BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 5: Revelation 22:1-5

Summary of passage:  We see the river of life running through the middle of the New Jerusalem.  On each side of the river stands the tree of life, bearing 12 kinds of fruit.  The curse is lifted.  God and Jesus will dwell in the city.  We will see God’s face and be marked.  God will be the light and we shall reign forever.

Questions:

12)  The River of Life.  Other waters in the Bible:

In the Garden is a river that flows from Eden and nourishes the land (Genesis 2:10-14).

Exodus 17:6 & Numbers 20:11 when Moses strikes the rock and water flows out for the people to drink.

John 19:34:  Jesus is pierced and water flows to rid us of our sins.

Psalm 46:4-5:  A river gladdens the city.

Ezekiel 47:5-12:  A river flows from the house of God with miraculous properties.  It reverses the deadly saltiness of the Dead Sea and produces healing fruits on its banks.

John 4:10-14:  Whoever drinks of Jesus’s water will never thirst again.  It will spring up and offer eternal life.  John 7:38 says believers have streams of living water flowing within them.

13a)  Both disobeyed God’s order to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and were deceived by the serpent.

b)  Everything.  Life with God by their side.  Paradise.  Eternal life.  No sin.  No evil.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Hope Lesson 28 has more than this to these 5 verses.  Question 12 was good and interesting, but you’ll have to research it to get the most out of it.  So google away!

Here we see prophesy and God’s promises fulfilled.  What a way to end the Bible!  God is so, so good as all of Scripture culminates in His glory and mercy and our salvation.

End Notes:  Prophets used a river as a symbol of richness, provision, and peace (Isaiah 48:18, Zechariah 14:8, Ezekiel 47:1-9).  Water is a basic need for life on earth.  The idea is in heaven there shall be no want.

The water is clear, again a sign of perfection and purity.  It is a gift from God.

Note how the Bible began with the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24) and now we end with one.  God is awesome!

Scholars differ on whether this is one tree or a series of trees or one tree reaching over the river.  No matter.  The idea is restoration.  The tree shows man is restored to God again with full access and fellowship with Him.  Ezekiel 47:7,12 prophesies trees as well.

The tree bears fruit, which we can eat.  Again, scholars differ here but most agree we will eat in heaven but we won’t have to to survive.  Jesus enjoyed food after his resurrection (Luke 24:41-43, John 21:12-14) and angels ate with Abraham (Genesis 18:6-8).  It could be used as a communion or for fellowship with Jesus.

Why is healing needed in heaven?  Here, the Greek word used also means “health-giving”, a much better translation than healing.

The Millennial earth will still have curses (Isaiah 65:20) just less.  Here, all are gone forever.

We will serve God, not sit around idle, and reign forever (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 3:21).

We shall see God’s face (1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 3:2)!  Imagine!  In ancient times criminals were banished from the presence of the king.

Revelation 3:12 is fulfilled:  Those who remain true to God shall be marked.

The Lord shall be our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19-20)

Conclusions to Lesson 27:  Such messages of hope to believers.  We’ve read about the coming suffering and judgments but the light at the end of the tunnel is God and we get to walk toward it and in it all of our lives.  Every other minor want/problem/complaint pales in comparison to our future.  If only we could keep that in our minds in the day-to-day heartaches and trials.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 4: Revelation 21:22-27

Summary of passage:  The Holy City will forever be pure, free from evil.  There will be no darkness as God’s glory will be our light.  There will be no temple as God and Jesus will be there to worship.

Questions:

9)  A temple because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”  The sun or moon for “the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.”

10a)  1 Kings 8:1-21:  The temple was the place the ark of the covenant which held the stone tablets of the Law given to Moses by God dwelled–in the Most Holy Place.  God (in a cloud) filled the temple of the Lord, the place meant for the Lord to dwell forever.

John 2:19-22:  The temple is our body for Jesus/Holy Spirit dwells there.

1 Corinthians 6:19:  “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God”

b)  Exodus 13:21:  The Lord in a pillar of fire gave the people light to continue on their journey to the Promised Land.

Psalm 119:105:  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

John 8:12:  Jesus says,”I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

11a)  “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”  Never will the gates be shut.  No night will exist.  The glory and honor of the nations will abide there.  Only those saved will dwell there with no evil ever entering the city.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s made it more real.  There will be a city and God will be there.  More hope.  He’s always here.

Conclusions:  Good questions and good study on what is a temple and what is light in the Bible.

End Notes:  In ancient times every city had a temple and most had many, many temples to their many, many gods.  Have a city without a temple would be shocking to the people of the first century.

The temple is everything and every place.  Before Jesus the temple was a prophecy.  Then Solomon built a temple for God to dwell.  Then Christ came and died, gifting believers with the Holy Spirit so we are His temple.  In the Millennium the temple will be a memorial.  Here the temple is everywhere.

Heaven will be pure worship.  We won’t need anything of what we use now.  The physical dwelling of a church is a place for sinful man to meet with God.  With sin gone, we don’t need a place anymore.  Nor do we need an intercessor (Jeremiah 3:16–17; Haggai 2:6–9; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:19–20).

Isaiah 60:19 prophesizes God is our light.

Who are the nations?  Some scholars say these are the saints saved during the Millennium because they are the only saints unaccounted for.  Some say they represent all believers.  Isaiah speaks of them as well (Isaiah 60:3,5,11-12).

Who are the kings of the earth?  Weren’t they destroyed at Armageddon?  Well, scholars are unsure but this suggests some kings of the earth do turn and make it to the eternal city.

Conclusions to Revelation 21:  The Bible ends up where it began.  A new earth.  The broken relationship between God and man heals at last and the curse from Genesis 3 is lifted.  The world is as God has always meant it to be.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 3: Revelation 21:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jerusalem shone with the glory of God.  It had 12 walls with 12 gates with 12 guardian angels.  The names of the 12 tribes were written on the gates.  The city had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles on them.  The city boasted of riches, its walls, foundations, gates, and streets made of precious stones and gold.

Questions:

6a)  Gold, (12 stones for 12 foundations: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst), and pearls.  Click HERE for precious stones of Bible explained.

b)  They are the same, each representing the 12 Tribes (Click HERE for study last year.  We breezed through this chapter but my End Notes has pictures and a discussion of the breastplate).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The fact we have the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles inscribed in the walls and foundations shows us:  1) God’s plan for humanity coming to fruition  2)  The meeting of the Old and New Covenants AND the inclusion of both peoples under both covenants as we all walk with the Lord.

Nothing is left to chance with God.  All has meaning.  All is significant.  All leads back to Him.  Some people dismiss the Old Testament as nothing but antiquated laws and rules that don’t apply to them.  These people are sorely mistaken.  All of God’s Word is from Him for us.  We follow and obey all.  This shows God is in control and all links back to His plans for our Salvation and Jesus.

It’s important because God is important.  We need Him, all of Him, and we can’t get any closer than His Word, prayer, and Jesus.

8a)  Glory: How God will create a city for believers out of the most beautiful and durable materials around.  He wants us to have an amazing eternal life.  What to look forward to!

Security:  He has a plan and we don’t need a plan except it being God’s.

Perfect:  His word is perfect.  His reasons are perfect.  He is perfect.

Asked about attributes about God or Jesus (who are the same) in Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 14 Day 3, Lesson 24 Day 4)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting when I don’t know which direction to go that God does know.  He is there for me.  He is waiting for me.  When life gets tough, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is Him.  All are important for all are God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The opulence of the Holy City.  I never imagined it so beautiful.  Even now I can’t imagine it.  Heaven on earth.  Awesome!

Conclusions:  Liked the 12 repetition.  A ton here and we’ve barely scratched the surface.  Personal questions can be summed up like this:  Why is God important?  Answer that one and you’ll answer ALL of them from now on.

End Notes:  Some commentators believe this city will be on earth or will be suspended over earth.

The “very precious jewel” is most likely a diamond as the hardest substance on earth and one of the clearest and most beautiful.  I talked earlier about how the name diamond at this time did not exist yet (see HERE for discussion).

This is a real city as described here with walls and gates.  There can be no doubt.  These gates represent security, safety, and well-being.  No unclean may enter.  Isaiah 26:1-2 mentions this wall.  The names of the 12 tribes and apostles on the gates are as a memorial for all they did in God’s plan for humanity.

This vision also fulfills Ezekiel’s vision.  He too saw 12 gates, 12 angels, and the 12 tribes inscribed on the walls (Ezekiel 48:30-35).

Note the 12 apostles are inscribed on the foundation stones.  They brought the foundational message of Christianity–that of Jesus Christ–to the world who is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

Some scholars suggest the arrangement of the gates reflects on the layout of the tribes during the Exodus (Numbers 2).

In Ezekiel’s vision he also saw an angel with a measuring rod in his hand (Ezekiel 40:3).  Ezekiel 40:5 shows this angel going around the outside of the temple area and measuring the various aspects of the temple.  The measuring of the city (and the temple in Ezekiel’s vision) is to show the security found in this city.  We saw this symbol in Revelation 11:1-2.  These vast measurements of the city show the people of God are secure and safe.  It also serves to show the size and scope of the eternal dwelling place and it’s perfect symmetry.

12,000 represents perfection and completion.  We saw this in Revelation 7 with the 144,000 sealed, 12,000 from each tribe.  The Holy of Holies was a perfect square, 20 cubics each way (1 Kings 6:20).  It is where God dwelled with His people.  God’s people here have been made perfect as well (Hebrews 12:22-24).  The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was overlaid with gold as was the entire temple  (1 Kings 6:20-22).

12,000 stadia is about 1500 miles.  This is the distance from Maine to Florida.  This city is huge with plenty of room for God’s people!  It is a perfect measurement either a square or a pyramid.  The entire ground is holy.  144 cubits is about 200 miles and no one is for sure if this is the height of the wall or the width.

The emphasis on clear and glass shows God’s light will be uninhibited and shine everywhere.

In addition to the priest’s breastplates we read in Exodus 28, Isaiah mentions this as well (Isaiah 54:11–13).  Identifying the gemstones precisely is difficult since the names of changed but the idea is there:  this city is beyond our imaginings.  Since its architect is God (Hebrews 11:10) we should expect that.

It’s clear this Holy City of the New Jerusalem is magnificent, glorious, beautiful, and perfect.  All for us!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 2: Revelation 21:9-10

Summary of passage:  John is carried away by an angel to see the bride, wife of the Lamb.

Questions:

3)  He’s carried away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high to see the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

4a)  Revelation 1:10-11:  John was told to write what he sees and send it to the 7 churches.  Obviously important as Jesus has a message for the churches and the body of Christ.

Revelation 4:2:  John saw the throne in heaven.  Important to see God reigning on the throne of heaven and what heaven is like.

Revelation 17:3:  John sees the woman sitting on a beast covered in blasphemous names with 7 heads and 10 horns.  Important to see God’s enemies and what happens to unbelievers and His enemies.

Revelation 21:9-10: John’s carried away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high to see the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  Important to see the future world, of what Christians have to look forward to, and how God wins.

b)  In Revelation 17, we see what happens to sinners and unbelievers and in Revelation 21 we see believers’ reward:  eternal life in the Holy City.  17 is a warning.  21 is a promise.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I didn’t know there were so many ways to ask the same question (Similar questions in Lesson 22 Day 2 & Day 3, Lesson 23 Day 2.  I know this world is temporary and what I have to look forward to is infinitely better than what is here.

Conclusions:  Nice review of when John was “in the Spirit”.  Question 5 was a repeat.

End Notes:  Passages like this give scholars reason to suggest the Holy City is just a symbol.  However, it is not.  This is the place where all of God’s people are gathered.  It is beautiful like a bride.  We saw this in Revelation 21:2 as well–almost the same words and images.

This is another vision.  John is taken to watch God’s Holy City descend from heaven.  Revelation 19:7-8 says the marriage of the Lamb has come and the bride is ready.  The bride is the saints, God’s holy people, and the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  So we have God’s people and now we see where God’s people shall dwell.

We’ll see more details of the New Jerusalem in the rest of this chapter.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 4: Deuteronomy 29

Summary of passage:  Moses again tells the people to follow the covenant and the people will prosper.  He warns against turning away from God as disaster will follow.  If they worship idols, God will abandon the covenant and curse them.

Questions:

7)  That God is their God and they are His people.

8 )  Not to turn away from God and worship idols.

9a)  The secret things are secret; we don’t know what they are.  It’s the knowledge, wisdom, judgments, and paths of God that we He had not revealed to us.

b)  God’s law

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is inevitable.  Even the best of us sin (Moses).  But God forgives that sin.  That God is faithful.  He is the provider.  He is there always.

Conclusions:  I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of Moses’s repetition and warnings.  Ok, fine, we get it.  Obey or face God’s wrath.  We all know the Israelites didn’t obey and were punished by God despite Moses’ 10,000 warnings.  At least Moses can say, “I told you so.”  It makes these passages very dull reading.

End Notes:  This is the confirming of the the Covenant with the new generation that Moses had performed back in Exodus 24:7-8 with the old generation.

As we’ve seen, seeing miracles hasn’t changed the hearts of the people.  They need a miracle of the heart.

There is no peace for the sinner for God will turn His back on them.

God’s judgment on His people if they sin will be an example to all nations of what happens with disobedience and an example to all generations as well.

God reveals only what we need to know.  Therefore, we must embrace this knowledge and live it in our lives.  That is His desire for us.  It’s like a parent.  We do things for our kids for reasons they cannot understand at different ages in their lives.  The same with God.  We trust God like we trust our parents.  We love God like we love our parents.  We have faith that they have our best interests in their hearts for us.  Just like God does.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 3: Deuteronomy 28

Summary of passage:  If the Israelites obey all of the Lord’s commands, they will be blessed in everything:  food, livestock, children, defeat of enemies, and everything they lay a hand on.  They will be His holy people.  If the Israelites disobey, they will be cursed in everything they touch, defeated by their enemies, and scattered throughout all the nations (the Diaspora).

Questions:

5)  Obey God and you will be blessed.  Disobey God and face the consequences.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation.”

b)  After Joshua died, Samaria, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman empire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably all areas of my life.

Conclusions:  Granted, there was nothing new here we haven’t read already.  Moses is repeating himself.  Still, this is the first time I can remember in a long time where my answers are one-liners.  I was stumped on 6c.  Too broad.  All I know is I’m a sinner and can improve in every aspect of my walk with Him.

End Notes: The Israelites must decide if they will be cursed or blessed.  Nothing is hidden here.  If you obey and are blessed, you receive everything.  If you disobey and are cursed, you receive nothing.

The consequences of disobedience are almost overwhelming here.  This is purposeful.  Moses was trying to scare the people to obey because disobedience would not be a pretty picture.

The book of Lamentations is the grief suffered after Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Lamentations 4 describes the hunger and starvation that resulted in women eating their own children.  How tragic.

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 72 AD was horrendous.  Starvation from the siege.  Jewish people were sold into slavery.  There was in-fighting.  Even Christians persecuted the Jews especially in the Middle Ages, mistakenly applying this passage to themselves as being God’s instrument  who should curse the Jews.  The Diaspora.

Yet, God is not done with Israel.  No other nation on earth has lasted as long.  The greats are gone:  Egypt, Rome, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyria, etc.  Only Israel still stands.  They shall always be His chosen people.  As such, we need to pray for them.