BSF Study Questions Lesson 21, Day 3: 1 John 2:3-29

Summary of passage:  We are in Christ if we walk as Jesus did.  If we obey him, we will know him and have God’s complete love.  You must love your brother to be in the light; otherwise, you are not.  If you love the world, then you are not in God.  If you do the will of God, you will live forever. Antichrists will come in the last hour.  They will deny the Father and the Son.  Being anointed with the Holy Spirit, it will teach you.  If you remain in the Father and the Son, then you will have eternal life.  Those who do what is right has been born of Jesus.

Questions:

6)  If you obey His word, God’s love is complete in you.  As long as you remain in the Father and the Son, you will have eternal life.  If you love your brother and shun the world, then you are in Christ.  If you obey God, walk with Jesus, and be righteous, you are in Jesus.

7)  The cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does.  All of these are negative.  A sinful man craves sinful things: sex outside of marriage, affairs, covets other people’s things, steals, cheats, lies, etc.  He boasts of his material possessions instead of his spiritual spirit.  The positive twist would be to strive for God’s will in your life, for God’s goodness in others’ lives, and to use your gifts and senses to do so.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  False teachers are those who deny Christ is the Son of God.  They could be those in the Christian community but do not abide in Jesus.  If you have the Holy Spirit, then you will know the truth when spoken and the lies when spoken.  Abiding in Christ protects us as well as the anointing.  If whoever is speaking says things directly against the Bible and God’s teachings, then they are false. Period. Pray. God will tell you. He will not let you be blinded.

Conclusions: We talked a ton about the Antichrist and false teachers last year in Revelation.  It was more prevalent in ancient society and with so many different religions floating around it would be hard to know what to believe in–especially as a new convert to Christ.  Still, we must be aware of cults and society’s tendency to follow charismatic leaders and smooth talkers.  The Antichrist could come at any time and the little antichrists preceding him as well.

End Notes:  Following God’s commandments is evidence of knowing God.  There is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing them.  God and you know which is truth.  God’s love is perfect or mature in those who obey and by this we know we are in Jesus.  We will walk at Jesus did.

What does that mean?  Walk as Jesus did?  It means that sin is distasteful to us and every day we lead more of a righteous life of obedience to God.

Loving one another is not new.  What’s new is the depth of love that Jesus spoke of in John 13:34.  Jesus’ love is what we are to grasp–loving everyone.   Our relationship with God can be measured by our love for other Christians.

We have to keep His commandments, walk as Jesus did, and love other Christians.  If one is missing, then we fail.  You can do all the right things, believe all the right truths, but if you do not love other Christians, then all is lost.

Hatred and love in the bible are more than emotions; they are attitudes expressed in actions.

Stages in Spiritual Life:  We all begin as little children in our spiritual walk with God.  It is enough to know God forgives our sins.  Fathers are people who have known God for years and are mature in their spiritual walk with God.  Young men are those in the middle of their spiritual walk who have fought with Satan.

The repetition is intentional.  The key is knowing God.  God’s word is our source of spiritual strength, which is tested in the youth phase, and which lives in our hearts.

The world here is sin, the world’s system, it’s way of doing things, and material objects.  It’s controlled by Satan and organized against God and righteousness.  It’s easy to fall in love with the things of this world that make us better off but not better.  The world and what we gain in the world or strive for pass away when we do.  Heaven and God are eternal.  We are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-18).  Monks took this to the extreme in the Middle Ages.

This goes all the way back to Eve who looked upon the fruit, thought how it would satisfy her and how it would make her appear before Adam.  Our thinking is usually of the world.  You must arrest your thoughts, capture them, and then work to change them towards God.  Lot is another example who was of the world.

In this world, we have three eternal things: the Holy Spirit, the people around you, and God’s word.   Time, attention, and expense put into these three things pay eternal rewards.

The last hour is Jesus’ return. John considered the last days to be everything after Christ.  The Antichrist is instead of Jesus.  He will appear and do wonderful things to appeal to us.  There will be only one “Antichrist” at the End Times.  However, there will be smaller versions preceding him.  The antichrists in John’s day were the Gnostics.  “Anti” means against in Latin.

John assumes his readers will know someone will oppose God before the Second Coming.  Also known as the man of lawlessness or the beast from Revelation.

Fun Fact:  The word ‘antichrist’ occurs in the Bible only in the letters of John and only five times in four verses (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7).

Essentially, the Antichrist is a world dictator who leads humanity in what seems to be a golden age, until he shows his true colors – and the judgment of God is poured out on him and his empire immediately before the return of Jesus.  This could happen at any time.  Think of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao.  Many of these antichrists will identify as Christians but never were since they left.

Other characteristics of the antichrists John lists:  1) They deny the incarnation 2)  They deny Jesus is divine.  3)  They deny the Father  4)  They don’t have the Father  5)  They are liars and deceivers  6) there are many.

Anointing has the idea of being filled with and blessed by the Holy Spirit, enabling discernment and knowing the Truth.

This idea of anointing – literally, to be blessed with oil – was said to be the reason behind one of the punishments given to John in persecution. The Roman emperor Domitian cast John in a boiling vat of oil, as if to say, “Here is a real anointing.” John emerged from the vat of boiling oil unharmed, because he had a different anointing.

In verse 20, John used a different word for know than he mostly used before. Previously John used the word meaning knowledge by experience; here he used the word meaning knowledge by intuition. We know some things intuitively by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, as the Bible defines Christ – the Messiah, who is fully God and fully man; who perfectly revealed the Father to us.  We don’t worship the same God unless your God is the God who was revealed in Jesus Christ.  If not, then your God is not the God of the Bible.  If you reject Jesus, you reject God.

Fun Fact:  John uses the word “love” 35 times in this letter alone.

What you have heard from the beginning is the message of the apostles (the New Testament).  We must abide or live in Jesus Christ.  We do this by knowing His word and living in His word.

Fun Fact:  John uses “abide” 6 times in these few verses and idea is strewn about the New Testament.

When God lives in us, we have eternal life in heaven.  This anointing of the Holy Spirit allows us to know the Truth and discern the falsehoods and guide us closer to Jesus.  Because you are abiding in Jesus, when he comes again you won’t be ashamed or fearful.  We’ve seen this before (John 14:23). We practice righteousness since we are born of God who is righteous.

Summary of 1 John 2:  Christians: 1) know Him (1 John 2:4), 2) abide in Him (1 John 2:6), and 3) are in the light (1 John 2:9).  If this is true for you, it will show in the life you lead and the love you hold for fellow Christians.

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BSF Study Questions Lesson 21, Day 2: 1 John 1:1-2:2

INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO THIS LESSON:  This lesson took me 2 1/2 weeks to complete.  There is so much here in this short book about Christianity.  Please take the time to read my End Notes to each day which I have tried to make as condensed as possible to what all this means.  Your time put in this lesson will echo volumes in your understanding of the Bible and of John.

Summary of passage: The author makes clear Jesus was a human, one he has heard, seen, and touched. God is light without darkness. If we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness we lie to ourselves and do not live by the truth. We are all sinners and if we confess our sins, we will be purified and forgiven. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We will know Jesus if we obey his commands.

Questions:

3)  Jesus (who is God as His Son, Jesus) because John has heard, seen, and touched him.

4) God is light and if we walk in the light, we’ll have fellowship with one another and Jesus’ blood will purify us of all sin.  He writes this to believers so that we may know we have eternal life, have fellowship with others, and with the Father and the Son.  He writes this so we won’t sin.

5)  Personal Question. My answer: False claims: 1) If you claim to have fellowship yet walk in the darkness. 2) If you claim to be without sin. 3) If you claim you have never sinned. Fellowship: 1) If we walk in the light. 2) If we confess our sins. 3) If we obey his commands. Well, I do sin but I don’t deny it. I do obey and walk in His ways. Do I stumble? Absolutely. But He picks me up. That’s all that matters.

Conclusions: Unsure why we’re reading 1 John at this point in our study right after the Last Supper. I hope the notes will shed some light on this. Great passage of how we are to walk in the light always and not tell ourselves we are when we still dally in the darkness.
End Notes: Much like the Book of Revelation, John does not expressly state that he is writing this letter. However, certain hints and distinctive writing patterns of style make it very likely that John the Apostle wrote this letter at an advanced age. This letter is eerily similar to the beginning of the Book of John and says how he was a close eyewitness of Jesus’ life.

John wrote the Book of John in order to bring readers to a belief in Christ. Here, this letter is directed to those who are already Christians, outlining how that faith should affect a person’s life. John starts with a few simple themes–light, truth, life, love–then builds variations on them. He defines a word, discusses its opposite, and then describes what a life should look like with God as the source of power in the Christian life.

Presumably, the Christian faith has been around for 50-60 years by the time of this letter.  John repeatedly begins with the phrase “If we claim” and then proceeds to show what actions must result if we claim to live in the true light and know God.

Most people understand that the important things in life are not things at all – they are the relationships we have. God has put a desire for relationship in every one of us, a desire He intended to be met with relationships with other people, but most of all, to be met by a relationship with Him. In this remarkable letter, John tells us the truth about relationships – and shows us how to have relationships that are real, for both now and eternity.  The whole purpose of the letter is to bring us to a relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ.

The beginning John is referencing here is the beginning when there was only God.  He came to earth to know him (hence the seen, looked, and touched).  At the time John was writing, Gnosticism (from the Greek word for knowledge or gnosis) was gaining in popularity.  The gnostics believe Jesus was God’s Son but he never came to earth in a physical body.  They believed a physical body was intrinsically evil.  They believed Jesus was a phantom, a temporary apparition who only looked human.  Some said God descended on Jesus at his baptism but left him before death.

John debated these beliefs in person and he had them in mind when he said he touched, seen, and heard Jesus.  Throughout this letter he lambastes those who deny Jesus was flesh.

Gnostics believed all matter was evil.  Only the spirit was pure and they sought to rise to this spiritual level.  However, this led to horrible ethics as they believed they could act how they wanted since their spirit was pure and could not be tainted by earthly sins.

This is the same Logos (Word) spoken of in John 1:1.  For the Jews, God was often referred to as the Word because they knew God perfectly revealed Himself in His Word.  For the Greeks, their philosophers had spoken for centuries about the Logos – the basis for organization and intelligence in the universe, the Ultimate Reason which controls all things.

John is telling everyone, “I have seen and heard and touched and studied the Word!”.

John is calling Jesus the “eternal life”(John 5:26, 6:48; 11:25; Micah 5:2) equal to God.  He references the eternal relationship as well.  This eternal relationship is clearly described in the Scriptures, but we could also understand it from simple logic. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is eternal (Micah 5:2), we understand that love in isolation is meaningless. Love needs an object, and since there was a time before anything was created, there was a time when the only love in the universe was between the members of the Godhead: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Christ is life because he is the living one who has life in himself (John 1:4; 11:25; 14:6).  He is also the source of life and sovereign over life.  This letter begins and ends with the theme of eternal life.

The word “with” indicates that this being, who is eternal, and is eternal life Himself, is distinct from the Father. John builds the New Testament understanding of the Trinity – that one God exists as three Persons, equal and one, yet distinct in their person.

The purpose of John’s declaration of the Word of life who is God yet distinct from the Father is to bring people into relationship with both God’s people and with God himself.

The idea of fellowship is one of the most important ideas in this letter of John’s. It is the ancient Greek word koinonia, which speaks of a sharing, a communion, a common bond and common life. It speaks of a living, breathing, sharing, loving relationship with another person.  It literally means common as in being shared by all.  We see this idea in common areas for animals to graze in.  We all share in the same resources and responsibilities of God and others.  Amazing grace at work!

This was a revolutionary idea in ancient times that man could have fellowship with God!  It’s the same idea as when Jesus told everyone to address God as Father (Matthew 6:9).  This relationship is only possible because Jesus was human.  We can become more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit because of this fellowship of a shared, common life–fellowship.  We share our life with Jesus and he shares his with us and we are better able to do life with Jesus.

Fellowships with others often leads to encounters with God.

Joy is optimism and cheerfulness and contentment.  John echoes Jesus (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13).  Circumstances sap us of joy and we must fight to stay close to God to maintain it.

Verses 1-4 are one long sentence in the original manuscripts.  John sums up perfectly how to live our whole Christian life. God was.  He physically manifested.  He’s Jesus.  Fellowship with Jesus will bring you joy.

Verse 5 begins with John telling us this is what God says, not him. God is light.  Darkness is an absence of light. This is similar to saying God is perfect.

Some falsely claim to have fellowship.  “Walking” in the darkness is a pattern of life of wickedness and evil, not the occasional lapse we all experience.  This is active as we grow with Him.  “Walking” in the light is an obedient life–full of holiness and truth.  Since God is light, when we walk in the light we walk with God and experience the continual cleansing of the blood of Jesus.

Sin is the hindrance to fellowship and the blood of Jesus, received by faith as the payment for our sin, solves the problem of sin and opens the way to fellowship with God.

Note there is nothing said here about rites, ceremonies, baptisms, sacraments, the Eucharist, communion, etc.  It is only the blood of Jesus we need.

We are all sinners.  “Making mistakes” or being “only human” or “not perfect” will not get you to heaven.  Admitting you are a sinner will because Jesus came to rescue sinners.

We must keep on confessing our sins.  By admitting to God that what we have done is sin, and by asking for His divine forgiveness, we will be cleansed based on what Jesus has done for us on the cross.  Be truthful and God will be truthful.

This text doesn’t mean go and sin cause God will forgive you.  This is not fellowship with God and a right heart.  This is an evil heart and God will not forgive that.

If we don’t admit our sin, Jesus (the word) is not in us.  We will sin.  There is forgiveness in confessed sin.  Gnostics denied that their immoral actions were sinful.

God’s desire for us is not to sin, which is possible through Jesus Christ.  He is our defender if/when we sin and is our atoner and remover of our sins.  God’s wrath against man is satisfied and turned on to Jesus instead.  We must receive Christ’s sacrifice through faith (John 3:16).  This verse does not teach universalism (that all people ultimately will be saved), but that God is an impartial God and Christ’s sacrifice is open to all.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 21, Day 5: Romans 5:6-11; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-10

Summary of passages:  Romans 5:6-11:  Christ died for the ungodly, demonstrating God’s ultimate love for us.  We are now justified by Christ’s blood, saved from God’s wrath, and reconciled to God through Jesus.

Romans 6:23:  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:1-10:  We were dead before Christ’s sacrifice as we followed Satan and his ways and sins, making us objects of God’s wrath.  Then God made us alive through Christ because of His love, grace, and mercy for us through faith in Jesus.

Questions:

10a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God has provided us His Son so that we may live forever with Him.  I’ve accepted it and honored God with my life and being.

b)  Although we were sinners and completely undeserving of grace and mercy, God sent His Son to the cross to die for our sins so that we may become righteous before God.  All God asks is faith in His Son.  Those who believe are saved.  Those who don’t believe are not saved.  That is God’s justice and mercy.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  To devote your life to Him and for Him and His people.  We are to walk in the light and confess our sins and ask God to forgive us every single day.  Let His mercy flow through us and from us to others.  I will show mercy to all as Jesus did.

Conclusions:  Could have been called the “Study of Romans” for the day.  God has forgiven us permanently with His Son, Jesus Christ.  All we have to do is accept Jesus as our Savior and live for God. Simple, right?

End Notes:  Romans 5:6-11:  Jesus died for all of us, the ungodly.  The difference between righteous and good here seems to be the righteous man does not care for others but only about himself; whereas, the good man is kind and benevolent towards others.

Ephesians 2:1-10:  Paul wants us never to forget where we came from:  death and sin to life and salvation.  We should feel different being alive in Christ than when we were dead in sin.  Here, we have past, present, and future:  God loved us so much He sent His Son to make us alive in Christ and live eternally with Him forevermore.  All through faith and God’s gift to us.

God’s workmanship.  What an amazing thought!  We are God’s creation.  One Greek translation uses the word poiema which is a poem.  We are God’s poems and poems are beautiful works of art.  How cool!

Now we are to do good works out of our faith, not to earn anything.

Conclusions to Lesson 21:  I groaned most of the time doing this lesson, especially Day 4 which was a repeat of last year’s Study of the Life of Moses.  This could be called “The Study of Romans” for this week.  Not for sure how this lesson will bolster my understanding of the Book of Revelation.  This was a study of God’s character, His justice and mercy, which is prominent in all the books of the Bible.  What I want to gain out of the study of Revelation is just that:  the study of “Revelation”, the End Times, the signs I need to be on the lookout for, the coming wrath, the impending doom for the unsaved whom I may be able to help save (although God is ultimately in charge of that).

Like I said before, Revelation is only 22 chapters so BSF is stretching this study.  This is a filler lesson, plain and simple.  I just wish we could have filled it with more of in-depth study of Revelation.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 21, Day 4: Exodus 32; 34:4-7

Summary of passages:  Exodus 32:  While Moses was up on the mountain, the people became afraid and asked Aaron to make them new gods to go before them since something probably happened to Moses on the mountain. So Aaron took all the gold earrings from the people and made them into a golden calf as their new god. Aaron made an altar to the calf and made sacrifices to it. Then they had a party.

God told Moses to go down off the mountain as the people have become corrupt. God was so angry He told Moses to leave Him be so that He could destroy them and find a new people. Moses pleaded for the people, saying the Egyptians would only gloat if God killed them. Moses reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and to make their descendants as numerous as the stars. So God relented and did not destroy the people.

Moses went down Mount Sinai with the Tablets in his hands. Joshua had waited for Moses on the mountain a bit away and he thought there was a war going on. Moses said it was singing. Moses was so angry when he saw the sin of the people that he threw the tablets down and they broke. He burned the calf and made the Israelites drink the powder it made. Moses asks Aaron how he let the people sin. Aaron tells Moses the story, but blaming it on how evil the people are and how a calf just “came out”.

Moses was not pleased that Aaron had made the Israelites a laughingstock to the world. Moses asks whomever is for God to come to him. The Levites come. God told the Levites to kill everyone else who is not for the Lord and they killed about 3000 that day. They will now be set apart and blessed for their loyalty to God.

Moses goes up to the Lord again to plead for the people’s forgiveness, saying to blot him out of the book if God does not forgive them. God says He will but when the times comes for punishment (judgment), He will punish them and blot them out of His book. He struck them with the plague as punishment (death of 3000).

Exodus 34:4-7:  Moses chiseled out 2 stone tablets and went up to Mount Sinai.  The Lord came down from a cloud and proclaimed His name and passed in front of Moses, proclaiming His compassion, love, forgiveness, and judgements.

Questions:

8a)  God at first wants to kill all the people.  Moses convinces him not to.  He asks for those who will stand for God and all the Levites rallied.  Then the Levites killed 3000 people for not turning back to God.  Moses again asks for forgiveness, which God grants some but He sends a plague upon the people, killing more.  God judges some and spares some.

b)  God relented because Moses asked him to.  Jesus asked God to spare us and he died for our sins and God did.

c)  No.  They all deserved death but only some received it.  God showed mercy.

9)  This is the ultimate show of judgment and mercy.  God is in control and He decides who pays the penalty and who is forgiven and who had turned to Him in their hearts.  God is great.

Conclusions:  We studied Exodus 32 in Lesson 11 last year for one whole week and answered very similar questions on how Moses interceded for the people just like Jesus did/does for us today.  Think this is redundant and unnecessary for a study of the “book of Revelation.”

End Notes:  Exodus 32:  This calf was probably small (only a few inches high) lifted onto a pedestal for the people to see. It was not huge like depicted in the movies.

Some translations say Moses was “delayed”. This was a test for the people and their faith which we failed. This is a lesson for us: how do we handle God’s delays in our life? Do we fall into sin like the Israelites here or do we grow in our faith and strength in Him?

The not knowing drove the people to act. How many times have we acted in the midst of our fear of the unknown?

Scholars say calf is not the best translation here: it is meant to be a bull in the prime of its life–full of strength and vigor.

Aaron was a follower, not a leader. He was weak.

Aaron still remembered the Lord here (verse 5) but God was not sufficient; they needed an image to worship.

Note how the people rose early to worship the calf. Most people only get up early if they have to–work–or if it’s something important to them. What do you rise early to do? Is it to worship God first thing in the morning or do your BSF homework or read God’s Word? You all know I post these things very early in the morning. It’s important for me to meet God early in my day or I will fall into sin. I also get up early to exercise, write books, read books, and have “me” time. I also have “me and God” time. Consider how you spend your early mornings and ask God how He wants you to spend yours.

Revelry here is sexual revelry.

God is disowning His people by calling them Moses’s people. He wanted to start over with Moses.

“Stiff-necked” was a common phrase in Biblical times that refers to ox that won’t move. It references stubbornness in man.

Moses pleaded with the Lord for mercy, grace, His glory, and His promises and goodness.

God knew He wasn’t going to destroy the people. He was developing Moses and His heart for the people as He does often in us.

Joshua is correct: there was a war going on down below–a spiritual war.

It is Moses’s anger that will keep him from the Promised Land (Numbers 20:10-12). It is a problem he has all his life.

Aaron has no idea how great his sin was. He tries to calm Moses down and then lies to Moses about his part. He tries to make it seem as if a miracle produced the calf when it reality it was his hands, his workmanship. Why one would lie to the man closest to God ever is beyond me but Moses doesn’t buy Aaron’s excuse at all.

Even now in sin Aaron is defiant. Little did he know how close to death he was (Deuteronomy 9:20).

Other translations say the people were “unrestrained”. Basically, they had no moral compass and were following whatever made them feel good. Hence, their hearts were hard and they paid the ultimate price.

The Levites were the only group who decided, acted, and separated for God. So we must as well.

Stand for God, or you stand for nothing.

Moses understood the gravity of the people’s sin so asks for forgiveness again, even offering himself as a sacrifice, sensing that an animal’s blood would not suffice. God says no because He knows Jesus is coming. I want such a sacrificial heart. Moses appeals to God’s grace and mercy. Still, God’s punishment is that none of these adults will see the Promised Land.

Exodus 34:4-7:  This description of God became the cornerstone for the Jews as the most profound statement of God’s nature.

As Christians, knowing God as Moses knew God–His character–should be our highest striving.

Fun Fact: Exodus 34:6-7 is the most alluded to passage in the Old Testament.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 21, Day 3: Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-20

Summary of passages:  Romans 1:18-32:  God is revealing His wrath against mankind.  God’s nature has been clear since creation, giving man no excuse not to know Him.  Man chose to worship idols and so God gave man over to his sinful nature including lust and unnatural relations with one another, evil, wickedness, depravity, greed, slanderers, God-haters, etc.

Romans 3:10-20:  Paul says no one is righteous on their own.

Questions:

5a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The natural traits are sinful:  wickedness, idol worshipers, lustful, evil, greedy, deceitful, malicious, slanderers, God-haters, ruthless, faithless, heartless, etc.  It’s always a struggle to overcome sin and these sins pop up throughout life.

b)  God’s wrath and death because man is a sinner against God.

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  All sin prompts the wrath of God.  Mine would be jealousy, meanness, spiteful, vengeful, and probably every other sin.

7)  Because no one wants to think they are wrong and they have to pay consequences for their actions. People want to do whatever they want to do and are inherently selfish and ambivalent towards others.

Conclusions:  Struggled with this lesson.  Questions broad and intuitive.  Lesson 20 Day 5 led into this lesson.

End Notes:  Romans 1:18-32:  The wrath of God is not human anger.  The wrath of God is righteous and is against that which has twisted  God’s holiness.

Man has suppressed the truth of God and twisted it.  We have become fools with dark hearts.

“God gave them over” is repeated three times here.  Basically, God lets us do what we want to do–which is sin.  How tragic!  It is God’s wrath that allows us to sin, not God’s mercy or grace.

The lie is the lie that we are God.

Paul is writing this from the city of Corinth, known for its sexual immorality and pagan prostitution in the temples.  Surgeon refused to read this passage out loud, so horrible did he think the sins were.  Here is homosexuality condemned for both men and women.  Paul uses the Greek words for male and female to show just how outside human relations these acts are.

In Rome, homosexuality was rampant and most emperors and Roman citizens (those with money) used boys in this way.  The penalty will come.

“Depraved” mind used to read “reprobate” or “debased”.  It meant those that did not stand the test and were therefore rejected.

Actions and thoughts commit sins.  All deserve death.

Romans 3:10-20:  Here, Paul explains through Psalms our complete inability to save ourselves.  No one is righteous and not one seeks God–man seeks himself.  Every part of man is guilty and no one fears God.  The law cannot save man; the law only gives man the knowledge of sin.

Historical Note:  It’s interesting to see how some of the giants of theology were transformed by this passage in Romans.  Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley all credit Romans (Paul) with their salvation and their grasp of God.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 21, Day 2: Various Passages

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

3a)  Justice is what is morally right and fair and mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  In the United States and most of the developed world justice is administered through the nation’s government and court system.  This is positive as this is what the Bible tells us to do (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17) and it takes the responsibility out of the hands of the individuals where justice is much more subjective to the crime.  This is negative in places where people do sin and take justice into their own hands by committing murder, etc.

Mercy is more individual with people showing mercy towards others when they have been wronged.  Hence, we see this everywhere.  This is positive because people are more merciful than government who have to follow the law.  This is negative when people don’t show mercy.

b)  Exodus says God forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin.  Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.  John 3 tells us God showed mercy when He sent His only Son to die for our sins.  Peter says God is patient to allow everyone to repent in His mercy.  I think the court system is the best system for justice man can come up with.  It takes the subjectiveness and emotion out of it and puts everyone on an equal playing field by knowing the consequences of their actions BEFORE they commit the sin.  And this is equivalent to God’s as well since we know the repercussions of our sins and since God tells us to submit to authorities, it’s what we do.

God’s mercy is obviously infinitely greater than man’s, but we follow Jesus’ example as best we can and show mercy to others.  We can do this by sharing the gospel and showing the ultimate mercy as we try to save souls for eternity.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I have been shown the ultimate mercy by being amongst the chosen to accept Jesus as my Savior.  Being born in the United States during modern times is justice to me since we do have laws that protect us and a civilized society.  I am more merciful to others because of Jesus and I try to be just to others as well because of Jesus and because of what is right and wrong.  Jesus is the ultimate administrator of justice and if I’ve been wronged, I give it to him to deal with.

Conclusions:  Not looking forward to this lesson as we take ANOTHER break from Revelation. These are the weeks I just want to skip.  This lesson has no passages to read from the Bible except in 3b.  It’s all personal opinion and what is justice and mercy and where we see it in today’s world.  This plays off of the last question from last week in Lesson 20, Day 5 where we were asked how can God be both love and wrathful.  He loves us so much He avenges His people and punishes His people when they disobey.  This is the ultimate sign of love and compassion and mercy.  He could let us run amok like wild animals, killing and tearing each other to shreds.  Instead, we exist for Him.

End Notes:  Exodus 34:6-7 where God describes Himself is the most quoted or alluded to passage in the Old Testament.  It’s a profound summary of God’s nature.  He is love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and punisher.  He is everything.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 5: Numbers 17-19

Summary of passages:  Numbers 17:  In an effort to end future rebellions, God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout.  Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.  God told Moses to put Aaron’s staff in front of the ark as a reminder to the people of His choice.

Numbers 18:  God told Aaron he and his sons were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood.  The Levites are to help Aaron but not go near the furnishings of the Tabernacle or the altar.  Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  Everything.  They are to receive no land.

The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

Numbers 19:  God commands Eleazar the priest to sacrifice a red heifer without defect, sprinkle its blood in front of the Tent of Meeting, and burn it up.  The ashes are to be gathered up for use in the water of cleansing to be purified of sin–specifically to be used when touching a dead body, removing a dead body, or touches a human bone or grave.  If the person does not cleanse themselves, they are to be cut off from the community.

Questions:

10a)  God told Moses to get 12 staffs, one from each leader of the tribes, put them in the Tent of Meeting, and God will make the staff of the one He chooses sprout. Aaron’s staff sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds.

b)  Here, God wants to end all rebellion against Him.  The responsibility of the high priest is to atone for the people and make them right with God.  Every high priest is selected by God to administer such an important role.  Jesus was selected by God to be our forever high priest and atone for our sins.  God chose Jesus like He chose Aaron.  It shows God’s keeps His promises to man.

11a)  They were responsible to bear the offenses against the sanctuary and the priesthood. Aaron is responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar.

b)  God gives the priests a portion of the sacrifices for their consumption including meat, olive oil, wine, and grain.  The priests also received the firstborn, which would usually be redeemed with money.  The Levites are to receive the tithes for their work but are to give a tenth of that to God, which goes to Aaron.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That the Israelites were to use the ashes of a dead animal to cleanse themselves of touching a dead person.  That death cleansed death.  Like Jesus.

Conclusions:  The Hebrews passage is a long one.  Focus on Hebrews 7:11-8:6.  Questions 12 was a throw away in my opinion.  A waste.  Didn’t learn anything from it.  A question on the symbolism of Jesus here would be more edifying.

The lengths God goes to just for us is amazing.  He does all these miracles just to save us from ourselves.  Love is everywhere here and anyone who doubts God’s love for them should read Numbers 13-17.

End Notes:  Numbers 17: The staff is a symbol of an apostle’s Godly-authority over the people.  We see this since God gave Moses the staff of God (Exodus 4:17, 20).

The grumbling is an indication of the heart.  God here is giving them one more chance to show His sovereignty.  After this, judgment only.

God gives us more than enough as evinced by the blossoming of the staff.

Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek and thus is our high priest.  We studied this either in Acts or Matthew I can’t remember.

Note there are now three things in the Ark:  The Ten Commandment tablets, manna, and now Aaron’s staff.

The people are definitely afraid now and realize the severity of their sin.  But are their hearts changed?  We shall soon find out!

Numbers 18:  God grants Aaron authority and accountability.  They always go together.

Salt was considered pure and unchangeable.  A covenant of salt then was a covenant to last forever and never be amended.

Tithing is not mandated by the New Testament (and therefore the New Covenant).  However, we are to be a giving people and that looks different for all (2 Corinthians 9).  Deuteronomy 14:28-29 extends this and shows how once every 3 years, the tithes were shared with the poor.

The Levites had a job to do and were expected to do it in return for their pay–just as we are.

The Levites had to give a tenth of their tenth; they needed to be givers as well.

We have seen the amount the Levites gave was well over the tithe.  They gave offerings and freewill offerings and all the special offerings for festivals and any special projects like the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:4-9).  The Israelites were a giving, generous people.  God commanded all of this so they would become giving and generous like He wants us to be–like Jesus.

Numbers 19:  A heifer is a female cow that has never been pregnant.  So we are looking for a pure cow of a red color with no defects–quite rare.

The difference between this sacrifice and others was that the cow’s blood was to be burnt up as well instead of being drained out.

Cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet was used in Leviticus 14:4-6 to cleanse a leper.  These three items point to Jesus–some say Jesus’ cross was made of cedar.  Hyssop was offered to Jesus while he hung from the cross (Matthew 27:48), and scarlet represented Jesus’ blood.

Being unclean was not a sin; it just meant you couldn’t be with the community or with God.  Luckily for us, we are bathed by Jesus every day (John 13:5-11).

A dead body was the result of sin; hence, if you touched it, you were touching sin in essence and thus unclean.  The primary reason here was not the spread of disease because most people who die are found relatively soon afterwards.

Note the symbolism:  ashes of the heifer (Jesus) combined with living waters (Word of God & Holy Spirit).