BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 5: Romans 10:10-13

Summary of passage:  Everyone who believes in Christ will be saved.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Your heart is where your treasure is.  The Holy Spirit is within the heart and the heart leads to the words you speak.  My heart is growing and expanding in His ways, not mine.  I’m becoming kinder, gentler, and more compassionate to all those around me.

13)  Everyone who trusts in the Lord will be saved and will have their guilt/shame washed away forever.  Salvation is for all those who believe in Christ.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As a child.  As an adult.  I thank him continually for my saved state and pray for others to find the same.

Conclusions:  Not a lot to work with here.  In essence, believe with all your heart in Christ and what he has done for you and you will be saved.

End Notes:  Belief and confession result in righteousness and salvation.  Paul states once again to be clear:  this is open to all despite nationality.

We must call on Him.  Again, note the emphasis on human responsibility.  From Romans 9 alone we might think that salvation is God’s doing, but from Romans 10 we might think that salvation is man’s doing – together we see the matter from each perspective.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 4: Romans 10:5-9

Summary of passage:  Moses described righteousness by the law in terms of works.  But if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.

Questions:

9)  Paul concludes that righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and works has nothing to do with it since the law under Moses is now obsolete with Jesus.

10)  Confess that Jesus is their Lord and believe God raised him from the dead in their heart to cleanse us of our sins and justify us before God.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  One must believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord in their life and believe he died, washing away our sins, and God raised him from the dead, granting all eternal salvation.  You must also confess your belief.  Faith is what matters.  Nothing else does.

Conclusions:  Romans is a lot of repetition.  Here, Paul is quoting Moses from the Old Testament and repeating how faith in Christ is the key to salvation, not works.  Remember this section here is not only to the Gentiles and the Romans but to the Jews as well.  Paul is pulling from the Old Testament (what the Jewish people knew by heart) to substantiate his words of faith in Christ as the key to salvation.

End Notes:  The law of Moses said you must do the law completely and perfectly in order to have righteousness by the law.  The law of Jesus says we don’t have to do anything to achieve righteousness.  Instead, we receive righteousness through faith in Jesus.  We believe, we receive.  We don’t have to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to have it.

In Deuteronomy 30:14 that Paul quotes, the word is God’s word as found in the law.  Paul applies this to the gospel of “the message concerning faith” or “the word of faith” and uses it to be how righteousness if gained by faith not deeds.

Confessing is recognizing and agreeing that Christ is Lord and Savior and that the cross is the only way to salvation.

In first century AD, calling someone “Lord” was taken much more seriously than in modern times because they truly did have lords in that day.

Barclay states:  “If a man called Jesus kurios he was ranking him with the Emperor and with God; he was giving him the supreme place in his life; he was pledging him implicit obedience and reverent worship.”

Wuest, quoting Robertson on Jesus Christ is Lord: “No Jew would do this who had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the lxx is used of God. No Gentile would do it who had not ceased worshipping the emperor as Kurios. The word Kurios was and is the touchstone of faith.”

Fun Facts:  This affirmation “Jesus is Lord” is the earliest Christian confession of faith (1 Corinthians 12:3) which served as the equivalent to the Jewish Sherma and was probably used at baptisms.  “Lord” is used over 6000 times in the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT) to translate Israel’s God (Yahweh).  It’s clear that Paul, when using this title for Jesus, is affirming that God of Israel was present in Jesus among his people.

Heart–In Biblical terms this is not only emotions and affections but also intellect and will.

Jesus rising from the dead is the crux of Christian doctrine.  If this doesn’t happen, we don’t live nor are we alive now.  This is the central thrust of apostolic preaching (Acts 2:14-40).

You will be saved probably includes final salvation at the end times as well.

You must confess AND believe that what God/Jesus did on the cross is what will save you and cleanse you and make you righteous and justified.

Spurgeon explains the kind of faith you need:  “We believe everything which the Lord Jesus has taught, but we must go a step further, and trust him. It is not even enough to believe in him, as being the Son of God, and the anointed of the Lord; but we must believe on him . . . The faith that saves is not believing certain truths, nor even believing that Jesus is a Savior; but it is resting on him, depending on him, lying with all your weight on Christ as the foundation of your hope. Believe that he can save you; believe that he will save you; at any rate leave the whole matter of your salvation with him in unquestioning confidence. Depend upon him without fear as to your present and eternal salvation. This is the faith which saves the soul.”

We must confess, believe, trust, rely, rest, depend, and embrace God and Jesus.  This is what God wants.  God is all encompassing.  God is everything.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 2: Romans 9:30-33

Summary of passage:  Israel has been denied righteousness because they pursued it by works.  The Gentiles were granted righteousness because they had faith.  This is all according to God’s will.

Questions:

3)  Israel tried to earn righteousness by works and were denied.  The Gentiles had faith and were thus granted righteousness by God.

4)  Pursuing righteous behavior is trying to be more like Jesus, obeying God’s calling and His rules.  Only God can grant us righteous standing.  That is, only He can tell us if our behavior is right or wrong and give His stamp of approval or not.  We cannot make ourselves righteous before God.  Faith is what we need to be granted righteousness.  Faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior.  Without faith all you do is meaningless.

5)  A crucified Savior–Jesus Christ.  The fact Jesus died for our sins and his death covers our sins and saves us and thereby accepting this fact you are saved eternally.  Simple concept.  Hard to accept in its simplicity.

Conclusions:  Paul’s conclusion to Chapter 9, saying faith is the way to righteousness, not works, no matter who you are.

End Notes:  Israel missed the Messiah because they refused to come by faith.  The Gentiles found righteousness even though they weren’t necessarily seeking it.  Israel tried to work for the righteousness of God and couldn’t find it.  The Jews tried to justify themselves before God by performing works according to the law of righteousness instead of the righteousness of faith.  The Jews needed to seek righteousness by faith.

Paul does not use God as an excuse here and His right to choose.  Nope.  It’s all on the Israelites; they did not seek it by faith.  This is Paul presenting the problem from the side of human responsibility and not from the side of God’s right to choose.  Both are responsible for Israel’s unsaved state.

Israel was rejected because she failed to obey her own God-given law, which in reality was pointing to Christ.  She disobeyed, pursued the law–not by faith but by works–failing to believe.  Hence, God rejected Israel.

Paul has already shown in Romans that the only possible way to be saved is through faith, not the works of the law; and that this salvation comes only through the work of a crucified Savior – which was a stumbling block to Israel (1 Corinthians 1:22-23).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 5: John 13:1-30

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet. Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him. When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread. Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Questions:

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus still showed Judas love.  He didn’t condemn him, leaving the final choice up to Judas.  He offered him another chance to not do what he was about to do.  Jesus keeps fighting for you to the end.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  This act revealed the true character of God himself.  In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless.  It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical.  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  For me, it’s about helping others and putting others first and being bless by it (either in the moment or later).  It’s loving others as much as Jesus loved us.

Conclusions:  This is like Day 6 questions.  We see the crux of this passage here:  Jesus loves us so much he’ll forgive anything–even an act that leads to his own death!  It’s incomprehensible how deep the Father’s love for us is but this passage gives us at least a little bit more understanding of it.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13:1-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us…The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act.”

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper. We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.  He devotes 1/3 of his book to the 24 hour period immediately preceding Jesus’ death.  Chapters 13-17 describe the long day and night of the Last Supper.  Nothing else like this exists in the Bible.  We have an intimate portrait of Jesus’ most anguished moments.

John focuses on the emotional currents and not the physical details.  Jesus is direct with the disciples, not speaking in parables but painstakingly answering their questions until they finally seem to get it.  Still, most won’t make sense until later after his death when the Holy Spirit arrives.  John’s purpose is to prove that Jesus is the Son of God.  He handpicks these incidents or signs to make his point.  You either believe he is or he isn’t.  There is no middle ground.

The Greek noun agape (love) and the verb agapao (love) appear only 8 times in John Chapters 1-12 but 31 times in Chapters 13-17. Chapters 13-14 take place at the Last Supper. The discourses in Chapters 15-16 are probably spoken on the way to Gethsemane.

We have a time reference but still scholars disagree if this was on Passover or celebrated the day before when the traditional Passover meal was taken. This affects whether Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover or the day after.

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. He is preparing his disciples for their work after he is gone.

The cross is not specifically mentioned in this passage, but it hangs in the actions and the words.

Jesus’ love for his own is greater because we have a response back. I picture Jesus holding us close to him.

In this scene we have the thinking of Jesus as well (either he told John or John was more observant than the other writers). Instead of it being all about that person (at the end of your life it can be), Jesus focuses on others and shows his love even though he knows he will be abandoned by them. Jesus never abandons us. Jesus did every part of this act himself–an act in Jewish custom that no one else would ever do.

Luke tells us that the disciples were debating who was the greatest when they entered the room. Jesus showed what true greatness was.

It was customary to wash feet before the meal started. However, this didn’t happen. At that time, the meal was eaten at a low table called a triclinium. It was U-shaped. The higher status guests sat the closest to the host. They leaned on pillows with their feet behind them. The disciples were willing to wash Jesus’ feet but not the others’ because it would put him below them. Hence, no one’s feet got washed–until Jesus did it.

Jesus showed the disciples humility. Scholars see this act as a comparison the cross. Jesus rose from supper (from his throne in heaven). He took off his clothes (he took off his glory). He poured water to clean (he poured out his blood to cleanse us).

This act revealed the true character of God himself. In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless. Peter protested out of a misplaced humility and pride. Peter again didn’t get it: it’s receiving Jesus into our lives that matter. It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical, that Peter needed.

First, Peter says don’t do it. Then he says do more! He’s telling Jesus what to do here.

Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.

Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.

Some believe this act was meant to be performed by Christians today. Most scholars agree it’s the message beneath that is important.

Christ washing the disciples’ feet was a favorite amongst painters. My favorite HERE

Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake. He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him. Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him. And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal. By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today. They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to. One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens. This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT: This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”. The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS: The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE). At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time. It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard. Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact. Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables. Hence, the depiction.

Picture this: On each side of Jesus sat a disciple. Spurgeon says it best: “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this: “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today. It was a special honor. Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour. Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming. Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard. Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side. Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden). John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why. He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control. We don’t know. All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT: This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over. It’s a choice of Free Will. And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control. He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor. Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could. It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil. Judas was one of the 12. He lived with Jesus. He listened to Jesus. He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle. He was one of the best and still he was lost. Man needs more than an example and good teaching. It’s a turn of the heart. If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 3: John 13:12-17 and Philippians 2:1-10

Summary of passages:  John 13:12-17:  When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.

Philippians 2:1-10:  Be like-minded with Christ, having the same love, spirit, and purpose.  Be humble, consider others better than yourself.  Make yourself nothing, being a servant and humble.  God exalted him.

Questions:

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Only slaves washed feet because it was considered a lowly task.  You are blessed when you perform humble tasks for others.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sacrifice my time and energy for others through my work and this blog and my kids and family and my writings.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s nice when you hear you’ve impacted others since we don’t hear it enough.  Some of us never hear it and some of us never experience the blessings from helping others.  But God knows.  And that’s what I cling to.

Conclusions:  This one was all personal so answers will vary widely.  For me, I’m feeling very unrewarded in my life right now; hence, the short answers.

End Notes:  John 13:12-17:  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  We must be willing to perform the most menial services for one another.

Philippians 2:1-10:  Paul is asking rhetorical questions, saying if you’ve received the things he mentions, then you have a responsibility to do what he’s about to describe.

Spurgeon says of this passage:  “The Holy Spirit is the physician and Christ is the medicine.”

The word comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word paraklesis, which is more than soothing sympathy. It’s strengthening, helping, making strong. The Latin word for comfort (fortis) means “brave.” The love of God in our life makes us strong and brave.

Fellowship is the ancient Greek word kononia, which means the sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that we never knew before. The Holy Spirit fills and guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way.

Paul’s idea here is this is real gifts for Christians to enjoy from Christ.

Paul wants the Philippians to be united for Christ in this passage.  Basically, quit working from the mind-set of self and grandiose and work for others.

Nature or form of God means essence.  Jesus took the form of man but remained in essence God (since he is God).  By becoming man, Jesus became obedient and died the most despicable death at that time–crucifixion.

Because of this, God elevated Jesus to the highest place and given him the highest name (Yahweh) and all will submit to him.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 17, Day 2: Revelation 13:1-6

Summary of passage:  A beast emerges from the sea with 10 horns, 7 heads and 10 crowns on his horns.  On each head was a blasphemous name.  The beast looked like a leopard, had feet like a bear, and the mouth of a lion.  The dragon gave this beast his power, throne, and great authority.  One head had a fatal wound but had been healed.  The whole world followed this beast and men worshiped the dragon who had given the beast power.  The beast exercised his authority for 42 months (3 1/2 years, the time of the Great Tribulation).  He blasphemed God, his name, his dwelling place, and those in heaven.

Questions:

3a)  A beast emerges from the sea with 10 horns, 7 heads and 10 crowns on his horns. On each head was a blasphemous name. The beast looked like a leopard, had feet like a bear, and the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave this beast his power, throne, and great authority. One head had a fatal wound but had been healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I immediately noticed the numbers.  10 is complete authority and 7 is completeness.  Horns are a symbol of power and crowns a symbol of authority.  I am insanely curious about the fatal wound that has been healed (can’t wait to read that commentary).  And the fact everyone followed this hideous beast and worshiped him.

4)  The relationship is very similar in fact.  The only contrast I see is the purposes:  God’s purpose is salvation and live.  The beast’s purpose and the devil’s is eternal damnation and death.  The beast is given authority by the devil and is worshiped as a false god.

5a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Rely on God and the Word.  If whatever the teaching says doesn’t line up with the Word, it’s false.  Pray.  God will tell you if this person/beast is from Him or not.  Know the signs.  Know God’s word.  Use it as a weapon.  Stand up to peer pressure and the masses.  For me, this is easy.  I’m immediately skeptical if something is popular or a lot of people are doing it.  Then, I usually have the opposite reaction:  I run away and don’t want to follow the crowd.  I like to be unique.

b)  Personal question.  My answer:  My sister firmly believed her husband was going to heaven when he’s not a believer.  I had to correct her with the Word.  She agreed with me.  She had given up on trying to convert him, deluding herself that he would be in heaven with her.  Now, she knows she’s gotta keep on him!

Conclusions:  I should give up my complaints against BSF.  After 17 lessons, it is abundantly clear this study is about personal application and staying away from all possible interpretations and sticking to the bare bones of Revelation.  Irksome but unavoidable.

However, BSF is the catalyst.  From here, we can go anywhere.  They give me a reason to study Revelation (mainly for you all).  No where else have I seen such a study.  Expectations dashed but that’s part of life and that’s okay.  I’m taking this where I want to go.  And where God wants me to go.  And right now, it’s amazing!  Think of all we’ve learned we’ve never known before!  Think of God and how we all know Him better!  How proud He must be and how now we must share our knowledge in these last days with others to better glorify Him!

End Notes:  We’ve gone from the view of heaven (Revelation 12) to earth now in Revelation 13.

Verse 1:  Some Bibles have John instead of the dragon standing on the shore of the sea.  I’d say it’s probably okay to assume both are there.

Today, we love the sea.  We go surfing.  We go the beach and swim.  We go whale-watching.  Sailing.  Boating.  Tubing.  Water skiing.  Fishing.  Cruising.

In Ancient Times, the sea was a mysterious place.  Most people couldn’t swim.  Most people avoided water altogether, not bathing (for various reasons–most commonly because either they lacked water or people believed bathing actually was bad for them!  This was a common belief up until the twentieth century!) and afraid of it.

Most cultures in fact in their creation stories picture the sea as utter chaos and their gods rose from the sea.  Hence, they saw the sea as a place not for them.  Wild.  Untamed.  Mysterious.

Ancient Sea Creatures
Ancient Sea Creatures

Ancient Greece and Rome did travel the Mediterranean but it was a dangerous place–full of pirates and storms and monstrous sea creatures.  This belief held even up until Columbus’ time.  If you look at an old map, you’ll see sea creatures depicted in the seas and the seas as black–vast, unknown places.

In the Bible Israel has a navy, but the sailors are outsourced (1 Kings 9:26-27).  The sea rages and only God can calm the seas (Psalm 74:12-13; Psalm 89:8-9; Isaiah 57:20).

Note John calls this a “beast” and not a “dragon”.  Hence, this beast is not Satan but one of Satan’s lackeys.  The dragon is Satan (Revelation 12:9).  The Greek word here is a wild and dangerous animal.  Note the beast is rising forth from this place of chaos and unknown and evil.  The first century Christian and even up until the twentieth century would have been petrified of this image.

This beast is like the dragon.  It as well has 7 heads and 10 horns (Revelation 11:3).  As we’ve said before, horns in the Bible is strength and power so 10 horns would be insanely powerful.

The beast, the dragon, and the AntiChrist are all DIFFERENT.  The dragon is Satan.  The beast is Satan’s lackey sent to persecute and kill God’s people in the final part of the Tribulation period.  The Antichrist is a human who is impersonating Christ  The AntiChrist is only mentioned 5 times in the Bible ((1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, and 2 John 7), once twice.

“Anti” means “against”, “instead of”, or “opposite” in Latin.  This person is against Jesus and comes instead of Jesus.  He will be charismatic and a smooth talker, a person sent from the devil with the one purpose to deceive believers and lead them to stray from the True Christ.

The many antichrists that John refers to in 1 John 2:18 are spirits, glimpses, or previews of the AntiChrist.  Scholars interpret this in many ways but I see it as the evil people we see around us that Satan has grabbed hold of and used such as Adolf Hitler.

The Antichrist has many names especially in Daniel such as little horn, the prince that shall come, and son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Note the key difference between the dragon and the beast:  the crowns.  The dragon had 7 crowns in Revelation 12:3 which speaks of absolute and complete power.  Here, scholars differ on what the 10 crowns represents.

Here, the 10 crowns are limited power and represent only power over 10 nations.  Most scholars believe the 10 crowns are distributed amongst the 10 heads but some believe they are all on one head.  Most scholars believe this is the same beast as in Daniel 7:7 where the 10 crowns are 10 nations.

It is in Daniel 7 & 2 that the 10 kingdoms are the Roman Empire.  Daniel saw 3 world empires and 1 yet to come which is when Jesus comes.  Most scholars believe some form of the Roman Empire will appear again since we haven’t seen Jesus reign yet.

Some commentators see the beast as the Roman Empire or even anti-Christian political power that began in John’s time and continues today.  The Roman emperors were addressed and worshiped as gods which would fit the blasphemous names.

Verse 2:  The beast reflects the beast from Daniel 7.  Recall the 4 beasts represented 4 empires which arose from Daniel’s time to John’s time:  Lion–Babylon.  Bear–Medo-Persian.  Leopard–Greece.  Fourth beast–Rome.  Most scholars believe the fourth empire is the final world empire under Satan because Rome was never conquered; it gradually split apart.  Hence, the 10 kingdoms will come from the split Roman Empire.

Finally, the beast is a man.  either a man possessed by an evil spirit or one raised from the dead.  The beast is empowered by Satan.  He took the offer Jesus refused (Matthew 4:8-10).

Interesting Side Note:  Daniel begins with the beast and works backwards to the lion; whereas, John begins with the lion and ends with the beast.  Why?  Because Daniel was seeing into the future and John was recounting the past.

Verse 3:  Scholars are not sure what the mortal wound represents.  It could be a result of God’s judgment. It’s mentioned again in Revelation 13: 12 & 14.  This beast is imitating Jesus in every way even here by dying and being raised again.  This will confound and deceive many.  Does the beast actually die and is resurrected?  Well, only God can has the power to do that so many think it will only appear the beast was resurrected to trick many.

Some see the wounded head as a real historical figure, the likely choice is Nero.  He committed suicide but rumors arose that he fled to Rome’s enemy, Parthia, and would return one day to re-conquer Rome.  Several pretenders did arise during the first century AD and this myth was perpetuated.  It found its way into apocalyptic writings of the time as well.

Some see the beast’s wound as the destruction of the Roman Empire in 476 AD and then rose again under Justinian in AD 554.  But this would not apply to the first century Christians whom John was writing to.

What’s important here is that the beast will rise and fool the world and be need to be ready.

Verses 5-6:  The mouth in scripture is the symbol for the thoughts that are revealed in talk. An evil man has a “bad mouth” (Psalm 10:7).  The mouth of the beast utters evil — blasphemy — though the world does not recognize it for what it is.  Daniel 7:8:  “This horn had…a mouth that spoke boastfully.”  “The king…will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.  He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed.” Daniel 11:36

The beast has full reign for 42 months (3 1/2 years or the Great Tribulation).  He speaks against those who are taken in the rapture (if you believe Christians are spared).

Note that 3 1/2 years is half of the number 7, which represents perfection or completion in the Bible.  Some scholars think this represents the time between the first and second coming of Christ.  Most believe, however, it’s a time of great persecution of Christians and the disagreements is who will be present for the persecution.

Quick Review:  Pre-tribulationists believe Jesus will come to remove the church from earth just before the Great Tribulation.  Post-tribulationists believe the church will go through a time of trials before Jesus returns.  Mid-tribulationists believe the church will be taken away during the Tribulation and not face these horrible persecutions by the beast we are studying.

In Sum:  The beast will reign and gather followers in the first half of the Tribulation.  Then he will be assassinated.  Satan will be cast from heaven.  Satan will raise the beast from the dead (or appear to do so) and empower him to deceive even more people.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 17, Day 4: Matthew 16:18-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus renames Simon “Peter”, which means “rock” for Jesus will build his church around Peter and Hell will not overcome it.  Jesus will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  He told his disciples not to reveal his identity to anyone.

Questions:

6a)  Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30-31:  God and/or Jesus

Matthew 16:23:  an impediment, an obstacle to overcome

Ephesians 2:20:  foundation would be the work and words or the apostles and prophets and the cornerstone is Jesus Christ

1 Peter 2:4-8:  Christ

b)  The rock is Christ and Jesus is blessing Peter with the authority to build his church.  Peter was the first rock amongst Jesus’ church/building with Christ as the cornerstone.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That the gates of Hades or the gates of death will be defeated.  Death and darkness will never prevail against the church, God, or His people.

8a)  Acts 2 records the Day of Pentecost after the Resurrection where the first believers converted (almost 3000) and the Christian church was born.  It is Peter who addresses these people; who speaks powerfully to convince them that they have just witnesses the most important event of all history:  the resurrection of Jesus. It is Peter who explains the Holy Spirit and the meaning of Jesus’ death.  God blessed Peter with this role.

In Acts 10, Peter is speaking to a crowd of friends and relatives in Cornelius’ (a Roman centurion or a Gentile) home.  Peter explains again Christ’s life and death and it’s meaning and if you keep reading (Acts 10:44-48) all those there were converted and blessed with the Holy Spirit and they were Gentiles.  Peter explains how Jesus came for all of mankind.

Hence, from these events, we see Peter as the one having been blessed by God to spread the word that He is for all mankind.  That all are welcome at His table.  And Peter becomes the Rock as he converts more and more people to begin the new church.  He opens the kingdom to all.

b)  Jews and Gentiles.

9a)  In John, Jesus gives this power to all of his disciples (the Eleven).  In Matthew, Jesus is speaking to his disciples as well.  However, I believe Matthew can be interpreted to extend to all believers once they have the Holy Spirit.  Hence, I would say all believers have this power to bring others to Jesus.

b)  Binding and loosing were legal terms in use in the Jewish law in first century AD that all Jews understood.  You were either “bound” or “loose” with regards to Jewish law.  To bind was to be subjugated to the law; to be put under it or to prohibit something.  To loose was to allow something under the law; to permit it.

Peter and the other apostles were given the authority by Jesus to set the terms of the New Covenant and “bind and loose” the Old Covenant.  They would set the rules for the early church and build its foundation.

To some extent, the Church still has this power today as long as it is from God.

Conclusions:  Admittedly, I groaned at question 8 and stopped working when I saw how much of Acts we had to read.  Another example of how it’s okay to stop for the day when you’re just not into it and come back when your heart is ready to hear from God.

End Notes:  Hades was the Ancient Greek god of the underworld (Roman name is Pluto).  Hades was the place the dead went and lived.  It wasn’t a place where only eternally damned people go. The Romans believed everyone went to Hades after death.  Thus, it’s meaning is different than hell, which is often incorrectly equated today.

Good, brief explanation of binding and loosing:  http://www.gotquestions.org/binding-loosing.html

Fun Facts:  This was the first use of the word church in all of the Bible and it is used by Jesus way before Acts and Pentecost.

Peter is always listed first in the listings of the disciples in the Bible.  There is no doubt he was specially blessed by God to spread the word.