BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 5: John 16:16-33

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.

You will pray in Jesus’ name.  At last, the disciples get it and Jesus rejoices.  A time will come when they will be scattered.  In Jesus, they will have peace even though in this world they will have trouble.

Questions:

11a)  If we have faith in Jesus and ask in his name, God will answer our prayers according to His will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To do His will through my writings and my kids.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Whether to work for money in the immediate future or whether to work for Him for patience for money to come.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has overcome Satan to rule and despite any troubles we will be with him one day.  Knowing I’m following him despite troubles is a great comfort.

Conclusions:  Personal day.  Understanding who Jesus is and belief in Him will allow God to answer all our prayers.

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.  There will be no need for Jesus to do it for them.  They can go directly to God in prayer since they have loved him and have faith in him and God will hear them.

Our love for God is evidence that He loves us.  Jesus’ death shows God’s love and God’s love is the reason for Jesus’ death–so we can be saved.

Verse 28 is a summary of God’s love and work for us:  Jesus is God, born into this world as man, and he will die and rise again into heaven.

The disciples declare they finally get it, but Jesus warns their faith will be shaken and tested.  They will leave Jesus, but he won’t be alone–God will not abandon him (nor us) ever.  It would be God and Jesus at the cross–together forever.

He concludes his discourse with his disciples, offering them peace in Him.  It’s not a promise; we have to find it.  He offers peace with God and peace with others and peace realized through conflict and struggle, which is promised we’ll have.

Fun Fact:  Jesus speaks of his victory.  “Overcome” is used only once here but 22 times in the 1 John and Revelation.

The world conquers when it comes between you and God.  Jesus is in control.  He never abandons us.  He loves us.  He overcomes.  Be of good cheer!

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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 John Lesson 22, Day 3: John 16:12-15

Summary of passage:  The Spirit of truth will guide you to truth and will tell you what is to come.  He will make known to you things from the Father.

Questions:

5)  The Holy Spirit will reveal what God wants to say to them and to us to write down.  All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)

6)  God guides the Holy Spirit and uses the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to us.  He brings glory to Jesus by revealing Jesus to us as well.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Similar to question 6.  The Holy Spirit guides us and reveals what is to come.  My writing career.

Conclusions:  Good emphasis about the Holy Spirit guiding us through Jesus and God (they are all one anyways).

End Notes: Jesus is saying he has much more to teach them but does not have the time.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit will finish his work, which will ultimately lead to the New Testament.

Guiding us into all truth means both the New Testament writings and us personally today.

The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal Jesus.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 2: John 16:5-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will come to them once he is gone, which is for their good.  The Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Questions:

3a)  Because only then can the Holy Spirit come to guide them and indwell and convict the world of sin, expose righteousness, and judge the devil.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In person.  Then I would know without a doubt my life would be Christ led.  I think I would have less doubts.  But there are advantages and disadvantages either way.  In reality, we have the Holy Spirit only so growing that is the key.

4)  Sin:  The Holy Spirit shines light in the darkness, exposing the evil.  With the Holy Spirit, one lives by the truth and by the light, which can be plainly seen to unbelievers.  The Holy Spirit cleanses unbelievers to  live a sanctified life.

Righteousness:  Sins pollute us and make us feel unclean and prideful.  The humble are exalted and those who admit they are sinners.  Those who keep the law and God’s commands become conscious of sin, repent, and therefore righteous before God.

Judgment:  God judges sinners but those who confess in faith are sanctified before God. The devil blocks unbelievers from seeing the light.  Through faith, grace, and mercy, we became alive in Christ and obedient to God.

Conclusions:  Back to John after 1 John is such a relief.  Much smaller chunks of the word to intake and digest.

End Notes: Peter had asked this question earlier (John 13:36) and Thomas asked a similar question (John 15:5). Peter was diverted immediately and he made no real attempt to find out where Jesus was going.  He had been concerned with the thought of parting with Jesus, not with that of the Master’s destination. He was only thinking of what it meant for himself for Jesus to leave.  Grief had distracted them.

Jesus does not say why the Holy Spirit would not come until after his departure.

Nevertheless (But in the NIV) is one of the great words of the Bible, meaning despite all of that.   “It tell you the truth” is to emphasize Jesus’ words.

The Holy Spirit will be better for believers than his physical presence–Jesus could now be with every believer every moment of the day.  Our belief is greater since we can’t see Jesus.  We understand Jesus better.  We obviously are closer to him.

Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.  Apart from sin’s convicting work, people can never see themselves as sinners.

“Convict” in the Greek means to expose, refute, and convince.  The Holy Spirit would bring the truth and a realization of man’s shame and hopelessness without God in their lives.

Sin is unbelief, the rejection of God and His Son, which the Holy Spirit reveals.  Jesus was righteousness which the Holy Spirit reveals.  The Holy Spirit reveals that Satan will be judged.  The Holy Spirit works in the world and in hearts to reveal these truths to all.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 5: Revelation 17:15-18

Summary of passage:  The angel tells John that the woman is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.  The waters are the peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.  The beast will kill the prostitute according to God’s purposes and allow the beast to rule.

Questions:

12)  God is in control and He’s the one who puts it into their hearts what to do.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control here and always to accomplish His purposes here on earth.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Knowing God wins makes it easy to proclaim His glorious name.  I’m not experiencing persecution at this time and haven’t really.  Knowing God’s word helps me see through deception.

Conclusions:  Question 12 & 13 are redundant and the same.  Question 14:  It’s not about knowing God wins; it’s about knowing God.  Weak lesson.

End Notes:  We are told who the woman is:  “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”  Some scholars say this is Rome and in the minds of the first century Christians it was definitely Rome.  Still, futurists say the city could be Jerusalem or the entire world system.

All the people will come together under the Antichrist until God turns their hearts to destroy the great city.  They will turn on themselves and destroy the prostitute.  Scholars say this is probably during the mid-point of the Tribulation.

God is the one orchestrating all of this as the angel states.  He is using the ten kings to judge the prostitute.

In the next chapter we will see Babylon’s destruction.

Conclusions to Lesson 22:  The most powerful lesson here in Revelation 17 is one we often forget:  God orchestrates world events.  He makes world leaders act for His purposes.  God is a God of action.

Secondly, we see that God wins and therefore, as Christians we win.  We cannot be defeated by Satan.  Emmanuel, God is with us, and if we’d keep that in mind–the big picture–our everyday circumstances and trials will be nothing but chaff in the wind.

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 Revelation Lesson 22, Day 3: Revelation 17:3-6

Summary of passage:  John was then carried away into the desert where he saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and 10 horns.  The woman was dressed as royalty, dripping in jewels.  She held a golden cup filled with her adulteries.  She had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.”  She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.

Questions:

6)  The woman was riding on the beast.  She was “dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.”  The beast was “covered with blasphemous names and had 7 heads and 10 horns.”  The woman held a golden cup full of her adulteries and had written on her forehead “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth.”  She was drunk with the blood of the saints who bore testimony to Jesus.

7a)  She’s the corrupter of men and she’s drunk with the blood of the saints, those who bore testimony to Jesus.  She persecutes God’s people and revels in it.

b)  2 Chronicles and Jeremiah tells us how God uses Babylon as punishment for His disobedient people.  Daniel 5 tells how the King of Babylon did not honor God and instead insulted God by drinking from His sacred objects from the temple and praising false gods instead of God.  Same here.  The woman is false religion personified and she’s riding the Antichrist.  Babylon is a country known for its false gods and the one God chose to judge His people.  It’s appropriate then since she’ here to bring punishment for disobedience to Him.

8 )  Part personal question. My answer:  God’s “things” is Him and the actions we do for Him.  Material, glittering goods are just that–things of the earth we enjoy here but not in heaven and which often we spend too much time acquiring.  Our focus should be on God and His “things” which is loving others and being like Jesus.  The glittering things are meant to seduce us away from Him.  I’m more drawn to God’s things for they are everlasting.  All else falls away.

Conclusions:  Question 8 highlighted the seduction of man by Satan and how it’s all a just a farce and a show.  None of it is real.  Satan is out for blood as this passage clearly shows and if we’d remember that visual of him drinking our blood, we’d probably sin less.

End Notes:  John now is carried from heaven to earth in his vision.

This is the same beast we saw in Revelation 13:1.  The Antichrist.  The fact she’s sitting on the beast suggests she is supported by him and she is in some way dominating him and controlling him.  To earth she appears religious.  God clearly sees otherwise.

She is richly adorned.  As you may recall, only Roman Emperors can wear purple togas and only the rich were allowed to wear a purple outline on their togas.  Scarlet also was a costly cloth.

Roman prostitutes frequently wore a headband with their name on it.  Despite her appearance, she is nothing but a prostitute.

This woman is NOT the woman from Revelation 12 who represented God’s people, Israel.  Here, she is false religion and idolatry. The two women are meant as contrasts–God versus Satan.

She is the literal city of Babylon but the mystery of the other Godless cultures.  She is the mother of what Satan devised against God.  The beast will rebel against her and bring about her ruin (Revelation 17:16).  Revelation 16:6 describes the prostitute in the same way.

Jeremiah describes prostitutes (Jeremiah 4:30) and Babylon (Jeremiah 51:7-8) in the same manner.

John was amazed because of the ferventness of the religious persecution.