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.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 4: John 12:23-36

Summary of passage:  Jesus’ time to sacrifice for the people has come.  If a kernel of wheat (Jesus here) dies, he’ll produce many seeds for eternal life.  Whoever serves him must follow him.  Jesus came for the very reason to die for our sins.  A voice from heaven spoke and said it glorified God’s name.  When Jesus dies, he will draw men to himself.  Jesus told them to trust him (the light) for those who walk in the dark do not know where they are going.  Then Jesus left.

Questions:

8 )  The hour for him to sacrifice for our sins.

9)  In his death, Jesus produced many seeds.  If Jesus had lived, only he would have been saved.  He promises to produce many seeds with his death.  To have life there must be death first.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  To dedicate your life to God’s purpose, not yours.  By following Jesus, you gain eternal life and laying down your desires.  He asks me every day to do His will and not mine.  Sometimes it’s confusing and hard to decipher.  I have so many talents and skills and what to do for Him?  Right now, it’s working and living and writing and teaching.

Conclusions:  I’m a bit ambivalent about this lesson.  We’ve talked about what “the hour” means repeatedly this year and losing your life roughly means living for God.

End Notes:  At least twice before Jesus said his time was not ready (John 2:4 and 7:6). The interest of the Greeks here is the signal for Jesus to die for the world and be glorified on the cross.

Hate our life means we will gladly give it up for God.  We live for God to serve Him.  Nothing else matters.  You do everything (work, study, raise kids, etc) for Jesus.  You want to be with him; hence, you follow him and then receive honor from God for doing so.  The love for God so overshadows all other love that by comparison it’s hate.

The violence of his death here troubled Jesus.  He knew it would be unpleasant and painful.

This was the third audible Divine testimony to Jesus’ status as the Son of God, after the Divine voice heard at His baptism and His transfiguration.

Some did not understand God’s voice, but some did.

The cross is God’s judgement on the world.  The prince of this world is Satan.  The cross would seem toe be Satan’s triumph; in fact, it is his greatest defeat, out of which flowed the greatest good ever to come to this world.

“Lifted up” means both the physical raising of Jesus’ body on the cross and also exalted in the eyes of others.  The cross–what Jesus did for us–is what draws all to him and God.  Jesus also could refer to his resurrection here and ascension to heaven.

Here we see plainly how the people were at the mercy of the priests.  The majority of the world in ancient times could not read and relied on the priests to tell them what the Bible said.  The priests left out important parts of Scripture which teach that Jesus will suffer and reign forever.  Hence, they were expecting the triumphant, military Messiah because that was all they had been taught.  Great lesson for us!

There is limited time as those of us who studied Revelation last year know.  At some point, Jesus will come again.  That is when time is up.  So turn to the light now while it’s still burning!

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.

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.

Questions:

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 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 Revelation Lesson 16, Day 4: Revelation 12:10-12

Summary of passage:  A loud voice announces that the kingdom of God has come and the accuser has been hurled to earth.  He was overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  Heaven rejoices but woe to earth for the devil has been flung down and he is full of fury as he knows his time is limited.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The accuser was hurled out of heaven unto earth.  Honestly, I don’t feel guilty.  I let them go.  The past is in the past and I know God has forgiven me and I know Jesus has defeated the devil and cleansed me.  Take to heart Hebrews 9:14:  “How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Romans 8:1:  “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:33-34 are good as well.

By not fully allowing Jesus’s sacrifice into our hearts and by letting feelings of guilt overwhelm us we are doing a huge disservice and dishonor to his sacrifice and letting Satan win.  Please.  Let go.

Note on Question 10:  This question is very confusing.  The emphasis should be on the three ways the saints (who are the pronoun “they” here) and ultimately us as believers overcame the devil:  1)  by the blood of the Lamb  2)  by the word of their testimony  3)  by not loving their lives so much to fear death.  By separating out the verb (triumphed or overcame in NIV), the meaning is lost and jumbled and befuddled.

10)  Personal Question.  My answers:

“They triumphed over him”:  It means just that:  we overcame the devil.  Period.  The scriptures they give here are not very helpful.

“By the blood of the Lamb”:  Jesus paid the price for my sins, making me righteous and able to stand before God.  God chose me through unimaginable grace as His.

Note here:  BSF missed the more important verse in Romans!  Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”  It is God’s love that brung us back to Him.  He sent His only Son to die for us.  In Romans 5:7, Paul astutely points out:  what person do you know would die for you?  Someone who loves you.  But a stranger?  And would they die for a sinner like you?  A righteous man, maybe.  God’s love saved us.  He is so good.  See also:  (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, and Hebrews 9:14).

“And by the word of their testimony”:  Knowing and remembering God’s work in my life is my testimony.  It allows me to overcome the lies Satan whispers in my ear.  As I walk in God with faith, my life is a powerful testimony to unbelievers as I proclaim His power in my life.  See End Notes for explanation on testimony.

Should say Revelation 1:2, not Revelation 1:3 here in my opinion since 1:2 uses the word “testimony”.  This is referring to the Gospel as John says “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.  John is using Jesus’ life to overcome the devil.  And so should we.

“They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”:  Remembering my home is in heaven instead of here on earth and we find life by losing it to Jesus (Mark 8:35).  The Greek word here for love is “agape”, the love that is all-encompassing, self-sacrificing, profound love.  Willing to sacrifice for my faith even my life marks a Christian.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As my faith has grown, my reliance on Him to overcome not only the evil in my life but the evil in the world has grown.  I give it to God and let Him take it from there.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So many!  Scripture foremost is Philippians 4:6; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Exodus 20; Romans 8:31 to name but a few.  Songs:  My Savior My God by Aaron Shust is my all-time favorite.  Others:  Great I Am by Phillips, Craig & Dean and Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets.

Conclusions:  All personal questions but only a part of one directly asking what’s happening here.  Again, asking about worship when we see here the beginning of God’s final victory over Satan and soon we’ll see his capture and banishment.  This is to be celebrated!

Question 9:  Sometimes I think questions like this do the opposite:  we feel guilty because we don’t feel guilty over our past sins when you shouldn’t feel guilty at all.  Living in the past and dwelling on guilt from past sins robs you of your life today.  Give it to God.  He will handle it.  Know you are His and move on!  You life will dwindle away moment by moment until one day you realize you didn’t accomplish God’s purpose for your life because of the past.  Live for Him today.  That’s all you have.  Tomorrow you may not be here.  And then what?

BSF’s worst lesson in Revelation in my opinion so far.  So I made it my own.  By researching what exactly are the saints telling me here THEN AND ONLY THEN can I tell you what they mean to me.  Since I am a saint, I need to know this!

I personally feel beaten up by the “how my worship has been affected” questions.  Because I don’t feel my worship has been affected and thus being asked the question makes me feel guilty because I feel like it should be affected.  I spoke of this as well in Lesson 14 Day 3 and counted the number of times we’ve been asked.

The same goes for “comforted” and “encouraged.”  Right now, I’m not.  But I feel I should be.  So guiltily, my response is “I’m not affected” or “I’m not comforted” or “I’m not encouraged.”  Or I’m just cynical, hard-hearted, or shallow.  In time I pray.  In time.

End Notes:  The loud voice is NOT Jesus or God or an angel.  We know this because of the text says “the accuser of our brothers”, our being humanity.

Once Satan is thrown out of heaven, the accusing stops.  Until then, we must fight the good fight.  However, Satan’s accusations are meaningless if we have Christ.

Jesus’s victory is our victory.  Imagine if we lived our lives every day knowing that one Truth.

Definition of testify according to Webster’s Dictionary:  “to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief: bear witness; to serve as evidence or proof.”

Definition of testimony according to Webster’s Dictionary: “firsthand authentication of a fact; evidence; a public profession of religious experience.”

In the book of Revelation, testimony refers to the Gospel (Revelation 1:2).

“by the word of their testimony”.  John, being the symbolic guy that he is, speaks of testimony in 1 John 5:6-12.  Water may be Jesus’ baptism.  Blood is his death on the cross.  The Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  He says these three together are God’s testimony about Jesus.  We are saved eternally through God’s testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ–as long as we believe this in our hearts.

Thus, the saints who are speaking here know what they’ve seen and heard and experienced in their lives from God and can recognize Satan’s lies that go against God.

Also, here, notice “the word”.  This doesn’t explicitly apply to God’s Word (the Bible) but we can use that as a testimony against the devil.  The more we know the Word, the more we can use that against the devil.

The angels and all of heaven is relieved Satan is gone.  It’s like when a visiting relative overstays their welcome and they finally leave!  You can almost hear the sigh of relief upon the door closing forever to Satan’s presence.

Satan’s release upon the earth is the third and final prophetic “woe” announced earlier upon the inhabitants of the earth (Rev.8:13).

In Revelation 20, we will see what ultimately happens to Satan.  Looking forward to it!

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.