BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 4: Revelation 13:11-18

Summary of passage:  Beast #2 comes out of the earth.  He has 2 horns but spoke like a dragon.  He was under the authority of the first beast (Rev 13:1-10) and made earth’s inhabitants worship Beast #1.  He performed miraculous signs and created a false idol in the shape of Beast #1 that earth’s inhabitants worshipped.  This idol was given the power to breath and speak and killed those who refused to worship the image.  Everyone was forced to receive a mark (the number 666) either on his forehead or right hand.

Questions:

9)  “He exercised all the authority of the first beast and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast…he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men…he was given power to breath to the image of the first beast so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed…he forced everyone…to receive a mark on his right hand or his forehead.”

10a)  To deceive the elect (believers) and turn away from Christ to Satan.

b)  Moses (Exodus 7:1-5):  To save the Israelites and bring judgment upon Egypt and show them He is the Lord.

Elijah (1 Kings 18:30-39):  So that God’s people will know He is Lord.

Jesus (John 11:41-44; 20:30-31; Acts 2:19-21):  So the people will believe God sent Jesus, that he is the Son of God, which will give them eternal life.  In Acts, so the people will know when the Lord shall come again.

11a)  The number 666 will be marked either on their forehead or right hand.  This enabled them to buy and sell (trade and live).

b)  The Holy Spirit and eternal life.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m a natural skeptic, but having God’s skepticism has proven invaluable.  I’ve learned to match up what the world says with what God says in His word and through prayer.  If it doesn’t match, it’s false.  I immediately dismiss it then.  Knowing nothing is free (from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) has protected me from many a scam and knowing God’s word has protected me from many a falsehood.

Conclusions:  Never knew where the number 666 came from and I can’t wait to read the commentary on this one!  Good lesson.  Love the contrast with Satan’s purpose and God’s purpose.  God’s purpose is to save.  Satan’s is to deceive and kill.  With such evidence it’s a wonder to me how people don’t believe.

End Notes:  The word for beast is the same as the beast in the first part of Chapter 13 but John makes it abundantly clear this one is under the first one.  This beast only has 2 horns.  Scholars are unsure what this means.  It may mean this beast only has authority in 2 realms instead of all the realms.  To me, it’s less than the first beast and is another indicator he is subordinate.

Even though this second beast appears like a lamb it speaks like a dragon who is the devil.  It has the same evil purposes in mind.

This second beast is called the false prophet (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10) and is different from the first beast (the Antichrist) and the dragon (Satan).  This is the unholy trinity (which we are asked about in the next lesson).  The dragon is the anti-Father, the beast rising from the sea is the anti-Christ, and the beast rising from the land is the anti-Holy Spirit.

This beast is a lackey of the first beast.  His job is to lead people to worship the first beast.  Some of us (especially those of us who have been believers for a while) say how can this be so?  Are people that stupid?  The answer:  yes.  Man’s nature is to rebel against God and worship himself.  If someone comes along and says great things about how man will be greater under that person, then man will easily be persuaded.

The beast could perform many miracles but John highlights one in particular:  fire coming from heaven.  Why?  Remember the 2 witnesses of God in Chapter 11?  They are given the power of fire coming from their mouths to destroy those who oppose them in verse 5.  BSF touched upon another example by having us read Elijah’s calling of fire from heaven.  What’s the difference?  One is by God and one is from Satan.  How are we to know the difference?  By knowing God and His word and God’s purpose and Satan’s purpose.  That’s the only way to identify the deception.

We’ve seen false miracles and warnings all throughout the Bible.  Aaron performed miracles and was matched by the Pharaoh’s magicians in Exodus 7-9.

In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 God says there will be false prophets announcing miraculous signs and He warns His people it is a test and they must judge a worker of miracles by their message (which is usually against God), not by their works.

Jesus warns some who worked miracles – even in His name – were false followers and would perish in hell (Matthew 7:22-23).

Jesus warns in the end times false prophets would emerge and show great signs and wonders to deceive (Matthew 24:24).

Paul warns the Antichrist will come with all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

These miracles the beast will use to persuade the earth’s inhabitants to worship the first beast. Emperor worship was rampant in the first century Roman Empire.  John’s audience would have seen first-hand Satan at work.

Many scholar believe this idolatrous image is what Jesus, Daniel, and Paul spoke of as the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), which is an idolatrous image set up in the holy place of a rebuilt temple.  Abominable idolatry.  Desolate judgment.
Those who did not worship the graven image would be killed.  This was just beginning to happen in the first century with the persecution of the Christians who would not bow down to Caesar.  We are also reminded here of Daniel 3 when he refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar and was thrown in the lions’ den.

The number 666:  Some believe the mark of 666 is not literal.  The Greek word used here for mark (charisma) is generally not applied to people.  The charisma was a seal stamped with the name and date of the emperor and attached to commercial documents.  Apparently, it also stood for the emperor’s head stamped on coins.  Thus, the charagma represented the likeness or name of the emperor.

It is also a type of brand.  In Roman times, disobedient slaves were often branded with marks of ownership, much like cattle are today.  Religious tattooing was also widespread.  Soldiers had a custom of branding themselves with the name of a favorite general.  Devotees of a god labeled themselves with tattoos to designate their loyal devotion.

So was this mark visible?  Debatable but more likely it is a symbol.  In Ezekiel 9:4, we see people marked for protection and in Exodus 12:21-23, the doorways are marked as a sign for the angel to pass over.  We saw Christians marked with a seal in Revelation 7 for protection; here, those of the earth will be marked as well.  Satan is protecting his people here as well.  It is probably behavior that will be the mark:  worshiping God or the beast.

Side Note:  We have seen the Nazis mark concentration camp victims with numbers so literal is in the realm of possibilities.

The number of his name refers to the common ancient Greek practice of assigning numerical values to letters.  Since letters had numerical value, is the number 666 trying to tell us a specific person?  Maybe.  Nero is a popular choice here.  The problem is the system is so complicated, confusing, and endless as to mute the point.  Scholars have for centuries tried to figure this out.  No one knows.

I believe the simplest is the best:  We’ve seen the number 7 mean completion or perfection.  Here the number 6 is short of the number 7.  Hence, it is incomplete or imperfect.  We see the beast as the false prophet but coming up short of Jesus’ perfection.  The triple 666 is used for emphasis just like we saw “holy, holy, holy” three times in Revelation 4.

John says to have wisdom to see through the deception of the unholy, false prophet who will be human under demonic control.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 3: Revelation 13:7-10

Summary of passage:  The beast was given power and authority over the saints and every tribe, people, language, and nation.  All non-believers will worship the beast.

Questions:

6)  “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.  And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.”  All non-believers worshiped the beast (“all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It is a book or a listing of all of those who have accepted Jesus as the Son of God and believe he died for our sins and cleansed us of sin thereby being justified and who will then live with God forever in heaven until Jesus comes again and we dwell on earth once more. Yes because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and repented of my sin.

More Bible Passages and explanation HERE

8a)  John 15:18-27:  The world hates us because they hate Jesus and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, they are guilty of sin and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to stay true to our testimony about Jesus.

Romans 15:4-5:  God gives us endurance and encouragement through the Holy Spirit and through His word so that we may glorify God with one heart and mouth (verse 6).

2 Corinthians 6:4-10:  Through our example including out endurance, patience, kindness, truth, genuineness, sorrow, and joy we commend ourselves and not put any stumbling block in anyone’s path (verse 3).

Colossians 1:9-14:  God gives us strength to have great endurance and patience and to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way and to know His will in our lives.

1 Timothy 6:11-12:  We should flee from the world’s teachings and pursue instead righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  To fight the good fight of the faithful and take hold of eternal life.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If I didn’t have God, I would have no life, no ambition, no drive, no will and I truly don’t know how unbelievers make it in this world without Him.  He holds me up when all I want to do is fall.  He catches me when I do fall and stands me back up.  Sometimes He puts one foot in front of the other for me when I have no will of my own to do so.  He has done it all through all things (His word, power, Holy Spirit).  I have done nothing.

Conclusions:  Was sorely missing my favorite endurance passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 where we need to run in such a way as to get the prize and run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).

I love how all of this is God’s plan since the creation of the world.  I love the comfort from this.  He’s in control and I don’t have to be.  I lean on Him and His strength and He does the rest.  Great lesson.  Great reminder on enduring with His power.

End Notes:  We are told in Revelation 12:17 that the dragon is gunning for us–believers.  Here, we see “war” will come in the form of the beast.  Just who are the saints?  It depends on which view of the millennium you hold.   Pre-tribulationists believe these saints are God’s people who come to Christ after the church has been raptured. Post-tribulationists believe these saints are God’s people who are on the earth before the final rapture, including what we think of today as the “church.”

In the Roman empire, all were required to offer up a pinch of incense to the emperor and declare loyalty to him, declaring Caesar Lord.  This is what the end dictator will do.  It’s not hard to imagine when one things of Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

The Book of Life is all God’s redeemed.  The rest face the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

“The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” reminds us that all of this is God’s plan.  He planned Jesus’ death to save us before we were even created!  He chose us before we were born (Ephesians 1:4), wrote our names down in the Book of Life before we were born (Revelation 17:8), and prepared heaven for us in advance (Matthew 25:34).  If that doesn’t give you comfort in this harried world, nothing will.

Here, other translations have “lead into captivity” in verse 10.  This conveys the idea that if you lead others to sin, you will be held accountable.  Personal responsibility still applies despite God’s having predetermined history.

Another meaning to verse 10:  It’s hopeless to fight against God.  If you are destined to go into captivity, you will go or if you are destined to die, you will.  The saints are to wait on God for this to happen.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 17, Day 5: Leviticus 26-27

Summary of passage:  Leviticus 26:  God repeats His rewards for obedience and His promises for His people:  to keep His covenant with them, to provide for them, to give them peace in the land, to defeat their enemies, to increase their numbers, to walk with them.  God warns the people if they don’t obey He will set His face against them, bring on diseases, and be conquered.  God will punish them 7 times over and not give them good harvests.  God will be hostile towards them and lay waste to the land and their cities.  They will eat but never be satisfied.  They will be scattered amongst the nations and God will abhor them.

But if the Israelites confess their sins, God will remember His covenant with Abraham and Isaac and even if they don’t confess their sins, God won’t totally destroy them because of this covenant.

Leviticus 27:  God tells Moses the regulations for those dedicating themselves or others to Him and the values of those people.  He tells the if an animal is dedicated to Him, it becomes holy and if he wishes to substitute the animal, the substitute becomes holy as well.  The Lord gives rules for dedicating houses, land and fields to Him as well.

No one can dedicate the firstborn to Him because it is already His.  Nothing devoted to the Lord may be sold or redeemed because it is now holy to God.  A tithe belongs to the Lord and is holy to Him.

Questions:

10a)  “Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it”.  (Verse 1)  “Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary: (Verse 2)

b)  “I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit” (Verse 4)  “Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land” (Verse 5)

“I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid.  I will remove savage beast from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.” (Verse 6)  “Your enemies will fall by the sword before you” (Verse 8)

“I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers and I will keep my covenant with you.” (Verse 9).  “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new” (Verse 10).  “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you” (Verse 11)

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Verse 12).

c)  “I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life.  You will plant see in vain, because your enemies will eat it.” (Verse 16).  “I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you” (Verse 17).

“I will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Verse 18).  “I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze” (Verse 19).  “Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit” (Verse 20).

“I will multiply your afflictions seven times over as your sins deserve” (Verse 21 & 24 & 28)  “I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle, and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted” (Verse 22).

“I will break the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant.  When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you , and you will be given into enemy hands” (Verse 25).  “You will eat but you will not be satisfied” (Verse 26).

“You will eat the flesh of your sons and your daughters” (Verse 29″.  “I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you” (Verse 30).  “I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the please aroma of your offerings” (Verse 31)

“I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled” (Verse 32).  “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you.  Your land will be laid waste, and you cities will lie in ruins” (Verse 33).

11a)  If the Israelites will confess their sins, then God would remember His covenant with Jacob and Isaac and Abraham and He will remember the land.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, no matter what, God will never forget His people. This is encouraging when we sin.  If we confess, we are forgiven.  If we don’t confess, God does not abandon us. I have hope every day that I can be a better person when sometimes it seems I am remaining stagnant in my growth with God.

12a)  Persons (verses 2-8).  Animals (verses 9-13).  House (verses 14-15).  Family land (Verses 16-21).  A field he has bought (verses 22-25).

b)  “Nothing that a man owns and devotes to the Lord–whether man or animal or family land–may be sold or redeemed” (Verse 28).

Conclusions:  On question 10, I stopped at Leviticus 26:35 and left out the remnant because I couldn’t take any more typing so there’s more answers to that question if you are so inclined.

I am ambivalent towards questions that require us to type up whole passages of Scripture.  In one sense it’s good because it forces you to read God’s word closer and dwell upon it more as you type it.  Some people learn better this way anyways rather than just reading it.  Yet, at the same time, it’s redundant and time-consuming.  For this question, you could literally just open the Bible and read all of Leviticus 26 to answer it in class because all of Leviticus 26 is the answer to 10 and 11.

I don’t know about you, but I quaked when I thought of God abhorring me.  Not a pretty picture.

Whooo0-hooo!  Done with Leviticus!  On to Numbers!

End Notes:  Leviticus 26: God’s desire was to show Himself through the Israelites and He was giving them the choice:  either follow my commands and I will bless you beyond measure to show my glory or disobey my commands and I will curse you beyond measure to show my judgments and power.

This chapter very closely follows ancient treaties between peoples and their kings at the time it was made/written.

Here we see God foreshadowing Gideon and Jonathan’s defeat of much larger forces when He promises  verse 8.  The Old Testament is full of examples of these blessings and warnings coming to light.  Another is the Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings 10 where she is overwhelmed by the wealth she sees and she praises God because of it.

Sadly, the disobediences also played out in the Old Testament and even the worst punishments like eating your own son or daughter came to be (2 Kings 6:26-29).

Yet the chapter ends with God’s mercy upon His people to never forsake them.  So even with all this horror there is hope.  And with Jesus, there is no more curses for he bore it all.  With Jesus God’s mercy is complete.

Leviticus 27:  These vows were separate from the priesthood; this was for those who wanted to dedicate themselves to God but was not of the tribe of Levi.  Everyone was assigned a value according to age and usefulness to society and being primarily agricultural, the young men were worth more.

A person could redeem things vowed to the Lord such as animals, houses or land.  One could not redeem those things devoted to the Lord, which included those who were set to be executed for crimes committed.

Fun Fact:  “The Lord said to Moses” occurs more than 60 times in the book of Leviticus.  It is the most words recorded that God spoke personally in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 17, Day 3: Leviticus 25:8-34

Summary of passage:  Every 50th year is to be a Jubilee year for Israel where all the people return to their family property and clan and do not sow the land and freedom for all.  Do not take advantage of people when selling the land and fear your Lord.  God will provide in the sixth year all the people need for the seventh and eighth year until the crop comes in.  The land is God’s.

People are to sell their property to relatives and property will be returned to the original owners in the year of the Jubilee.  Houses sold are not to be returned in the year of the Jubilee except for the Levites who can redeem their houses in Levitical towns.  They are not to sell their pastureland.

Questions:

5a)  All the slaves are to be freed.  All the land is to return to the original owners.  The land is to remain fallow.

b)  The idea that servants are to gain freedom.

6a)  To ensure that the land remains in the hands of all the people and not just a wealthy few who bought up others’ land.

b)  The people are to follow God’s decrees and obey His laws and then they will live safely in the land, which will bear fruit.  God will bless the Israelites in the 6th year to provide for the fallow year of the 7th and into the 8th as they await the harvest.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  The sheer magnitude of managing the number of people in the world today and the number of individual properties would render the task impossible.  Plus, at least in the US, people hold the idea that they own land very close.  They would not be willing to agree to give up land to original owners and descendants.  It goes against all of the ideals the US holds dear:  hard work and you will succeed in anything in this life.

7a)  The nearest relative is to come and buy the land from the poor man in effect giving him a loan until the man could buy it back.  An example would be Boaz who bought Naomi’s husband’s land and married Ruth so the land would stay in the name of the dead (Ruth 4).

b)  Jesus redeems us from sin and purchases our freedom from the guilt of sin so that we can “receive the full rights of sons”, which is eternal life with God.  Ultimately, God reclaims the land which is His as He reclaims us.

Conclusions:  The neatest part of this for me is how Ruth popped in my brain immediately.  Normally, I’d have to google that.  That shows me just how much I am learning through BSF.  And I immediately saw Jesus.  Again, we see God providing for His people.

End Notes: Since Jesus quoted Isaiah 61, scholars say Jesus may have come in the year of a Jubilee although at the time the practice of land redemption had fallen out of favor especially since the Romans were in control of the land.

Basically, the whole point of the land in the year of the Jubilee was that it returned to the original owners so they would always have God’s Promised Land.  Land in effect could never be sold, only leased.  The intent was to ensure against people becoming poor.  However, the extent to which this was observed is difficult to say.  Some scholars say this was never observed.  God wanted His people to remember their home was in heaven, not in the land.

This land rule only applied in the country where the people needed the land to earn a living.  In a walled city, land could be bought and sold as it was seen as just a home and nothing more.

Fun Fact:  “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” is inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which is where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed.