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.