Lesson 11

The Bible as Prophecy

(1 Corinthians 10, Daniel 2)
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Introduction: Has anyone recently commented "I told you so?" What do you think about that person? Sometimes I don't like that (especially where I was wrong), but I notice this. If a person is consistently right, I pay more attention then to people who are consistently wrong. We recently discussed God's claim to our worship because He is our Creator. God has more than one argument why we should believe in Him. One of those powerful arguments is that He knows the future. He can reliably say, "I told you so." Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Be Aware

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-2. To what event do these verses refer? (The Exodus. See Exodus 13 & 14.)

      1. Doesn't the language of 1 Corinthians 10:2 seem a little strange to you? How were the people "baptized" into Moses "in the cloud and in the sea?"

        1. The parallel between baptism and the sea is pretty clear. What about being baptized in the cloud?

        2. What purpose did the cloud serve during the Exodus? (Read Exodus 13:21-22. It directed the people. It gave them shade and comfort. It reminded them of the constant presence of God.)

        3. What parallel do we have today? (The Holy Spirit! The Bible reminds us that baptism by water and the Holy Spirit were foreshadowed by the Exodus.)

          1. Do you think God planned that?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 and Exodus 17:6. Did the rock contain water? (It would be a unusual rock!)

      1. Why is this "spiritual Rock" Jesus? (This reminds us that Jesus created the world out of nothing.)

      2. When you face problems, do you start feeling better when you can see how things will work out?

        1. Imagine how much more peaceful your life would be if you trusted that God could solve your problems out of "nothing?" A rock, the most unlikely source of water, in God's hands brings water.

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 10:5. Despite all of these advantages, how did things turn out for God's people during the Exodus? (Almost all who left Egypt died in the desert.)

      1. Why? They had all of these advantages?

    4. Notice the two things going on in 1 Corinthians 10 so far. First, we have a type of prophecy about the future: water baptism, the work of the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus is the "Rock" of our salvation. He has power over all. Second, we have what happened to God's people as a history lesson for our life. What does God want us to do with this prophecy and history? (To learn something! Let's turn to that next.)

  2. Examples

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 10:6. How difficult is it to control your desires? (Controlling your actions is one thing, controlling your desires is quite another.)

      1. How do these examples help us to control our desires? (You desire something that is enjoyable. These examples show that the outcome is far from enjoyable. Being stuck in a desert wilderness and dying there is not something we would find enjoyable.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:7. We love to eat, drink, and play! Is that idolatry? (Read Exodus 32:1 and Exodus 32:4-6. The problem is not eating, drinking, and playing. It is doing these things to celebrate the rejection of the true God and the substitution of the golden calf idol.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 10:8. Will sexual immorality kill us?

      1. Let's read Numbers 25:1-3 to see what Paul is citing as proof of his exhortation. Is this a mixed problem? (Once again, idolatry is prominent.)

        1. Is there a difference between bowing down and worshiping an idol? (The phrase used here seems to indicate not worship, but rather deference to Baal.)

        2. What do you think is the proper conclusion to be reached from what we have read here? (Sexual immorality leads to a compromise in other areas of your life.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:9-10 and Numbers 21:5-6. How are the people putting "Christ to the test?" (They are complaining and are ungrateful. They do not trust God.)

      1. Do you see a pattern here? (Yes. The idolatry shows a lack of trust in God. The immorality and the complaining show a distrust of God's plan and providence.)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:11. Are these lessons limited to the so-called primitive people in the Exodus? (Paul informs us that these lessons are for those who live in the end times. They are for us!)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 10:12. Why this warning? (The very attitude that these were primitive people and we are not, is a reason to warn us. We must not be arrogant.)

      1. How do you explain the fact that idolatry was such a big problem then, but has disappeared today? Does that show our sophistication? (We have more sophisticated idols. An idol is something that you trust rather than God.)

        1. What are the idols that modern humans trust?

  3. The Future

    1. We recently studied the book of Daniel. As a review, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that his smartest people could not reconstruct or interpret. Read Daniel 2:27-28 and Daniel 2:31-36. What did we learn that this dream represents? (It is a prophecy of the sweep of world history up to the end of time - Jesus' Second Coming.)

      1. Why did God put this story in the Bible? (It confirms to us that our God is in charge of history. He knows the future!)

    2. The Daniel 2 prophecy is very important, but it is only one of many prophecies in the Bible. What reaction should we have to these many prophecies? (We should trust God when we see them fulfilled.)

    3. Let's put our detailed study of 1 Corinthians 10 together with Daniel 2. What is their common theme? (In 1 Corinthians God tells us that the sins of the past are the sins of the people who live in the last days. It predicts our future temptations! Daniel 2 predicts future world events. Taken together they tell us that God knows our future and He has told us what to do.)

    4. Have you found this theme to be true today? Can God say, "I told you so?"(As I type this, the world is suffering unprecedented (at least in my country) changes in the rule of law. Local authorities, based on the COVID-19 danger, are going far beyond anything permitted by the U.S. Constitution, even closing churches to public worship. Compounding the problem is that a police officer, who is supposed to enforce the rules, violated them by killing a handcuffed suspect. This caused widespread property destruction by those who have no respect for the rule of law. These rejected "rules" reflect God's most basic rule that we love God and love our neighbor as our self.)

      1. What do 1 Corinthians 10 and Daniel 2 instruct us that a Christian should do in times like this? (Trust God! Have peace that God will punish injustice and He bring an end to sin and suffering.)

    5. Friend, God can say "I told you so." He uses the past to warn us of our current and future sin temptations. He describes the future of the world. Will you determine to trust Him no matter what the problem you face? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you trust God?

  4. Next week: Dealing With Difficult Passages.

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