BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 5: John 6:16-21

Summary of passage:  After feeding the 5000 and preaching all day, the disciples set off Capernaum in a boat without Jesus.  The waters were rough.  3 1/2 miles into their row, they saw Jesus walking on the water towards them and they were scared.  He told them not to be scared.  He climbed in the boat and made it to the other shore.

Questions:

10a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Mark says they were obeying the Lord’s command.  God sends us through storms sometimes.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This passage doesn’t.  John no where says the disciples were obeying anyone so without Mark and Matthew we’d never know.  John just tells us they got in the boat and went.  As written, it seems to me they decided it themselves.

11a)  Jesus went to them and announced his presence.  They were afraid at first but when Jesus spoke they accepted him.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Accept Jesus into the boat and have faith he’d help them and presumably row (but they didn’t).  Jesus is faithful by helping his disciples and providing a way out by calming the seas so they can row to shore.  Have faith Jesus is there in the situation and will provide a way through to the other side.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus meets you right where you are.  Jesus saves.  He is always with you.  He never changes.  He takes away all of our anxiety because he loves us so.  I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.  Jesus’ presence is enough and his words are soothing and provide the answer to all I seek.

Conclusions:  Without Mark, I was wondering why Jesus was left behind in the first place.  John makes it seem like they just up and left Jesus.  I would have liked to have dissected the actual event more.  I don’t like question 10 that is based off of the Mark account.  If we’re gonna look at Mark, we might as well look at Matthew as well.

After  reading the commentary on this passage (summarized below), I got a ton more out of it.  BSF’s questions makes sense but only because of the commentary and the explanation of the disciples’ behavior which is mostly gleaned from Matthew and Mark.  John is matter of fact here as always.  I think BSF either needs to just stick to John’s account or include all accounts for this section.

End Notes:  This account occurs in Matthew and Mark as well with Matthew being the only one to include how Peter walked on water as well.  It seems to me Jesus wanted to stay behind and pray alone without delaying their mission.

Rowing at night was no big deal for these fisherman who probably knew the Sea of Galilee like the back of their hands.  This is actually the 2nd time it is recorded of them being in a boat on the Sea of Galilee the first being Matthew 8:24 where Jesus calmed the waters.  One would think  after the first time, a storm on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus nearby would be no big deal and him walking on water after calming the seas the first time would be no big deal either.  Like Jesus says, “You of little faith.”

The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden, violent wind storms that quickly make the lake dangerous.  According to Tenney, “The Sea of Galilee is six hundred feet belong sea level, in a cuplike depression among the hills. When the sun sets, the air cools; and as the cooler air from the west rushes down over the hillside, the resultant wind churns the lake. Since the disciples were rowing toward Capernaum, they were heading into the wind; consequently, they made little progress.”

In the first storm, fear reigned.  Here, frustration reigned since Jesus told them to go across the lake and the wind is against them, hindering their progress.

Matthew tells us this is between 3 and 6 am so the disciples have spent 6-8 hrs rowing and only making it about half-way across the water.  They are exhausted.  Jesus is watching them the whole time according to Mark, never abandoning them.  Jesus is stable on the mountain; we are tossed about at sea.

Matthew and Mark explain the fear of the disciples:  they think he’s a ghost.  Only Mark tells us that Jesus was just going to pass by them, allowing his presence to be enough.  But that wasn’t enough.  The disciples had lost faith and Jesus had to address them.

Jesus announces his presence, calming the disciples.  Jesus was invited in and then the miracle takes place by reaching the shore (another 2 miles away) without rowing instantly.  He rescued them from futility and frustration.  This miracle again reassures the disciples who he is.  He had just refused to be king but that doesn’t mean he’s not powerful.

Map of probable feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water HERE

Fun Fact:  This miracle is the first time the disciples worshipped Jesus as the Son of God (and called him thus–found in Matthew’s account)–and why it’s important.  Full description of significance in the Bible and for us HERE

Key points of this miracle:  1)  Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life.

2)  The disciples were not looking for Jesus and hence did not recognize him.  Fear cannot live side-by-side with faith for fear blinds us to God’s presence.

3)  Jesus is in command of the elements–something only God can do–proving beyond a doubt Jesus is God.

Conclusions to Lesson 6:  We see Jesus proving he is the Son of God.  He feeds the 5000 and he walks on water.  This is for the people and the disciples so they know who he is.  His miracles attract multitudes but still many do not understand.  It will take Jesus’ death to finally reach millions.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 4: John 6:14-15

Summary of passage:  The people began to believe Jesus was the Messiah after all the miraculous signs Jesus had done so Jesus withdrew to a mountain by himself.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because they believed him to be the Promised Messiah of the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:15,18) who would provide food and water like Moses did in the wilderness.  However, they expected much more than this.  Many people follow Jesus for what they can get from him.  I follow Jesus because he is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only way to God and to eternal life.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus did this to rejuvenate after giving so much of himself as we saw (and were asked) in Lesson 8 Day 2 before the feeding of the 5000.  He also did this to avoid his enemies who are after him.  He went to be alone to pray and be closer to God, His Father.  Matthew 26:41 tells us he did it so as not to fall into temptation.  The same.  We must quiet our lives and mind in order to hear God and rejuvenate and be closer to Him.

Conclusions:  The take away here is to love Jesus in the good and the bad.  Many were converted when Jesus was providing and healing.  Many flee when hardship enters their lives.  Jesus left because the people only wanted Jesus to do things for them on earth.  Jesus wants to do things for us in heaven and forever.  He is there always as our heavenly king.  We turn to him always.  We retreat to be with him when this world becomes too harried.  We walk with him together, never away.

End Notes:  The feeding of the 5000 reminded all of Moses and his providing of manna for the people in the desert.  In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses himself predicted the coming of the Prophet.  The people assumed he would be like Moses and here’s a guy feeding people miraculously.  Surely, this is he!

Jesus gave away free food.  Of course he was loved.  We love Jesus too when he gives.  We must love him for who he is as well.

The people wanted him as their king to save them from Rome.  Jesus was not here to be a king to set the Jewish people free from Rome, which was the widely held view of the people.  He’s a different kind of king that the people have missed in Scripture.  Hence, he withdrew to be with his King, God.  Earthly kings hold no allure.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 3: John 6:1-13

Summary of passage: After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee. He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again. Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers and asks Philip his opinion on what should be done as a test since Jesus already knows what he’s going to do.  Philip does not see Jesus as the miracle worker; he immediately answers with a world’s answer:  where will be get the money?  Andrew sees a boy with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and is being practical of the matter by finding a starting point.

5000 men sat down and Jesus prayed over the food and began distributing it.  It never ran out and they even had leftovers.  Jesus asked Philip as a test where will they get food to feed all these people as Jesus already knew what he was going to do.  Philip immediately said they don’t have enough money to buy food for all these people.  Andrew found a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish.

Jesus had the 5000 men sit down.  He took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, and distributed all to the people with leftovers.

Questions:

5)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Philip immediately thought of the expense of feeding the people.  Andrew found what was around.  The boy shared (we’re not told willingly or not).  They all thought practically, not taking into account who Jesus was.  I’d probably be the same.  How will we do this?  I do think practically but Jesus works in miracles and anything is possible with him.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He gave thanks.  Thankfulness does not play a big enough part in my life.  We’re supposed to be joyful, pray, and give thanks no matter your circumstances.  God is enough.  Yet we often don’t act like it or believe it.  Today I witnessed another lady pay her friend’s tax bill.  It was only $295.  The friend was in tears.  It made me think how blessed I am and how kindness can play a big part in others’ lives.  We in the developed world have nothing to be ungrateful for.  We live amazing lives full of ease and luxury compared to 2000 years ago and others around the world.  This is all thanks to Him.  We need to thank Him every day for His generosity and His Son and all we have because of Him.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He feeds them and abundantly blesses them.  He saw the need, had the people gather around him, he gave thanks for what they had, and provided all the people needed and then some.  Teach others about Jesus.  Have compassion on people.  You don’t know what they are going through.  Feed others literally–physical needs first.  Then feed them spiritually.  Take care of all their needs.  Look around and see the need even if others won’t ask.  It is there if only we’d open our eyes.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on God’s abundance to His people.  Believe in the impossible even when you can’t see it.  Pray for the impossible.  For God will answer and provide.  Classic story that embodies all Christ is about.  He gives and gives and gives some more.  He doesn’t stop giving at the expense of himself.  If only we could see that.

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan. Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD. This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action. It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover. These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast. Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt. Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day. Not John. He cuts to the chase: Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Jesus is testing Philip’s faith here as well as feeding the people.  Philip has been with Jesus long enough and seen enough miracles he should have known Jesus would solve this problem.  He’s teaching his disciples for when he is no longer here.

Some scholars say the disciples should have anticipated this miracle and not have doubted God’s provision (Psalm 78:19).  2 Kings 4:38-42 shows God multiplying barley loaves.

Philip thinks small, which we often do.  With Jesus we must think big.

Andrew introduces the boy to Jesus.  Again, he’s spreading the Good News.

Barley is worth less than wheat, meaning the boy is most likely poor.  It was most often fed to the livestock.

John uses a different word for fish than the other Gospels.  He indicates they are small.

Women and children are not included in the 5000 so Jesus actually fed many, many more.

In God’s hands, small is big.  God doesn’t need a lot to work with.  He doesn’t need anything but he’s waiting for us to participate.

In no hurry, the people sit down, invoking Psalm 23.  Jesus’ hands is what makes the miracle, not the act of distribution.  Note the bread and fish are dead.  Jesus gives life from death.

Jesus brought the disciples in to help him.  He could have made the food appear in everyone’s hands but instead he uses others to fulfill his desires.  Great lesson!

He makes food for others but not for himself in the wilderness.

Everything was abundant and everyone had more than enough.  Eating and drinking is a sign of prosperity in the Old Testament and is often used as a sign of blessing from God when our basic needs are met.

The boy ended up with more as well.

Nothing is wasted with Jesus either.  The leftovers are gathered up to be used later.

Fun Quote on this passage:  Augustine:  “God loves us for what we are becoming.”

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 8, Day 2: John 6:1-5

Summary of passage:  After healing the man at the pool and accusing the Pharisees of having no heart for God, Jesus journeys to the Sea of Galilee.  He now has a gang of followers because of his miracles and it is close to Passover again.  Jesus expresses concern for feeding the multitude of followers.

Questions:

3)  He knows the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are against him and out to kill him if possible.  Going to Jerusalem now would endanger his life and Jesus’ work is not yet complete.

4a)  Part-personal question.  My answer:  He had planned to go away to a quiet place and get some rest from all their teachings and healings.  Instead, the crowds followed them.  So, Jesus, seeing the spiritual needs of these people, had compassion on them and taught them many things.  Then, in John, Jesus sees their physical needs as well when he asks about their food.  What’s important is other people and their needs.  He puts others first above his own needs.  It could make a difference between a saved soul and not.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not very.  I’m selfish, I admit it.  To be more compassionate and less consumed with my needs and see the needs of those around me.

Conclusions:  The lesson BSF makes is good:  quit being so selfish and put others first.  However, the lesson is in Mark, not John, since otherwise we’d have no idea Jesus had other plans to begin with.  I think the point still could have been made relying on simply John alone.  Jesus sees the great hunger of his followers and addresses it (and will solve it in the next verses).

End Notes:  This miracle is recorded in all the other Gospels as well with only Mark mentioning how it wasn’t the plan.  Luke tells us Jesus also taught the multitude who was following him and not just those following him up the mountain.

The Sea of Tiberius is the official Roman name for the Sea of Galilee, from the town of Tiberius named after the Roman emperor and founded in 20 AD.  This would be the northeast shore near Bethsaida.

The Greek verbs here are continuing action.  It seems these crowds always followed Jesus and never went away.

John is the only one to date this incident by mentioning Passover.  These crowds could be heading to Jerusalem for that feast.  Passover is a celebration of God’s people leaving Egypt.  Here, Jesus will feed the people just like God did during those tumultuous times.

The mountain Jesus ascended is assumed to be the Golan Heights of today.

Mark tells us it was late in the day and Jesus had been teaching them all day.  Not John.  He cuts to the chase:  Jesus saw a need and is about to address it.

Map of Tiberius, Bethsaida, and the Sea of Galilee HERE

Fun Fact:  Apart from the resurrection, this is the one miracle found in all 4 Gospels.  It shows Jesus as the supplier of human need and sets the stage for his testimony that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 5: Daniel 7

Summary of passage:  Daniel dreams of 4 beasts during the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon:  a lion, a bear, a leopard, and one with horns.  A little horn appeared among them and spoke.  It was slain and thrown into a fire.  A son of man appeared and was given authority, glory, and sovereignty over all peoples, nations, and men.

The four beasts represent 4 kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome).  Rome is the last and will last the longest.  But in the end Jesus’ kingdom will be established for eternity.

Questions:

11a)  Daniel saw the son of man come and establish an everlasting kingdom, attended by thousands, and slaying the other beasts.

b)  Jesus is the Ancient of Days in verse 22 and he will judge all.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control.  He allows earthly kingdoms to exist.  But in the end, His kingdom shall reign.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It does neither.  It doesn’t trouble me because as a student of history, I know all kingdoms/rulers/countries/tyrants/leaders are transitory and die and Jesus reigns.  It doesn’t encourage me either because the world is a fallen, sad place and even though I know Jesus is coming it doesn’t make living here all that much easier.  I’m ambivalent.

Conclusions:  Weak lesson without reading the commentary due to the fact we are studying prophecy here again and as we’ve learned, prophecy is impossible to understand until it has passed.

We’ve been asked a lot of questions involving encouragement. The definition of encourage is “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; hearten; to spur on, stimulate, to give help or patronage to; foster.”  Our world is so different from Daniel’s world.  Perhaps we know too much. We know all those empires fell.  We have God’s written word about the future and Jesus.  And we have Jesus.  We are so jaded by bad things happening in this world that encouragement is hard to come by.  At least for me, I wall out all the evil happenings in this world, so I’m not a ball of goo.  Thus encouragement is kept at bay as well.

End Notes:  Four winds of heaven connects to Revelation 7:1 and is probably satanic forces.  Four seems to be the number of created universe.  We’re talking Mediterranean Sea here.

Four Visions are Four Kingdoms:  Lion is Babylon, Bear is Medo-Persia, Leopard is Greece, Horned beast is Rome.

A lion is majestic.  A bear is ferocious (think mama bear and her cubs).  A leopard is quick and unexpected.  The horned beast was powerful and lasting.

This is Greece under Alexander the Great who conquered the entire known world in 12 short years. When he died, his empire was divided 4 ways (four heads).  Alexander the Great was a genius–put on earth for the task he performed.  He spread Western culture to most of the known world.  He ushered in the era of rule of the Ptolemiac Kingdom in Egypt.  He forever changed the known world.  He was also taken out most probably by a mosquito (malaria) at the age of 33.  Who else but God could orchestrate such talent and such tragedy?  And all for His divine purposes.

Scholars think the 3 ribs represent the kingdoms Persia conquered:  Egypt, Babylon, and Lydia.

Scholars suggest “the Ancient of Days” is God in Daniel 7:13-14.  Here, the white clothing and hair seem to suggest God and His eternal nature.  Since the son of man is separate here, it makes sense the Ancient of Days is God.  In Daniel 7:22, the “Ancient of Days” is Jesus since he pronounced judgment.  All are one as the Triune God.  We were asked to read this passage in Lesson 3, Day 5.

Fire is judgement in the Bible.

Angels and man surround God as well as books (Book of Life, remembrance, and living).

Revelation 13:5-6 speaks of the boastful words spoken by the Antichrist.

Fun Fact:  The Son of Man was used more than 80 times in the Four Gospels to describe Jesus.

Daniel 2 also discusses the 4 empires–just from man’s perspective.  Here we have God’s.

Daniel is interested most in the fourth beast because it is the most ferocious.

“Against the saints”.  The saints can either be the church or the Jewish remnant (Revelation 12:17; 13:7), causing confusion as to whether we will be on earth for the Tribulation or not.

Most scholars believe the conspicuous horn to be the Antichrist, arising out of some group of ten nations, which in some way has the Roman empire being re-established here on earth.  John Calvin interpreted the 10 rulers as actual Roman emperors, thus saying this prophecy has already been fulfilled.

Number 10:   ten toes (Daniel 2) and ten horns (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17).

“…time, times and half a time.”  This is three and a half years.  In Revelation (11:2-3, 12:6 and 13:5) this refers to half of the last seven-year period of man’s rule on this earth (the seventieth week of Daniel) otherwise known as the Great Tribulation.

Final thought:  Ready to return to the book of Revelation.

Conclusions to Lesson 8:  In studying Daniel, we are studying a man of faith.  He lived his whole life for God and God rewarded Daniel in return.  He’s a great example of how to live your religion in a secular world.  He stood on faith.  In relation to the book of Revelation, Daniel is one of the people God chose to reveal the future to.  The future we have seen revealed (the fall of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) and the future yet to come (the horn that arose from the 10 horns–the Antichrist).  Albeit the interpretations differ from scholars, God revealed enough to us about the future to be helpful and full of hope.

We see what a life can look like empowered by God.  That is the best lesson of all this week.  This alone is encouraging as we strive for such a life and discouraging as I know my life is no where close to Daniel’s and seems at times impossible to reach.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 4: Daniel 6

Summary of passage:  Daniel advanced in the kingdom of Darius of Babylon to the point he was about to be set above the whole kingdom.  His enemies tried to find something to take him down.  All they could find was his God.  So they suggested and had King Darius make a law that says anyone who prays to a god or man except to the king in the next 30 days be thrown into the lions’ den.

Of course, Daniel was discovered praying to God.  Much to Darius’ dismay, he was thrown into the lions’ den.  Darius worried all night.  The next day, Daniel was found unharmed thanks be to God.  The men who had urged the king to issue the decree and their families were thrown into the lions’ den and killed.

Darius issued a decree that God be revered throughout the kingdom.  Daniel prospered throughout Darius’ and Cyrus’ reigns in Persia.

Questions:

8 )  A decree was issued that no god or man be prayed to except the King of Persia, Darius.  Daniel was a loyal subject of the king, but he was also a loyal subject to the King of Kings.  God won and Daniel prayed to God and he was thrown in the lions’ den.

9)  He was thrown into the lions’ den.  He stood for God.  God saved Daniel.  Darius issued a proclamation that the God of Daniel be revered.

10)  Personal Question.   My answer:  Kingdoms today could be “your little world and anything in it”.  For example, your job, your family, your schools, church, etc.  Truthfully, I’m not really facing any hard choices right now between my faith and the world.  I believe I’m following Him in all that I do and am blessed to be able to do so.  I pray every day for His will and not mine.  I pray for others around the world who do face such choices with such dire consequences.  In the United States, God has blessed the majority of us with an ease in life that we all should be grateful for.

The story alone encourages all Christians to stand tall for Him no matter what the consequences in the big and little things in life.

Conclusions:  I enjoyed just reading the story of the lions’ den again.  Such a powerful story it always strengthens my faith.  What does it have to do with Revelation?  Not sure.  Except to stand for God no matter what kingdom is in power.  The kingdom of God is supreme and no one on earth or in the universe will usurp God.  All kingdoms/governments exist because God allows them to exist for His purposes.  God is in control.

End Notes:  Daniel is in his 80’s now.  He’s been a powerful leader in Persia for six decades and his faith in God has never wavered despite being surrounded by a pagan society.  God used Daniel to spread His name and power to others.  Soon, the Jews will be allowed to return to the land of Canaan and rebuild their temple.  I’m sure the leadership and example of Daniel has gone a long way in bringing this to fruition.

Daniel was such a shining example of integrity that his political enemies had to make up something.  Not the first time man will resort to lies for political gain.

The men played off Darius’ pride.  Darius agreed immediately to such a decree.  Why not?  Who wouldn’t want to be worshipped for 30 days?  Also, this would bring some of the conquered peoples together.

The edict could not be undone because the king was thought to represent the gods.  And what god was ever wrong?

In today’s society, it seems as if men are the ones making our lives miserable by hiring or firing us, breaking our hearts, evicting us, etc.  Really God is in control of everything.  Obey Him and we will never be heartbroken or miserable or downtrodden.  Circumstances come and go but not God.

Daniel changed nothing after the decree.  He still prayed–no more, no less.

Darius did not blame others; the fault was his.  He took responsibility.  Great lesson for us.  Albeit we make foolish mistakes, God can and will amend them for good.  Like with Daniel here.  And the king never stopped working to fix his mistake.  Another good lesson for us.

Sealing the stone was for Daniel’s protection so his enemies couldn’t break in and kill him if they so desired.

Daniel had lions and angels for company all night.  Who wants to sign up for that?

Daniel did not wrong the king with malicious intent.

Daniel was saved by faith alone.  God honored and protected him.  Daniel’s testimony shone God to others.  This should be the pattern for our lives as well.

Key Point:  After the exile in Babylon, the Jews are never known again to practice idolatry. Lesson learned the hard way but one that has lasted!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 8, Day 3: Daniel 2

Summary of passage:  King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by dreams.  He asked his sorcerers, magicians, enchanters, and astrologers to interpret his dreams for him but if they were wrong, he’d kill them and destroy their houses.  If they were right, he’d reward them.  Not trusting his advisors, the King asked them to tell him the dream first, then the interpretation so he’d know they weren’t lying to him.

The advisors told him what he was asking was impossible.  The King, angry, ordered all the wise men killed.  Daniel, wisely, asked for time.  He, Hannah, Mishael, and Azariah asked God for help.  God answered.  Daniel praised.

Daniel told the King his dream:  Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a statue made of various metals.  A rock struck the statue and turned it into chaff, becoming a huge mountain and filling the earth.  Daniel’s interpretation:  the metals represented different kingdoms with the golden top being Babylon that will conquer one another.  God will set up His kingdom which will conquer all and endure forever–that was the rock cut out of the mountain.

King Nebuchadnezzar praised God and rewarded Daniel with ruler over the entire province of Babylon.  Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego appointed administrators as well.

Questions:

6a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He praised His name, wisdom, and power.  God changes times and seasons, He sets up kings and deposes them, He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning, He reveals deep and hidden things, He knows what lies in darkness and what light dwells within.

Daniel thanked and praised God for having given him wisdom and power, made known to him what he asked, and made known the dream.

I learned nothing I didn’t know before:  God is ruler of all earthly kingdoms and people.  He stands above and they exist only because He allows them to exist.  His kingdom is the only eternal kingdom.

Summation:  Praise for power, might, and communication to man.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Given us a house, given me hope my novel may be published by having agents interested in it, kept my husband’s job safe, healed some physical pain I’ve had this year, made my kids happy with all their activities, blessed us financially, and all the little daily things such as food, clothing, shelter, pets, etc.

7a)  Kingdoms exist only because God allows them to exist.  Kingdoms come and go upon God’s will.  Only God’s kingdom is forever and eternal.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith and my life lies with Him.  Period.

Conclusions:  Similar questions we’ve had before for 7b–hope the Second Coming gives us.  This passage relates to Revelation–the fact God’s kingdom is eternal and He will set up one that will never be destroyed (Second Coming).  Great reminder that kingdoms (governments for us) are transitory by God’s design.  Why worry over something God has?  Good lesson despite the preponderance of personal questions.

End Notes:  Debate continues over whether or not Nebuchadnezzar remembered the dream or not.  It’s hard to say from this passage.  What Nebuchadnezzar was asking from his advisors was not a stretch–their job was to be in contact with gods–the ones who sent Nebuchadnezzar the dream in the first place–so why shouldn’t they be able to tell it to him?

The Babylonians believed dreams were how the gods communicated to people.  If you try to remember this,  you can see how important this dream was to the King of Babylon and how important its interpretation would be.

Fun Fact:  Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic.  This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic.  Only the book of Ezra is similarly split.

Why?  Aramaic was the most common language of the people at this time (Alexander the Great is still 300 years away from conquering these peoples and spreading Greek culture and language throughout Asia).  Scholars say the people would have been interested in these sections of the Bible so Aramaic made it accessible to more people.  Furthermore, the astrologers spoke in Aramaic.

The astrologers knew only a god could interpret the dream.  Obviously, no god they knew could.

Why kill all your intelligent men?  Nebuchadnezzar was a new king at this time.  Perhaps he was seeking a reason to rid himself of the old king’s advisors and start anew.  He was probably also testing their loyalty to him and not to the old king (his father).

What do you do in a crisis?  What Daniel did.  Stay calm, ask God, listen and wait on God.  Awesome!

The power of prayer with friends! Awesome!

God reveals Himself to us.  It’s our job to understand His revelations–not to understand God’s ways.

Praising God indicates our faith.

Daniel gave God all the credit and diminished himself.  Do we?

Note the order of the metals–from most precious to least:  gold, silver, bronze, iron, clay–all destroyed by a mere rock–Jesus is the Rock.

The other three kingdoms:  Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Babylon was at the top because it was an absolute monarchy.  The others were in a sense but by the time we get to Rome, power by the people had taken root.  God is our absolute monarch and is the ideal kingdom.

Babylon lasted 66 years.  Medo-Persia 208.  Greece 185.  Rome over 500.

This prophecy is still in the future.  We will get to the number 10 (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12).  Rome was the last great empire and not one single event (the shattering of the statue) has eliminated governments today.

Interesting how man begins with gold and ends up as dust.  Amazing God’s power and our insignificance.

Friends were promoted as well–they helped when they prayed together.  Powerful!