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Sabbath School Lessons on Daniel
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 38 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: The Pre-Advent Judgment *
Introduction: Last week, our study of Daniel 7 taught us that Daniel
had a grand dream in which the entire sweep of history was brought to
his mind. The dream was very much like the prophetic dream of
Nebuchadnezzar, which we studied in Daniel 2. Daniel's dream,
however, has some curious differences that add detail to the period
of time after the fall of Pagan (secular) Rome. These details include
the description of a world power portrayed as a "little horn" which
holds power over the saints for 1,260 years. This reign is followed
by a glimpse into a heavenly court which sits to begin business.
Let's dive into our continued look into Daniel's future and ours!
- Rush to Judgment?
- Let's pick up at the end of a story that you know very
well. Adam and Eve have sinned by disobeying God and
eating fruit from the forbidden tree. Read Genesis 3:8-13.
God asks three questions in these verses, what are those
questions? ("Where are you?" "Who told you that you were
naked?" "What is this you have done?")
- What kind of answers did God get? Were these
confessions of sin? (None of these answers are an
unqualified confession. They all blame the problem on
something or someone else.)
- Did God know the answers to these questions before He
asked? (He certainly knew the correct answers.)
- If God knew the correct answers, why did He ask
them? (Notice that Adam and Eve wanted to run
away from their sin. They did not want to take
personal responsibility for their sin. God
wanted them to face their sin.)
- The following verses in Genesis 3 detail God's
judgment for this sin. If God had not declared His
judgment on this sin, how would Adam and Eve have
described these events in the future? (They would
have told the same evasive story, "What, me?" in the
- Read Matthew 22:1-3, 8-11. Here is another familiar
story. What is this story intended to illustrate? (The
kingdom of heaven.)
- We have God, portrayed as a king, asking a question
of a wedding guest. Do you think God knows the answer
to the question posed in Matthew 22:12?
- If so, why does God ask this question?
- Why is the wedding guest speechless? (Apparently, he
has no adequate explanation.)
- The following verse in Matthew recites God's judgment
on the man who did not wear wedding clothes to the
- Both of these stories deal with God entering judgment
against humans. What do we learn about God's approach to
judgment? (God does not rush to judgment. Even though He
is God and knows the answers, He still investigates
matters and lets us attempt to explain what we have done.)
- For whose benefit is the investigation before the
judgment? (In these two stories the culprits knew
what they had done (or not done). God also knew. It
seems that God's questions and the insufficient
answers are for the benefit of the reader. We are
"looking over the shoulder" of God to consider how He
deals with sin, judgment and the Kingdom of Heaven.)
- What does this tell us about God? (That He is
more than "transparent" in His dealings with
humans. He wants us to know that His judgments
- Investigative Judgment
- Read Matthew 19:28. What authority does Jesus promise to
His disciples? (The authority to judge His people.)
- In what event will the disciples participate? (It
seems the judgment of the "twelve tribes of Israel"
in Jesus' coming kingdom.)
- Read Revelation 20:4-6. How many resurrections do we find
in these verses? (Two.)
- Of which resurrection do you want to be a part? (The
first! This is the resurrection of the righteous.)
- Who do you think are seated on these thrones
mentioned in verse 4? (Jesus and His disciples.)
- Read Revelation 20:11-15. We have at least two books
mentioned in connection with this judgment: a book of life
and the book(s) of death. Which book would record what
(v.12) "they had done?" ( Psalms 51:1 & 9 and Revelation
3:5 give us this picture that our sins are written down in
a book. In addition, the names of the saved are also
written in a book. These are logically the books of life
and of death. The suggestion in Psalms 51 and Revelation
20 is that the saved have their sins blotted out of the
book of death and the unsaved have their names blotted out
of the book of life (or never recorded). Thus, the picture
in Revelation 20:12 must be the judgment of the unsaved.)
- If Revelation 20:11-15 recites the judgment of the
unsaved, when does the judgment of those whose names
are written in the book of life take place?
- Would it have logically taken place before the
judgment of the unsaved? (Look again at
Revelation 3:4-5. The phrase "acknowledge his
name [the saved whose names are in the book of
life] before My Father and the angels" sounds
like Jesus is interceding for the saved in a
judgment. This is reinforced by the picture in
Hebrews 8 of Jesus working in heaven
(interceding) on behalf of the saved just as the
High Priest worked on behalf of Israel on the
Day of Atonement. See 1 Timothy 2:5-6.)
- Now, let's get back to Daniel 7 and see if we can put this
in place. Review Daniel 7:9-14. We have judgment in
heaven, we have Jesus entering the judgment with (v.14)
"authority, glory and sovereign power." At the same
time(v.12), Babylon, Persia, Greece and Secular Rome - or
at least some of them, are "allowed to live" stripped of
their authority. Which judgment does this seem to be: the
judgment of the saved or the unsaved? (This clearly seems
to be the first judgment, the early judgment. Italy,
Greece, Iran and Iraq all exist today - but are hardly
- Read Daniel 7:21-22. Who is the subject of this first
investigation? (The saved! This bolsters our conclusion
that there are two judgments, and the saved are the
subject of the first judgment. This is the judgment which
results in the names of the saved being written in the
book of life. This is the judgment in which Jesus
mediates on behalf of the saved. This is the judgment
referred to in Revelation 20:4.)
- The First Judgment: What Time?
- Read Daniel 7:24-26. Last week we concluded that this
"little horn" power was Papal Rome. Leaving aside the
"time, times and half a time" of verse 25, what other time
markers do you see in these verses? (First, we see that
the "little horn" subdues three of the ten kingdoms that
arise out of the decline of secular Rome. That seems to be
the beginning time marker. The ending time marker seems to
be this first judgment which begins the last days of
earth. Daniel 7:21-22.)
- Would 3.5 literal years cover this span of time? (No
way. History gives us a general fix on the timing for
this "little horn." A Commentary, Critical and
Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments tells us
that Justinian's edict acknowledging Pope John II as
the head of the Church was set by Elliott at 529 or
533 A.D.. Luther sets the date at 606 A.D., because
this was when Phocas confirmed Justinian's grant.
This same Commentary sets the date at 752 A.D.,
because it says this is when "the temporal dominion
of the popes began." Our lesson (Thursday) picks
another date in this same time frame, 538 A.D. at the
proper starting date. There is no doubt in my mind
that this general time frame (500-700 A.D.) is
correct. Since the world did not end shortly
thereafter, it is hard to imagine that the 3.5 years
are literal. Instead, using the 1 day = 1 year
prophetic principle we discussed last week, gives us
1,260 years. (3.5 years = 42 months = 1,260 days. If
a day = a year, this translates to 1,260 years.))
- If you add 1,260 years to any of these dates, what time
frame do you have? (This would mean that God's first
judgment is going on now!)
- Let's have a little fun now. I'm not a "date setter" for
the Second Coming of Jesus - Matthew 24 tells us this is
not possible. Assume with me that one of these dates
others have recited is the appropriate starting date for
the 1,260 years. The earliest date, 529 A.D. brings us up
to 1789 A.D.. The latest date, 752 A.D., brings us to 2012
A.D.. I came across a chronology web site
(www.abdicate.net) which calculates that 2024 A.D. is the
6,000th year since Creation. (I cannot vouch for the
accuracy of that date.) The IVP Bible Background
Commentary (on Revelation 20:1-3) tells us that some early
Jewish traditions divided history into seven one-thousand
year periods. This was based on the application of Psalms
90:4 (a thousand years for us is like one day for God) to
the seven days of Creation. Revelation 20:4-6 indicates at
least a thousand years pass between the first and second
judgments. Thus, early Jewish tradition would suggest our
world will end after 6,000 years and Revelation 20
suggests that the saints will spend the last, (the Sabbath
millennium), in heaven. A very rough mix of all of this
information suggests that we are living in the last part
of earth's history! I like that thought!
- Friend, are you ready for Jesus' Judgment? While the dates
we have discussed are subject to debate, what seems clear
from Daniel's dream is that we are living in the last days
of earth's history. If you are not ready to be judged,
you need to repent and accept the offer of Jesus'
righteous sacrifice on your behalf!
- Next week: The Sanctuary Attacked.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.