BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 2: Romans 9:1-5

Summary of passage:  Paul is lamenting how the Jews have not accepted Christ as their Savior and he says how he’d give up his relationship with Christ for their sakes.


3)  The truth in this passage is that the people of Israel are God’s chosen people.  The truth Paul is going to talk about in the rest of Romans 9 is how the Jews are not saved because they don’t believe in Christ.  He is grieving how they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Moses and Jesus were the same way:  wanting all to come to God, praying for them, and willing to sacrifice his life for them.  See Galatians 3:13.

4a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Cursed is condemned here probably to eternal damnation.  No believer will ever be cut off from Christ (which we just studied LAST LESSON).  Paul’s point is he wants all to come to Christ.

b)  We should always be praying for unbelievers, grieve for them, and desire them to turn to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian so it’s been a relatively easy journey to Christ.  It’s easier as a child when you’re not bogged down with life’s junk to choose him.  I could always be doing more for God’s kingdom.  Give Him the credit more.  Talk about Him more.  Evangelize more.  I myself could be closer to God as well personally and spiritually.

Conclusions:  We see Paul’s heart here.  He loves his people so much he’d sacrifice his eternity for them.  That’s powerful!  What a motivator for us when we encounter unbelievers either in our own circle of family and friends or those on the street.  We need more heart for them!

End Notes:  Chapter 9 brings a slight shift in focus to the Book of Romans.

In Romans chapters one through eight, Paul thoroughly convinced us about man’s need and God’s glorious provision in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 Paul deals with the problem associated with the condition of Israel. What does it mean that Israel has missed its Messiah? What does this say about God? What does it say about Israel? What does it say about our present position in God?

In essence, how can I be secure in God’s love and salvation to me when it seems that Israel was once loved and saved, but now seems to be rejected and cursed? Will God also reject and curse me one day?

If God cannot bring his ancient people into salvation, how do Christians know that he can save them? Paul is not here proceeding to a new and unrelated subject. These three chapters are part of the way Paul will make plain how God in fact saves people.

Paul left us at the end of Chapter 8 on a high note:  nothing can separate us from God.  Now, he turns somber as he considers the Jews, God’s chosen people, who are separated from God.

Consider this:  Paul was concerned about the souls of men.  What does this say about your worries over what others think of you, the guy who cut you off in line, the increasing number of wrinkles on your face, the neighbor’s hideous lawn ornaments, your mother-in-laws quirks and fallacies, and any other daily or not-so-daily petty worry?  Worry about the souls of men and these will all disappear.

Consider this as well:  The Jews are Paul’s persecutors.  They (along with the Romans) are the ones casting stones, running him out of towns and villages, and beating him.  Yet Paul still has this much heart for them.

For us average people, it’s hard for us to grasp this deep love and heart like Paul, Moses, and Jesus had.  But this love is something we can build up and increase daily as we walk with Christ.  He can do all things in us!

Paul lists how privileged the Jews are/were in having the law, covenants, promises, etc.  They even had the divine glory (this is God in the cloud that led Israel out of Egypt Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 16:19), God Himself, with them.  All the patriarchs are Jews and Jesus himself is a Jew from the nation of Israel.

Conscience is reliable only when enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

People of Israel:  The descendants of Jacob (who was renamed Israel by God in Genesis 32:28).  The name referred to the entire nation (Judges 5:7), then of the northern kingdom after the nation was divided (1 Kings 12) with the Southern kingdom being called Judah.  After this time and later in New Testament times, Palestinian Jews used the title to indicate they were the chosen people of God,

Paul is about to show that despite Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, God’s promises to her are still valid.

Adopted as sons:  Israel had been accepted as God’s son (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1).

Covenants:  Genesis 15:17-21; 17:1-8; Exodus 19:5; 24:1-4; Deuteronomy 29:1-15; Josiah 8:30-35; 24; Numbers 25:12-13; Jeremiah 33:21; Malachi 2:4-5; 2 Samuel 7; 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-29, 132:11-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34

Promises:  Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 17:5-8; 22:16-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 16; Psalm 110; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; 31:31-34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:1-4; Zechariah 9:9-10

Patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Verse 5 has Paul stating that JESUS IS GOD.  No where else is this written in Romans and some scholars even argue if this is in fact what Paul meant (Interesting commentary on this verse HERE)

Other passages explicitly or implicitly affirming the deity of Christ:  Romans 1:4; 10:9; Matthew 1:23; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 5:20-21; John 1:3, 10, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-20;2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2-3, 6, 8; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:13-18; 22:13


BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 2: John 12:1-11 with Matthew 26:6-16 & Mark 14:3-11

Summary of passages:  John 12:1-11:  Jesus leaves the village of Ephraim and returns to Bethany 6 days before Passover.  A dinner was given for Jesus.  Mary washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and her hair. Judas, seeing only wasted money, questioned Mary’s act.  Jesus defends her, saying this is intended for his burial.  A large crowd came to see Jesus and Lazarus.  Plans were made to kill Lazarus as well so his testimony would not convert more to Jesus.

Matthew 26:6-16:  While in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper, a woman came and anointed Jesus with perfume which she poured over his head.  The disciples chastised her, saying the perfume should have been sold and given to the poor.  Jesus defends the woman, saying she has anointed him in preparation for burial and it was a beautiful thing.  Judas agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Mark 14:3-11:  Mark says Passover is only 2 days away and the chief priests are looking for a way to kill Jesus.  While Jesus was in Bethany (4 days ago) at the house of Simon the Leper, a woman anointed Jesus with perfume.  Some rebuked her for not selling the perfume and giving it to the poor.  Jesus says she is anointing him for burial and it was a beautiful thing.  Judas went to the chief priests and agree to hand him over to them for money.


3)  Part personal question.  My answer:  She brought what she could to Jesus.  She anointed him with what she had.  She sacrificed her most prized possession for him.  She humbled herself by washing his feet with her hair.  She loved him enough to give up what she had.  I would like to be more sacrificing for him as well.  More giving from the heart.

4)  Anger, indignant, wasteful, greed, perhaps jealousy among the disciples and definitely Judas.  Jesus defended her actions.  Judas’ heart hardens to the point he’s willing to betray Jesus for money.

5)  He said she was preparing his body for burial.  It was a beautiful act.  He says she will always be remembered for it.  I’m sure Mary was glowing and felt vindicated.  She was probably questioning herself if she was wasting precious perfume, but she followed God, let go of her fears, and did it.  Her faith was undoubtedly strengthened and she grew closer to Jesus and God.  Others saw Jesus defending a woman (unheard of in ancient times) and took notice.  Women are people too.  It probably didn’t change their attitudes towards women, but it planted a seed that would grow into our times today.  It showed all what was important (the giving out of love) not the gift and what it was worth.  It showed how time is precious and an individual (Jesus) needs to feel valued and honored as well.  It showed how an act of worship is more important than meeting the human needs of the poor (in this case).  It shows how much Jesus wants us as his children to come to him, to honor him, to worship him, to sacrifice everything for him, and to love him with all of our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds.  Jesus first; others’ needs second.

Conclusions:  Great lesson!  I’ve never really thought about how Jesus defending Mary would impact her and others and how this act of anointing is so much more!  Jesus above everything else in our lives.  Period.  It reminds us Jesus first and the heart is what matters.  I love comparing the different accounts and getting different details and remembrances of this event.

End Notes:  All 4 Gospels have an account of a woman anointing Jesus.  John’s account seems to tell of the same incident recorded in Matthew and Mark that we read while Luke 7:36-50 is probably a different event.

John 12:1-11:  This was the last week before the death and burial of Jesus.  Almost one-half of John’s Gospel is given to this last week.  Matthew used more than 33% of his Gospel to cover that week, Mark nearly 40% and Luke over 25% – seven days of Jesus’ entire life.

This feast is celebrating Lazarus’ rise from the dead.  Martha and the other women in attendance would be serving the men.  Simon was a common Jewish name at the time.  He had once been a leper for he wouldn’t be hosting a dinner if he had not been cured, perhaps even by Jesus himself.

Washing a guest’s feet was not unusual during this time.  It was unusual to do this during a meal, with expensive perfume, and with her hair.

Mary’s gift was remarkably humble.  When a guest entered the home, usually the guest’s feet were washed with water and the guest’s head was anointed with a dab of oil or perfume.  Here, Mary used this precious ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus.  She considered her precious ointment only good enough for His feet.  Washing another’s feet was considered the job of a slave.

Mary’s gift was remarkably extreme.  She used a lot (a pound) of a very costly oil of spikenard.  Spices and ointments were often used as an investment because they were small, portable, and could be easily sold.  Judas believed this oil was worth 300 denarii (John 12:5), which was worth a year’s wages for a workingman.

Mary’s gift was remarkably unselfconscious. Not only did she give the gift of the expensive oil, she also wiped His feet with her hair.  This means that she let down her hair in public, something a Jewish woman would rarely do.  She did not care what others would think of her.  All she cared about was showering the Lord Jesus with worship and affection.

No one knows exactly what this oil was.  All that really matters is that is was very expensive.

We see Mary at Jesus’ feet often (Luke 10:39; John 11:32, 12:3).  This is pure devotion.

Judas probably felt shame and that’s why he objected.  Her love for Jesus shone bright and his heart was full of darkness for him.

Fun Fact:  This is the only place in the New Testament where Judas is mentioned as doing something evil other than his betrayal of Jesus. Judas successfully hid the darkness of his heart from everyone except Jesus.  Outward appearances often deceive.  Many people have a religious facade that hides secret sin.  Great lesson for us!

Mary was extreme in her love for Jesus–what he wants for all of us.  She should not have been criticized for it.  In the other Gospels, Judas wasn’t alone in this sentiment.

It was probably only later John discovered Judas had been stealing money from Jesus.

Scholars believe it was the very next day that Judas betrayed Jesus as it was recorded in Matthew and Mark.

Spending money at a funeral was not unusual and was expected, making Judas’ objection even more inappropriate.

Matthew and Mark do not record Mary’s name but say she’ll be remembered forever.  John records Mary’s name but omits the remembered part.  All that matters is Jesus remembers forever.

The chief priests were mostly Sadducees, and the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection. Lazarus was a living example of life after death, and having him around was an embarrassment to their theological system.  This was a problem that had to be gotten rid of.  When men hate Christ, they hate those whom he has blessed and will seek to destroy them as well.  Sin is growing.

What would stop Jesus from raising Lazarus again?  Sometimes man is so stupid!

Matthew 26:6-16:  The alabaster flask would have had no handles and a long neck which was broken off when the contents were needed.  Jewish ladies commonly wore a perfume flask around the neck, and it was so much a part of them that they were allowed to wear it on the sabbath.  Picture HERE

How could anything be wasted if it were for Jesus?  Nothing is too good for Jesus.

Inappropriate at the moment to object.  It wasn’t anything against helping the poor.

Mary probably didn’t fully understand her act and the burial implications.  It did not matter.  Her love matters.

Spurgeon says of this scene:  “I wish we were all of us ready to do some extraordinary thing for Christ – willing to be laughed at, to be called fanatics, to be hooted and scandallized because we went out of the common way, and were not content with doing what everybody else could do or approve to be done.”

Matthew implies this was the final insult to Judas who then went the the priests with his offer of betrayal.  What is Judas’ motive?  Speculation of course.  He was from Kerioth, a city in southern Judea, which would make Judas the only Judean among the other disciples, who were all Galileans.  Perhaps he resented the others.  Perhaps he wanted a political Messiah.  Perhaps he wanted to be on the winning side, the side of the priests.  Perhaps he didn’t believe in Jesus.  Perhaps he did and thought Jesus too slow in his revelation.  Perhaps his feelings were hurt from the rebuke.  It doesn’t matter.  All we see is greed.

30 pieces of silver would be worth about $25, a small price at the time.  Many have sold him out for much less since.

Mark 14:3-11:  Some scholars even speculate this oil was a family heirloom that had been passed on from generation to generation as was the custom at the time.

Here we are told she poured it on Jesus’ head.  Jesus had just entered Jerusalem and as king needed to be anointed.  Did Mary understand this?  The disciples obviously didn’t since they protested.

Mary says not one word.  Great lesson for us.  Actions speak louder.

Do you criticize those who show more devotion to Jesus that you?

Judas the hypocrite:  he wasted his entire life.

Mary “did what she could”.  That is all the Lord ever asks of us.  But be wary of doing less and using this as an excuse.

The word “beforehand” is a signal that this act was planned by Mary.  This was not spontaneous.  Also, many wonder if Mary actually understood the Lord better than the disciples.  Understood he was about to give his life for all instead of denying it like Peter.

Many ask, “What can I do for Jesus?”  That is for you to answer.  It comes from the heart.  Listen and it will tell you exactly what to do for him.  No one else can tell you.

This simple act gained Mary fame for eternity.  What will yours be?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 2: Revelation 12:1-6

Summary of passage:  A pregnant woman appeared wearing the sun with the moon at her feet and crown of 12 stars on her head.  A red dragon appeared in heaven with 7 heads, 10 horns, and 7 crowns.  His tail swept 1/3 of the stars out of the sky upon the earth.  The woman birthed a male child who was taken by God to his throne before the dragon could eat him.  The woman fled to the desert to be cared for by God for 1,260 days.


3)  Pregnant woman–nation of Israel;  Dragon–devil;  a son–Jesus

4a)  Genesis 3:1-15:  The devil is more crafty than anything other wild animal God made.  He deceives people.  God curses the devil who will eat dust all the days of his life.  He will send a mediator (Jesus) to crush him.

John 8:44:  The devil was a murderer from the beginning and a liar.  He is the father of lies and speaks in different languages.

1 Peter 5:8:  The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

b)  Satan perverts human nature and encourages sin.  God does not intervene.  Romans 1 says man gives in to lusts and engage in same-sex activities.  They have a depraved mind, filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hatred, insolent, arrogant, and boastful.  They invent more ways to do evil.  They disobey their parents.  They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.

Timothy says people will be lovers of themselves and money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, and lovers of pleasure.

Romans 8 says a person’s only hope is Jesus to be free from sin and death.

5a)  It snatched the child up to heaven before the dragon could devour it and it sent the mother to a prepared place in the desert so God could care for her for 1,260 days.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same way.  Sheltered me.  Prepared a place for me in heaven.  Cared for me and my family.  Been the refuge He promises to be when times are tough.

Conclusions:  You knew 5b was coming.  Again, straight-forward.  No meat.  See End Notes for the meat.

End Notes:  This is the first of 7 signs, called mega or great in Greek.  We are going to see 7 figures of the Tribulation as well, 3 are introduced here.  They are:

· The woman, representing Israel
· The dragon, representing Satan
· The man-child, referring to Jesus
· The angel Michael, head of the angelic host
· The offspring of the woman, representing Gentiles who come to faith in the Tribulation
· The beast out of the sea, representing the antichrist
· The beast out of the earth, representing the false prophet who promotes the antichrist

Who is the woman?  Since this is a sign, scholars don’t expect this woman to appear on earth.  Scholars define biblical signs as an extraordinary spectacle or event that points beyond itself.   She’s a symbol who has been given authority (moon under her feet and crown of 12 stars).

We have seen Jezebel in Revelation 2:20 representing false teaching.  We will see a Great Harlot in Revelation 17:2 pertaining to false religion and the Bride in Revelation 19:7-8 for the church.

Catholics see this woman as Mary.  Art often depicts Mary as standing on a crescent moon with 12 stars around her head.

Some say she represents the believing Messianic community

Some scholars say, however, this woman is Israel.  In Joseph’s dream (Genesis 37:9-11), the sun represented Jacob, the moon represented Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and the eleven stars were the sons of Israel which bowed down to Joseph.  In this sign Joseph is the twelfth star since at the time Joseph was just a boy with no sons yet.

In other Old Testament passages, Israel (or Zion or Jerusalem) is often represented as a woman (Isaiah 54:1-6, Jeremiah 3:20, Ezekiel 16:8-14, and Hosea 2:19-20).

The woman has to be either Mary or Israel since she gave birth to Jesus.  It can’t be the church since Jesus gave birth to the church (Matthew 16:18).  The rest of Revelation 12 will show this is Israel.

Historically, the woman has been viewed as Mary since the Catholic church dominated the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  It has only been recently viewed in a wider sense.  Good article HERE debating who she is.

Some scholars say the pain represents the Roman occupation of Israel during the first century AD.  I say it’s the pain of childbirth woman was cursed with from the Garden (Genesis 3:16).

We have seen this imagery used before when Micah uses it to describe Israel carted off by Babylon to captivity (Micah 4:9-10).  He continues in 5:2-4 to say Israel will suffer to purify the people and allow the remnant to emerge.

Who is the dragon?  The dragon, another sign, represents power (7 heads & 10 horns) and authority (7 crowns).  7 represents completeness so complete power and authority.  The Greek word for crowns (diadema) is only used in the book of Revelation.  It is different than the crowns the woman wears in verse 1 (stephanos).  The crown is permanent victory whereas the diadema is simply power and authority.

The dragon appears in every major civilization in their myths.  Up until the end of the Renaissance and even into the Industrial Revolution, people believed in dragons.

In the Old Testament, we see dragons as symbols of enemies of God or Israel (Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 27:1; Ezekiel 29:3).

Some scholars say the dragon is the Roman empire and cite Revelation 13:1 and Daniel 7:7-8: 2.  However, in verse 9, he’s revealed to be Satan along with Revelation 20:2.

The dragon is evil, plain and simple.

Many believe the 1/3 of the stars flung to earth is 1/3 of Satan’s angels flung to earth in light of the next few verses (Revelation 12:7, 9).  Some say they’re nations or kings.

The dragon has tried before to devour the child.  The devil used Herod (Matthew 2:16-18) to kill the first-borns.  The devil tried himself (John 8:58 & Mark 4:35-41).  Esther saved her people when Haman tried to exterminate the Jews (Esther 3:6).

Who is the child?  We know Jesus rules with an iron scepter (Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 19:15).

Again, we see 1,260 days (or 3 1/2 years), which is the time of the Great Tribulation.  Verse 5 shows the ascension of Jesus and this time frame in verse 6.  We are in-between both.

This passage foreshadows the Great Tribulation.  Those who believe believers will be spared from the Tribulation (mid-tribulationists) point to this passage.  At the end, 1/3 of God’s people (the remnant) will go into hiding (or be raptured) for 3 1/2 years and emerge at the end to heaven on earth.  Post -tribulationists use this passage as well to say Christians will still face the tribulation before the rapture.

THE BIG PICTURE:  We see the birth of Jesus as calm and soothing as a baby in a manger worshiped by three magi.  Smiling animals are in the manger and a star leads the way.  Here, John is saying, “No!”  We see Jesus’ birth how the devil did: a battle for earthly authority with a dragon waiting to eat a newborn baby.  Here, on earth, God and Satan fight for control.  We see this in the choices we make.  However, in the supernatural universe, there is a war going on constantly.  Here, in Revelation 12 and throughout the rest of the book, we will see the final outcome of that battle being told.  And, of course, God wins!

Just for Fun:  Cool pictures of Woman and Dragon HERE and HERE

Images of Mary with stars and moon:  This one is an altar image in Germany HERE  This one is in Strasbourg Cathedral HERE  Papal Mitre HERE

Great article of history of Mary in art world.  She was the most painted woman in art until the eighteenth century.  She was painted by every major artist up until then.  HERE

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 2: Leviticus 16:1-14

Summary of passage:  After Aaron’s two sons died when they approached the Lord unannounced (Leviticus 10), the Lord warns Moses to tell Aaron to not approach the Most Holy Place when he chooses, because He dwells there.  The Lord tells Moses exactly how Aaron is to approach Him:  cleansed and with sacrifices and proper atonement.


3)  The Ark holds the laws and commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The atonement cover is the cover of the ark where the Lord dwells here on earth.  The Most Holy Place is an area in the tabernacle where only the High Priest (right now Aaron) may enter and where the Ark is placed where the Lord dwells.

4a)  Well, I would think killing Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 would be a very clear statement.  But here in Leviticus 16, the Lord lays out specifically how to approach Him and says specifically “not to come whenever he (Aaron) chooses” verse 2.  The whole passage lays out the proper way to approach the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, it should be an example to follow in that when we approach the Lord it should be reverently and with the proper attitude.  It shouldn’t just be “on a whim” or “when we feel like it” or someone dares us to or you’re drunk.  It should be as God’s humble servant.  In my life, I should have the proper fear of the Lord when I speak to Him.  That is all He asks of us.

It should also humble you, knowing that because of Jesus, we can approach God without all of this elaborate ceremony.  Romans 5:1-2 assures us that through faith in Jesus, we have access to God so not just one guy, but all of us.  It increases my gratitude, my reverence, my total reliance on God.

5a)  One goat was to be sacrificed to pay the penalty of man for his sins by dying as a sin offering and through its blood.  The other goat that went into the desert symbolically carried all the sins of the Israelites into the desert.  The word “scapegoat” (escape goat) comes from here and today is used to mean anyone who takes the blame for something someone else or other people did.

This is a picture of Jesus:  one paid the penalty for our sins; the other took our sins away.  Awesome!

b)  Blood is required to make atonement with the Lord and receive His forgiveness.  The blood of the bull was required so Aaron himself could be cleansed and Aaron’s household BEFORE he could make atonement for the Israelites.  He himself had to be cleansed first.

c)  Aaron is to bring the bull and slaughter it to make atonement for his own sin and for his household.  Then he is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.  There he is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord and the smoke will conceal the atonement cover so that he will not die.  Then he is to sprinkle some of the bull’s blood on the front of the atonement cover.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Again “this” is vague to me and we’re talking about atoning for sin here, not praying, and we’re talking about Aaron so far in this passage, not others.  This passage describes how Aaron is to approach the Lord so he won’t die in His presence and how he must be cleansed first before he can cleanse the people.  I would assume we should come with a clean heart to Jesus before we pray for others?  That would be what this passage implies; yet, with Jesus we can pray any time we like.  Basically, I will pray for others.  That’s what I get out of this.

Conclusions:  I think I was in a foul mood when I did this lesson.  Didn’t like 5c at all and in general I  don’t like these kinds of questions where we have to type up the Bible word-for-word and still not for sure how we get praying for others out of atoning for sin here.

I do get a renewed appreciation for how simple life and God is with Jesus. We don’t have to go through elaborate ceremonies to be with Him.  We have Him (the Holy Spirit) and that is all we need.

End Notes:  The Day of Atonement was the only day the high priest was allowed to call God by “Yahweh”, His True Name.  He was the only one and this was the only time.  He was to pass on the pronunciation of God’s name with his last dying breath to the next High Priest.

In the Old Testament, sin was merely covered over with the sacrificial blood; it was never taken away.  In the New Testament, sin is taken away by Jesus.  So the idea behind the blood being sprinkled on the atonement cover was so when God looked down from above, He’d see the blood instead of the sin, hence making atonement with Him.

The goat is comparable to Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9

Summary of passage:  Again, the Pharisees and teachers of the law are testing Jesus and trying to trap him with legalism.  They ask him why his disciples are breaking their tradition (not God’s) of washing their hands before they eat.  Jesus calls them hypocrites for they break God’s commandment of honoring your father and mother by turning everything a child does for his parents into a gift devoted to God.  Jesus says Isaiah was right when he said they honored God with their mouths but not their hearts (Isaiah 29:13).


3a)  Mark explains the Jewish tradition that all Jews do not eat unless they ceremonially wash their hands.  Hence, they wanted to know why the disciples were not following Jewish tradition.

b)  Jesus replied they were hypocrites and in fact break God’s commandments in favor of tradition.  He lists an example of how the Pharisees have twisted the honor your mother and father commandment into gifts to God instead.

4a)  One of the Ten Commandments is to “honor your father and mother”.  Here, instead of helping their parents, they gave the money to God instead.  This contradicted the law because you are called to help others in need.  Also, their hearts were in the wrong place.  They gave the money to God as mere show, not out of devotion to Him.  It was for man they were giving the money.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are called to give to God but we also called to help others, especially our parents who did everything for us as children.  We need to honor them by helping them and giving to them as well in times of need.  God knows the heart.  He knows if you are giving out of obeying Him or giving to impress others.

5a)  People can always just go through the motions when man is watching and pretend to be God’s child when he or she is not.  People and/or teachers can twist God’s law like the Pharisees did to be man’s rules instead of God’s.  If your heart is not God’s, your actions are all in vain.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m always in danger because the devil is always looking to tempt me.  I try to remember everything is God’s and He deserves all the praise.  I do everything for Him.  I think when indifference creeps in, then I’m in trouble, which it does sometimes.  But I believe God knows my intentions even when I myself am too lazy to give it all to Him.

Conclusions:  I liked reading Mark and learning about Corban.  It’s been a while since I’ve read Mark so that was refreshing.  I also liked the emphasis on lip service paid to God, which I think we are all guilty of.  It’s a good reminder to have Him present in all things you do.

Explanation of Corban from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas & Merrill Tenney:

This is the only time the term “Corban” is used in the Bible.  Jesus was referring to the common practice of people who would dedicate their property to the Lord (but still maintaining ownership in the property), which allowed them to claim they had no money or property to support their parents with because the land was already dedicated to the Lord.  Once the property was dedicated to the Lord, it was forbidden for humans to use.

This allowed complete disavowal of the commandment while appearing to be extremely pious in the process.

End Notes:  Note how the Pharisees traveled up North where Jesus was from Jerusalem.  Word is spreading about Jesus and the Pharisees are concerned–so much so they have sent a delegation to check it out.  These conflicts with the Pharisees is what got Jesus killed.  It was his own people–God’s chosen people and the people whom Jesus had come to save first over the Gentiles–who handed him over to the Romans.

Keeping people away from God with these stupid traditions irritated Jesus as we can see here. Tradition is no where near the same weight as God’s Law and that was Jesus’ point here.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of passage:  The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day.  When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them.

Abraham entreats them to stay and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort.

They agree to stay.

So Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations.  The men ask Abraham where is Sarah.  God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.

Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs (stupid move), believing she is worn out.  God asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Then Sarah denies she laughed when confronted (again, stupid).  For God knows our hearts.


3)  Verses 10 & 14; Genesis 17:21

4a)  In 19:1, 2 angels appeared to destroy Sodom.  So here I’d say two men were angels and one was the Lord himself.  Verse 18:1 says “appeared” as if out of thin air.  It specifically says “The Lord appeared” so God was one of them.  But it was God in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 & 1 Timothy 6:16 says that no one has ever seen God Himself.

b)  He bowed low to the ground, offered them water and food, and washed their feet.

5a)  She was afraid and Sarah only thought she was too old.  She never spoke the words out loud.  Only God knows our thoughts.

b)  Hebrews says, Yes, Sarah did believe and seems to say she wouldn’t have conceived if she hadn’t.  Perhaps this is why it took so long for her to conceive.  She doubted and she doubted and until finally her heart turned.  God was testing her.

c)  She had to believe that what the Lord said He would do, He would do.  Believe in your heart.

6)  You have to believe nothing is impossible with God.  That He will allow a virgin to conceive (Luke 1:37-8).  That He will make us new as if we were born again once we believe (John 3:4-5).  Jesus explains to his disciples that all things are possible with God, even a camel passing through the eye of a needle and all can have salvation with faith (Mark 10:24-27).  God will allow a 90 year-old woman, Sarah, to conceive for nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).

Conclusions:  Great lesson for me!  If you have any doubt in your heart, God will not come through.  It seems to me Sarah doubted and doubted and God repeated and repeated until finally she believed. And she was scared to believe.  But she did.  And I bet that very day she conceived.

God holds up His end of the deal.  He says, “Look, it’s this simple:  believe.”  And man says, “Give me a second to think this through.”

God says ok, for He has all the time in the world.  We, on the other hand, only have limited time to accomplish His purposes.

It’s hard for us but not God.  Yet we think it’s God holding us back when it’s really us–due to our unbelief.

Powerful lesson!

End Notes:  God again, less than 3 months later, comes IN PERSON and REPEATS His promise to Abraham.  Why?

1)  God repeats His promises over and over again because dumb man NEEDS to hear it–to strengthen his faith.  Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.  Or God Himself in the personage of Christ if you are so lucky to receive such a message.

2)  Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally.  In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

Also to note:  God read Sarah’s heart.  Even though she didn’t laugh out loud, God heard her.  God knows our heart as well and we should live as if He hears our every thought.

Even though Sarah and Abraham both laughed at God and His promises, God did not respond in anger nor did He punish their unbelief.  He remained (and remains) faithful to them and to us.  He never abandons us like we do Him.

God never changes despite the whims of man.  He loves us always and forever.

Note in verse 13:  “The Lord said to Abraham”.  God correctly addresses Abraham about his wife’s unbelief and about her reaction for Abraham is the head of the family and is therefore responsible for his wife’s belief (and in this case, unbelief).

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 2: 2 Thessalonians 1

Summary of passage:  Second Letter to the Church in Thessalonica.  We ought to thank God for you as your faith is growing more and more and you love one another more and more.  We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

God’s judgment is right and you will be worthy of the kingdom of God.  God is just.  He will pay back those who trouble you and bring relief when the Lord Jesus comes from Heaven in a blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus with everlasting destruction.  Those who believe will marvel in him as he’s glorified in his holy people.

We pray that God may count you worthy of his calling and that he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.


3a)  Because their faith is growing more and more and the love every one of them has for each other is increasing.  They have perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials they are enduring.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I believe I have a deeper faith in God and what He is doing in my life and in this world.  I have more faith in the trials in my life.  I know my time will come.

4a)  Jesus will be revealed from Heaven in blazing fire with powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

b)  Jesus will be glorified in his holy people and be marveled at.  He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to those who are troubled.

c)  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people.

5)  That God may count them worthy of his calling, that he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.

Conclusions:  Great prayer at the end.  Just prayed it for myself and others.  That our purpose is His purpose.  That we find His purpose in our lives.  That we live out that purpose despite the world’s pressures to hinder and squash us at every turn.  That we may be always prompted by faith in what we do.  That we live for Him every moment of our lives.  Amen.