BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 4: Romans 9:14-21

Summary of passage:  All is in God’s mercy and God’s plan.  All is just.  God (being God) can do what He wants.  He made us.  He chooses us for His purposes.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question that’s completely unnecessary.  My answer:  Paul is just using past examples that his listeners would understand to drive home his point:  God can do whatever He wants and we have no right to question it.   It’s all in His will for His purposes and for His glory.  I understand this completely.

9a)  Like I’ve repeatedly said to this same line of questioning in this lesson and YESTERDAY’S.  God whom made us can do whatever He wants and us stupid humans have no right to question His authority or His reasons or His justness.

b)  I think people today think everything should be fair and should line up with their idea of justice and really don’t care about God and what He thinks.  They waste so much precious energy and time, trying to figure out a way to be fair and just instead of just letting God handle it.  In essence, people need to get over themselves.

10)  Personal repetitive question I’d rather not answer again.  My personal repetitive answer again: God shows me mercy every day as I fail Him constantly by calling me back and embracing me.  When I’m far, He is near.  When I stray, He guides me back.  When I fall, He picks me up.  When I sin, He forgives.  When I hate, He loves.  When I need Him, He is there.

Conclusions:  Paul is expounding on his points from the first part of Romans 9.  This is just a continuation.  Poor job by BSF on the repetitive questions.

End Notes:  Frequently, Paul interrupts his writing with a question or series of questions.  In doing so, he is imitating the style he learned from the rabbis in his earlier training.

God clearly explains His right to give mercy to whomever He pleases in Exodus 33:19.

Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. God is never less than fair with anyone, but fully reserves the right to be more than fair with individuals as He chooses.

Jesus spoke of this right of God in the parable of the landowner in Matthew 20:1-16.

God allowed the Pharaoh of Moses’ day to rise to power so that God could show the strength of His judgment against him, and thereby glorify Himself.  Sometimes God will glorify Himself through showing mercy; sometimes God will glorify Himself through a man’s hardness.

We should not think that God persuaded an unwilling, kind-hearted Pharaoh to be hard towards God and His people. In hardening the heart of Pharaoh, God simply allowed his heart to pursue its natural inclination.

Does the sovereign right of God to choose relieve man of responsibility?  If someone asks, “How can I go against God’s choice?”, Paul says we are not to ask because God is the creator and has the right over all things including us.  God chooses AND we are responsible.  This is what God says.  Deal with it.

Paul is not silencing all questioning of God, but he is speaking to those with an impenitent, God-defying attitude who want to make God answerable to them for what he does and who, by their questions, defame the character of God.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 2: Romans 9:1-5

Summary of passage:  Paul is lamenting how the Jews have not accepted Christ as their Savior and he says how he’d give up his relationship with Christ for their sakes.

Questions:

3)  The truth in this passage is that the people of Israel are God’s chosen people.  The truth Paul is going to talk about in the rest of Romans 9 is how the Jews are not saved because they don’t believe in Christ.  He is grieving how they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Moses and Jesus were the same way:  wanting all to come to God, praying for them, and willing to sacrifice his life for them.  See Galatians 3:13.

4a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Cursed is condemned here probably to eternal damnation.  No believer will ever be cut off from Christ (which we just studied LAST LESSON).  Paul’s point is he wants all to come to Christ.

b)  We should always be praying for unbelievers, grieve for them, and desire them to turn to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian so it’s been a relatively easy journey to Christ.  It’s easier as a child when you’re not bogged down with life’s junk to choose him.  I could always be doing more for God’s kingdom.  Give Him the credit more.  Talk about Him more.  Evangelize more.  I myself could be closer to God as well personally and spiritually.

Conclusions:  We see Paul’s heart here.  He loves his people so much he’d sacrifice his eternity for them.  That’s powerful!  What a motivator for us when we encounter unbelievers either in our own circle of family and friends or those on the street.  We need more heart for them!

End Notes:  Chapter 9 brings a slight shift in focus to the Book of Romans.

In Romans chapters one through eight, Paul thoroughly convinced us about man’s need and God’s glorious provision in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 Paul deals with the problem associated with the condition of Israel. What does it mean that Israel has missed its Messiah? What does this say about God? What does it say about Israel? What does it say about our present position in God?

In essence, how can I be secure in God’s love and salvation to me when it seems that Israel was once loved and saved, but now seems to be rejected and cursed? Will God also reject and curse me one day?

If God cannot bring his ancient people into salvation, how do Christians know that he can save them? Paul is not here proceeding to a new and unrelated subject. These three chapters are part of the way Paul will make plain how God in fact saves people.

Paul left us at the end of Chapter 8 on a high note:  nothing can separate us from God.  Now, he turns somber as he considers the Jews, God’s chosen people, who are separated from God.

Consider this:  Paul was concerned about the souls of men.  What does this say about your worries over what others think of you, the guy who cut you off in line, the increasing number of wrinkles on your face, the neighbor’s hideous lawn ornaments, your mother-in-laws quirks and fallacies, and any other daily or not-so-daily petty worry?  Worry about the souls of men and these will all disappear.

Consider this as well:  The Jews are Paul’s persecutors.  They (along with the Romans) are the ones casting stones, running him out of towns and villages, and beating him.  Yet Paul still has this much heart for them.

For us average people, it’s hard for us to grasp this deep love and heart like Paul, Moses, and Jesus had.  But this love is something we can build up and increase daily as we walk with Christ.  He can do all things in us!

Paul lists how privileged the Jews are/were in having the law, covenants, promises, etc.  They even had the divine glory (this is God in the cloud that led Israel out of Egypt Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 16:19), God Himself, with them.  All the patriarchs are Jews and Jesus himself is a Jew from the nation of Israel.

Conscience is reliable only when enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

People of Israel:  The descendants of Jacob (who was renamed Israel by God in Genesis 32:28).  The name referred to the entire nation (Judges 5:7), then of the northern kingdom after the nation was divided (1 Kings 12) with the Southern kingdom being called Judah.  After this time and later in New Testament times, Palestinian Jews used the title to indicate they were the chosen people of God,

Paul is about to show that despite Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, God’s promises to her are still valid.

Adopted as sons:  Israel had been accepted as God’s son (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1).

Covenants:  Genesis 15:17-21; 17:1-8; Exodus 19:5; 24:1-4; Deuteronomy 29:1-15; Josiah 8:30-35; 24; Numbers 25:12-13; Jeremiah 33:21; Malachi 2:4-5; 2 Samuel 7; 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-29, 132:11-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34

Promises:  Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 17:5-8; 22:16-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 16; Psalm 110; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; 31:31-34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:1-4; Zechariah 9:9-10

Patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Verse 5 has Paul stating that JESUS IS GOD.  No where else is this written in Romans and some scholars even argue if this is in fact what Paul meant (Interesting commentary on this verse HERE)

Other passages explicitly or implicitly affirming the deity of Christ:  Romans 1:4; 10:9; Matthew 1:23; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 5:20-21; John 1:3, 10, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-20;2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2-3, 6, 8; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:13-18; 22:13

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 16, Day 3: John 12:12-22 with Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-46

Summary of passages:  John 12:12-22:  The Passover Feast attendants heard Jesus was heading to Jerusalem so they run out to meet him, carrying palm branches and calling him the King of Israel.  Jesus enters on a donkey.  His disciples don’t understand this.  Many people believed in Jesus and the Pharisees are angered.  Some Greeks even wanted to see Jesus.

Matthew 21:1-16:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word.  Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd went ahead of him, announcing him as the Son of David.  Jesus entered and again threw out the money changers from the temple.  Jesus healed the blind and the lame.  The chief priests were indignant as the children praised him.

Mark 11:1-11:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word.  Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd went ahead of him, announcing him as coming in the name of the Lord.  Jesus went to the temple but left since it was late, spending the night in Bethany with his disciples.

Luke 19:29-46:  Jesus sends two disciples to fetch him a donkey and her colt as they approached Jerusalem, which fulfills God’s word. Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem where a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road for him.  The disciples began to joyful praise God and for sending the King.  The Pharisees, angry at this, yelled at Jesus to rebuke his disciples.  Jesus said he could not for the stones would cry if he did.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem he wept for he knew the future when the city would be destroyed and many would die.  He entered the temple and drove out the vendors.

Questions:

6)  Psalm 118:25-26:  Jesus is blessed and he shines his light upon us.  The festal procession took place with boughs in hand.  God’s word is true.

Zechariah 9:9:  Jesus comes righteous and with salvation, riding on a colt of a donkey.  God’s word is true.

7a)  Disciples, Pharisees, children, Jewish believers and non-believers, Greeks

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In all aspects He calls me.

Conclusions:  Such an exciting passage.  Such a let down in the questions.  Can we please unpack these verses?  See End Notes for just that.

End Notes:  John 12:12-22:  From here on out, Jesus will be in Jerusalem.  This inaugurates Passion Week and is a deliberate action by Jesus to provoke the Jewish leaders against him.

This was the large crowd gathered for the greatest holidays of Judaism – Passover.  Many were from Galilee.  All came with lambs, which was required as a sacrifice.  The lamb had to live with the family for at least three days before sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-6).  Hence, picture this scene with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, surrounded by lambs–him being the greatest Lamb of all!

Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that one year a census was taken of the number of lambs slain for Passover and that figure was 256,500.  Can you imagine this today?  That’s a lot of lambs!  The animal rights people would be up in arms!

Palm branches were a symbol of Jewish nationalism since the time of the Maccabees.  Still seeing Jesus as a political and national savior, they welcomed him as king, ignoring the spiritual side.  Later, palms appeared as national symbols on the coins struck by the Judean insurgents during the first and second revolts against Rome (ad 66-70 and 132-135).

Hosanna means “save now” and is from Psalm 118:25-6.  They welcomed him as Messiah.

Jesus sits on the donkey for both fulfillment of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) and to indicate his kingdom is not military or political–it’s spiritual.  The donkey was used by clergyman and for peace.  Otherwise, Jesus would be riding a war horse.  Doing this, the Roman probably didn’t think much of Jesus.  He had no army with him.

‘Daughter of Zion’ is a personification of the city of Jerusalem; it occurs frequently in the Old Testament, especially in the later prophets. (Tenney)

Since only God has the power to raise the dead, the people were convinced Jesus would have the power to overthrow the Romans since he could do such a feat.

“The world has gone after him”, like Caiaphas’ (John 11:50) words, are prophetic as well.

We are not told the nature of these Greeks.  Were they converts?  Curiosity seekers?  One scholar (Bruce) speculates that between verses 19 and 20 a day or two had elapsed: Jesus was no longer on the road to Jerusalem, but teaching daily in the temple precincts.  And in the meantime, according to Mark 11:15-17, he had expelled the traders and moneychangers from the precincts — that is, more precisely, from the outer court — in order that the place might fulfill its divinely ordained purpose of being ‘a house of prayer for all the nations’ (Isaiah 56:7).  Did these Greeks recognize this action as having been undertaken in the interests of Gentiles like themselves who, when they came up to worship the true God, had to confine themselves to the outer court?

Why Philip?  He’s the one disciple with a Greek name.  These men have often been compared to the Three Magi.  They come to the cross.

Matthew 21:1-16:  Up until this point, Jesus had acted in secret for the most part, avoiding attention and the Romans seeking him.  Now, his time come, he makes a huge public entrance, announcing to all he has arrived.

John omits the part of obtaining the colt.  Matthew does not.  Jesus chooses to ride on the younger animal, the colt.  Mark and Luke tell us it has never been ridden before so it’s prudent to bring its mother along.  Here we see the Creator of the Universe riding his creation.  Awesome!  Zechariah mentions only one animal in his prophesy.

The day was chosen as well to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-7).  Jesus may even have spoken these words in verses 4-5.

Great people used to ride on donkeys (Judges10;4; 12:14) until horses came upon the scene.  Now we seek Jesus as the Prince of Peace, riding a lowly animal that now only poor people rode and used to carry burdens.

The people’s reaction is one of honor:  spreading out their cloaks and cutting branches.  It also spoke of victory and success.

Hosanna was also addressed to kings (2 Samuel 14:4 & 2 Kings 6:26).  The people are unafraid to proclaim Jesus as their Savior and Messiah.  Jesus receives this as the day the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24).

Jesus knew he was in danger but he was unafraid of the Pharisees here.

Note in Matthew 2:3 when the Magi came looking for the King of Jews, ‘all Jerusalem’ was troubled.  Now when the king arrives all the city is stirred.

In five days these same people will demand Jesus to be crucified.  How fickle are us humans!  How tragic.

It was here, before he entered the city, that Jesus wept over it and what would come (Luke 19:41-44).

This scene is different than the one we already studied in John 2:13-22.  Obviously, the people continued in their cheating ways, charging way too much for sacrificial animals.   A pair of doves cost 4p outside the Temple and as much as 75p inside the Temple.  This is almost 20 times more expensive.

Note, however, this time Jesus is condemning both the buyers and the sellers for it takes two for this sin to happen.  The money lenders would not be there if there were no demand for their services.

The money changers would be there again.  The act is important though, the condemnation.  Jesus was showing all this is not okay.

Once the money lenders were cleared, Jesus could concentrate on his real work:  healing.  The blind and the lame were not allowed in the temple. Thus, they could not offer sacrifices.  Again, Jesus went to them like he does us.

The hypocritical priests are content with money lenders but not healers.  It was common for kids to shout praises.  The problem was calling Jesus “the Son of David.”  Jesus says kids matter too.

Mark 11:1-11:  Sending his disciples ahead of him left nothing to chance.  This had to be right.  He had to enter as the suffering servant, not a general.

Mark’s wording suggests Jesus had pre-arranged the taking of the colt with the owner.

Finally, the people honor Jesus for who he is not what he can give them.  Clothing was expensive in those days and most people wore the same clothes for days.  Laying out their cloaks for Jesus was an extravagant sacrifice indeed.  Public honor is encouraged here.

We call this event the “Triumphal Entry,” but it was a different kind of triumph. In the Romans’ eyes, this was far from triumphant.  To them, a Triumphal Entry was a honor granted to a Roman general who won a complete and decisive victory and had killed at least 5,000 enemy soldiers. When the general returned to Rome, they had an elaborate parade.  First came the treasures captured from the enemy, then the prisoners. His armies marched by unit by unit, and finally the general rode in a golden chariot pulled by magnificent horses. Priests burned incense in his honor and the crowds shouted his name and praised him. The procession ended at the arena, where some of the prisoners were thrown to wild animals for the entertainment of the crowd. That was a Triumphal Entry, not a Galilean peasant sitting on a few coats set out on a pony.

Jesus inspected everything, mainly seeking the hearts of the people.

Note in Mark we didn’t read:  Mark’s record contains the more complete quotation of Jesus’ reference to Isaiah 56:7: Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?” (Mark 11:17).  Isaiah prophesied, and Jesus demanded that the temple be a place for all nations to pray.  The money lenders were making it impossible for any Gentile to come and pray.

Luke 19:29-46:  So what is the triumph here?  The triumph of humility over pride and worldly grandeur; of poverty over affluence; and of meekness and gentleness over rage and malice.

The Pharisees know they are losing with the drowning out of the devil’s voice.  They ask Jesus to quiet the disciples to which Jesus replies how creation will cry out.

In some old copies of the Bible, they removed the passage about Jesus weeping here, because they thought that if Jesus were perfect He would not weep. But the perfection of Jesus demands that He weep at this occasion, when Israel rejected their only opportunity to escape the destruction to come.

God does not rejoice in His judgement.  Jesus here showed the heart of God, how even when judgment must be pronounced, it is never done with joy. Even when God’s judgment is perfectly just and righteous, His heart weeps at the bringing of the judgment.

“On this day”.  This day was likely the day prophesied by Daniel that Messiah the Prince would come unto Jerusalem. Daniel said that it would be 483 years on the Jewish calendar from the day of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the day the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. By the reckoning of Sir Robert Anderson, this was fulfilled 483 years later to the day (by the Jewish reckoning of 360 day years, as in Daniel 9:25).

This is the day mentioned in Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Jerusalem means “city of peace”.  Jesus predicted what would happen when the Romans attacked Jerusalem.  Therefore, he weeps.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 4: Revelation 12:10-12

Summary of passage:  A loud voice announces that the kingdom of God has come and the accuser has been hurled to earth.  He was overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  Heaven rejoices but woe to earth for the devil has been flung down and he is full of fury as he knows his time is limited.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The accuser was hurled out of heaven unto earth.  Honestly, I don’t feel guilty.  I let them go.  The past is in the past and I know God has forgiven me and I know Jesus has defeated the devil and cleansed me.  Take to heart Hebrews 9:14:  “How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Romans 8:1:  “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:33-34 are good as well.

By not fully allowing Jesus’s sacrifice into our hearts and by letting feelings of guilt overwhelm us we are doing a huge disservice and dishonor to his sacrifice and letting Satan win.  Please.  Let go.

Note on Question 10:  This question is very confusing.  The emphasis should be on the three ways the saints (who are the pronoun “they” here) and ultimately us as believers overcame the devil:  1)  by the blood of the Lamb  2)  by the word of their testimony  3)  by not loving their lives so much to fear death.  By separating out the verb (triumphed or overcame in NIV), the meaning is lost and jumbled and befuddled.

10)  Personal Question.  My answers:

“They triumphed over him”:  It means just that:  we overcame the devil.  Period.  The scriptures they give here are not very helpful.

“By the blood of the Lamb”:  Jesus paid the price for my sins, making me righteous and able to stand before God.  God chose me through unimaginable grace as His.

Note here:  BSF missed the more important verse in Romans!  Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”  It is God’s love that brung us back to Him.  He sent His only Son to die for us.  In Romans 5:7, Paul astutely points out:  what person do you know would die for you?  Someone who loves you.  But a stranger?  And would they die for a sinner like you?  A righteous man, maybe.  God’s love saved us.  He is so good.  See also:  (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, and Hebrews 9:14).

“And by the word of their testimony”:  Knowing and remembering God’s work in my life is my testimony.  It allows me to overcome the lies Satan whispers in my ear.  As I walk in God with faith, my life is a powerful testimony to unbelievers as I proclaim His power in my life.  See End Notes for explanation on testimony.

Should say Revelation 1:2, not Revelation 1:3 here in my opinion since 1:2 uses the word “testimony”.  This is referring to the Gospel as John says “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.  John is using Jesus’ life to overcome the devil.  And so should we.

“They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”:  Remembering my home is in heaven instead of here on earth and we find life by losing it to Jesus (Mark 8:35).  The Greek word here for love is “agape”, the love that is all-encompassing, self-sacrificing, profound love.  Willing to sacrifice for my faith even my life marks a Christian.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As my faith has grown, my reliance on Him to overcome not only the evil in my life but the evil in the world has grown.  I give it to God and let Him take it from there.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So many!  Scripture foremost is Philippians 4:6; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Exodus 20; Romans 8:31 to name but a few.  Songs:  My Savior My God by Aaron Shust is my all-time favorite.  Others:  Great I Am by Phillips, Craig & Dean and Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets.

Conclusions:  All personal questions but only a part of one directly asking what’s happening here.  Again, asking about worship when we see here the beginning of God’s final victory over Satan and soon we’ll see his capture and banishment.  This is to be celebrated!

Question 9:  Sometimes I think questions like this do the opposite:  we feel guilty because we don’t feel guilty over our past sins when you shouldn’t feel guilty at all.  Living in the past and dwelling on guilt from past sins robs you of your life today.  Give it to God.  He will handle it.  Know you are His and move on!  You life will dwindle away moment by moment until one day you realize you didn’t accomplish God’s purpose for your life because of the past.  Live for Him today.  That’s all you have.  Tomorrow you may not be here.  And then what?

BSF’s worst lesson in Revelation in my opinion so far.  So I made it my own.  By researching what exactly are the saints telling me here THEN AND ONLY THEN can I tell you what they mean to me.  Since I am a saint, I need to know this!

I personally feel beaten up by the “how my worship has been affected” questions.  Because I don’t feel my worship has been affected and thus being asked the question makes me feel guilty because I feel like it should be affected.  I spoke of this as well in Lesson 14 Day 3 and counted the number of times we’ve been asked.

The same goes for “comforted” and “encouraged.”  Right now, I’m not.  But I feel I should be.  So guiltily, my response is “I’m not affected” or “I’m not comforted” or “I’m not encouraged.”  Or I’m just cynical, hard-hearted, or shallow.  In time I pray.  In time.

End Notes:  The loud voice is NOT Jesus or God or an angel.  We know this because of the text says “the accuser of our brothers”, our being humanity.

Once Satan is thrown out of heaven, the accusing stops.  Until then, we must fight the good fight.  However, Satan’s accusations are meaningless if we have Christ.

Jesus’s victory is our victory.  Imagine if we lived our lives every day knowing that one Truth.

Definition of testify according to Webster’s Dictionary:  “to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief: bear witness; to serve as evidence or proof.”

Definition of testimony according to Webster’s Dictionary: “firsthand authentication of a fact; evidence; a public profession of religious experience.”

In the book of Revelation, testimony refers to the Gospel (Revelation 1:2).

“by the word of their testimony”.  John, being the symbolic guy that he is, speaks of testimony in 1 John 5:6-12.  Water may be Jesus’ baptism.  Blood is his death on the cross.  The Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  He says these three together are God’s testimony about Jesus.  We are saved eternally through God’s testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ–as long as we believe this in our hearts.

Thus, the saints who are speaking here know what they’ve seen and heard and experienced in their lives from God and can recognize Satan’s lies that go against God.

Also, here, notice “the word”.  This doesn’t explicitly apply to God’s Word (the Bible) but we can use that as a testimony against the devil.  The more we know the Word, the more we can use that against the devil.

The angels and all of heaven is relieved Satan is gone.  It’s like when a visiting relative overstays their welcome and they finally leave!  You can almost hear the sigh of relief upon the door closing forever to Satan’s presence.

Satan’s release upon the earth is the third and final prophetic “woe” announced earlier upon the inhabitants of the earth (Rev.8:13).

In Revelation 20, we will see what ultimately happens to Satan.  Looking forward to it!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 3: Leviticus 16:15-19

Summary of passage:  Aaron will then slaughter the chosen goat as a sin offering for the people and do what he did for himself:  sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover, which will cleanse the Most Holy Place since people have fouled it.  He is to do the same for the Tabernacle and no one is to go in whilst Aaron is performing the ceremony.  He is to do the same for the altar to cleanse it since people have touched it.

Questions:

6)  To make atonement for it, to cleanse it since people and their sins have touched it/polluted it.

7)  Basically, everything in the world is polluted by sin when Adam and Eve allowed the serpent in.  Hence, there is a need for a cleansing which we receive through Jesus Christ on this side of heaven but the ancient Israelites, not having Jesus, had to atone with sacrificial blood to cleanse themselves and everything else.

8a)  Any way that breaks God’s laws and commandments.  Any time a person sins.  Any time a person turns from God towards sin.  You name it, it’s probably sin:  adultery, murder, revenge, greed, lust, gluttony, etc.

b)  1 Corinthians 8:9-13 warns us that if we sin, then others weaker than us shall follow us into sin and fall as well.  We set the example that human nature being what it is will follow.  Call it peer pressure or crowd mentality or weakness it’s all the same–if one person thinks it’s okay, undoubtedly someone else will as well.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Strive above all else to follow God’s commands and do His will and when I fall, ask for forgiveness and tell others of my shortcomings so they don’t make the same mistakes. However, as fallen man, all of us will hurt someone in our lives as a result of sin.  Perfect only exists in Christ.  Thus, even when we do inevitably hurt those we love, God forgives and enables us to do better.  That is my comfort.

Conclusions:  Again like yesterday, I get a renewed appreciation for just how great our God is to send His son for us so that we can live in a world cleansed by Jesus Christ.

End Notes:  The house of God needed to be cleansed since man constantly touched it.  It’s like Midas and everything he touched turned to gold until it became a curse.  I can’t imagine living knowing everything I touched, I polluted merely because I was a sinner.  God is good.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 4: Matthew 15:21-28

Summary of passage:  Jesus leaves Gennesaret for Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman came and asked Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  At first, Jesus did not answer and she kept on crying out to him.  The disciples, annoyed, asked Jesus to send her away.  Jesus said he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

The woman begged Jesus again to help her.  He replied that it’s not right to help her when he came to help the Jews.  He called her a dog (a derogatory name Jews called Gentiles).  Yet she said she wanted only the crumbs.  For her great faith in him, Jesus granted her request.

Questions:

9a)  Well, he had just insulted the Pharisees so he may have been hiding from them or leaving to decrease their wrath against him.  Commentaries I read said Jesus left Israel for this area specifically to heal this woman’s daughter.

[Note:  Nothing else is recorded in the Bible about what Jesus did here.  The very next scene Jesus is back at the Sea of Galilee.  Hence, it seems he traveled to Tyre specifically for this woman.]

b)  She called him “Lord, Son of David.”  The Canaanites are Gentiles, unbelievers in the Lord, enemies of the Jews since Abraham was called to Canaan.  This shows that she understood exactly who Jesus was.

10a)  He was explaining that he had come only for the Jewish people which we studied in Matthew 10:5-6 when Jesus told his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel and not the Gentiles.  Jesus came first to save God’s chosen people (the Jews).  The Gentiles would come later.

b)  She called him “Lord” again and she beseeched him to help her.  She probably knew Jesus had never turned anyone down who approached him with faith for healing, including Gentiles (Matthew 4:24-25; 8:5-13).  She appealed to his compassion and to who he was.  Thus, she was answered.

c)  We learn Jesus went to a house and wanted to keep his presence secret.  We learn the woman was a Greek who was born in Phoenicia.  Jesus says it’s not right to take the children’s (Jews) portion from them.  The woman just asked for the crumbs.  She goes home and her daughter is healed.  We can speculate that the woman was educated somewhat if she was Greek and that’s how she knows about Jesus.

11a)  She knew she wasn’t asking for a lot so she used that analogy.  She called herself a dog and the Jews her master.  She called him “Lord” again.  She admitted she was beneath him.  By her reply, we see her faith.  She responded with even more dedication and determination.  She kept knocking and thus she was rewarded for her persistence.

b)  The fact is was her daughter who was suffering and in need of healing.  Most parents will do a lot of courageous things to help their children.  So she had strong motivation to be courageous and to have faith for she probably knew if Jesus couldn’t help her, no one could.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Job losses.  Still praying for my book.

12a)  Her daughter was healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  She had faith in who Jesus was and she was rewarded for it.  The lesson is that we are rewarded for our faith as well.

Conclusions:  I had high hopes for this lesson because it’s the first time we see Jesus not responding immediately to a need.  We see him putting off the woman, testing her, telling her she is not Jewish and thus does not receive a portion of God’s grace.  Yet, we see the persistence of the woman and we see ourselves in her; we see our responsibility in being God’s children.  I just feel BSF didn’t drive this home enough.  Instead, we were sent to Hebrews (if you were here in Genesis, you know I constantly complained about the number of times we were sent to Hebrews and to these very same verses) and again asked about faith.  I would hope by now that it would be clear that Jesus healed based on faith of those whom he healed.  Can we move on now?

I’m not for sure how many of us wouldn’t have taken offense at the dog comment.  I know for me I am one to quickly take offense.  Yet the woman accepted it.  It might have been the times:  women were constantly berated and looked down upon so she was probably used to being compared to dogs and not challenging any authority who said so.  Yet in today’s time, it would be tough to accept it and still ask for more.  Quite the challenge and lesson for us today.

Map of Tyre and Sidon:  http://www.bibletrack.org/notes/image/Tyre-Sidon.jpg

Another Map of Tyre and Sidon but showing Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) so you can see the distance Jesus traveled:  http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN175-HEALING.htm

Scroll down once to see the map.  Not my favorite but the best I could find.

Concise explanation of why God chose the Jews over the Gentiles found HERE.  To simplify this though, you need only remember that the Jewish people is/was God’s chosen people–chosen to receive the gospel and carry the good news to the rest of the world.  They will always be special (which most of us Gentiles don’t like to admit–human pride and jealousy as we desire to be special as well).  The Gentiles (every non-Jew today) are included in God’s kingdom, but He will always hold the Jewish people closest to His heart.  They have a special place in His redemptive plan.

End Notes:  Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities so why would Jesus go there?  The Phoenicians especially did not like Jews.  Jesus had a purpose.  It was this woman.  Jesus stops at nothing to achieve his purpose.  Do you?

Note the woman did not argue with Jesus or take offense at being compared to a dog.  She accepted it and pursued him until he took compassion on her.  Just as we should.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time in the Bible Jesus directly tells someone they have great faith (he told the crowd that the centurion had great faith; he never told the centurion directly like he does here).

Note also that the centurion and this woman were Gentiles–those who would not know Jewish law.  Hence, they indeed had great faith to believe in Jesus!  Again, another example of how God’s salvation is for Gentiles as well and how much He values us.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 19:1-14

Summary of passage:  The angels of the Lord who had been with Abraham now arrived at Sodom and Lot was sitting at the gateway at the time (an indication he was now one of the leaders of Sodom).  Lot recognized them as angels and bowed to them.  He acted as Abraham did, inviting them to his house to wash their feet and spend the night.

At first, the angels refused but Lot insisted so they obliged.  Lot fed them.  At nighttime, all the men of Sodom came to Lot’s house and demanded that he hand over his guests so they could have sex with them.  Lot went out and offered his daughters instead, refusing to hand over the angels who were his guests.

They pushed him aside and told him he would be treated worse than the angels.  The men tried to break in but the angels pulled Lot inside and blinded the men so they could not find the door.

Then the angels tell Lot to get his family for they are going to destroy Sodom because the outcry against the city is so strong.  Lot ran to his son-in-laws and told them what was happening but they didn’t believe him.  They laughed in his face.

Questions:

11a)  Lot tried to reason with the men to not take the angels to sodomize them (verses 6-8) but the men pushed him aside, called him an alien, and threatened Lot as well (verse 9).  In verse 14 Lot’s son-in-laws laugh at Lot when he tells them the city is about to be destroyed and refuse to come.

These verses don’t show Lot’s influence on his wife but verse 26 describes how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt because she didn’t want to leave Sodom.

b)  I would have thought when Lot got kidnapped by the four kings and he lost all his possessions and Abraham had to rescue him would have been a big clue to leave Sodom (Genesis 14:12-16).  But I think because Lot regained all that was taken due to God’s goodness Lot didn’t take the warning seriously.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God often warns us and tries to re-direct our path when we are not following His will but our own.  He does this in many ways that often aren’t as dramatic as a kidnapping such as losing a job, a car accident, a death or illness in the family, or any other hiccup in your path that you know deep down inside is God.

The lesson is to heed these warnings and not to ignore them before it is too late and something irrevocable happens.

12)  He could have moved his family at any time away from the filth of Sodom to a more Godly environment.  Lot was rich enough he could have taken his flocks elsewhere and not suffered financially.  Instead, he was blinded by Sodom’s temptations and chose to stay.  He ignored God’s warnings and in the end paid the ultimate price:  degradation and loss of his family.

Conclusions:  God will keep trying to get our attention to move us to His path instead of ours.  If He has to take out our family in order to do it (like He did with Lot’s wife), He will.  Luckily, I think this is on the extreme side of God’s will for us.  But it happens.  We must remember God is in control and when we try to take control back from Him, we are in danger of being grasped by the devil and pulled under.

The key to understanding Lot is this:  he compromised his beliefs.  Yes, he was a believer. And he is in heaven today.  But he wanted to live in the world and enjoy life’s pleasures. So he allowed his family to be around evil-doers who unduly influenced them.  As Paul says, we must be careful our actions do not become a stumbling block for others who are weaker in the faith (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).  Children are undoubtedly weaker.

Lot was in such a bad situation that he felt he had to offer up his daughters to be raped to protect his guests (unjustifiable in any case but we see just how bad Sodom is).  He definitely wasn’t acting in his kids’ best interest when he moved to Sodom.

Lot was selfish.  He wanted pleasure now.  He wanted treasure on earth rather than in heaven.  As a result, he hurt (and eventually lost) those around him.

The same is for us.  We must heed God’s word and not compromise God’s truths.  For the sake of others around us if not for ourselves.  Otherwise, our life could mirror Lot’s.  Not exactly a role model I admire or want to emulate to say the least.

Life is not about us.  It’s about Him.  We would do well to remember that.