BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 5: John 15:18-16:4

Summary of passage: The world hates believers because they were chosen by Jesus to be not of this world. The world will persecute and hate believers as they have persecuted and hated Jesus. The disciples and the Holy Spirit are to testify about Jesus. The time will come where the disciples will be thrown out of the synagogue and persecuted.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question. My answer:  The human system that opposes God’s purpose and unbelievers.  They hate believers because they were chosen by God.  These people hate me or are indifferent to me because they are of the world and not believers.  Why would I ask myself questions?  It’s a fact and you deal with it and you move on with life.

13)  Part personal Question. My answer:  We need to be the light for others who may come out of the darkness.  We are called to evangelize.  By doing His will.

14a)  All believers, the Holy Spirit, and the disciples.

b) Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because Jesus was persecuted and the world hates believers.  They don’t know the Father nor Jesus, only the devil, so they follow the devil’s way which includes persecution.  We must respond as Jesus would with compassion and from an understanding that they are blinded to God and do not have Jesus’ heart.

Conclusions: Repetitive in terms of how you are living for Christ and bearing fruit. Talked about this last year as well in our Revelation study. In essence, Satan works through unbelievers. He tells them to hate us and persecute us. He blinds them to the Truth. We must understand it is Satan at work and not take it personally. We must be like Christ and still shine bright despite the encroaching darkness around us.

End Notes:  Jesus warns his disciples they will be hated.  All except John were martyred.  First the world hated Jesus, then them.  “You or Ye know” or “keep in mind” means be aware or be very sure.

The disciples were different from the world.  If people don’t know God, they persecute those who do.  Those persecuted (Christians) should sympathize for unbelievers because they don’t know God.

Because Jesus was God walking around on the earth, there is no excuse not to know God or more about Him.  Both his works and his words are enough to know Him.

Jesus quotes the Psalm here to show Scriptural fulfillment.

Jesus previously spoke of the sending of the Counselor (John 14:16, 14:26).  The departing Jesus knew the disciples would need the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to face the opposition the world would bring.

“Who proceeds from the Father” or “whom I will send to you from the Father”: This is one source of a historic controversy between the eastern and western branches of Christianity, debating if the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone or from the Father and the Son (known as the filoque clause in the Nicene Creed).

The Holy Spirit’s job is to tell us and show us what Jesus would do and who he is.

The disciples’ job is also to bear witness for Jesus.

Jesus did not want his disciples to be surprised by opposition against them so he tells them they will be thrown out of the synagogue, which for a Jewish person is ostracism from all they know.

Most Christian martyrs are killed by followers of other religions.  Jesus is preparing his disciples because up until this point all hatred was against Jesus himself.  When Jesus departs, it will fall upon the disciples to bear.  He will not be there to protect them.  It wasn’t pertinent until this moment.  God’s timing.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 4: John 15:9-17

Summary of passage: Jesus loves us and tells us to obey his commands to remain in his love. If we do, we will have joy. We are to love others as Jesus has loved us. He has chosen us to bear fruit that will last and God will give us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. Love each other as friends.

Questions:

9)  God’s love is immeasurable.  If we remain in His love by obeying Him, we will have complete joy and whatever we ask for.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer: Because Christ loved us so much we are to love each other.  We were sent into this world and made for this purpose.  It is a pattern for a way of life.  If we love others, we build them up and strengthen them for Christ.  You can try to fake it until you make it.  If you choose to fake it, often it will not come.  If you choose not to fake it, blessings will come.  Pray and ask God for help to love those unloveables in our lives.  We all have them.  Exercise the fruits of the Spirit here: patience, love, kindness, and compassion.  God will help us.

11)  To bear fruit.  We are to remain in Christ and bear much fruit because of it.  If we obey His commands, discover God’s purpose for our lives, we will bear much fruit.  We pray.  We read His Word.  We grow closer to Jesus and God.  We become more Christ-like, loving others. We share the gospel.  Then His will will be done.

Conclusions: Another great lesson especially on loving others whom we cannot love.  Remember: All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.  Find your purpose.  Love others, including the unloveable.  You will then have great joy, peace, and prosperity through Him.  Love is the answer to all.  Think of the opposite:  evil and hate.  Where does that lead?  The opposite of joy and peace and eternal life and satisfaction.

End Notes:  Jesus compares his love for others with that of the love God has for Jesus.  It’s protecting, sacrificing, serving, guiding, and blessing.  It’s never-ending, personal and unchanging.

Obey God’s commands and you will remain and stay connected in God’s love.  Then and only then will your joy be complete.  Joy is not happiness or excitement or pleasure in life.  It’s walking in God’s love and care.  The picture is a pitcher of water filled to the brim.

Jesus uses repetition to emphasis love.  Giving up your life is giving up everything you have.  You have nothing else to give.  It is complete.

In ancient times, the rabbi was not friends with his disciples and definitely not servants.  You are friends if you actively obey.  There are no secrets between friends.

Normally, the disciples chose the rabbi they wanted to learn from.  Jesus chose us.  He holds us, not us him.  We are to go and bear fruit which Jesus enables us to do as his chosen disciples.  Then our prayers will be answered.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 2: John 15:1-8

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is the vine and God is the gardener. God cuts off those who don’t bear fruit and prunes the branches that do bear fruit. Believers will only bear fruit if they remain in Jesus. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. Ask whatever you wish and as long as you remain in Jesus, your wish will be granted. For God’s glory you will bear much fruit.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question. My answer: The Christian life is a life of being molded by God. As long as we believe and stay with God, he will grant us many blessings and we will accomplish many great things. It helps me to know God has my back and I will do great things and accomplish much in my time here on earth. It gives me hope and inspiration to do more than what I’m doing now.  Apart from Jesus, we are nothing.

4)  Part personal Question. My answer:  The work of pruning or cleansing has already begun in the disciples as they listen to the Word of God. There is an initial cleansing and then more (John 13:10). Through the Word, we are cleansed (Ephesians 5:26). It condemns sin, inspires holiness, and promotes growth.  Jesus cleans us or purifies us to be with God. No verse “made me clean”. Only the blood of Jesus did that (1 John 1:7).

5)  Part personal Question. My answer: It means to always do what Jesus would do, follow God’s will for your life, and obey God and His Word. Remain connected to him.  The believer has no fruitfulness apart from union and fellowship with Christ.  A branch out of contact with the vine is lifeless.  By doing His calling in my life, living out the principles, values, and teachings of the Bible, and being a good mother, worker, and role model for a believer in Christ.

Conclusions: Good focus on what you’re supposed to be doing in this world and even if you aren’t sure, how you can still lead a life true to Christ’s by remaining in him through developing a personal relationship of prayer and dedication to His word.

End Notes:  Most scholars believe Jesus is speaking to the disciples here as they are standing in the upper room, preparing to depart.  Jesus only has a few more hours to prepare his disciples for the tumult ahead.  These are his closest friends and he is about to leave them.  He knows they will face fierce opposition, hatred, beatings, and execution.  So, he reaches for an allegory to explain himself again.

One, grapes.  They were just drinking wine.  He says they must remain connected to him in order to bear everlasting fruit.  Two, dead branches.  They have lost their connection somehow and now useless.

The vine.  Jesus’ 7th and last I am statement.  This would have stood out to both believers and unbelievers since everyone knew God as the great “I am”. Jesus is equivocating himself with God in all these statements.

The vine was a familiar symbol.  God repeatedly used a vine as a symbol of His people in the Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 80:8-9).  Yet it was often used in a negative sense (as in Isaiah 5:1-2, 7 and Jeremiah 2:21).  Just in the previous week Jesus publicly taught about Israel being like a vineyard in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-44).

Vineyards were everywhere in ancient Israel. There was a large golden vine set as a prominent decoration on the front of the temple communicating the idea that Israel was God’s vine.  And it was a recognized symbol of the Messiah.

Jesus is the true vine.  We must be rooted in him in order to bear fruit.  The branch and the vine picture complete dependence upon one another as well.  The vine in the Old Testament pictured Israel and God as the tender of the vine.

There are two understandings for verse 2.  Either the branches are taken away because they were never abiding the first place (judgment) or they are lifted up (another possible translation of the Greek) to be taken care of.

The word for prunes does mean cleansing as well in the Greek.  The vine will maximize its fruit if it is pruned.  God removes the dead wood from his church and disciplines the life of the believer so that it is directed into fruitful activity.  Good fruit in the New Testament represents a godly life (Matthew 3:8; 7:16-20) or virtues of character (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11).

The work of pruning has already begun in the disciples as they listen to the Word of God. There is an initial cleansing and then more (John 13:10). Through the Word, we are cleansed (Ephesians 5:26).  It condemns sin, inspires holiness, and promotes growth.

Abiding or remaining is a two-way street.  Choose to abide in Jesus and he will abide in you.  You have to be connected to the vine, to Jesus, to bear fruit.  Otherwise, it’s impossible.

Jesus repeats himself that he is the vine since so often they thought of Israel as the vine.  The purpose of caring for the vine is to receive fruit.  In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character (such as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5). God’s work in us and our connection to Him should be evident by fruit, and perhaps by much fruit.  Fruits contain seeds which are meant to be spread.

Jesus abides in us in an active way.

We can do nothing of real, eternal value without Jesus.  You must remain connected to the master or you will fail.

Note you are thrown away, withered, and then burned–a slow progression of losing that connection with the Father.  Fire is associated with punishment and eternal repercussions like the burning lake of sulphur in Revelation.  It also was an Old Testament symbol of punishment.

Verse 6 Interpretations of the cast out branches:

1) Believes are the cast out branches who, though once true believers, end up in hell for lack of abiding and fruit. They were once disciples, but are now cast out

2) The cast out branches are ones who only appeared to be disciples, and who never really abided in Jesus, and therefore go to hell (like Judas)

3) The cast out branches are fruitless disciples who live wasted lives that are in effect burnt up, and this passage doesn’t refer to their eternal destiny (like Lot, Abraham’s nephew)

However, all agree that there are no true disciples who do not abide. The branch must remain connected to the vine or it has no life and is of no lasting good.  Genuine salvation is evidenced by a life of fruitfulness.

Verse 7:  Jesus connected abiding to the idea of faithfulness to His words (John 14:23-24) and answered prayer (John 14:13-14).

Spurgeon says “Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus.  It comes spontaneously from those who abide in Jesus.”

It is impossible to pray correctly apart from knowing and believing the teachings of Christ.

Abiding in Jesus means abiding in His words, and having His words live in the disciple.

Tenney explains:  “The connection is maintained by obedience and prayer. To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in oneself means a conscious acceptance of the authority of his word and a constant contact with him by prayer.”

This faithful, abiding disciple should expect answered prayer as part of their relationship with Jesus. A failure to see prayer answered means something is not right in the disciple’s relationship. Perhaps something is not right in the abiding, and prayers are amiss and unanswered. Perhaps something is not right in the asking and there is no perception of what Jesus wants to do in and through His disciple.

Verse 8:  We must remember bearing fruit is for God’s glory, not our own. When we achieve great things, it is God’s will and through God’s might not ours.  We give credit to Him for we ourselves can do nothing.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 5: Revelation 16:15-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus will come like a thief and will bless those who are ready.  The kings will gather at Armageddon.  The seventh angel pours out his bowl, completing the judgments.  Jerusalem (“the great city”) splits, other nations’ cities collapse, Babylon disappears, mountains and islands vanish, and huge hailstones fall from the sky.  Still, God is cursed by unbelievers who refuse to turn to Him amidst this calamity.

Questions:

12a)  Jesus

b)  The seventh bowl unleashes total devastation upon earth and its inhabitants:  Jerusalem (“the great city”) splits, other nations’ cities collapse, Babylon disappears, mountains and islands vanish, and huge hailstones fall from the sky.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I have experienced a tornado.  We’ve all probably heard of tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (Pompeii anyone?), tornados, hail storms, etc.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It means that God will make it so overwhelmingly obvious that this is the End Times that those who don’t turn to Him are not to be saved.

13a)  Be ready for Jesus could come at any moment.

b)  The clothes are our garments of salvation and righteousness.  Romans says they are Jesus as well as Galatians.  Christ is our clothes.  Therefore, to remain clothes means to stay true to Jesus.

See Ephesians 4:20-24 as well.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This relates to Lesson 19 Day 5 Question 13.  Because God loves us so much, He corrects us and judges us.  Because He does love us so much, He brings justice and vengeance against His people.  Sin and disobedience deserve God’s wrath.  Otherwise, how else would we know right from wrong?  What would stop us from murdering anyone who angers us?  God sets the laws and He enforces them.  That is the definition of love–just like as a parent we do to our children–out of love.

Conclusions:  I wonder how people can be so stupid in what is obvious happenings from the One, True God.  Sickness and sorrow, pain and poverty, disease and despair do not lead to God.  They strengthen believers who suffer such hardships.  Those whose hearts are hard will remain so.

I love how we clothe ourselves with Jesus.  What a beautiful image!

Questions were so-so.  Would have liked to have explored Armageddon more.  Hopefully we will as we read more about it.

End Notes:  Jesus speaks to us and we see this elsewhere in the Bible (Matthew 24:42-44; Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3) and is always directed to believers, not to the world.  This could refer to the Rapture or the Second Coming, depending on whether you think Christians will be here for the Tribulation or not.

Note the Third Beatitude of Revelation in verse 15.  Awesome amidst all this mayhem and destruction we are still blessed!  God is so, so amazing!

In Hebrew, Armageddon is Har-Megiddo with Har meaning mountain and Megiddo meaning valley.  Is this an actual place or merely symbolic?

Well, Megiddo is in an actual place located in northern Israel (See Map HERE) frequently associated with decisive battles.  It is about 14 by 20 miles long.

Armageddon has been the site of many military struggles throughout Israel’s history.  Deborah over Sisera (Judges 5:19); Gideon over the Midianites (Judges 7); Pharaoh over Josiah (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22).

Some historians say more wars have been fought here than in any other location in the world.  Over 200 battles have been fought in the region, from 1468 B.C. (with Pharaoh Tuthmosis III) to 1917 (with Lord Allenby of the British).  This is just RECORDED history–battles that we know of.  No telling how many skirmishes and unrecorded battles there have been.  Thus, it is an appropriate symbol/location for the final battle of the world between good and evil.

Answer:  It is best to see the place as literal, as the region of Megiddo and the valley of Esdraelon (“God sorrows”). Revelation 16:14, 17:14 and 19:19 described an organized battle that must center somewhere, even if it extends much further.

“Naked” in verse 15 means put on one’s own covering instead of God’s (Genesis 3:7; Isaiah 64:6).

Note this judgment is poured out in the AIR as opposed to the earth.  This could reference Satan himself (Ephesians 2:2).

We’ve seen earthquakes many times in Revelation.  We see it in Hebrews 12:26 as well.

Babylon will be re-visited in depth in Revelation 17 & 18.  Just note Babylon received both kinds of Greek word anger (thymus & orge).  Not good for Babylon.

We’ve seen hail as a tool of judgment before as well:  Egypt (Exodus 9:24), the Canaanites (Joshua 10:11), apostate Israel (Isaiah 28:2), and Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:22).  This is an appropriate ending to the judgments considering that God has made blasphemy punishable by stoning (Leviticus 24:11-16).

This is the end of the Tribulation judgments. (“It is done!”)

Conclusions to Revelation 16:  We must remember Satan and his lackeys are always lingering, ready to strike and deceive God’s people.  They are made immortal through worship.  We must be ready at all times!  No nation ever thought they’d fall.  Yet every empire throughout history has–except one:  Israel–God’s people who have persisted to this day and the Bible says will persist to the end.

Revelation is a “great” chapter (or synonyms and various translations thereby):  (Revelation 16:1, 9, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21).  Everything about God is great!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 4: Revelation 16:1-14

Summary of passage:  God orders His wrath poured out on the earth.  The first bowl caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.  The second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.  The third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.  The fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people.  The fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.  The sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  Spirits in the shape of frogs came from the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet sent to deceive man and gather them up for Armageddon.

Questions:

9a)  First Bowl (Exodus 9:8-11):  This reflects the plagues in Exodus.  This one is the plague of boils that God sent on Egyptians that broke out on their skin.  Here, the first wrath caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.

Second Bowl (Exodus 7:14-25; Revelation 8:8-9):  This is the plague of blood where Moses turned the Nile into blood, polluting the water, killing all the fish, and eliminating drinking water for the people.  The second trumpet judgment had a third of the sea turn to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships.  Here, the second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.

Third Bowl (Revelation 8:10-11):  In Revelation 8 the third trumpet turned the rivers and springs bitter, killing people who drank the water.  Here, the third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.

Fourth Bowl (Deuteronomy 28:22; 2 Peter 3:7):  A predicted judgment by Moses says God will send scorching heat and drought which will kill them.  Peter says fire will be reserved for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  Here, the fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people and people still refused to repent and glorify God.

Fifth Bowl (Exodus 10:21-23):  This echoes the plague of darkness God sent upon Egypt.  No one could see anything except of the Israelites who had light.  Here, the fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.

Sixth Bowl (Exodus 8:1-15; 14:21-27):  God sent the plague of frogs onto Egypt and dried up the Red Sea so Egypt could escape the pursuing Egyptians.  Here, the sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  We also see the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet in the form of frog’s spirits deceiving the people.

b)  God has complete sovereignty and power over creation.

10a)  Same.  Pharaoh refuses to repent and even in the end chases the Israelites.  The people here refuse to repent and they curse God as well.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It creates a bit more urgency because the end is bad, VERY bad.  And reading about it is heart-wrenching for unbelievers.

Conclusions:  Interesting comparison with the plagues of Egypt.  It’s as if God is preparing us throughout all of history for His final judgment.  He gives us glimpses, previews into His final wrath, which unbelievers ignore and still ignore.  God is so awesome to do so!

End Notes:  The bowl judgments are the third woe from Revelation 11:14.  They are punishments and chastisements with the purpose of bringing repentance from some.  Scholars believe these to occur at the end of the Great Tribulation right before Jesus’s return.  Some say these occur over the 3 1/2 year time period of the Great Tribulation.

This part of Revelation is hard for those who believe this is fulfilled history.  Some suggest “earth” here is the Roman empire,  or people, or the Catholic church.  Most agree God means “earth” when He says “earth.

We saw a preview in Revelation 8 when God struck 1/3 of the earth.  Here, the whole earth is struck; judgment is complete.

The sea might not necessarily become blood but become like blood–foul and sickening.

Some scholars say the second and third bowls also represent economic devastation and famine as our food sources and drinking water supplies end.

With no water to drink man cannot survive long.  Jesus’s return is near!

LOVE verse 5!  Those who shed the saints’ blood must now drink blood!  God is awesome!  It’s sad how they could have drunken Living Water.  This is the only reason given for the bowl judgments–the killing of God’s people.  However, sin is and will always be the cause of judgment.  The angel here could be a different angel or the same from the third bowl.

The voice from the altar in verse 7 could either be the angel, the martyrs (Revelation 6:9), or the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3-5).  The altar may also represent the cross.

The blessing of the sun and what gives life here on earth is now a curse.  Malachi 4:1 calls it a day “burning like an oven.”  The darkness aligns with Joel 2:30-31 which we studied in Lesson 11 day 4.

It’s sobering to see here how man doesn’t repent; how those who don’t have a heart for God never will.  We need to keep this in mind when we evangelize.  Our job is to impart knowledge.  God’s is to turn hearts.  It’s in His hands to convert, not ours.

This is a preview of hell as men gnaw their tongues in agony (Matthew 25:30).

The Euphrates River separated Rome from the East and was a natural barrier for invasion.  In ancient times, it was much longer and wider than in modern times of dams.  Kings from the east would be China, India, and Japan.

The ancient Israelites viewed frogs as repulsive and unclean.  The Egyptians worshipped a frog goddess.

The false prophet is the second beast of Revelation 13.

The sixth bowl goes more into detail of the judgment.  The drying up of the Euphrates River is how Cyrus conquered Babylon (Isaiah 11:15; 44:27-28; 50:2; 51:10).  The kings coming from the east also has a couple prophetic references in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:2; 46:11).

The nations are coming together to battle God.  How many battles will there be?  Upon investigating, I found a myriad of answers.  One was this: Revelation and the End Times:

  1.  The battle of Gog, Magog and her allies come against Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
  2.  The battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist leads the world system against a returning Jesus (Revelation 17:12-16, 17:14, 19:19).
  3.  The final battle, when Satan and his allies, after the millennium, make war against God (Revelation 20:7-10)

Another has 9 (see explanation HERE)  Another has 7 (See Explanation HERE)  There are many other interpretations.  This is just a sample to get your juices flowing and for your overall edification.  For me, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I will know based off the signs God has given us in the Bible and I’ll be amongst the saved.

AND GOD WINS (the Great day of God Almighty)!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 2: Revelation 15:1-4

Summary of passage:  John saw 7 angels with 7 last plagues, having God’s wrath completed.  Standing around a sea of glass were the victorious over the beast and they sang the song of Moses and of the Lamb to God, praising Him.

Questions:

3)  John saw a sea of glass with fire and saw those victorious over the beast standing beside the sea.  They held harps and sang the song of Moses and the Lamb.

4)  God does great and marvelous deeds.  Just and true are His ways.  He is King of the ages (forever).  He alone is holy.  All nations will come and worship Him and His righteous acts.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Praise Him for His faithfulness, His absolute control over my life and this world, His love for me and those I love, and for His Son, Jesus, who He sacrificed so I could be with Him forever.

Conclusions:  Straight-forward questions re-stating the passage.  Love again how in heaven God is praised continually.

End Notes:  Revelation 14 we saw the blunt of God’s fury with unbelievers.  Now John will step back to the throne room in heaven and detail the judgments, the preparations before Chapter 16’s judgments.  This is very common in prophetic literature–Saying what will happen and then pausing to describe it more.

These angels we see again in Chapter 16.  The 7 angels hold 7 bowls with 7 plagues, one in each bowl which will be poured out on the earth.  These are the last judgments, completing God’s wrath.

We see 7 plagues in Leviticus 26:21.

The Greek word for wrath used here (thymus) is a burning passionate anger as we saw in Revelation 14:10.  The Greek word urge (a more mild form of anger) is the more common word for God’s anger in the New Testament.  Thymos is used only 11 times, and 10 of which are in Revelation.  Wouldn’t it make sense when God is angry against those who are rejecting His only Son?

The Greek word for complete (etelesthe) in verse 1 means to reach an aim.

We’ve seen this sea before in Chapter 4 of Revelation but this time it has fire mixed with it, which scholars say speaks to divine judgment.

Allusions to Exodus are all over this chapter.  Some say the red of the fire speaks to the Red Sea.  We see plagues, the songs of Moses, the tabernacle, and God’s glory in a cloud.  This is the ultimate Exodus:  the freeing of God’s people from sin in the world.

Those who are standing over the beast are the martyrs from Revelation 7:9-17–the 144,000 and from chapter 14.  We are still in the Tribulation here; it is not over.  The bowl judgments are yet to come (Chapter 16).  However, they are victorious because they have been faithful–this is NOT a military victory.  This is a victory of faith.

This is another example of prophetic certainty.  The beast is defeated although it hasn’t happened yet.  What would happen if we truly embraced that truth in our lives?

Many scholars believe the sea of glass represents God’s word, connecting to the tabernacle and baptism.  This would mean the martyrs are standing on God’s word.

The harps were given to the 24 elders in Revelation 5:8.  Now the martyrs have harps as well to praise God with!

This is ONE song sung with TWO names:  The song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.  The Old Covenant and the New Covenant, the law and the love.

In this song we see God’s:  works, ways, worthiness, and worship.  The song is all about God–note only the pronouns you and your are used.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 20, Day 4: Numbers 14:5-19

Summary of passage:  Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the people.  Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and begged the people to not rebel against the Lord–the land is good and God will grant it to them if they will only trust God.  But the people would not listen–they wanted to stone them.  Here, God can take His people’s unbelief no longer and appears.  He tells Moses he can’t believe the people’s lack of faith after everything He has done for them and again offers Moses to be made into a great nation and have the people struck down.

Moses again says no.  The Egyptians will then hear about it as well as the people occupying the Promised Land and say the Lord did not keep His promises to His people and instead slaughtered them.  Moses asks God to forgive the people once again out of His great love.

Questions:

8a)  Moses and Aaron recognized the gravity of the situation, the gravity of what the Israelites were doing, the gravity of their rebellion and sin and Moses especially probably knew God’s anger burning right now against the people.  Hence they ignored the people and instead prostrated themselves in prayer to God, knowing full well prayer is what the people needed right now if they were to survive this rebellion against the One, True God.

b)  They had faith in God to bring them to the Promised Land to defeat their enemies.  They trusted God to keep His promises.

c)  The whole assembly might have stoned them to death.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.  When I was young and stupid, I put myself in dangerous situations and trusted people whom I didn’t know and I could have easily been raped or worse.  But I wasn’t and it was only through God’s grace and protection.

9a)  “I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they (the Israelites)”.  God made the same offer to Moses after the golden calf in Exodus 32:10.

b)  The Egyptians will then hear about the slaughter as well as the people occupying the Promised Land and say the Lord did not keep His promises to His people and question God’s infinite power and say God was not able to bring the people out of Egypt so instead He killed the people.  This is the same reason Moses gave in Exodus 32:11-14.

c)  The Egyptians will hear about it and tell the inhabitants of the Promised Land about it and question God’s goodness, compassion, grace, and abilities to do what He says He will do.  Moses argues that God can display His strength here and show that He is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving of sin and rebellion.  Moses pleads for God to show His great love for the people here and forgive.

Conclusions:  Anyone else sick after this passage?  Again, the people reject God.  Again, He offers them undeserved grace and mercy.  God is infinitely good and man is infinitely bad.  Deja vu.

Our God is amazing as is Moses.  For all of Moses’ weaknesses, he resisted the greatest temptation of all–to be made great.  Moses’ love for the people is second only to God’s and Jesus’.

End Notes:  Note the difference between Aaron and Moses’ response to the rebellion and Caleb and Joshua’s response.  Caleb and Joshua attempt to persuade the people of God’s goodness, remind them of God’s promises, and get them to repent and turn to the Lord.  Aaron and Moses, more experienced and older, flat out appeal to God’s grace–for grace is what these people need right now.

You know that when God shows up here it probably isn’t good.  I can just imagine God in heaven, looking down at His people, seething with anger and punishment.  And then when the people want to stone the two guys who are standing up for Him!!  God couldn’t take it any longer!

We see the core of man’s evil here:  kill those of faith.  The devil (and thus man when we are turned away from God) cannot stand belief and thus must be stamped out entirely.

Note how God does not even speak to the people; He goes to Moses.  The people are too far in their rebellion to hear Him.  This begs the question of us:  are we too far away from Him to hear Him as well?

Their rebellion makes no sense after all God has done for the people so He tells Moses He will grant their wish–death–and start over with Moses instead.  The new nation would be better and stronger!

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Moses had accepted God’s offer.  What would be look like today?  What “greater” and “stronger” would have looked like?  If life would have been easier because we were “greater” and “stronger”?  One can only imagine!

Moses’ zeal for God’s glory is hard to imagine!  I wonder how many of us could/would do the same thing!  How many of us guard God’s glory in a similar way?

People would doubt God’s ability and man’s sin would win out over God’s ability to conquer sin.

Moses quotes God back almost word-for-word God’s description of Himself in Exodus 34:6-8.  How powerful and persuasive!  Moses is saying “God, you told me who you were.  Now act in accordance with who you are”.

Moses appealed to God’s glory, power, and promises; but what made God say yes to Moses was Moses’ heart.  Moses’ love for the people and disregard for himself is what made God say yes.  Here we see one of God’s purposes for this rebellion:  to turn Moses’ heart into a heart like Jesus (Romans 8:29).  For if God is for us, then who can be against us?

I can almost see God breathe a sigh of relief here:  amidst all this rebellion, there is light–and the most powerful kind of light–God’s heart in all of us.

Take away:  we see the power of a heart like Jesus’.  There are no limits to what God can do if you have faith and trust that He will do what He says He will do.