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Lesson 12: The Pre-Advent Judgment *

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

  1. The Judge

    1. Read Daniel 7:8-9. What seems to be the timing of the Little Horn and God taking a seat? (They seem to be going on at the same time.)

    2. God is obviously old. Do you think He needs to take a seat because He gets tired?

      1. If not, what does "the Ancient of Days took His seat" mean? (He is sitting on His throne. That means He is getting ready for some official task.)

    3. God has white hair and is wearing a white outfit. Why? I've heard of women who choose their clothes color to bring out the color of their eyes. Do you think something like that is going on here - white clothes to match white hair?

      1. Read Leviticus 16:3-4. Who is Aaron? (The High Priest). What color is linen? (White). Why does the High Priest wear white? (It is a symbol of holiness, sacredness.)

      2. Is that why God wears white? (Yes. God is sitting down on His throne to take part in some holy, sacred act.)

    4. Notice in Daniel 7:9 that God's throne has flaming wheels. (And you thought that you had some nice rims!) What point is being made to us?

      1. What do you think "fire" represents? (Power. Purity.)

      2. What do you think "wheels" represent? (Speed. Intelligence.)

    5. Read Daniel 7:10. Fire flows like a river from God's throne. What is the meaning of that? What does that symbolize? (Have you seen a volcano erupt? Anything in the way of the river of fire gets destroyed. Again, I see the symbolism as power and purity. Nothing impure can stand against God.)

      1. Read Jeremiah 23:29-31. How is "fire" used here? (In the sense of judgment and discernment.)

    6. In Daniel 7:10 we read about "people" standing around. Are they also a symbol? Or, are they something else? Are they even people? (Read Hebrews 12:22. Daniel does not say these are people. He just says they are "thousands" who "attend" God. I think they are angels and that they, once again, reveal to us the power of God.)

    7. What is the purpose of all of this? (Judgment. The "court" is seated and the "books" are opened.)

    8. Think about modern judges. What are some of the questions that arise about judges of today? (Whether they are fair? Whether they are being honest? Whether their judgments can be enforced? Whether their judgments should be enforced?)

      1. Given our discussion so far, how are all of these questions resolved when it comes to the judgment of God? (God is holy, sacred, pure and powerful. His fire consumes what is wrong.)

  2. The Judgment

    1. How would you like to be standing before God in the scene that we just studied? (All of the older American federal court rooms I have seen were designed to instill a sense of awe in the people coming before the judge. Judges always sit higher than the lawyers or anyone else. As we have contemplated this judgment scene in the Bible, the "awe" factor off the charts.)

      1. In addition to being an awesome scene, what else worries you about being before this Judge? (Purity. Holiness. I have a clear vision as to at least some of my sins. How could I ever stand alone before such a Judge? I could not.)

    2. Read Daniel 7:11 and Daniel 7:21-22. How does the Little Horn fare before the Judge? (Judgment is pronounced against him. He is slain.)

      1. Is the Little Horn insane? How can he stand before God and speak boastful words? (It seems absolutely impossible to believe that the Little Horn is actually in the presence of God being boastful. The scene would hardly permit such a thing.)

      2. If the Little Horn is not in the presence of God, why does Daniel emphasize the "boastful" words in the context of God's judgment? (Remember last week we discussed that Rome qualified as the Little Horn because of its flawed approach to sin. From the very beginning of time (compare Daniel 8:10 with Revelation 12:3-4) the Dragon/Little Horn symbol has stood apart from God, not depended on God. The forgiveness of sins comes from confessing them to Jesus and the application, through faith, of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. We concluded that all of the "works" religions are included in the symbolism of the "Little Horn." If we can visualize from Daniel 7 just a bit of the power and purity of God, how incredibly arrogant, stupid and boastful is the idea of standing before our Holy God based on our own works!)

  3. Our Lawyer/Mediator

    1. Read Daniel 7:13-14. Who is the "one like a son of man?" (Jesus! This is Jesus after His birth as a human so that now He looks like us.)

      1. As opposed to the Little Horn, how does Jesus fair before the pure, holy and all-powerful Father God? (He is welcomed. He has the same attributes as God the Father: "authority, glory and sovereign power.")

        1. Is that "the Guy" you want representing you before God in heaven? Is He the one you want to stand in your place?

  1. Our Choice

    1. Read again Daniel 7:21-22. If we are right that this judgment begins around 1844 (that is to say some modern time and not the time of Antiochus) and takes place before the Second Coming of Jesus, how is the Little Horn waging war against the saints and defeating them? (It is defeating them by taking away their concern about a final judgment and taking away their active faith in Jesus as their Mediator. It defeats them when it convinces them that they can stand alone before God.)

      1. Friend, does the war between good and evil seem remote to you? Is your expectation for Jesus' Second Coming something that you have pushed to the back of your mind?

    2. Read Daniel 7:24-25. We have a specific time period mentioned here. Do you recall what we studied about this? (In Lesson 4 of this series we studied that this 3.5 year period covered 1,260 days. Under the "a day = a year" symbolism we have studied, this gives us 1,260 years.)

      1. How does this 1,260 year period fit into our picture of the Little Horn waging war against the saints until the Heavenly Court sits and gives the saints victory? (Consider two possible answers. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory refers to "the 1260 years of papal misrule" and "persecution." This can date from 529 A.D. This commentary also points out that the secular power of the church began in 752 A.D. when the church began to grant title to rulers of Europe. If we started the 1,260 year period with the 752 A.D. date, that would bring us right to the present time.)

        1. If you agree with me that the symbolism of the "Little Horn" encompasses not simply Rome, but any religious group that teaches salvation by something other than Christ's righteousness, are Christians at war today with these kinds of religious powers?

    3. Read Revelation 16:13. What familiar "face" do we see here? (The dragon again!)

      1. Who does he have with him? (Frogs, the beast and the false prophet.)

        1. Are these companions also symbolic of the "little horn" theme of salvation by works? (Levi de Paula Tavares, who for many years has translated these lessons into Portuguese, points out that the "frogs" represent spiritualistic religions who believe in gradual purification through successive reincarnations. I believe the "false prophet" is Islam - another "works" religion. We see a group of "works advocates" united together.)

    4. Friend, do you see the final line-up of powers? Do you see the choice you must make? A judgment is taking place. Will you stand alone, on your own merits, before an awesome God? Or, will you choose Jesus as your representative, your substitute? For me, the choice is a "no-brainer." I choose grace!

  2. Next week: The Gospel and Judgment.

* Copr. 2006, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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