Introduction: What is the purpose of prophecy in the Bible? Is it to
motivate you to do good now? Is it to get you to be more patient
about current problems? Is it to make you excited about a future
reward? Is it to give the Bible credibility? Is it to help you trust
God? Is it to test your faith? Let’s jump into our study this week
and learn more about prophecy and fulfilled prophecy in the Bible!

  1. The Temple Destroyed

    1. Read Matthew 24:1-2. Why do you think the disciples called
      Jesus’ attention to the way the Temple in Jerusalem was
      built? (It was beautiful. The New Bible Commentary tells
      us it was one of the architectural wonders of the world.)

      1. What is Jesus’ response to their comment on its
        beauty? (It will be destroyed.)

      2. Put yourself in the place of one of Jesus’ disciples,
        how would that make you feel? (My first thought might
        be that Jesus was having a bad day. Losing the temple
        would be an unmitigated disaster. There no longer
        would be a place where God dwelled with His people.
        It would likely mean the end of the nation.)

        1. Would it cause you to distrust Jesus? (It
          certainly would be a big test of my confidence
          in what He had to say.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:3. We have been speculating about what the
      disciples thought the destruction of the temple would
      mean, now we read it plainly. What did they think the
      destruction of the temple would mean, as a practical
      matter? (They thought it meant the end of the world. With
      all of the prophecy about Israel triumphing over its
      enemies, the destruction of the temple must mean the end
      of the world. For contrary prophecy, see Jeremiah 7:4-15.)

    3. In the following verses, Matthew 24:4-31, Jesus describes
      both the destruction of the temple and the end of the
      world. Jesus not only failed to correct the
      misunderstanding of His disciples about the timing of the
      end of the world, but He strengthened their error by
      discussing the end of the world and the end of the temple
      together. Why would God do that? (Two things: First, the
      IVP Bible Background Commentary says that it was common
      for Old Testament prophets to group events by topic,
      rather than chronology. Second, God is God and we are not.
      Sometimes we cannot understand God’s ways. To me, this is
      a powerful warning against being very rigid about our
      understanding of end-day prophecy.)

    4. Read Matthew 24:32-36. What does Jesus say that we can
      know about the future? (This reinforces what we just
      discussed. Jesus admits to His disciples that He does not
      know when the world will end – and neither will they know
      it. However, there will be signs that will give us a
      general warning about the timing of the end.)

      1. If this is the message (Jesus does not know details
        and Jesus merges two different events), why does
        Jesus say, “Heaven and earth will pass, but my words
        will never pass away?” When you introduce ambiguity,
        and say you don’t know, why make a statement like
        this? (God does not want us confused about the source
        of the error. His words our true, our understanding
        is limited.)

    5. Read Matthew 24:42. What is the bottom line for Christians
      looking forward to Jesus’ Second Coming? (To be ready at
      all times.)

      1. There is a sub-text here about Bible prophecy. What
        are we learning about prophecies in the Bible? (At
        least with end-time prophecy, there is going to be
        sufficient ambiguity that we can only rely on being
        ready at all times.)

    6. Read John 13:19. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by
      the Roman army in 70 A.D. The generation that heard
      Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 had not passed when this came
      true. Tell me now why the Bible contains prophecies?
      (Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. It
      was. This, as Jesus says in another context in John 13:19,
      gives us confidence in God’s word.)

  2. The Earth Flooded

    1. Read Genesis 6:11-14. Imagine you are Noah and you just
      heard these words of prophecy. How would they make you

      1. Would some part of you doubt this could be true?

      2. Read Genesis 6:3. The Bible does not say to whom God
        was talking. It does not appear He was talking to
        Noah. Add that fact to the picture. How would you
        feel if God told you He was going to destroy humanity
        with a flood, you were told to build a boat, and God
        waited 120 years – but did not tell you the time

        1. How do you think Noah felt 115 years later? (2
          Peter 2:5 suggests that Noah was building and
          preaching during this time. No doubt people were
          making fun of Noah for preaching about the
          coming disaster which had not come for 115
          years. An interesting comment is found in 1
          Peter 3:20 which says that it was God who was
          waiting on Noah this 120 years, not Noah waiting
          on God.)

    2. What lesson about Bible prophecy do we learn from Noah’s
      story? (It is sure, but it might take a while. Be

  3. The Span of Time

    1. Read Daniel 2:27-35. In Daniel 2:28 Daniel says that God
      has decided to show King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen
      in the future. Nebuchadnezzar was no follower of God. Why
      would God give him a prophecy for the future?

      1. What could Nebuchadnezzar do with this prophecy?

      2. What can you do with this prophecy? (Just like the
        prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, and the
        prophecy of the flood, this prophecy gives me
        confidence that God has His hand on the throttle of
        history. Our God is in charge and He knows the

  1. The End of Earth’s Time

    1. Perhaps the most important prophecy for us today is the
      Second Coming of Jesus. Let’s turn back to Matthew 24 to
      see what Jesus says about His return. Read Matthew 24:3-5.
      Is it your opinion that many false Christs have come to
      date? (My knowledge of history in this regard is limited.)

      1. If this has not been a temptation or a problem for
        you, perhaps this is a future event. How serious a
        problem will this be? (Jesus says that “many” will be
        deceived. Indeed, the first thing Jesus says about
        His Second Coming is “Watch out that no one deceives
        you.” This is a serious issue.)

    2. Let’s jump down and pick up the rest of Jesus’ prophetic
      statements about false Christs. Read Matthew 24:23-27. As
      you consider these verses, is there a simple way to
      distinguish Jesus from the false Christs? (Yes. If someone
      has to tell you about the Second Coming, that is not it.
      When Jesus comes again, everyone will know it. No one will
      have to be told about it.)

      1. I read an article suggesting that Jesus was
        anticipating modern technology; therefore we would
        all see Him come again by means of television. What
        do you think about that theory? (Television is one
        human telling another. If you need television to know
        about Jesus’ return, it is not Jesus that has

      2. If the false Christs and false prophets cannot
        replicate the “every eye will see” requirement, what
        is it they do which is so compelling? (They perform
        great signs and miracles. Compare Matthew 7:22-23.)

        1. Why is are miracles so compelling? (Because when
          Jesus came the first time, He used miracles to
          prove His divinity. See Mark 2:6-12.)

      3. Notice in Matthew 24:24 that Jesus warns about
        something other than those trying to impersonate Him.
        Who else is a problem? (False prophets who perform
        great signs and wonders.)

        1. A false prophet will (I assume) not suggest that
          he is Jesus, but will nevertheless be a part of
          the great deception. How can we identify a
          false prophet in this context? (Read 1 John 4:2-3. A true prophet acknowledges that Jesus is
          God. A false prophet does not acknowledge Jesus
          is God. Thus, any “prophet” working with a false
          Christ is a false prophet. Any prophet who does
          great things on his own, without acknowledging
          Jesus is God, is a false prophet.)

          1. How many are deceived today by a false

    3. Friend, prophecy fulfilled strengthens our faith. It
      increases our trust in God. Prophecy to be fulfilled
      guides us in avoiding placing our trust in false Christs
      and false prophets. Will you carefully study the
      prophecies to avoid being deceived?

  2. Next week: The Bible is Reliable.