An Outline of Daniel

The Man of Vision

It is interesting to note that the Jews placed Daniel is in the book of Writings, rather than the Prophets.

Daniel in Babylon – Daniel 1:1-21

  1. Selected: How Daniel came to Babylon – Daniel 1:1-7 (Daniel’s Resolution)
    1. Conquered: Nebuchadnezzar over Jehoiakim – Daniel 1:1-2
    2. Captured: youths without defect – Daniel 1:3-5
    3. Candidates – Daniel 1:6-7
      1. Hebrew names: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah
      2. Pagan names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshech, Abed-nego
  2. Steadfast: Daniel turns vegetarian – Daniel 1:8-16 (Daniel’s Recommendation)
  3. Statesman: God’s gifting and Their rise in favor – Daniel 1:17-21 Daniel’s Reward)
    1. Knowledge, intelligence, dreams, visions – Daniel 1:17
    2. Presentation to the king – Daniel 1:18
    3. Daniel and the boys are 10 times better – Daniel 1:20
    4. Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus – Daniel 1:21

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Statue – Daniel 2:1-49, 7:1-28

  1. The Frustration of Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 2:1-13
    1. The dream received by Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 2:1-6
    2. The dream revealed by Daniel – Daniel 2:7-13
  2. The Revelation of God – Daniel 2:14-30
    1. The dream replied, the prayer of Daniel – Daniel 2:14-23
    2. The dream recounted – Daniel 2:24-30, 7:1
  3. The Interpretation of Daniel – Daniel 2:31-45
    1. Chronology: The dream recited – Daniel 2:31-35, 7:2-14, 21-22
    2. Theology: The dream revealed – Daniel 2:36-45, 7:15-20, 23-27
      1. Neo-Babylonian empire (Nebuchadnezzar): 612-539 BC
        1. The head of gold – Daniel 2:32 * and lion – Daniel 7:4
          1. Lion: king of beasts
          2. Eagle: king of birds
          3. Gold: most precious metal
        2. Nebuchadnezzar’s empire, the head of gold – Daniel 2:38, 7:17
      2. Medo-Persian empire (Cyrus the Great): 539-331 BC
        1. Breast/arms of silver – Daniel 2:32 * and bear – Daniel 7:5
          1. Bear is inferior to the lion – Daniel 2:39, 7:17
          2. Raised up on one side
          3. Ready for attack
        2. One horn being most powerful
        3. Three ribs in its mouth – Daniel 7:5, 8:4
          1. West: Babylon conquered by Cyrus
          2. North: Lydia conquered by Cyrus
          3. South: Egypt conquered by Cambyses
      3. Grecian empire: 331-323 BC
        1. Belly/thighs of bronze – Daniel 2:32 * and leopard – Daniel 7:6
          1. Four wings: swiftness in conquering
          2. Four heads: the generals after Alexander
            1. Ptolemy I – took Egypt (South)
            2. Philip, Cassander, Antigonus – took Macedonia and Greece
            3. Seleucus I – took Syria (North)
            4. Lysimacus – took Thrace & Asia Minor
        2. Inferior but will rule over all the earth – Daniel 2:39. 7:17
      4. The Selucid Empire: 312-65 BC
        1. Leg/iron, feet/clay – Daniel 2:40 * diverse – Daniel 7:7, 19
        2. Strong as iron, later divided – Daniel 2:41
        3. Different than all the others – Daniel 7:23
        4. The ten toes and ten horns – Daniel 2:42, 7:7
          1. Kings are successive and not simultaneous
          2. Alexander conquered the world at age 33
          3. He died in 323 and signaled power struggles
          4. Horns and toes understood in relation to ancient Palestine
          5. This history is explained in Daniel 11:5-35
          6. The identification of the tens
            1. Seleucus I uproots three horns – Daniel 7:8
              1. Antigonus: Macedonia/Greece
              2. Ptolemy I: (323-285 BC): Egypt
              3. Lysimacus: Thrace & Asia Minor
            2. The seven remaining horns
              1. Seleucus I Nicator 312-280 BC
              2. Antiochus I Soter 280-262 BC
              3. Antiochus II Theos 262-246 BC
              4. Seleucus II Callinicus 246-226
              5. Seleucus III Soter 226-223 BC
              6. Antiochus III Great 223-187 BC
              7. Seleucus IV Philopator 187-175
            3. The little horn is the antichrist: Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175-163 BC
        5. The stone – Daniel 2:35, 7:27 * is Christ
        6. God’s kingdom – Daniel 2:44 * and Ancient of Days – Daniel 7:9
  4. The Prostration of Nebuchadnezzar: the dream and its effect – Daniel 2:46-49, 7:28
    1. Daniel’s God is worshipped by Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 2:47
    2. Daniel is promoted – Daniel 2:48 * and alarmed – Daniel 7:28
    3. Daniel remembers his homies – Daniel 2:49

The Fiery Furnace, Test of Faith – Daniel 3:1-30

  1. Conspirators: the King’s Command – Daniel 3:1-7
    1. The project – Daniel 3:1
    2. The politicians – Daniel 3:2-3
    3. The proclamation – Daniel 3:4-5
    4. The penalty – Daniel 3:6-7
  2. Informers: the Chaldeans’ charge  – Daniel 3:8-12
    1. The report: the accusers tell the king – Daniel 3:8-12
    2. The reasoning: the kings gives a second chance – Daniel 3:13-15
  3. Transformers: the Children’s Confidence (the Hebrews Stand) – Daniel 3:16-30
    1. The demonstration of faith – Daniel 3:16-18
    2. The assurance of faith – Daniel 3:19-23
      1. The king enraged – Daniel 3:19
      2. The boys directed, into the extra hot furnace – Daniel 3:20-23
  4. Rescuer: The vindication of faith (the Lord’s Man) – Daniel 3:24-30
    1. The discovery – Daniel 3:24-25
    2. The deliverance – Daniel 3:26-28
    3. The decree – Daniel 3:29-30

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree – Daniel 4:1-37

  1. The Dream Described – Daniel 4:1-18
    1. The prologue, the king’s announcement and praise – Daniel 4:1-3
    2. The large and strong tree – Daniel 4:4-12
    3. The angelic lumberjack – Daniel 4:13-17
    4. The plea of the king – Daniel 4:18
  2. The Dream Interpreted – Daniel 4:19-27
    1. Explanation: pride will lead to judgment – Daniel 19-26
    2. Exhortation: repent and avoid judgment – Daniel 4:27
  3. The Dream Fulfilled – Daniel 4:28-37
    1. Pride: refusing to repent – Daniel 4:28-30
    2. Punishment: twelve months later comes insanity – Daniel 4:31-33
    3. Praise: his reasoning returned, honors God – Daniel 4:34-37

Belshazzar’s Feast – Daniel 5:1-31

  1. Belshazzar’s Contribution to the Feast: Unrestrained sensuality – Daniel 5:1-4
    1. The ball: thousands of people invited – Daniel 5:1
    2. The gall: using the sacred temple items – Daniel 5:2-4
  2. God’s Contribution to the Feast: The wall – the handwriting – Daniel 5:5-6
    1. The hand – Daniel 5:5
    2. The horror – Daniel 5:6
  3. Daniel’s Contribution to the Feast: The call – Announcement of doom – Daniel 5:7-29
    1. The call for the magicians – Daniel 5:7-9
    2. The queen calls for Daniel – Daniel 5:10-12
    3. Daniel’s explanation – Daniel 5:13-29
      1. Reputation of Daniel – Daniel 5:13-16
      2. Explanation by Daniel – Daniel 5:17-24
      3. Interpretation through Daniel – Daniel 5:25-29
  4. Darius’ Contribution to the Feast: The fall – Destruction of Babylon – Daniel 5:30-31

Daniel with the Lions – Daniel 6:1-28

  1. The Work Crisis: total integrity (an Evil Plan) – Daniel 6:1-3
  2. The Prayer Crisis – Daniel 6:4-17
    1. The plot – Daniel 6:4-9
      1. The search – Daniel 6:4
      2. The solution – Daniel 6:5
      3. The subtlety – Daniel 6:6-9
    2. The prayer (a Kneeling Man) – Daniel 6:10-11
    3. The prosecution – Daniel 6:12-17
  3. The Faith Crisis (a Heavenly Ban) – Daniel 6:18-28
    1. The protection – Daniel 6:18-23
      1. The king’s concern – Daniel 6:18
      2. The king’s cry – Daniel 6:19-22
      3. The king’s command – Daniel 6:23
    2. The proclamation – Daniel 6:24-28
      1. The accusers fate – Daniel 6:24
      2. The announcement that God is over the nations – Daniel 6:25-27
      3. The achievement of Daniel – Daniel 6:28

The Vision of Four Beasts – Daniel 7:1-28, 2:1-49
This is the First Year of Belshazzar’s Reign

  1. A Vision of World History – Daniel 7:1-8
    1. A lion-like beast – Daniel 7:1-4
    2. A bear-like beast – Daniel 7:5
    3. A leopard-like beast – Daniel 7:6
    4. A ten-horned beast – Daniel 7:7-8
  2. A Vision of Heaven – Daniel 7:9-14
    1. The Ancient One – Daniel 7:9-12
      1. Who it is: God himself – Daniel 7:9
      2. What happens – Daniel 7:10-12
        1. The river of fire – Daniel 7:10a
        2. The thousands of angels – Daniel 7:10b
        3. The millions of people – Daniel 7:10c
        4. The beast sent to hell – Daniel 7:11-12
    2. The Messiah – Daniel 7:13-14
      1. Who it is (first reference to Messiah as Son of Man) – Daniel 7:13
      2. What happens (given eternal, glorious kingdom) – Daniel 7:14
  3. A Vision of Saints on Earth – Daniel 7:15-28
    1. The four beasts in general – Daniel 7:15-18
      1. Their rise (Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome) – Daniel 7:15-17
      2. Their replacement (giving way to God’s kingdom) – Daniel 7:18
    2. The fourth beast in particular – Daniel 7:19-28
      1. The confusion: Daniel wants more info – Daniel 7:19-22
      2. The clarification: the facts about the beast – Daniel 7:23-27
        1. It will devour the earth – Daniel 7:23-24
        2. It will defy the Most High God – Daniel 7:25
        3. It will be destroyed by the Most High – Daniel 7:26-27
      3. The consternation: Daniel is alarmed – Daniel 7:28

The Ram and the Goat: (in Aramaic) – Daniel 8:1-27
This is the Third Year of Belshazzar’s Reign

  1. The Vision – Daniel 8:1-12
    1. The tw0-horned ram: able to defeat enemies – Daniel 8:1-4
    2. The one-horned male goat – Daniel 8:5-8
      1. Destruction: attacks the ram – Daniel 8:5-7
      2. Death: goat dies and replaced by four – Daniel 8:8
    3. Another creature coming from the goat – Daniel 8:9-12
      1. Conquests: he invades and occupies much of the Holy Land – Daniel 8:9-10
      2. Contempt: he even challenges God – Daniel 8:11-12
  2. The Interpretation – Daniel 8:13-25
    1. A regular angel – Daniel 8:13-14
      1. Question: How Long? – Daniel 8:13
      2. Answer: 2300 days – Daniel 8:14
    2. A ruling angel: (Gabriel himself – Daniel 8:15-19) – Daniel 8:15-27
      1. The ram: Medo-Persian empire – Daniel 8:20
      2. The goat: Grecian empire – Daniel 8:21-22
        1. The great horn: Alexander – Daniel 8:5, 21
        2. The great horn broken: Alexander died – Daniel 8:8, 21
        3. Four horns: Egypt Syria Macedonia Asia – Daniel 8:8, 22
      3. The little horn: Little horn: Antiochus IV Epiphanes – Daniel 8:8, 23-25
        1. Attempted to Hellenize the Jews
        2. Erected statue of Zeus in temple
        3. Sacrificed a pig on the altar
        4. Forbade circumcision
        5. Destroyed all OT books he could find
        6. Judas Maccabeus defeated the Syrian army
          1. Led revolt against Seleucid Empire (167–160 BC)
          2. The Jewish feast of Hanukkah commemorates the restoration of Jewish worship at the temple in Jerusalem in 164 BC.
        7. Tribulations are described in Hebrews 11:34-39
        8. He was the “antichrist”
        9. He performed the “abomination of desolation” in 167 BC
        10. Cast down: destroyer, persecutor – Daniel 8:10, 24
        11. Remove daily sacrifices: he did – Daniel 8:11
        12. 2300 days: many days of peace ends 171 BC – Daniel 8:14, 26
        13. Sanctuary closed: purification in 168 BC – Daniel 8:14
        14. He shall be broken: he died in 163 BC – Daniel 8:25
  3. The Effect on Daniel – Daniel 8:26-27
    1. Keep secret, it pertains to many days in the future: 400 years in the future.
    2. Daniel is exhausted and sick for days: there was none to explain it.

Daniel’s Earnest Prayer (the 70 Weeks) – Daniel 9:1-19
The Chapter Describes Two Time Periods: Historical, and Prophetic

  1. Insight – Daniel 9:1-2
    1. Daniel understood the desolation would come to an end as in the captivity – Jeremiah 25:11-12
    2. What will happen at the end of the 70 years?
  2. Intercession – Daniel 9:3-19
    1. Sin: the confession of Israel’s sin – Daniel 9:3-11
    2. Suffering: the consequences of rebellion – Daniel 9:12-14
    3. The request: the contention of Daniel – Daniel 9:15-19
  3. Instruction: (Daniel and Gabriel) – Daniel 9:20-23
  4. Interpretation – Daniel 9:24-27
    1. The details (70 sets of 7, 490 years) – Daniel 9:24
      1. First period (49 years, Jerusalem rebuilt) – Daniel 9:25
      2. Second period (434 years, Messiah will be crucified) – Daniel 9:26
      3. Third period (7 years, great tribulation?) – Daniel 9:27
    2. The intended target times?
      1. The time of Antiochus Epiphanes
      2. The first coming of Christ
      3. The second coming of Christ
    3. When does the author begin his calculations?
      1. The year after Jerusalem’s destruction (586 BC)
        1. 49 years later Babylon fell (539-538 BC)
        2. Cyrus allowed the Jews to return: the decree
        3. Zerubbabel could be a prince – see Luke 3:27
        4. Joshua was the High Priest – see Zechariah 6:11
      2. The year of the decree to return (458 BC)
        1. The letter of Artaxerxes – Ezra 7:7-11
        2. One 69 week period (not 7 and 62 weeks)
        3. The end of 69th is around the incarnation
      3. Target time is the second coming of Christ
        1. The gap theory: premillenial dispensationalism
        2. The period of time between weeks 69 and 70
        3. Reason: Matthew 24 (Mark 13) must take place
        4. The 69 weeks – Daniel 9:25
          1. Gap – Daniel 9:26
          2. Future – Daniel 9:27
      4. Target time is the first coming of Christ
        1. There is no distinction between 7 and 62 weeks – Daniel 9:25
          1. Decree under Ezra, not Nehemiah – Ezra 7:7-11
          2. Decree was 458, not 445 as in – Nehemiah 2:1
          3. End of 7 weeks is 409, nothing happened
          4. 69 weeks ends with Christ’s ministry
            1. AD 25-26
            2. 483 actual solar years after decree
          5. Objections
            1. Putting 69 weeks together – Daniel 9:25
            2. Which Artaxerxes?
        2. Jesus ministry was 1/2 week, death in AD 29
        3. The prince of Daniel 9:26 is Titus the destroyer AD 70
        4. Christ removed need for sacrifices – Daniel 9:27
      5. Target time is the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes
        1. The entire passage is a reinterpretation of the 70 years of Jeremiah 25 and 29 as applied to the time of the suffering under Antiochus
          1. The word “restore” in Daniel 9:25 fits Jeremiah
          2. Life of returnees was difficult – Ezra 4:1-24
          3. The fall of Jerusalem came in 587 BC
          4. The captivity started in 586 BC
        2. The seven weeks refers to the Babylonian exile, 70 years.
          1. The ending would be in 537 BC
          2. One week calculation: 7 x 7 is 49 years
          3. Cyrus allows, but did not decree, Jews to return as in Nehemiah 2:1-8
            1. Decree – Ezra 6:3, 7-8 was about the temple
            2. Letter – Nehemiah 2:1-8 was building the walls
            3. Isaiah 44:28 says Cyrus will rebuild Jerusalem, see Daniel 5:13
          4. Zerubbabel led the first wave in 536 BC
            1. He was an anointed one Matthew 1:12-13
            2. He was a prince Haggai 1:1
          5. Joshua was the High Priest Ezra 3:2 and a colleague of Zerubbabel Haggai 1:1
        3. The 62 weeks refers to the three returns
          1. This time was longer than the captivity
          2. It was a troubled time – Daniel 9:25
        4. After the 69 weeks: Jews in control and worshiping in relative freedom
          1. The anointed one cut off: not same as – Daniel 9:25
          2. Legitimate line of priesthood cut off
            1. Joshua, the brother of Onias III, took the Greek name Jason and became High Priest by corruption (2 Macc 4:7-15)
            2. Later, Menelaus became High Priest by outbidding Jason by 300 talents of silver (2 Macc 4:23-24)
            3. Payment was demanded and Melelaus stole from the temple
            4. Onias III was faithful and exposed Menelaus
            5. Onias III was assassinated in 170 BC
          3. People of the prince: army of troops
          4. The prince who is to come is Antiochus IV Epiphanes: “desolations” refers to him
          5. Its end shall come with a flood: both the prince and the destruction – there’s hope!
          6. The strong covenant with many – Daniel 9:27
            1. Many Jews adopted false religion
            2. They removed proper sacrifices to God
            3. Sacrifices ended Dec 15, 168 BC
            4. Maccabean victory on Dec 25, 165 BC (3 years and 10 days)
          7. Abominations: Zeus Olympius in the temple whereby Antiochus became the desolator
          8. The decreed end of Antiochus – Daniel 9:27
            1. Complete destruction on him
            2. Curse of the Jews poured on him – Daniel 9:11
        5. The vile person has come to an end (climax of book)
          1. Daniel 9:26-27
          2. Daniel 11:21-45
        6. The book gives a basis for hope
          1. Through Scripture (Jeremiah)
          2. Through prayer
          3. Through confession
          4. Through faith
          5. Through revelation

Prelude to Prophecy – Daniel 10:1-11:1

  1. Daniel’s circumstances – Daniel 10:1-4
    1. Duration of his fast (three weeks) – Daniel 10:1-3
    2. Location of his fast (banks of the Tigris River) – Daniel 10:4
  2. Daniel’s collapse (and an angel appears) – Daniel 10:5-17
    1. The radiance: the vision of the man in fine linen – Daniel 10:5-6
    2. The reaction: Daniel feels weak, friends see nothing – Daniel 10:7-8
    3. The reassurance: the prayer was heard from the beginning – Daniel 10:9-12
    4. The revelation: instruction for the future – Daniel 10:14
    5. The resistance: the delay was due to angelic warfare – Daniel 10:13, 15-21
      1. Hostility (Michael delayed) – Daniel 10:13a, 15-20
        1. He was hindered by a demonic leader in Persia – Daniel 10:13a
        2. He will be hindered by a demonic leader of Greece – Daniel 10:15-20
      2. Helper (Michael) – Daniel 10:13b, 21
  3. Daniel’s convalesce – Daniel 10:18-11:1
    1. Gradual strengthening – Daniel 10:10, 16, 18-19
    2. More angelic warfare – Daniel 10:20-21
      1. The prince of Persia continues
      2. The prince of Greece is coming
    3. Daniel is an encouragement and protection for Darius the king of Mede – Daniel 11:1

A Vision of Kings – Daniel 11:2-12:4

  1. Persia (four kings) – Daniel 11:2
    1. Cambyses (son of Cyrus): 530-522 BC
    2. Pseudo-Smerdis (Guatama): 522 BC
    3. Darius I: 522-486 BC
    4. Xerxes (Ahasuerus of Esther): 486-465 BC
      1. Most powerful and affluent
      2. He fought the wars against Greece
  2. Greece (a mighty king) – Daniel 11:3-4
    1. The mighty king is Alexander the Great: 336-323 BC
    2. The four winds are generals after Alexander
  3. Egypt and Syria – Daniel 11:5-20
    1. The players – Daniel 11:5
      1. Ptolemy I Soter (South): 323-285 BC
      2. Seleucus I Nicator (North): 312-280 BC
    2. The alliance – Daniel 11:6
      1. Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) gave his daughter, Berenice, to marry Antiochus II Theos (262-246) to end a war between them.
        1. Antiochus II must divorce Laodice
        2. Any son of Berenice would become king
      2. The agreement did not last
        1. Ptolemy II died in 246 BC
        2. Antiochus II took back Laodice
        3. Laodice distrusted Antiochus and poisoned in attempt to
          have sons on the throne
        4. Laodice has Berenice and her son
    3. The retaliation – Daniel 11:7-8
      1. Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221 BC) brother of Berenice, succeed his father
      2. He fought Seleucus II Callinicus (247-226 BC)
      3. Ptolemy III would have overrun the north if not for an insurrection back home
    4. The seesaw struggles – Daniel 11:9-20
      1. The latter is Seleucus II Callinicus went to invade Egypt (242 BC) after he regained power in Asia, the event being disastrous – Daniel 11:9
      2. His sons – Daniel 11:10
        1. Seleucus III Soter (226-223 BC) murdered
        2. Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC) campaigns against Ptolemy IV (219 BC) and capture of a great part of the south.
        3. The enraged king of the south – Daniel 11:11 * is Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-205 BC) conquered the north in 217 BC but did not take the whole kingdom – Daniel 11:12
        4. After an interval – Daniel 11:13 * refers to 12 years of virtual peace
          1. Antiochus III raised a greater army than he previously had and attacks
          2. Ptolemy IV died and 5 year old Ptolemy V Epiphanes became king (205-181 BC)
          3. Many will come against him – Daniel 11:14
        5. Antiochus III take advantage on the infant king Ptolemy V – Daniel 14-16
          1. In league with Philip of Macedon (men of violence) to attack Ptolemy V
          2. Antiochus takes the south in 198 BC
          3. He who comes against him: is Antiochus III
          4. The Glorious Land: is Palestine (Sidon)
        6. Antiochus III set his face toward Egypt – Daniel 11:17
          1. He did not attack but brought terms of peace, through a marriage
          2. The daughter of women (the essence of femininity) is
            Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus III
          3. She was betrothed to Ptolemy V (197 BC)
            1. Antiochus III wanted influence
            2. Cleopatra was loyal to the south
        7. Antiochus III turns toward the coastlands – Daniel 11:18
          1. He controlled most of Asia Minor by 196 BC
          2. He met the representative in Rome who counseled him to leave Asia Minor alone.
          3. He told the Romans to stop interfering in Asia Minor just as he was not to touch Italy.
        8. The breaking point was invading Greece – Daniel 11:19
          1. He began the Greek invasion in 192 BC
          2. He was stopped by the Romans in 191 BC at Thermopylae
          3. The commander who put a stop to him is Lucius Cornelius Scipio (190 BC)
            1. Defeated 80,000 men at Magnesia
            2. Humiliated and ruined him as far as Europe and Asia Minor.
            3. The Romans demanded indemnity and he returned home to plunder his own territories and temple of Bel (187 BC)
        9. In his place – Daniel 11:20
          1. The son of Antiochus III was Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 BC)
          2. The sent oppressor is Heliodorus, the Prime Minister of Seleucus IV as told in 2 Maccabees 3:1-40, or is a Roman tax gatherer
          3. He spent most of his time raising money to pay off his father’s war debts
          4. Seleucus IV was assassinated by Heliodorus by conspiracy, not face to face
  4. Antiochus Epiphanes (an evil Syrian king, 175-164 BC) – Daniel 11:21-45 (see next section)
    1. Captive: he was a hostage in Rome since 189 BC
      1. According to a treaty signed by his father, Antiochus III the Great in 198 BC
      2. Seleucus IV wanted him released and Demetrius, the rightful heir, the son of Seleucus IV took his place
      3. Epiphanes (God manifest) vs. Epimanes (madman)
    2. Craftiness: he took power through flattery and intrigue – Daniel 11:21-23
      1. He rushed back to Antioch when he heard of his brother’s death – Daniel 11:21, 23
      2. It was Onias III, the rightful High Priest (170 BC) Daniel 11:22
      3. He was one to understand riddles – Daniel 8:23
    3. Conquests: he captured powerful strongholds – Daniel 11:24
      1. He plundered his own people.
      2. He wanted to remove any thought of God from the Jews and replace it with Greek Culture
      3. The great comfort to hear “but for a time”
    4. Confrontation – Daniel 11:25-30
      1. With Egypt – Daniel 11:25-27
        1. Advantage in the death of his sister the queen, Cleopatra in 172 BC.
        2. Her sons (Philometor and Physcon) were both minors so the kingdom was run by two eunuchs named Eulaeus and Syrian Lenseus (26) those who eat his rich food.
        3. They convinced Philometor to go in battle, and the Alexandrian nobles set up Physcon as their king.
        4. The two kings: Philometor and Antiochus, his uncle – Daniel 11:27 Antiochus wanted his loyalty when he made Philometor the real king, But to no avail: the schemes failed.
        5. The “end” refers to Antiochus not lasting.
        6. His return to his own land with much plunder – Daniel 11:28
          1. Angered at not taking Egypt.
          2. Three envoys from Rome were coming.
          3. Disturbance by Jason’s attempt to retain the priesthood.
          4. Antiochus killed many Jews to prove he was still in power.
          5. He plundered the temple on his way back to Antioch.
      2. With Syria – Daniel 11:28-30
        1. At the “appointed time” means God in charge and this invasion was not as successful.
        2. The “ships of Kittim” are the peoples of Cyprus or the Mediterranean, or possibly refers to the Romans.
        3. He will be enraged and take it out on the Jews back in Jerusalem – Daniel 11:30.
        4. Some faithless, Hellenistic Jews will side with him.
    5. Cruelty: a hellish hatred of Israel – Daniel 11:31-35
      1. Desecration of the temple – Daniel 11:31
      2. Removal of sacrifices – Daniel 11:31
      3. Abomination of desolations – Daniel 11:31
      4. He will sway many people, even Jews – Daniel 11:32, 34
      5. Many will resist him – Daniel 11:32-33
      6. A “little help” refers to the temporary successes of the Maccabean revolt under Mattathias and his son Judas (1 Maccabees 2:15-28, 42-48, 3:11-12,23-26, 4:12-15)
    6. Wickedness: he claimed to be Theos Epiphanes – Daniel 11:36-39
      1. He took the place of God
      2. The temple was dedicated to Zeus
    7. Character: a summary of Antiochus Epiphanes – Daniel 11:40-45
      1. After the fourth beast and kingdom
      2. The king of the south is Ptolemy VI
      3. The king of the north is Antiochus
      4. An all-out attack with chariots…
      5. The “countries” refers to those between Syria and Egypt
      6. They will enter Palestine – Daniel 11:41
      7. Mentioning of Edom, Moab and Ammon
        1. Surprising since using their common name is not customary
        2. Especially since Moab was not a nation until the time of Antiochus.
        3. Moab and Ammon are mentioned as taking up arms against Judah following Antiochus’ policies (1 Maccabees 5:3,6)
        4. These are traditional enemies of Judah & included by scribes
      8. Reference point of Hellenizing Jews as in – Daniel 11:39 not being dealt with as severely as those loyal to God
        1. Daniel 11:37-39 * enlargement of 36
        2. Daniel 11:41-45 * enlargement of 40
        3. Daniel 11:42 * explanation – Daniel 11:40
      9. Rumors from east and north – Daniel 11:43-44
        1. Libya is west of Egypt
        2. Ethiopia is south of Egypt
        3. Representing the remotest parts of the Egyptian empire
        4. Compared to – Daniel 11:29-30 * in wrath
      10. Between the seas and mountain – Daniel 11:45
        1. Antiochus IV actually died in Persia in 164 BC (1 Maccabees 3:31-37, 6:1-16)
        2. His defeat was determined and he will come to an end and his defeat is immanent.

The King Deliverer – Daniel 12:1-4

  1. This is connected to the beginning of chapter 10
  2. If the student sees Antiochus Epiphanes in the previous section, you will see him here.
    1. This is either the end of Antiochus or the end of time: remember the timeless nature of apocalyptic literature.
    2. What will happen to those slain by Antiochus?
      1. Suffering – Daniel 12:1
      2. Separation: Many (why not all?) will be raised – Daniel 12:2
        1. Earliest reference to resurrection from the grave
        2. The only reference to everlasting life in the OT is here – Daniel 12:2
      3. Shining: like stars – Daniel 12:3
      4. Shame – and contempt on those who turned from God to Antiochus IV
      5. Sealing: the words – Daniel 12:4 * as in – Daniel 8:26, 9:24, 6:17
      6. There will be frantic search for an explanation – Daniel 12:4

A Vision at the River – Daniel 12:5-13

  1. Two others standing on each side of the river – Daniel 12:5
  2. A man dressed in linen – Daniel 12:6-13
    1. Above the waters means superiority
    2. How long? – Daniel 12:6, 8:13
      1. Wonders: the activities of Antiochus – Daniel 11:36 fearful and monstrous things
      2. The answer – Daniel 12:7
        1. Three and one half periods of time (years).
        2. The time from the stopping of sacrifices and the rededication of the temple was three years and 10 days.
        3. The Jews power being destroyed – Daniel 12:7
    3. Daniel still does not understand – Daniel 12:8
      1. The death of Antiochus IV will not bring peace although Antiochus V did allow religious freedom.
      2. The answer – Daniel 12:9-13
        1. Rehearsal of the vision – Daniel 12:10-11
          1. Antiochus – Daniel 11:33, 35
          2. 1290 days in Revelation 11:3, 12:6 * Revelation 12:6 is 1260 (plus 30 more days)
            1. Discontinued sacrifices
            2. Re-establishment of worship
            3. Deliverance from persecution
          3. 1335 days (1290 days plus another 45 days)
            1. Rededication of temple?
            2. Beginning of righteousness?
        2. Blessing – Daniel 12:12
        3. Promise – Daniel 12:13
          1. Live your life and don’t worry
          2. You will die but will be raised
          3. What an end to a book of hope!

Language of the book:
Hebrew = 1:1-2:4a, 8:1-12:13
Aramaic = 2:4b-7:28

A lot of the historical information is from John Joseph Owens in the Broadman Commentary, Vol.6, 1971, pp.373-460. Some outline is from the Ryrie Study Bible.

How to be Ready for the End

This lesson is all about How to be Ready for the End-times. While I am a proponent of the A-millennial view of the end times, much of this teaching is part of the Pre-millennial Dispensational position. When you hear John Hagee or Tim LaHaye, or read the Left Behind series, they’re talking about end-times prophecy from this point of view.

To better understand the A-millennial view, read Ray Summers little book called, “Worthy is the Lamb,” Broadman Press, 1951. Also, I will post My Notes on Daniel and My Notes of the Revelation at a later date.

Main Verse: Matthew 24:44 –  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 

Passages we will consider: Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop the character quality of readiness (preparedness, watchfulness) in anticipation of Christ’s return. Scripture teaches that anticipating Christ’s return motivates us to live in light of eternity (1 Corinthians 15:29-34); causes us to keep ourselves pure (1 John 3:2,3); provides steadfastness inspired by hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3,10); and promises a reward for loving His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

Historical Background: Jesus’ instruction to His disciples from the Mount of Olives (Mount Olivet, giving it the name the Olivet Discourse) appears in Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; and Luke 17:20-37. It is one of the Bible’s most important texts because it not only provides the Lord’s final discourse but also His most extensive prophetic teaching.

Much prophetic confusion has resulted from a failure to understand that the Olivet Discourse involves Israel, not the church, and refers to a future (eschatological) age, not the past or present one.

The chronologically of this narrative (Mark 12:28-34) occurs the Wednesday before the crucifixion and immediately after Jesus brought eight “woes” against the leaders of the nation of Israel (Matthew 23:13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29).

Jesus uses five illustrations to answer the specific questions of the disciples: “‘When will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”‘ (Matthew 24:3).

Like any other passage of Scripture, the Olivet Discourse (Jesus’ answer to these questions) must be interpreted in context. Matthew wrote his Gospel to Jewish people to present divinely attested proof that Jesus (Yeshua) was the legitimate heir to the Davidic throne and that His Messianic claims were true and justified.

Commanded in the Gospels: Matthew 24:42 (Be on the alert), Matthew 24:43 (Be sure of this) – literally “know this,” Matthew 24:44 (Be ready), Matthew 25:13 (Be on the alert), Mark 13:33 (Take heed, Keep on the alert), Mark 13:35 (Be on the alert), Mark 13:37 (Be on the alert). Christ also used five parables to teach the importance of being ready for His second coming:

  1. Thief – Matthew 24:43
  2. Faithful slave – Matthew 24:45-51
  3. Ten virgins ­ Matthew 25:1-12
  4. Talents – Matthew 25:14-30
  5. Doorkeeper – Mark 13:34-36

End times information is found in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:6-7) and the Epistles (1 Thessalonians 5:1- 11; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3,1 1;22:7,12,20)

Discussion Questions:

1. What motivated the disciples to point out the temple buildings to Jesus? (Matthew 24:1) Aware of Jesus’ pronouncement against the nation and particularly the Temple establishment (He had just said, “Behold, your house [Temple] is being left to you desolate” – Matthew 23:37-38) the disciples perhaps thought a reminder of the national unity symbolized by the Temple might temper Jesus’ disposition toward national judgment.

A few days earlier, Christ had referred to the temple as His Father’s “house” (Matthew 21:13) but the blessing and glory of God were being removed from Israel (see 1 Samuel 4:21). When Christ “departed from the temple” (Matthew 24:1), the glory of God went with Him. Ezekiel 11:23 describes Ezekiel’s vision of the departure of the Shekinah glory in His day. The glory left the temple and stood on the Mount of Olives.

The disciples were also impressed, as were most in that day, with the Temple’s unrivaled magnificence, which had become a source of national pride: “Some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts (donations)” (Luke 21:5-6). The disciples made their national statement to Jesus as He left the Temple. While waiting for Him they began pointing out the latest structural additions to the compound, which (according to John 2:20) had been in process for 46 years: “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” (Mark 13:1).

Maybe they were trying to comprehend Jesus’ judicial remarks, but then Jesus states that all of the stones they had shown Him would be violently torn down at the time of judgment. Matthew 24:2 says, “And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

2. What were the two questions that the disciples asked Jesus privately? (Matthew 24:3)

  • “When will these things happen?”
  • “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

The first question concerned the specific time of the Temple’s destruction: the second (composed of two related parts) concerned “the sign” that would mark Jesus’ advent to Israel (parousia, “bodily presence”) as Messiah at the end of the age. Jesus’ response to these questions forms the prophetic teaching called the Olivet Discourse. The first question is addressed in Luke 21:10-24 and the second is addressed in Matthew 24:4-31 and Mark 13:1-27.

3. What event fulfilled Jesus’ prophetic prediction that “not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be tom down“? (Luke 21:10-24) When Titus came down in AD 70, he burned the Temple. The foundation stones were made of marble overlaid with gold. As the temple burnt the gold melted and ran down between the cracks in the rocks. The Roman soldiers had to dismantle every stone in order to get to the gold. This “near prophecy” was fulfilled in 70 AD and provided hope that the “far prophecy” would be fulfilled. Prophets would often give a “near prophecy” to validate their credentials as a prophet. Anyone could predict all kinds of things way off in the future.

4. When the disciples spoke of “the end of the age,” to what were they referring? (Matthew 24:3) Christ was not referring to the end of the church age but the end of the age for Israel before the Messiah’s return. The church at this point in time doesn’t even exist. It was started by Christ baptizing believers by the Holy Spirit into a new thing called “the Body of Christ” on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; 11:13-16; 1 Corinthians 12:13). The church age was a mystery that wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament.

Jesus had already prophetically talked about “the end of the age” (Matthew 13:40,49) for the nation of Israel. In the Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) Jesus talks about “the end of the age” (Matthew 13:39,40, 13:49) that occurs right before the establishment of the millennial kingdom.

When Jesus explained this parable, He taught that at the end of the age the angels will take all unbelievers away to be burned and all the righteous believers will remain on the earth to be “barned” in the millennial kingdom. The parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50) teaches the same truth.

5. What will be the “signs” of Christ’s Second Coming? (Matthew 24:4-8) This passage describes the signs, “birth pains” or divine judgments of the first half of the tribulation period, and Matthew 24:14 is the global evangelization that will be accomplished by the midpoint of this period. Remember, this is according to the Pre-millennialism.

Jesus stated that these judgments are not “the end” of the judgments but merely the “beginning” (Matthew 24:8). After “beginning birth pains,” the more intense birth pains come that climax the birth process. Since the tribulation does not immediately begin after the rapture of the church, but begins with the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27), these verses cannot describe events within the Church Age.

The most compelling argument for a Tribulation context for these verses comes from a comparison of Matthew 24:4-13 with the first five seal judgments in Revelation 6.

End Times Corrolation Chart 1

Neither can these signs be used by the church as “signs of the times” to indicate the nearness of the Lord’s coming. Many Christians have used the apparent increasing frequency of earthquakes, apostasy in the church, and moral decline in society in general as indicators that we are fast approaching the rapture and the end-times. However, the rapture is a signless event; and these birth pains do not begin until Israel enters “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Since we do not know how long this will be after the rapture, we must exercise caution in trying to predict the nearness of end-times events based on the presence of these conditions in the present age (Matthew 24:9-14).

6. Does Matthew 24:13 teach that we can lose our salvation? Taken out of context this verse could be used to deny eternal security. There is no reference to redemption or salvation here. The word saved (sothesetai) is eschatological and not soteriological. This verse promises that Christ will rescue those who endure to the end of the tribulation period; then He will usher them into the millennial age. This same concept is repeated in Matthew 24:21-22.

7. Will every unbeliever hear the gospel before the rapture of the church? (Matthew 24:14) The answer is no. This is a reference to the end of the tribulation period and not to the end of the church age. In context this verse teaches that the good news about the kingdom will be presented throughout the tribulation period, and then the end will come. In fact this verse promises that every earth dweller will hear the “gospel of the Kingdom” before Christ returns. Some teach the gospel of the kingdom will probably be proclaimed by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Revelation 14:1).

8. What does Jesus say to look for to know that the Great Tribulation has begun? (Matthew 24:15-20) The phrase “the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” originally referred to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria in the second century BC. Antiochus invaded Jerusalem in 168 BC, made the altar into a shrine to Zeus, and even sacrificed pigs on it.

However, Jesus clearly was looking toward a yet-future “abomination of desolation.” Some suggest that this prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 when Titus invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. However, the Apostle Paul saw a still-future fulfillment (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), as did John (Revelation 13:14-15) when the Antichrist sets up an image in the temple during the future tribulation period. Christ’s words here therefore look beyond the events of AD 70 to a time of even greater global cataclysm that will immediately precede his coming (Matthew 24:29-31).

The Abomination of Desolation involves God being replaced with man in the Most Holy Place of the temple. We are told in Scripture that when the Antichrist is empowered by Satan (Revelation 13:1-4) he will enter the Jewish temple and claim to be god (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). He then makes war with Israel (Revelation 12:13-17). This act by the Antichrist ushers in the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).

9. Who will gain the greatest benefit in reading this discourse? (Matthew 24:15) Both Matthew and Mark (Mark 13:14) tell the reader to consider this text as a means to understanding the prophecy of the Olivet Discourse. This portion of Scripture will be a manual for tribulation saints, complete with a list of imperatives of what to do when they see the Antichrist go into the temple and establish himself in place of the one true God (Matthew 24:16-20).

Many prophetic teachers believe that the command to “flee into the mountains” is a reference to “Petra” (Revelation 12:14). Petra becomes a wilderness and mountainous “hiding place” for the Jewish people. Petra is hidden in the barren mountains of southern Jordan. It is a city that once ranked with almost any in the ancient world. Petra was carved from richly colored sandstone at the crossing of key caravan routes and thrived for a thousand years before it was devastated by earthquakes. Drifting sand covered the ruins.

Note the reference to the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20) which would be of no concern to the church (Colossians 2:16) but of great importance to orthodox Jews who are bound to keep the Sabbath as a perpetual covenant (Exodus 31:13,16; 35:2; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Numbers 15:32-36). We have a reference to the distance a Jew was allowed to travel in Acts 1:12 “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.” A Sabbath day’s journey was 2,000 cubits or approximately 3/5 of a mile.

10. How did Jesus use the 70th week of Daniel as a template to answer the disciples’ question? Jesus used the 70th week prophecy as the template for the chronological events He unfolded in His response to the disciples’ questions. This also applies to the judgment section of Revelation (chapters 4-19) where Jesus, the one who gave the Revelation vision to the Apostle John (Revelation 4; Daniel 7:25; 12:7,11,12).

Viewing these texts together (see Correlation Chart 2 below), we find that the “beginning” birth pains of Matthew 24:4-14 correlate with the seal judgments of Revelation 4-6, which…

  1. Have a terrestrial focus;
  2. Fit within the first half of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27a); and
  3. Climax with the pivotal event of the Temple’s desecration (abomination of desolation) in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27b).

End Times Corrolation Chart 2

Events then intensify to concluding birth pains in Matthew 24:16-26, which…

  1. Correlate with Revelation 7-19,
  2. Have a celestial focus, and
  3. Climax with the heavenly appearing of “the sign” of Messiah’s advent to earth in judgment (Matthew 24:27-31; Revelation 19).

These events fit within the last half of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27b), which concludes with the destruction of the temple’s desolator (“the prince who is to come,” the Antichrist, Daniel 9:26).

If Matthew 24:4-14 predict signs that are for the future tribulation period and relate primarily to the Jewish people of that day, they cannot have had a past fulfillment, especially not with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Comparing the events in these verses reveals that they cannot be identified with first-century historical events.

11. How would you describe the nature of the Great Tribulation? (Matthew 24:21-28) The words “has not occurred” and “nor ever will,” along with the description that follows­, identify this as the yet-future time in which God’s wrath shall be poured out upon the earth (see Revelation 7:14). Jesus’ descriptions of the cataclysms that follow closely resemble the outpouring of divine wrath described in the bowl judgments of Revelation 16 and his subsequent appearing in Revelation 19.

Old Testament writers predicted the Great Tribulation in similar terms.

  • Daniel 12:1 – “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”
  • Jeremiah 30:7 – “Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it.”
  • Matthew 24:22 – “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Jesus indicates that if God in eternity past had not determined to cut short the second half of the tribulation to three and 1/2 years, all flesh would perish. For mankind to survive, God determined to prevent the time of “Great Tribulation” from running indefinitely beyond the time limit He had set.

Jesus’ statement implied that this period will be the unparalleled time of trouble for all flesh (Jewish and Gentile) on Earth. For several reasons, this fact prevents the “Great Tribulation” from referring to the Roman Empire’s destruction of Jerusalem, the second Temple, or Israel as a nation-state in A.D. 70:

  1. Only Jewish flesh was threatened in A.D. 70.
  2. The A.D. 70 destruction was not worse than that of Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel as a nation-state in 722 B.C. or the destruction of Jerusalem, the first Temple, and the kingdom of Judah as a nation­state in 586 B.C.
  3. The destruction of A.D. 70 was not worse than the Holocaust of World War II. Four times as many Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust than in the war that ended in A.D. 70.

12. How does Satan mislead people during the Tribulation Period? (Matthew 24:4,5,11,23-28) Jesus warns his audience to “see to it,” which denotes “to keep your eyes open” that “no one misleads you” (Matthew 24:4; Mark 13:5). Jesus speaks of the future reality that many will be misled (Matthew 24:5, 11 ,24; Mark 16:6). The verb “mislead,” in the active voice means “to deceive by leading into error,” and in the passive voice “to go astray, wander,” (Vines pg.151). These false Christs and false prophets are wandering or shooting-stars that are no longer in a sound doctrine orbit. Jesus warns against false prophets who set forth false Messiahs. These false Messiahs will attempt to establish their credibility through counterfeit sign miracles. Matthew 24:24 says “For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (cp. Mark 13:22).

Most of the charismatic gifts today are unsimilar to those of the apostolic period. The charismatic sign gifts today are not limited to the Christian church. These experiences transcend denominational lines and are even present in different world religions and cults today. A case in point is the experience of those in the New Age movement who have the Kundalini spirit.

The Kundalini spirit has invaded the church masquerading as the Holy Spirit. It appears that these ecumenical “spirit experiences” may be one of the unifying factors that can bring together a one world religion under the Antichrist after the true church has been raptured. Satan is the source of this end time deception (Revelation 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10).

2 Thessalonians 2:7-10 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

Revelation 13:11-14 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

13. Does Matthew 24:29-31 refer to the Rapture or the Glorious Appearance at the end of the Tribulation Period? (Matthew 24:29-31) The Second Advent or Coming of Christ has two phases. The first phase is the “rapture of the church” before the tribulation period and the second phase is called the “revelation” that occurs at the end of the Tribulation Period. These two “comings” are clearly contrasted on the chart below.

Second Coming Chart

14. What is the sign of the Son of Man’s Coming? (Matthew 24:30) The Son of Man himself is the sign. The events described here precisely parallel the description in Daniel 7:13; Revelation 19:11-21 . The phrase “all the tribes of the earth will mourn” refers to people of different nationalities who mourn over their own rebellion. Israel in particular will mourn over their rejection of the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-12).

15. What are the five illustrations that Jesus uses to illustrate the importance of being ready for Christ’s return? (Matthew 24:32-25:30) Jesus instructed His disciples to “be ready” for His return. Christ used five illustrations to make His point:

  1. The Parable of the Fig Tree (Matthew 24:32-35)
  2. The Days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-39)
  3. The Faithful and Evil Slave (Matthew 24:45-51)
  4. The Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
  5. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

Just as windows let in sunlight, so illustrations illuminate the soul. With delicate yet direct statements, Jesus directed His disciples to God’s divine purposes and disclosed predictive prophetic events that will involve Israel as a nation.

16. What is Jesus trying teach through the parable of the fig tree? (Matthew 24:32-35) Matthew 24:34 says, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Jesus was not referring to the generation of his disciples who listened to him then. This fact is obvious from Matthew 21 :43, where he said, “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” Historically, the first-century generation would pass away, but the generation of Jewish people living when these signs begin will survive that period and see Messiah come as the King of glory. Yeshua’s promise is certain. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the King’s words to fail (Matthew 24:35; 5:18).

This parable is also not referring to the generation when Israel became a state in 1948. The text is describing the tribulation generation. The fig tree is a sign of approximation. When the generation that is alive sees the signs listed in these verses they can be confident that Christ’s return will be in their lifetime. Just as tender fig branches that put forth their leaves on the fig tree act is a sign that summer is near, so the signs in this passage tell us that Christ’s second coming is soon. The generation that sees these signs won’t know the precise hour or day but the general period of time (Matthew 24:36).

Unfortunately these verses have been misused to determine the timing of the return of Christ. Some prophetic teachers of the past predicted that the rapture would occur in 1981 . Their rational was that the fig tree represents Israel who became a nation in 1948. If you add a generation (40 years) onto 1948 it adds up to 1988. If we subtract a 7 year tribulation period you would have Christ returning for the church in 1981 (The Late Great Planet Earth by: Hal Lindsey, Bantam Books, 1970, pg.43).

17. How can we know the exact time when Christ returns? (Matthew 24:36) Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Jesus declared categorically that no one knows the “day and hour” of Christ’s return. The signs He had just been describing will be conclusive proof that his arrival is very near. Once they have begun, the general time period of his return will be known, because one of the key purposes of the signs will be to make it known. But even during those sign-days the precise “day and hour” of Jesus’ appearing will not be known, a truth he reiterates several times in this Olivet Discourse (see Matthew 24:42, 44, 50; 25:13).

Neither will the supernatural world know the precise time, not “even the angels of heaven.” Although the righteous angels enjoy intimacy with God, hovering around His throne to do his bidding (Isaiah 6:2-7) and continually beholding his face (Matthew 18:10), they are not privy to this secret. The angels will be directly and actively involved in the end time as God’s agents to separate the saved from the unsaved (see Matthew 13:41, 49), but for his own reasons God the Father will not reveal in advance exactly when he will call them into that service.

Still more amazingly not even “the Son” knew at the time he spoke these words or at any other time during his incarnation. Although he was fully God as well as fully man (John 1:1, 14), Christ voluntarily restricted his use of certain divine attributes when he became flesh. “Although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” that is, to be held onto during his humanness (Philippians 2:6). It was not that he lost any divine attributes but that he voluntarily laid aside the use of some of them and would not manifest those attributes except as directed by his Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38).

18. How does Jesus’ second illustration stress the importance of readiness? (Matthew 24:37-42) Notice that the people in the days of Noah went about their lives while judgment was coming. In total disregard for Noah’s warning (2 Peter 2:5) the people of his day were unconcerned and went about their business as usual. When the flood came who was taken? The unbelievers were taken and the righteous remained on the earth. In the same way when Christ comes the unbelievers will be taken and “burned” (Matthew 13:40-42) but the believers will be left on planet earth to be “barned” (Matthew 13:43) in the Kingdom. This is in contrast to the rapture when believers are taken and unbelievers are left behind to face God’s wrath in the tribulation period. Remember that Jesus is speaking about the Jewish people (not the church) and the consummation of the age for the nation of Israel as they finish out the 70th week of Daniel in preparation for millennial kingdom.

Jesus says, “Therefore,” in view of this illustration you ought to be “be on the alert (present imperative), for you do not know which day your Lord is coming”(Matthew 24:42). The phrase “be on the alert” translates a present imperative, indicating a call for continual expectancy.

19. What characteristics demonstrate readiness in Jesus’ third illustration? (Matthew 24:43-51) In the illustration of the faithful and evil slave, Jesus stresses the importance of being ready in case he comes sooner than anticipated (Matthew 24:43-51). His point here is alertness, vigilance, readiness, preparedness in light of his sudden return. The Lord is coming, and his coming will test his slaves. The illustration is simple, yet sublime. Just as the master in Jesus’ story entrusted all his possessions to his slave, so the God of Israel has entrusted all things in the earth to his slaves. A slave’s response to his Lord reveals the true condition of the slave’s heart (Matthew 24:46, 48-49). The Lord wants to find his slaves faithfully doing his will (Matthew 24:45-46). When the Lord returns, he will reward faithfulness (Matthew 24:47). Failure to do the Lord’s bidding is faithless stewardship and brings the Lord’s just punishment because, in the parable, when such a slave noted his master’s delay, he abused his own slaves. Yet the master returned to the house unexpectedly, and judgment came (Matthew 24:50-51).

In the Lord’s eyes, that slave was a hypocrite. Thus he was separated from the others and consigned to eternal judgment, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42). Likewise, at the Messiah’s second coming, the wicked will be judged and separated eternally from God.

These parables of the faithful and evil slave and the talents given them by the master speak of the privileges God has given to his covenant people Israel and the consequences of willful and prolonged disobedience.

But be sure of this (present imperative), that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready (present imperative) for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:43-44)

As no one knows what hour the thief will come, no one knows the hour of the Lord’s return or the Day of the Lord that accompanies his coming (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). But the believer is to be ready at all times.

The evil slave represents an unbeliever who refuses to take seriously the promise of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:4). Though he is an unbeliever (as demonstrated by his punishment – Revelation 22:13), he is still accountable to Christ for the stewardship of his time. Jesus was teaching that every person in the world holds his life, natural abilities, wealth, and possessions in trust from God and must give account of how these things are used.

Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” (Matthew 24:45-47)

The believer who is found faithful to the Lord in what he has been given will be given charge of all of the Lord’s possessions, having inherited the absolute fullness of the kingdom of God as a fellow heir of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time, 49and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards“‘ (Matthew 24:48,49)

The evil activities Jesus then mentions, the beating of “fellow slaves” and eating and drinking “with drunkards,” are not meant to characterize every unbeliever during the tribulation, but those activities reflect the attitude many of them will have. Because they think the Lord will not come “for a long time” (Matthew 24:48), they will feel free to indulge themselves in whatever sins and pleasures they desire.

Jesus said, “the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know 51and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:50-51)

In this case the master will not come as Savior and King to bless and to reward but will come as Judge and Executioner to condemn and to destroy. He will cut the unbelieving slave in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites in eternal fire.

The phrase “cut…in pieces’ literally means to cut into two parts. It is used in that strict sense in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in regard to the preparation of an animal sacrifice (Exodus 29:17). To Jews it would therefore carry the unmistakable idea of destruction and death.

The fact that such persons will be assigned along with the hypocrites suggests that they were not hypocrites themselves. Just as today, many people in the end time will be open and honest about their unbelief, even wearing such honesty as a badge of intellectual and moral integrity. But honest unbelievers are just as lost as hypocrites who pretend to have faith. They will go to the same place as the religious phonies they feel superior to and despise.

20. How does this command apply to believers in the Church Age? (Revelation 3:3, 11; 22:7, 12, 20) The Olivet Discourse teaches that when Jesus returns to the earth to establish his kingdom, his return will be unexpected like a thief in the night. Scripture also likens Christ’s coming in the air to rapture his church to the unexpected arrival of a thief.

Jesus told the church at Sardis – “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief. and you will not know at what hour I will come to you” (Revelation  3:1-3).

There are no signs or prophetic promises that have to be fulfilled before Christ comes to snatch away (“rapture”) his bride the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The rapture can happen at any moment. When evaluating the church of Philadelphia Jesus said – “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).

Other verses emphasize the imminent return of Christ for us His church:

  • Revelation 22:7 “And behold, I am coming quickly Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
  • Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”
  • Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly” Amen Come, Lord Jesus.

The theme of Christ’s “any moment” return has been the basis for New Testament writers to appeal to their audiences to “abide in him (1 John 2:28); live pure lives (1 John 3:2,3); remain steadfast (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 10); and to see any delay in Christ’s return as an opportunity to win our unsaved loved ones, friends, and coworkers to Christ (2 Peter 3:8-15a).

Paul said, “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

21. How can we maintain a readiness according to 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11? The Apostle Paul years earlier challenged the Thessalonian believers to be ready for the rapture of the church with these words. Readiness is only achieved as we are alert, sober, putting on the armor, encouraging and building up one another.


The questions and answers for this study were gleaned from the following resources.
1 . Serendipity Bible for Groups by: Serendipity House, Zondervon Publishing House, 1998
2. Donie/: The Kingdom of the Lord by: Charles Lee Feinberg, BMH Books, 1981
3. The Expositors Bible Commentary, Volume 8 by: Frank E. Goebelein (General Editor), Zondervan Publishing House, 1984
4. Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ by: Harold W. Hoehnew, pages 115-139. Zondervon Publishing House, 1977.
5. The End Times by: Hermon A. Hoyt, Moody Press, 1969
6. And the Angels Were Silent by: Max Lucado, pages 133-138, Multnomoh, 1992
7. The MacArthurs New Testament Commentary: Matthew 24-28 by: John F. MacArthur Jr., Moody Press, 1 981 .
8. The Greatness of the Kingdom by: Alva J. McClain, BMH Books, 1974.
9. Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology by: J. Dwight Pentecost, Zondervan Publishing House, 1958.
10. A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse. Part 1. Pages 162-173. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 113, April 1956, No. 450 by: James F. Rand, Dallas Theological Seminary.
11 . A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse. Port 2. Pages 200-213. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 113, July 1956, No. 451 by: James F. Rand, Dallas Theological Seminary.
12. Dispensotionolism Today by: Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Press, 1965.
13. There Really is a Difference! A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensotionolism Theology by: Renald E. Shower, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1990.
14. Chrisfs Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age by: John F. Wolvoord, pages 206-21 0. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 129, July-September 1972, No. 515. Dallas Theological Seminary.
15. Chrisfs Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age by: by: John F. Wolvoord, pages 206-214. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 128, July-September 1971, No. 511. Dallas Theological Seminary.
16. Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation by: John F. Wolvoord, pages 216-237; 267-268. Moody Press, 1971 .
17. Chrisfs Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age by: John F. Walvoord, pages 99-105. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 129, April-June 1972, No. 514. Dallas Theological Seminary.
18. Is the Church in View in Matthew 24-25? by: Bruce A. Ware, pages 158-172. Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 138, April-June 1981, No. 550. Dallas Theological Seminary.
19. The Bible and Future Events: An Introductory Survey of Lost-Day Events by: Leon J. Wood, Zondervon Publishing House, 1973.
20. Understanding the Olivet Discourse, by: Randall Price, Israel My Glory, May/June 2005
21 . Perusing the Future by: Randall Price, Israel My Glory, May/June 2005 pages 11,12,30
22. The Times of Jacob’s Trouble, Israel My Glory, May/June 2005 pages 14-17
23. 11/ustrotions From the King, by: Deane Woods,Israel My Glory, May/June 2005 pages 20-21

[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber Jr.]
© Copyright 1994 Richard D. Leineweber Jr.

The Secret Things of God

Today I’m going to talk about Deuteronomy 29:29 – the “secret things” of God.

ILLUSTRATION: Are you a fan of the old Twilight Zone show? It’s a lot different from the Twilight series we have today! Do you remember this episode?

When Don and Pat Carter’s automobile breaks down in Ridgeview, Ohio, they decide to have lunch at the Busy Bee Cafe while they wait. The booth they sit in has a fortune telling machine on the table that answers yes or no questions for a penny each. Don asks the “mystic seer” if he is going to get a promotion at work. The card says that it has been decided in his favor. When Don calls the office, he discovers that the seer was right. Because of this initial success, Don asks the seer more and more questions.

Pat begins to recognize that Don is taking the seer too seriously. Based on the seer’s predictions, Don believes it is unsafe to leave the diner until after 3 p.m. Pat convinces him to leave a few minutes before 3, but the couple is almost struck by a car while crossing the street. A nearby clock shows it is 3 p.m. After they calm down, Don wants to go back to the cafe for more answers.

The breaking point comes when Don wants the seer to tell him where they’re going to live and asks the seer every conceivable yes/no question to arrive at that information. Pat tries to break the spell the seer has over Don. After a persuasive speech from Pat, Don apologizes and then announces directly to the mystic seer that they’re leaving to go do what they please.

INTRODUCTION: This is a great example of our desire to know “secret things,” those things that have not been revealed to us.

God seems to be so mysterious. There are a lot of things that we just don’t know about or understand about God; we have questions of which we don’t have answers that satisfy the human mind or heart.

  1. Why is there suffering in the world?
  2. What is God’s will for my life?
  3. When is Jesus coming back again?

Some things are just a mystery. We finished a January Bible Study a couple of weeks ago in the book of Colossians, and the concept of “mystery” was a big part of it.

I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. –Colossians 1:25-27

At the time, there was a philosophy called Gnosticism, which claimed that only certain people had some special knowledge of God, and it was a secret to most people. It was a heresy that was condemned by Paul as well as early church councils. In Colossians, Paul’s reference to the “mystery” was not some secret knowledge, but the mystery of how God is able to bring Jews and Gentiles together into one family, breaking down the dividing wall of separation.

Moses writes about some secret things of God, but we must seek to understand this verse in context. Let me read it again, in the NASB…

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. –Deuteronomy 29:29

The first thing to understand about this passage is that it is in the context of the “covenant.” This chapter is describing the conditions of the covenant and the results of disobedience. The phrases in this verse pair together: “the secret things” with “the things revealed.” Since the Jews were the chosen people of God who possess these unconditional promises of God, there is a question that poses a problem, “How could Israel, the recipient of everlasting promises, be destroyed and deported?”

God’s word says it best in Deuteronomy 29:24-28…

24 And all the surrounding nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why was he so angry?’ 25 “And the answer will be, ‘This happened because the people of the land abandoned the covenant that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26 Instead, they turned away to serve and worship gods they had not known before, gods that were not from the Lord. 27 That is why the Lord’s anger has burned against this land, bringing down on it every curse recorded in this book. 28 In great anger and fury the Lord uprooted his people from their land and banished them to another land, where they still live today!’

This is the problem, the continuation of Israel and its apparent termination seem to be mutually exclusive. They saw no hope of recovery. But God’s people should know better, because God had revealed the end from the beginning.

In the very next chapter, we read – then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. -Deuteronomy 30:3

This is generally referred to as the remnant returning from exile. Not everyone came back, since after 70 years many families established new roots, building businesses and growing their families. But there were three returning stages under Zerubbabal (525 BC), Ezra (458 BC), and Nehemiah (444 BC), which is the fulfillment of what we read in Deuteronomy 30:5 – The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

Actually, the first ten verses of Deuteronomy 30 is a prediction of this regathering of Israel from all nations to which she was scattered. It did not look very likely, but perhaps you remember that Ezekiel had a vision where he saw the “dry bones” of Israel in exile coming back together, infused with divine breath that would resuscitate the nation to its proper role as 1) servant of the Lord and 2) mediator of God’s divine grace (Ezekiel 37:1-28).

In order to make clear the possibility of knowing and doing the will of God, Moses spoke of the accessibility of the Lord’s commands and requirements in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. As I read this, the word “commandment,” which occurs regularly in Deuteronomy, refers to the ENTIRE Law of God, not a single command they are to keep.

11 For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12 “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 13 “Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 14 “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. –Deuteronomy 30:11-14

The point here is NOT the ease or even the possibility of keeping God’s Law, but the fact that we can even KNOW God’s Law at all. Contrary to the pagan nations around them, the Lord’s promises and purposes for Israel are crystal clear; they are NOT too difficult, or too wonderful, or beyond comprehension. Human beings CAN understand God and his Law despite their human limitations.

Notice what you DON’T need to do to find, hear, or listen to God’s Word: you don’t seek it in the highest heaven, or cross the deepest sea, because then we can blame it on someone else who has not gone to these places to retrieve the Commands of God. “Ignorance is bliss,” we say. Moses assures us that his Word is “very near you” in your mouth and in your heart. This tells me that Bible study is not all that difficult since we have the Holy Spirit guiding us, illuminating us, and inspiring us. This passage is very reminiscent of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:6-7),

6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your HEART. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall TALK of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Everything God wants his people to know is revealed in his Word, which is unveiled to the human heart and mind, and is to be communicated by one’s mouth.

Perhaps you recognize that Paul picks up this theme in Romans 10:6-8…

6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

There is no need to go to heaven to get the message, or cross the sea to get it; the incarnation and the resurrection have already occurred and don’t need to be repeated. Instead, there is a life-changing message of the gospel, the word of faith that is to 1) be believed in the HEART and 2) confessed with the MOUTH. Just as the gospel message represents the very presence and purpose of Jesus Christ, Moses tells us in Deuteronomy 30, that the word of this covenant is close and authoritative, just as the Lord is close and authoritative.

So, back to Deuteronomy 29:29, it was this knowledge and hope that should have inspired obedience to “all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29) Let’s read it again:

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. -NLT

Now it is time to get practical:

Is God keeping secrets from us? Well, since we don’t (and can’t) know everything, he obviously has kept some things from us. Even Jesus said that only the Father knows the timing of his second coming (Mark 13:32). Remember, anything that we know about God, is known ONLY because he has revealed it to us.

What is the one thing that most people seek to know from God? What does the future hold for me? Or what is God’s will for my life? Or why do bad things happen to good people or innocent people? Or why do the innocent suffer?

So, let’s talk about the future. What IS God’s will for my life? Well, we’ve talked about this before; but we usually ask the wrong question. We should be asking, “What is God’s will?” We should not search for that one, elusive, divine plan, and, at the risk of choosing poorly, forever being out of God’s will. We must discover God’s will, God’s purposes, and then align our lives to that revealed purpose. When we discover that which God is doing, we seek to deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow him to join him in that work (Luke 9:23).

Here are some passages that tell us about God’s will:

  • Mark 3:35 – For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother. (Believing and serving the Lord is God’s will)
  • Romans 8:27 – and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Intercession or prayer is God’s Will)
  • Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (The renewal of our mind is his will).
  • 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1 – Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, (Paul was called to be sent out, which was God’s will)
  • 2 Corinthians 7:9 – I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. (Godly sorrow for and repentance of sin is God’s will)
  • 2 Corinthians 8:5 – and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. (giving yourself to the Lord and to others is God’s will)
  • Colossians 4:12 – Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (A holy life and assurance of salvation is God’s will)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; (your sanctification [becoming like Jesus] and personal purity, is God’s will)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (Being a thankful person is God’s will)
  • 1 Peter 2:15 – For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (Living rightly as a testimony of the gospel is God’s will)
  • 1 Peter 4:2 – so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (Avoiding the lusts of men is God’s will)
  • 1 Peter 4:6 – For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. (Living in the spirit is God’s will)
  • 1 Peter 4:19 – Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (Suffering for the cause of Christ is God’s will)
  • 1 Peter 5:2 – shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (Eagerness in serving and shepherding others is God’s will)

But for human beings, even believers, we want to know the future, rather than seek God’s will. Have you noticed, in the One Year Bible reading, that divination is condemned; the Bible tells us to avoid soothsayers, seers, fortunetellers, astrologers, psychics, mediums. Why? Because God knows there is a problem in wanting to know the future.

I believe that THIS is the reason why. If we know the future, we no longer LIVE and WALK by faith. How often have we read about the admonition to walk by faith and not by sight? (2 Corinthians 5:7, Colossians 2:6). Eventually we will begin to place our trust in some other person or discipline rather than trusting in the living God. We are in essence telling God that all of the information you have revealed to us is NOT sufficient. Peter tells us…

He has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of him who calls us by his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).

When we look to the stars by reading our horoscope, or call Miss Cleo’s 800 number during late night TV, we slap God in the face and tell him that he is NOT sufficient. He is NOT all that we need. The sacrifice of Christ was NOT enough, I need more answers.

Warren Wiersbe writes, “Our responsibility as God’s people is NOT to pry open the doors to the future, but to obey God’s will here and now. It is not necessary that we know God’s secrets, but it is essential to obey that which he has revealed to us.”

Ask yourself these penetrating questions at the bottom of your outline.

As we finish here, what has God said to you this morning?

  1. Maybe you recognize that your have not been trusting God with your future. Today is the day to repent and make things right with God. Tell him today that he IS sufficient and repent of your seeking answers in some place other than in Christ. This morning is a time to pray, trust, repent, and start fresh in your relationship with Christ. Recommit yourself to God right now.
  2. Maybe you have been attending here for a long time, and it’s time to officially join this congregation. You’ve held out for months if not years. You’ve been waiting for some special revelation from God when his will has been very clear for so long. You continue to worship here for a reason, it’s time to be obedient and join the family. A Christian without a church family is an orphan. Every team has a roster, every class has a roll, it’s time to join the family.
  3. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior and Lord, don’t let this opportunity to get away from you. Today is the day of salvation. You’ve been seeking answers all this time and God has made it painfully clear that he is very near. You sense his presence. You long to understand and experience forgiveness and purpose he has for your life. Remember, you don’t need to know all the secret things of God; only believe the things he has already revealed.

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Who Would Not Taste Death?

I have been taking a course on the Commands of Jesus and one section dealt with the command to “Be Ready.” One end times passage of Scripture is a part of the eschatological verses of Jesus, found in Mark 13:30, where Jesus said “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

This question had a dramatic influence on Albert Schweitzer when he was studying New Testament theology. Jesus said, “This generation will not pass away until all of these things come to pass… You will not go over all the cities of Israel until all of these things come to pass… Some of you will not taste death until all of these things come to pass.”

Schweitzer looked at those passages, and he thought of them as obvious cases where Jesus blew it, where Jesus expected his return in the first century. Schweitzer saw this expectation of the early return of Jesus in early writings of Paul. Then there was an adjustment in the later writings of the Bible to account for the great disappointment that Jesus didn’t show up in that first generation. That’s been a matter of great consternation for many people.

Jesus didn’t say, “Some of you aren’t going to die until I come back.” He said, “Some of you will not taste death until all of these things come to pass.” The difficulty lies in the structure of the Greek language. The disciples are asking Jesus about the establishment of the kingdom. Jesus talks about two distinct issues.

  1. He talks about what obviously involved the destruction of Jerusalem when he said that the temple would be destroyed.
  2. Then at the end of the Olivet discourse, he talks about his return on clouds of glory.

Some of the best New Testament scholarship that I’ve seen is on the meaning of the Greek words translated “all of these things.” An excellent case can be made that when Jesus used that phrase, “these things” of which he was speaking pertained to the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem. It’s amazing that Jesus of Nazareth clearly and undeniably predicted one of the most important historical events in Jewish history before it took place. This wasn’t just a vague Nostradamus or Oracle of Delphi type of future prediction; Jesus vividly predicted the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, which indeed took place in A.D. 70, while many of his disciples were still alive. It was also before the missionary outreach had reached all of the cities of Israel and before that generation had, in fact, passed away. Those cataclysmic events that Jesus had predicted on the Mount of Olives did, indeed, take place in the first century.

Jesus also says in Mark 9:1, there are “some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” The same could be said here, how would those with Jesus see the kingdom of God come with power? Are we talking about the end times, the rapture, or the millennial kingdom? Look again in context, Mark 9:2-13 is the story of the transfiguration where the three disciples standing with Jesus would indeed experience a glimpse of Jesus in the kingdom, in a shining glorified state.

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What About Some Good Advice?

This is the fifth study in the series about Decisions: Seeking God’s Guidance:

2 Timothy 3:10-4:8

Purpose: To learn to distinguish between good and bad advice.

It is said that “advice is cheap,” which is probably due to the fact that there are more people selling it than buying it. The book of Proverbs, however, encourages us to value advice when it teaches, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20).

What is the best and worst advice you have been given? What happened when you followed each?

How do you normally react to people who give you advice: (a) appreciative? (b) resentful? (c) indifferent? (d) skeptical? What does this tell you about yourself?

Second Timothy is a letter the apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor he had trained. In it, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in a world full of godlessness, false teaching and bad advice. Read 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8.

1. What information does Paul give about his character and suffering?

2. Why is it important to consider the character of those we seek advice from?

John Stott suggests: No, Paul is not boasting. He has reasons quite other than exhibitionism for drawing attention to himself. He mentions his teaching first, and then goes on to supply two objective evidences of the genuineness of his teaching, namely the life he lived and the sufferings he endured. Indeed, these are good (though not infallible) general tests of a person’s sincerity, and even of the truth or falsehood of his system. Is he so convinced of his position that he both practices what he preaches and is prepared to suffer for it? Have his beliefs made him a better man, even in the face of opposition? Paul could answer both questions affirmatively. The false teachers lived lives of self-indulgence, and it would be quite out of character to expect them to be willing to suffer for their views; they were altogether too soft and easygoing for that. The apostle Paul, however, lived a consistent life of righteousness, self-control, faith and love, and remained steadfast to his principles through many and grievous persecution. (Guard the Gospel [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1973], pp. 94-95)

3. According to the criteria given in 2 Timothy 3:10-11, who do you know that you might go to for advice?

4. How was Timothy to evaluate the advice he received from others, including Paul (2 Timothy 3: 14-15)?

Timothy is told to evaluate what others say based on the convictions he has built over time. Those convictions have been given to him by Scripture and by people whose character he knows and trusts namely his mother, his grandmother and Paul. A Christian must stand firm on what he knows of the truth, like a rock resists the increasing fury of the waves.

5. Why was Paul such a good mentor for Timothy?

6. Focus on 2 Timothy 3:15-17. What is the purpose of Scripture?

Paul says that Scripture will make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). By this he means, “the Bible is essentially a handbook of salvation. Its over-arching purpose is to teach not facts of science (e.g. the nature of moon rock) which men can discover by their own empirical investigation, but facts of salvation, which no space exploration can discover but only God can reveal” (Stott, Guard the Gospel, p. 102). Paul goes on to show that Scripture teaches us both what to believe and how to behave.

7. How can Scripture be used in helping us to make decisions?

Since Scripture teaches us how to behave, all such teaching will come to bear on our decisions. We should never make a decision that will cause us to act or believe in a way that is contrary to Scripture.

When Paul speaks of all Scripture, he is definitely referring to the complete OT, but also to those portions of the NT that were then in existence.

  • In 1 Timothy 5:18, he quotes the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:7) as Scripture.
  • Peter speaks of Paul’s Epistles as Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16).

Today we are justified in applying the verse to the entire Bible.

This is one of the most important verses in the Bible on the subject of inspiration. It teaches that the Scriptures are God-breathed. In a miraculous way, He communicated His word to men and led them to write it down for permanent preservation. What they wrote was the very word (and message) of God. While it is true that the individual literary style of the writer comes through, it is also true that the words are the same as the Holy Spirit intended. So, we read in 1 Corinthians 2:13: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” If this verse says anything at all, it says that the inspired writers used words which the Holy Spirit taught.

The writers of the Bible did not give their own private interpretation of things, but wrote the message which was given to them by God. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

It is false to say that God simply gave the thoughts to the individual writers and allowed them to express these thoughts in their own words. The truth insisted on in the Scriptures is that the very words originally given by God to men were God-breathed.

Because the Bible is the word of God, it is profitable. Every portion of it is profitable. Although man might wonder about some of the genealogies or obscure passages, yet the Spirit-taught mind will realize that there is spiritual nourishment in every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God.

The Bible is profitable for doctrine, or teaching. It sets forth the mind of God with regard to such themes as the Trinity, angels, man, sin, salvation, sanctification, the church, and future events. (This is the way we should live, to walk on the path).

The Bible is profitable for reproof. As we read the Bible, it speaks to us pointedly concerning those things in our lives which are displeasing to God. Also, it is profitable for refuting error and for answering the tempter. (This tells us where got off the path).

The Bible is profitable for correction. It not only points out what is wrong but sets forth the way in which it can be made right. For instance, the Scriptures not only say, “Let him who stole steal no longer,” but add, “Rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.” The first part of the verse might be considered as reproof, whereas the second part is correction. (This tells us how to get back on the path).

The Bible is profitable for instruction in righteousness. The grace of God teaches us to live godly lives, but the word of God traces out in detail the things which go to make up a godly life. (This tells us how to stay on the path).

8. How might Scripture be misused in decision making? How can you avoid this?

This question is not directly answered in the passage, but by understanding the purposes of Scripture, we will also come to understand what it is not intended to do. The Bible generally teaches principles of behavior that will guide us in reaching a decision. For example, if a person is considering whether or not to marry a particular person, the Bible can help the couple examine their motives and desires. The Bible cannot be expected to give a yes or no answer as if it were a crystal ball.

9. What does good advice consist of according to 2 Timothy 4:1-7

Good advice will…

  1. Take into account that Christ is coming back and will judge us for what we have done
  2. Be relevant in that it will correct, rebuke and encourage according to the needs of the one being advised
  3. Be patient so that it will not pressure or attempt to contrive a decision; and
  4. Contain careful instruction which guides a person intellectually

10. Why might some people be motivated to give bad advice?

Paul warns that people will substitute their own desires for God’s truth. They will judge teachers by their own subjective taste instead of by the authority of God’s Word. In order to be popular or to gain an audience, teachers will be tempted to say what people want to hear.

11. How can you avoid having “itchy ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) as you seek advice?

12. How will this study change the way in which you seek advice?

Pray for God’s guidance as you study Scripture and seek advice.

Now or Later

A contrast between people with “itchy ears” and people who know how to accept advice is found in Acts. Read Acts 17:1-12.

  1. In what ways does Paul follow the principles of good advice you discovered in 2 Timothy?
  2. Why did the people of Thessalonica not listen to Paul’s advice?
  3. How is this similar to the people with “itchy ears” in 2 Timothy?
  4. How is it similar to people in your community?
  5. What is commendable about the Berean style of evaluating advice?
  6. Have you been more like a Thessalonian or a Berean in accepting advice?

Warren Wiersbe


Perilous in 2 Timothy 3:1 means “difficult,” “hard to deal with,” or “dangerous.” It is the same Greek word used to describe the demoniac in Matthew 8:28 and translated “exceedingly fierce.” How do we live for Christ in such terrible times?

Expect them (2 Timothy 3:1–9). The person who is looking for a soon-coming paradise on earth is destined for disappointment. To expect these perilous times is to become not a pessimist but a realist. Note the emphasis on the wrong kind of love (2 Timothy 2, 4).

Follow the right examples (2 Timothy 3:10–12). We tend to emulate the people we admire, so be careful about the heroes you select. Modern-day Christian celebrities may not exemplify the life-style God wants us to have.

Stay with the Bible (2 Timothy 3:13-17). Believe God’s Word will…

  1. Save you (2 Timothy 3:15)
  2. Mature you from childhood to adulthood (2 Timothy 3:15, 17)
  3. Equip you to serve the Lord (2 Timothy 3:17).

Satanic deception is rampant today and has infected the church (2 Timothy 3:13), and the only weapon that defeats the deceivers is God’s inspired Word.


Christ is coming (2 Timothy 4:1)! In view of all this(that which he tells us in chapter 3), we must know our task and be faithful to do it. Review 2 Corinthians 5:9–11, and read 1 John 2:28–3:2.

Apostasy is coming (2 Timothy 4:2-5)! Indeed, it is now here. Many professed Christians have no “ear” for the Word of God. They prefer religious entertainment and sermons that will tickle their ears instead of cut their hearts.

Departure is coming (2 Timothy 4:6-8)! Paul saw his approaching death as the offering of a sacrifice to God (2 Timothy 4:6; Philippians 2:17), the ending of a difficult race (2 Timothy 4:7), and the gaining of a glorious crown (2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10). This is the victor’s crown given to winners at the Greek Olympic Games.

Help is coming (2 Timothy 4:9-22)! Paul was greatly disappointed when the people he had ministered to turned away from him and were ashamed of his bonds. He asked Timothy to come as soon as possible and to bring Mark with him. But best of all, the Lord came to Paul and encouraged him! No matter what His people may do, Jesus will never leave you or forsake you (Acts 18:9–11; Hebrews 13:5–6).