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

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 19, Day 3: Revelation 14:6-13

Summary of passage:  John sees 3 angels.  The first proclaims the eternal gospel to the earth and says to turn to God because the judgment has come.  The second says how Babylon has fallen.  The third warns that whoever worships the beast or bears his mark will have God’s fury, be tormented with burning sulfur, and have no rest.  God says blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Questions:

6a)  First angel:  The eternal gospel, saying to turn to God now and worship Him because judgment has come.

Second angel:  Babylon has fallen.

Third angel:  Whoever worships the beast or bears his mark will have God’s fury, be tormented with burning sulfur, and have no rest–a judgment upon men’s souls.

b)  “Those who live on earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people.”

7)  That Jesus is God’s son and only belief and faith in him as the Savior will result in forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  1 Corinthians 15 lays it out:  the saving gospel is :  Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he rose on the 3rd day.  His blood set us free forever and justified us–all through grace (1 Corinthians 15:10). (Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 as well for use of the word “gospel”).

Note:  The first angel is preaching the gospel (turn to Jesus and be saved) AND announcing the coming judgment.  He is announcing the “good news” that God’s words will be consummated–judgment is here, Satan will be vanquished, Israel shall be saved, and Christ shall come again!

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Matthew says to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all of God’s commands.  2 Corinthians says to preach Jesus as Lord and let our light (knowledge of God and Christ) shine out to the darkness (unbelievers).  1 Peter says to declare the praises of God who called us out of the darkness into the light.  God says we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, belonging to Him, and Jesus says he will be with us always to the end of time.

In essence, we are called to do what the angels are doing here:  Proclaiming God’s greatness, power, glory, and grace and what happens to those who fight against Him.  Good connection.

We’ve had similar questions before:  Lesson 7 Day 2, Lesson 13 Day 5, and Lesson 15 Day 4

I am wondering how you answer this question if you are not a believer.  It seems if you’re not a believer, BSF is saying to skip this question.  Strange.

Conclusions:  Has anyone else noticed that there has been no challenge questions in this study?  I believe these are forever gone now and instead BSF provides us with the Scripture for the answers.  Any thoughts on this? It’s good for new believers I think.  I remember my first year doing Isaiah and I’d have no clue where to go for the challenge questions because I didn’t know the Bible.  On question 7 which normally would have been a challenge question I just knew the answer without having to look it up.

I think it’s a good thing.  Most of us don’t know where God’s word says eternal truths and having the Scriptures in front of us helps us to know and learn and memorize where God speaks to us.  It helps us in our daily life, in evangelizing, and in our daily battles with Satan since God’s word is a weapon.  Any other thoughts?

Clarification:  Note I am speaking of challenge questions only that pertain to the passage.  I’m not speaking of random questions that are on different topics that take us all over the Bible (see YESTERDAY’S conclusion for my opinions there).

End Notes:

THE FIRST ANGEL:  The peoples of the earth can either voluntarily give God glory and be saved or they will either one day be forced to give God glory (Philippians 2:9-11) and be damned.  Seems intuitive to me.

This gospel is called “eternal gospel.”  It is the same gospel as we know it (accept Jesus as Lord and Savior or be damned) but it’s preached during a specific time (Great Tribulation) and with more of an urgency (this is the people’s last chance to choose God).

Note:  This is the only place in the New Testament where we see angels preaching the gospel.  God has chosen man and given him the job/responsibility to spread the word of Jesus to all (Question 8)–a responsibility we need to take seriously and keep in the forefront of our minds at all time.

THE SECOND ANGEL:  

Babylon:  Babylon was the first of the 4 beasts in Daniel 7.  We will see Babylon again in Revelation 17.  “Babylon the Great” is taken from Daniel 4:30.  All first century Jews/Christians would know who Babylon was and what they did to God’s people.  It was the center of a world empire, noted for its luxury and moral decadence.

Some say Babylon here stands for Rome since Rome was the center of pagan worship during John’s time and the angel here is predicting the downfall of the Roman Empire (known as prophetic certainty).  Scholars point out in prophetic writings of the time “Babylon” was the code word used to refer to Rome.  Some say it represents rebellious people.  Others take it literally–Babylon that is rebuilt and restored.  The interpretation that make sense to me is that Babylon the Great stands for man’s ungodly political systems and governments that man has created.  It is an evil that opposed God.  Some scholars extend this to say it is Babylon the Great versus the New Jerusalem.

[Side Note: Babylon did NOT represent the Catholic Church which was the belief perpetuated in the nineteenth century with the rise of Protestantism.  Catholicism wasn’t even organized until the 300 AD’s–200 years after the book of Revelation has been composed.]

Whichever you believe, John chooses it to represent the evil in this world and in man’s heart.  Most likely this is spiritual adultery (worshiping of false gods) caused by Babylon but with spiritual adultery comes physical as well.  The repetition of fallen is to emphasis that Babylon is about to receive judgment.

THE THIRD ANGEL:  Receiving the mark of the beast is a choice that one makes.  It’s a choice that leads to God’s wrath.  Like worshiping pagan gods in God’s mind.

God’s cup of wrath is mentioned 13 times in the Bible (Psalm 60:3; 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; 63:6; Jeremiah 25:15-16; 51:7).  This is the cup Jesus drank for us (Matthew 26:39).  Here, those who don’t accept Jesus will be forced to drink it.

Note the wine is “full strength.”  In Ancient Times, everyone including children drank wine because the water was unsafe to drink.  However, it was always diluted or watered down.  Here, the unbelievers will not face any watered-down version of God’s wrath.  It will be full strength God!

The Greek word for wrath (thymos) is used here and 9 more times in the book of Revelation.  It is only used once elsewhere in the Bible.  It means passionate wrath.  A different anger (orge) which means settled indignation is most often used in the New Testament.

Note the torment of burning sulfur.  God burned Sodom and Gomorrah the same way.

Note how angels and God and Jesus will be present in hell.  It’s wrong to think otherwise.  They are there to oversee judgment–all love will be absent.

“For ever and ever” is the strongest Greek word for eternity and ages.  Torment will be everlasting.  I’d rather have life myself.  I fervently wish more churches would speak on this and more people would dwell on it.  I think in today’s society people think nothing of hell and thus have no idea of what they are facing as unbelievers.  If more people would ponder hell, we might have more investigating the greatness of God, the one who can save from such torture.

Note the present tense here.  People worship the beast continually and they will continually be tormented as just punishment.

God encourages the saints (those who accept Christ during the Great Tribulation) to be steadfast during the judgments and remain faithful even if they face death and their deeds will be remembered in heaven.  Same goes for us–our deeds will follow us to heaven.  What we do here matters.

Second Beatitude in Revelation:  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

Fun Fact:  This is the first of only 2 times the Holy Spirit speaks directly in the book of Revelation.