BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 3: Romans 15:17-21

Summary of passage:  Paul once again explains his delay in coming to the Roman church:  he has been busy fulfilling his calling of missionary to the Gentiles and taking the gospel of Christ to places it has not been heard so that “those who have not heard will understand.”  He only speaks through the power of the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit lays on his heart to speak.

Questions:

6)  Paul glories in serving God through spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Our culture glories on self-satisfaction and laziness.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Christ.  Most of the time I don’t.  I’m very aware that I am powerless in this world and all is through Him so I try to give Him all the credit, even in my thoughts and mind.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul’s calling was to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles.  We all have different callings.  I’m trying to spread the word of God through the way I live my life, those I touch, the words you are reading right now, my books and novels, my conversations with friends and family and strangers, etc.  In your little world, in your job, in your family is where the difference is made.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Similar to number 8.  This blog, my other blogs, my work, my kids, friends, family, strangers, words, actions, deeds, volunteer opportunities, etc.  Little things and places in this world that mean a lot.

Conclusions:  Paul reiterates his calling here so BSF is asking us ours as well.  Don’t get caught up in trying to make such a difference in this world.  Most of us lead lives of ordinariness.  But in that ordinariness extraordinary things happen.  We just don’t perceive it because we are bombarded with stories of extraordinary people.  You are extraordinary as well.  Believe it.  Receive it.  Act on it.

End Notes:  Bible Scholar Morris explains Paul’s words here: “Paul will glory only in what Christ has done through him. He is sure that Christ has done great things through him, and he is glad that he can draw attention to those things. But he is not trying to attract adulation. It is what Christ has done that is his theme.”

Paul makes sure to point out it is the Holy Spirit who guides him and his ministry to others everywhere.

Notice how Paul mentions the Triune God in this passage:  God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Paul wanted to preach to new places.  He’s not saying to NOT preach to where the Gospel has been taken.  He is merely speaking of his particular calling, which he backs up with the Old Testament passage.  Again, this is his calling.  What is yours?

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 2: Revelation 18:1-3

Summary of passage:  Another angel from heaven announces Babylon has fallen and repeats Revelation 17:2, saying the kings have committed adultery with Babylon.

Questions:

3a)  John saw another angel descend from heaven who announced Babylon has fallen and all the nations have drunk her adulteries as well as all the kings

b)  A home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit and every unclean and detestable bird.

4a)  Part personal question.  My answer:  You lose God.  It’s that simple.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Heavenly things.  I’m about split down the middle. We have to deal with this world because we live it in and life takes place here.  But as long as God is at the center and our earthly life is for Him then we’re good!

Conclusions:  BSF kept it simple here.  The questions were straight out of the text.  The personal questions were very elementary.  No questions on what is Babylon and what it represents.  Should have combined this day with tomorrow’s.

End Notes:  So what is Babylon?  We discussed this last week as well.  Babylon could be either Rome, Jerusalem, or the world system as a whole.  Scholars are divided and no one is sure.  For us, Babylon is evil like verse 2 says.  The details here are unimportant.

So is this the same Babylon of Revelation 17?  Scholars say there are distinct differences.  Babylon of 17 is more a religious system.  This Babylon of 18 is more a commercial/economic/political Babylon.  But both should be seen together as one–just 2 different aspects.

Is Babylon a real city or a symbol?  Since Babylon now does not exist, most scholars say this is a symbol in correspondence with apocalyptic writings and with Revelation and its use of symbols.  However, Saddam Hussein did begin to build a palace on the ruins of Babylon before he was deposed.  Who knows what the future will hold?

Babylon, the city, was predicted to fall in the Bible by Isaiah (Isaiah 21:9, Isaiah 14:22-23) as well as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 50:13;  51:26).

This angel having just come from God’s presence glows!  He illuminates the earth.  How cool is that!  It’s like Moses whose face glowed after having spoken with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:29-35).  Awesome!  I want to glow too after seeing God!  Wonder if that’s why angels are depicted with light around them in the movies.  Other references to glory lighting the world:  Psalm 104:2; Ezekiel 43:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:16.

Note the phrase is repeated that Babylon has fallen for emphasis.  Sad thought since Babylon used to be one of the richest and most prosperous cities of the world and now is a haven for demons and spirits.  Just shows how much man can corrupt.

Babylon committed idolatry (adultery) and was concerned with the luxuries of this world instead of God. That is her sins.

John says this in the past tense so even though Babylon hasn’t fallen it is assured it will.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 4: Revelation 11:7-14

Summary of passage:  The 2 witnesses will be killed by the beast from the Abyss when they have finished their testimony.  Their bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days.  They will be gloated over by the unbelievers because they had tormented them.  Then God raised them to life and rose to heaven in a cloud.  An earthquake struck, killing 7000 people, terrifying the survivors who thanked heaven.  This is the second woe.

Questions:

9a)  They were killed, refused burial for 3 1/2 days, and their bodies were left in the street of Jerusalem to gloat over. After the 3 1/2 days, God breathed life into them, they stood up, and struck terror into the inhabitants.  They they went up to heaven in a cloud while all looked on (like Jesus being hidden in a cloud Acts 1:9).

b)  God sent an earthquake that destroyed 1/10 of the city and killed 7000 people, which terrified the survivors so much they gave glory to God.

10a)  John 11:25-26:  Jesus says whoever believes in him will live and never die.

John 14:1-4:  Jesus says he is preparing a place for us and he will come back and take us there to be with him.  If you trust in God and in him.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28:  Paul says all in Christ will be made alive and will be risen from death but only after he (Jesus) has put all his enemies under his feet.

Philippians 3:20-21:  Paul says we will all be transformed once Jesus comes again and our citizenship is in heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:  Paul explains that all people in Christ (those who die before Christ comes again and those still alive at the time of the Second Coming) will be risen forever.

1 John 3:2:  John says believers are children of God and when Jesus appears again we shall be like him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve had this question before (Lesson 7 Day 5, Lesson 13 Day 5).  Any unbeliever I may have contact with.  Family members I’m unsure are saved.

Conclusions:  Very literal questions.  No discussion of identity of beast even though this is the first mention of the beast as the major opponent of God’s people in the final days of the Great Tribulation.  Emphasis instead on God’s almighty power over the beast and eternal life.

End Notes:  Who is the beast?  Most scholars say it is Satan.  We first saw the Abyss in Revelation 9 during the first woe where most probably Jesus was given the key to the Abyss and unleashed locusts and the king of the locusts onto the world.

Some say the beast is the Roman Empire.  The Romans destroyed hundreds of towns when they invaded Judea in the first century AD.  This interpretation then has this passage meaning Christians are being killed by the Romans and being gloated over.  When Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, part of the city fell as the Romans surrounded them, leading to an outcry to God.

Note how the 2 witnesses accomplish their task before being killed.  This speaks to us.  Each of us is given a task by God and we won’t die until it is completed.  We are witnesses who give testimony.

The city is Jerusalem.  Sodom references immorality and was destroyed by God.  Egypt was the land of  oppression and slavery and was overcome.  The great city is probably Babylon which is the headquarters of Antichrist (Revelation 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16, 18:18, 18:19, 18:21).  Israel is identified spiritually with Sodom in Isaiah 1:9-10, Jeremiah 23:14, and Ezekiel 16:46-49.

“Figuratively” is better translated from the Greek as “spiritually”.  The spiritual state of Jerusalem is being judged.

People were gloating because they could not stand to hear the truth.  Every people, tribe, nation, and language will see.  This could reference our modern media age.

For a dead body to lie in view was considered the worst humiliation a person could suffer from his enemies (Psalm 79:3-4).

Jesus ascended in a cloud when he went back to the Father in heaven.  An earthquake struck as well after Jesus’s ascension.  Earthquakes are messages of judgment.  Here, God is not finished yet at the third woe is “coming soon.”  Crying out to God was too late.  At some point, judgment is rendered.  Don’t be left out in the cold.  Turn now!

The population of Jerusalem in the first century is estimated to be about 70,000 to 100,000, which 7000 would be 1/10 of the population.

The third woe is coming in Revelation 12:12:  the inhabitants of the earth will experience Satan’s fury as he is banished.