BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 5: John 12:37-50

Summary of passage:  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus.  God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.  Still, many believed in Jesus but were too afraid to say anything out of fear.  Jesus says those who see him see God and he is the light of the world.  Jesus speaks what God has commanded him to.  He has come to save the world.

Questions:

11)  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus. God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.

12a)  Well, John quoted verse 10.  Some will never be able to believe in Jesus/God because they have been blinded and their hearts hardened.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Honestly, none.  I’ve never been one to care what people think of me.  It’s what you see is what you get.  I’m pretty authentic.

Conclusions:  I have no comments on this.  Either you got something out of this or you didn’t.

End Notes:  The Old Testament prophets predicted many would not believe in Jesus.  Today, this is the norm, especially among Jews.  But back then everyone believed in God so why not in Jesus?  It was man’s choice to believe or not.  Those who did not would be strengthened in their hardening hearts as judgement.

Isaiah, in seeing God, saw Jesus as well.  He understood they were one and the same.

Isaiah spoke primarily of the glory of God.  John speaks primarily of the glory of Jesus, making no distinction between the two.  Glory here is majesty and Jesus’ death on the cross, resurrection, and exaltation.  Both portray suffering and healing, rejection and triumph, humiliation and glory.

Fun Fact:  These are the last words in John’s gospel from Jesus to the public.  He emphasizes the culmination of all his previous teaching in John, including a challenge to decide, a warning to those who decide, against Him and a promise to those who decide for Him.  Scholars are unsure when Jesus spoke these words.

Jesus stresses his closeness and oneness with God, the need of man, the need of man to be saved, and his submission to God.

In John’s Gospel, the theme is:  Jesus came in love, but his coming is a judgement.  Judgement is the other side of salvation.  Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God since Jesus is doing God’s will.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 2: John 11:1-16

Summary of passage:  Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.  She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan.  He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.

Questions:

3a)  He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.

4a)  To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear.  Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing.  Great lesson for us.  Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait.  Rely on God and His timing, not ours.

End Notes:  You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last.  Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot.  This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).

Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.

John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all.  Why?  Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone.  Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord.  He was in Galilee preaching.  The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.

Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus.  Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough.  They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would.  They had faith.

By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead.  He knew this.  He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.

Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.

He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day.  This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver.  This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.

Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar.  Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea.  But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God.  There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it!  No harm will come to them during this time.

Sleep is a metaphor for death.

Jesus is glad for many reasons:  grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!

God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.

Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River.  He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.

All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin.  Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname.  Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus.  He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 29, Day 5: Revelation 22:6-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus is coming and John falls at the feet of the angel to worship it (he did this in Revelation 19:10). The angel told John to tell others of what he has seen and heard and to let them continue to do wrong or good as they are doing.  Jesus is coming to reward those according to what they’ve done. He’s the Alpha, Omega, First and Last, Beginning, End. Blessed are the righteous who have the tree of life. Outside the gates of the city are the dogs who are immoral and practice falsehoods. Jesus is the Root, Offspring of David, the Morning Star.  Let all come for the gift of the water of life say the Spirit and the bride. A warning to not change the prophecy in the book of Revelation. Jesus is coming soon. Grace be with God’s people.

Questions:

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It really doesn’t.  I plan to do what I normally do:  tell others as God leads me.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t know.  Too soon to tell.

Conclusions:  Filler.

End Notes:  See previous days.

Conclusions to Lesson 29:  What words of hope and encouragement.  Jesus is coming.  All should be ready.  Hold fast.  Reflective lesson leading up to Lesson 30, our last lesson where we’ll be asked what has changed within us.  This is always hard to answers for little changes we don’t see but others do.  I’d wait 6 months and then ask someone close to you if something has changed.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 29, Day 2: Revelation 22:6-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus is coming and John falls at the feet of the angel to worship it (he did this in Revelation 19:10).  The angel told John to tell others of what he has seen and heard and to let them continue to do wrong or good as they are doing.

Questions:

3a)  God/Jesus/Holy Spirit says it’s true.  Furthermore, there are 3 witnesses to John’s testimony:  the angel, John himself, and Jesus, which was the legal requirement in ancient times for a trial (Deuteronomy 17:6; John 5:31-32).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), given to man through prophets or people as a gift from God.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Prophecy gives us a word to keep, not merely material for interesting discussions and debates. The main purpose of prophecy is to lead us to trust and obey God, and apply His truth to the way we live.  Obviously, if we trust and obey God more, we live God’s life more, and we are further blessed.  As my faith grows, my life is better.  I was asked over the the weekend at church to name a time when I’ve been completely blessed in my life and one of my answers was now.  I am feeling truly happy, content, and blessed with God and my life.  And I think it’s because of my strengthened faith in Him.

5a)  He said to worship God alone not fellow servants or prophets.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure if I worship anything other than God.  I am prideful sometimes and put credence in things I shouldn’t but worship (definition: to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power) is a strong word.  God is at my center.  He gets all the credit.  Pray all the time.  Stay in His word as much as possible.  Do His will in my life.

Conclusions:  Saw 3b before.  Good lesson on the truth of the Bible and how we are blessed by knowing prophecy and we grow in trust in Him.  The more we know, the more we grow!

End Notes:  Revelation opens with an angel and ends with one.

“Soon” in the Greek connotes suddenly to us.  Jesus will come suddenly and in his time.  We are to ready always.

No created being is ever to be worshiped.  Angels are servants of God who minister to us (Hebrews 1:13-14).

Revelation is in contrast to Daniel 8:26; 12:4 where Daniel is told to seal up his visions about the future.  Now is the time, the angel says.  Daniel was hundreds of years before Revelation.

The angel says there will be no more time to change when Jesus comes.  The wicked will still be wicked, the good still good.  Second (and third and fourth, etc) chances are over.  Furthermore, those doing wrong will have hardened hearts and will not heed the book of Revelation (Daniel 12:10).  Those with God’s heart will be affected and shall continue to do good.

This is encouragement to us who pray for the lost and the lost loved ones we know.  There is nothing we can do but share with an open and loving heart.  God will do the rest.  And if they don’t convert, that is no fault of ours.  It is their responsibility to let God into their hearts, not ours.

Here we see the 6th Beatitude of Revelation.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 5: Revelation 11:15-19

Summary of passage:  The seventh and final trumpet is sounded, signaling the beginning of Christ’s reign over earth forever. The 24 elders fell face down and worshiped God, praising Him for His judgments and rewards.  Again, as we’ve seen with God’s judgments, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail appears.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The elders bowed down and worshiped God.  I respond the same.

12)  Nations, the dead, and those still living will be judged.  Saints, those who reverence your name, and believers will be rewarded.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s given me a more eternal outlook and made me more aware of God’s plans.  It has given me hope as I know He has a plan for my life in His timing.  I’ve been able to let go of worry over the world and let God handle it.  I’ve become more focused on my immediate world and not the greater world.

Conclusions:  This is the half-way point of our study; hence, question 13.  See End Notes for explanations of symbols in this passage.

End Notes:  With the 7th trumpet, the final days are ushered in (Revelation 10:7).  What happens next will happen during the Great Tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years before Jesus reigns forever on earth.  The angel in Daniel 12:7 says the same thing. Jerusalem will fall.

The seventh seal brought forth a profound silence (Revelation 8:1); the seventh trumpet initiates joy at the inevitable resolution.

Important:  Note the omission of “the one who is to come”.  Why?  Because now He has come!

The appearance of the ark (made of acacia wood Deut 10:1-2) is a reminder how God is keeping his covenant with His people and fulfilling His promises to us.

Note how the ark of the covenant is seen in heaven, not here on earth.  They are different.  The ark represented God’s presence and favor in the Old Testament. It also represents God’s throne (note HIS covenant, not the).  The ark was lost when the Babylonians invaded in 586 BC probably destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple (2 Kings 25:8-10).  God never again dwelled physically with His people despite the temple having been rebuilt in 516 BC and expanded upon by Herod at beginning of the first century.

Instead we were given the Holy Spirit to be with us everywhere we go.

Again, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail signify God’s impending judgments on the world and His presence.  In Revelation, it always marks an important event  connected with the heavenly temple.  We saw this at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19).

Conclusions to Revelation 11:  1)  We see God’s people proclaiming Him and are thus rewarded.  2)  We see God will judge His enemies.

Conclusions to Lesson 15:  If you want a more in-depth analysis of the book of Revelation, you’re gonna have to read the commentaries.  BSF seems to be avoiding asking questions that don’t have definite answers.  Heavy emphasis on personal response, being encouraged, and your thoughts and emotions from our study (there were 4 1/2 questions in this lesson alone).  Much less emphasis on understanding the symbols and the details in what exactly will happen in the Final Days.

Side Note:  Why didn’t we read Daniel 12 (which is incredibly short) when we read passages from Daniel in Lesson 8?  As our study goes further into Revelation, I’m reading more and more connections with Daniel 12.  Considering the sub-heading in my Bible of Daniel 12 is “The End Times”, I would have thought we’d read this if we were going to leave the book of Revelation which BSF has chosen to do.  Any ideas?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 5: Daniel 7

Summary of passage:  Daniel dreams of 4 beasts during the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon:  a lion, a bear, a leopard, and one with horns.  A little horn appeared among them and spoke.  It was slain and thrown into a fire.  A son of man appeared and was given authority, glory, and sovereignty over all peoples, nations, and men.

The four beasts represent 4 kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome).  Rome is the last and will last the longest.  But in the end Jesus’ kingdom will be established for eternity.

Questions:

11a)  Daniel saw the son of man come and establish an everlasting kingdom, attended by thousands, and slaying the other beasts.

b)  Jesus is the Ancient of Days in verse 22 and he will judge all.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control.  He allows earthly kingdoms to exist.  But in the end, His kingdom shall reign.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It does neither.  It doesn’t trouble me because as a student of history, I know all kingdoms/rulers/countries/tyrants/leaders are transitory and die and Jesus reigns.  It doesn’t encourage me either because the world is a fallen, sad place and even though I know Jesus is coming it doesn’t make living here all that much easier.  I’m ambivalent.

Conclusions:  Weak lesson without reading the commentary due to the fact we are studying prophecy here again and as we’ve learned, prophecy is impossible to understand until it has passed.

We’ve been asked a lot of questions involving encouragement. The definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.”  Our world is so different from Daniel’s world.  Perhaps we know too much. We know all those empires fell.  We have God’s written word about the future and Jesus.  And we have Jesus.  We are so jaded by bad things happening in this world that encouragement is hard to come by.  At least for me, I wall out all the evil happenings in this world, so I’m not a ball of goo.  Thus encouragement is kept at bay as well.

End Notes:  Four winds of heaven connects to Revelation 7:1 and is probably satanic forces.  Four seems to be the number of created universe.  We’re talking Mediterranean Sea here.

Four Visions are Four Kingdoms:  Lion is Babylon, Bear is Medo-Persia, Leopard is Greece, Horned beast is Rome.

A lion is majestic.  A bear is ferocious (think mama bear and her cubs).  A leopard is quick and unexpected.  The horned beast was powerful and lasting.

This is Greece under Alexander the Great who conquered the entire known world in 12 short years. When he died, his empire was divided 4 ways (four heads).  Alexander the Great was a genius–put on earth for the task he performed.  He spread Western culture to most of the known world.  He ushered in the era of rule of the Ptolemiac Kingdom in Egypt.  He forever changed the known world.  He was also taken out most probably by a mosquito (malaria) at the age of 33.  Who else but God could orchestrate such talent and such tragedy?  And all for His divine purposes.

Scholars think the 3 ribs represent the kingdoms Persia conquered:  Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia.

Scholars suggest “the Ancient of Days” is God in Daniel 7:13-14.  Here, the white clothing and hair seem to suggest God and His eternal nature.  Since the son of man is separate here, it makes sense the Ancient of Days is God.  In Daniel 7:22, the “Ancient of Days” is Jesus since he pronounced judgment.  All are one as the Triune God.  We were asked to read this passage in Lesson 3, Day 5.

Fire is judgement in the Bible.

Angels and man surround God as well as books (Book of Life, remembrance, and living).

Revelation 13:5-6 speaks of the boastful words spoken by the Antichrist.

Fun Fact:  The Son of Man was used more than 80 times in the Four Gospels to describe Jesus.

Daniel 2 also discusses the 4 empires–just from man’s perspective.  Here we have God’s.

Daniel is interested most in the fourth beast because it is the most ferocious.

“Against the saints”.  The saints can either be the church or the Jewish remnant (Revelation 12:17; 13:7), causing confusion as to whether we will be on earth for the Tribulation or not.

Most scholars believe the conspicuous horn to be the Antichrist, arising out of some group of ten nations, which in some way has the Roman empire being re-established here on earth.  John Calvin interpreted the 10 rulers as actual Roman emperors, thus saying this prophecy has already been fulfilled.

Number 10:   ten toes (Daniel 2) and ten horns (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17).

“…time, times and half a time.”  This is three and a half years.  In Revelation (11:2-3, 12:6 and 13:5) this refers to half of the last seven-year period of man’s rule on this earth (the seventieth week of Daniel) otherwise known as the Great Tribulation.

Final thought:  Ready to return to the book of Revelation.

Conclusions to Lesson 8:  In studying Daniel, we are studying a man of faith.  He lived his whole life for God and God rewarded Daniel in return.  He’s a great example of how to live your religion in a secular world.  He stood on faith.  In relation to the book of Revelation, Daniel is one of the people God chose to reveal the future to.  The future we have seen revealed (the fall of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) and the future yet to come (the horn that arose from the 10 horns–the Antichrist).  Albeit the interpretations differ from scholars, God revealed enough to us about the future to be helpful and full of hope.

We see what a life can look like empowered by God.  That is the best lesson of all this week.  This alone is encouraging as we strive for such a life and discouraging as I know my life is no where close to Daniel’s and seems at times impossible to reach.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 5: Revelation 2:8-11

Summary of passage: John’s letter to the church in Smyrna says Jesus knows their afflictions and poverty and knows of the false prophets. He says they will suffer but encourages them to be faithful and they will earn the crown of life (eternal life).

Questions:

13a)  Death, torture, death

b)  Death, torture, death

14a)  Because it is just the body that suffers, not the soul.  The soul is what lives on in heaven–which is what matters.  All believers in Christ go to heaven.  There is nothing to fear in Christ.

b)  Knowing there is something beyond this realm gives hope and faith in suffering.  Our suffering turns others towards Him as we are living examples of faith.  Jesus himself suffered as we are called to do as well.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We had this question last year as well.  I have not suffered anywhere remotely close to the first century Christians and living in the US has sheltered me from suffering physically.  I personally have not suffered in any life-impacting way.

Conclusions:  Not sure how any of these questions relate to the passage directly; they are extrapolations to Jesus.

End Notes:  See previous POST for commentary.

Conclusions to Lesson 4: We focused in on the first two letters John wrote to the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna.  We saw the major difference between the two is Ephesus was rebuked for turning from Christ; whereas, Smyrna was only encouraged and praised for its suffering for Christ.

A lot of repetition in questions from last year.  I suppose BSF asks these every year but it stands out to me this year.

I have also come to realize as I grow in Christ and as my knowledge grows these questions seem repetitive to me because I have answered them before and I know them.  I know more of the Bible and God’s Word and to me it’s easy because I do know it.  I’m trying to keep that in mind that BSF is appealing to all wherever their walk is with Christ so some questions will be repetitive and redundant to some of us but not others.