BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 4: Romans 12:4-5 & Ephesians 4:1-6

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:4-5:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  Paul urges us to live a life worthy of Christ.  Be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with one another in love.  Be peaceful and unified.  Be one body along with the One God, One Spirit, and One Son.

Questions:

9)  Believers are the body of Christ and it is Christ who unites us all.

10)  By peace.  Through humility, gentleness, patience, and love.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Living a Godly life is how I promote unity.  Doing my part in God’s will in the way I interact with others and lead my life.

Conclusions: Didn’t get much out of the questions, but Paul’s exhortations are clear:  it is our responsibility as Christians to keep the unity amongst us and not let petty arguments/sin/Satan/the world divide us.  We are to keep Christ in the forefront always and forever.

End NotesRomans 12:4-5:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

Ephesians 4:1-6:  We should want to walk in God’s way and serve Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.  It is God’s love that fuels us.

Let God be in control (humility).  Forgive one another out of love and peace as in this world we will inevitably sin against others.

This is spiritual unity, not structural unity i.e. unity of different denominations, etc.  The complete fusion of all churches would inevitably lead to corruption (think Catholicism in the Middle Ages).

We have unity because of what we share in common.  In Jesus we share one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father.

The baptism here is a baptism of water, an outward sign of acceptance of Christ into the soul.

Fun Fact:  Christianus sum, I am a Christian in Latin.  How Martin Luther answered all temptations from Satan.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 4: John 16:16-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them..  The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means.  When they see him again, they will know all.  If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

Questions:

8 )  When Jesus dies, they won’t see him.  When they die and ascend to heaven, they will see him.  More specifically, this is referring to the Resurrection and Jesus reveals himself to them.

9)  He tells them they will “weep and mourn…but their grief will turn to joy.”  He tells them they will have complete joy.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I keep asking and keep listening.  They keep searching and asking and Jesus keeps answering until they get it.  The same goes for us.  Jesus will keep responding as long as we keep seeking until we do get it.

Conclusions:  Perhaps the greatest example in history of pain and grief bringing joy.  Great lesson for us in the throes of life.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified.  Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead.  This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here.  Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity.  He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed.  This is true.  We see no writings of regret from the apostles.  They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 4: Revelation 17:6-14

Summary of passage:  The angel told John he’d explain the mystery of the woman and the beast she rides.  The beast will be destroyed.  The inhabitants whose names are not in the book of life will be astonished to see this.  The 7 heads are 7 hills and 7 kings.  5 kings have fallen, 1 is, and 1 will come.  The beast is the 8th king who will be destroyed.

The 10 horns are 10 kings who have yet to receive their kingdom but will for 1 hour.  They have 1 purpose and will hand over their power to the beast.  They will war with the Lamb but the Lamb will overcome along with the Lamb’s faithful.

Questions:

9a)  The mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides.

b)  The one goal of the 10 kings is to give their power and authority to the beast and war against the Lamb.

c)  The Lamb wins!

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every.

10)  The Lord:  “who is, and who was, and who is to come”

The beast:  “you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up and go to his destruction”.

Verb tense jumps out at me right away.  The beast exists for a finite amount of time.  God is eternal, always, and forever.  He is past, present, and future.  The beast is a moment in time.  He appeared once, is not presently evident, and will in the future again make his presence known.

Remember also the beast was killed, resurrected, and raised (who was, is not, will come). (Revelation 13:3).  God has always been, never killed, and will always be.

11a)  Because the beast will make every effort to deceive the faithful and turn them from the Lamb.  The wisdom comes from God. (Revelation 13:18).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Read and study the Bible, pray, grow closer to Jesus, do His will in my life. I try to follow His will and His commandments in all things in my life.  The results have been good.

Conclusions:  Groaned at Question 9d.  11a was intuitive.  11b is what we all should be doing to have Godly wisdom in our lives.  So much more we could have analyzed in this passage especially the symbolism of the numbers and the Antichrist, but instead we focused on an elementary reading of the passage.  See End Notes for more in depth analysis of passage.

Question 10 was my favorite.  It’s important to remember God is in control and He controls the beast who will only be allowed to reign for a finite amount of time.  God reigns forever.

End Notes:  Scholars note the similarity of the beast’s description with Revelation 13:3 “had a fatal wound, but it was healed” and all were astonished (read impressed) and followed.  Here, the people marvel as well when the beast once was, is not, and will come.

The beast is persecuting God’s people but its destruction is coming.

In Revelation 13:18 we saw a call for wisdom as well and here for the people to have insight into the true nature of the beast.  We also saw in Revelation 13 how the heads, crowns, and horns represented the beast’s authority, power, and strength.

This is one of the most difficult and controversial passages to interpret in the book of Revelation.

Now we see the 7 heads representing 7 hills.  Some scholars say there is no doubt this is Rome, built upon 7 hills and 7 emperors of Rome.  Rome was built on 7 mountains and a Roman coin shows the goddess Roma sitting on 7 mountains.  A few scholars bring in the Catholic Church with its reference to Rome.  This was used heavily in the push-back against Rome in the Reformation.  Now, however, most scholars dismiss this interpretation altogether.

However, Daniel refers to mountains as governments (Daniel 2:35).

Everything we read in Revelation is a symbol for a historical reality unless the text states otherwise.  We have understood all the sevens in the book (seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls) as symbolically representing a complete judgment against a nation.  However, there is one seven that we took literally:  the 7 churches because they were named individually.

Here, we are told the 7 heads represent 7 kings.  Scholars who argue that this passage is about Rome point out that if the angel had left the image at this we would be forced to understand the 7 kings as a symbol representing all the kings of the Roman Empire and what they would do.  However, the angel numbers the 7 kings and gives details about them:  “Five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.”  This leads scholars to say these are the specific emperors around John’s time.  Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero are the five who have fallen.  The one who is reigning now is Vespasian.  Then the one to come who will “remain only a little while” is Titus who ruled only from 79-81 AD.  After Titus is Domitian.  He is the eighth emperor who is like the beast, belongs to the seven, and goes to destruction.   These scholars say the 10 horns is the 10 provinces of the Roman Empire.

However, the 5 that have fallen could be the empires that have fallen before John’s day:  Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, and Greece.  One could be Rome.  The one yet to come could be the revival of the Roman empire or the world order before the End Times.  This one will be eclipsed by the Antichrist.

Daniel 2 & 7 had Daniel see visions of these empires as well as we studied in Lesson 8.

One thing we know for sure is verse 11:  The beast is the 8th king and he will be destroyed!  Yeah, God!

The 10 kings could be literal or symbolic as of a coalition of nations.  Some commentators see this at the EU since those nations can be traced back to the Roman Empire or even NATO.  The point is we are already seeing sovereign nations join with others and give their power over to a single ruler–which is what the Antichrist in the End Times will do.

Whoever they’ll be, they have one purpose:  to war against the Lamb in the battle alluded to in the sixth and seventh bowls (Revelation 16:12-21).

Conclusions to commentary:  A difficult passage to be sure but one thing is certain:  Christ wins!  Keep that in mind when reading all the details of the before.  The end game is what is important; how we get there, albeit relevant, not so important.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 4: Numbers 20:14-29

Summary of passage:  Moses sent a message to the King of Edom, requesting to pass through his territory.  The Israelites promised to not drink nor eat nor take anything from them–merely to stay on the road through their country onto the Promised Land.  Edom refused.  Moses asked again, this time offering to pay for any water used.  Again, they were refused.  Edom marched their army against the Israelites and the Israelites backed down.

At Mount Hor, near Edom’s border, the Lord told Moses and Aaron that it was Aaron’s time to die.  Aaron and his son, Eleazar, were to go up on Mount Hor, where Eleazar would put on Aaron’s garments and take over as High Priest.  Moses did as commanded and when Aaron died he was mourned 30 days.

Questions:

9a)  Possibly because the Israelites were related to the Edomites as descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau, and they didn’t want to fight their relatives.  Also because the Lord had not told Moses to go that way.  I’m assuming the Israelites are still being led by the cloud.

b)  Take a long, hard detour and go around through more desert .

c)  When God tells you to resist.  When God tells you to yield.  There are no hard, fast rules here and every situation is different.  It’s all on what God wants, not the individual.

10)  Aaron knew he was dying so he had time to say good-bye to his family and friends.  To make amends if he had to.  Presumably to offer sacrifices and die a cleansed man.  And he was honored by being taken away to Mount Hor ceremoniously.  Furthermore, Aaron was mourned by the people for 30 days.  Although we can’t say for certain Miriam didn’t have any of this, we know Aaron did.  And that is full of grace.

11a)  Aaron died a physical death.  Jesus’ priesthood is forever and perfect and ever-lasting.  Only through him can we have eternal life.  And on a chronological note:  Aaron’s passing tells us where we are at in history and just how much time has passed.  Important in the march towards Jesus.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  The power of the cross and what happens next sustains me when this life becomes seemingly impossible.  My home is not here.  I need not depend on man.  Only Jesus.

Conclusions:  Great chapter in the Bible.  I love how we see the death of Miriam, the condemnation of Moses and Aaron, the hard hearts of the Edomites, and the death of Aaron all together.  For here we see God’s amazing grace and mercy and will.  And I believe most of us would say it’s not our will but God’s for I’m not for sure any of us would have condemned Moses nor rejected Moses at the footsteps of Edom.  God’s ways, not ours.

Despite my belief that Aaron is nothing but a follower, God honors him here.  God honors followers as well as leaders.  Everyone matters to Him despite his or her sins.  Not everyone has the strength of character to be a leader.  And that’s okay.  Look at Aaron.  He was second in command to Moses, a man above all men in terms of closeness to God.  He was second in command to God.  God spoke to Aaron and appeared to him.  That’s something I can’t say about me.  Even in sadness there is God’s mercy.

End Notes:  We are in the final leg now of the approach to the Promised Land.  Scholars break the journey down into five stages:

Stage One:  The Exodus from Egypt and the journey to Mount Sinai (Exodus 12:31 to 18:27).
Stage Two:  The time at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1 to Numbers 10:10).
Stage Three:  The first attempt to enter the Promised Land, beginning at Mount Sinai, which failed as the people rebelled and refused to enter (Numbers 10:11 to 14:45).
Stage Four:  The 38 years of wandering in the wilderness, waiting for the generation of unbelief to die (Numbers 15:1 to Numbers 20:13).
Stage Five:  The Israelites succeed in their second attempt to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:14 to Joshua 2:24).

Why the Edomites refused such a simple request is not recorded (and seemingly unwarranted).  Perhaps out of fear or just because they didn’t want 2 million people traipsing through their backyard.  But there is no retribution on the part of the Israelites and Moses in fact commands the Israelites not to hate them (Deuteronomy 23:7).  Yet for the rest of Biblical history, there is war and strife between the two nations.

Note how 38 years is boiled down to a mere 5 1/2 chapters while the year at Mount Sinai is 50 chapters!  Presumably, nothing of note happened in 38 years.  The people lived out their lives normally, sadly waiting for God’s judgment time to pass.

Lesson to us:  we can exist, but not live.  We can wander around for years and find ourselves right back where we started.

Note how Moses who represented the law, Miriam who represented prophets, and Aaron who represented priests all died before the Promised Land.  Only Joshua (whose name means Jesus) led the way!  How cool is that!

Aaron as the first high priest of Israel deserved to be honored.  His position alone demands it.  The man may fail but the priesthood (and the path to God through our High Priest, Jesus) will not.

Map of Mount Hor:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/mount_hor.htm

Another Map of Mount Hor showing entire Exodus Route:  http://www.keyway.ca/gif/wildjour.gif

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 4: Matthew 21:33-46

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells the Pharisees another parable.  A landowner planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug a winepress, and built a watchtower.  Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.  When harvest approached he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.  The tenants beat his servants and killed them.  They even killed his son.

The Pharisees said the landowner should kill the tenants and find new ones.  Jesus said that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to people who will produce fruit.  The Pharisees understood the parable and knew Jesus was talking about them but they couldn’t arrest him because of the people.

Questions:

9a)  God

b)  Isaiah says it’s the house of Israel and the men of Judah.  I was thinking earth.

c)  Unbelievers

d)  Believers or prophets

e)  Jesus

f)  AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple

g)  New believers who would give the landlord his share of the crops (the fruit) or give him their belief in Jesus as a Savior.  Or the apostles and the early church (the new tenants) who would bear fruit for God, serve Him, and give Him all the glory as deserved.

10a)  Psalm 118:22-23

b)  1 Peter 2:7-8:  The stone and rock are Jesus who is rejected by builders which has become the capstone and will cause unbelievers to fall

Romans 9:32-33:  The stumbling stone, stone, and rock are Jesus who will cause unbelievers to stumble and fall.

1 Corinthians 1:23:  Jesus is the stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

c)  By not believing in Christ as God’s Son and Savior

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Romans 9 says one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.  Ephesians says believers will be joined together and rise to be a temple as the Holy Spirit indwells them.  It is encouraging to know with God will never fall or stumble but will rise.

Conclusions:  My one quibble is Ephesians does not talk at all about how people reject and stumble over Christ.  In fact, none of the passages really do.  They merely say that people will stumble and fall.  We have to infer that this is because of their unbelief.

I know we have studied stone and block before and its meaning, I believe last year in Acts.  I think we would have been better off examining Mark and Luke where the parable of the tenants is told. Especially Luke where the people cried out to never let this be.  Interesting.

End Notes:  Other places the Bible mentions the vineyard as Israel:  Deuteronomy 32:32, Psalm 80:8, Jeremiah 2:21, and Isaiah 5:1-7.

Jesus is condemning the Pharisees here as the tenants who are plotting to kill him.  They deserve judgment and punishment as they themselves state.  Jesus clearly states that he is finding new leadership or tenants who will carry on his work, specifically the apostles and the early church.

Other stones in the Old Testament depicting Jesus:  The stone of Isaiah 8:13-15 that people stumble over, the foundation and cornerstone of Isaiah 28:16, and the stone of Daniel 2:34, 44-45 that destroys the world in rebellion to God.

When we fall we surrender to God or you can reject Jesus and be crushed by judgment.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 4: Genesis 27:42-28:9 with Hebrews 12:6-14

Summary of passages:  Genesis 27:42-28:9:  Rebekah hears Esau’s plans to kill Jacob so she sends for Jacob and tells him to go and live with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau’s temper cools. She tells Isaac she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman so Isaac blesses him and commands him to go to Paddan Aram to the house of his mother’s father Bethuel and take a wife from the daughters of Laban.  He blessed him again with fruitfulness and with the blessing given to Abraham.

Esau learned what had happened and he took a wife from Ishmael’s line in an effort to please his father.

Hebrews 12:6-14:  The Lord disciplines those He loves and punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline for God is treating you as a son.  For if you are not disciplines then you are not sons of God.  Everyone is disciplined.  God disciplines us for our good so we may share in His holiness.

Discipline is never pleasant but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Questions:

10)  Jacob got sent away from the only home he has known.  He has to endure Laban.  He is tricked into marrying Leah.  He had to work for 14 years to have Rachel.  He slept with her maidservant when she couldn’t have kids (sound familiar?). He has to flee from Laban.

Rebekah spends the rest of her days without Jacob.  She dies before he returns-never seeing him again or getting the chance to say good-bye.

11)  Just the fact that Isaac is giving Jacob the blessing willingly when he really wants to give it to Esau shows he trusts God when God chose Jacob to be the heir.  He trusts God to find a wife for Jacob.  He blesses Jacob with the same blessing God has blessed him with:  bless him financially and multiply in number and take possession of the Promised Land.

Conclusions:  I have nothing positive to say about this lesson so I won’t say anything at all.