The Gospel, the Investigation and Judgment

July, August, September 2006

Want to learn more about The Gospel, the Investigation and Judgment? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 14-part series.

Lesson 1: Principalities and Powers (Job 1, Revelation 12, Zechariah 3, Romans 3)
What is most important to you right now? What do you need to fix or do this week? Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little world we forget about the fact that we live in a larger context. There is a controversy between good and evil sweeping all around us. We are just a little cog in a great and unfolding plan for the defeat of evil. Let's jump into the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 2: Judgment Must Begin (Daniel 12, Matthew 7-8, Genesis 3)
"Judgment." Here is a word on which opinions differ. If we are talking about someone else who has done something to harm us, well, judgment is a very good thing. On the other hand, if we are talking about our own judgment, we shrink from that. Many people who want to be sure wicked people are judged here, deny that God will have a final judgment. Our fear of judgment arises from our fear that we will not "pass" whatever standard is imposed. If God has a judgment, what is His standard for "passing?" Let's jump into the Bible to see what it has to say about this most important topic!

Lesson 3: Daniel 2 (Daniel 2, Matthew 24:15)
Last week we discussed the final judgment and how we need to take it seriously. One reason we don't take it seriously is that "judgment" gets lost in reality. What is happening all around us every day is real. We have no doubt about it. The "pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25) are real, if short-lived. How can we know the final judgment is real? What reason do we have to trust that God has set a time for my judgment and yours? Let's dive into a central prophetic chapter of the Bible to prove to ourselves that God's word about judgment is as real as what happened to you this week!

Lesson 4: Daniel 7 (Daniel 7)
Last week we studied a fabulous dream given to King Nebuchadnezzar. In our study of Daniel this week, we have another dream, but one that was given directly to Daniel. Just like Nebuchadnezzer last week, Daniel is extremely troubled by his dream - particularly the part about the terrifying carnivore beast with huge iron teeth. Let's jump into his dream and keep our eyes open for danger!

Lesson 5: Daniel 8 (Daniel 8)
Daniel dreams he is strolling by the water when suddenly he is face to face with a powerful sheep with two big horns - and no one is there to rescue him. It turns out his dream is not so much about danger, or adventure, but rather about the future. Let's jump into Daniel's dream and see what we can learn about the future!

Lesson 6: Daniel 9 (Daniel 9:1-23)
Daniel is now an old man. He has been a captive and a foreigner for most of his life. His fondest hope has been to have his country and God's sanctuary rebuilt so that the Jewish people could go home and properly worship God again. With that background, let's jump into our study of Daniel 9!

Lesson 7: 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27, Ezra 4 & 7)
Last week, after studying Daniel's prayer that his people to be returned to their home and their sanctuary rebuilt, we learned that Gabriel came immediately to give Daniel an answer. An answer straight from the throne of God! We could not help it - we "peeked" ahead a few verses to see what Gabriel had to tell Daniel. This week we will revisit those same verses and then try to understand what they mean. Let's dive in!

Lesson 8: 1844 Made Simple (2,300 Day Prophecy) (Daniel 8)
Last week we studied one of the most important prophecies of the Bible. We learned, from Daniel 9:22-27, that the specific dates of the coming of Jesus the Messiah were revealed hundreds of years in advance through Gabriel's message to Daniel. As far as I am concerned, this is the most important message of Daniel. God reveals to His people not only the details of the sweep of history, He reveals the timing of the coming of His Son. Of course, we learned a number of other important things as well. We learned that the sanctuary will be rebuilt and then destroyed again. We learned that the gospel will go from being a message directed to the Jews to a message for all of us today. There are, however, a few "loose ends." (Aren't there always?) One unresolved question is the meaning of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14. Let's dig into Daniel to see what other secrets God has revealed to us today!

Lesson 9: Day-Year Principle (Daniel 8 & 9, Jeremiah 29)
Do you hate to wait? My wife is a teacher, and I decided to go with her to a national teachers' convention last week. We arrived at the airport very early in the morning, and I was shocked to see the airport jammed with travelers - and on Sunday even. As I was heading towards the "self-service" check-in machines that I always use, an airline employee told us to go stand in this huge line. We did what we were told. As I surveyed the line, I had some doubts about making it on time to our plane. I decided to depend on my own judgment instead of the direction of the airline employee. I left my wife in line, and in less than five minutes had both of our boarding passes issued by a self-service check-in machine. We were soon on our way. Poor Daniel, in his case we have decided that what is stated in days, really means years! Are we like the airline employee, needlessly creating delay? Let's jump in and look at this issue again this week!

Lesson 10: Rome and Antiochus (Daniel 7 & 8)
How important are opinion polls? If you agree with the majority, it gives you some comfort that you are right and the rest of the world is basically "right thinking." On the other hand, if you are in the minority you think, "What is wrong with those people?" I doubt that many people who have formed a strong opinion on a subject are swayed by opinion polls showing that the majority disagree. This week we are going to be in the minority: we are studying and arguing what is a minority position today on Daniel 7 and 8. Let's jump into the controversy!

Lesson 11: The Sanctuary and the Little Horn (Daniel 8, Hebrews 9)
If you are reading this, it means that you are still with me in this study, even though it has been hard work to trudge through some of the details of Daniel's prophecies. Last week I promised you that we would discover this week why it makes any difference, as a practical matter, whether the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7 & 8 is Antiochus or Rome. Why should we care as Christians? What does it matter to modern people? Let's jump in and discover why this issue brings us to the heart of the gospel and the proof of your faith!

Lesson 12: The Pre-Advent Judgment (Daniel 7)
In our last lesson we learned that salvation by grace alone was the important issue in whether the "Little Horn" was Antiochus Epiphanes or Rome. It turned out that "1844" is an issue of righteousness by faith: we have a Mediator in the Heavenly sanctuary who has given His life and offers His blood on behalf of our sins. Why do we need a mediator? Doesn't God the Father love us? Isn't He taking everyone to heaven with Him? Let's dive in and find out why we need Jesus as our mediator!

Lesson 13: The Gospel and Judgment (Matthew 21 & 22, Zechariah 3)
For the last two weeks we have been pounding away on the theme that "Antiochus v. 1844" is question of works versus righteousness by faith when it comes to our salvation. If the sanctuary in question is the one in heaven instead of the one on earth, if the Daniel 7 & 8 picture of the choice between Jesus and the "Little Horn" is a matter of grace versus works in the final judgment, then we need to ask ourselves: is righteousness by faith a solid Bible-based doctrine? Or, is it just some hopeful "pipe-dream" of lazy Christians? What, really, is the standard for the judgment? Let's jump into the Bible and find out!

Lesson 14: The Meaning of the Judgment Today (Psalms 73)
We come to our last lesson in the "1844 series." What have we learned? We learned that God revealed to Daniel (and all believers) how world events would play out through the end of human history. God shared the timing of the coming of Jesus. God shared how the gospel would be a message for everyone. God shared that He has an end-time judgment, and the standard for that judgment is righteousness by a meaningful faith. Do we want the world to end in judgment? Do you want to be judged? Let's finish up this series by diving into the topic of whether we want what God has revealed!

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