BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 5: John 13:1-30

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet. Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him. When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread. Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Questions:

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus still showed Judas love.  He didn’t condemn him, leaving the final choice up to Judas.  He offered him another chance to not do what he was about to do.  Jesus keeps fighting for you to the end.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  This act revealed the true character of God himself.  In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless.  It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical.  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  For me, it’s about helping others and putting others first and being bless by it (either in the moment or later).  It’s loving others as much as Jesus loved us.

Conclusions:  This is like Day 6 questions.  We see the crux of this passage here:  Jesus loves us so much he’ll forgive anything–even an act that leads to his own death!  It’s incomprehensible how deep the Father’s love for us is but this passage gives us at least a little bit more understanding of it.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13:1-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us…The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act.”

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper. We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.  He devotes 1/3 of his book to the 24 hour period immediately preceding Jesus’ death.  Chapters 13-17 describe the long day and night of the Last Supper.  Nothing else like this exists in the Bible.  We have an intimate portrait of Jesus’ most anguished moments.

John focuses on the emotional currents and not the physical details.  Jesus is direct with the disciples, not speaking in parables but painstakingly answering their questions until they finally seem to get it.  Still, most won’t make sense until later after his death when the Holy Spirit arrives.  John’s purpose is to prove that Jesus is the Son of God.  He handpicks these incidents or signs to make his point.  You either believe he is or he isn’t.  There is no middle ground.

The Greek noun agape (love) and the verb agapao (love) appear only 8 times in John Chapters 1-12 but 31 times in Chapters 13-17. Chapters 13-14 take place at the Last Supper. The discourses in Chapters 15-16 are probably spoken on the way to Gethsemane.

We have a time reference but still scholars disagree if this was on Passover or celebrated the day before when the traditional Passover meal was taken. This affects whether Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover or the day after.

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. He is preparing his disciples for their work after he is gone.

The cross is not specifically mentioned in this passage, but it hangs in the actions and the words.

Jesus’ love for his own is greater because we have a response back. I picture Jesus holding us close to him.

In this scene we have the thinking of Jesus as well (either he told John or John was more observant than the other writers). Instead of it being all about that person (at the end of your life it can be), Jesus focuses on others and shows his love even though he knows he will be abandoned by them. Jesus never abandons us. Jesus did every part of this act himself–an act in Jewish custom that no one else would ever do.

Luke tells us that the disciples were debating who was the greatest when they entered the room. Jesus showed what true greatness was.

It was customary to wash feet before the meal started. However, this didn’t happen. At that time, the meal was eaten at a low table called a triclinium. It was U-shaped. The higher status guests sat the closest to the host. They leaned on pillows with their feet behind them. The disciples were willing to wash Jesus’ feet but not the others’ because it would put him below them. Hence, no one’s feet got washed–until Jesus did it.

Jesus showed the disciples humility. Scholars see this act as a comparison the cross. Jesus rose from supper (from his throne in heaven). He took off his clothes (he took off his glory). He poured water to clean (he poured out his blood to cleanse us).

This act revealed the true character of God himself. In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless. Peter protested out of a misplaced humility and pride. Peter again didn’t get it: it’s receiving Jesus into our lives that matter. It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical, that Peter needed.

First, Peter says don’t do it. Then he says do more! He’s telling Jesus what to do here.

Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.

Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.

Some believe this act was meant to be performed by Christians today. Most scholars agree it’s the message beneath that is important.

Christ washing the disciples’ feet was a favorite amongst painters. My favorite HERE

Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake. He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him. Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him. And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal. By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today. They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to. One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens. This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT: This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”. The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS: The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE). At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time. It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard. Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact. Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables. Hence, the depiction.

Picture this: On each side of Jesus sat a disciple. Spurgeon says it best: “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this: “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today. It was a special honor. Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour. Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming. Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard. Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side. Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden). John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why. He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control. We don’t know. All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT: This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over. It’s a choice of Free Will. And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control. He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor. Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could. It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil. Judas was one of the 12. He lived with Jesus. He listened to Jesus. He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle. He was one of the best and still he was lost. Man needs more than an example and good teaching. It’s a turn of the heart. If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 4: John 13:18-30; Psalm 41:9

Summary of passages:  John 13:18-30:  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread.  Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Psalm 41:9:  Even friends betray one another.

Questions:

7)  We know that what the Bible says and what God says and what Jesus says is true.  We know we are to suffer to grow closer to Him.  We know we suffer because we are sinners.  But we also know we are forgiven in Christ, which gives us hope to grow through the painful circumstances and endure to the end.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Satan can infect anyone.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  In one word:  dark.  He does not believe in Jesus or Jesus’ message.  He has believed the lies of Satan and let personal gain take over.  He has been blinded to the light and darkness reigns.

Conclusions:  Unsure here.  Something is missing here that I’m not unpacking and the questions aren’t jogging anything.  As always, read the end notes, which did unlock this passage for me.

End Notes:  John 13:18-30:  Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake.  He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him.  Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him.  And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal.  By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today.  They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to.  One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens.  This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT:  This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”.  The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS:  The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE).  At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time.  It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard.  Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact.  Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables.  Hence, the depiction.

Picture this:  On each side of Jesus sat a disciple.  Spurgeon says it best:  “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this:  “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today.  It was a special honor.  Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour.  Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming.  Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard.  Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side.  Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden).  John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why.  He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control.  We don’t know.  All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT:  This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over.  It’s a choice of Free Will.  And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control.  He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor.  Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could.  It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil.  Judas was one of the 12.  He lived with Jesus.  He listened to Jesus.  He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle.  He was one of the best and still he was lost.  Man needs more than an example and good teaching.  It’s a turn of the heart.  If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.

Psalm 41:9:  This is David lamenting how he was betrayed by good friends.  Two of which we know are his own son Absalom (2 Samuel 15) and by a trusted adviser named Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:12 and 15:31).

This has the sense of an unexpected attack or someone taking advantage of someone.  In ancient times, if you take bread with someone you should be forever grateful.  If you then lift your heal agains them, it’s great betrayal.  It’s like the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

Jesus left off the words “whom I trusted” because Jesus did not trust Judas.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 3: John 13:12-17 and Philippians 2:1-10

Summary of passages:  John 13:12-17:  When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.

Philippians 2:1-10:  Be like-minded with Christ, having the same love, spirit, and purpose.  Be humble, consider others better than yourself.  Make yourself nothing, being a servant and humble.  God exalted him.

Questions:

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Only slaves washed feet because it was considered a lowly task.  You are blessed when you perform humble tasks for others.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sacrifice my time and energy for others through my work and this blog and my kids and family and my writings.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s nice when you hear you’ve impacted others since we don’t hear it enough.  Some of us never hear it and some of us never experience the blessings from helping others.  But God knows.  And that’s what I cling to.

Conclusions:  This one was all personal so answers will vary widely.  For me, I’m feeling very unrewarded in my life right now; hence, the short answers.

End Notes:  John 13:12-17:  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  We must be willing to perform the most menial services for one another.

Philippians 2:1-10:  Paul is asking rhetorical questions, saying if you’ve received the things he mentions, then you have a responsibility to do what he’s about to describe.

Spurgeon says of this passage:  “The Holy Spirit is the physician and Christ is the medicine.”

The word comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word paraklesis, which is more than soothing sympathy. It’s strengthening, helping, making strong. The Latin word for comfort (fortis) means “brave.” The love of God in our life makes us strong and brave.

Fellowship is the ancient Greek word kononia, which means the sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that we never knew before. The Holy Spirit fills and guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way.

Paul’s idea here is this is real gifts for Christians to enjoy from Christ.

Paul wants the Philippians to be united for Christ in this passage.  Basically, quit working from the mind-set of self and grandiose and work for others.

Nature or form of God means essence.  Jesus took the form of man but remained in essence God (since he is God).  By becoming man, Jesus became obedient and died the most despicable death at that time–crucifixion.

Because of this, God elevated Jesus to the highest place and given him the highest name (Yahweh) and all will submit to him.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 2: John 13:1-17

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet.  Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him.  When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them.  He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus humbles himself and does the work of a slave, the lowest of the low in society.  His love is absolute and he cares not what others think of him.  He leads by example.  His actions speak louder than words.  He doesn’t just talk about it; he does it!  He loves his own and as we love him back we experience his love to the fullest.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  We are wholly clean by God’s love, mercy, and righteousness.  But we still need him and to experience him in smaller ways.  All were “clean” or believers except Judas because Judas did not accept Jesus as His Savior and he had hardness in his heart against him.  I am clean because I have accepted Jesus’ blood on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.

Conclusions:  Such a great passage.  Again, not impressed with the questions.  See End Notes for more.

End Notes:  Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13:1-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us…The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act.”

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper.  We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.

The Greek noun agape (love) and the verb agapao (love) appear only 8 times in John Chapters 1-12 but 31 times in Chapters 13-17.  Chapters 13-14 take place at the Last Supper.  The discourses in Chapters 15-16 are probably spoken on the way to Gethsemane.

We have a time reference but still scholars disagree if this was on Passover or celebrated the day before when the traditional Passover meal was taken.  This affects whether Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover or the day after.

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live.  He is preparing his disciples for their work after he is gone.

The cross is not specifically mentioned in this passage, but it hangs in the actions and the words.

Jesus’ love for his own is greater because we have a response back.  I picture Jesus holding us close to him.

In this scene we have the thinking of Jesus as well (either he told John or John was more observant than the other writers).  Instead of it being all about that person (at the end of your life it can be), Jesus focuses on others and shows his love even though he knows he will be abandoned by them.  Jesus never abandons us.  Jesus did every part of this act himself–an act in Jewish custom that no one else would ever do.

Luke tells us that the disciples were debating who was the greatest when they entered the room.  Jesus showed what true greatness was.

It was customary to wash feet before the meal started.  However, this didn’t happen.  At that time, the meal was eaten at a low table called a triclinium. It was U-shaped.  The higher status guests sat the closest to the host. They leaned on pillows with their feet behind them. The disciples were willing to wash Jesus’ feet but not the others’ because it would put him below them.  Hence, no one’s feet got washed–until Jesus did it.

Jesus showed the disciples humility.  Scholars see this act as a comparison the cross.  Jesus rose from supper (from his throne in heaven).  He took off his clothes (he took off his glory).  He poured water to clean (he poured out his blood to cleanse us).

This act revealed the true character of God himself.  In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters.  We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless.  Peter protested out of a misplaced humility and pride.  Peter again didn’t get it:  it’s receiving Jesus into our lives that matter.  It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical, that Peter needed.

First, Peter says don’t do it.  Then he says do more!  He’s telling Jesus what to do here.

Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.

Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it.  They needed to have the same attitude and service as him.  We must wash one another’s feet–do for others.  Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.

Some believe this act was meant to be performed by Christians today.  Most scholars agree it’s the message beneath that is important.

Christ washing the disciples’ feet was a favorite amongst painters.  My favorite HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 5: Revelation 13:1-18

Summary of passage:  A beast emerges from the sea with 10 horns, 7 heads and 10 crowns on his horns. On each head was a blasphemous name. The beast looked like a leopard, had feet like a bear, and the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave this beast his power, throne, and great authority. One head had a fatal wound but had been healed. The whole world followed this beast and men worshiped the dragon who had given the beast power. The beast exercised his authority for 42 months (3 1/2 years, the time of the Great Tribulation). He blasphemed God, his name, his dwelling place, and those in heaven.

The beast was given power and authority over the saints and every tribe, people, language, and nation. All non-believers will worship the beast.

Beast #2 comes out of the earth. He has 2 horns but spoke like a dragon. He was under the authority of the first beast (Rev 13:1-10) and made earth’s inhabitants worship Beast #1. He performed miraculous signs and created a false idol in the shape of Beast #1 that earth’s inhabitants worshipped. This idol was given the power to breath and speak and killed those who refused to worship the image. Everyone was forced to receive a mark (the number 666) either on his forehead or right hand.

Questions:

12a)  The dragon is the anti-Father, the beast rising from the sea is the anti-Christ, and the beast rising from the land is the anti-Holy Spirit.

b)  Because Jesus is the Lamb.  This one is imitating Christ as the false prophet in order to deceive Christ-followers into following him.

c)  The Holy Trinity is defined by peace, thankfulness, spiritual growth in love and honor, songs, and wisdom.  The deceptive trinity is characterized by war, death, servitude, fear, threats, and destruction.  The antithesis of God.

13a)  Very similar to question 5a.  Deuteronomy says not to follow false prophets or gods even those who perform miracles.  God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and all  your soul.  Follow and serve God only.  Jesus says in Matthew you will recognize false prophets by the fruit they bear:  bad fruit meaning they will reap evil consequences, not for the good and not godly.  Mark says to be on your guard for false prophets.  John says in 1 John to not believe every spirit but to test the false prophets or spirits to see whether they are from God.  If they do not acknowledge Jesus is not God, then it’s the antichrist.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Very similar to questions 8b & 11c.  I know I am safe and God protects me.  I am marked with the Holy Spirit that guides me when these situations arise.  Identifying falsehoods and telling others is the best way I can share God’s truths.

Conclusions:  Good lesson.  Loved the comparison of the unholy trinity with the holy trinity.  An easy way to identify something is to ask what it’s purpose is:  is it for love, compassion, peace, and helpfulness?  Or is it for deceit, personal gain, malicious intentions, or strife?

End Notes:  See Previous Days:  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4

Lessons from Revelation 13:  Here we see important messages for Christians in today’s world.  First, we must endure our suffering and be faithful for Christ is coming.  Second, we must stand for our beliefs even when the rest of the world is worshiping something other than God.  Third, we see the proliferation of worshiping of false gods.  It’s a danger we all must be careful of.  An idol is anything you put before god.  Purge any in your life.

Conclusions to Lesson 17:  Good analysis of passage.  We’ve studied false prophets & teachings in Lesson 4 Day 2 & Lesson 5 Day 2.  A little repetition in the questions but it’s important to know there are/will be false prophets but God has given us ways to differentiate them.  False idols are everywhere and we must be aware and not check out.

Lesson 18 Preview:  Coming up, we will explore suffering, another interlude in Revelation I am not looking forward to.  We’ve already extensively covered suffering this year (See Lesson 3 Day 4, Lesson 4 Day 2, Lesson 4 Day 5, Lesson 11 Day 2 & Lesson 12 Day 4) and I’m about burnt out on how we all must suffer and will continue to suffer until the Day of the Lord.  I GET IT!  CAN WE MOVE ON?  Dwelling on my suffering is not something I like to do.  I prefer to live in the present and not the past and dwell on the positive aspects of my current situation and circumstances and not the negative.

General observations of the study of Revelation:  Due to the number of repetitious subjects, the number of lessons we have spent outside of Revelation, and the sheer volume of personal questions this year, I’m beginning to think the study of Revelation could have been compacted into half a year and then combine this with something else–another smaller book perhaps or similarly related.  I’m pretty crestfallen about the whole thing and my bubble has definitely burst over this study.  Would love to have your opinions on the matter.

One more side note that may just be me:  I’m not getting a whole lot out of the lectures.  I’ve done so much study on the passages myself that what our Teaching Leader says is nothing new to me.  Oftentimes, the message is not even on the passage but one general theme such as how Christ is our Savior or how we need to “talk” about God to others that I struggle to stay awake because the message is so watered-down.  Other insights on your lectures?

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 4: Revelation 13:11-18

Summary of passage:  Beast #2 comes out of the earth.  He has 2 horns but spoke like a dragon.  He was under the authority of the first beast (Rev 13:1-10) and made earth’s inhabitants worship Beast #1.  He performed miraculous signs and created a false idol in the shape of Beast #1 that earth’s inhabitants worshipped.  This idol was given the power to breath and speak and killed those who refused to worship the image.  Everyone was forced to receive a mark (the number 666) either on his forehead or right hand.

Questions:

9)  “He exercised all the authority of the first beast and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast…he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men…he was given power to breath to the image of the first beast so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed…he forced everyone…to receive a mark on his right hand or his forehead.”

10a)  To deceive the elect (believers) and turn away from Christ to Satan.

b)  Moses (Exodus 7:1-5):  To save the Israelites and bring judgment upon Egypt and show them He is the Lord.

Elijah (1 Kings 18:30-39):  So that God’s people will know He is Lord.

Jesus (John 11:41-44; 20:30-31; Acts 2:19-21):  So the people will believe God sent Jesus, that he is the Son of God, which will give them eternal life.  In Acts, so the people will know when the Lord shall come again.

11a)  The number 666 will be marked either on their forehead or right hand.  This enabled them to buy and sell (trade and live).

b)  The Holy Spirit and eternal life.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m a natural skeptic, but having God’s skepticism has proven invaluable.  I’ve learned to match up what the world says with what God says in His word and through prayer.  If it doesn’t match, it’s false.  I immediately dismiss it then.  Knowing nothing is free (from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) has protected me from many a scam and knowing God’s word has protected me from many a falsehood.

Conclusions:  Never knew where the number 666 came from and I can’t wait to read the commentary on this one!  Good lesson.  Love the contrast with Satan’s purpose and God’s purpose.  God’s purpose is to save.  Satan’s is to deceive and kill.  With such evidence it’s a wonder to me how people don’t believe.

End Notes:  The word for beast is the same as the beast in the first part of Chapter 13 but John makes it abundantly clear this one is under the first one.  This beast only has 2 horns.  Scholars are unsure what this means.  It may mean this beast only has authority in 2 realms instead of all the realms.  To me, it’s less than the first beast and is another indicator he is subordinate.

Even though this second beast appears like a lamb it speaks like a dragon who is the devil.  It has the same evil purposes in mind.

This second beast is called the false prophet (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10) and is different from the first beast (the Antichrist) and the dragon (Satan).  This is the unholy trinity (which we are asked about in the next lesson).  The dragon is the anti-Father, the beast rising from the sea is the anti-Christ, and the beast rising from the land is the anti-Holy Spirit.

This beast is a lackey of the first beast.  His job is to lead people to worship the first beast.  Some of us (especially those of us who have been believers for a while) say how can this be so?  Are people that stupid?  The answer:  yes.  Man’s nature is to rebel against God and worship himself.  If someone comes along and says great things about how man will be greater under that person, then man will easily be persuaded.

The beast could perform many miracles but John highlights one in particular:  fire coming from heaven.  Why?  Remember the 2 witnesses of God in Chapter 11?  They are given the power of fire coming from their mouths to destroy those who oppose them in verse 5.  BSF touched upon another example by having us read Elijah’s calling of fire from heaven.  What’s the difference?  One is by God and one is from Satan.  How are we to know the difference?  By knowing God and His word and God’s purpose and Satan’s purpose.  That’s the only way to identify the deception.

We’ve seen false miracles and warnings all throughout the Bible.  Aaron performed miracles and was matched by the Pharaoh’s magicians in Exodus 7-9.

In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 God says there will be false prophets announcing miraculous signs and He warns His people it is a test and they must judge a worker of miracles by their message (which is usually against God), not by their works.

Jesus warns some who worked miracles – even in His name – were false followers and would perish in hell (Matthew 7:22-23).

Jesus warns in the end times false prophets would emerge and show great signs and wonders to deceive (Matthew 24:24).

Paul warns the Antichrist will come with all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

These miracles the beast will use to persuade the earth’s inhabitants to worship the first beast. Emperor worship was rampant in the first century Roman Empire.  John’s audience would have seen first-hand Satan at work.

Many scholar believe this idolatrous image is what Jesus, Daniel, and Paul spoke of as the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), which is an idolatrous image set up in the holy place of a rebuilt temple.  Abominable idolatry.  Desolate judgment.
Those who did not worship the graven image would be killed.  This was just beginning to happen in the first century with the persecution of the Christians who would not bow down to Caesar.  We are also reminded here of Daniel 3 when he refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar and was thrown in the lions’ den.

The number 666:  Some believe the mark of 666 is not literal.  The Greek word used here for mark (charisma) is generally not applied to people.  The charisma was a seal stamped with the name and date of the emperor and attached to commercial documents.  Apparently, it also stood for the emperor’s head stamped on coins.  Thus, the charagma represented the likeness or name of the emperor.

It is also a type of brand.  In Roman times, disobedient slaves were often branded with marks of ownership, much like cattle are today.  Religious tattooing was also widespread.  Soldiers had a custom of branding themselves with the name of a favorite general.  Devotees of a god labeled themselves with tattoos to designate their loyal devotion.

So was this mark visible?  Debatable but more likely it is a symbol.  In Ezekiel 9:4, we see people marked for protection and in Exodus 12:21-23, the doorways are marked as a sign for the angel to pass over.  We saw Christians marked with a seal in Revelation 7 for protection; here, those of the earth will be marked as well.  Satan is protecting his people here as well.  It is probably behavior that will be the mark:  worshiping God or the beast.

Side Note:  We have seen the Nazis mark concentration camp victims with numbers so literal is in the realm of possibilities.

The number of his name refers to the common ancient Greek practice of assigning numerical values to letters.  Since letters had numerical value, is the number 666 trying to tell us a specific person?  Maybe.  Nero is a popular choice here.  The problem is the system is so complicated, confusing, and endless as to mute the point.  Scholars have for centuries tried to figure this out.  No one knows.

I believe the simplest is the best:  We’ve seen the number 7 mean completion or perfection.  Here the number 6 is short of the number 7.  Hence, it is incomplete or imperfect.  We see the beast as the false prophet but coming up short of Jesus’ perfection.  The triple 666 is used for emphasis just like we saw “holy, holy, holy” three times in Revelation 4.

John says to have wisdom to see through the deception of the unholy, false prophet who will be human under demonic control.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 3: Revelation 13:7-10

Summary of passage:  The beast was given power and authority over the saints and every tribe, people, language, and nation.  All non-believers will worship the beast.

Questions:

6)  “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.  And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.”  All non-believers worshiped the beast (“all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It is a book or a listing of all of those who have accepted Jesus as the Son of God and believe he died for our sins and cleansed us of sin thereby being justified and who will then live with God forever in heaven until Jesus comes again and we dwell on earth once more. Yes because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and repented of my sin.

More Bible Passages and explanation HERE

8a)  John 15:18-27:  The world hates us because they hate Jesus and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, they are guilty of sin and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to stay true to our testimony about Jesus.

Romans 15:4-5:  God gives us endurance and encouragement through the Holy Spirit and through His word so that we may glorify God with one heart and mouth (verse 6).

2 Corinthians 6:4-10:  Through our example including out endurance, patience, kindness, truth, genuineness, sorrow, and joy we commend ourselves and not put any stumbling block in anyone’s path (verse 3).

Colossians 1:9-14:  God gives us strength to have great endurance and patience and to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way and to know His will in our lives.

1 Timothy 6:11-12:  We should flee from the world’s teachings and pursue instead righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  To fight the good fight of the faithful and take hold of eternal life.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If I didn’t have God, I would have no life, no ambition, no drive, no will and I truly don’t know how unbelievers make it in this world without Him.  He holds me up when all I want to do is fall.  He catches me when I do fall and stands me back up.  Sometimes He puts one foot in front of the other for me when I have no will of my own to do so.  He has done it all through all things (His word, power, Holy Spirit).  I have done nothing.

Conclusions:  Was sorely missing my favorite endurance passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 where we need to run in such a way as to get the prize and run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).

I love how all of this is God’s plan since the creation of the world.  I love the comfort from this.  He’s in control and I don’t have to be.  I lean on Him and His strength and He does the rest.  Great lesson.  Great reminder on enduring with His power.

End Notes:  We are told in Revelation 12:17 that the dragon is gunning for us–believers.  Here, we see “war” will come in the form of the beast.  Just who are the saints?  It depends on which view of the millennium you hold.   Pre-tribulationists believe these saints are God’s people who come to Christ after the church has been raptured. Post-tribulationists believe these saints are God’s people who are on the earth before the final rapture, including what we think of today as the “church.”

In the Roman empire, all were required to offer up a pinch of incense to the emperor and declare loyalty to him, declaring Caesar Lord.  This is what the end dictator will do.  It’s not hard to imagine when one things of Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

The Book of Life is all God’s redeemed.  The rest face the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

“The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” reminds us that all of this is God’s plan.  He planned Jesus’ death to save us before we were even created!  He chose us before we were born (Ephesians 1:4), wrote our names down in the Book of Life before we were born (Revelation 17:8), and prepared heaven for us in advance (Matthew 25:34).  If that doesn’t give you comfort in this harried world, nothing will.

Here, other translations have “lead into captivity” in verse 10.  This conveys the idea that if you lead others to sin, you will be held accountable.  Personal responsibility still applies despite God’s having predetermined history.

Another meaning to verse 10:  It’s hopeless to fight against God.  If you are destined to go into captivity, you will go or if you are destined to die, you will.  The saints are to wait on God for this to happen.