BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 5: John 10:22-42

Summary of passage:  The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) arrives in Jerusalem and Jesus is questioned again.  He tells the Jews they do not believe him because they are not his sheep.  His sheep know him and no one can take them away from him.  The sheep are God’s as well and he and God are one.  They tried to stone Jesus and he asked them again why they don’t believe in him and in the miracles.  They tried to seize him and Jesus fled across the Jordan where many came to him and believed in him.

Questions:

11)  The miracles he performed.  The Jews did not know Jesus.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal life because they follow him.  All the difference.

13)  They want to stone him or seize him.  Most today want to punish Christians.  He again tries to convince them who he is, using biblical and here irrefutable evidence, but then he flees.  We are to persevere, but not engage in violence.

Conclusions:  Question 12 is wearing on me.  It’s so broad I just keep it simple.  I love how Jesus tries to convince others of who he is but knows when it is hopeless and he’s done all he can so he focuses on those he knows will convert.  Great lesson for us with stubborn people in our lives.

End Notes:  The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah celebrated the cleansing and re-dedication of the temple after three years of desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (in 164 or 165 b.c.).  He instituted terror upon the Jews by emptying the temple treasury, instituting laws against Jews laws such as banning circumcision and the bible, and turning the altar into one for the Greek god Zeus.  Thousands of Jews were killed or sold as slaves.

The Greek for “winter” really connotes “stormy weather” here.

Solomon’s Colonnade was the name given to the portico which ran along the east side of the outer court of Herod’s temple. It is mentioned in Acts as the place where Peter addressed the crowd the congregated to see the man who had been cured of his lifelong lameness at the Beautiful Gate, and again as the place where the Jerusalem believers regularly gathered for their public witness to Jesus as the Christ (Acts 3:11; 5:12).

Jesus was not teaching.  Simply, he was ambushed by the religious leaders who were blaming him for their unbelief (personal responsibility, anyone?).  They hoped to get him to say he was the king of the Jews so then they could accuse him to the Romans of a coup against the emperor.

Jesus said “I told you and you do not believe” (I’d insert the word idiots afterwards).  He must be getting extremely taxed by these people.  He often didn’t call himself the messiah because it had such weighty political and even military implications.  When he does reveal himself, it’s to non-Jews (such as the Samaritan woman) because it was safer.

Just read all Jesus had told them who he was so far in our study of John:

I am the one who came from heaven (John 3:13, 6:38)

whoever believes on Me has eternal life (John 3:15)

I am the unique Son of God (John 5:19-23)

I will judge all humanity (John 5:19-23)

all should honor Me just as the honor God the Father (John 5:19-23)

the Hebrew Scriptures all speak of Me (John 5:39)

I perfectly reveal God the Father (John 7:28-29)

I always please God and never sin (John 8:29, 8:46)

I am uniquely sent from God (John 8:42)

before Abraham was, I Am (John 8:58)

I am the Son of Man, prophesied by Daniel (John 9:37)

I will raise Myself from the dead (John 10:17-18)

I am the Bread of Life (John 6:48)

I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)

I am the Door (John 10:9)

I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

Pretty cool, huh?  If they don’t understand by now, they never will.  Their hearts will never turn.  Hence, we see Jesus retreat.

Earlier in chapter 10, Jesus tells them they are false shepherds.  He goes one step further here by saying they aren’t even sheep!

Great picture:  we are in both Jesus’ hands and God’s hands.

God and Jesus are one in essence.  “one” here has no gender.  It’s not a person.  Equally God (divine being), distinct in person.

Jesus wanted us to be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:11, 17:21). Such oneness cannot exist without an equality of essence, and all believers have this equality (Galatians 3:26-28), even as the Father and Son have this equality.

The Jews could not refute Jesus so instead they decide to stone him even though there has been no trial.  This is how much of a threat Jesus posed to the rulers.

Jesus answers the religious leaders with the law and an argument from the lesser to the greater.  The judges of Psalm 82 were called “gods” because in their office they determined the fate of other men.  In Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9, God called earthly judges “gods.”  This is a metaphor and Jesus attempts to show them their fallacy in light of his works and who he is.

He testified as to the complete authority of the Old Testament.

Across the Jordan lay Perea.  There the Jews had no power.

John the Baptist did no miracles but was still a great man.  Great lesson for us as well.  Most of us won’t perform a miracle.  But we can make an impact on others.  Jesus’ work still goes on.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 4: John 10:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus declares he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for His sheep.  A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and the sheep know him just as God knows him and vice versa.  Jesus will bring other sheep.  He freely lays down his life and takes it up again as God has commanded.  Many Jews still insisted he is demon-possessed and did not believe.  But many believed.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Lay down his life for his sheep.  Jesus’ crucifixion.  Eternally grateful.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Gentiles.  God calls all and wants all to be with Him.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is God.

Conclusions:  Would have liked to explore the Gentiles more.  Pretty weak questioning today.

End Notes:  “I am the Good Shepherd” (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually. Jesus is always giving us life.

Jesus here declares he is for the Gentiles as well (the other sheep) and he will bring them together as one.  All the sheep will hear, answer and obey, the shepherd.

Lost in translation:  early translations of the Bible had “one fold” instead of “one flock”.  A fold of sheep is only a part of the flock.  Here, some churches used this mistake to justify exclusiveness.

Jesus can raise himself from the dead–what separates him as God and us as man.

That Christ would die for his people runs through this section of John’s Gospel.  Both the love and the plan of the Father are involved, as well as the authority he gave to the Son.  Christ obediently and voluntarily chose to die; otherwise, no one would have had the power to kill him (Luke 23:46).

Jesus, again, divides humanity (John 7:43; 9:16)–as it will be during the Last Days.

Both words and deeds validate Jesus.  Here Jesus was saving souls and telling people he’s gonna die for them and he’s accused of demon-possession?  What demon would ever do such a thing?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 3: John 10:1-13 & Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31

Summary of passages:  John 10:1-13:Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers. The only way into the pen is through him (the gate). The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus). The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They flee from strangers.

Jesus explains he is the gate and whoever enters through him will be saved and have life.  The thief comes to steal and kill.  Jesus explains he is the good shepherd.  He knows his sheep and they know him. A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He runs when a wolf attacks.

Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31:  Ezekiel prophesies that the shepherds of the Lord (here the rulers as well as the priests) have not taken care of their sheep.  They have not healed the wounded or brought back the strays.  So they were scattered and became food for wild animals.  Because God’s sheep has no shepherd He is against them and He will look for His sheep and care for them and bring them to Him.  God declares His people His sheep and He is their Lord.

Questions:

5a)  The false shepherds in Ezekiel do not care for their sheep.  They take everything from the sheep (curds, wool, and meat).  They do not heal the wounded or the sick.  They do not bring back the strays.  They rule the sheep harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered and eaten by wild animals.  The false shepherds in John come to steal, kill, and destroy.  The hired hand abandons the flock and allows it to be scattered.  He runs away and cares nothing for the sheep.

b)  He will search for His sheep and look after them.  He will rescue them from the places they were scattered.  He will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them into their own land.  He will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  He will tend them in a good pasture and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.  They will lie down there and graze in rich pasture.  He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.  He will shepherd with justice.  They will know He is their Lord and they are His sheep.

6)  Those who believe in him as the Son of God and Savior will have eternal life.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answers:  Be armed with the armor of God:  His word, His promises, a personal relationship with the Son, prayer, strong faith, the Holy Spirit, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Know God’s/Jesus’ voice and follow it.  Know Him!

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am so blessed I don’t know where to begin.  My life, my family, my ease, my freedoms, my relationship with Jesus and God, eternal life, everything.  In this season of thanksgiving, I feel very thankful.

Conclusions:  Great to read God as shepherd and Jesus as shepherd.  Reinforces the Trinity and how God cares for His people.

End Notes: John 10:1-13:  So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.

In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people. God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect. God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).

“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.

Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5). Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers. One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.

The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way. Some climb up some other way.

The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.

A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.

The watchman knows the true shepherd. Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.

A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him. A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name. He calls them and they follow.

According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:

· He has a proper entrance into the ministry

· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep

· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership

· He is well acquainted with his flock

· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them

· He goes before the sheep as an example

In sheep pens of the time, there was only one entrance or gate.  Shepherds would sleep in front of the gate at night to protect the sheep.  Hence, the shepherd is the gate.

“All who came before” are the religious leaders Jesus spoke of in John 8:43:47–those whose father is the devil.

Jesus’ followers did not listen to the thieves and robbers.

“Come in and go out” is the common O.T. expression to denote the free activity of daily life. Jeremiah 37:4, Psalm 121:8, Deuteronomy 28:6.

“Abundant” in the Greek denotes a surplus.  Abundant life is a contented life.  It’s not an easy life or comfortable life but one of peace in Jesus.

“I am the Good Shepherd”  (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually.  Jesus is always giving us life.

In sum, the Good Shepherd: gives his life, knows his sheep, and is known by his sheep. This analogy applies to church leaders and pastors today.

Ezekiel 34:1-16, 30-31:  God promises the removal of the false shepherds and the promise of the Good Shepherd (Jesus).  The shepherds here are more rulers and their officials than the priests.  Remember David was the first ruler and he was shepherd.  This is deliberate.  To call a king a shepherd was common in the East at this time.  The disciples were fishermen whose job was to catch fish (men) for God.

Fun Fact:  The image of God as a shepherd begins with Jacob (Genesis 48:15) and end with Revelation 7:17.  Ezekiel developed the image of God as shepherd in more detail than any other author in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 2: John 10:1-6

Summary of passage:  Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers.  The only way into the pen is through him (the gate).  The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus).  The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice.  They will not follow a stranger.  They flee from strangers.

Questions:

3a)  The thieves are unbelievers or evil people or imposters or those who are spiritually blind like the Pharisees from Chapter 9.  The true shepherd is Jesus.  The true shepherd’s sheep are believers are those who believe in and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.

b)  All people fit in one of these categories.  They either believe in him (the sheep) or they don’t (the thieves and robbers).

4a)  The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and they follow only the shepherd.  They are not deceived by others and they flee from the false shepherds.  The sheep depend on the shepherd for their lives–to feed them and care for them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I got a full-time job to help my family.  I’m listening to Jesus to know  how long to stay in that role.  I’m continuing his work for me.  I’m raising my kids.  I’m trying to be a good wife and mother and employee.  I’m trying to return to regular church attendance as well.

Conclusions:  This is one of my favorite analogies of Jesus and believers.  They didn’t understand at the time, but they will.  It’s a consolation to all of us who don’t understand God’s will at the time but we follow anyways.  One day it will be clear to us–even if that day is on the other side of heaven.

End Notes:  So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.

In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people.  God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect.  God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).

“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.

Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5).  Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers.  One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.

The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way.  Some climb up some other way.

The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.

A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.

The watchman knows the true shepherd.  Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.

A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him.  A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name.  He calls them and they follow.

According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:

· He has a proper entrance into the ministry

· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep

· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership

· He is well acquainted with his flock

· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them

· He goes before the sheep as an example

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 14, Day 5: Revelation 8-9

Summary of Revelation 8: Jesus opens the 7th seal and heaven becomes silent. 7 angels who stand before God were given 7 trumpets. Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar and offered up prayers with incense for all the saints. The prayers and smoke went up to God. The angel took the censer, filled it with fire, and threw it at earth, causing thunder, rumblings, lightning, and earthquakes.

The 1st angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. One third of the trees and earth was burned up and all the green grass burned.

The 2nd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a mountain on fire into the seas. One third of the sea turned to blood, one-third of the sea creatures died, and one-third of the ships were destroyed.

The 3rd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a burning star (named Wormwood or Bitterness), which fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and springs, turning the waters bitter and killing people who drank the water.

The 4th angel sounded his trumpet, striking one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, turning them dark, eliminating one-third of the day and night.

Then an eagle flew over the earth, calling out to the inhabitants warnings that the last three angels were about to sound their trumpets.

Summary of Revelation 9: The 5th angel sounded his trumpet and a star that had fallen to the earth opened the Abyss from which smoke rose which darkened the sky and unleashed locusts who tortured those without the seal of God on their foreheads. They suffered severe agony–so much so they wished for death but were not granted it.

The locusts had human faces, wore crowns, had hair and lions’ teeth. They wore breastplates and their wings were loud. They had tails like scorpions and tortured people with them for 5 months. Their king was Abandon or Apollyon or Destroyer.

The 6th angel sounded his trumpet, releasing 4 angels who were bound at the Euphrates and killed 1/3 of mankind. Troops came forth with breastplates. The horses had lions’ heads and they spewed fire, smoke, and sulfur. They had snakes’ tails.

The rest of mankind who survived this still did not repent.

Questions:

12a)  Trumpets are associated with the theophany at Sinai (Exod 19:13-19; 20:18). The first trumpet judgment is similar to Exodus 9:13-25, hail and fire fell upon the Egyptians. The third trumpet resembles the plague of the freshwater in Exodus 7:20, except that there the waters turned to blood.  The locust in Rev 9:3 is an apocalyptic version of the eighth plague (Exod 10:12-20).  The fourth trumpet and the ninth plague both use darkness on the earth.

b)  The obvious difference is the number:  10 in Egypt and 7 here.  Egypt’s Plagues:  Nile to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, firstborn.  Revelation:  Hail and fire mixed with blood, mountain thrown into the sea, bitter water, darkness as well, demons unleashed for torture, demons unleashed for death, and a dragon unleashed.  The Exodus plagues are mostly using God’s creations on earth to send a warning.  The Revelation judgments are using supernatural forces such as demons and are bent on destruction.  All initiate from heaven.  The Exodus judgments are perpetrated by Moses and are of the earth.

God is saying, “This is it, guys.  Take heed or forever pay the penalty.”

c)   Pharaoh of the Exodus refused to repent (Ex. Ex. 7:13, Ex. 7:23; Ex. 8:15, Ex. 8:19, Ex. 8:22; Ex. 9:34), the earth dwellers will refuse to repent during the Tribulation (Rev. Rev. 2:21+; Rev. 6:16-17+; Rev. 9:20+; Rev. 16:9+, Rev. 16:11+, Rev. 16:21+)

13a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Don’t like the wording of this question.  I don’t believe my heart was “hard” to begin with so therefore it hasn’t softened.  I have, however, grown in my relationship with Him as my knowledge of the End Times has increased and my love for Him and others has increased.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Flippant words, hasty actions, selfishness

Conclusions:  Not the best lesson.  Could have done without question 13.  Admittedly, I was lazy on Question 12.  I just didn’t feel like doing it myself, so I googled the answer.

End Notes:  See HERE and HERE for Revelation 8 and 9 respectively.

Full comparison of the plagues of Egypt with all of Revelation HERE

The Plagues Compared
Plague Egypt Tribulation
#1 – Water becomes blood. Ex. Ex. 7:20; Ps. Ps. 105:29 Rev. Rev. 8:8-9+; Rev. 11:6+; Rev. 16:3-6+
#2 – Frogs Ex. Ex. 8:6; Ps. Ps. 105:30 Rev. Rev. 16:13+3
#3 – Lice Ex. Ex. 8:24; Ps. Ps. 105:31 Rev. Rev. 11:6+?4
#4 – Flies Ex. Ex. 9:6 Rev. Rev. 11:6+?5
#5 – Food source (livestock) destroyed Ex. Ex. 9:6 Rev. Rev. 8:9+6
#6 – Boils Ex. Ex. 9:10 Rev. Rev. 16:2+
#7 – Hail Ex. Ex. 9:23; Ps. Ps. 105:32 Rev. Rev. 8:7+; Rev. 16:21+
#8 – Locusts Ex. Ex. 10:13; Ps. Ps. 105:34 Rev. Rev. 9:3+
#9 – Darkness Ex. Ex. 10:22; Ps. Ps. 105:32 Rev. Rev. 8:12+; Rev. 9:2+; Rev. 16:10+
#10 – Death of Firstborn Ex. Ex. 12:29; Ps. Ps. 105:36 –

Taken from http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/introduction/the-plagues-of-egypt-and-the-tribulation.html

Conclusions  to Lesson 14:  We see God’s mercy.  He has the right to destroy us for our sin; yet, He never gives up and keeps trying to bring back his creation.  We see God’s wrath as justice and judgment must come.  Yet God preserves the faithful and gives us hope in the midst of destruction.

Overall, good questions.  Would have like to have seen more questions in Revelation 9 on the angels, the star, the army, the locusts, and more possible meanings thrown in.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 14, Day 4: Revelation 9:1-21

Summary of passage:  The 5th angel sounded his trumpet and a star that had fallen to the earth opened the Abyss from which smoke rose which darkened the sky and unleashed locusts who tortured those without the seal of God on their foreheads.  They suffered severe agony–so much so they wished for death but were not granted it.

The locusts had human faces, wore crowns, had hair and lions’ teeth.  They wore breastplates and their wings were loud.  They had tails like scorpions and tortured people with them for 5 months.  Their king was Abandon or Apollyon or Destroyer.

The 6th angel sounded his trumpet, releasing 4 angels who were bound at the Euphrates and killed 1/3 of mankind.  Troops came forth with breastplates.  The horses had lions’ heads and they spewed fire, smoke, and sulfur.  They had snakes’ tails.

The rest of mankind who survived this still did not repent.

Questions:

9)  The first four seals and trumpets are judgments against the earth.  In the first four seals, these were the four horsemen bringing tyranny, war, famine, and death on the earth.  In the first four trumpets, these were ecological destruction of the vegetation, seas, fresh waters, and sky.

The last three seals focused upon heaven: the cry of the martyrs, cosmic disturbances, and the heavenly prelude to the seven trumpets.  The last three trumpets will speak of hell and the demonic.  These judgments are against man himself.

10a)  The people who had the seal of God on their foreheads.  Believers marked for salvation or the remnant.  “Servants of God” Rev (7:3).

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They were to be tortured for five months and the agony would be like the sting of a scorpion.  Unbelievers need to repent now or face misery ahead.

11)  They were worshiping demons and false idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood.  They were killing others, doing magic arts, being sexually immoral, and stealing.  It’s everywhere today.  People worship themselves, other people, material items, their jobs, their kids, spouses, or other religions and their gods.  We still have murder, black magic, the occult, immorality, and stealing.  Man’s nature does not change.  This includes his sin nature as well.

Conclusions:  Surprised on questions on the identity of the Star or the king.  No questions on what the locust represent or the Abyss or the demons.  From previous lessons and this one, BSF is only asking questions that probably have a straight-forward interpretation.  They are avoiding any questions that are up for debate or speculation.

In one way that’s good because it simplifies the study and avoids conflict amongst different viewpoints.  However, in another way it’s bad because it’s good to think about these things, their possibilities, and what exactly is God saying through John.  Knowing God’s Word and Him is the point of bible study and trying to figure out what He is trying to tell us enables our growth with Him.

Please see all of my End Notes which explore the passage and possible explanations.  I do my best to include all the possibilities but feel free to add more if I miss something.

One more caveat:  Beware of commentaries that assert something absolutely.  That is more likely the writer asserting his point of view than exploring the whole text.  Remember a lot of these symbols have different interpretations.

End Notes:  This is the 5th and 6th Trumpets.

5th Trumpet:  Scholars suggest this is not a literal star but a person.  Who is the star?  Suggestions are Nero, the devil, Satan, an angel, or even Jesus.  Some believe it’s an angel.  Whether the angel is good or bad depends on if the angel is the same angel at in 9:11.  If they are the same, then the angel is evil.  If not, then the angel could be a good angel sent to administer the judgments on earth.

Because the star is fallen, this suggests its Satan.  However, because the star is given the key to the Abyss, it can’t be Satan because Satan is not the ruler of Hell, God is.

What is the Abyss?  Probably Hell.  The abyss is a prison for certain demons (Luke 8:31, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6).  It is located inside the earth (Eph.4:9) and as we will learn it serves as the holding cell for all unsaved disembodied spirits (Rev.20:13-15).

Fun Fact:  The Greek word means “very deep” or “bottomless” and the Hebrew word means “primeval deep”.  This word occurs 9 times in the New Testament and 8 times in the book of Revelation.

Smoke represents divine judgment used as well in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:28).

The key is the power over the Abyss.  Since Jesus possesses the key (Rev 1:18) some scholars see the star as Jesus handing over the key to Satan to unleash his demons upon the earth in judgment.  Jesus is described as the morning star (Rev 22:16).

These demons probably won’t be seen by mankind (Ephesians 6:11-22).  John sees them only because they are revealed to him.  Thus, man may only see the destruction of the demons which would be natural disasters.  Hence, it’s easy to see why at the end the survivors still don’t turn to God.  They just don’t “see.”

The locusts are symbolic as evinced by their resembling something other than locusts.  They are symbolic of the demons that will be allowed to enter earth.  Locusts are agents of God’s judgment (Exodus 10:4-14, Deuteronomy 28:38, 1 Kings 8:37, 2 Chronicles 7:13, Joel 1:4, 2:2-9; Nah.3:15-17, and Amos 4:9).  They will be an army.

The people are tortured to bring them to repentance (verse 20-21).  They will not die.  Scorpions stings rarely kill.  Why not?  Perhaps in God’s infinite grace, He is giving them a foreshadow of death in hopes some will still repent.

Why 5 months? The lifespan of a locust is 5 months.  Hence, for as long as the locusts live, they will be tortured.

The repetition of “like” means it was hard to describe and therefore not exact.  This is the time of the Great Tribulation.  Locusts have no king (Proverbs 30:27)–another reason they aren’t literal.

The king is Satan.

“Woe” is from Rev 8:13.

Preterist interpretation:  The suffering represents the Roman siege against Jerusalem from 66-70 AD.   The locusts is the Roman empire (crowns on their heads).  The beast represents the Roman Empire (Rev 11 & 13:1-8; 17:7-11).  This concludes that the object of God’s wrath is the Jewish nation and has already taken place with no future meaning.

The three woes are:

1) invasion of the locust-demons torturing rather than killing man

2)  Another demonic invasion and an earthquake that destroys a tenth of Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of God’s two witnesses (Rev.11:14)

3)  The inhabitants of the earth will experience Satan’s fury as he is banished (Rev.12:12).

The servants of God (those were the seal) are only exempt from the first woe.

6th Trumpet:  The horns of the golden altar are the prayers of God’s people.  In the tabernacle, the golden altar was of incense or the people’s prayers.  Those fleeing judgment could seek mercy by taking a hold of the  horns (1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28).

Are these the 4 angels from Rev 7:1?  Scholars are unsure.  We do know they are divinely appointed to carry out God’s will.

The Tigris and Euphrates River was the cradle of civilization and the first place nomads settled down.  In the Bible, it’s probably where the Garden of Eden was located.  Here, the firsts occurred:  first settlement, first sin, first murder, first revolt against God, first war, etc.  Here, it marks the boundary of Babylon and was the extent of the Promised Land.  The Assyrian and Babylonian empires centered around Mesopotamia and were the historic enemies of Israel.  In fact, they still are today as Syria and Iraq are now the name of the countries.  Note the people never changed; just the name.

God works on a specific timetable (verse 15).  We just don’t know it.

Again, the horsemen are demons.  The number is meant to be infinite.  Most scholars agree this is a demon army sent to kill humans, released by the 6th angel on the command of the voice (God or Jesus).

Amazing how man never learns and keeps right on sinning.  Scary too.  How much we rely on our eyes and when we can’t “see”, we don’t believe.  Why God calls us to believe;  it’s the hardest thing we will ever have to do.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 14, Day 3: Revelation 8:6-13

Summary of passage:  The first 4 trumpets.

The 1st angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. One third of the trees and earth was burned up and all the green grass burned.

The 2nd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a mountain on fire into the seas. One third of the sea turned to blood, one-third of the sea creatures died, and one-third of the ships were destroyed.

The 3rd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a burning star (named Wormwood or Bitterness), which fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and springs, turning the waters bitter and killing people who drank the water.

The 4th angel sounded his trumpet, striking one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, turning them dark, eliminating one-third of the day and night.

Then an eagle flew over the earth, calling out to the inhabitants warnings that the last three angels were about to sound their trumpets.

Questions:

6)  First Trumpet: unleashes hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. One third of the trees and earth was burned up and all the green grass burned.

Second Trumpet:  unleashes a mountain on fire into the seas. One third of the sea turned to blood, one-third of the sea creatures died, and one-third of the ships were destroyed.

Third Trumpet:  unleashes a burning star (named Wormwood or Bitterness), which fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and springs, turning the waters bitter and killing people who drank the water.

Fourth Trumpet:  strikes one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, turning them dark, eliminating one-third of the day and night.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer: God shows mercy by only striking 1/3 of the resources. These are partial judgments (Zechariah 13:8-9).  God is warning people to turn to Him before it’s too late, offering up another undeserved chance at repentance.  This shows me God’s love and compassion and mercy and grace for and to mankind.  Awesome!

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Love, compassion, mercy, grace.  We see His omnipotence, His total control over everything.  We see His goodness.  We see His judgments and justness in punishing sin.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Profound gratitude.  Depth of love for Him.  My desire to do His will instead of mine grows more each day, pushing a bit more selfishness away.  Worship in awe and wonder.

Conclusions:  8 repeated 7 and made it personal.  In the immediate sense, my worship of God has not changed.  As I take in and absorb the book of Revelation and learn more about God’s goodness and grace my worship should become more meaningful and deeper.

Number of times asked in this study how our worship is affected:  Total of 7:  Once in Lessons 2, 3 & 10, Twice in Lessons 9 & now twice in this lesson.

End Notes:  Same as yesterday’s.  See HERE.