BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 4: Romans 13:3-5

Summary of passage:  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

9)  God has a purpose in all rulers.  He used Babylon to punish His people and make them turn to Him and strengthen their faith.  There is a purpose in suffering–to grow us–and there is a purpose in the future that we cannot see.  I can have faith in God and that leaders are in power for His purpose.  I can pray for the leaders to do God’s will.

10)  You must submit to authorities because they are placed in authority by God and by submitting to them you are submitting to God.  Otherwise, you are rebelling against God if you do not.  Also, if you don’t submit, you will be punished if you break the laws.  Furthermore, you submit because it’s the right thing to do.  You submit for the good of all over the good of yourself.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Good I hope.  I tell my kids to respect authority, those in power, and those elected.  I’m a horrible driver in terms of getting angry (which I’m working on).  I’m running for local office.  I’m respectful as well.

Conclusions:  In essence, Days 2, 3 & 4 all have the same point:  God is in control and if you trust in Him then you trust your leaders.  There’s a purpose.  God’s purpose.  Have faith even when you don’t know.

End Notes:  [Taken from yesterday’s, just cut to the commentary that deals only with verses 3-5].

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 4: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage:  Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

9)  He just starts questioning Jesus, blatantly disregarding Jewish law and trying to get Jesus to incriminate himself.  He feels he is above the law.  He allows Jesus to be struck.  He doesn’t care about human dignity or abuse. He ships him off to Caiaphas when he’s done with him with not a care in the world about what will happen to Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He always maintains his composure.  He throws the law into both Caiaphas’ face and the unknown official who struck him.  He protects his disciples by refusing to mention them.  He doesn’t panic.  He submits but always letting his captors know they are in the wrong.

Conclusions:  We all know this trial won’t be fair and it starts here from the beginning.  Jewish law states witnesses must be called forth first, beginning with the defense.  The Talmud states, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day. If the person be acquitted, the sentence may be pronounced during that day; but, if he be condemned, the sentence cannot be pronounced till the next day. But no kind of judgment is to be executed, either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.”  It’s the dead of night here.  People corrupted by power known no bounds and care not for law and order.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 24, Day 4: Revelation 19:11-16

Summary of passage:  John now sees a white horse with a rider called Faithful and True in heaven.  He wears a robe of blood, has blazing eyes, and wears crowns. His name is the Word of God.  He is followed by an army of heaven.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword to strike down the nations and on his robe and thigh is written “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Questions:

9)  Jesus.  It all starts with God/Jesus and ends with Him.  He is the bearer of Truth and He is faithful to His promises.

Note:  Revelation 3:14 is Jesus speaking, calling himself “the faithful and true witness”.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  His robe is dipped in blood shows how he has sacrificed for me to be righteous before God and how he brings justice.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This question should be in the present tense in my opinion.  We are called to be Faithful and True to God and His word and if I do that, I’ll lead a life worthy of God’s calling.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very, very weak.  With so much imagery here, this is the best BSF can come up with?

End Notes:  This is Jesus’s Second Coming.  Zechariah 14:3-4 tells us when Jesus returns He will come first to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This answers the plea of Isaiah in 64:1-2 as well as the great multitude and the survivors of the Great Tribulation where Israel as a whole will turn to Jesus.

A horse in battle was rare in ancient times.  Only the officers rode horses.  Hence, we see Jesus as powerful and full of honor.  Probably not the same horse as in Revelation 6:2.

In Revelation 6:2 we see white as victory.  In Revelation 7:9, we see the multitude wearing white robes symbolizing victory because of their faithfulness.

The rider is no doubt Christ from all the Messianic references in this passage.

In Revelation 1:14 and 2:18 we saw eyes as flames of fire in the description of Christ.  The fire burns through to our soul, revealing all of our dirty secrets, lies, and deceit.

This is a different crown word here than before.  There are two Greek words used in the Revelation for “crown.” One is “Stephanos” is the crown of achievement used in connection with the Church (Rev.2:10; 3:11), the twenty-four elders (Rev.4:4, 10), Israel (Rev.12:1), Jesus Christ (Rev.14:14), the locust-demons (Rev.9:7), and the Antichrist (Rev.6:2).  The other is “diadema”, which is the crown of royalty and authority.  It’s used in connection with seven worldly kingdoms and the ten yet-future kings that make up the heads and horns of the image of the beast (Rev.12:3; 13:1).
In this case, Jesus is wearing many “diadems” at His Return which are the crowns associated with the kingdoms of man.  Some scholars believe Jesus is wearing the beast’s crowns as a sign of victory over the beast.  Others suggest the crown shows Jesus as triumphant over man and the whole earth and its inhabitants.

The war is a war of righteousness from verse 11.

We saw the sharp sword coming out of Christ’s mouth in Revelation 1:16.  This is of course the Word, not a literal sword.  We see the robe dipped in blood in Isaiah 63:1-6 and scholars debate whether it’s the blood of his enemies or His blood shed for our sins.  Either is quite possible.  He is going to strike down the nations and rule with an iron scepter comes from Psalm 2:9 and Isaiah 11:4.  Treading the winepress of the fury of God we saw in Revelation 14:17-20.

Note the location Christ’s name is written:  his thigh.  We saw this in Genesis 24:2,9; 47:29 as the location where oaths were made.  It will be easily visible to all.  Some scholars suggest the name no one knows is in fact Yahweh.

This is the beginning of the final battle–Armageddon.  The armies are believers (Jude 14-15; Revelation 17:14).  Angels will also accompany Christ as well (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17).  Their weapon is the fine linen they wear–the blood of Christ.  All we need for victory!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 24, Day 4: Numbers 25:1-5

Summary of passage:  While Israel camped, the men engaged in sexual immorality with Moabite women.  The Israelites joined them in worshipping false gods and God’s anger burned.  The Lord ordered those who engaged in false god worship killed.

Questions:

8a)  To indulge in sexual immorality with pagan women and join them in worshipping false gods, breaking two of the ten commandments and the law against being with unbelievers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The consequences of that sin.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure here.  I didn’t worship any false gods.  I did worship God.  He continues to provide for my every need in every way always.

9)  The people are about to cross over into the Promised Land.  They need to be godly people and fulfill God’s will and desire for them to be separate and a standard to look up to.  Plus, everything is going well for the Israelites.  Their enemies are afraid.  God just blessed them through Balaam.  Now, one of the oldest tricks in the book, sexual sin, is threatening to take down the Israelites.  God must stop this now.  It must be made clear to the Israelites that this sin is unacceptable.  As most of us know, sin and especially sexual sin, only leads to more sin.  And sin God will not tolerate.

Conclusions:  I liked this in how we see the devil never giving up in trying to take down God’s people.  I like how God answers:  swiftly and severely.  I didn’t like the personal questions at all.  They took the wind out of this passage for me as I paused and had to deliberate.  This passage speaks for itself and sometimes I think the passage gets lost when we try to inject ourselves and our experiences.  Instead of being about God’s word, it’s about us.  History is history and yes we learn from history, but facts are facts.

Example:  John F Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald for no other reason than for evil purposes and to gain notoriety.  In all the history books I’ve read about this historical event, not one has asked me about myself personally or how I applied his death to my life.  It was a tragic event as history both past and present are full of tragic events.  This will never change because man himself never changes.  Deep down we are sinners.  The devil grabs a hold of some people and never lets go despite God’s word.  Deep down we are all capable of murder.  Deep down we are undeserving of God’s mercy.  Deep down we are evil.

Point being:  not everything applies to us personally.  We all know if you do evil, you will face consequences either here on earth or in heaven.  We all know (even unbelievers) deep down who we should worship and who we shouldn’t worship.  We all know as Balaam discovered we will either be blessed or cursed by our decisions.

I am utterly frustrated here with the broad generalizations that are so broad (not even sexual sin is pinpointed here) that I am left with a headache in trying to figure out how to narrow it down.

End Notes:  In some Bible translations you will see Midianites instead of Moabites here. They are indeed separate peoples who at the time were living in the same general area.

We’ve seen Baal before, a constant threat to the Israelites as he was a popular fertility god that promoted sexual sin.

Note how Balak could not curse the Israelites but God can and does–because of disobedience. We ourselves bring upon our own destruction, not others.

Balaam is credited with suggesting this idea of sending in women to seduce the men (Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14).  However, he didn’t live very long (Numbers 31:7-8).  God’s judgment was swift upon him.

Map of Shittim:  http://www.jesuswalk.com/moses/maps/map-shittim-peor-topo-750x356x300.jpg

This map shows just how close the Israelites are to the Promised Land and God is taking no chances in His plans being thwarted now:  http://www.bibletrack.com/notes/image/Jericho.jpg

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 4: Matthew 24:24-36

Summary of passage:  False prophets will appear at the End Times to try and deceive the elect, Jesus warns.  The coming of the Son of Man will be visible.  Jesus quotes Isaiah, saying the sun will be darkened and the moon will have no light.  The stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

The Son of Man will appear in the sky and will come on clouds with power and great glory.  He will send his angels who will call the elect with a loud trumpet call.  This generation will not pass away until all these predictions have happened.  No one knows when Jesus shall return except the Father.

Questions:

8a)  False prophets.  The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give any light, stars will fall from the sky, heavenly bodies will be shaken, and a sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.  He will come on clouds and angels will appear with a trumpet call.

b)  Zechariah 12:10:  A spirit of grace and supplication will be poured out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  They will mourn Jesus and grieve bitterly.

Matthew 24:30:  “The Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

Revelation 1:7:  Jesus will come with the clouds for all to see and all will mourn because of him.

c)  Nothing.  We learn that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return except God.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus uses the fig tree as a metaphor for his coming.  Fig trees bloom regularly and always.  Jesus says as surely as the fig tree blooms, surely I will return.

Conclusions:  This is a good warm up to Revelation for those of you doing that next year.  Still needed a commentary for the fig tree.  Chapter 24 is difficult in that it speaks to the future and prophecy, always difficult to interpret when no dates are given and generalities abound.

I liked the study of the abomination.  I missed that when I read the book of Daniel on my own.  Why I need a bible study to learn this stuff!

End Notes:  In addition to Isaiah, Joel 2:10, and Revelation 6:12-14 also mention what will happen in the heavens at the End Times.

Scholars debate what the sign of the Son of Man will be.  Basically, it’s all guesses since we are not told here.

The fig tree has been around since the beginning of time (remember what leaves Adam and Eve used to cover up after they ate of the Tree of Knowledge?).  The fig tree appears many times in the Old Testament, sometimes to represent abundance or even to represent Israel (Jeremiah 24:1-10 and Hosea 9:10).

If you read Luke’s version of this story, specifically Luke 21:29-31, you get a better picture of what the fig tree represents here.  Like I said, it’s an analogy assuring his disciples that Jesus will return.

Some say this “generation” could be translated as this “race”, meaning the Jews.  This is especially propounded by those who believe these events already happened in 70 AD.

So Jesus gives an outline for End Time events:  1) Catastrophes 2)  abomination of desolation 3)  Warnings to flee 4)  Hardships and heavenly signs  5)  Jesus’ return

Note the dilemma verse 36 poses:  Daniel says the day of Jesus’ return is exactly 1,290 days after the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 12:11).  Here, Jesus says only God knows his return.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 32:20-32

Summary of passage:  Jacob sends pacifying gifts to Esau ahead of him while he stayed behind.  He sent his family and possessions across the River Jabbok.  He was left alone and he wrestled with a man all night.  The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip as they wrestled.  Jacob asked for a blessing from the man before he let him go.  The man asked his name and then changed it to Israel because he had struggled with God and men had overcome.

He was blessed by the man and the place was called Peniel.  Jacob was limping from his battle.

Questions:

9)  He hasn’t yet fully trusted in God.  He hasn’t submitted his will to God’s.  He hasn’t surrendered nor died to self.

10)  We are told Jacob struggled with the angel and overcame him.  Jacob then wept and begged for the angel’s favor.  We are told this took place near Bethel.

11)  The man was God in the person of Jesus for we know God himself never appeared to man (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; John 6:46).  Verse 28 says it clearly when the man speaks and tells Jacob “you have struggled with God”

12)  Ok.  A bit presumptuous, isn’t this question?  No one “forces” God to do anything.  So just knowing that one fact about God you know the answer to this question.

Jacob is accepting God’s blessing.

13)  When we fight His will for our life.

Conclusions:  Like Day 2, I’m left with mixed feelings on this lesson (as you may have been able to tell by their brevity). This is a very famous passage in the Bible.  My Bible heading is “Jacob Wrestles With God” and it seems as though BSF focuses too much effort on getting us to realize this is God (the obvious) instead of focusing on the end results and how Jacob needed God to show up in his life again (as I do right now)–and the not-so-obvious.

I would have preferred more questions like 13 instead of like 11 and 12.  My opinion, of course.  This passage has such depth and meaning as it shows how we all wrestle with God until we finally submit to Him.  Instead, we are left hanging.  A missed opportunity by BSF.

We all need to surrender our will and our self-reliance (hard to do in America) to God.  It is God’s way on His “Way of Holiness(Isaiah 35:8) or the other highway.  God must be our center.  God must be in control.  God must conquer us.  When we are defeated by this world and all that happens to us, we weep to God for His blessings as Jacob did.  We come crawling to Him, broken.  Right where we need to be in order to move forward into the Promised Land.  As Jacob shows us.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”.  Jacob grasps the Lord with all his strength, knowing how much he needs God.  We must do the same.  All the time.  Hold onto God and never let go.

Jacob’s enemy is not Esau.  It is self.  It is death to self that Jacob is struggling against.

The name change signifies the passing of Jacob’s old life into his new life of trusting God 100%.  Of being ALL in.

God graced Jacob with a limp as a reminder for the rest of his life to turn to Him.

“Why do you ask my name?” God asks.  For we all should know His name.

Analysis of Genesis 32 and Jacob:  You can see why Jacob needed to wrestle with God from this passage.  It starts out with God’s army camped next to Jacob.  Still, he is afraid.  Then Jacob prays to God.  Still, he is afraid.  Next, God wrestles with Jacob. Finally, he surrenders.

Good lesson for all of us how God never gives up on our unbelief and how He does whatever it takes to get us to SEE and turn and fall to the ground at his awesomeness.

Map of Peniel and Mahanaim:  Not my favorite but the best one I could find  HERE.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 4: Ephesians 4:17-5:21

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Ephesians they must no longer live in darkness and ignorance from the hardening of their hearts for this separates them from God.  These people indulge in impurity.  You (Ephesians) were taught the truth in Jesus.  You were told to put off your old self which is corrupted and put on your new self which is like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Put off falsehood and speak truthfully.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry which gives the devil a foothold.  You must work and not steal so you have something to share with the needy.

Do not speak unwholesome but only what builds others up.  Do not grieve, get rid of bitterness, rage and agner, slander, and every form of malice.  Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.

Imitate God and live a life of love.  Now that you are holy you must not have any kind of immorality (sexual, etc) or impurity.  No obscenity but thankfulness.  No immoral person will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Do not disobey.

Live as children of light (goodness, righteousness, and truth) and do what pleases the Lord.  Expose darkness and disobedience.  For eventually light will expose it.

Live wisely, making the most of every opportunity.  Understand God’s will.  Do not fill yourself with drink but with the Spirit.  Speak to one another in songs and praise and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to Him.  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Questions:

10)  Put off:  Old Self.  Put on:  New self.  4:22-24

Put off:  falsehood.  Put on:  truth.  4:25

Put off:  Stealing  Put on:  Work.  4:28

Put off:  unwholesome talk.  Put on:  encouraging words that build others up.  4:29

Put off:  malice of any kind be it bitterness, rage, anger, slander.  Put on:  kindness, compassion and forgiveness.  4:31-32

Put off:  sexual immorality, impurity, greed.  Put on:  imitation of God, a life of love  5:1-3

Put off:  obscenity, foolish talk or coarse jokes  Put on:  Thanksgiving 5:4

Put off:  darkness and deeds whereof.  Put on:  light (goodness, righteousness, and truth) and expose deeds of darkness.  5:8-14

Put off:  unwise.  Put on:  wise.  5:15

Put off:  drunkenness.  Put on:  Fullness of the Spirit.  5:18

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m trying to be encouraging and thankful and not engage in gossip or hurtful words.  I did fail once yesterday but I apologized and moved on.  It’s a work in progress and I do see it improving.

Conclusions:  Great do’s and don’ts of the Bible and ways for living.  Sage advice we all need to hear and apply in our lives.  My favorites:  don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.  Be imitators of God.  Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out but only encouraging words that build rather than destroy.  Speak to one another with psalms.

I love the sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, which I think we all do when we do His purpose in our life.  It fills us with song which the Lord hears.

Always giving thanks to the Lord for everything in you life:  possessions, health, happiness, trials, and triumphs.