BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 3: John 12:12-22 with Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-46

Summary of passages:  John 12:12-22:  The Passover Feast attendants heard Jesus was heading to Jerusalem so they run out to meet him, carrying palm branches and calling him the King of Israel.  Jesus enters on a donkey.  His disciples don’t understand this.  Many people believed in Jesus and the Pharisees are angered.  Some Greeks even wanted to see Jesus.

Matthew 21:1-16:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word.  Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd went ahead of him, announcing him as the Son of David.  Jesus entered and again threw out the money changers from the temple.  Jesus healed the blind and the lame.  The chief priests were indignant as the children praised him.

Mark 11:1-11:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word.  Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd went ahead of him, announcing him as coming in the name of the Lord.  Jesus went to the temple but left since it was late, spending the night in Bethany with his disciples.

Luke 19:29-46:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word. Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road for him.  The disciples began to joyful praise God and for sending the King.  The Pharisees, angry at this, yelled at Jesus to rebuke his disciples.  Jesus said he could not for the stones would cry if he did.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem he wept for he knew the future when the city would be destroyed and many would die.  He entered the temple and drove out the vendors.

Questions:

6)  Psalm 118:25-26:  Jesus is blessed and he shines his light upon us.  The festal procession took place with boughs in hand.  God’s word is true.

Zechariah 9:9:  Jesus comes righteous and with salvation, riding on a colt of a donkey.  God’s word is true.

7a)  Disciples, Pharisees, children, Jewish believers and non-believers, Greeks

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In all aspects He calls me.

Conclusions:  Such an exciting passage.  Such a let down in the questions.  Can we please unpack these verses?  See End Notes for just that.

End Notes:  John 12:12-22:  From here on out, Jesus will be in Jerusalem.  This inaugurates Passion Week and is a deliberate action by Jesus to provoke the Jewish leaders against him.

This was the large crowd gathered for the greatest holidays of Judaism – Passover.  Many were from Galilee.  All came with lambs, which was required as a sacrifice.  The lamb had to live with the family for at least three days before sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-6).  Hence, picture this scene with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, surrounded by lambs–him being the greatest Lamb of all!

Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that one year a census was taken of the number of lambs slain for Passover and that figure was 256,500.  Can you imagine this today?  That’s a lot of lambs!  The animal rights people would be up in arms!

Palm branches were a symbol of Jewish nationalism since the time of the Maccabees.  Still seeing Jesus as a political and national savior, they welcomed him as king, ignoring the spiritual side.  Later, palms appeared as national symbols on the coins struck by the Judean insurgents during the first and second revolts against Rome (ad 66-70 and 132-135).

Hosanna means “save now” and is from Psalm 118:25-6.  They welcomed him as Messiah.

Jesus sits on the donkey for both fulfillment of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) and to indicate his kingdom is not military or political–it’s spiritual.  The donkey was used by clergyman and for peace.  Otherwise, Jesus would be riding a war horse.  Doing this, the Roman probably didn’t think much of Jesus.  He had no army with him.

‘Daughter of Zion’ is a personification of the city of Jerusalem; it occurs frequently in the Old Testament, especially in the later prophets. (Tenney)

Since only God has the power to raise the dead, the people were convinced Jesus would have the power to overthrow the Romans since he could do such a feat.

“The world has gone after him”, like Caiaphas’ (John 11:50) words, are prophetic as well.

We are not told the nature of these Greeks.  Were they converts?  Curiosity seekers?  One scholar (Bruce) speculates that between verses 19 and 20 a day or two had elapsed: Jesus was no longer on the road to Jerusalem, but teaching daily in the temple precincts.  And in the meantime, according to Mark 11:15-17, he had expelled the traders and moneychangers from the precincts — that is, more precisely, from the outer court — in order that the place might fulfill its divinely ordained purpose of being ‘a house of prayer for all the nations’ (Isaiah 56:7).  Did these Greeks recognize this action as having been undertaken in the interests of Gentiles like themselves who, when they came up to worship the true God, had to confine themselves to the outer court?

Why Philip?  He’s the one disciple with a Greek name.  These men have often been compared to the Three Magi.  They come to the cross.

Matthew 21:1-16:  Up until this point, Jesus had acted in secret for the most part, avoiding attention and the Romans seeking him.  Now, his time come, he makes a huge public entrance, announcing to all he has arrived.

John omits the part of obtaining the colt.  Matthew does not.  Jesus chooses to ride on the younger animal, the colt.  Mark and Luke tell us it has never been ridden before so it’s prudent to bring its mother along.  Here we see the Creator of the Universe riding his creation.  Awesome!  Zechariah mentions only one animal in his prophesy.

The day was chosen as well to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-7).  Jesus may even have spoken these words in verses 4-5.

Great people used to ride on donkeys (Judges10;4; 12:14) until horses came upon the scene.  Now we seek Jesus as the Prince of Peace, riding a lowly animal that now only poor people rode and used to carry burdens.

The people’s reaction is one of honor:  spreading out their cloaks and cutting branches.  It also spoke of victory and success.

Hosanna was also addressed to kings (2 Samuel 14:4 & 2 Kings 6:26).  The people are unafraid to proclaim Jesus as their Savior and Messiah.  Jesus receives this as the day the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24).

Jesus knew he was in danger but he was unafraid of the Pharisees here.

Note in Matthew 2:3 when the Magi came looking for the King of Jews, ‘all Jerusalem’ was troubled.  Now when the king arrives all the city is stirred.

In five days these same people will demand Jesus to be crucified.  How fickle are us humans!  How tragic.

It was here, before he entered the city, that Jesus wept over it and what would come (Luke 19:41-44).

This scene is different than the one we already studied in John 2:13-22.  Obviously, the people continued in their cheating ways, charging way too much for sacrificial animals.   A pair of doves cost 4p outside the Temple and as much as 75p inside the Temple.  This is almost 20 times more expensive.

Note, however, this time Jesus is condemning both the buyers and the sellers for it takes two for this sin to happen.  The money lenders would not be there if there were no demand for their services.

The money changers would be there again.  The act is important though, the condemnation.  Jesus was showing all this is not okay.

Once the money lenders were cleared, Jesus could concentrate on his real work:  healing.  The blind and the lame were not allowed in the temple. Thus, they could not offer sacrifices.  Again, Jesus went to them like he does us.

The hypocritical priests are content with money lenders but not healers.  It was common for kids to shout praises.  The problem was calling Jesus “the Son of David.”  Jesus says kids matter too.

Mark 11:1-11:  Sending his disciples ahead of him left nothing to chance.  This had to be right.  He had to enter as the suffering servant, not a general.

Mark’s wording suggests Jesus had pre-arranged the taking of the colt with the owner.

Finally, the people honor Jesus for who he is not what he can give them.  Clothing was expensive in those days and most people wore the same clothes for days.  Laying out their cloaks for Jesus was an extravagant sacrifice indeed.  Public honor is encouraged here.

We call this event the “Triumphal Entry,” but it was a different kind of triumph. In the Romans’ eyes, this was far from triumphant.  To them, a Triumphal Entry was a honor granted to a Roman general who won a complete and decisive victory and had killed at least 5,000 enemy soldiers. When the general returned to Rome, they had an elaborate parade.  First came the treasures captured from the enemy, then the prisoners. His armies marched by unit by unit, and finally the general rode in a golden chariot pulled by magnificent horses. Priests burned incense in his honor and the crowds shouted his name and praised him. The procession ended at the arena, where some of the prisoners were thrown to wild animals for the entertainment of the crowd. That was a Triumphal Entry, not a Galilean peasant sitting on a few coats set out on a pony.

Jesus inspected everything, mainly seeking the hearts of the people.

Note in Mark we didn’t read:  Mark’s record contains the more complete quotation of Jesus’ reference to Isaiah 56:7: Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?” (Mark 11:17).  Isaiah prophesied, and Jesus demanded that the temple be a place for all nations to pray.  The money lenders were making it impossible for any Gentile to come and pray.

Luke 19:29-46:  So what is the triumph here?  The triumph of humility over pride and worldly grandeur; of poverty over affluence; and of meekness and gentleness over rage and malice.

The Pharisees know they are losing with the drowning out of the devil’s voice.  They ask Jesus to quiet the disciples to which Jesus replies how creation will cry out.

In some old copies of the Bible, they removed the passage about Jesus weeping here, because they thought that if Jesus were perfect He would not weep. But the perfection of Jesus demands that He weep at this occasion, when Israel rejected their only opportunity to escape the destruction to come.

God does not rejoice in His judgement.  Jesus here showed the heart of God, how even when judgment must be pronounced, it is never done with joy. Even when God’s judgment is perfectly just and righteous, His heart weeps at the bringing of the judgment.

“On this day”.  This day was likely the day prophesied by Daniel that Messiah the Prince would come unto Jerusalem. Daniel said that it would be 483 years on the Jewish calendar from the day of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the day the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. By the reckoning of Sir Robert Anderson, this was fulfilled 483 years later to the day (by the Jewish reckoning of 360 day years, as in Daniel 9:25).

This is the day mentioned in Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Jerusalem means “city of peace”.  Jesus predicted what would happen when the Romans attacked Jerusalem.  Therefore, he weeps.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 3: Revelation 12:7-9

Summary of passage:  War in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels.  The dragon (or Satan) lost and he and his angels were hurled to the earth.

Questions:

6)  Michael and his angels.  The dragon lost and was hurled along with his angels to earth.

7)  God allows Satan to do evil in this world but with God’s restrictions.  Most importantly in Job (and why I believe we are reading this along with this passage) is in this passage we see Satan in heaven come before God’s throne.  In verse 9, we see God throw Satan out of heaven for good to the earth.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  I know God is more powerful.  God does not give me more than I can handle nor does he allow the devil to tempt me with things I cannot overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13).  How can one not be comforted by that?

Conclusions:  The question referencing Job seemed to come out of left field–that is until I read the commentary and its significance.  Sometimes I wish BSF would just point that out.  Maybe it’ll be in the notes but it would be awesome to understand that WHILE I’M DOING MY LESSON instead of a week later when I forgot what I was working on and have to go back.  Most of us (me included) would have never connected those dots without help.

I was wondering about Michael and who he is.  I explore that in the End Notes.

The study of the End Times seems to me like solving a big jigsaw puzzle.  Bits and pieces of knowledge are scattered throughout the Bible and God leaves it to man to connect the dots and form the whole picture.  I bet God did that on purpose–so we’ll know His word even better and Him in the process.

End Notes:  We are at the mid-point of the Great Tribulation.  How do we know this?  Daniel tells us in 12:1 that Michael will arise.  First war was on earth as we’ve read and now it’s in heaven where Satan will be overcome and defeated and no longer have access to either.

This is happening at the same time Israel is fleeing to the prepared land we saw in the previous passage in Revelation 12:6.

Some religions believe Michael to be Jesus.  This is just not so.  Wouldn’t John had just identified Michael as Jesus?  This is the best argument but scholars have scores more as to why this is NOT Jesus.

Michael seems to be of the same rank as Satan here–an archangel.  Satan and Michael have met before–in Jude 9.  They are arguing over the body of Moses as God will raise Moses again as we see in the Transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31).  Daniel 12:1 tells us he is the protector of Israel who will deliver her from the Great Tribulation in the last days.

Who exactly is Michael?  In Hebrew his name means “who is like God.”  He is only mentioned 5 times in the entire Bible, most in Daniel and in Revelation.  He is called a “chief prince” in Daniel 10:13.  He is mentioned again in Dan 10:21.  In 12:1 Daniel prophesied his presence at the Great Tribulation.  He appears in the New Testament in Jude 9 where he’s protecting Moses’ body.  The last time he is mentioned is here in Rev 12 as fighting with the devil.  These are the only times he is mentioned by name.  Some scholars equate him with nameless archangels that appear in the Bible, but these are the only ones we know for sure.

He’s a protector of God’s people.  Both throughout history, today, and in the End Times. I would equate him to a general in God’s army, fighting God’s war against the enemy.

Is this a spiritual or physical batter?  Amongst mankind it’s spiritual.  But angels?  This could possibly be hand-to-hand combat.  The great John Milton believed so as he imagined it in his masterpiece Paradise Lost.

Up until this point, Satan has had access to heaven as demonstrated clearly in these verses.  We also see this in Job 1:6-12 where Satan presents himself before God’s throne in heaven.

It is a mistake to believe God can have nothing unholy in His presence.  First, God being God, He can have whomever He wants in His presence.  The truth is that we cannot have a relationship with God and be with Him if we are unholy.  We (humans) have to be cleansed first to have eternal life with Him, which  Christ did for us.  But God, being God, can and does allow unholy beings (angels or Satan or even mankind) in His presence.

Here, we see Satan (or the great dragon, ancient serpent, the devil, he who leads the whole world astray) cast out for good.  Satan has many titles, all of which speak to his malevolent nature.  Devil in Greek (diabolos) means slanderer or defamer.  Satan means adversary.

Satan falls 4 times in the Bible:

  1. When he turned to sin (Ezekiel 28:14-16)
  2. Here in Revelation 12 where he had access to heaven (Job 1:12, 1 Kings 22:21, Zechariah 3:1, Revelation 12:10) to being restricted to earth
  3.  Taken from earth and thrown into the Abyss for 1,000 years (Revelation 20: 2-3)
  4. From the Abyss, let loose to deceive the nations, and then thrown into the lake of burning sulphur to be tormented for eternity (Revelation 20:7-10)

Jesus refers to one of these falls in Luke 10:18, either the first fall or looking ahead to the second fall.

In John 12:27-33, Jesus speaks of Satan’s defeat as well as he explains his victory on the cross, which we’ll see in verse 10 in the next day.

The angels that go with Satan are his followers or demonic spirits.  Most scholars believe they are the same third of the stars flung to the earth in Revelation 12:4.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 3: Leviticus 16:15-19

Summary of passage:  Aaron will then slaughter the chosen goat as a sin offering for the people and do what he did for himself:  sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover, which will cleanse the Most Holy Place since people have fouled it.  He is to do the same for the Tabernacle and no one is to go in whilst Aaron is performing the ceremony.  He is to do the same for the altar to cleanse it since people have touched it.

Questions:

6)  To make atonement for it, to cleanse it since people and their sins have touched it/polluted it.

7)  Basically, everything in the world is polluted by sin when Adam and Eve allowed the serpent in.  Hence, there is a need for a cleansing which we receive through Jesus Christ on this side of heaven but the ancient Israelites, not having Jesus, had to atone with sacrificial blood to cleanse themselves and everything else.

8a)  Any way that breaks God’s laws and commandments.  Any time a person sins.  Any time a person turns from God towards sin.  You name it, it’s probably sin:  adultery, murder, revenge, greed, lust, gluttony, etc.

b)  1 Corinthians 8:9-13 warns us that if we sin, then others weaker than us shall follow us into sin and fall as well.  We set the example that human nature being what it is will follow.  Call it peer pressure or crowd mentality or weakness it’s all the same–if one person thinks it’s okay, undoubtedly someone else will as well.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Strive above all else to follow God’s commands and do His will and when I fall, ask for forgiveness and tell others of my shortcomings so they don’t make the same mistakes. However, as fallen man, all of us will hurt someone in our lives as a result of sin.  Perfect only exists in Christ.  Thus, even when we do inevitably hurt those we love, God forgives and enables us to do better.  That is my comfort.

Conclusions:  Again like yesterday, I get a renewed appreciation for just how great our God is to send His son for us so that we can live in a world cleansed by Jesus Christ.

End Notes:  The house of God needed to be cleansed since man constantly touched it.  It’s like Midas and everything he touched turned to gold until it became a curse.  I can’t imagine living knowing everything I touched, I polluted merely because I was a sinner.  God is good.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 3: Matthew 15:10-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus told the crowd  it is what comes out of their mouth that makes them unclean not what goes in, referring to the tradition of washing your hands before eating that the Pharisees gasp at in the previous 9 verses.  The disciples are agasp that Jesus would speak to the Pharisees so and Jesus tells them  that they are blind guides and if they are followed, all will fall.

Peter has no idea what Jesus just said and Jesus basically calls him stupid.  He says that food is just food.  But words come from the heart and reveal who you are.  For evil dwells in the heart which is such things as evil thoughts, murder, theft, adultery, sexual immorality, etc.  Eating with unwashed hands had nothing to do with the heart.

Questions:

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is what comes out of your mouth that makes you unclean not what goes in for what comes out of your mouth evinces the heart.  It matters what comes out of my mouth for it truly reveals the heart.  It’s an area I struggle with and it’s one of my goals for this year to be more encouraging.

[If you read Mark 7:20-23 as well, you’ll get the whole explanation.]

7a)  That the Pharisees were offended by his retort and everyone knew not to offend the powerful Pharisees in that time.

b)  That every plant not rooted in Him would be pulled up by the roots and that they (the Pharisees) would fall into the pit (hell).  Basically, they were going to Hell.

c)  That those who followed the Pharisees would fall into the pit as well (go to Hell).

d)  Apparently, he was “dull” according to Jesus.

8a)  Evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Evil thoughts (we’ve all had them), sexual immorality, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly (who isn’t foolish at some point in their lives–remember the teen years?).  Hell, I’m still foolish at times.

I’ve been guilty of most human sins (thank God not murder though!).  I’m still guilty of these at various times in my human life.  I try to confess them (which is hard for me–pride, ya know) but I do and I do receive His forgiveness/cleansing.  And I feel I commit less and less sin as I continue to grow and walk with Him.  And this brings me great comfort.

Curious, I looked up the definition of lewdness, wondering if I had been guilty of it (yep, I have been).  It’s “evil, wicked; sexually unchaste or licentious; obscene, salacious” (looked up this one too.  It’s:  “arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination; lascivious, lustful”).

Just to clarify since we’re getting “personal” here:  I was date-raped in college while still a virgin. After that, I entered a severe depression where I did have multiple sex partners (less than 10 I’m talking here) in search of something–probably God or a void that was ripped from me.  It was a time in my life where I was lost, confused, bitter, and vengeful.

After I met my husband, I have been sexually pure since then (thanks to my husband and God).  If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’d know this about me, but I haven’t mentioned it in quite a while so I thought I’d let you all know here 🙂

Conclusions:  I could almost see the disciples gasping when Jesus chastised the Pharisees as evinced by their words in verse 12.

I was cheering Jesus here.  He literally lays it out for the disciples and they are still “duh” and Jesus calls them on it.

Surprisingly, I liked the last question.  Not sure why especially since it brought up times in my life I’d rather not remember.  I think because it points out how flawed we truly are and how much we do need a Savior.  Without Jesus, we are all hopeless and doomed for we can never overcome our sinful nature.  But Jesus gives us hope.  And I personally cannot imagine my life without him.

And we carry all these sins in our heart and they come out our mouth.  Again, it pointed out my deep need for Jesus and God’s grace in my very flawed life.

End Notes:  This passage makes it clear that all foods are kosher, which Jesus anticipated his blood would do (Acts 10:15 clarifies this), and nullifies all the food laws from the Old Testament and from the laws the priests made as well.

If it is not rooted in God, it will be uprooted.  Period.

One scholar said the greatest plague God can send on mankind is someone who leads them astray.  On the other hand, it is our responsibility as well to not be led astray by knowing God and His laws.

We are defiled from the inside out–not the other way around.  Spurgeon said “The heart is the cage from whence these unclean birds fly forth.”

This reminds me of the song From the Inside Out by Hillsong United.  The lyrics say:

“My heart and my soul, I give you control,

Consume me from the inside out, Lord.”

Later:

“And the cry of my heart

Is to bring You praise

From the inside out

Lord, my soul cries out”

I can’t say it any better.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 18:16-33

Summary of passage:  After visiting Abraham at his tent and partaking of food and water, the men get up to leave.  Abraham walked with them aways.  The Lord wonders if He should hide from Abraham what He is about to do–namely destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  For Abraham will become a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.  For He has chosen Abraham to keep the way of the Lord.

The Lord said the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that He himself will verify it.

So the men (other two presumably angels) went towards Sodom while the Lord remained next to Abraham.

Abraham challenges God repeatedly not to wipe away the righteous with the unrighteous, reminding God that He should only judge the wicked and not lump the righteous in with the same judgment as the wicked.  [Abraham’s got some guts here.]

The Lord says He will spare the city if He can find 50 righteous people.  But the Lord cannot find any.

Abraham does say he is nothing but dust and ashes and repeats how he is unworthy to request such a thing.  But Abraham does anyways.

The Lord leaves and Abraham returns home.

Questions:

7)  Because Abraham was God’s chosen one (Isaiah and Genesis say).  We (humans and Abraham) are God’s friends (Isaiah and John) and are no longer servants.  And friends tell each other everything; they have no secrets.  God chose man.  James tells us “he (Abraham) was called God’s friend.”

Think about this:  you are so close to God that you are walking next to Him as Abraham is doing.  You are God’s friend and confidant.  It would be natural for God to tell you His plans.  It’s why God created man in the first place.  It’s how God treated Adam in the Garden.

God told Abraham about Sodom because it is what friends would do–share and bond.

8 )  Mark says to consider carefully what you hear.  John says the Holy Spirit within will guide us.  John 8:47:  “He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”  John 10:27  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Consensus seems to be that to hear God we must be God’s.  We must have the Holy Spirit within.  If you are not a believer, you will not hear God.

9)  God punishes the wicked and not the righteous.  He provides a way out for the righteous.  God listens to the outcries against the accused and then verifies before He judges.  God listens to our prayers for the wicked and offers up repentance.  God is just; punishment will come to those who do evil.

10a)  Lot and his family are spared.

b)  To show Abraham that He listens to prayers, that He is fair, and that He answers prayers.

c)  No.

d)  “The Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” when we do not know what to pray for.  For God knows our hearts and our minds and the Spirit intercedes or guides us in accordance with God’s will.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we do not ask, we do not receive.  Abraham asked and asked and asked.  He did not give up.  For in his heart Abraham loved those people. Same for us.  We must ask and ask and ask.  For God will answer. (Matthew 7:7-8).

John 15:16:  “I chose you..and the Father will give you whatever you ask in my (Jesus’s) name.”

Abraham reminded God of who He was.  This is powerful in prayer.  And Abraham was specific.  We must be as well.  General prayers won’t get the job done.  Abraham was persistent; he did not give up.  He kept negotiating with God.  This revealed Abraham’s heart and how he loved those people (and their evil-hearts) so much he begged for their lives.

This is what God wants–to see our heart when we pray.  And if our hearts and motives are in sync, then we shall receive.

Conclusions:  I love thinking about me as God’s friend.  We think of God as a Father and a judge.  But He is also our best friend, the one we can confide anything to, the one who only wants the best for us and will do anything to help us.

God chose us to be His friends and to make known to us things–if we obey God and do what He commands (John 15:14).

So I will ask for more and pray more and talk to God more–as a friend and not just as “God–the Almighty and Ruler of the World.”  For that is what He desires.

I liked the discussion on hearing God.  Many people think they should hear God and when they don’t they get frustrated and turn from Him.  It’s not that He’s not speaking; it’s that we are not listening (if we are believers).  God won’t speak to you if you don’t know Him.

Asking is key.  To receive we must ask.  Same with hearing God.  Not hearing Him?  Ask Him to hear Him.  What do you have to lose?

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 3: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with Revelation 13:6-13

Summary of passages:  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12:  Paul in His Second Letter to the Thessalonians says the day of our Lord will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed.  He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming to be God.

The secret power of lawlessness is already at work but he is being held back and will be continued to be held back until he is removed.  The lawless one will be revealed and Jesus will then overthrow him.  We will see the coming of the lawless one by witnessing the counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders and other deceiving evils.  The unbelievers refuse to love the truth so God will send them a delusion so they will be condemned.

Revelations 13:6-13:  The beast opened his mouth to blaspheme God and was given power to conquer the saints in war.  He was given authority over all people.  All unbelievers will worship the beast whose name is not written in the book of life.

Another beast emerged with 2 horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon.  He was the first beast’s helper who made everyone worship the first beast.  He performed miraculous signs including fire coming down from heaven.

Questions:

6)  Not until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

7)  He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

8a)  Counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders and in every other sort of deceiving evil in accordance with the work of Satan but sent by God as punishment for their unbelief.  God sends this lie (the lie He is not God) as punishment for their unbelief but again it is man’s free will to choose to believe it or not.  Those who choose not to believe in God will be judged for all of eternity.

b)  The same way it has happened for all of eternity.  Because of people’s refusal to open their eyes and see and accept God’s truth He allows them to be deluded by the Devil and things of this world and not His world.  For instance, they worship and serve created things instead of the Creator.   Although they know they will have death if they do these things, they continue to do so and approve of others who do so as well.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Know God’s truths and engrave them into your heart with steel.  Pray and pray some more. Read and study God’s words.  Use it as a shield against the Enemy.  Accept God’s truth, what Jesus did for us on the cross, and reject the world’s acts as much as possible.  Make God your center and the delusion will be repelled like a dog is to ultrasonic sounds.

Conclusions:  Great warning to us how the Devil is everywhere and will try to make us fall at every turn.  We must be vigilant in our walk with God and not stray off His path for it is all too easy.  We must be aware that the lawlessness one will come and be prepared for it by becoming more and more like Jesus every day of our lives.

The man of lawlessness is also referred to as the Antichrist and many scholars believe it will be a human man.

The beast of the Revelations passage also refers to the man of lawlessness.  They are one in the same just called different names.  The beast, the man of lawlessness, and the Antichrist are all the same person who will come instead of Jesus to lure people into wickedness.  We (humans) are unsure what this person/thing will look like so there are many descriptions of him throughout the Bible.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 16, Day 3 Isaiah 40:3-5

Summary of passage:  Isaiah as the Lord’s messenger calls the people to prepare the way for the Lord by raising up the valleys, leveling mountains, smoothing out the rough ground so the road is straight so the glory of the Lord can be revealed and all mankind can see it.

Questions:

5) To prepare the way for the Lord and remove every obstacle in His path (raise up the valleys, level mountains, smooth out rough roads so they are straight) so the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind will see it.  Prepare our hearts as well for Him.

6) Both John the Baptist and John were baptizing people in these passages, the ultimate sign of accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.  So, they were preparing the people (their hearts, minds, and souls) for Jesus’ coming.  John the Baptist wore clothes made from camel hair and ate locusts.  We all must prepare for God in mind, body, and soul.

7a) Exodus 24:17  a consuming fire on top of the mountain

Luke 2:9  an angel

Matthew 17:1-8  Jesus was transfigured.  His face shone like the Sun and his clothes were white

Hebrews 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory

b)  2 Corinthians 3:7-18  Verse 18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

If we accept Jesus, we are the glory of the Lord.  We see God’s glory all around us as we live out His words.

Conclusions:  I love how BSF takes a topic (here, the Glory of God) and makes us really think about it where as otherwise it just passes through our minds like any other words spoken.

I looked up glory in the dictionary and got a myriad of responses:  giving someone glory (praise, honor, or worship); a distinguished quality or asset; great beauty, magnificence; the splendor and beatific happiness of heaven.

As we’ve learned, no mortal can look fully on God because of his glory.  Moses only saw his back.  Isaiah saw the Lord on His throne with seraphs flying around Him, praising Him.  God hovered in clouds above the people.

Then, God sent His son, Jesus, who if you think about it was the glory of God incarnate, walking amongst us and throngs of people wanted a touch of just his clothing.  Then Jesus was transfigured by God with divine radiance.

I quoted 2 Corinthians 3 where we all reflect God’s glory since we are part of God’s creations.  People believe you can see God’s glory in Nature all around us.  The wonderment of how it all works around us and we have no control of it.  God’s glory in the Heavens, the stars, the moon, the Sun.  Everywhere you look really.  Since God created it all (for his pleasure and perhaps for his glory) you can say the glory of God is all around us.

I like to believe we all carry a bit of God in us–in our very souls–the part that makes us good instead of falling into our inherent tendencies of evil.  So, we are God’s glory.  He takes pleasure in us in that sense.

Nature too is an absolute miracle and when you’re watching a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean or examining the perfect uniqueness of a snowflake, who can’t help but think it’s all God’s glory?

I’d love to hear your opinions on the glory of God, where He dwells, and how it can be seen.