BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 5: Romans 9:22-29

Summary of passage:  God reserves the right to choose whom He wants to choose for salvation and let those whom choose destruction be destroyed.

Questions:

11)  God demonstrates His power by choosing those for salvation whom He wants to choose (he also is showing mercy here to those chosen).  This includes both the Jews and the Gentiles.  He also shows His power by letting those heading down the path of destruction continue so, being destroyed, and showing His power in the process.  He does all of this to show His power and mercy and ultimately to bring more to Him.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fact I am saved and chosen moves me to bring more to Him.  The fact I have life and heaven and hope here and now moves me to thank Him and follow Him and do His will in my life.  The fact I do have grace and works to do here on this side of heaven moves me to praise Him and love Him and obey Him.

13)  God has a right to call whom He wants to call.  He has a right to choose a remnant.  It is in His mercy that a remnant is even chosen for He could destroy us all like in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Conclusions:  A difficult passage to understand due to the nature of Paul’s questioning and his use of the Old Testament, but an important point:  God in His infinite power and control does what He wants, chooses whom He wants, shows mercy to whom He wants, allows those to stay in wrath whom He wants, and saves whom He wants.  God is in control and it is only by mercy that we are His!

End Notes:  Here Paul asks doesn’t God have the right to glorify Himself as He sees fit?  Here, God lets people go their own way and receive his righteous wrath to make His power known.  And on the flip side, if God decides to show mercy, being more than fair, who can oppose Him?  And if God wants to show mercy to the Gentiles as well, who can oppose Him?

Hosea says God has a right to call whom He wants as well.  God also has the right to choose a remnant for salvation.  In the original context these passages from Hosea refer to the spiritual restoration of Israel.  Paul finds in them the principle that God is a saving, forgiving, restoring God, who delights to take those who are “not my people” and make them “my people.”  Paul then applies this principle to Gentiles, whom God makes his people by sovereignly grafting them into covenant relationship.

Isaiah is speaking first of the remnant saved from the Assyrians who were all afraid they’d be destroyed.  God’s promise of salvation never applied to all.  It applies to the remnant whom God chooses.  Isaiah says how Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed.  It is only in God’s mercy that a remnant is chosen.  It could always be worse!

Isaiah 10:22-23; 1:9 indicate only a small remnant will survive from the great multitude of Israelites.  God’s calling includes both Jews and Gentiles but the vast majority are Gentiles.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 5: John 12:37-50

Summary of passage:  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus.  God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.  Still, many believed in Jesus but were too afraid to say anything out of fear.  Jesus says those who see him see God and he is the light of the world.  Jesus speaks what God has commanded him to.  He has come to save the world.

Questions:

11)  Many Jews still did not believe in Jesus. God had blinded them and deadened their hearts.

12a)  Well, John quoted verse 10.  Some will never be able to believe in Jesus/God because they have been blinded and their hearts hardened.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Honestly, none.  I’ve never been one to care what people think of me.  It’s what you see is what you get.  I’m pretty authentic.

Conclusions:  I have no comments on this.  Either you got something out of this or you didn’t.

End Notes:  The Old Testament prophets predicted many would not believe in Jesus.  Today, this is the norm, especially among Jews.  But back then everyone believed in God so why not in Jesus?  It was man’s choice to believe or not.  Those who did not would be strengthened in their hardening hearts as judgement.

Isaiah, in seeing God, saw Jesus as well.  He understood they were one and the same.

Isaiah spoke primarily of the glory of God.  John speaks primarily of the glory of Jesus, making no distinction between the two.  Glory here is majesty and Jesus’ death on the cross, resurrection, and exaltation.  Both portray suffering and healing, rejection and triumph, humiliation and glory.

Fun Fact:  These are the last words in John’s gospel from Jesus to the public.  He emphasizes the culmination of all his previous teaching in John, including a challenge to decide, a warning to those who decide, against Him and a promise to those who decide for Him.  Scholars are unsure when Jesus spoke these words.

Jesus stresses his closeness and oneness with God, the need of man, the need of man to be saved, and his submission to God.

In John’s Gospel, the theme is:  Jesus came in love, but his coming is a judgement.  Judgement is the other side of salvation.  Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God since Jesus is doing God’s will.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 5: Revelation 12:13-17

Summary of passage:  When the dragon was hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.  The woman was given wings so that she might fly to the desert where she would be safe for the Great Tribulation (3 1/2 years or time, times and half).  However, the serpent spewed water and swept the woman away but the earth saved the woman by swallowing the water.  Angry, the serpent made war against believers.

Questions:

12)  The woman who had given birth to the male child and her offspring–“those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” i.e. believers.

13a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Enmity would be put between the serpent and his offspring and the woman and her offspring.  Constant warfare between good and evil, to sin or not to sin.  Same.  Fighting temptation to sin all the time.  Watching wars and strife and evil in the world and death.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The provision of Jesus and his death on the cross (his act of righteousness) justified and brought life for all men and all men were made righteous though the obedience of Jesus.  It offers hope and eternal life with God to believers.  Same.  It gives me hope and encouragement and the will to do His work in my life.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Immense.

Conclusions:  Question 13b and 14 lead to the same answer.  With so much here, why only one question on the passage and three on other biblical passages?

End Notes:  We see how Jesus overcame Satan in Revelation 12:11 so Satan’s last hope is the woman and the remnant.  On Day 2 we established that the woman is most likely the nation of Israel or the Messianic Jewish community.  If the woman is the church here, then who are her offspring?  Another reason scholars say she’s not the entire church.  Those who believe Christians are on earth for the Tribulation point to this passage as evidence.

Why is Satan targeting the Jews?  Well, the Jews are God’s special people from Abraham forward.  Jesus came from them.  God won’t bring the End Times until all of the Jews have accepted Jesus (Luke 13:34-35, Romans 9-11 specifically Romans 11:25-27, Revelation 7).  They are the key to God’s plans and Satan wants to thwart God.  God will save the Gentiles first and then in the Millennial will bring all of His people (the Jewish nation) back to Him.  How He uses the Jews to save the Gentiles who in turn save the Jews.  Does this mean all will be saved?  No.  Some will never turn.  But God will make sure all those chosen will be saved (Romans 9:18).

In Exodus 19:4 we see eagle’s wings as God delivered His people from Egypt into the wilderness.  Isaiah 40:31 says God’s people shall have eagle’s wings and be strengthened.

Some scholars see the flood as an army or the military which will be defeated by God (swallowed up).  Hosea 2:14, 23 speak of this time.  No matter what form, the flood waters is persecution.

David describes his persecution and rescue as flood waters as well in Psalm 18.

This fury was foreshadowed by Jesus in Matthew 24:15-22.  Satan knows his time is now limited on earth (Revelation 12:12) so now he wants to prevent the Messiah’s Second Coming, which will end his time altogether.  So he attacks Israel, knowing God’s intent is to save them, so they won’t be saved.  Again, Satan wants to thwart God’s plans.

Who are the rest of her offspring?  Verse 13 says “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  Scholars believe this is the Gentiles.  Some say those who come to know Christ during the Tribulation times.  I say all believers.

We’ve already seen the martyrs in this period in Revelation 6:9-11 and Revelation 7:9-17 and again in Revelation 20:4.

Summation of Revelation 12:  The woman is most likely the remnant of Israel who were spiritually true to the Lord and brought about the child, Jesus.  She is attacked by Satan but is preserved.  Now, Satan turns to the future and her offspring, which includes the church and those who keep God’s commandments and Jesus’ testimony.  In Chapter 13 we will see Satan attack the future church.

Conclusions to Lesson 16:  Excluding Day 1, we see the word “you” or “your” 11 times in 8 questions. Sometimes I like to think it’s not all about me (read sarcasm here).  Because it should never be about me.  Only Him.  Note my summary above on Revelation 12 which no where mentions “me” or “you.”  But these days are hard when you are constantly being asked about yourself.  Really deflated right now and can’t quite put it into words so I’ll give up now while I’m ahead.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 5: Leviticus 16:29-34 & 23:26-32

Summary of passages:  Leviticus 16:29-34:  The Day of Atonement is to be a lasting ordinance made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.  The people are not to do any work and are to fast and the high priest is to make atonement for you.

Leviticus 23:26-32:  The Day of Atonement is to be a fasting and an offering made of fire.  No work is to be performed and if you do, you will be cut off from your people and destroyed.  This is to be a lasting ordinance.

Questions:

11a)  Once a year forever

b)  It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month.  All were to gather together and fast and do no work and offer sacrifices to God.

12a)  Jesus made one sacrifice–himself and his blood–to take away the sins of the people completely.  The Day of Atonement had to be done once a year and only covered the people’s sins–never truly eliminated it–because the blood of goats and lambs and bulls would never be sufficient.  Only the blood of Our Savior cleanses us forever and makes us holy to be with God–justified–and gives us the Holy Spirit.

The blood of animals was a holding pattern per se, a temporary solution or a “shadow” as Hebrews calls it until Jesus was sent.  It was what would do for now until the goal (Jesus) arrived.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By living God’s way and not mine or the devil’s.  By doing His work here on earth.  By sharing the gospel with others.  By preparing my heart and the hearts of those around me for Jesus’s second coming and being prepared for life everlasting.  Constantly pray and thank Him for sending His son, for choosing me, for forgiving me.  Having a heart of gratitude continually and trusting Him with everything.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins once and for all.  To cleanse me, to forgive me, to justify me, to reconcile me to you.  Thank you, Jesus, for bearing a burden that was not yours to bear, for loving me enough to bear it, and for doing so without any regrets.  Words will never be enough so I pray my heart is.

Conclusions:  Ever wonder why God even did the Old Covenant.  Why not just send Jesus?  Why not just institute the New Covenant straight away?  Why make His people go through all of this elaborate rituals that never really did the job in the first place?  My instinct is to say because God was testing man–testing his will, his desire, his strength, his dedication, his faith.  Growing man to be ready to receive Christ.  Making sure man’s heart was right for Jesus and not just going through the motions for a temporary fad or new religion.

One scholar says if God had created Christianity first, man would not have known he needed a Savior.  He would have thought he’d be alright himself as long as he performed the sacrifices and be saved.  That didn’t work, now did it?

God instituted the Old so we could understand the New such as the need for sacrificial blood.  Basically, man was not yet ready for Jesus; he slowly had to be led to him.  Great article HERE on this topic.

I liked this lesson.  The Hebrews passages (and I’d read all of Hebrews from 7-10 to get the full argument) paired with the Day of Atonement passages really is what hit home with me in terms of how much Jesus did for us with one sacrifice and how grateful we should be to him for his mercy and grace.  I’ve never read the Day of Atonement along with the Hebrews passages before and this was brilliant to me.  All around good stuff!

End Notes:  Most of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are about the tabernacle and the sacrifices and offerings for sin.  It’s the largest single subject in the Bible.  Yet, Jesus eliminates all of that with the cross.  Powerful!

The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is still celebrated today by Jews and included a period of rest and fasting.  It falls on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  It is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.  Usually no sacrifices are made as the Jews believe either good works, charity, or sufferings are a suitable sacrifice.

Interesting Fact:  The Old Covenant was only ever binding on the Jews, which they say ended at the fall of the temple in 70 AD and not at Jesus’ death.  Gentiles did not have to become Jews first and then Christians–they were merely Christians first and always.  This is why in Acts we see some of the apostles still practicing the Old Covenant rules and regulations and debating them.  Thus, scholars say the Old Covenant was binding upon the Israelites until 70 AD.  After that, the New Covenant was instituted for all.  This is cool to me because as a Gentile I never really considered how and when the Old Covenant faded since it never affected me.  Neat stuff!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 5: Matthew 15:29-39 and Mark 7:31; 8:1-9

Summary of passages:  Matthew 15:29-39:  Jesus traveled back to Galilee and healed many on a mountainside.  He says that he has compassion on these people who have been with him for 3 days and have nothing to eat.  The disciples ask where could they get enough food to feed them.  Jesus, just like in the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21), gave thanks for a few loaves of bread and fish and broke the food, resulting in enough to feed the crowd with some leftover.

Mark 7:31; 8:1-9:  Mark’s version of the same story.  Jesus wants to feed the people so they don’t collapse from hunger on the way home.  The disciples wonder where they will get enough bread to feed them.  Jesus again breaks bread and feeds all.

Questions:

13a)  In the feeding of the 5000, the people only had to wait one day (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people waited 3 days (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2).

In the feeding of the 5000, the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away so they can buy their own food (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35-36; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, it is Jesus who notices their need (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2-3).

In the feeding of the 5000, there are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (Matthew 14:17; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:13).  In the feeding of the 4000, there are 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish (Matthew 15:34; Mark 8:5; 7).

In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus looks to heaven as he breaks the bread (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16); while in the feeding of the 4000, this is not mentioned (Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6-7)).

In the feeding of the 5000, there were 12 basketfuls of broken pieces left over (Matthew 14:20; Luke 9:17).  In the feeding of the 4000, there were “several” basketfuls of broken pieces leftover (Matthew 15:37) according in Matthew and Mark says there are 7 (Mark 8:8).

Of course, the number of people was different:  5000 (Matthew 14:21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14); 4000 (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).

In the feeding of the 5000, Mark  and Luke mention how the people sit in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40; Luke 9:14).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people are merely told to sit (Matthew 15:35; Mark 8:6).

[Scholars say the different in the grass indicates a difference in the seasons.]

NOTE:  The Greek word for baskets is also different between the 5000 versus the 4000 (the baskets are larger here).  I did not mention this because it could just be a translation error so one can not conclusively say that the baskets for the 4000 were larger than for the 5000.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anything is possible with Jesus.  Jesus has great compassion on the people both spiritually and physically.  Even when other doubt Jesus never does.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Believe that I can accomplish anything with Him.

Conclusions:  Loved part a where we compared both miracles.  Thought part b and c were lackluster.  A better question would have been a focus on how the disciples lacked faith AGAIN when it came to Jesus feeding the 4000 after witnessing the miracle of the 5000.

Matthew mentions Jesus then went to a place called Magadan after the feeding of the 4000.  If you google this, you’ll see this is a modern town in Russia.  Some scholars think this refers to Magdala (location known) and the alleged hometown of Mary Magdalen.  However, others think Magadan is correct; the location today is just unknown.

Mark calls the place Jesus went after the miracle Dalmanutha, which its location is also unknown but believed to be on the Sea of Galilee.

This MAP is a guess as to the location of Dalmanutha:  http://bibleatlas.org/dalmanutha.htm  This map also shows possible locations of Magadan and Magdala.

Good explanation on possible locations:  http://bibleencyclopedia.com/magadan.htm

End Notes:  Most scholars agree that this was the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee–a predominantly Gentile place known as the Decapolis.  Hence, Jesus did heal and minister to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.  Matthew’s description of the people praising the “God of Israel” also supports that these people were Gentiles.  Note how God is praised, not Jesus.

The leftovers show how God provides abundantly.

Scholars say the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 foreshadow the predicted Messianic banquet. However, the Jews did not see this because they believed the Messianic banquet did not include the Gentiles.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 19:15-38

Summary of passage:  The angels are urging Lot to hurry to leave Sodom with his family before it’s too late.  Lot hesitated so the angels had to pull Lot and his family out of the city since the Lord was merciful.  The angels warned them to flee to the mountains and not to look back or they would be swept away.

Lot pleads to flee to the small town of Zoar at least instead of the mountains and this request is granted.  The Lord rained down sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot’s wife disobeyed God and looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  The next morning Abraham saw smoke but God remembered Abraham and saved Lot because of him.

Lot and his daughters left Zoar out of fear and settled in the mountains after all.  They lived in a cave.  The older daughter convinced her sister to get Lot drunk and sleep with him so that they could conceive since there was no other man around.  They did so unbeknownst to Lot and both became pregnant.

They boar two sons named Moab and Ben-Ammi, who became the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites respectively.  These cities fought with Israel for centuries.

Questions:

13)  Everything.  The wife died.  They didn’t take any of their wealth or livestock with them–only the clothes on their backs it seems.  They lost their moral compass with the incest.  Tragic.

14a)  He rescued Lot. He had the angels pull Lot out of the city and then God agreed to let them move to Zoar.

b)  What Lot built up did not survive the fire test.  Nothing he built survived.  He suffered loss and Lot will be saved but only as one escaping through the flames.  In other words, Lot has no works to show for his faith.  Lot has done nothing worthy with his life. (Please read from 1 Corinthians 3:10 to understand the passage.  We also discussed this passage last year.  Click HERE to review especially question 8b).

15)  Moab and Ammon.  While the Israelites are wandering the desert, God instruct Moses to not harass the Moabites because He has given them Ar and to not harass the Ammonites for God has given them land.  However, the Moabites and the Ammonites did not help the Israelites when they were passing through their land out of Egypt and instead pronounced a curse upon the Israelites.  As a result, God banned them from entering the assembly of the Lord and forbade the Israelites to be friends or allies with them.  God also turned the curse into a blessing.

Jesus was descended from Ruth who was a Moabite.

Conclusions:  Interesting to me how sin leads to curses and blessings.  How the Moabites and the Ammonites were sworn enemies to the Israelites for most of history; yet, God chose Ruth to be in the line of Jesus.  God can turn the hearts of individuals despite the sin of their ancestors.  Man can overcome his inherit sin and his circumstances and culture and environment to do God’s will.  Encouragement for us all that indeed good can come out of evil.

Interesting how God blessed the Moabites and the Ammonites with land even though they are sinful and ungrateful and treat their relatives, the Israelites, horrible.  God blesses them but then He punishes them when they don’t turn from their ways (Zephaniah 2:8-11).  God will turn their land into a wasteland and take back His blessings (the land) and give it to the Israelites.

Interesting Thought:  Some scholars believe Sodom and Gomorrah lie at the bottom of the Red Sea.  However, the Red Sea has receded in modern times and archaeologists are not convinced of this.  Some even claim to have found Lot’s cave, Zoar, Sodom, and Gomorrah on dry ground.  Google if interested to find this research.

Map Work:

Good maps of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar were hard to find.  This is the clearest I could find:

http://www.wyattnewsletters.com/sodom/PICS/sodom.gif

Another one:  http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html#Map%20of%20Possible%20Locations

This one shows where the Moabites and Ammonites were eventually located in addition to Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar.  This site also goes over the passage.  You have to scroll a bit to see this one:

http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 5: 2 Thessalonians 3

Summary of passage:  Paul requests prayer for the message of the Lord to be spread rapidly and be honored and for safety in essence (delivered from the wicked and evil men).  The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the Devil.

Paul commands them to stay away from idlers and who do not live according to his teachings.  We were not idle.  We worked night and day so as not to be a burden.  For if a man will not work, he shall not eat.  We urge you to earn the bread you eat and never tire of doing what is right.  Warn those who are not following our instruction.

Questions:

12a)  Help me to spread the message of the Lord and it be honored.  Allow us to be delivered from wicked and evil and to strengthen and protect us from the Devil.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Myself, family, friends, BSF group, and others who come to mind.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Never tire of doing what is right (verse 13).  May the Lord direct my heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance (verse 5).

14)  In 1 Thessalonians, Paul sprinkles the coming of Jesus throughout the letter, only referring vaguely to what will happen when Jesus returns.  In 2 Thessalonians, Paul is warning the Thessalonians not to be deceived by others in the coming of Jesus and he delves deeper into the specifics, saying a man of lawlessness will come who pretends to be Jesus.

Both says to be ready but not to dwell on the matter which is how I see it.  Live like Jesus and when/if he comes, you’ll be ready.

Conclusions:  I find it interesting how Paul talks in both letters about idleness.  I tend to think of this as only a recent phenomenon with the advance of modern technology that has enabled man to be so.  However, apparently it has always had a place in man’s life.  There are always those looking to reap the benefits of others’ work.

I like how Paul says to keep away from those who are idle.  This does not mean non-Christians as it could be interpreted but those who are lazy.  I assume this is because either you will become lazy or they will harm you in some way.

My favorite part is “never tire of doing what is right.”  This is hard for all of us.  Usually because doing what is wrong is easier.  Sticking to the moral high ground is no longer in fashion these days.

The last two weeks the questions have focused on Jesus’ Second Coming.  I believe this is so because a lot of people dismiss this as false.  For me, it’s about living a Christ-centered life, striving to be like Christ, and if Jesus comes, “Hallelujah”.  If not, I still get to heaven to await his return from above.

I blogged about this very same thing since Isaiah talked a lot about it.  You can see the post HERE.

Great practical advice on how to live to please God.  Great encouraging words most of us need to hear on a regular basis.