BSF Study Questions John Lesson 19, Day 2: John 14:15-20

Summary of passage:  Obey Jesus out of love for him.  The Father will send us the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) to be with us and in us and we will live.

Questions:

3)  He says distinctly in verse 20 “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (through the Holy Spirit).  Jesus explains the Holy Spirit as a Counselor God will send to be in you and he will be of the same kind.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says the Holy Spirit lives with you and will be in you and that the disciples will know him.  “On that day” meaning Pentecost when the Holy Spirit is given to believers is when the relationship will change.  I have the Holy Spirit.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That I will live because Jesus lives.  It’s great comfort to know I’ll be in heaven with the Father.

Conclusions:  Some days I feel as if I’m not much help and this is one of those days.  The questions were broad so it’s hard to narrow it down.

End Notes:  This is the first in a series of important passages about the Holy Spirit since Jesus has not mentioned it before.

Love is not just an emotion or a feeling.  Jesus says love is an action, doing, keeping his commandments.  This shows you love him.  Love, like faith, cannot be separated from obedience.  You don’t have to enter a convent and give up everything.  It’s simple.

Here is the 2nd Assurance:  Jesus will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help believers.

“Counselor” is the ancient Greek word parakletos.  The idea is someone called to help someone else or it could be an advisor, a legal defender, a mediator, or an intercessor.  It’s often translated as “Comforter” which comes from the Old English and Latin.

The devil is the accuser.  Hence, “Helper” for the Holy Spirit.

“Another” means in the same kind.  So the Counselor is in the same kind as Jesus and the Father and hence, the Trinity.  Besides Jesus in essence.

The Holy Spirit will not be temporary–he will be with us “forever.”

The Spirit is characterized by truth in essence and action.  He brings people to the truth of God.  All three persons of the Trinity are linked with truth.  The world takes no notice of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit was already with the disciples (Jesus) but it would be in them (John 20:22).  Acts 1:8 tells us the disciples will receive power when they receive the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit eliminates the distance between Jesus and ourselves.

Jesus’ 3rd assurance:  He will not leave them as orphans, but will come to them.  To the Hebrews, the disciples of a particular teacher called him father; his scholars were called his children, and, on his death, the disciples were considered orphans.

Jesus repeats this promise from 14:3 and fulfills it when he rises again after the cross.

Because Jesus lives is the only reason we still live.  The Holy Spirit allows us a union with God here on earth.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 19, Day 2: Revelation 14:1-5

Summary of passage:  Jesus is standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000.  A loud roar came from heaven and a new song was sung by the 144,000 redeemed who are blameless, pure, followed Jesus, and purchased and offered as first fruits to God.

Questions:

3a)  John saw Jesus and the 144,000 redeemed standing on Mount Zion.  He heard a sound from heaven like a roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder and like harpists playing their harps.  He also heard a new song being sung by the 144,000.

b)  They had been redeemed from the earth.  They did not defile themselves with women and were pure.  They followed the Lamb wherever he goes.  They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God.  They’re blameless and no lie has ever crossed their mouths.

4)  Believers were purchased by the blood of the Lamb, cleansed and justified, and marked with a seal to be redeemed to heaven and have eternal life with God.  God chose us ahead of time to follow Jesus. (Ephesians).  We were redeemed or purchased through Christ’s blood (1 Peter).

5a)  By treating our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit, refraining from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), and honoring God with our bodies.  We are imitators of God and live a life of love, avoiding sexual sin, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse jokes; instead, living a life of thanksgiving and holy.  We obey and live as children of light (good, righteous, and truthful).  We are wise, making the most of every opportunity, filled with the Spirit instead of wine, speaking to others with psalms, hymns, and songs, thanking God always, submitting to Him (Ephesians 5:12-21).

Be Christ-like with love, spirit, and purpose.  Treat others better than yourself and put others first.  Have a Christ-like attitude, be a servant, humble, obedient, and act according to God’s purpose.  Don’t complain or argue and be glad and joyful.  (Philippians).

We do not lie, we confess our sins and are purified. (1 John 1)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Loving others who are hard to love.  Guarding my mouth sometimes and speaking only praises.  Not complaining.  Being humble.  Putting others first.  Serving.

Conclusions:  We were all over the place in the Bible with only one question on Revelation.  We’ve explored this topic before this year in our study on how we are to live in Lesson 7, Day 5 when we read Ephesians 4.  We saw it in Lesson 8 Day 2 with how Daniel stayed true to God.

Going to other places in the Bible can be a good thing, but I feel like sometimes during this study that’s all we do.

Also, these week-long breaks make it harder for me to remember where we were at in Revelation.  Stopping and having to go back two weeks to remember what had just happened, so I have context for this week takes valuable time.  It feels like a stop, jerk, and go again motion that jars me and reorienting myself is frustrating.

End Notes:  Revelation says history will end with a loud bang.  Yet John repeatedly says this will bring peace on earth as God rules over a restored heaven and earth.  Here we see the heavenly choir again sandwiched between tribulation and judgment like an interlude.  This is to reassure us that all creation will once again be in harmony.

We last saw the 144,000 in Revelation 7 (BSF Lesson 13) where we learned they are the remnant, a group of believers (some say Messianic Jews some scholars say a mix of Jews and Gentiles) who were sealed or protected from the tribulation and have been martyred for their faith (we know this because they are in heaven).  Here, the beast has not defeated them and they emerge victorious.  Revelation 7 shows the 144,000 at the beginning of the Great Tribulation and here we see them at the end of it.

Again, the 144,000 is representative of all God’s people.  Yes, they are a specific group, but in the end, we will share in God’s glory as well.

Coming up in Revelation 14, we will find out what happens to the beast and does he defeat the followers of Christ (no because of the 144,000).

Mount Zion is the place where Christ gathers his redeemed and begins his rule over earth (Psalm 48, Isaiah 24:23, Joel 2:32, Obadiah 17 and 21, Micah 4:1, 4:7).

Satan copied the idea of the seal (Revelation 13:16-17) from God.

The sound from heaven like the road of rushing water and a loud peal of thunder is the voice of God (Revelation 1:15 and 4:5).

The elders have harps (Revelation 5:8).  Worshiping God and singing Him a song transports us to the foot of God at His throne.  Note the song was learned on earth and no one else can sing it but the 144,000.  Part of our job here on earth is to learn this song by accepting Jesus and drawing close to him.  Only then once we are saved will we have the new song in our hearts.

Identity of the 144,000:  are they symbolically pure (virgins) or are they literally?  Up for debate.  They could be celibate just during the time of the Great Tribulation or could be celibate meaning without engaging with pagans.

The term “virgins” is not used in the NIV.  The Greek word parthenos can be both men and women so the 144,000 are a mix of men and women.

Israel is referred to as a virgin in the Bible, reinforcing some scholars belief that the 144,000 represents all believers (2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 37:22; Lamentations 2:13; Jeremiah 18:13; 31:34, 21; Amos 5:2).

We see them described as first fruits.  First fruits was the first portion of the harvest offered to God in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:10-14).  The nation of Israel is said to be the first fruits (Jeremiah 2:3), bringing the Gentiles to God.  In the New Testament we see first fruits being used to describe Christ rising from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20) or the first converts in a region (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15).  Hence, some scholars believe all believers are considered as the first fruits (or choice offering) to God.

God often speaks of the purity of His people in terms of sexual immorality as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 11:2.

However, here, most scholars agree the 144,000 are Jews who came to faith in Jesus during the Tribulation and who now will serve as the first fruits of God’s harvest and bring in the rest of the Jews.  They are holy and pure, not of the world.  Ultimately, remember, they will bring in all of us–the church (See End Notes on Lesson 13, Day 3 for more discussion of the 144,000).

Fun Fact:  This is the only place in Revelation we see “Mount Zion” used.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 19, Day 2: Numbers 11:1-3

Summary of passage:  The people grumbled about their hardships.  The Lord heard them and sent fire to burn the outskirts of the camp.  The people cried out to Moses who prayed to God and the fire died down.

Questions:

3a)  Ungrateful, complaining, not content in Him, lack of faith in God

b)  God heard the people complain and he was angry so he sent fire to burn the outskirts of the Israelites’ camp.

4a)  They cried out to Moses

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I usually get mad and pout and question God’s ways and I cry out to Him.  I get frustrated and ask why.

c)  Psalm 16:6:  This is a reminder that my inheritance is in heaven and it is a much better place than here.

Psalm 37:7:  This is a reminder to wait patiently on God and His ways and to not worry when men succeed in their wicked ways.  Trust Him.

Philippians 4:11-12:  This is a reminder to be content with what you have and where you are at.  Verse 13 is the famous one:  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  I can endure with Him.

Conclusions:  A very short lesson today and a short reading.  A nice break.  We are not told exactly what the complaints were about (moving all the time, carrying heavy loads, eating the same food day-in and day-out, etc) but whatever it was it made God angry enough to send fire!  We all have the same complaints about our daily hardships.  Still, we must trust–which is much easier said than done.

End Notes:  The Israelites had just been set apart of God, cleansed, separated, and blessed and given Him himself to guide them and He dwells with them and the first thing they do when they set out is complain.  God is very disappointed indeed.

It’s ungrateful and lack of faith in Him for the here and now.

What the complaints were about is unimportant since they are not mentioned; the complaints speak to the state of the Israelites hearts just like our complaints speak to ours.

Fire, the light by which the Israelites see at night, is now the enemy here as it brings justice to God’s people.

Some scholars say the Israelites should have cried out to God directly, but I disagree.  They were so used to Moses speaking for them it was natural for them.  Plus, I’m sure they were afraid and as in all of our readings of the past, when the Israelites are afraid of God, they reach out to Moses (whom God chose to be their intermediary for Him) to speak to God.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 2: Matthew 18:1-5

Summary of passage:  The disciples asked Jesus who is the greatest in heaven and Jesus said a little child and told them to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven; to humble yourself and welcome the child in his name.

Questions:

3a)  Change to become like a little child–humility

b)  Matthew 5:3-4:  Blessed are the poor in spirit and those who mourn

John 1:12-13:  Those who receive Jesus as their Savior and believe in him will become children of God and be born of God

John 3:3-6:  One must be born again to see the kingdom of God; born of water and the Spirit.

4a)  “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all.”

b)  Humility

5a)  Believers

b)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Children, those unable to defend themselves such as the disabled and us.  We are the least.  Be humble.  Welcome all.  Be generous and kind.  Follow the Golden Rule.

c)  God and Jesus.

Conclusions:  Not for sure how much I got out of this besides to be humble and if I have Jesus, I am changed.

End Notes:  Note Jesus didn’t just pompously say “Me!”  Instead, he called forth a child, a symbol of his nature.

Scholars say this also speaks to Peter who is declared by the Catholic Church to be the first Pope.  If Peter was to be revered as Popes are, then Jesus would have said so here.  Personally, I just don’t know that much about the Catholic faith to comment on this either way.  This was just mentioned in several commentaries I read on this passage so thought I’d throw it in.

Children in ancient times were seen more as property than as people.  They could be bought and sold at will.  They belonged to the parents until they were married.  This was probably shocking to the discipled to hear.

Jesus changes man’s nature of pride and selfishness into a nature of humility and selflessness–into little children.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 19, Day 2: Genesis 24:1-9

Summary of passage:  Abraham had his servant swear not to get a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites but from his country and his relatives.  Abraham said not to take Isaac back to his fatherland and that God would send an angel before him to find the wife.

Questions:

3a)  In every way.  God will make his descendants as numerous as the stars.  They will take possession of the cities and all nations will be bless because of Abraham. (Genesis 22:16-18)

b)  From Psalm:  Blessed are those who take refuge in Him (Psalm 2:12).  Blessed is the man who does not walk with in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  Blessed are those who delight in the Lord and who meditates on the law.

Psalm 37:  They will inherit the land; He makes his steps firm;  man will not fall for the Lord upholds him in His hand.

Malachi:  God throws open the floodgates of blessings when the tithe is brought.

Ephesians: Blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With my sweet babies and my husband being home for a stretch of time.  With my band.  With my friend whom I saw a movie with.  With job opportunities.  Maybe for a way for me to do something outside the home.  Options for schools.  Nice park weather.  Food, clothing, shelter.  My dog.  Many more.

4a)  By directing his children (Isaac) to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just so that the Lord will bring about what He has promised to Abraham.  By getting a wife not of foreign birth who would know the One, True God.

b)  Finding one from the Canaanites because of they were pagan worshippers.  And having Isaac go back to the “home” country from where Abraham came from.  Isaac had to stay to fulfill God’s desires for man.

c)  Our number one priority is to raise our children to know the Lord.  He must be first in their lives.  We must raise them to follow God’s laws and not the ways and laws of the world.  They must strive to be more like Jesus every day of their lives and to do what he would do.

5)  He makes sure his son has the right wife pleasing to God.  He keeps his son in the Promised Land so he and his descendants can inherit it.  He shows his servant that the Lord will guide him in his quest.

Conclusions:  Surprisingly, I did like 3c.  It’s always good to remember our blessings because so often we forget them in the humdrum of life.  It was a good exercise to write them down so we do realize we are incredibly blessed even when we don’t feel blessed at all.

The blessings God has for us are innumerable and it would behoove us to remember that (me at least).

Great reminders on responsibilities we have as parents to raise our kids right.  This goal can easily get lost in the day-to-day caretakings of our children whose needs are immediate.  Great prayer to start the day with!

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 8-9

Summary of passage:  1 Corinthians 8:  Paul is answering another question of the Corinthians and first Paul cautions the Corinthians that knowledge can be deceiving.  You think you know when in reality you may not.  But love builds up and supersedes knowledge.

So with respect to eating food for idols:  we (Christians) know there is only One, True God.  But others do not.  Albeit it’s okay for Christians to eat food sacrificed to idols (because we know it’s just another cow basically) others who do not know God are committing a sin because they are looking at it in a religious sense.  They are following the Christians’ example.  (You know, the ubiquitous saying amongst children “But so-and-so ate the apple so why can’t I?”)

This food Christians ate brings us no closer to God; but it brings those unbelievers farther from God.  So Paul says to be careful in exercising your freedom when it could hinder those away from God.  Paul says this is a sin against Christ:  doing something we know can pull others away from Him.  Christians must sacrifice for others.

1 Corinthians 9:  Paul declares he is an apostle with the right to be supported by the church.  By right Paul can share in what he reaps just like a soldier, a farmer, and a shepherd share in what they reap.

But Paul says he did not use this right because it might hinder the gospel of Christ.  It is commanded by the Lord that Paul can receive support but he himself is choosing not to. He boasts of this!

Paul preaches the gospel because he is compelled to spread the Word.  He becomes all things to all people in order to win people for the Lord and share in an eternal reward and not an earthly one.  Paul refuses all things that would hinder his reward or him finishing the race.  His crown is one that will last forever in this race we all run.  Paul runs and fights all for an eternal prize to which he won’t be disqualified from.

Questions:

3a)  Basically, we’re talking about actions speak louder than words and how if you do something others think it’s okay for them to do it as well (crowd mentality).  You show others your knowledge and beliefs by acting as such.  It is our responsibility to lead by example and not provoke others to sin even if we ourselves don’t.

Paul’s example is eating food sacrificed to idols.  It is technically okay to eat this food because you believe in the One, True God.  However, others watching you may not and they see you do it so they do it, not knowing it’s consequences because of lack of knowledge.

We are called to lead others by example especially in terms of kids.  It’s like when you accidentally get something for free like you walk out of the grocery store not having paid for something and then you realize when you get to the car they missed it.  Is it okay to not pay for it?  Yes.  It was their mistake.  But is it right?  No.  It is a form of stealing and you must go back in and pay for the item.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  Cussing (which I’m working on by the way and have improved on).  Drinking (some people cannot handle mood altering substances).  Eating unhealthily (My body can handle fatty foods.  Others can’t).  Everything in my behavior since my kids are always watching.

4a)  Verse 12 & 19  So he could win as many people as possible.  He became all things to all men in order to win them (verse 22)  All for the sake of the gospel and its blessings, not an earthly reward (verse 23).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We must adapt to those around us in order to bond with them and ask nor receive nothing in return in order to spread the Good News to as many as possible.  Commonality goes a long way to win trust of others and if you receive nothing in return it makes a bold statement that your are not just preaching for a free meal.

We must keep in mind what the goal is.  Not a free meal.  But an eternal prize.  We can get caught up in the accolades of this world and the prizes but Paul says we are working for an intangible goal, one we cannot see until we reach heaven.

Conclusions:  I like 1 Corinthians 8 because it takes into account our actions and others.  We do affect other people and our actions do have consequences, many of which we cannot see.  Society today tells us it’s all about me.  Well, it’s not.  And this passage is a great example of why it isn’t.

The prize is the end game.  Finish strong.  Always keep eternal rewards in mind which will last as opposed to temporal earthly rewards which will all fade away in the end.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 19, Day 2 Isaiah 42:1-17

Summary of passage:  God says, “Here is my Servant whom I uphold and delight in.  I will put my Spirit on Him and he will bring justice to the nations.  He will not shout out; a bruised reed he will not break; a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  He will bring forth justice and not be discouraged or falter.  The nations will hope in his law.  He called the Servant in righteousness.  He will take hold of his hand, keep him, and will make him the covenant for his chosen people and for Gentiles (everyone else).  He will open blind eyes, free captives, and release those sitting in darkness.  I will not give my glory to another and I announce these new things.”

All those who go down to the sea (and every thing in it), all the islands (and all who live on them), all the desert towns and the settlements where Kedar lives, all the people of Sela will give praise and glory to the Lord because He will triumph over His enemies.  The Lord will not forsake his people.  He will cry out for us.  He will lay waste the mountains and the hills and dry up all the vegetation.  He will turn rivers into islands and dry up pools.  he will lead the blind and turn the darkness into light.  He declares these things for those who believe.  But those who trust in idols will be turned back in shame.

Questions:

3a)  God upholds his Servant.  He is the chosen one in whom God delights.  God will put His spirit on Him and he will bring justice to the nations.  The Servant will not shout or cry out or raise His voice in the streets.  He will not break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick.  He will bring forth justice in faithfulness.  He will not falter or be discouraged.  He establishes justice on earth.  In his law the islands will put their hope.

b)  He has called His servant in righteousness.  “I will take hold of your hand and keep you and make you a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.”  The Servant will open eyes that are blind, free captives from prison and release those who sit in darkness in the dungeon.

c) Jesus.  Matthew 12:15-21  Jesus is my Savior and I hope we have an ever-growing personal relationship.

4a)  Essentially everyone who believes: “you who go down to the sea and all who are in it; you islands and all who live on them; the desert and its towns; the settlements where Kedar lives; and the people of Sela.  Because the Lord and His Servant triumph over his enemies.

b) He says again He will not forsake us.  As a woman, I want my man to move mountains for me.  Here, God says He will:  “I will lay waste the mountains and the hills and dry up all vegetation.  I will turn rivers into islands and dry up pools.  I will lead the blind and turn darkness into light.”  Who else can or would do such a thing for me?  This love of His is overwhelming and it’s humbling and incredibly encouraging.

Conclusions:  Another great example of God’s overwhelming love for us.  He will send His Servant (Jesus) to form a new covenant with us and He will protect us as we all want to be protected.  I picture a mother with her newborn.  She holds that baby so close and does everything for the baby.  That baby knows he is loved and protected and fears no evil.  Deep down we all crave this closeness and sense of protection; the knowledge that someone is always there to fend off the evil that may try to stop us.  Women look for this quality in her man.  We crave the sense of being protected (even if feminists say we need no such thing).

Here, God is saying He is our ultimate protector.  No matter what slings and arrows come our way, He will cry out for us and smooth our way.  He will move the mountains and dry up the rivers.  He will make the omnipresent darkness into light (defeat the Devil and his ways).  He is our ultimate security and He is the one who can push those demons who lurk in the back of our minds–the ones whispering how we aren’t good enough and we can’t do anything–and show us the light that leads to our purpose and to Him.

End Note:  Sela was an Edomite fortress captured by Amaziah who renamed it Joktheel (2 Kings 14:7). May be the marker of Amorite territory.  In Jordan south of the Dead Sea.

Map of Sela:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/sela.htm

Kedar–An Arabian tribe located south of Israel mentioned 10 times in the Old Testament.

Map of Kedar:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/kedar.htm

Information from my Bible Atlas: Atlas of the Bible by Carl G Rasmussen.  These online maps do not do justice.  If you are a visual person, I’d recommend investing in a Bible Atlas.  The maps of these places in my book are so much more detailed and the explanations are invaluable (I would never have known the 2 Kings passage if my Bible Atlas hadn’t have told me).