BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 25, Day 3: Romans 13:11-12

Summary of passage:  The Second Coming will be here soon so walk right with God now, fully awake and cognizant of what you are doing for Him.  Set aside sin and put on Jesus!

Questions:

7)  The Second Coming is almost here where we will be with Jesus forever.  To live in the present moment and not just numbly go through the motions of life because Jesus could come any day!  Every day matters and all that you do matters.  Don’t dismiss your actions as frivolous.

8 )  Galatians 1:4:  “present evil age”.  Luke 19:44:  “the time of God’s coming to you.”  See also Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:36; Philippians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8; Titus 2:11-14; James 5:7-11; 2 Peter 3:11-14; 1 John 2:28; 3:2-3

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  People get stuck in the mundaneness of life and just go through the motions. They get complacent with their life and next thing they know 20 years has gone by with nothing to show for it.  I get this way at times as well.  Luckily, I’m an active person and I’m out in the world, trying to figure out what to do with my life.  Still, I get complacent about attending church, reading the Word, praying.  All things I need to remember–namely God and Jesus–first.  THEN everything else.

Conclusions:  Paul has a very good point:  stay present and remember life could be over any second.  Don’t take one moment for granted.  Make it about Him always.

End Notes:  In essence, be in the presence moment and don’t just go through the motions of life.

Putting aside darkness (sin) and putting on light is a metaphor with putting on clothes (which we all do).  Put on Jesus (the armor of light) every morning!

Spurgeon explains this passage: “The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.”

The night is the present evil age.  This is a clear teaching of the nearness of the end times (1 Corinthians 7:29; Philippians 4:5; James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18).  Early Christians did not believe Jesus would return within a few years.  Instead, they saw the death and resurrection of Jesus as the events that began the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  “The night is nearly over” is the next great event in God’s plan, which is the Second Coming.  The day is when Jesus does come and ushers in the consummation of the kingdom.

One of my favorite songs that speaks to Paul’s theme:

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 3: John 18:33-38

Summary of passage:  Pilate went into his palace with Jesus and questioned him.  He decides there is no basis for charges against Jesus and tells the Jewish leaders.

Questions:

6)  “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus says, “Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?”  “What is it you have done?”  Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place.”  In ch. 9, Pilate asks Jesus, “Where do you come from?”  Jesus says nothing.  “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”  Jesus says “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.  Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

7)  He could have learned who Jesus truly was.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God is in charge of all.  Jesus fulfilled prophecy with his death.  Death is a gateway to heaven for believers.  All the difference.  Comforting to know how God is in charge even during the bad.

Conclusions:  More evidence of Jesus’ innocence and man’s determination to kill him.  I do like how Pilate is reluctant to do it.  It’s as if he knows who Jesus is on some elementary level.  Or he just despises the Jewish leaders.  Pilate could have just condemned him.  Instead, he tries to find out the truth.  He just doesn’t discover the TRUTH.

End Notes:  This is the second questioning of Jesus.  John combines two appearances of Jesus before Pilate, separated by an appearance of Jesus before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8-12). Pilate hoped to give this problem to Herod because he ruled over Galilee, where Jesus was from. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate where this questioning begins.

Jesus didn’t look like a revolutionary or a criminal.  He certainly didn’t act like one.  Hence, Pilate’s doubt and questions.

Jesus asked Pilate if he was asking for himself or for the Jews.  Yes, he was the Messianic king of the Jews.  No, he wasn’t the political king.

Pilate, still trying to decide what to do with Jesus, asks him what he has done.  Augustine observed  that earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self interest – all displayed by Pilate and the Roman Empire.

The heavenly kingdom, exemplified by Jesus and the cross, is based on love, sacrifice, humility, and righteousness – and is to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Gentiles foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23).

“The obvious inference from his words would be that he came in to the world from another realm, that whoever did not listen to him would not be characterized by truth, and that if Pilate really wanted to know what truth was, he would give Jesus his earnest attention.” (Tenney)

Pilate is mocking Jesus who appeals to the Truth.  Pilate dismisses the Truth of a heavenly kingdom, having obtained his answer that Jesus is no revolutionary and is innocent.  Teaching the truth was not a criminal offense (John 19:4, 6).  He reports this to the Jews.

Jesus’ movements again HERE and HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 25, Day 3: Revelation 20:4-6

Summary of passage:  John sees thrones where those given authority to judge are seated.  He sees the souls of the martyrs who died for Jesus alive and reigning for 1000 years during the first resurrection.  The rest did not come to life.  Blessed are these.

Questions:

6a)  “Because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.”  They were raised from the dead and reigned with Christ for 1000 years.

b)  Personal Question that I’m tired of answering:  It doesn’t.

See Lesson 16 Day 4 for repetition.

7a)  Risen from the dead and all believers will share in it.

b)  The second death.

8 )  Priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.  Everything.

Conclusions:  Rich passage.  Strike out the personal questions and add more interpretation especially with the different deaths and resurrections.  This was VERY confusing to me and only after I researched it did I have an idea what John was talking about.  Perhaps the notes will address this but I need to understand NOW not after the lecture.

End Notes:  This passage fulfills Revelation 2:10-11.

Who is sitting on these thrones?  Possibilities:  the twenty-four elders representing the church (Revelation 4:4) or the apostles (Matthew 19:28) or the company of saints as a whole (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

“Those given authority to judge” are all those who had been redeemed by His blood, resurrected from the grave, and raptured into His presence. These (the saints) will reign as kings and priests with Christ (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10).  Note they reign for the same amount of time Satan is bound.

These beheaded (executed in ancient Greek) ones are the souls we saw under the altar in Revelation 6:9.  More have been added (Revelation 6:11) during the Tribulation.  In essence, all will reign (Revelation 2:26-28, 3:12,22; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3) but the martyrs here are encouraged and specified for all they have suffered.

Scholars debate if this is a bodily resurrection or not.  Some point to Ezekiel 37:12-14 where a nation is described as being resurrected and to Isaiah 26:19 where he is speaking figuratively after Babylon of victory.

The “rest of the dead” are the unbelievers who did not take part in the “first resurrection” with the redeemed and did not accept Jesus as Savior.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2)
The “first resurrection” refers to the resurrection of the redeemed.  It includes: resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:23; Revelation 1:5), resurrection of the church (the dead in Christ – 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 4:16); and resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:4; Isaiah 26:19; Dan. 12:2). The rest of the dead (unbelievers) will be raised in the second resurrection (Revelation 20:12-13).

The second death, which is referred to in Revelation 20:14-15, is a spiritual death.

In essence, those who suffered death by martyrdom will not suffer spiritual death.  They are promised the first resurrection.  Those who didn’t suffer death by martyrdom will face the second or spiritual death and their resurrection (the second) will be seen in the White Throne room in verses 11-15.

The Bible discusses two “deaths” and two “resurrections”.

The “first death” is the death of the body (Hebrews 9:27).  The “second death” is the eternal death and suffering that only affects unbelievers.  (v.14).  This explains John’s words in verse 6.

There are two “resurrections.”   The word “resurrection” is a Greek word meaning “to make to stand” or “rise up.”  This occurs when the soul reenters the body after the physical death and rises up.  All resurrect because all die.

Believers take part in the “first resurrection” and acquire a new body in the process (Phil.3:20-21; 1 Cor.15:52).  Scholars debate whether the first resurrection will have many parts beginning with Jesus and encompassing the Tribulation martyrs amongst others  (Matt.27:53; 1 Thess.4:16-17; Rev.11:11).  This depends on when you believe the rapture will occur.  Pretribulationists believe it will be in many parts.  Posttribulationists believe it will be one event.
Unbelievers not in Christ take part in the “second resurrection”.   They do not receive a new body and this occurs one time after the Millennium, which explains verse 5.

In John 5:28-29, Jesus mentions these 2 resurrections.  The 2 are separated by 1000 years as believers are raised first and then non-believers.

We see the Fifth Beatitude in verse 6.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 3: Numbers 27:12-23

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses it is his time to die for his sins against him (Numbers 20:1-13).  But first he may climb a mountain and see the Promised Land before he dies.  Moses asks for a leader to be appointed to follow him so the people are not leaderless.  God said to appoint Joshua, a man with the Spirit in him, to take his spot through a ceremony performed by Eleazar, the high priest, to pass on Moses’s authority.  He will command the movements of the Israelites.  Moses did as the Lord commanded.

Questions:

5a)  He allowed Moses to climb a mountain and lay eyes upon the Land.

b)  That someone else be appointed as leader of the people.  His only concern seemed to be the people.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would pray for peace and faith when I died.  And no pain.  I would spend every waking moment with my family and pour out my heart to them.  I’d pray.  I’d cry.

6)  He had Joshua proclaimed leader in front of the entire community so all would know in the priest’s presence. He had Moses give him some of his authority so the whole community would obey him.  He had to ask the priest, Eleazar who would ask the Urim (see end note for more) for decisions.  He will command when the Israelites move.

He did not receive the fellowship of God like Moses did (no one has).  He did not know God face-to-face nor could he perform miraculous signs and wonders or awesome deeds and power that Moses could.  I wonder if God had been too close to Moses and too hurt by him to be as close to a human again while the human was on earth?

Conclusions:  Just like with Aaron and Eleazar, God laid out a plan of succession for Moses and Joshua since Moses was the only leader the Israelites had ever known in their lives.

I wish we would have read the parallel passages in Numbers with Deuteronomy instead of reading the whole book (almost) by itself and glossing over it (Lesson 26 coming up).  I loved it when we did that in the Study of Matthew last year.  That way we could see the different comparisons and glean more details and more understanding.  I learned a lot by studying just Numbers, but I feel I could have learned more.

End Notes:  Moses does get to step foot in the Promised Land in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9).  God is so gracious!

With the word shepherd here, Moses is previewing Jesus and showing us that Jesus will be the ultimate shepherd.

It is a specific mountain God wants Moses to climb but scholars are not sure which one it was.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 25, Day 3: Genesis 34:13-31

Summary of passage:  Jacob’s sons told Shechem and his father Hamor that they would only give them Dinah if they and all the males became circumcised.  Only then would they agree to give them their daughters and settle among them and become one people. Otherwise, they will leave.

Hamor and Shechem readily agreed, saying once all are circumcised then their livestock, property, and all their animals will become their (so greed is the real reason, not love).

All became circumcised.

However, while all the men were still recovering, Simeon and Levi killed every male in the city, including Hamor and Shechem, and looted the city.  They seized all their livestock, wealth, and women and children.

Jacob chastized them (a bit), saying now they may attack them but the sons defended themselves, asking how they could stand by and have their sister treated like a prostitute.

Questions:

6a)  They made the family “a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites”, who now may retaliate and destroy their entire household.

b)  Circumcision was the covenant given to Abraham by God showing an outward sign of their difference, their special place in this world as God’s chosen people (Genesis 17:9-14).  It is a sacred act, given by God himself to His people.  Hence, the deception is a slap in the face to God.  It is a desecration, a sacrilege against God.  They do not revere God or what is His and really don’t care.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Revenge, plain and simple.  No, not really.  I do hold grudges and contempt for people but I pray through that.

d)  “Do not repay evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody….live at peace with everyone…do not take revenge..but leave room for God’s wrath.”  Feed your enemy instead and allow good to overcome evil.

7a)  They will be scattered in Jacob (Israel or the Promised Land) and not listened to.  Cursed be their anger.

b)  Basically saying should they have stood by and allowed their sister to be treated like a prostitute.  Something had to be done.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Revenge is God’s to take, not ours.  Revenge only magnifies the wrong and creates more woe and sorrow.  Give it to God and allow Him and His forgiveness to heal your heart.

Conclusions:  No question Simeon and Levi went overboard on the revenge, killing innocent people who had nothing to do with the crime.  Their actions did not fit the crime in any way.  And to top it off they committed sacrilege to accomplish the devil’s work. Pretty sure God wasn’t too happy about that!

It is interesting that greed, NOT love, is the motivating factor as it seems to be throughout history when atrocities are committed.  Again, the use of women to accomplish this goal is very sad and unfortunate.

Notice that Jacob is NOT called Israel here.  Why?  Because his actions are deplorable. Jacob showed no recorded outrage at what happened to Dinah.  Instead, he deferred to his sons.  And when he heard about the murders?  A slight chiding was all Simeon and Levi got.  “Now, now, kids, you shouldn’t have done that.  We’re gonna have to move again.”  Seriously?  That was it??  That was the punishment a father gave his sons???

Jacob’s prophecy does come true:  both tribes are scattered over the Promise Land. However, it is God’s punishment, not Jacob’s.  He is only the messenger here.  Note also we don’t hear much about the Simeonites throughout OT history but we know the Levites were the ones chosen as priests over God’s people.  They stood firm during the Golden Calf debacle (Exodus 32:26-28) and did repent and chose God.  God’s saving grace.

Notes on circumcision:  Circumcision has been around before God gave the covenant to His people.  The Ancient Egyptians practiced circumcision where the earliest recorded use is found.

Interestingly, the highest occurrence of circumcision is amongst Muslims (I didn’t know this) and it’s probably the most common surgical procedure performed today. Approximately one-third of males worldwide are circumcised and the rate stands at 75% in the United States (of the population.  Newborn circumcision rates are only around 55%).  Summarized from Wikipedia.

Like any operation, babies heal faster than adults.  It’s just the way God made us as humans.  Besides the Bible requiring infant circumcision, the health risks are less and it is less painful when performed as an infant.  Babies don’t think about the pain because pain has yet to develop meaning to them.  They inherently recover quickly because they are relatively immobile during the recovery stage.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 25, Day 3: Ephesians 6:14-18

Summary of passage:  Paul says to stand firm with the belt of truth around your waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet ready from the gospel of peace.  Use the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Use the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (word of God) in battle.  Pray on all occasions and be alert always.

Questions:

6a)  Belt of truth; Breastplate of righteousness; feet of readiness; shield of faith; helmet of salvation; sword of the Spirit.

Purely from the battle standpoint:  a belt holds the armor in place and most likely holds the scabbard of the sword or perhaps a knife.  It contains the tools needed in order to fight the enemy.  The breastplate protects the vital organs:  heart, lungs, stomach:  everything you need to survive day-to-day.  A soldier is mostly on his feet (unless he’s calvary which not many were in Ancient Rome).  It was important to protect your feet so you can maneuver, march, and face the enemy in battle.

The shield was used mainly in hand-to-hand combat to fend off the enemy’s sword, arrows, etc.  It was another form of protection against the enemy.  The helmet protected the head, the brain if you will, another vital organ necessary for survival.  The sword was perhaps the most important piece in a soldier’s retinue.  For without it, how else would he kill the enemy?  The rest were for defense.  This was his offensive weapon.

If you read about other cultures, some carried nothing more than their sword.  The Ancient Celts for example would fight naked with only a sword and sometimes a shield.  They were so confident in their abilities that they didn’t need protection.  It was also used as a battle tactic to unnerve the enemy and they also didn’t have enough armor for everyone.

This is what we must be.  So confident in God that the rest, while serving a purpose in their own right, is superfluous when compared to God, His word, and His powers.

b)  Belt of truth:  use God’s truths as weapons.  If you know God’s truths, you cannot be deceived by the devil’s lies.

Breastplate of righteousness:  if  you’ve accepted Jesus into your life, you are righteous before God.  We can now stand with God and are not separate.  We can use God’s power in our lives against the devil.

Feet of readiness:  by knowing and studying God’s word and praying and drawing closer to God we can be ready for any attack by the devil.  Isaiah tells us to use our feet to spread the Good News to others so that they too can be ready.

Shield of faith:  if we have absolute faith in God, He will protect us from any attack.  Like Paul said, God always offers us a way out when faced with sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Helmet of salvation:  God has granted us salvation.  We do not have to work for it or sell our soul to receive it.  We can not believe the lie the devil tells us such as we are not good enough to enter the kingdom of Heaven for we know we are.

Sword of the Spirit: Paul tells us this is the word of God.  We can use God’s words like Jesus did in Matthew 4 to defeat the devil.  He is powerless against God’s truths.  His lies fall away before it.

I like the picture of wrapping ourselves in a cloak.  I picture this as a form of protection for the whole body, a way to bring warmth into our bodies, a shield of sorts that completely blocks out everything else around you.  Also, I tend to think of cloaking as hiding.  Paul mentions that we must stand firm but if we are not ready I see hiding as an acceptable alternative.  We can take a “break” from this world, from whatever temptation we are failing, and face it again at another time when we are stronger.  This doesn’t apply to every situation but retreating from the brokenness of this world is a viable alternative.  Taking a step back to grow with God so we are stronger the next time around.

Paul mentions love and hope in 1 Thessalonians.  The devil hates love.  We can defeat him by loving others and our enemies.  Love will defeat hate.  Hope is key too.  For we will fail in some of these trials.  But if we have hope we can believe that the next battle we will win and then next one after that and so on and so forth until the day comes we can win all of our battles.

7a)  Stand your ground (verse 13), flaming arrows (verse 16), praying (verse 18).  3 methods:  standing your ground, defending against arrows, and praying (non-violence)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not give into temptations by standing firm in our faith.  Shielding ourselves against attacks by being prepared for it.  Be active in our faith not passive.  And pray.  Pray for God’s power to come and use God’s words to defeat the enemy.  Give God the control.

Conclusions:  I’ll be the first to admit:  I completely forgot about beautiful feet in Isaiah and we just read it last year!  Amazing how we have to keep revisiting God’s words so it is sown into our hearts and never leaves.

As a history buff, I loved this armor analogy.  Since the Fall man has been in constant strife and it’s interesting to see how man has devised ways to fight the enemy.  Even us civilians can use armor in our daily battles.

For me, it comes down to preparing ourselves for every attack (which is daily) that comes against us.  And when the attack comes fight back and stand firm.  We cannot become complacent for then the devil will seize that moment and we will be defeated.  We must always be ready to fight (like a soldier is) and enter the battle with full faith we will win (faith and trust in God).

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 25, Day 3 Isaiah 55

Summary of passage:  Come, all who are thirsty.  You will need no money just come, buy, and eat!  There is no cost.  Why waste money and labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen and eat of what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fares.  Listen and come so your soul may live.  God will make an everlasting covenant with you just like He did with David who was a witness, leader, and commander of peoples.  God has endowed you with splendor so surely nations will come and hasten to you just like for King David.

Seek the Lord and call on Him while you can (before it’s too late).  Turn from your wicked ways towards the Lord who will have mercy on you and will forgive you.  God’s thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways.  His are as far away as the heavens are from the Earth.

God’s word will accomplish what He desires and achieve His purposes as surely as the rain and snow water the earth and make it flourish.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace as the mountains sing before you–all because you listened to His word.  An everlasting sign for God’s renown will be the flourishing of the pine tree instead of the thornbush and the myrtle instead of the briers (His restoration of the earth and ultimately us).

Questions:

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through faith, God will fill up every hole inside of you.  You will never thirst nor hunger again.  Living waters will flow through you and your soul will live if you will but come, listen, eat, and be satisfied.  You will find rest in God’s everlasting covenant with you.

b)  God promises He will keep giving gifts of leaders and commanders to the people like David was.  Nations will flock to David/Israel/leaders because the Lord has endowed you (David/Israel/leaders) with splendor.

7a)  Seek the Lord while He may be found (now.  When our hearts yearn for Him) and call on Him while He is near (ask to receive Jesus and God into your hearts to receive His blessings now-death could be tomorrow).  Repent, turn to the Lord, and receive His forgiveness.

b)  God’s thoughts and ways are higher over our thoughts as ways as the heavens is from the Earth.  God does not think nor act like us.  He is pure.  We simply aren’t.  This should keep us humble and challenge us to be as Christ-like as possible.  To seek Him.

c)  Isaiah 53:5  Jesus’s punishment has brought us peace and His wounds have healed us.  Isaiah 49:6  Be a light for Israel and the Gentiles and bring salvation to all nations on earth.  Isaiah 42:1-4  He will bring justice to the nations and everyone will hope in Him.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I now have the utmost confidence Jesus is the only way to God, Heaven and eternal life.  Otherwise, the alternative is Hell.  I knew this before but it wasn’t firmly in my heart.  Jesus was but the conviction of Hell wasn’t.  So now I am more determined to spread the Good News before it’s too late to those around me or whom I come in contact with.

Conclusions:  Another great passage.  Packed full of nuggets we all need to remember.  So uplifting and demonstrative of God’s love.  When people say God is judgmental or exclusive or what have you, this is the passage to point them to.  God is for everyone if you will but drink.  Does it get any more simpler?

My favorite verse is verse 2:  “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”  I apply this literally in my life.  It reminds me of what is important.  We all have limited resources and I’d rather spend mine on God’s work and what He wants me to spend money on and not on things that ultimately does not satisfy–things void of any worth.

I also like Verse 8:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways.”  I always try to remember this when bad things occur in my life.

I wish BSF would have done a question on Verses 10-13 which are so beautiful and shows the power of God’s word.  God’s words are never empty and He achieves His set purposes even though we don’t know what that is.  “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace” and the mountains and hills will sing before you when you turn to God, His word, and His purpose for your life.

A recurring theme this year for me is the importance of God’s word.

The everlasting sign, His renown will be through His restoration (here of the pine tree and myrtle) but I see this as our restoration as well through Jesus.