BSF Study Questions John Lesson 9, Day 3: John 6:28-29

Summary of passage:  The people ask Jesus what they must do to do God’s work.  Jesus tells them it’s simple:  believe in me.

Questions:

6)  Many people think/thought you have to earn your way into heaven by doing good works–helping the poor, etc.  Jesus says all you have to do is have faith in him.

7a)  That Jesus died for our sins.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Time, time management, organization, rid of distractions, prioritizing what is most important of the work God has for me, the energy to accomplish it.

Conclusions:  One of the most important passages in the Bible in my opinion.  Believe in Jesus and what he did on the cross for us.  If you do that, all else will fall into place.

End Notes:  “Work” is the same verb as Jesus used in verse 27.  They ask specifically what works he requires.  These people still want a quick fix and a quick answer.  Just tell us what to do so we can do it and receive more free stuff.  They still don’t get it.  Eternal life is a gift from Christ.  The “work” is belief in Jesus.  And for some this is the toughest job of all!

Trust God and believe.  Then our work will undoubtedly be His.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 9, Day 3: Revelation 4:1-8

Summary of passage: John was invited into heaven for a glimpse. He was in the Spirit. Before him was a throne. Sitting on the throne was one who appeared jasper and carnelian and a rainbow and 24 other thrones with elders surrounded the main throne. Seven lamps or spirits of God shone before the throne. Thunder came from the throne. Four creatures surrounded the throne: a lion, ox, one like a man, and an eagle. Each creature had 6 wings with eyes everywhere and were singing God’s praises constantly.

Questions:

5)  Colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13) or God’s glory (white). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man. God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us.  Flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him.  In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

6)  In Exodus, Moses and others saw a pavement made of sapphire (colors again).  Isaiah sees the same seraphs singing the same song to the Lord.  They also had 6 wings.  The temple shook and smoke filled it.  Isaiah was cleansed before the Lord.  Ezekiel sees the same living creatures John saw.  He sees lightning and light and fire.  He sees a throne of sapphire as well.  He sees glowing metal, fire, and brilliant light and a rainbow.

Micaiah (2 Chronicles 18:18), Ezekiel, Daniel, and John saw God on a throne.  Stephen saw the glory of God and Jesus at his right hand (Acts 7:55).  Jacob saw the Lord in heaven (Genesis 28:12-13).  Paul was caught up to the third heaven and heard inexpressible things (2 Corinthians 12:2-6).

7a)  Verse 5 says God is on the throne with the seven lamps (Jesus) burning and seven spirits of God (Holy Spirit).

b)  Being God is the Triune God, if you have a relationship with God then you have a relationship with all three.  The Holy Spirit lives inside all of us and “teaches us all things and reminds us of everything”  (John 14:26) and “guides us into all truth, speaking only what he hears and telling you what is to come” and “making it known to you” (John 16:7-15).  The Spirit “intercedes for us” and helps us pray (Romans 8:26-7).  The Spirit marks us as His (Ephesians 1:13).  We believe in the saving grace of Jesus as our Savior, which makes us righteous before God who is Lord over all, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega.

Conclusions:  Had to dig for number 6.  Very interesting.  In Revelation we see the Triune God as in no other book and their interlinkedness.  All three are integral to God and who He is and we need all three.  All passages in 7b refer to the Holy Spirit.

I love the study of colors.  For all those opthamologists out there, this is fascinating.  All color is white and color changes based on its reflection and absorption when it hits other materials.  And it’s our brain and eyes which tell us which color is which.  Something that is black absorbs all colors.  Amazing how God has designed us to see color and how He has color in heaven.

Was hoping to discuss the living creatures more.  These are fascinating to me.  But maybe because they have so many interpretations BSF did not want to open that can of worms.  See End Notes for a discussion of possible meanings to the living creatures and comparisons to those Ezekiel saw.

End Notes:  These are the same from yesterday’s lesson.  Nothing has changed.

We are beginning a new division in Revelation (where one breaks it up is different) with the words “After this”. We are going to study Revelation 4-5 and then take another break and jump to Joel. These are a heavenly perspective and deals with God’s judgment on earth and its people. This is the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and introduce the rest of Revelation. The number 7 will be prominent here.

After Jesus finishes speaking to the 7 churches, John is called up to heaven to see events that will take place –leading up to Jesus’ return to earth. This echoes Moses’ call up to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. Many see this as symbolic of the rapture as John is taken to heaven before the judgement. Chapter 6 will describe the wrath. As noted before, the word “church” is not used from Revelation 4-19. This will bring in the debate about the Tribulation but we’ll save that for later on.

John immediately sees a throne in heaven whereupon sits God. Note he doesn’t describe God as a figure but as emanations–colors–jasper (white or “diamond”) and carnelian (red). Colors could be blood of Christ or refer to the priests breastplate (Exodus 39:8-13). Note the rainbow which is God’s covenant with man (Genesis 9:13-16). God is sovereign but He himself limits what He shall do with covenants and promises to us. This is a reminder of God’s love and mercy and grace for us.

The 24 elders are either human or angels. Either way they represent man (12 tribes and 12 apostles–all of Israel and all of the Church) or divisions of the priests (1 Chronicles 24). Most scholars think they are human in glory (the white). Believers will be crowned (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Saints have white robes (Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 13-14). Thus, man is joint heirs with Christ, sitting on lesser thrones in heaven (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12).

Lightning, rumblings, thunder is God’s presence and fear of Him. In Revelation, thunder and lightning will always mark and important event connected with the heavenly temple (Revelation 8:5; 11:19, 16:18).

7 lamps are the Holy Spirit. 7 Spirits of God are completeness again (Revelation 1:4).

Sea of glass–scholars are divided whether it is literal or figurative. The “Sea” in the Old Testament is the basin of water priests would wash in before administering in the temple (1 Kings 7:23-26). See also Exodus 30:17-21. This was before we were made clean with the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5). Hence, it may symbolize our righteousness before God.

Four living creatures full of eyes are cherubim (Ezekiel 1:4-14; 10:20-22). The eyes show their intelligence all their job is to worship the Lord. Satan used to be one of these (Ezekiel 28:14).

The cherubim each had 4 faces (Ezekiel 1:6-10). The four faces have dozens of interpretations such as the elements, the cardinal virtues, the faculties and powers of the human soul, the patriarchal churches, the great apostles, the orders of churchmen, the principle angels, etc.

Some say they represent Jesus. Some say they represent the 4 gospels and Jesus’ characteristics. Some harken back to the tribes of Israel as they encamped around the tabernacle. All 4 represent the pinnacle of their world–lion king of wild animals, eagle king of birds, ox strongest of domesticated animals, and man king of intelligence and animals.

The triple repetition of “holy” is rare in Hebrew and meant to call attention to God’s holiness.

Lord God Almighty–in Greek it means “one who has his hand on everything” (Revelation 1:8). Yahweh is “who was and is and is to come.” (Revelation 1:8)  Almighty refers to God’s wholeness as the Triune God and how he is fully God always.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 9, Day 3: Matthew 8:5-17

Summary of passage:  In Capernaum, a centurion came to Jesus and asked him to heal his servant.  Jesus said he would do so.  The centurion protested, saying he does not deserve to have Jesus under his roof and asked Jesus to just say the word from afar.

Jesus was astonished at the man’s faithfulness in his ability to heal from afar and Jesus told him to go because it would be done as he believed it would.

Jesus said all will be in heaven with no barriers in place and warned that the Jews could still go to hell for unbelief in Him.

Jesus entered Peter’s house and healed his sick mother-in-law.  Then he healed many who were demon-possessed and all the sick, which fulfilled Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 53:4.

Questions:

6a)  He is a man of faith in Jesus, believing Jesus can heal from afar.  He is compassionate and caring for he traveled a long ways to ask for Jesus to heal his servant.  Most servants in the day were barely considered human and were not cared for in the least.  He is a man of authority and leadership as he is used to giving orders and being obeyed.  He is humble as he recognized he is a servant (a man under authority) as well.

b)  “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I get up every day and try to follow His will.  I care for my kids, guide and protect them, and do the same for others.

7a)  The Gentiles

b)  The kingdom of heaven

c)  Many hear the word of God but few accept Him and His invitation.

8a)  He heals when he sees a need.  Jesus wasn’t asked to heal her.  He just did.  He can’t stand to see others suffering.  He has compassion on all.  Upon healing, she began to serve as we all should from the moment our heart becomes His.

b)  She got up and began to wait on him.

9a)  Isaiah 53:4

b)  That Jesus is the one whom Isaiah spoke of as the suffering servant.  That he will take up our infirmities and carry our diseases/sorrows.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is Lord, compassionate, and omnipotent.  He does not discriminate in his healing.  He heals all those who need it and who have faith in him or those who ask who have faith in him.  We see a leper, a servant, and a woman healed.  These were people most disregarded in society as unimportant and disposable. Yet Jesus healed them.  All are important to him.

This encourages me because I know I am important to him as well as are my needs no matter how big or small.  Jesus will provide if I have faith.

Conclusions:  Here we see three specific miracles Jesus performed among ten that are forthcoming in the next few chapters.  Matthew writes these here to further establish Jesus’ authority as the son of God.

I often wonder what miracles Jesus performed that are not recorded.  For I strive to know Him better and the more information I have, the better!

Admittedly, I had no idea about question 7.  I had to look that up in a commentary.

End Notes:  Capernaum is Jesus’ home (Matthew 4:13).  Hence, Jesus is returning home for a bit.  Hence, we see Peter’s mother-in-law as this is Peter’s home as well.

We know the Centurion was a Gentile for he was a Roman soldier who worshipped pagan gods. Note every time we meet a centurion in the Bible, he is a good man.  Under Roman law, the master could have killed his slave especially if he were sick and unable to perform his duties.  This was a special master indeed.

Because Jesus was Jewish, the centurion knew his home would be considered unworthy to enter by a Jew.  Hence, the centurion asked Jesus not to break this custom (it’s not against Jewish law, merely custom) and speak a word of authority to make it so.

Note Jesus’ use of the term Israel.  There was no state called Israel at this time but Jesus still considered them as such.

It is here that Jesus announces for the first time that God’s promises extend to Gentiles as well and not just the Jewish people.  Many will come from the east and the west and take their places in heaven.  Being Jewish does not guarantee entrance.

God heals as He pleases, not necessarily as we may want.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 9, Day 3: Genesis 11:1-9 & Psalm 2

Summary of passages:  Genesis 11:1-9:  A bit after the world had been repopulated some people moved eastward and settled on the plain of Shinar (Babylonia).  They used bricks and tar to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

The Lord saw what the men were doing.  He confused their language as punishment to prevent more un-Godly actions.  God scattered them over the earth.  Babel sounds like the Hebrew word for confused; hence the name “Tower of Babel.”

Psalm 2:  Why do people conspire and plot against the Lord and the Anointed One?  It is all in vain.  Man fights against God who merely laughs.  God rebukes and terrifies them.  David tells other kings to be wise and serve the Lord with fear and joy for God’s anger can flare in a moment.  Blessed are those who take refuge in Him.

Ask God and He will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  With God you will rule.

Questions:

5a)  Both try to self-aggrandize and put themselves above God.  It is useless to plot and conspire against God and Jesus.  We are nothing in comparison.  Yet man tries through ambition and pride.  And every time he is vanquished, defeated, chastized, rebuked, or punished by God.  You’d think we learn.  But we never do.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We deliberately disobey God and think His laws don’t apply to us.  In the end, we end up suffering because of it.  It teaches me to obey God as much as my sinful nature can.  To submit for He is King.  To recognize my weakness and beg for His mercy.  To follow Him till the end of my days.  This is my prayer.

6a)  Both verses say belief in Jesus and what Jesus did for us.

b)  In the passage, literally through a tower.  Today, through works, prayer, obedience, His word.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through Jesus.

Be careful not to interpret this as “drawing near to God”.  I think the point of the question is that the only way to God is Jesus and anyway else is false.

Conclusions:  Have you noticed this theme in the questions, comparing people in Biblical times and in our times?  Like I concluded yesterday, man never changes.  His nature is the same.  He sins.  Repeatedly.  Since the Fall–the beginning of time.  This will never change.

It’s why we need Jesus.  God knew this.  He knows we have no hope without Christ.  And that’s what the entire Bible is trying to tell each and every one of us.  And that’s why it’s our job to tell others.  So they can be saved.