We must pay more careful attention to God’s gift of Salvation and the Holy Spirit lest we drift away.
While Jesus was a little lower than angels for a time, mankind was crowned with glory and honor and everything was put under his feet, making everything subject to him. After Jesus’ death, this changed. Now, Jesus is crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death for everyone through the grace of God.
Jesus was made perfect through suffering, which brought man salvation. Jesus and us (mankind) are now of the same family, called brothers.
Since Jesus was flesh and blood, his death destroyed the power of death (the Devil) and freed us from the fear of death. Jesus had to become our brother (like us in every way) to make atonement for our sins. Jesus suffered while tempted so he helps mankind who suffers when they are tempted.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 3: Hebrews 2
6) Part Personal Question. My answer: He died for all of us so that we may live forever. His death destroyed the devil by dying for our sins and atoning for them. Jesus is full of grace to die for us.
7) We must pay more careful attention to God’s word, God’s gift of Salvation, and the Holy Spirit lest we drift away.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I struggle with the temptation to sin every day. Knowing I’m forgiven makes my sins and mistakes a bit easier to bear.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 3: Hebrews 2
We spent 2 days on Hebrews 2 in 2012.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 3: Hebrews 2
Why Did Jesus Have to Become Human?
By dying, Jesus freed us from the power of death and won for us eternal life free of our problems
Jesus can understand our temptations since he himself was tempted
Jesus freed us from the slavery of sin and from the constant fear of death.
We must pay attention lest we drift (like a boat that is not anchored in God’s word). Most people slowly drift from God. Christ must be our anchor to prevent this.
Hebrews was written not primarily as evangelism, but as an encouragement and warning to discouraged Christians. It was written to those who neglected an abiding walk with Jesus.
God does confirm His word with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We know Jesus is human because God put the world subject to man, not angels (Psalm 8:4-6).
In Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews brilliantly demonstrated from the Scriptures the deity of Jesus and His superiority over all angels. Now he demonstrates the humanity of Jesus from the Scriptures and applies the implications of Jesus’ humanity.
It is Biblically wrong to think of Jesus as merely God or merely man. It is wrong to think of Him as half God and half man (or any other percentage split). It is wrong to think of Him as “man on the outside” and “God on the inside.” The Bible teaches Jesus is fully God and fully man, that a human nature was added to His divine nature, and both natures existed in one Person, Jesus Christ.
The first false teaching about Jesus in the days of the early church did not deny that He was God, but it denied that He was really human and said He only seemed to be human. The heresy was called Docetism, coming from the ancient Greek word “to seem,” and was taught by Cerinthus, who opposed the apostle John in the city of Ephesus and whose teaching is probably the focus of 1 John 4:2 and 1 John 5:6.
God put all things (not some things) under subjection to human beings. This shows that Jesus must be human, because God gave this dominion to humans and Jesus exercises this authority.
Jesus is the Answer
The answers to life’s most perplexing questions are not found in asking “Why?” The greatest answer is a Who – Jesus Christ.
“Faith is the eye of the soul. It is the act of looking unto Jesus.” (Spurgeon)
God gave man dominion over the earth, but man forfeited his power (not his right or authority) to take that dominion through sin, and the principle of death took away the power to rule. But Jesus came and through His humility and suffering He defeated the power of death and made possible the fulfillment of God’s promise that humans will have dominion over the earth – fulfilled both through Jesus’ own dominion, and the rule of believers with Him (Revelation 20:4).
By Jesus suffering for us, we see that real love, real giving, involves sacrifice.
Many translations say captain of their salvation, instead of author. A captain connotates authority, leadership, commands, encourages, rewards, and sacrifices. It’s a much stronger and a more accurate translation here.
Jesus took away Satan’s “right” to rule by allowing Satan to “unlawfully” take Jesus’ life on the cross, and Satan’s “unlawful” action against Jesus forfeited his right to rule over man. In this thinking, the end result is that the devil has no right over those who come to God through Jesus’ work on the cross.
Seed of Abraham is used here in the sense of those who are Abraham’s children inwardly, not ethnically (Romans 2:28-29, Galatians 3:7).
Jesus is Our High Priest
The High Priest wore a breastplate with stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel on both his chest and his shoulders. The High Priest was therefore in constant sympathy with the people of God, carrying them on his heart and on his shoulders.
Because Jesus added humanity to His deity and experienced human suffering, He is able to help us in temptation. He knows what we are going through.
We see Jesus’ example of being tempted.
We have his assistance when we are tempted, providing strength and a way of escape.
With these we can find victory in the midst of temptation and come out better from being tempted.
Jesus did not lose anything from being tempted – He only gained in glory and sympathy and ability to help His people. In the same way, we do not have to lose anything when we are tempted.
David escaped Gath and went to a cave of Adullam. All the misfits of the world heard of his plight and how he was there, so they all gathered around him — about 400 in total.
Then David went to Mizpah in Moab and asked the king if his father and mother could come and stay with him until he know what God would do with him, which the king agreed. However, the prophet Gad told David to go to Judah, so David went to the forest of Hereth.
Saul learns of David’s whereabouts and takes officials to the tree of Gibeah. He rants about how everyone has conspired against him — even his own son (Jonathan) made a covenant with David. It’s a pity party to say the least.
Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21:7) tattles that he saw David go to Ahimelech the priest at Nob who gave David provisions and Goliath’s sword. Saul sends for the priest and his family and asks him why he conspired against him. Ahimelech said he merely did what he was asked, knowing nothing of the inner workings of politics between them. David is a loyal servant to the king. Why wouldn’t he inquire of the Lord for him?
Saul orders the priests killed because, in his mind, they conspired against him as well. The officials refused, but Doeg agreed to do it. 85 priests were killed and Nob was destroyed — all who lived inside it.
One priest escaped named Abiathar. He fled to David and told him what happened. David felt responsible for the deaths and promised to protect Abiathar.
Summary Psalm 52:
Written about Doeg, David is angry, but knows God is just and will deal with Doeg. He knows Doeg is a disgrace and evil, God will bring him down, and the righteous will know God is not his stronghold. David trusts in God’s unfailing love, praising Him and hoping in Him.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
6) Part personal question. My answer: Saul is a madman. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. When Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing and acts on this knowledge — killing them. How often do we do this as well? Throw a pity party, twist things in our minds — what others do or say — and then don’t believe the truth and still hold grudges against others? It’s definitely a warning to us to not get so caught up in ourselves and our conceived hurts and injustices, to find out the truth, and to act on the truth — not distort the truth.
7) Part personal question. My answer: David is sympathetic to the priests and blames himself for their deaths. He knew Doeg was evil and would tell Saul about him, but he did nothing (he probably thinks he should have killed Doeg — a sin of itself — to spare the priests). He also knows he lied to the priests, which made them vulnerable when Saul shows up, and they have no idea that Saul hates David and wants him dead.
David takes responsibility for the deaths of the priests. He knows his actions indirectly resulted in their deaths. He offers to protect the one remaining priest. Taking responsibility here for your role in how life plays out is the lesson I see here. So often we dismiss how our actions influenced others or caused this or that friction between others and deny it’s our fault. We need to be more like David — compassionate and willing to admit when we caused something as well as take into account how the lies we tell affects others.
8 ) Part personal Question. My answer: David understands that God will deal with evil and those who are good, God will bless. My views are the same. God is the judge not me, and evil He allows for His own purposes, and I trust God will deal with it. I also know if you obey the Lord, He will bless you, and you will flourish.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
What a fascinating look into the mind of a madman and how people will twist whatever they hear to suit their needs. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. It’s scary because we all do this on some level, especially when we read into situations or don’t have all the information. But here, when Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing. How often do we do this as well? Don’t believe the truth and then still hold grudges against others?
The second lesson we see is how our lies affect others — even white lies. We never know how it plays out. It’s always best to tell the truth no matter the consequences than tell a lie and watch the consequences explode.
Great analysis of David and Saul here and great contrast. You gotta love the writer here who perfectly juxtaposes these stories for us so we can see how to act and how not to act. God is good!
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
Commentary 1 Samuel 22:
What a whirlwind of a life David has led! David rose to fame killing a Giant, married the king’s daughter, defeated the Philistines, avoided repeated attempts on his life, and said goodbye to his best friend, Jonathan, and his family and began a life as a fugitive for who knows how long. Then David had a brief, but intense period of backsliding, a dramatic turn to the Lord, and deliverance from a life-threatening situation.
What was the cave of Adullam?
Adullam means refuge
The cave became David’s physical refuge
God was David’s spiritual refuge
Most archaeologists believe that the cave of Adullam was not too far from the place where David defeated Goliath, in the hills of Judah.
Psalm 142 is David’s discouragement in the cave of Adullam. Psalm 57 describes David as the Lord strengthened him in the cave and prepared him for what was next.
Who were the people in the cave of Adullam?
First, David’s family came to him. This is a precious gift from God because previously all David had was trouble and persecution from his father and his brothers (1 Samuel 16:11 and 1 Samuel 17:28). Now they join him at the Adullam cave.
God called an unlikely and unique group to David in the Adullam cave. These were not the men David would choose for himself, but they were the ones God called to him. They were distressed, in debt, and discontented with life.
These are the people you want around you: those who come to you when you are in distress — not when life is going great. These men all came to David when he was down and out, hunted and despised. Once David came to the throne, there were a lot of people who wanted to be around him. But it’s the 400 men in the cave who are the loyal ones.
These are the people who come to Jesus — the forlorn, the distressed, the ones seeking something more from life.
This was not a mob. This was a team that needed a leader, and David became that leader. God doesn’t work through mobs. He works through called men and women.
This was a solid beginning to a rebel army if David wanted it. An unprincipled leader might make these 400 men into a gang of rebels or cutthroats, but David did not allow this to become a rebel army against King Saul.
David made them into the kind of men described in 1 Chronicles 12:8: Mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle the shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.
What do we learn from the men called at the cave of Adullam?
David was the one anointed by God to be the next king over Israel, and he became Israel’s greatest earthly king. But just as much as God called David, God called these four hundred to come beside David.
God leads through a called and anointed man (Noah and the ark, Moses and Egypt).
God rarely calls that man to work alone. David needed these 400 men, even if he never thought so before. There are those called to lead and those called to support the leader. Each is just as important as the other.
David took his parents to Moab because his great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 4:18-22, 1:4). He wanted his parents to be safe in whatever battles he may face in the future, and he feared Saul might retaliate against him and kill his parents.
David doesn’t know the whole story. He knew he was called and anointed to be the next king of Israel, but he had no idea how God would get him there. David had to trust and obey when he didn’t know what God would do.
Gad counseled David to leave his own stronghold and to go back to the very stronghold of Saul. This probably wasn’t what David really wanted to hear, but he obeyed anyway. David had to learn to trust God in the midst of danger, not on the other side of danger.
Saul enters the picture
When we see Saul with a spear, we know he’s out to kill. He calls David “the son of Jesse”, refusing to acknowledge his achievements.
In his fleshly, self-focused world, everything revolved around Saul. He became paranoid and whiny, and he led through guilt and accusation. He lied about Jonathan, and thus constructed elaborate lies and conspiracies in his own head against him.
Doeg the Edomite
Here’s an ambitious man out to take full advantage of Saul’s paranoia to advance himself. We last saw him in 1 Samuel 21:7 in Nob, at the tabernacle at the same time David came there.
Doeg implicated the priest Ahimelech as David’s accomplice. “Look at all the help Ahimelech gave David. Surely, they are working together against you Saul, and Ahimelech probably knows exactly where David is and where he is going.”
He knew how to divert Saul’s anger and suspicion from himself onto the priests.
Saul continues in his paranoia, thinking everyone is out to get him.
Why even white lies are dangerous
Here we see the effect David’s lies had on Ahimelech (that ultimately resulted in his death).
Ahimelech told the exact truth. When David came to Ahimelech, the priest questioned him carefully (Why are you alone, and no one is with you, 1 Samuel 21:1). Instead of telling Ahimelech the truth, David lied to him. This put Ahimelech in a very vulnerable position.
Ahimelech was unaware of the hatred Saul has for David, partly due to the lie David told him (1 Samuel 21:2).
Saul has turned to murdering in cold blood. Many scholars think Saul is angry at God for abandoning him and stripping him of his crown and, being unable to carry out his anger on the Lord, strikes out at the innocent such as Ahimelech and his family. This was the worst act Saul will commit.
To their credit, Saul’s servants feared God more than Saul and they refused to murder the priests. Doeg, who was not a Jew but an Edomite, didn’t hesitate to murder the priests and their families.
How did David cause the death of Ahimelech and his family?
David’s mere presence with Ahimelech that made Ahimelech guilty in Saul’s eyes, and there really wasn’t anything David or anyone could do about that.
David’s lying to Ahimelech made the priest vulnerable before Saul.i. David’s lies did not directly kill Ahimelech and the other priests. But at the very least, he kept Ahimelech from dying with greater honor. If Ahimelech knew of the conflict between David and Saul, he could have chosen to stand with David and die with greater honor.ii. We know from both 1 Samuel and the Psalms that David turned his heart back to the LORD and asked forgiveness after his lies to Ahimelech. David was restored, but there was still consequences to come of the lies, and now David sees those consequences.
David could not do anything about the priests who were already murdered. He confessed his guilt in the matter and sought forgiveness from the LORD. Now, all he can do is minister to the need in front of him – Abiathar, the surviving priest.
Commentary Psalm 52:
Though the condemnation of Doeg in this Psalm is strong, we sense it would be stronger in light of the mass-murder he committed. Yet this is David’s contemplation upon the incident, a careful examination of the root and end of Doeg’s evil.
Doeg took pride in his lies and murder.
“The thought conveyed in this Hebrew word (boast) is not necessarily that of a person strutting around making extravagant claims to others about his or her abilities. Rather it is that of a smug self-sufficiency that does not parade itself openly simply because it is so convinced of its superiority.” (Boice)
Doeg murdered 85 civilians, mostly priests who were not trained for battle – hardly the work of a true mighty man. Like several other commentators, Poole thought this was used in an ironic sense: “O mighty man! he speak ironically. O valiant captain! O glorious action! to kill a few weak and unarmed persons in the king’s presence, and under the protection of his guards! Surely thy name will be famous to all ages for such heroical courage.” (Poole)
Spurgeon puts this more succinctly: “A mighty man indeed to kill men who never touched a sword! He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice.”
David earnestly believed that Doeg’s way would fail. God’s goodness would outlast his evil. It’s true that Doeg was a mighty man, but that was nothing compared to God and His never-ending goodness.
When David wrote the goodness of God, he used the word El to refer to deity instead of the more common Elohim. Some commentators believe the use of El emphasizes the strength and might of God.
David mentions the destruction and deaths that came from what Doeg reported (1 Samuel 22:18-19).
Some people love evil, and some people love to lie. Doeg fulfilled both aspects. He loved the destruction his devouring words brought.
Boice believes Doeg was just as calculating as evil as there is reason to believe there was a gap in time between David visiting the tabernacle at Nob and Doeg’s report to King Saul. “He knew he had a piece of valuable information and kept it to himself until it would best serve his interests to divulge it.” How many times do we do this?
Because the goodness of God endures forever (Psalm 52:1), Doeg and his kind would be destroyed forever.
When the coming judgment against Doeg happens, the people of God will notice it, and it will cause them to honor and revere God. It will also make them laugh in satisfaction at the destruction of such an evil man. This is righteous joy — something acceptable. This is not laughing at people because you are better than them.
Note it is the righteous that learn from this; not the evil who don’t care.
What can we learn from Doeg?
He fails to trust God and instead trusts riches (often what happens to people when you glean the favors of a king)
We often are drawn to evil and lying because we fail to trust God can and will work through goodness and truth. We lie to ourselves, saying that we have to lie, do evil, or deceive because it’s the only way. It’s never the way.
The significance of the olive tree
“The olive is one of the longest-living trees; here the point is doubly reinforced, for he pictures an olive ‘in full sap’ and one that grows in a sacred courtyard.” (Kidner)
Psalm 92:13 may indicate that there were trees at or near the house of God.
“Hope” is also translated “wait”. Our strength is to wait on God and His will. Therein lies our honor.
Summary of passage: There are those who live according to sin and those who live according to the Spirit. The sinful mind rebels against God. The Spirit mind obeys God and experience life and peace. The Spirit lives within those who belong to Christ. Our Spirit is alive by righteousness and God will give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit as well.
6) Those who live according to the sinful nature and those who live according to the Spirit. Sinful nature people have their minds set on what nature desires. These people are set on death and hostile to God and do not submit to God’s law. They can never please God. Spirit people have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Spirit people live in life and peace.
7) Part personal Question we’ve answered before: The fruits produced by the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The mind is focused on heavenly things not earthly things. I hope others say they see God in me, but I can never be sure since in my mind I fail too much daily to be Godly.
8 ) Part personal Question that doesn’t necessarily encourage me today: Your spirit is alive through righteousness and your physical body will rise as well through the Spirit. We are controlled by the Spirit, not by our sinful nature. All who have the Spirit belong to God/Christ. In general, I’m encouraged every day by the Spirit that lives in me, who guides me, and empowers me to get out of bed every day and face this fallen world that sometimes weighs me down with its brokenness. It’s hard to put into words God’s amazingness.
Conclusions: Question 6 you can basically copy verbatim verses 5-8 and have the answer. Basically, if you have Christ, you have the Spirit. The Spirit is God’s gift to us to guide us, lead us, be with us, comfort us, and strengthen us–to have God with us always.
End Notes: You know if you’re in the Spirit or the flesh by where your mind is. The flesh or sinful mind battles against God because it does not want to submit. The law is powerless to help us in this battle. You will never please God as long as the flesh is winning.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit, believers have the power to defeat the flesh. If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit. If not, you do not. Simple.
However, you may still miss out on living the Christian life because you are not in tune with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
How do you know if you have the Spirit? Are you striving to be more like Jesus every day?
Our Spirit is alive because of Jesus abiding inside us and we will experience resurrection in the Last Days because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Summary of passage: Jesus and his disciples come upon a blind man. His disciples wonder who sinner that this man was born blind (a commonly held belief of the times). Jesus said neither and is the result of God’s work. He put mud on the man’s eyes made with spit and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam and he could see. Still, no one believed he was the same man.
6) It’s important because that’s why we’re all here. Duh! Nothing is more important than God’s work and nothing is more important to us humans than God’s work for Jesus which is to die on the cross for our sins.
7) Part personal Question. My answer: Our work is to believe in Jesus and do God’s good works for our lives. My work is to be a loving wife and mother and I am called to write and teach and bring others to Him. I do my best everyday to follow His call.
8 ) The disciples seem more curious about the sin than the sinner himself. They want to discuss his condition instead of doing something about his condition. They are focusing on the “why” instead of helping the man. Jesus is more concerned that God’s work is displayed. I need to be better about noticing the needs around me and acting on them.
Conclusions: Personal questions on extrapolations. See End Notes below for more.
End Notes: In this story, Jesus corrects a commonly held notion that suffering comes because of sin. The healed man became a loyal spokesman for Jesus. His testimony, however, failed to convince the Pharisees , who also rejected Jesus’ teaching about why the man had been born blind.
This continues right from the moment he was about to be stoned. Jesus was not ruffled by them.
The disciples were more interested in discussing the man’s case rather than helping him. Jesus does not care; he will be more practical as we are to be.
They thought the man’s blindness was due to a previous sin. Some Jews even thought babies could sin in the womb or some were punished for a sin they would commit in the future.
Jesus says right away that no specific sin caused this man’s blindness. Most often birth defects are the result of Adam’s sin when he brought death into this world and our fallen condition. Because we are to die our bodies die and this comes out in different conditions.
However, Jesus says there is always a purpose in such conditions so God’s work can be displayed. In this blind man’s case, the purpose was so Jesus can heal him and be a testimony for him. That doesn’t mean God made him born blind to show His character. It means God overruled his blindness so that man could see the light. In other cases, it’s to test someone through suffering. Nothing happens by accident in God’s world.
Jesus worked like we all must work. He saw the need and felt the urgency to help the man before his time on this earth was up. We all must be thus. Despite the fact Jesus knew he’d get in trouble for healing on the Sabbath, his compassion for man overrode that concern. Can we say the same thing?
Why mud and spit? He used dirt as God used dirt to make man. Also, the emphasis was not on the method but the result. He didn’t want anyone to believe he has a magic formula for healing that was outside of God. Furthermore, spitting on the eyes was a common thing in ancient times to either remove dirt or as a cure. Mark records two other healings where Jesus used his saliva (Mark 7:33 & 8:23).
Even though in this miracle Jesus approached the blind man, the blind man still had to show faith in Jesus to be healed. Jesus asked him to go the Pool of Siloam and wash. Siloam meant ‘sent’ because the water from the pool was sent through a conduit to the city and came through Hezekiah’s tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat built in Old Testament times. This water was used at the altar of the Feast of Tabernacles and today is still used to represent the pouring out of The Spirit.
Again and again John refers to Jesus as having been ‘sent’ by the Father. So now blindness is removed with the aid of the ‘sent’.
Acting in faith, the man went and washed his eyes despite not being promised he’d be healed if he did. He had to have had help down there since he was still blind.
Fun Fact: This is the first time in the Bible a man born blind has been healed. This is the work of God. Thus, Jesus is God. Isaiah prophesied this to be a sign of the Messiah (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7).
Fun Fact: Jesus performed more miracles of this kind than any other.
Some scholars speculate this as a foreshadowing of Jesus helping the Gentiles. They see the man in Chapter 5 as the archetype Jew to be healed and this man as the archetype Gentile to be healed. Again, we are not told if his man is Jew or Gentile.
The one sent by God uses the pool of sent to prove he is God and the light of the world, offering the greatest gift–the living waters–to all who have faith.
Summary of passage: John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth. Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants, a total of 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each).
5) The seal of the living God and it signifies the Holy Spirit of God. Hence, the angel is marking people with a seal which is the Holy Spirit which is the mark that will save them from God’s wrath and judgment like in Ezekiel 9.
6) Judah. Jesus (Hebrews 7:14). He is the first and the last.
7a) Personal Question. My answer: My assurance is several fold: 1) I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior. 2) I have the Holy Spirit with marks me as His. 3) God’s word assures me I am His.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I think I interact and relate with unbelievers the same I do with believers. I try to walk in Jesus’s ways always no matter who is watching and give Him all the credit in my life.
Conclusions: Why no questions on the identity of the 144,000? This is crucial for Gentiles (which is most of us). Once again disappointed that BSF does not ask the hard questions.
End Notes: The tribe of Dan is left out. Some scholars believe this is because Dan is most probably the tribe of the Antichrist (Daniel 11:37; Jeremiah 8:16). We do know they were the ones who introduced idolatry to Israel (Genesis 49:17; Judges 18:30). However, Dan will be in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48). Further, some say this proves birth does not matter in the end; it’s faith in Christ that does.
The tribe of Joseph is the tribe of Ephraim. They also were strongly associated with idolatry (Hosea 4:17).
Who are the 144,000? Literally: Messianic Jews specifically chosen to seal protectively for the Tribulation, first fruits to God (Rev 14:4), as a beginning of the salvation of Israel (Romans 11:1, Romans 11:26, Matthew 23:37-39).
Symbolically: 12,000 is the number of completeness is Revelation 21:16 so the complete number of believers from each tribe are being sealed. This includes both Jewish and Gentile Christians. Because the tribe of Dan is missing and the tribe of Joseph never existed, this would support the theory as the church here. Also, when Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC, the tribes were scattered and again in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed. The Jews had no idea which tribe they came from.
Hence, 144,000 pictures the remnant (Romans 9:27-28;11:5), the fullness of the church of both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, leaving none out, the new Israel. The believer in Christ is the true Jew (Romans 2:29).
Revelation is a book of symbols and all numbers have meaning. Hence, most scholars believe 144,000 is not to be taken literally and Israel means the church as a whole. 144,000 (12 x 12 x 10x 10 x10) shows the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament multiplied by the 12 apostles in the New Testament multiplied by 10’s which suggests an indefinite and infinite figure. The two 12’s is the church, God’s redeemed people from both covenants, for all of history–what we call the church today.
Revelation 14 goes into more detail on their identity. Israel in the Old Testament always refers to the Jewish nation, not to the church. However, when John is writing, which is after Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was gifted to all, the church included Israel and Gentiles. No where in the book of Revelation is a distinction made between Jewish and Gentile Christians. God makes no distinction so why would He here?
You can be part of the remnant (the 144,000) through grace (Romans 11:5) by choosing Jesus. It’s that simple.
Summary of passage: The Israelites did just as God commanded and built the tabernacle and all of its furnishings. When they had completed the work, they showed Moses who blessed them. Then God told Moses to set up the tabernacle and arrange all the furnishings. Then anoint the tabernacle and make it holy and Aaron and his sons so that they would be the priesthood to come. Moses obeyed and finished the work.
6a) “As the Lord commanded”
b) Had a critical eye to make sure everything was just as the Lord had commanded. Had the Spirit to guide him as well. He was the overseer, the supervisor, the one in charge.
c) Personal Question. My answer: To have the Lord’s heart and eyes when I am overseeing others’ work.
7a) It was the beginning of Passover
b) They would have remembered how God had rescued them from Egypt and His greatness and faithfulness.
8a) The Ark of the Testimony
b) It is the place God would dwell.
c) Personal Question. My answer: God and His purpose in my life. It’s what He wants for all of us.
Conclusions: Anyone else close their Bible upon seeing MORE reading. I know it’s only one more chapter, but it is ONE MORE CHAPTER. Persevere. Refill your coffee. And keep going!! Plus, the good thing is that this is also a repeat of previous chapters so it made the reading easy.
There was no meat to any of these questions, especially 8c. We all know the answer should be “God” and if it’s not then you just feel bad. 7b is a duh and 6b and c are really interpretive. Was disappointed to say the least.
End Notes: The opening of Exodus 40 tells us it has been one year since the Israelites have left Egypt.
Leviticus 8 & 9 tells the full details of Moses consecrating Aaron and the priests.
“As the Lord commanded” is repeated at least 19 times.
The tabernacle was an earthly model of a heavenly reality.
This whole section is here to show how the Israelites obeyed. God would dwell here for 300 years until the Temple would be built.
Summary of passages: Matthew 13:1-8: The same day that Jesus’ Mother and Brothers show up, Jesus sat by a lake. Such large crowds gathered that he got in a boat and retreated to the middle of the lake to teach. He told them the parable of the sower who scattered seeds which fell in different soils. Those that fell in no soil got eaten up. Those that fell on shallow soil withered because it had no root. Those that grew amongst thorns were choked. Only those that fell on good soil produced a crop.
Matthew 13:18-23: Jesus breaks up different kinds of people who hear the Word. Those that hear the message and do not understand, the evil one comes and snatches it away–the seed along the path. Those that hear the word and receive it but falls away quickly when trouble comes because he has no root–the seed in the rocky places. Some hear the word but are choked by worries of life–the seeds with the thorns. Only those who hear the word and understand it produce a good crop.
7) Before the message is even received, it is snatched away. Satan does not even want us to hear it. This is done when people have a bad impression of the church to the point they won’t go and hear. Or Christians in general and they won’t hear a testimony. Or he perverts the message. He hardens our hearts to the Word to the point it never penetrates. This is sad.
8a) Personal Question. My answer: When I don’t give God my worries and instead I carry them around I am no longer focusing or trusting in Him but am relying on myself to solve my problems. When wants and desires creep into my life and they take precedence over God and His will. Like wanting a job so I can have a home. It’s about what’s important in God’s view, not the world’s.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Simple. Do you come back to God? If the answer is yes, then you are good soil. If you never come back to Him, then you are thorny. We all fall off God’s path for our lives. It’s those that persevere as Luke says and come back to Him and get back on track who are ultimately His.
c) Personal Question. My answer: I am the good soil who perseveres, hears God’s word, retains it, and I hope passes it along. I usually have doubts on where my heart lies but not in this case. I know it is His. I know I won’t quit despite the thorns in my path. I know that my purpose is His purpose.
My prayer is to make those thorns less in my life and to make me stronger to overcome them when they do crop up so I can get back to doing God’s work instead of the world’s work.
Conclusions: I usually don’t like all the personal questions but after yesterday which was a doozy of a lesson for me in terms of time this was a piece of cake. Message for today: We have to be aware of the devil’s ploys to pull us from God’s path. And we must never give up. God is a good God. He forgives us everything. He takes us back no matter what. We will produce a good crop if we trust God to do so.
Summary of passage: One escaped and told Abram his nephew had been captured. Abram, who was allied with his neighbors, called out all 318 trained men to go with him to rescue Lot. Abram launched a night attack near the city of Dan, routed them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the stolen goods, women, and others, and rescued Lot and his possessions, whom he brought back with him.
5) Abram is loyal to Lot. Abram is allied with his neighbors so he has diplomacy skills. He spares no expense, requiring all his trained men to fight for Lot; he has some military training (or guidance from God) for Abram divided his men and attacked.
This shows the extent of God’s blessings to Abram in terms of his wealth. Abram had his own trained army to fight for him. This is NOT cheap, especially in ancient times. Metals and weapons (shields, swords, and armor) were expensive–way more expensive than I would say 90% of the population at the time could afford in their LIFETIME.
6a) Abram gathers all his allies and men and we put on the full armor of God (all of our resources available) to fight. Abram stood firm in his belief to rescue Lot and he was ready like we are to be when fighting spiritual battles. Abram had faith he would win as we are to in our battles. We are to pray and use the Word of God. We are not told if Abram prayed before he set out, during, or after.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Full armor of God I would say is the Holy Spirit indwelt. The Holy Spirit will protect your entire body. The belt of truth is God’s truths and righteousness is what Christians are if they accept Jesus as their Savior. The shield of faith in trust in God. The helmet of salvation is our knowledge that we will win and be saved. The sword of the Spirit is the Bible, God’s word. Prayer to God for help to overcome.
These weapons have divine power. We take captive every thought and make it obedient to God and we can defeat every argument or pretension with God’s truth (His word).
c) Personal Question. My answer: Prayer and His Word. Ask and you shall receive. If Jesus chose God’s word to defeat the devil in the desert, then I will as well (Matthew 4). “It is written….”
7) Personal Question. My answer: It is comforting and humbling to know God is with me and I have the knowledge (His Word and Spirit) and He will give me triumphs in life, beginning with His Son who conquered the grave. We are as precious to God as Christ is to salvation. Amazing!
The challenge is to be that sweet aroma to others as I spread His message.
Conclusions: Dreading this lesson when all the questions save one is on New Testament passages. We studied this Ephesians passage in Acts last year, Lesson 25. The questions are basically the same, just tweaked. You can review my answers HERE and HERE.
Review. I guess I’d better get used to this. Seems to be the theme for this year. I was honestly hoping for more in-depth on what’s happening in Genesis, not Ephesians.
Interesting Fact: This is the first use of the word “Hebrew” in the Bible.
End Note: My new favorite website. I wish I could draw simple maps that make everything so clear!
Summary of passage: God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham obeyed out of faith, believing God would raise Isaac from the dead if He so chose. Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons. Joseph predicted the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions where to bury him.
Moses’ parents hid him from the Egyptians, knowing Moses was no ordinary child. Moses chose to be mistreated with his people, the Israelites, rather than live in the luxury of his adopted mother’s palace. He was looking forward to his future reward. He left Egypt by faith and persevered as he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood to save his people’s firstborn.
The people crossed the Red Sea by faith and the walls of Jericho fell by faith. The prostitute Rahab was faithful by protecting the spies.
And the Hebrews writer says the examples of faithfulness goes on and on. Kingdoms were conquered, enemies routed, lions’ mouths shut, and justice prevailed. Others chose torture, flogging, chains, prison, stoned, sawed in half, and destitution for the promise of God. Little did they know (as we do and the people the writer is speaking to) God had something much greater in store for them–His son, Jesus–that would in the end make us complete.
6a) Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son when God asked him to, believing that God would raise him from the dead if he so chose.
b) Isaac blessed his sons, Jacob and Esau, for the future
c) Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons
d) Joseph prophesied the Israelites would leave Egypt and gave instructions where to bury his bones
e) Moses chose his people, the Israelites, over his adopted mother’s, the Egyptians. He rejected a life of luxury and sin and instead chose to be mistreated along with God’s people as he saw disgrace in Christ as greater than any treasure as he looked forward to his reward. He left Egypt by faith and persevered because he saw God himself. He kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood so the firstborn of every Israelite would not perish.
7) No. Anyone can have faith in God’s promises. God rewarded Rahab for her true faith and trust in Him. She was doing the Lord’s will even if it wasn’t in a manner God would approve of. She had to save the spies in order to save her family. I think in this instance all of us would do the same.
This example along with Jacob who stole Esau’s blessing from Isaac are great examples of how God rewards imperfect people no matter how flawed they or their actions may be. He knows our heart. He knows if we are pursuing him with every last breath in our body. He knows man will sometimes choose unethical behavior in order to do so. Which God forgives. He made man as cunning and full of tricks. God knows our ways. And with the right intentions, God forgives, accepts, and embraces us.
God will accept anyone who accept him. NO MATTER WHAT!
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: It’s amazing the hoops these people jumped through; the laws they had to abide by; all the religious ceremonies and sacrifices; all for God. And not even to get into Heaven. For just the mere chance of obtaining Him.
It is probably easier in our day to believe because we have a physical form of God who walked this earth. These people did not. They had to believe in something which they could not see (except the chosen few whom God revealed himself to). We know if we choose Jesus, we receive life. These people didn’t. It was only a promise. As it is today. But it’s more tangible to us.
Thus, if these people who had a much harder life than most of us can believe then so can I.
Conclusions: I loved bringing in Rahab. Here’s a woman who was a pagan prostitute (despised in those days) who had every reason not to believe in God but she did. She did whatever she had to do in order to obey–even lying. And God forgave and accepted her and what she did. She even became a direct ancestor of Jesus!
This shows us that God’s choices does not depend on how a person behaves. God simply chooses people he wants. Are we to judge? According to Paul in Romans 9, no! We have no right to question God because we know so little and He knows all. We may never understand but God has a purpose we cannot know. We are to accept. All things work together for my good.
God chooses flawed people to achieve great good. You never know who He has chosen today.
This is summarized from my study Bible (NIV student Bible published by Zondervan). Great stuff.
This gives hope to all of us who are broken (which we all are, some more than others). God is still using us no matter how far we fall. If we merely choose to believe.
End Note: The blessing back in OT times was a HUGE deal. For most it signified a kind of magical power that will bring prosperity. However, for God’s chosen people, it is transferring the covenant blessing from one generation to the next–the one passed down from Abraham–that will one day produce God’s chosen people.
Also summarized from my Study Bible (NIV Student Bible Zondervan).
Summary of passage: Isaiah is chastising Israel (again) for not trusting in the Lord and instead turning to Egypt for help with the Assyrians. He predicts Egypt will not help them and the fact Israel is rebellious, disobedient, and unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction will be recorded on scrolls. The people do not want to listen to the prophets anymore because all they predict is bad things happening. So God replies they will be shattered into pieces as punishment for their rejection of the prophet’s messages. God says to rely on Him and wait on Him so He can be gracious to us. If you cry for help, He will answer and you will see your teacher and He will point you the right way. He will provide for you abundantly through rain and good crops and He will heal your wounds and bruises He caused. Assyria will fall. Topheth (figurative Hell) has been prepared for the Assyrian king which the Lord himself will set ablaze. Israel will celebrate.
7a) The definition of obstinate–perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course of action in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion; not easily subdued, remedied, or removed. The “how” is simple: they ignore the Lord and rely on other humans to solve their problems. They allow their minds to be corrupted by unbelievers. These humans do not care for alliances nor do they help (here Egypt). To me, a more pertinent question would have been why.
b) We should listen to the Lord’s instruction and not listen to those who contradict God. I would have preferred a question discussing the meaning of verses 8-17 instead since this answer is obvious to most of those who attend BSF.
8 ) Personal question. My answer: I am obstinate when it comes to moving because I hate getting lost and starting over, uprooting and getting out of my comfort zone. If I return to God (draw near), rest in His promises, trust in Him, pray and wait on Him, and not worry, He will do the rest.
9a) Judah will see its teachers. The Lord wills send rain so the food will be rich and plentiful, cattle will graze, oxen and donkeys will work. The Lord will bind up the bruises and heal the wounds He inflicted. Succintly: guidance, abundance, purity, healing. All apply since God provides all. Same for me. If I cry out to the Lord, I will see Him and He will answer. He will provide my sustenance and provide in abundance. He will keep me pure and heal me.
b) Assyria because they are evil, idol worshippers, and practice human sacrifice. See End Note.
Conclusions: Tons of nuggets in this Chapter but my favorite was verses 18-21 because they spoke to me: “Blessed are all who wait on Him.” So, my impatient self must wait on His timing. “How gracious will He be when you cry for help. As soon as he (God) hears, he will answer you” with his graciousness. “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” So, I will see God when I cry out to Him and He will answer. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” So, no matter which way I turn or go, God is behind me, cheering, pointing me in the right direction.
I often doubt if I’m heading in the right direction in my life and this passage gives me peace to know if I ask, God will answer and He has my back. Besides my husband, I get this no where else but from God but with God I know it is truth. No matter which way I go, He is there if I wait on Him. Great stuff.
End Note: 9b has some interesting history. My Bible says Topheth is a valley near Jerusalem where human sacrifices were offered to the god Molech. Being unsatisfied with a 5 word explanation, I googled Topheth which confirmed this, saying human sacrifices were outlawed by King Josiah where the valley then became a waste site for the dumping of refuse and dead carcasses. Fire was permanently burning here to keep away disease so Topheth became a synonym for Hell. Biblical references to Topheth: Jeremiah 7:31-32 and 2 Kings 23:10. This information taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tophet
I was unsure if the king is the Assyrian king himself or the god Molech (I found different interpretations). Either way, both are now burning in Hell.
Study questions such as these are the reason I keep going to BSF. Some days I get stuff. Other days I don’t. Today I definitely left with a lot on my heart to ponder. The combination of history (who knew Topheth was a figurative Hell on Earth in those days?) and God speaking to me leaves me with a spring in my step, anxious to read more and more!