Luke 2:8-20 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, December 21, 2014, is from Luke 2:8-20.  Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Luke 2:8-20

(Luke 2:8) In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

King David was a humble shepherd before he became king over Israel. God often asks humble people to serve Him and tell others about Him. God cares for the humble and the poor, and the Bible says that God’s children must care for widows and orphans just as God does: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27). No one is so needy or underprivileged that God does not care for them, and God expects His followers to care for them too. The shepherds may have been the neediest and most despised people at that time in history, but God does not look upon people from a biased or limited perspective. God looks into our hearts and knows what we can become through faith in Him. Jesus came to bless all people, the rich and the poor; and both rich and poor need salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine how the shepherds must have felt when they saw angels sent to them from God.

(Luke 2:9) Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

One angel appeared and terrified them. The heavenly host (a multitude of angels) only appeared after the shepherds no longer feared the consequences of experiencing a single angelic visitation and the angel encouraged them not to fear. They not only saw an angel; they saw the glory of the Lord that surrounded him! The angel did not tell his name, but Gabriel, as an angel of the Lord, appeared to Zechariah and Mary; therefore, the angel might have been the angel Gabriel. He appeared with heavenly glory, so no wonder the shepherds were afraid. They may have felt guilty before the angel and have thought “What have we done!” They most certainly felt unworthy of an angelic visitation.

(Luke 2:10) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:

The angel told them not to be afraid because he was not bringing the judgment of God upon them. Instead, he was bringing them good news – not just good news, but joy filled good news for all people (and that included the shepherds). They were not the last to hear the good news because of their poor or low station in life. Rather, they were the first to hear God’s good news and God’s good news would travel from the lowly to the proud and to those in high society. Their experiences watching their flock by night probably prepared their hearts and minds to meet God’s angel, for the heavens tell of the glory of God (See Psalm 19).

(Luke 2:11) to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

The good news or “gospel” keeps the focus on Jesus from the beginning. The good news of Jesus’ birth was given specifically to the shepherds, who (other than Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem) heard it first. The good news included the shepherds and was for all people. The shepherds’ home was the city of David and the angel emphasized that Jesus was born to be their Savior, the Messiah they expected, and their Lord; moreover, He had been born in their city that very day! Angels from God gave Jesus the title “the Lord,” which emphasized the divine nature of Jesus beyond His being the expected Messiah. He was beyond all human expectations or thoughts. The shepherds and all who heard their good news had to ponder the meaning of these three titles for Jesus: Savior, Messiah, and Lord. They and their hearers may have thought more in military terms than in moral and spiritual terms; but Jesus was born to die to save us from our sins, rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven to reign as Lord and King over all before He comes again.

(Luke 2:12) This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

The angel told the shepherds how they would find the newborn Messiah and how they could distinguish Him from all of the other newborns in the city of David. They would find Jesus lying in a manger (mangers or feeding troughs were kept in stables and also outdoors; a place that shepherds could easily visit); whereas a palace would have been beyond the shepherds’ social status and intimidating to shepherds. Jesus was so newly born that He was wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep Him warm and snug.

(Luke 2:13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

After the angel of the Lord had prepared them for greater revelations by telling them the good news about their Messiah and Savior, a multitude of angels appeared praising God. The heavenly host might be thought of best as an angelic choir or an angelic army that belongs to the Lord and is sent to do His bidding. Though probably not in battle array, since they came to bring a message of peace, the host of angels affirmed to the shepherds that they had not experienced a ghostly deception or a mere dream or vison; they had learned the truth about God and His Messiah from many angelic witnesses.

(Luke 2:14) “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, deserve all praise, honor, glory, and our total devotion to their service. The good news included a message of peace. God will favor with peace those who believe the good news that the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. The Book of Revelation teaches that Jesus the Messiah will someday bring peace through military means and conquer all the enemies of God and His people. God favored the shepherds with His peace when He sent the angels to them to tell them the good news about Jesus’ birth. God wanted them to tell others that He was sending Jesus into the world as The Way of peace and not as a military conqueror of the Roman Empire. When Jesus returns, He will conquer all of God’s enemies and bring peace to the entire world.

(Luke 2:15) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

The angel told the shepherds how to find the Messiah. The angel did not command them to go and find Him; he left them with a choice to make. They believed the report of the angel and the confirmation of the good news by a multitude of angels. They knew God favored them by sending a message of peace and goodwill to them; so, they went from their fields into the city of David to find the Messiah as the angel said they would find Him. When they found the Messiah as the angel said they would, their experience confirmed for them the truth of the angel’s message.

(Luke 2:16) So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

At that time, Bethlehem was not a large city and the shepherds would have known the location of every sheepfold and stable inside or outside the city. The Holy Spirit may have guided them to the exact stable and manger, so they would not need to search for very long to find Jesus. The first people they met making a temporary home with a baby in a manger was Mary and Joseph. They knew to look in a manger, and there they met Jesus the Messiah.

(Luke 2:17) When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;

They saw Jesus exactly as they had been told about Him by the angels. They had an experience that served as a witness for them and others that the angels’ appearance was real. Joseph and Mary may not have expected that God would have His only Son born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in an inn. They may have looked forward to God providing the most luxurious place in Bethlehem as the best place for Jesus’ birth. So, the angels’ message to the shepherds which they conveyed to Joseph and Mary that Jesus was their Savior, Messiah, and Lord would meet His parents’ possible need for reassurance of God’s help and presence with the knowledge that God was still with them in spite of their difficult circumstances.

(Luke 2:18) and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

After the shepherds experienced the angels’ visit, heard their good news for all people, and also found Jesus as the angels described Him, they could not keep their experience quietly to themselves. They were so overjoyed at the good news about the Messiah and having actually seen Him and His parents as the angels had described that they had to tell everyone they knew. Jesus birth, along with His life and ministry, always amazed those who met Him or heard about Him.

(Luke 2:19) But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

Mary treasured all the words she heard about Jesus and all the experiences surrounding His birth; so, she was able to tell Luke (or those who wrote the documents that Luke used in writing his gospel) about all of these precious events and memories. These words and her experiences were so treasured that we can trust their accuracy. At the same time, Mary had learned truths about Jesus worth thinking about; especially as the mother of the Savior, the Messiah and the Lord.

(Luke 2:20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke concluded his report of the shepherds visit to Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus by saying that they too glorified and praised God just as the angels had done when they appeared to them. They had confirmed the angels’ words by their experience, and they made the response that Jesus deserves when one hears the truth about Him. Receiving Jesus as God, Lord, and Savior always leads to glorifying and praising God!

Five Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. What were the shepherds doing when the angels appeared to them?

2. What possible reasons can you think of for God sending angels to these shepherds on the day Jesus was born instead of to others in Bethlehem or in the region?

3. If an angel appeared to you unexpectedly in the quiet of the night, how would you feel?

4. Read Luke 2:10-11 again. What truths did the angel share with them to help them overcome their feelings of terror at seeing him?

5. If you had been one of the shepherds, what would you have done after the angels’ appearance? Give some reasons for your answer.

Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. These hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Luke 2:8-20
An Educational Take Home Review and Handout using Key Bible Lesson Words.

International Bible Lesson

Angels Appeared to the Prepared

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:8-9—KJV).

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified” (Luke 2:8-9—NRSV).

In all of the accounts surrounding Jesus’ birth, those who saw Him as a baby were the most prepared to meet Him. The angels did not appear to the shepherds who lived in their fields just because they were poor; rather, this especially chosen group of shepherds probably thought in ways similar to the shepherd boy David, who became Israel’s greatest king and an ancestor of the Messiah. These shepherds had learned about God from the beauties of God’s creation. They may have known and identified with these words of David, “The heavens are telling the glory of God … Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). But the heavens did not speak words they could hear until the angel of the Lord appeared to them. The glory of God showed around them in a new way, and they heard an angel of the Lord speak their language. The angel put into words what they had learned from the sun and the stars, “Glory to God in the highest heaven” (Luke 2:14). Moreover, they learned about God’s glory in a new way, because the angel proclaimed, “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). No wonder they left their field with haste to find the baby Jesus in a manger, and then returned “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20).

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Psalms 95:1-11 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, December 14, 2014, is from Psalms 95:1-11. Please Note: Some churches will only study Psalms 95:1-7a. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Psalms 95:1-11

(Psalms 95:1) O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Listening to good music or favorite songs, and humming or singing along with them, can fill us with joy, fond memories, and renew our feelings of love and devotion. God created us in His image with a deep appreciation for music, song singing, and other forms of expressing our joy. God inspired the psalmists to sing, teach, and write the words of songs that praise Him and express our own thoughts and feelings in the right words. The LORD and our Savior Jesus Christ are our rock of salvation: compare Deuteronomy 32:15; 2 Samuel 22:47; Matthew 7:25; and Matthew 16:16-18 (Note: the Confession of Faith that the Father inspired Peter to make declared that Jesus was the rock upon which His church would be built, which is another indication of Jesus’ divine sovereignty).

(Psalms 95:2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Song leaders in the Bible and throughout history call God’s people to sing to Him. Moreover, our loving God has deep appreciation for every “joyful noise” that honors Him and seeks to bring Him happiness. We often come into God’s presence with prayer; the Bible also encourages us to come into His presence with singing, even singing songs of our own composition that the Holy Spirit has inspired our hearts to sing. Among other reasons, we can thank God for our blessings and praise God for His character and deeds. Compare Psalm 81:2.

(Psalms 95:3) For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

From their rescue from slavery in Egypt, and from their looking back upon what we call their biblical history, God’s people in the Promised Land had many reasons to sing about God’s greatness and lordship over all. Throughout all time God’s people have been surrounded by those who worship false gods, and material or mental images of these false gods of their own making. Our great God and King rules above all these supposed gods, idols that do not exist. God’s people are called to revere and exalt the LORD above all other supposed gods: compare Psalm 96:4, 97:5, 135:5.

(Psalms 95:4) In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

Just as people today are familiar with the devastation and fear that earthquakes can bring, so were God’s people. They remembered how God’s people in obedience to Him could bring down a city’s walls with the power of God (such as Joshua achieved in the Battle of Jericho). God intended to comfort His people by inspiring the psalmist to write that the depths of the earth are in His hand as well as the highest mountains. Compare the thought of God’s presence in the mountains to Exodus 19:16 and Matthew 17:1-2.

(Psalms 95:5) The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

The Holy Spirit inspired the psalmist to write a song that proclaimed what God had revealed about Himself and His past deeds, especially regarding the fact that God had created the world: compare Genesis 1:9-10. The hymns we sing and write not only remind us of what the Bible teaches, but they also express our appreciation to God for what He has done and revealed about himself in creation, in our lives, and in the Scriptures.

(Psalms 95:6) O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

As a knight might bow before his king, or as someone might bow to someone they feel honored to serve, so God’s people can bow physically before God in worship. If they do not bow physically, Christians should always bow with their hearts and minds when they come into God’s presence. When they bow their hearts they show God that they want to do His will, and when they bow their minds they show God that they believe His Word and want to think His thoughts. God made us, and to kneel before Him expresses our desire to obey His commands and serve Him in all ways to fulfill His purposes.

(Psalms 95:7) For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!

God created all people, and the LORD is God over all; however, God gives people the ability to choose to honor or dishonor the LORD as their true God. God’s people choose to live within the boundaries God has set and they follow His leading as their great Shepherd, King Lawgiver, and Savior. People can choose to listen to or disregard the voice of God. Still, God has spoken through creation, the Scriptures, and most completely and profoundly through the Lord Jesus Christ. God holds people responsible for ignoring His voice, for God has spoken in many ways (see especially Psalm 19 and Hebrews 1).

(Psalms 95:8) Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

The psalmist and the writer of the Book of Hebrews both warn God’s people not to become stubborn or even began to disobey God. If they do, they will suffer the consequences of God’s discipline or punishment. See Hebrews 3:7-11 and Exodus 17:1-7.

(Psalms 95:9) when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

Though the Israelites had seen many of God’s miracles in Egypt, and though they knew that God had saved them from the Egyptian army when He parted the Red Sea, they kept testing God to see if He was with them and whether or not He would meet their needs. They refused to believe and cherish in their hearts what they had seen God do. Compare: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.

(Psalms 95:10) For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.”

In this verse, the psalmist reminded God’s people in song that God can loathe someone. The word “loathe” means to greatly dislike, detest, and become disgusted with someone or something. When we sin against God, He detests what we do. If we continue living in sin and refuse to repent and turn back to God, He says He can come to loathe us. Hymns can call people to repent and return to God. Hymns can call people’s hearts back to God and remind them of His ways as they sing or listen to them. Hymns can sometimes teach us truths about God that we have forgotten and draw us closer to Him.

(Psalms 95:11) Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.”

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews reminded his readers of these facts from this psalm. Compare Hebrews 3:6-19. The Bible includes warnings that God expects His people to heed and the Holy Spirit has inspired; for example, the Bible says: “therefore, as the Holy Spirit says” (Hebrews 3:7). We cannot, we will not, it is impossible to experience, rest and peace of heart, mind, and soul if we are disobeying God and God becomes angry with us and must discipline us or withdraw loving His presence from us until we turn back to Him in faith and love (see Hebrews 4:1-7).

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. How important is music and singing to you? How important do you think music is to God? Give reasons for your answers.

2. How does thinking about God as the “rock of your salvation” give you encouragement for living each day?

3. What does Psalm 95:2 encourage you to do whenever you worship God and pray to God?

4. Whenever anyone feels fearful or discouraged, what can you tell them about God that may help them by turning their attention to Psalm 95?

5. Why do you think the psalmist tells believers to kneel before God? What are some of the ways believers can kneel before God without physically being on their knees? Why are these ways important?

Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. These hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Hebrews 1:1-14
An Educational Take Home Review and Handout using Key Bible Lesson Words.

International Bible Lesson

On What Rock Do You Build Life?

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1—KJV).

“O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (Psalm 95:1—NRSV).

The Bible encourages us to build our lives upon God as a sure and solid rock foundation who will never fail. Interestingly, God commanded Moses to bring forth water from a rock for His people and their livestock, and he did. As our rock, we can trust God to meet our physical and spiritual needs. God put Moses in the cleft of a rock to protect him, and we can go to God as our rock to protect and save us according to His perfect will. The Holy Spirit inspired Moses to call the Lord “The Rock.” Moses wrote, “The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Whatever people ultimately trust becomes their rock. Moses wrote of the enemies of God, “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock; our enemies are fools” (Deuteronomy 32:31). King David trusted in the LORD as his rock: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer” and “The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation” (2 Samuel 22:2, 47). Jesus compared following His teachings to living on a rock foundation, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock” (Matthew 7:24). Jesus declared He would build His church upon the rock of Peter’s confession: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16-18) Edward Mote sang, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

Posted in Bible | Comments Off

Hebrews 1:1-14 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, December 7, 2014, is from Hebrews 1:1-14 Please Note: Some churches will only study Hebrews 1:1-9. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Hebrews 1:1-14

(Hebrews 1:1) Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,

The heavens declare the glory of God without words (see Psalm 19). Most importantly beyond that fact God has spoken with words in the Bible in a variety of ways through a variety of people over hundreds of years without any of the writers contradicting one another. God spoke by prophets, including Abraham, Moses, David, and others. All of the writings in the Bible “are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The prophets pointed to the coming of the Messiah and what He would achieve for the benefit of all God’s people.

(Hebrews 1:2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.

The “last days” began with the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. God speaks to us in the Bible, which is translated into many languages from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. The “Son” is the language that God spoke in word and deed when Jesus Christ came to earth and ministered to us. God created all things through the Son (see also John 1:3). All things, all of created existence, belong to the Son. As the Son of God the Father, all that the Father has and will ever have belongs to Jesus Christ as an heir.

(Hebrews 1:3) He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

When anyone looks at and listens to Jesus Christ, they see God in His glory exactly as our loving God acts and speaks to us. They see a perfect reflection of God’s holy character in everything Jesus said and did. Imagine seeing with perfect eyesight your face reflected perfectly in a perfect mirror. When you see Jesus and learn the truth about Jesus, you see the reflection of God perfectly and you learn the perfect truth about God. Moreover, Jesus is the perfect God and the perfect representation of God as the Son of God. Jesus proclaimed, “If you know me, you will know my Father also” and “whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:7, 9). Jesus is so powerful that His word keeps all of existence in existence moment by moment, and all created existence depends completely upon Him. Everything we are, have, ever will have, and ever will be depends completely on Jesus forever. As a glorious expression of God’s love for us, Jesus died to purify us from our sins and make it possible for us to enter into the very presence of our holy God and remain there forever. After Jesus died by crucifixion for our sins, He rose from the dead and now sits at God’s right hand from where He rules and will return to earth someday.

(Hebrews 1:4) having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Jesus is not only superior to those in the Bible who wrote about Him; Jesus is also superior to angels. Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. After He completed His saving work, He ascended into heaven where He officially inherited the name “Savior.” Jesus was the Son of God from eternity past into eternity future, but when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He inherited the name Jesus, which means Savior.

Hebrews 1:5) For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

God said or revealed many truths about Jesus that He never said about any angel or any other person. God declared these truths about the Son of God as the prophets, the psalmists, and others spoke about Jesus and His coming in the Old Testament Scriptures. Within the Virgin Mary, God the Father did beget Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, Jesus prayed to or talked to His Father. As the perfect Son of God, Jesus perfectly represented His Father to others.

(Hebrews 1:6) And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Compare the teaching in this verse to Deuteronomy 32:43 and Hebrews 10:5. In the Old Testament, God commanded the worship of God only and forbade the worship of idols (see Exodus 20:1-5). However, as the Son of God, Jesus deserves and receives the worship of angels and our worship too. Moreover, God the Father commanded all of His angels to worship Jesus, His Son. When Jesus was born the angels announced His coming and worshiped Him (Luke 2:9-14). In heaven, the angels are subject to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22). And in heaven the angels worship Jesus and declare He is a worthy of their worship (Revelation 5:9-12).

(Hebrews 1:7) Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.”

Jesus is the Son of God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, who sits on God’s throne and rules over all from the throne of God. Jesus is fully God and fully human as the Son of God and the Virgin Mary. The angels are beings or messengers that the Son of God created; the Father created the angels through His Son. The angels are spirit beings who are the servants of the Father and the Son. No angel was ever begotten by God as a physical and spiritual human being.

(Hebrews 1:8) But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.

The quotations from the Old Testament in the Book of Hebrews are from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint (abbreviated or signified as LXX, Roman numerals for 70). The Holy Spirit inspired Psalms 45:6-7 and inspired the writer of the Book of Hebrews to apply these words to Jesus the Messiah and Son of God. God the Father declared of God the Son “Your throne, O God, is forever.” As the Messiah and Son of God, Jesus’ righteous rule over the Kingdom of God and all of creation will never end.

(Hebrews 1:9) You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

When Jesus came to earth, He did so because He loved the world, wanted to make purification for sins, and wanted to establish the righteous rule of God in the hearts of all who would follow Him as Lord and Savior. He showed His love for righteousness and right living. Because He hated wickedness, He preached a gospel of repentance and faith in Him for salvation. Jesus perfectly achieved all that God the Father intended; therefore, Jesus rejoiced in the Lord beyond His disciples and other followers.

(Hebrews 1:10) And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

The Holy Spirit continued to apply the Old Testament writings to Jesus in a way that stressed some of the most important truths about Him in as few words as possible. He emphasized once again that Jesus as Lord founded the heavens and the earth. They are His handiwork (see Psalm 19:1 and Psalm 102:25). The Gospel of John stressed the same truth (see John 1:1-4).

(Hebrews 1:11) they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing;

The prophet Isaiah also foretold this truth (see Isaiah 34:4 and Psalm 102:26). Created things will change and many things will perish according to the will of their Creator, Jesus the Son of God who rules from God’s throne. God the Creator designed created things to wear out, especially after mankind fell into sin. As Redeemer and Savior, Jesus gives eternal life to all who trust in Him as Lord and Savior (see John 3:16).

(Hebrews 1:12) like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.”

Jesus Christ will never change. He will never decay or wear out. He can be totally trusted because He will always love righteousness and hate wickedness. He will always reign in righteousness, and He has promised a new and better world is coming for those who love and follow Him. The writer of the Book of Hebrews will show throughout his book (or Letter) why everyone should place their faith firmly in Jesus Christ. Created beings and things cannot be relied upon for they will not remain unchanging; only God the Father, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit are worthy of our total trust.

(Hebrews 1:13) But to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead and He left His grave clothes behind in the tomb. He appeared bodily in locked rooms to His disciples and was not a ghost, because He was there bodily with the marks of crucifixion still upon Him and He could be touched. He ascended bodily into heaven and sits bodily at the right hand of God the Father on His throne. By His Spirit, He lives in the hearts of all of His followers. God will completely defeat wicked spirits and evil people someday; currently, believers still battle with His help their enemies and His.

(Hebrews 1:14) Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Jesus Christ has commanded the angels to serve His followers. When we “inherit salvation,” because we are adopted children of God, justified, and sanctified through faith in Jesus Christ, we will be glorified by Him. We will be raised from the dead and receive glorified human bodies similar to His resurrected body. We will reign with Him in His kingdom forever.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Name three ways God has spoken to us.

2. Can you think of some ways God speaks to us today?

3. How did Jesus and the apostles show that they were speaking the truth of God?

4. From reading Hebrews 1, what are some of the important blessings that you have received as a result of your faith in Jesus, the Son of God?

5. What are some differences between Jesus and angels?

Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. These hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Hebrews 1:1-14
An Educational Take Home Review and Handout using Key Bible Lesson Words.

International Bible Lesson

God the Father Calls Jesus “God”

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8—KJV).

“Of the Son God says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom’” (Hebrews 1:8—NRSV).

The Letter to the Hebrews describes the character and nature of Jesus. Before Jesus came, God spoke by prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures. Throughout His ministry, God spoke to people through Jesus. Amazingly, the Bible reveals that God the Father called Jesus “His Son” and “God.” Furthermore, the Son called His Father “God.” The Bible teaches that one God exists, and God the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit are God in their being and essence. Working together, God the Father and God the Son created all things, and the Son keeps all things in existence by the power of His word. Though created things will change and perish, and the Son can change all things according to His will, the Son will never change and He will reign as Lord forever. The Father sent the Son to earth as a human being and named Him “Jesus.” As a human being, Jesus is the only begotten and firstborn Son of God. As God’s Son on earth, Jesus perfectly revealed God and made purification for sins. Because Jesus is the Son of God, He is superior to the angels, and God commanded all the angels to worship Jesus. The Son of God reigns in righteousness; whereas the angels serve the Son of God for the sake of those He came to save from sin and inherit salvation. Having completed His work on earth, Jesus ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of His Father on the throne of God. He loves righteousness, hates wickedness, reigns with gladness, and will defeat all of God’s enemies.

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

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Isaiah 52:1-15 International Bible Lessons Commentary and Lesson

The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, November 30, 2014, is from Isaiah 52:1-15. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Easy print International Bible Lessons Commentary versions are now available in the English Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are also available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website. The weekly International Bible Lesson is also posted below for you to study or read to your class. Additional publications and resources by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.  Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Isaiah 52:1-15

(Isaiah 52:1) Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for the uncircumcised and the unclean shall enter you no more.

Isaiah 52:1-2 concludes a poem or song that began with Isaiah 51:17. Compare Isaiah 51:17 and Isaiah 52:1. Isaiah proclaimed that the end of Jerusalem’s punishment was ending, and they should dress for a celebration. The Babylonians, who were called the uncircumcised and the unclean, would not enter Jerusalem again. Jerusalem is called the holy city, and no one and nothing unclean will enter it (see also Revelation 21:2, 27).

(Isaiah 52:2) Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion!

After 70 years of exile, after Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, the exiled Judeans were allowed to return to their homeland. The decree of King Cyrus allowing them to return was issued in 539 BC, but God directed the perfect timing of the king’s decree. Before their exile ended, God encouraged His people through Isaiah by inspiring a prophecy that looked forward to the day when Jerusalem would arise from the dust and ashes of her destruction. She would no longer be enslaved under the foreign dominion of Babylon. God commanded and expected His people to return, rise, and rebuild their city, a command that those with established homes in Babylon did not obey. Those who had remained in Jerusalem during the exile and those who returned obeyed God.

(Isaiah 52:3) For thus says the LORD: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.

With respect to Babylon, the king and his army had no justification for destroying Jerusalem and carrying the survivors into exile: “you were sold for nothing.” Neither God nor anyone else sold the southern kingdom into slavery to Babylon for money or personal gain. Those in exile would not have their freedom bought with money. The LORD sent them into exile as punishment for their idolatry and sins, and when their time of punishment ended He would redeem them or free them from bondage without paying money, but through the army of the Medes and Persians. In Old Testament times, a slave (or a member of his family) could buy his freedom or redeem himself from slavery by paying money to the slaveholder. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ did not redeem those who were enslaved to sin and Satan with money. He redeems all who believe in Him by having shed His blood and dying as a sacrifice on a cross.

(Isaiah 52:4) For thus says the Lord GOD: Long ago, my people went down into Egypt to reside there as aliens; the Assyrian, too, has oppressed them without cause.

Isaiah recounted briefly that Jacob and his sons went to Egypt because of famine. When a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph, Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews. Later, after they returned to the Promised Land, the Assyrians oppressed them without justification, and the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in 722 BC as God’s punishment for the sins of the kingdom. Neither Pharaoh nor the Assyrians had a justifiable reason for oppressing God’s people. Pharaoh and the Assyrians were moved by their greed, and God used the Assyrians to discipline His unrepentant people.

(Isaiah 52:5) Now therefore what am I doing here, says the LORD, seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers howl, says the LORD, and continually, all day long, my name is despised.

The Assyrians and the Babylonians who dispersed the Israelites and Judeans did so in spite of the fact that they had not been attacked first: “without cause.” God saw how these rulers and invaders acted unjustly and how they ridiculed God and His people. God saw how they magnified themselves above the LORD by claiming that the LORD was powerless to protect His people. Because of the sins of His people, the LORD needed to punish them and that resulted in God being dishonored by his people and by those He sent to discipline them (see Romans 2:24).

(Isaiah 52:6) Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.

Because God would free His people from exile and slavery according to the time He foretold by speaking through His prophets, God’s people would learn once again the character, nature, and power of the true God. God would free them without paying their oppressors to free them or paying money or ransom for their release from captivity. God is all-powerful and God can raise up or bring down pagan kings to punish His people or free them from oppression. By freeing them from exile, His people would see once again that the LORD is the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14).

(Isaiah 52:7) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The Apostle Paul quoted this verse in Romans 10:16. Isaiah predicted the future: the time would come when Judean messengers from Babylon would come and announce in Jerusalem (from “upon the mountains”) that God had freed them from captivity through King Cyrus’ decree and their families could return from exile. God would reign over them once again instead of their being enslaved by foreign kings. People would return and they would rejoice. Later, John the Baptist brought good news of the Messiah. At Jesus’ command, the apostles preached about Him from Jerusalem to Samaria and beyond. Good News! King Jesus reigns! Salvation has come through faith in Him.

(Isaiah 52:8) Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the LORD to Zion.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets foretold the return of the LORD and the exiles to Jerusalem and the Promised Land after their exile and dispersion into foreign nations. In his poem or hymn, Isaiah foretold that the time would come when the sentinels or lookouts or watchmen on the ruined city walls would shout to the remaining residents of Jerusalem what they had heard from the messenger and they would sing for joy that the LORD and His people were coming home. Today, Christians eagerly await for the return of Jesus the Messiah.

(Isaiah 52:9) Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

Even though Jerusalem remained in ruins after 70 years of exile, with the return of the LORD and His people restoration of fellowship with God and reconstruction of the temple and the city walls would begin; which would inspire singing by God’s people. God would comfort those who had remained in the ruined city of Jerusalem and those who returned to Jerusalem with His presence in their midst.

(Isaiah 52:10) The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah rightly ascribed to the LORD the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. To “bare the arm” meant to get ready for battle, and Isaiah said all the nations would see God in His holy power bringing justice to all the earth by His almighty power. The Holy Spirit inspired Simeon to refer to this verse when he saw the baby Jesus (Luke 2:30). Filled with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist foretold the coming of Jesus the Messiah and quoted this verse (Luke 3:6). Today, Christians declare “the salvation of our God” through faith in Jesus Christ and they do so in almost every nation on earth. However, Christians are persecuted in many places for making this proclamation of good news.

(Isaiah 52:11) Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of it, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the LORD.

Since the LORD was returning to Zion (Jerusalem), God wanted His people to leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem also. They were not to bring any unclean idols or items with them, but they were to purify themselves and prepare themselves to enter the holy city of Jerusalem. King Cyrus did allow the returning exiles to return with their sacred temple vessels just as Isaiah foretold (see Ezra 1).

(Isaiah 52:12) For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Isaiah looked back upon how God’s people had left Egypt with Moses after celebrating the first Passover. They fled with haste and were pursued by Pharaoh and his army. God protected them when His people fled through the Red Sea and the waters of the Red Sea swallowed Pharaoh’s army. Just as Isaiah predicted, the Jews left Babylon after careful planning and the LORD protected them (see Ezra and Nehemiah – especially Ezra 8:21-23).

(Isaiah 52:13) See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

Beginning with Isaiah 52:13, Isaiah began to describe and predict the coming Messiah that God would send after the people returned to Jerusalem. More than 500 years later, the Messiah did come to Jerusalem, and He promised to return having completed His work of atonement for our sins and being raised from the dead. Jesus was exalted and lifted up on the cross and on the day of His ascension. Jesus is very high now: seated at the right hand of God. The Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus, “he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (see Philippians 2:8-11). Jesus told the people, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me” (John 8:28).

(Isaiah 52:14) Just as there were many who were astonished at him–so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals–

As Isaiah further described in chapter 53 (see the International Bible Lesson Commentary on Isaiah 53:1-8 from April 27, 2014), the Messiah did not look like the statue of a Greek or Roman idol. He did not look like a hero of the Olympian Games. The psalmist described how the Messiah came to look after He was flogged, as He hanged on a cross, and as He died for our sins (see also Psalm 22:6-7, 16-18).

(Isaiah 52:15) so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

For almost 2000 years, the good news of Jesus Christ has startled many nations as people have turned to Him as their Lord and Savior. Some translations prefer “sprinkle” to the word “startle.” Jesus the Messiah will cleanse and set apart all the nations of the earth to serve God after He returns (see Revelation 22:1-5). Jesus’ blood cleanses from all sin in a way that is similar to the sprinkling of the blood on the altar to cleanse it, make atonement, and set it apart for a holy use (see Ezekiel 43:20). At some point in the future, everyone will come to know that Jesus the Messiah is the King over all things and peoples. As the gospel of Jesus Christ began to be preached to the Gentiles, even some kings began to understand why God sent Jesus the Redeemer to earth and what they had never heard before they began to understand as they heard the gospel preached. The Roman Emperor Constantine is an example. The Apostle Paul knew of Isaiah’s prophecy and that is one reason he wanted to preach to those who had never heard the gospel before (see Romans 15:20-21).

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Read Isaiah 47:1-2 and Isaiah 52:1-2. In what way does Isaiah describe Babylon and Jerusalem that is similar? What does he say will happen to them?

2. In Isaiah 52:1-2, what did God want the exiled Jews and those left in Jerusalem to do when their time of punishment ended?

3. What was the messenger supposed to announce in Jerusalem “upon the mountains” in Isaiah 52:7? What did Jesus the Messiah bring when He came? What does He bring into the lives of His followers?

4. How were the sentinels supposed to respond when they heard the announcement “upon the mountains”?

5. How did the Israelites leave Egypt? How did God say through Isaiah that His people would leave Babylon? How do both ways demonstrate the awesome power of God?

Study Hints for Thinking Further, a study guide for teachers, discusses the questions above to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion; these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Isaiah 52:1-15
An Educational and Printable Handout for Review using Key Lesson Words

International Bible Lesson

Our God Reigns

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7—KJV).

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7—NRSV).

In the history of Israel and the world, Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled twice in totally unexpected ways. In the first situation, a messenger sent by God came from Babylon and announced to those in Jerusalem that Babylon had fallen and God had moved a victorious conqueror and king to free His people from exile and slavery so they could return to Jerusalem. With God’s help, they could now rebuild their city, the city’s walls, and most importantly the temple where they could worship God. In addition, God moved the new king to return the temple vessels to Jerusalem that the Babylonians had also carried into captivity. Such good news of salvation led God’s people to rejoicing, and the restoration of God’s kingdom and people proves that God reigns. Then, as Isaiah chapter 52 concluded and 53 began, Isaiah foretold the sacrifice of the Messiah who would come to reign in the future.

After about 600 years, when Jesus the Messiah began His ministry He proved that God reigns by everything He said and did. As Isaiah described, God made Jesus’ “life an offering for sin;” furthermore, God said “the righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:10-11). Jesus freed God’s people from spiritual exile and slavery to self, sin, and Satan. The good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection still brings salvation to believers around the world and proves that God still reigns and leads His followers to rejoicing and spreading the message about Him and His power to save all believers forever.

Prepare daily for Christmas by reading Prayer Steps to Christmas.


Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. To print the International Bible Lesson in three different sizes (including large print size and bulletin size) and for the Teacher’s Study Hints for Five Discussion Questions andThinking Further, go to the International Bible Lessons Commentary website.

See the recommended Bible study, Recovery, and Worship Resources at SmallChurchResources.com.

— © All Contents of this website are copyright 2014 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use.

Posted in Bible | Comments Off