a wail.

“Moved in the spirit” is more properly translated “groaned.”  This phrase literally means in the Greek “to snort like a horse”.  It implies anger at the Devil and “was troubled” implies tenderness for the mourners.

Jesus was so moved an involuntary groan escaped his heart.  He shares in our grief and he does something about it.  Lazarus being raised from the dead is what he does for all of us.

I find it fascinating how somehow tears became a sign of weakness.  Abraham, Jacob, David, Jonathan, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Jeremiah the weeping prophet all wept in the bible along with Jesus.  It’s a very human emotion/reaction and yet we work to suppress it.  The ancient Jews wailed loudly for days when a loved one passed.  Jesus dignified tears and if we are to be more like him, why not cry?

The ancient Greeks believed in emotionless gods and the inability to feel.

“Deeply moved” is used twice in this passage.

“What ifs” cause more grief in this life cause it’s all in the mind.

They needed to believe to see the glory of God.  Otherwise, they would miss it.

Mary and Martha acted on their faith by removing the stone.  Jesus used a loud voice so all could hear him.  Lazarus listened as we all are when Jesus commands.

Lazarus would have been wrapped tightly in linen much like the ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies.  These “grave clothes” he would need again unlike Jesus who left his behind.  Also, Jesus had man assist in the miracle by commanding them to remove the clothes.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 3: Revelation 11:1-6

Summary of passage:  John is given a reed and told to measure the temple of God and the altar and count the worshipers excluding the Gentiles who will trample the holy city for 42 months.  God will give power to His 2 witnesses who will prophesy for 1, 260 days.  These are the 2 olive trees and 2 lamp stands and anyone seeking to harm them will burn.  These men can make it not rain, turn water to blood, and strike the earth with plague when they are prophesying.


6a)  “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar…but exclude the outer court..because it has been given to the Gentiles.”

b)  The holy city will be trampled for 42 months and the 2 witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days.

7)  God says, “If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours them.”  They are also given the ability to make it not rain, turn water into blood, and strike the earth with plague.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  God protects those who speak for Him and about Him.  Basically, I have nothing to fear for God will deal with the Enemy.

Conclusions:  Very straight-forward lesson.  Love God’s blanket of protection over believers.

End Notes:  We have 2 HUGE divisions in this passage:

1)  The Temple (verses 1-2)

2)  The Two Witnesses (verses 3-6).

The Temple

We have two main sides to the interpretation of the temple:  1)  A physical temple.  2)  the temple is God’s people.

Some (including the futurists) believe a physical temple will be built.  Some even see two temples:  one during the Tribulation and one during the Millennium.  They point to Ezekiel 40-43 where a temple is measured, which scholars say is the temple of the millennial earth.  The temple of Revelation 11 seems to be before the temple of Ezekiel. The temple in Ezekiel is measured extensively, including the outer courts (Ezekiel 40:17-19).

The Tribulation temple will be built for sacrifices and worship  (Dan.9:27).  However, in this temple, God will not accept Israel’s sacrifices nor  inhabit their temple (Isa.66:3,4).  Moreover, according to Daniel, the Antichrist, after three and a half years, will break the treaty, subsequently overthrow Jerusalem and desecrate the temple (Dan.9:27).

The Millennium temple shall be one where God shall inhabit and fill it with His glory, and it shall be the dwelling place of the Lord (Ez.43:5-7).

Other measuring in the Bible:

In Zechariah 2 a man measures Jerusalem, a scene possibly showing God’s coming judgment on the city. In Revelation chapter 21 New Jerusalem is measured.

In the Old Testament measuring shows ownership, protection, and preservation. When Habakkuk stood and measured the earth (Habakkuk 3:6), showing that the Lord owned the earth and could do with it as He pleased.  When this temple is measured, it shows that God knows its every dimension, and He is in charge.

People are measured as well as a standard of righteousness (2 Kings 21:13; Zechariah 2:1-5).  The city of New Jerusalem will be measured as well (Revelation 21:15-17).

This temple of God some scholars say represents the church.  Paul describes the church as a temple in Ephesians 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16.  Peter as well in 1 Peter 2:5.  In the New Testament, the temple is God’s people as we saw in Revelation 3:12 with the Roman pillars.  They will be measured for protection from spiritual harm.  Christ is the temple in Ephesians 2:19-21.

Hence, Christ is the cornerstone, the apostles are the foundation, and believers are the temple.

Others say the temple is the abomination of desolation prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11), Jesus (Matthew 24:15-16 and 24:21), and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

The outer court or court of the Gentiles was about 26 acres in ancient times.  Scholars speculate that the outer court is the modern day Dome of the Rock, the Islamic mosque that most believe now stands where the ancient Jewish temple Solomon built that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD was.

The holy city is Jerusalem, which some scholars say symbolizes the nation of Israel.  Jesus speaks of this trampling in Luke 21:20-24.

42 months is 1260 days (42 x 30 days) which is 3 1/2 years, which correlates to the last half of the Great Tribulation as described by Daniel 11:26-27 – when the Antichrist pours out his fury on the people of Israel (Revelation 12:13-17 and Matthew 24:15-28).  We will see 42 months again in Revelation (Rev 13:5).  When we see it, it represents a limited time period of tribulation, distress, and persecution.  Daniel says it again in Daniel 12:7.

Fun Fact:  It took the Romans 3 1/2 years to conquer and sack Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Trample has the context of “with contempt” in the Greek.

If we are the temple of God as most scholars agree, then we are called to live up to that image.  To be God-like and live holy lives.

The Two Witnesses

Sackcloth in the Bible shows periods of mourning and distress (Job 16:15; Esther 4:1-3; Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; Joel 1:13; John 3:5-6; Matthew 11:21).  It is a coarse dark cloth woven from the hair of goats or camels.  The 2 witnesses are mourning for the people, their sins, and the impending judgments against them.

The two olive trees and two lamp stands comes from Zechariah’s olive trees and oil lamps (Zechariah 4:2-14).  Zechariah was referring to two men: Joshua and Zerubbabel empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In ancient times oil lamps were filled directly from olive trees much like gasoline is today.  Here we see continual, abundant supply.

Here, we have the Law and the prophets (Elijah and Moses).  Elijah and Moses bore special protection from God and were given power from God as these two witnesses will.  Elijah shut up the sky (1 Kings 17:1) and Moses brought the plagues (Exodus 7:17-21).  They both appeared at the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:4).

These connections lead scholars to say Elijah and Moses are the two witnesses.  Most agree on Elijah who was prophesied to return before the day of the Lord (Malachi. 4:5,6).  Others say Enoch or Zerubabel.  In the ancient Greek, the nouns are masculine. These two witnesses will be males.

Some scholars say all of God’s servants (believers) are the 2 witnesses proclaiming God’s word and that the 2 witnesses are the Holy Spirit.

Despite the 2 witnesses identity, the message is clear:  God’s will will be accomplished.

Think about it:  For 3 1/2 years, 2 witnesses will wander the earth, invincible and given superhuman powers for God.  They die (Rev 11:7) which we all do, but not before they finish God’s mission.  And they are risen again after only 3 1/2 days (Rev 11:11).  How awesome it that!  And imagine:  if this figurative instead of literal, this could be you and me–all witnesses for God!