Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--2nd Quarter 2020--The Bible and Prophecy  (Read 826 times)

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Lesson 11 June 6-12

The Bible and Prophecy

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Dan. 2:27-45, John 14:29, Num. 14:34, Dan. 7:1-25, Dan. 8:14, 1 Cor. 10:1-13.

Memory Text: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Daniel 8:14, KJV).

Bible prophecy is crucial to our identity and mission. Prophecy provides an internal and external mechanism to confirm the accuracy of God’s Word. Jesus said, “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29, NKJV; see also John 13:19). The crucial question is: How do we interpret prophecy correctly so that we know when the prophecy has, indeed, come to pass?

During the Reformation, the reformers followed the historicist method. This method is the same one Daniel and John used as the key for their own interpretation. The historicist method sees prophecy as a progressive and continuous fulfillment of history, starting in the past and ending with God’s eternal kingdom.

This week, we will study the pillars of historicist prophetic interpretation. “We are to see in history the fulfillment of prophecy, to study the workings of Providence in the great reformatory movements, and to understand the progress of events in the marshalling of the nations for the final conflict of the great controversy”. — Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 307.

Amen!!  When we study Bible prophecy, we will see that God has inspired humans to reveal what will happen in the future. There are many things that reveal the supernatural power of God. One thing that is a great witness is the prophecy that has been fulfilled. A couple of examples of the many:  The great flood. It was rejected by most who refused the offer to get aboard the ark.  Another is the year Jesus would be baptized and crucified. Another is the destruction of Sodom. Another is the birth of a son to Abraham's wife when she was past the age of child bearing. Another was the death of Adam and Eve after they ate from the forbidden tree. Another was the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant to give to all who would accept the sacrifice of Christ a new heart with the law of God written on their hearts (Gen. 3:15). One more: The resurrection of Jesus after three days in the grave.

Who would doubt the power of God! Ok, one last one. Have we not seen the power of God to transform sinners into saints? When we are sanctified in the presence of the heathen, then even the heathen will know there is God in heaven.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday         June 7

Historicism and Prophecy

The foundational method that Seventh-day Adventists apply for studying Bible prophecies is called historicism. It’s the idea that many of the major prophecies in the Bible follow an unbroken linear flow of history, from past to present, and to future. It’s similar to how you might study history in school. We do it this way because that is how the Bible itself interprets these prophecies for us.

Read Daniel 2:27-45. What aspects of the dream indicate a continuous, uninterrupted succession of powers throughout history? In what way, do we have the Bible itself showing us how to interpret apocalyptic (end-time) prophecy?

Note that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is recognized as the head of gold. Thus, Daniel identifies Babylon as the first kingdom (Dan. 2:38). Then Daniel says, “But after you shall arise another kingdom … then another, a third kingdom” (Dan. 2:39, NKJV) and then a fourth (Dan. 2:40). That these are in succession one after another without any gaps is also implied in the image itself, for each of the kingdoms is represented in parts of a larger body moving from the head down to the toes. They are connected, just as time and history are connected.

In Daniel 7 and 8, instead of an image, specific beast symbols are used, but the same thing is taught. We are given an unbroken sequence of four earthly kingdoms (three in Daniel 8 ). They start in antiquity, and go through history, up to the present and into the future, when Christ returns and God establishes His eternal kingdom.

Thus, the image of Daniel 2 and the successive visions of Daniel 7 and 8 provided the basis for the Protestant historicist interpretation of prophecy, which Seventh-day Adventists still uphold today.

Read John 14:29.

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 

What does Jesus say that helps us understand how prophecy can function?

He tells us something all ought to understand. God knows the future and so can we if we will believe with the whole heart. Jesus tells us what is in front of us. How do we  know that God knows? Because prophecy has been revealed in the past and has come to pass just as God said it would. Did the beast receive a deadly wound?  Was Jesus  baptized according to the dates foretold? Were evil people destroyed by a world-wide flood because they did not enter the ark? Did not Noah invite them all?  Did Jesus fulfill Genesis 3:15? Have not sinner been brought to repentance just as Genesis 3:15 promised? Why would we not believe God's Word that tells us we are at the end of this world's history?

What great advantage do we have today, living when so much history has already unfolded, that someone living in the time of Babylon would not have had?

We have the blazing glory of the cross before us in reality while those living in the days of Babylon only had object lessons and promises before them. Have not prophecies been unfolding from then until now? What excuse do we have for not believing?

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday         June 8

The Year-Day Principle

One of the interpretative keys of historicism is the year-day principle. Many scholars over the centuries applied this principle to the time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. They derived the principle from several key texts and from the immediate context of the prophecies themselves.

Read Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6.

 14:34   After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, [even] forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, [even] forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 

 4:6   And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. 

How does God spell out the year-day principle in these specific texts?

In these texts, we can see very clearly the idea of the year-day principle. But how do we justify using this principle with some of the time prophecies, such as in Daniel 7:25, and Daniel 8:14, as well as Revelation 11:2, 3; Revelation 12:6, 14; and Revelation 13:5?

Three other elements support the year-day principle in these prophecies of Daniel and Revelation: the use of symbols, long time periods, and peculiar expressions.

First, the symbolic nature of the beasts and horns representing kingdoms suggests that the time expressions should also be understood as symbolic. The beasts and horns are not to be taken literally. They are symbols for something else. Hence, because the rest of the prophecy is symbolic, not literal, why should we take the time prophecies alone as literal? The answer, of course, is that we shouldn’t.

Second, many of the events and kingdoms depicted in the prophecies cover a time span of many centuries, which would be impossible if the time prophecies depicting them were taken literally. Once the year-day principle is applied, the time fits the events in a remarkably accurate way, something that would be impossible if the time prophecies were taken literally.

Finally, the peculiar expressions used to designate these time periods suggest a symbolic interpretation. In other words, the ways in which time is expressed in these prophecies (for example, “2,300 evenings and mornings” of Daniel 8:14, NIV) are not the normal ways to express time, showing us that the time periods depicted are to be taken symbolically, not literally.

Look at the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. We read that “the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25, NKJV) will be a literal 69 weeks, or just one year and four months and one week. The prophecy makes no sense when understood that way, does it? What happens, however, when we apply the Bible’s own year-day principle, and the 70 weeks become 490 years?

And if we have any doubts, just look at the prophecies that have already been fulfilled. The day for a year works. Jesus was baptized and crucified according to this Biblical principle.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday         June 9

Identifying the Little Horn

For centuries, the Protestant reformers identified the little horn power of Daniel 7 and in Daniel 8 as the Roman church. Why?

Read Daniel 7:1-25 and 8:1-13. What are the common characteristics of the little horn in both chapters? How can we identify it?

There are seven common characteristics between the little horn of Daniel 7 and 8: 1. both are described as a horn; 2. both are persecuting powers (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:10, 24); 3. both are self-exalting and blasphemous (Dan. 7:8, 20, 25; 8:10, 11, 25); 4. both target God’s people (Dan. 7:25, 8:24); 5. both have aspects of their activity delineated by prophetic time (Dan. 7:25; 8:13, 14); 6. both extend until the end of time (Dan. 7:25, 26; 8:17, 19); and 7. both are to be supernaturally destroyed (Dan. 7:11, 26; 8:25).

History identifies the first kingdom as Babylon (Dan. 2:38), the second as Media-Persia (Daniel 8:20), and the third as Greece (Dan. 8:21). History is unequivocal that after these world empires comes Rome.

In Daniel 2, the iron representing Rome continues into the feet of iron mixed with clay; that is, until the end of time. The little horn of Daniel 7 comes forth from the fourth beast but remains part of this fourth beast.

What power came out of Rome and continues its politico-religious influence for at least 1,260 years (see Dan. 7:25)? Only one power fits history and prophecy — the papacy. The papacy came into power among the ten barbarian tribes of Europe and uprooted three of them (Dan. 7:24). The papacy was “different from the previous ones” (Dan. 7:24, NASB) indicating its uniqueness compared to the other tribes. The papacy spoke “pompous words against the Most High” (Dan. 7:25, NKJV) and “exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host” (Dan. 8:11, NKJV) by usurping the role of Jesus and replacing it with the pope. The papacy fulfilled the prediction of persecuting “the saints of the Most High” (Dan. 7:25, NKJV) and casting down “some of the host” (Dan 8:10, NKJV) during the Counter-Reformation when Protestants were slaughtered. The papacy sought “to change times and law” (Dan. 7:25, NKJV) by removing the second commandment and changing the Sabbath to Sunday.

In Daniel 2, 7, and 8, after Greece, one power arises that exists to the end of time. What power could that be other than Rome, now in its papal stage? No matter how politically incorrect, why is this a crucial teaching of the Three Angels’ Messages, and hence, a crucial component of present truth?

It identifies Babylon as having fallen from grace, and it identifies the last test to come to a world soon to perish. And, there need be a whole lot more to identify the beast. Yet, many want to make all involve the beast. This is not necessary. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Some will reject this truth no matter how much is presented to them.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday       June 10

The Investigative Judgment

The prophetic outline studied this week has found overwhelming support among Protestant historicists since the Reformation. But it was not until the Millerite movement in the early 1800s that the 2,300 days and the investigative judgment were carefully reconsidered and studied. Look at the following chart:

Daniel 7    Daniel 8
Babylon (lion)    -----
Media-Persia (bear)    Media-Persia (ram)
Greece (leopard)    Greece (he-goat)
Pagan Rome (fourth beast)    Pagan Rome (horn moves horizontally)
Papal Rome (little horn)    Papal Rome (horn moves vertically)

Why not point out that the seven trumpets in Revelation all warn Rome to turn from her sins or else she will be punished, and she has always rejected the warning, and thus has suffered greatly. The last warning to Rome includes both Babylon and Rome since they have joined hands. And, while the punishment came from Islam in the first and second woes, so it will and is coming from Islam today.

Read Daniel 7:9-14; 8:14, 26. What is happening in heaven as depicted in these texts?

After the period of medieval persecution, which ended in 1798 with the capture and imprisonment of the pope by Napoleon’s General Berthier (Rev. 13:3), Daniel 7 and 8 speak of judgment. The judgment is to take place in heaven where “the court was seated” (Dan. 7:10, NKJV) and “One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven … came to the Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:13, NKJV). This is a judgment scene that occurs after 1798 and before the Second Coming of Jesus.

This judgment scene in Daniel 7 is directly parallel to the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14. They are talking about the same thing. According to Daniel 8:14, the time of this “cleansing of the sanctuary”, which is Day of Atonement terminology, is 2,300 evening-mornings, or days. With the year-day principle, these days represent 2,300 years.

The starting point of the 2,300 years is found in Daniel 9:24, in which the 70-week (490 year) prophecy is chatak, or “cut off”, from the 2,300-day vision (Dan. 9:24). In fact, many scholars correctly see the 2,300-day (year) prophecy of Daniel 8:14 and the 70-week prophecy (490 years) of Daniel 9:24-27 as two parts of one prophecy. The next verse in the 70-week prophecy, Daniel 9:25, gives the beginning of the time period, “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem” (NKJV). The date for this event is “the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king” (Ezra 7:7), or 457 B.C. Counting forward 2,300 years, we come to 1844, which is not long after 1798 and before the Second Coming of Jesus. This is when Jesus entered into the Most Holy and began His work of intercession, of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary. See chart on Friday’s study.

Amen. Jesus also began another work that we seldom if ever hear of. He cannot come until He has a people who can go through a time of trouble such as never was without a Mediator. He is going to prepare this people, but He needs our cooperation. So far, He has failed to get the church's cooperation. In 1888 the church leadership rejected the gospel message, without which it is impossible to have a people who have ceased sinning.

Jesus will succeed. He will have a people who glorify Him, who reveal His character. He is pouring clean water upon His church today (Eze. 36:22-37).

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday         June 11

Typology as Prophecy

The symbols of apocalyptic prophecies, such as those found in Daniel and Revelation, have one single fulfillment. For example, the he-goat found its fulfillment in Greece, a singular kingdom (Dan. 8:21). After all, the text came right out and named it for us! How much clearer could it be?

Typology, however, focuses on actual persons, events, or institutions of the Old Testament that are founded in a historical reality but that point forward to greater reality in the future. The use of typology as a method of interpretation goes back to Jesus and the New Testament writers, and is even found in the Old Testament itself. The only guide to recognizing a type and antitype is when an inspired writer of Scripture identifies them.

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.

 10:1   Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 
 10:2   And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 
 10:3   And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 
 10:4   And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 
 10:5   But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 
 10:6   Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 
 10:7   Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 
 10:8   Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 
 10:9   Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 
 10:10   Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 
 10:11   Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 
 10:12   Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 
 10:13   There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. 

To what events in history does Paul refer as he admonishes the Corinthian church? How does this relate to us today?

Paul refers back to the historical reality of the Exodus and develops a typology based on the experience of the ancient Hebrews in the wilderness. In this way, Paul shows that God, who inspired Moses to record these events, intended that “these things became our examples” (1 Cor. 10:6, NKJV), thereby admonishing spiritual Israel to endure temptation as we live in the last days.

"Endure temptation." What does that mean? We live in the anti-typical day of atonement. We must be as clear as the noon-day sun. We need to spell it out just as did Paul in our quoted verses. Yes, we must endure temptation, but what does that mean? It means that we must stop sinning. Is that clear enough? Say it despite what is being preached in the church, God's church. And, it means not just outward actions, but sins of the heart. We must have a holy motive for what we do. In the old days Jesus said they taught that shall not commit adultery, but He said if we look upon a women with lust in the heart, then we have sinned. We must be a partaker of God's divine nature if we want power to not be tempted beyond what we can bear.

Why is it that God's promise to not be tempted beyond what we can bear does not work for all in the church? Why does it not work for the heathen? There, you have your answer for the church member. It is a conditional promise just for those who love God supremely and are partakers of His divine nature. If we are truly converted, the promise is for us and it works. We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, we will not sin as long as we are united with Christ, fully surrendered.

What does this have to do with Paul's warning? He tells us to learn from the mistakes (sins) of Israel. Have we learned from their example? If we did, then why are we still here. They only wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. We have been wandering for over 150 years. Jesus would have come in 1888 if the church leaders had not rejected the gospel message being preached by a modern day prophet and two church members.

Are we living at the end of time? Then the words of Paul "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." Spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Christ and you will be transformed in character. You will not be tempted beyond what you can bear, you will not sin. It is God's promise to all who are abiding in Christ and He in them.

Read the passages below and write down each type and antitype fulfillment, as described by Jesus and the New Testament writers.

Matt. 12:40_______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _

John 19:36_______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _

John 3:14, 15_______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _

Rom. 5:14_______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _

John 1:29_______________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _

In each case, Jesus and the New Testament writers apply the type and antitype interpretation that allow the prophetic significance to stand out. In this way, they point to a greater fulfillment of the historical reality.

Think about the earthly sanctuary service, which functioned as a type of the entire plan of salvation. What does this teach us about the importance of the sanctuary message for us today?

The sanctuary and its services revealed the gospel message of grace. It all pointed to Jesus who died for our sins that we might be transformed into His image and have eternal life. It reveals the truth that Jesus is in the Most Holy Place attempting to prepare a people to live through a time of trouble such as never was without a Mediator. We have not been cooperating with Him, so He cannot come yet.
So few believe that God will keep them from sinning in this world. Many pastors and teachers do not believe God will have a people who will not sin. Morris Venden taught that there will never come a time when man will not have a Mediator.

The sanctuary taught the Jews the gospel. It confirms the New Testament teaching on the gospel. It is how we know that Jesus is our living High Priest who is today cleansing the Most Holy Place that He can close it soon never again to forgive sin. Are we ready?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Friday         June 12

Further Thought: Read Clifford Goldstein, 1844 Made Simple (Boise, ID: Pacific Press, 1988) as one place, of many, to find more material on the 2,300- day prophecy. See also

If we seek to know the truth, read the Bible. Cease looking to man for wisdom.  Here is a quote from Goldstein on the subject. "If I have no Substitute, one who embodies the Absolute, then on judgment day I will be condemned, and if condemned, lost." It is true that we need a Savior. But, it is not the obedience of Christ as my substitute that is being judged in the Investigative Judgment. It will be my character being judged. And, it is the law that is the standard. It is me that must be transformed in character. The heart will be seen to be pure and holy by what is written in the books that are opened. It is also true that law which is not known is not the standard that judges me. It is the law that I do know. God looks upon the heart. Is the heart fully given to Christ? Are the motives pure and holy? If not, then unconfessed and unforsaken sins will bar entrance to heaven.

I have not read Brother Goldstein saying this.

Study this chart below:

Daniel 7                                                 Daniel 8
Babylon (lion)                                           -----
Media-Persia (bear)                    Media-Persia (ram)
Greece (leopard)                           Greece (he-goat)
Pagan Rome (fourth beast)           Pagan Rome (horn moves horizontally)
Papal Rome (little horn)                    Papal Rome (horn moves vertically)
Judgment in heaven                   Cleansing of heavenly Sanctuary

The crucial point to see here is that the judgment scene in Daniel 7, which occurs after 1,260 years of persecution (Dan. 7:25), is the same thing as the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14. And this judgment scene in heaven is what leads, ultimately, to the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom at the end of this fallen earth’s sad history. Hence, we have powerful biblical evidence for the great importance that Scripture places on Daniel 8:14 and the event it signifies.

Discussion Questions:

    Go back and review Daniel 2. See how clearly the historicist method is revealed here: an unbroken sequence of world empires, starting in antiquity and ending with the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. God gives us the key to interpreting these prophecies. What does it say, though, about the state of the Christian world that very few Christians today employ the historicist method anymore? Why does this fact help establish even more the pertinence of the Adventist message for the world at this time?

    How well do you understand the 2,300 prophecy of Daniel 8:14? If you don’t understand it, why not take the time to learn it and to share it with your class? You might be surprised at how solidly grounded our interpretation of that prophecy really is.

    Read Daniel 7:18, 21, 22, 25, 27. Notice the focus on what happens to the saints. What does the little-horn power do to them? In contrast, what does the Lord do for them? What is the good news for the saints in regard to the judgment? What does the judgment ultimately give to them?

Yes, the IJ is good news for some, but not for others. We never hear this, though. It is always the IJ is good news. How can it be good news for Laodiceans? It can't. Unless converted, the Laodicean will be found guilty in the judgment. Jesus tells the Laodicean to repent, but, the Laodicean thinks he is saved just as he is. How can this be? Because he has been taught he is saved in his sin. Such a deception! It is not a hard thing to understand. The judgment reveals the intent of the heart. If the heart has not been fully surrendered, then it is  not cleansed. If not cleansed, then the judgment will not be good news.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.