BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 5: Romans 8:14-17

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.

Questions:

11)  We are Christ-like.  We are heirs of God and Christ and share in his glory.  We relate to God as Christ did.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God knows what we need before we ask. God values us.  He disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness, peace, and righteousness.  We are loved and like God.  God has provided me with everything I need and more.  He cherishes me and takes care of me and loves me.  He grows me.  He walks with me and holds my hand and picks me up when I fall.  God is there always for me.

13)  Personal Question.  My response:  I don’t doubt God’s love.  I don’t understand it, but I know He loves me always.  With Christ, we are with God forever.  There is nothing to fear.  Only love.

Conclusions:  Overall, Lesson 13 was weak with repetitive questions.  Paul repeats himself a lot here and BSF would have been better not spending an entire lesson on these 17 verses.

End Notes: Living under the law brought fear.  Paul says now we are in close kinship with God and call Him Abba!

In the Roman world of the first century AD, an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no inferior in status to a biological son.

Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more.  Hence, Paul’s listeners would have completely grasped what a privilege this is and its meaning.

Jewish law stated that at the mouth of two or three witnesses everything had to be established (Deuteronomy 17:6). There are two witnesses to our salvation: our own witness and the witness of the Spirit.  We know if we’re God’s children or not.

In sum, we relate to God as Christ did since we are in Christ.  Awesome!

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 5: Revelation 7:9-17

Summary of passage:  John saw an infinite number of people in white robes from every nation standing before the throne in front of the Lamb with palm branches in their hands.  Angels all around fell down and worshiped God.  One of the elders revealed the people in white robes to be those who have come out of the Great Tribulation.  They will serve God day and night, never again be hungry or thirsty or cry, and Jesus will be their shepherd and lead them to springs of living water.

Questions:

10a)  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  They were acknowledging that they were saved by God and the Lamb.

b)  They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb wearing white robes and holding palm branches.  Very similar.  Believers are from every nation on earth and they stand before the Lamb clothed in Jesus’s righteousness as the Savior.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am unsure about some family members’ faith.  Invite them to church and BSF to learn more about God.

11)  They are justified, made righteous, cleaned of all sin, so they can stand before God.  Isaiah calls them “garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness.”  Also, the white robes signify how we are made into priests, ready for holy service to the Lord.

Specifically here, these Christians have died for Jesus as he died for them, hence being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

12a)  Lamb:  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Shepherd:  Jesus is the shepherd for his people (lambs).  Whoever comes to him will be saved and have life to the full (eternal).  We will see this again in Revelation 21.

Living Water:  Jesus gives living water (eternal life) to those whom ask (have faith in him and believe in him).  John 7:39 says the living water is the Holy Spirit.  Both are correct for if you have the Holy Spirit, you are a believer and thus will have eternal life.  We will see this again in Revelation 22.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to serve the Lord day and night.  Overall, more reverence for what Jesus has done for me.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Brings out highlights of passage.  10c is very similar to question 5 in Lesson 7 Day 2  Good thing to keep in mind as we head up to the holiday season where we will mix with many family and friends who don’t know the saving grace of Jesus.

End Notes:  John is speaking of two different groups of believers here.  The first are sealed prior to the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-8).  The second is this multitude who have come out of the Great Tribulation and made righteous (Revelation 7:9-17).

In the Greek, “the” is emphatic in verse 14, definitely referring to “the Great Tribulation” before the End Times.  This multitude were those who were rescued during that time, leading many scholars to speculate they are all martyrs.  Coming right after the 144,000, some scholars speculate this means the 144,000 were evangelists who saved the multitude.  Cool!

The phrase “great tribulation” is used only once outside of Revelation in the New Testament.  It’s in Matthew 24:21 and Jesus speaks of it.  He speaks of it in the same way Daniel does in Daniel 12:1, leading scholars to speculate that the scrolls Daniel speaks of in Daniel 5 are the same Jesus holds here in Revelation.

As a reminder, the Great Tribulation is a time of intense persecution for Christians.  Scholars debate when this will occur.  Some say its in the future right before Jesus’s Second Coming.  Others say it occurred during John’s time under the Romans.  Regardless, John’s point is the tribulation will not last forever.

The multitude is God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled (Genesis 15:5), which Jacob repeats (Genesis 32:12).

We will all be different in heaven just like on earth.

White robes appear again (Revelation 6:2, 11).

The palm branches harken back to Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-16), where Jesus was also praised as Savior and King.  They also signified victory after a war.  The Romans would wave palm branches during a triumphal procession after a great Roman war victory.  They would also wave it for emperors.

The victory here is God’s.  Our salvation is from Him.

All created beings will worship God on His throne as we saw in Revelation 4 with the living creatures and elders.

There are no barriers to God in heaven; all can come before His throne and dwell with Him. The Greek word for “temple” here is the temple proper where God dwells not the larger precincts.  Thus, no longer are the Levites the only ones allowed to approach God and be in His presence, but all believers will serve God and have been made priests in God’s service (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 10:6).

“Shelter them with his presence” harkens us to the tabernacle in the wilderness.

In heaven, the Savior protects and nurtures and provides.  Jesus does that here, but in heaven it’s so much more.  No sorrow or pain will exist in heaven as God wipes away the tears which are caused by our past sufferings.  On earth there is pain and He consoles us, but does not take it away.  God’s tend is spread over them–nothing more will ever happen to them.  There is nothing to worry about or fear.

But won’t we cry for loved ones in hell?  Spurgeon answered this by saying we won’t because we will so understand divine will and our compassion for those suffering will be balanced out by our detestation of sin.

Living water also appears in Isaiah 49:9-10.  He says they will neither hunger nor thirst nor be scorched by desert heat.

Conclusions to Lesson 13:  In Revelation 7, we see the first half (verses 1-8) of God’s promise to seal believers.  The second half (verses 9-17) is the result of the sealing, God’s promise being kept.  No more suffering.  No more pain.  No more tears.  Great images and hope to believers as the End Times ever creep closer to consummation.  Great summary of Bible’s message as a whole:  God chooses us, seals us, and dwells with us.  Who else can’t wait to serve God forever night and day?  What a glimpse God has given us into heaven via John.  Amazing!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 13, Day 5: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Summary of passages:  Matthew 13:24-30:  Another parable Jesus told was of a man who sowed good seed in his field but while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds alongside the seed.  Once the wheat and the weeds sprouted, the farmer will first pull the weeds and then harvest the wheat so as not to pull up the wheat with the weeds.

Matthew 13:36-43:  Jesus explained this parable by saying the farmer was him, the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed are believers, the weeds are unbelievers, the enemy is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  At the end of the age, the angels will weed out all the evil and sin in the world and will throw them into the furnace.  Then the righteous will shine.

Questions:

12a)  The Son of Man (Jesus)

b)  The sons of the kingdom (believers)

c)  Earth

d)  The sons of the evil one one (unbelievers)

e)  The end of the age (Jesus’ Second Coming)

f)  Angels

13a)  He is sneaky and crafty.  He does come when we are least aware, when we are weak, when we are unprepared, when we are distracted, when we are needy.  He comes at our weakest point, when we are furthest from God.

b)  He said because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  Basically, you may damage the wheat along with the weeds.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  According to these verses, because Christians themselves will rise up and distort the truth or they will turn their ears away from the truth to myths and hear only what they want to hear because they do not like what they hear.

There has been and will continue to be Christians who don’t like what the Bible has to say so they ignore those parts and say it doesn’t apply to them or they will misconstrue the meaning and say it means something else.  An example are those who blatantly ignore what the Bible says about homosexuality and marriage.

Many Christians live how they want to live despite what the Bible says.  They are hypocrites and know it but continue to live in their sin instead of changing it.

Living a Christian life is hard work and many in today’s society aren’t up for the challenge.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  It gives me strength to know at the end of the day all my struggles and trials will all be worth it and are just temporary for I have a permanent home in heaven.

Conclusions:  I would say this is one of the best explained parables by Jesus in the Bible.  Very straight-forward and very encouraging.  Although I liked Question 13c, it really had nothing to do with this passage and I am not for sure why it was thrown in there.  Nothing else to ask?  Hmmm….

End Notes:  The commentaries I read said the weeds represent corruption (or false believers) amongst the people of God so people of God who are corrupt (hence why BSF asked 13c).  Well, I submit if they are false believers, then they are unbelievers and hence are not God’s people.

This parable show’s it is God’s job to judge at the end of the day, not man’s, and it is God who will call out the professed “believers” who truly aren’t.  Our job here on Earth is to follow God in our lives and do His purpose.  What others do, we should care about, but not judge them righteous or not.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 13, Day 5: Psalm 110; Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; & 6:18-7:28

BSF Study of Genesis and Hebrews

Summary of passages:  Psalm 110:  The Lord told my Lord (David’s Lord who is Jesus) to sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool.  God will extend Jesus’s scepter and rule in the midst of enemies.  On the day of battle your troops will be arrayed in holy majesty.

The Lord calls Jesus a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.  He will crush kings on the day of his wrath, judge the nations, and heap up the dead.

Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; 6:18-7:28:  Jesus had to be made like his brothers (flesh and blood) so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and to be able to make atonement for man’s sins.

4:14-5:10:  Jesus is our great high priest who has gone through the heavens who can sympathize with our weaknesses for he has been tempted in every way just as we are–and remain without sin.  Let us hold firmly to our faith, approach God with confidence so we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Every high priest is selected among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for our sins.  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray and offer sacrifices for our sins.

Priests must be called by God.  Jesus was called to be a High Priest by God in the order of Melchizedek.  Jesus prayed to God and he was heard because of his submission.  He was obedient and made perfect for our eternal salvation for all who obey him.

6:18-7:28:  God swore promises to us by Himself so that we may have hope and encouragement.  This hope anchors our soul and enters the inner sanctuary where Jesus has entered on our behalf.  Jesus is a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews Chapter 7:  This Melchizedek was king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the God Most High.  He met and blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.  His name means “king of righteousness” and king of Salem means “king of peace”.  He remains a priest forever without the proper lineage.

Just think how great he must have been for Abraham to give him a tenth of the plunder!  The law requires the descendants of Levi to collect a tenth from the people.  Melchizedek was not a Levite.  One could deduce that Levi collects the tenth through Abraham because Levi (who is Abraham’s descendant) hadn’t been born yet when Melchizedek collected.  Hence we have Levites paying tithes to Melchizedek, making Melchizedek greater than the Levites (or Abraham in this instance since the Levites are through Abraham).  Since the lesser is blessed by the greater, Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

Perfection could not be attained through the Levites so there was need for a priest in the order of Melchizedek (the mere fact that a priest in the order of Melchizedek shows up should be a clue that there is a need for something better than the Levites).  If the priests change, then so must the law.  The old law was weak and useless for it made nothing perfect and a better hope was introduced by God (Jesus!).

Through an oath Jesus became a priest and the author of a better covenant.  Jesus lives forever so his priesthood is forever; therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.

Jesus meets our needs as holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens with one sacrifice of himself who has been made perfect forever.

Questions:

11a)  Himself

b)  The Messiah will be both a king and a priest

c)  Melchizedek was a king and a priest of God.  He remains a priest forever.

Melchizedek and Christ’s similiarities:  1)  Both were kings  2)  Both were priests 3)  Both received a tenth of everything  4)  Both names mean king of peace  5)  Both are priests forever  6)  Both live forever (without beginning of days or end of life)

One difference: Only Jesus was the Son of God

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Christ is our hope. He died for us so we can live forever with him.  We won’t be lonely in Heaven.  The Holy Spirit lives inside of us as a reminder He is with us always, never forsaking us so we will never be alone.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was tempted as well.  He was fully man and fully God so he knows what we are going through.  Yet he resisted and we can use his power to resist the devil as well.  Open His Word and soak Him in.  You will become burning bright for Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus gives us hope and encouragement when we are down.  Cling to him.  Remember He speaks all the time if only I listen.

Conclusions:  Any one else irked with Hebrews yet?  We studied this exact same passage last year in Acts and we answered very similar questions.  HERE we studied Hebrews 7 WITH Genesis 14:18-20.

So why is this Melchizedek important?  Why is BSF spending so much time on him (this year and in other years)?

Here’s the crux:  For the Israelites, they had divisions within society and roles.  The leaders were priests, prophets, and kings.  Prophets told the truth, revealing God’s righteousness.  Kings implementing this righteousness as heads of the government.  Priests represented God to the people and brought God to them.  According to the God-given laws of Israel, kings and priests always came from different tribes.  Thus, a king could NOT be a priest.

So how could Christ the Messiah be a king, a prophet, and a priest?  Wouldn’t that violate God’s laws?  We must remember at this time when Jesus is living he hasn’t yet died for our sins and ushered in the New Covenant.  So the Jews are trying to piece together who the Messiah is based on the Old Testament laws, which still govern how God’s people live.  Christ doesn’t “fit” these laws. [Cool, cause I don’t really “fit” either!]

Enter Melchizedek:  a priest AND a king.  He wasn’t even an Israelite let alone a Levite (the priests line) yet he was a priest.

Psalm says the Messiah will be greater than David and he will be “in the order of Melchizedek”, which means he will be both a priest and a king.  Melchizedek establishes the precedent and the credibility to be a priest and a king.

[Explanation summarized and credited to Zondervan NIV Student Study Bible].

Fun Fact:  Melchizedek was a Gentile.  So from the beginning God had intended Gentiles to inherit the kingdom of God.  I wonder why it was such a huge deal for the first century Christians to accept Gentiles when Melchizedek was one.

End Note:  Note the order of Melchizedek’s names.  He is king of righteousness and THEN king of peace.  As always you must have righteousness before you can have peace. Without righteousness there is no peace.  Jesus makes us right; thus we have peace with God.

Also, some commentators believe because Melchizedek remains a priest forever (verse 3) he was either a heavenly being or Jesus himself incarnate!  Jesus in the Old Testament! Now that’s cool!  Something to ponder at least.

Final Note:  Sorry!  This is a long one!  I didn’t really focus on the questions this time as you might have noticed.  I took the subject of Melchizedek and the passages given and investigated.  I had to get this straight in my mind.  I will concede we did study this last year.  But we hadn’t studied Genesis yet (at least I hadn’t).  In the context of Genesis and knowing Abram’s life and world, Hebrews 7 makes much more sense to me.

I often forget the HUGE differences between Old Testament way of life and New Testament living since I’m under the New Covenant.  I now understand the confusion more when Jesus showed up, proclaiming he’s the Messiah.  What? the people wondered.  He doesn’t “fit” the Messiah.

I believe following Jesus in first century AD was a HUGE leap of faith.  It was a total shift in paradigm.  Myself, having grown up with Jesus, saying “Yes” to him seems easier than it did 2000 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong:  following him is a BIG deal and is insanely difficult.  But I can see how it would be even tougher not necessarily for pagan worshippers but for God’s people.

Yes, I am sick of studying Hebrews.  But what I’ve learned is this:  you can’t get enough. You can’t read a passage enough times in order to have His word soak into your core. There are so many questions about God and who He is and our job is to answer as many of those as possible to draw near to Him.

Every time I read His word, I learn something about God:  how compassionate He is, who He is, who Jesus is, how the Holy Spirit works inside of us, how the early Christians suffered, or even how there were 7 clean animals on the ark and not just two.  But even the little details reveals God overarching omnipotence and control over this world.  How everything is planned, down to God foreseeing the need for Noah to sacrifice to Him. How God’s promises are Truth.

All of this makes me a better person especially in the realm of spreading the Good News. For if we ourselves don’t know God’s word, promises, and truths, how can we explain God’s greatness and goodness to others?

Ok, I’ll stop now.  You get my point.

Don’t stop reading His word.  Don’t stop craving Him.  For He never stops craving us.