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Bible Study Notes on Revelation 2 – 20170623

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Revelation 2:1  “To the angel of the church…”
Angel means messenger.  Angel of the church would be the pastor in this context.  The letters are addressed to the pastors of each of the seven congregations.

2-3  “…have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary”
Have done everything right as you ought to do.  Taken care of the letter of the law so to speak.

4  “…I have this against you, that you have left your first love”
Bad situation to have Christ say He has something against you.  In this case, they had forgotten Him.  Doing all the right stuff, but failing to have relationship with Him.  Works should come out of our love for Him, not just going through the motions for wage or reward.

5  “…repent…or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand…”
A church without a true relationship with Christ is not a church.  What’s the point.  Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.

7  “…To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life…”
I’ve seen phrases such as this one used to show no assurance of salvation.  The idea being that only those who somehow overcome will eat from the tree of life.  They miss the point and misinterpret the statement.  The only way to overcome is to trust in Christ for salvation.  Those who do so will overcome, no question about it.  This is a statement of what will be done to those that cross the finish line because they have trusted in Christ.

10  “…Be faithful until death…”
Nothing is said about rescue from the persecution or tribulation, only reward for faithfulness.  An eternal view, not a present one.  Interesting how some churches face great tribulation and persecution while others suffer little to none.  Wonder what that says about the hearts of the members or their effectiveness as Christians.

11  “…He who overcomes shall not be hurt…”
Another of those phrases.

12  “…He who has the sharp two-edged sword”
Christ by the word of His mouth.  He cuts to the heart of the matter.  Nothing escapes His sight.

14-15  “…the doctrine of Balaam…the doctrine of the Nicolaitans…”
Nicolaitans were mentioned in the first letter.  Some think it is a sect of some sort teaching a false doctrine while others think it is symbolic, a reference to false teaching like that of Balaam.  But now we have both mentioned as though there is something different in the two.  I get the impression, with which commentaries agree, that it’s not a difference in the two, but the similarity.  Some hold to the error of Balaam on their own, and thus the doctrine of the Nicolaitans was also allowed or tolerated.  This would point to there being at least a sense of non-organized and organized belief.  Shows the danger of allowing any false teaching to be tolerated.  It opens the door for further error.

17  “…the hidden manna…a white stone…”
Commentary suggests a reference to that of the high priest who had access to manna in the inner sanctuary as well as the stone in the priestly garment with God’s name.  Only the high priest had access.  As believers in Christ we are given the same access to God directly as the high priest had.

20  “…because you allow…”
Another church allowing false teaching in the church.  May not have been a deliberate thing, but a toleration for whatever reason.  Either way, it has gotten in and is allowed to stay.

20  “…to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols”
Same problem with the others.

21  “…I gave her time to repent…”
Mercy of God.  Even in the Old Testament God gave both Jews and Gentiles time to repent of their sins.  He does not delight in the death of the wicked, is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

27  “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels…”
Jesus will make all things right when He comes.  He will reward those who have followed Him and destroy those who have not.  We don’t have to worry about those who persecute us.  They will be taken care of.  Until then, we should pray for them and hope that they see their error and repent.

28  “…I will give him the morning star”
Will be like Christ who is the morning star.  He is the first fruit.  Someday we shall be like Him.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Revelation 1 – 20170621

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Revelation 1:1  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…”
The revealing, the apocalypse of Jesus.  His, not about Him, what He will reveal.  Jesus will reveal what shall happen at the end of time.  Due to the terrible things which are revealed, the word apocalypse has been associated with prophecies of destruction, end of the world type scenarios.  But its meaning is revelation, the revealing of what was hidden.  God gave it to Christ who passed it on to John to write down, at least much of what he will see.  Some he will be told to not write down.

One note – Revelation expounds on what is told in Daniel.  You need to take the two together to understand them properly.  Revelation tells what happens during the final week appointed to the Jewish people.  All of the other weeks transpired before Christ was crucified.  We’ve been in a holding pattern, the Church Age, since then awaiting the beginning of the final week.  It will start again when the Antichrist, the man of perdition, makes a covenant with Israel for seven years, a week of years.

1  “…things which must shortly take place…”
Has been two thousand years or so since it was given.  Guess it can be considered short by God’s standards or compared to eternity.  Of course, I’m sure John probably thought it wouldn’t be long, perhaps in his lifetime.

2  “who bore witness…”
John had seen and known Christ while He was on earth.

3  “…the time is near”
Our sense of immediacy or imminence of His return.  Could happen at any time.

4  “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia…”
Will be told to the churches of Asia Minor, the area between the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas.

4  “…from Him who is and who was and who is to come…”
Love this description of God/Christ.  He transcends time itself.

7  “…He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him…”
His final return at the end of the Tribulation.  The entire earth will see Him, even the Jewish people.  Those will finally be ready to accept Him as the Messiah as a nation, the final conclusion of His promise to Abraham.

7  “…all the tribes of the earth will mourn…”
Tribes, not races.  Scripture never talks about races.  We’re all human beings, of the same race.  We’re divided by physical characteristics and locations, but not by any inherent traits.  Even those of different colors can be part of the same tribe.

8   “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

9  “…was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ”
He had been exiled there because he was a Christian.  He apparently leaves after the death of the current Roman emperor, so he doesn’t die there.  Commentary says he was put there under Domitian and released under Nerva.

10  “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…”
Looking inward, using the spirit, not the body.  Not his imagination or a hallucination, he will have his vision through his spirit.  Due to our rebirth by Christ, we have bodies and spirits which house our souls, our essence.  We can perceive things in the physical and spiritual realms.  He will perceive everything that happens through his spirit.  Sunday, the weekly celebration of the Lord’s resurrection.

13-18  “…in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man…”
Description of the appearance of Christ, apparently in full glory.

20  “…The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”
Explanation of what he mentioned in verse 12.  The word of God will interpret itself.  You don’t have to come up with some weird idea of what was meant.  That’s why you can take it literally unless it says to do so otherwise.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Jude – 20170619

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Jude 1  “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James…”
Thought it was commonly agreed that this Jude was a half brother of Jesus, one of the children born to Mary and Joseph after Jesus.  The James that he mentions would be the pastor of the church in Jerusalem and also a half brother of Jesus.  But the commentaries have different views.  One is that which I have thought.  The other is that Jude was one of the twelve apostles who was known as Thaddeus.  Also, that he was a brother to the apostle known as James the son of Alpheus, and that Alpheus was the Greek name for Cleopas who was married to Mary the sister of Mary mother of Jesus.  This would make Jude/Thaddeus and James the son of Alpheus brothers and cousins to Jesus.  Some commentaries think that the relation meant when scripture says brethren of Jesus is that of cousins.  This view has the writer of James as the son of Alpheus and the first pastor of the church at Jerusalem.  Both views state reasons for their beliefs, and they are good reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily make them true.  Some holding to the second view give as a reason that the two men, Jude and James, were both considered as apostles, therefore they would have to be part of the twelve.  Not sure if the term apostle was given as much exclusivity then as we give it today.  Others say that if this James were one of the apostles, he wouldn’t have been the pastor of the church, but would have continued as an apostle and fulfilled the command of Jesus to spread the gospel.  All good ideas, but nothing definitive that I can find.

3-4  “…contend earnestly for the faith…For certain men have crept in unnoticed…”
Exhortation for them to be diligent to contend for the faith, watch out for it and defend it, because false teachers have crept in.  Says who turn the grace of God into lewdness.  The false teaching may have been that we can sin all we want because of grace.

5-7  Mentions three groups of people as reminders of what happens to those who pervert the grace of God and reject Him.  Those of the ancient Israelites who made it out of Egypt, but wouldn’t follow Him, the angels who rebelled and followed satan, and the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah who fell into homosexuality and other sexual immorality.  The ones he’s just referenced will fit into this category.

8-9  “…speak evil of dignitaries…Michael…dared not bring against him a reviling accusation…”
He adds another transgression, that of speaking evil of dignitaries.  He uses Michael the archangel as an example of the correct attitude.  As pure and holy as Michael must be to be in the presence of God, and even with as much authority as a servant of God as he must have, he still did not take it upon himself to rebuke satan over a point of contention.  Instead he deferred to Christ as the authority.  Humility and meekness.  Remembering who and what we are and who and what Jesus is.

10  “…these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves”
Running your mouth about things of which you have no clue, and what you do know you mess up.  Not much has changed in two thousand years.

11  “…way of Cain…the error of Balaam…rebellion of Korah”
Three examples of those who were totally self-centered and suffered the consequences of it.

14  “…Enoch…prophesied about these men…”
He’s apparently quoting or paraphrasing from the book of Enoch which seems to be an apocryphal volume.  The note on Michael and the devil are also from this book.  Raises some questions.  Why is he using something that may not have been part of the Old Testament?  Does this put any question on the authority or validity of what he stated from that text?  Just because God didn’t see fit to include certain writings in His word doesn’t mean they were false in what they said.  Even John mentions that Jesus did many things that weren’t recorded in the gospels.  Apparently they were true enough that He inspired Jude to include them here.  Since Enoch walked with God, I’m sure anything he wrote was true to the nature of God.  Might be worth reading sometime.

17  “…the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”
He doesn’t seem to include himself in this reference.  If he were one of the twelve he wouldn’t have to speak of the others as he would have the authority of an apostle himself.  Lends weight to the view that he was half-brother of Jesus and not Thaddeus the apostle.

18  “…there would be mockers in the last time…”
We like to take every mention of the last time or the last days as a reference to the time when Christ returns, but that idea doesn’t hold up.  The mockers began then and have been going strong for two thousand years and we’re still waiting on His return.  I think it is more accurate to say that the reference is a general one to the time which began after Christ returned to Heaven, that which we live in now, waiting for Him to return.  Contrast with the time before Christ when they were waiting for His first appearance as Messiah.

22  “…on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”
Wisdom in dealing with the lost.  Treat each according to their state.  Some need compassion, some need stronger action to get them out of their sinful situations.  Be sure to not get so involved with showing compassion that you ignore or condone or even fall into their sinful ways.  You don’t have to join in with sinful behavior in order to associate with those that need saving.

24-25  “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever.  Amen.”
Beautiful benediction.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on 3 John – 20170616

Writing

Bible Study Notes

3 John 1  “…To the beloved Gaius…”
Commentary says Gaius or Caius.  Apparently written both ways in different copies.  No clear idea of the identity.  So much later than the rest of scripture he’s obviously not someone who’s been mentioned before.  Some speculated he lived in Macedonia or Pergamos.  Greeting is so similar to the second epistle, makes me think that one was to a particular person as well, not necessarily to a whole church body.  Just speculation.  Found interesting that commentary mentioned idea that after death of Roman Domitian, John left his Patmos exile and traveled about visiting churches and wrote these epistles during that time.  So these letters would have been written after he wrote Revelation.  I had thought he died on Patmos.

3  “…when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you…”
Similar to Paul’s situation.  Travelers bringing news of the conditions of the churches and individuals.

7  “…taking nothing from the Gentiles”
Apparently missionaries planting churches among Gentiles.  They survived on their own work and the gifts of established churches so they didn’t have to take anything from the new churches.  Similar idea of the SBC’s Cooperative Program.  Shows a new group that you’re not someone trying to make money from them, that you and others who are supporting you care enough about the group to spend your own money to share Christ with them.

8  “We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.”
Importance of supporting others in missionary work.  We become fellow workers with them by providing the means for them to go.  Good to go yourself when you can, but doesn’t diminish the importance of background support.  Those who stay behind with the stuff are just as much a part of the effort as those who go.

9-11  “…Diotrephes…loves…preeminence…does not receive us…prating against us with malicious words…does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church…he who does evil has not seen God”
Trouble in the early churches.  Someone who had apparently been given or had taken position of power or authority in that church.  Wanted everyone to know it.  Grew up in a church with folks like him.  For some reason, they think the church is there to serve them and their ideas, not follow God and His designated leadership.  This one even followed the same routine, talking badly about John, not cooperating with other believers, denigrating those who wanted to, to the point of putting them out of the church.  Since we know that those who truly follow God do not continually do evil, what does that say about those in the church who have no problem with it.  I often wondered about that myself when I saw the actions of some in the church.  Wondered if they really were believers or had just been going through the motions.  I get the impression that is what John suspected of Diotrephes.

12  “Demetrius has a good testimony…”
Wonder why John mentions him.  Since he has mentioned Diotrephes and his condition, it seems he is mentioning Demetrius as an opposing condition.  Showing the contrast.

13  “I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink”
Same thing he said in his letter to the lady.  I’m sure he wanted to see Gaius face to face as the other, but I wonder about other possible reasons he doesn’t write much.  Physical infirmities and such, or perhaps he had something that was too personal to put in a letter which someone else might read.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on 2 John – 20170614

Writing

Bible Study Notes

2 John 1  “…To the elect lady and her children…”
Apparently some debate on whether John wrote this to a person or to a church body.  The word translated lady is kyria which is a Greek term used for church.  John also closes with the children of your elect sister greet you which sounds like another church body.  However, the lady being a single person works also.  I don’t see anything from the text to help.

1  “…also all those who have known the truth”
In keeping with John’s statements in 1 John that true believers have love for one another.

3  “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you…”
Greeting like we see in Paul’s letters.

5  “…that we love one another”
Same message as 1 John.  Love one another as it shows our connection to Christ and fulfills His commandment to do so.

7  “…who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh…”
Another repeat of what he mentions in 1 John.  Getting the impression this may be to a person.  I would expect that his first letter would have been copied and sent to as many other churches as possible, eliminating the need for a specific one unless the church body was new.  So many variables.  At any rate, the big issue of deception seems to be the denial of Christ coming in the flesh or that Jesus was the divine Son of God.

8  “…but that we may receive a full reward”
Stay sharp.  Don’t let any deception in.  Make sure your works are of gold, silver, and precious stones, not wood, hay, or stubble.

11  “…he who greets him shares in his evil deeds”
Greeting isn’t just saying hello or simple contact association.  It refers to the common connection between true brethren.  If you know what the person is teaching is false, but still wish him well, you are joining him in his deception.  This is why I cannot respect other religions’ beliefs.  I recognize people’s right to believe as they choose, but I know what they believe is false.  I love those people as Christ said to and do not wish for them to end up in Hell.  Therefore, I must tell them the truth about their belief as any other than faith in Christ will mean their destruction.

12  “…that our joy may be full”
Joy from the personal contact as well as the chance to discuss issues.

13  “The children of your elect sister greet you”
As mentioned earlier, could be a sister or sister church.  If a sister, could be part of the reason for the letter, a personal connection.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on 1 John 5 – 20170612

Bible Study Notes

1 John 5:1  “…everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him” Thought this was saying if you love God you also love Jesus who is the only begotten of God.  But I think John is referring to all who become children of God through faith . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 John 5 – 20170612

Bible Study Notes on 1 John 4 – 20170609

Bible Study Notes

1 John 4:1  “…do not believe every spirit…” He just mentioned the Holy Spirit as the proof that Christ abides in us.  Now he warns of the existence of other spirits who will try to mimic the work of the Holy Spirit.  One of satan’s ploys is to try to duplicate . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 John 4 – 20170609

Bible Study Notes on 1 John 3 – 20170607

Bible Study Notes

1 John 3:1  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!…” He loved us so much that He provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  Not just a few, but all people if they would receive it.

. . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 John 3 – 20170607

Bible Study Notes on 1 John 2 – 20170605

Bible Study Notes

1 John 2:1  “…so that you may not sin…” Not that they wouldn’t sin, but that they wouldn’t choose to do so, or use what he had just mentioned as a license to do so.  Our sin nature pulls us in sin’s direction, but the more we understand and the closer . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 John 2 – 20170605

Bible Study Notes on 1 John 1 – 20170602

Bible Study Notes

I John 1:1  “That which was from the beginning…” Of time.  When God created everything.

1  “…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…” Eye witness to these things.

3  “…we declare to you, that you also may have . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 John 1 – 20170602