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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 41 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 3: Bible Prophecy Fulfilled *
Introduction: What is the purpose of prophecy in the Bible? Is it to
motivate you to do good now? Is it to get you to be more patient
about current problems? Is it to make you excited about a future
reward? Is it to give the Bible credibility? Is it to help you trust
God? Is it to test your faith? Let's jump into our study this week
and learn more about prophecy and fulfilled prophecy in the Bible!
- The Temple Destroyed
- Read Matthew 24:1-2. Why do you think the disciples called
Jesus' attention to the way the Temple in Jerusalem was
built? (It was beautiful. The New Bible Commentary tells
us it was one of the architectural wonders of the world.)
- What is Jesus' response to their comment on its
beauty? (It will be destroyed.)
- Put yourself in the place of one of Jesus' disciples,
how would that make you feel? (My first thought might
be that Jesus was having a bad day. Losing the temple
would be an unmitigated disaster. There no longer
would be a place where God dwelled with His people.
It would likely mean the end of the nation.)
- Would it cause you to distrust Jesus? (It
certainly would be a big test of my confidence
in what He had to say.)
- Read Matthew 24:3. We have been speculating about what the
disciples thought the destruction of the temple would
mean, now we read it plainly. What did they think the
destruction of the temple would mean, as a practical
matter? (They thought it meant the end of the world. With
all of the prophecy about Israel triumphing over its
enemies, the destruction of the temple must mean the end
of the world. For contrary prophecy, see Jeremiah 7:4-15.)
- In the following verses, Matthew 24:4-31, Jesus describes
both the destruction of the temple and the end of the
world. Jesus not only failed to correct the
misunderstanding of His disciples about the timing of the
end of the world, but He strengthened their error by
discussing the end of the world and the end of the temple
together. Why would God do that? (Two things: First, the
IVP Bible Background Commentary says that it was common
for Old Testament prophets to group events by topic,
rather than chronology. Second, God is God and we are not.
Sometimes we cannot understand God's ways. To me, this is
a powerful warning against being very rigid about our
understanding of end-day prophecy.)
- Read Matthew 24:32-36. What does Jesus say that we can
know about the future? (This reinforces what we just
discussed. Jesus admits to His disciples that He does not
know when the world will end - and neither will they know
it. However, there will be signs that will give us a
general warning about the timing of the end.)
- If this is the message (Jesus does not know details
and Jesus merges two different events), why does
Jesus say, "Heaven and earth will pass, but my words
will never pass away?" When you introduce ambiguity,
and say you don't know, why make a statement like
this? (God does not want us confused about the source
of the error. His words our true, our understanding
- Read Matthew 24:42. What is the bottom line for Christians
looking forward to Jesus' Second Coming? (To be ready at
- There is a sub-text here about Bible prophecy. What
are we learning about prophecies in the Bible? (At
least with end-time prophecy, there is going to be
sufficient ambiguity that we can only rely on being
ready at all times.)
- Read John 13:19. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by
the Roman army in 70 A.D. The generation that heard
Jesus' words in Matthew 24 had not passed when this came
true. Tell me now why the Bible contains prophecies?
(Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. It
was. This, as Jesus says in another context in John 13:19,
gives us confidence in God's word.)
- The Earth Flooded
- Read Genesis 6:11-14. Imagine you are Noah and you just
heard these words of prophecy. How would they make you
- Would some part of you doubt this could be true?
- Read Genesis 6:3. The Bible does not say to whom God
was talking. It does not appear He was talking to
Noah. Add that fact to the picture. How would you
feel if God told you He was going to destroy humanity
with a flood, you were told to build a boat, and God
waited 120 years - but did not tell you the time
- How do you think Noah felt 115 years later? (2
Peter 2:5 suggests that Noah was building and
preaching during this time. No doubt people were
making fun of Noah for preaching about the
coming disaster which had not come for 115
years. An interesting comment is found in 1
Peter 3:20 which says that it was God who was
waiting on Noah this 120 years, not Noah waiting
- What lesson about Bible prophecy do we learn from Noah's
story? (It is sure, but it might take a while. Be
- The Span of Time
- Read Daniel 2:27-35. In Daniel 2:28 Daniel says that God
has decided to show King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen
in the future. Nebuchadnezzar was no follower of God. Why
would God give him a prophecy for the future?
- What could Nebuchadnezzar do with this prophecy?
- What can you do with this prophecy? (Just like the
prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, and the
prophecy of the flood, this prophecy gives me
confidence that God has His hand on the throttle of
history. Our God is in charge and He knows the
- The End of Earth's Time
- Perhaps the most important prophecy for us today is the
Second Coming of Jesus. Let's turn back to Matthew 24 to
see what Jesus says about His return. Read Matthew 24:3-5.
Is it your opinion that many false Christs have come to
date? (My knowledge of history in this regard is limited.)
- If this has not been a temptation or a problem for
you, perhaps this is a future event. How serious a
problem will this be? (Jesus says that "many" will be
deceived. Indeed, the first thing Jesus says about
His Second Coming is "Watch out that no one deceives
you." This is a serious issue.)
- Let's jump down and pick up the rest of Jesus' prophetic
statements about false Christs. Read Matthew 24:23-27. As
you consider these verses, is there a simple way to
distinguish Jesus from the false Christs? (Yes. If someone
has to tell you about the Second Coming, that is not it.
When Jesus comes again, everyone will know it. No one will
have to be told about it.)
- I read an article suggesting that Jesus was
anticipating modern technology; therefore we would
all see Him come again by means of television. What
do you think about that theory? (Television is one
human telling another. If you need television to know
about Jesus' return, it is not Jesus that has
- If the false Christs and false prophets cannot
replicate the "every eye will see" requirement, what
is it they do which is so compelling? (They perform
great signs and miracles. Compare Matthew 7:22-23.)
- Why is are miracles so compelling? (Because when
Jesus came the first time, He used miracles to
prove His divinity. See Mark 2:6-12.)
- Notice in Matthew 24:24 that Jesus warns about
something other than those trying to impersonate Him.
Who else is a problem? (False prophets who perform
great signs and wonders.)
- A false prophet will (I assume) not suggest that
he is Jesus, but will nevertheless be a part of
the great deception. How can we identify a
false prophet in this context? (Read 1 John 4:2-3. A true prophet acknowledges that Jesus is
God. A false prophet does not acknowledge Jesus
is God. Thus, any "prophet" working with a false
Christ is a false prophet. Any prophet who does
great things on his own, without acknowledging
Jesus is God, is a false prophet.)
- How many are deceived today by a false
- Friend, prophecy fulfilled strengthens our faith. It
increases our trust in God. Prophecy to be fulfilled
guides us in avoiding placing our trust in false Christs
and false prophets. Will you carefully study the
prophecies to avoid being deceived?
- Next week: The Bible is Reliable.
* Copr. 2007, 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.