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Sabbath School Lessons on The Prophetic Gift
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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 37 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 4: The Gift of Prophecy and God's Remnant *
Introduction: Throughout Biblical history, we find that God works with
a specific group of people to advance His kingdom. Is this still true?
Will it be true in the days before the close of earth's history? Since
these are the people who speak for God, wouldn't it seem reasonable
that the gift of prophecy would be a special gift to this remnant
group? Let's dive into the Bible and see what it teaches on this
- The Woman and the Dragon
- Read Revelation 12:1-2 and Revelation 12:5. The only certain
thing in these verses is that this woman gives birth to
Jesus. From that fact, who do you think the woman
represents? Is this Mary, the woman who actually gave birth
to Jesus? Is this Israel, the nation which gave birth to
Jesus? Is this a reference to the Christian church, which
seems to be the majority view?
- What are the arguments against this woman being Mary?
( Revelation 12:1 hardly seems to be a description of a
- What are the arguments against this being the
Christian church? (Jesus gave birth to the Christian
church, not the other way around.)
- What are the arguments against this woman being
Israel? Could the twelve stars be the twelve tribes?
(The argument that Israel killed Jesus is as strong as
the argument that it gave birth to Jesus. Given this
entire history, it seems odd that this woman would
represent all of Israel.)
- What if the woman represented some distillation of all
three: specifically the humans who were faithful to
God? Would Mary be one of them? Would some of Israel
qualify? Would some in the early church qualify? (This
introduces the "remnant" concept very early on. Mary,
the mother of Jesus, was one person with whom God had
a special relationship. She represents the faithful
among humans. The twelve stars then can be understood
to be the apostles - some from Israel in the early
church who were faithful. Being clothed with "the
sun" is a reference to the relationship Jesus has with
His faithful. The woman standing on the moon (which
reflects the light of the sun)is an indication the
faithful reflect Jesus in their lives.)
- Read Revelation 12:3-4 and Revelation 12:7-9. Who is the
big red dragon? (The Bible specifically tells us it is
- What does it mean that "the tail" of the dragon swept
a third of the stars from the sky? (Satan won the
allegiance of one-third of the angels in heaven.
They, like Satan, were cast to earth after they lost
their battle against God. They lost the battle for
- The Dragon's Hunt
- Read Revelation 12:4-6. What was Satan's plan for Jesus?
Did he accomplish his plan? (Satan wanted to kill Jesus. He
accomplished this plan.)
- As you think about Jesus' life, was killing all that
Satan had in mind? (No. Satan wanted to trick Jesus
into giving Satan His allegiance. Satan wanted to
inflict pain, mental distress and humiliation.)
- Read Revelation 12:13-15. We find two time references:
1,260 days and "a time, times, and half a time." What does
"a time" mean? (Many commentators have said that "a time"
means a year. This would be 3.5 years or 42 months or 1,260
days. Thus, the two time references are the same!)
- What happens during this time? (It seems to be a
period of safety for the remnant.)
- Read Daniel 7:23-25. We see the same time reference in
Daniel and we see a beast that seems similar to our
Revelation dragon. The problem is that we see persecution
of the saints, not a safe place for them. Can you reconcile
these two ideas: persecution and sanctuary? (Commentaries
such as Barnes' Notes, Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke explain
this as symbolic of a period of time (1,260 years) when
Christians were persecuted by pagan Rome or "Christian" Rome
and they fled to remote places ("the wilderness") for
- If these commentators are right, what does this tell
us about the "remnant" idea? (The division among
humans is not between pagans and Christians, rather it
is between Christians who take their allegiance to God
seriously and everyone else. Just as Satan gained
followers among the angels of heaven, so he can gain
followers among those who either claim to be or at one
time were true Christians.)
- Characteristics of the Remnant
- At this point you may be scratching your head and asking
yourself, "How can I be sure I'm a "remnant" person? Let's
explore the remnant! Read Revelation 12:10-11. Here we see
a clash between the true Christian and Satan. How do the
Christians win in this conflict? (They relied on the death
and resurrection of Jesus and they told others about it.)
- Read Revelation 12:16-17. Who made the dragon mad? (If we
are right about the woman, it would be a faithful remnant.)
- Who, logically, would be the "offspring" of the
remnant? (Those born later who were also true
- Why is Satan mad at the offspring? (For the same
reasons he was mad at Jesus - they are the
opposition. They stand in the way of his evil
plans for the earth.)
- Look at Revelation 12:17 again, because it gives us a
very clear description of the remnant. What two
characteristics do we see? (They obey God's
commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)
- Obeying God's Commandments
- If we are saved by grace, why is "obeying God's
commandments" the first description of the true and faithful
- Why not say ( Matthew 22:37-40) "Those who love?"
- Why, from a "prophetic gift" point of view, are the
Ten Commandments so important? (Recall that they are
the "gold standard" for God's communication to humans.
They are the only communication we have which was
written by the hand of God. Everything else
communicated by a prophet is hearsay.)
- I finished reading a currently popular book entitled "The
Blue Parakeet." The thesis of the author is that we should
understand the Bible as a story (series of stories) told by
the prophets about our relationship with God. What do you
think about that approach to the Bible? (The amount of
"wiggle room" in this approach to understanding the Bible
makes me a little nervous. I would tighten this up by saying
the Bible is a series of stories to help us understand what
God meant in His gold standard - the Ten Commandments.)
- From the Satan's point of view, why would he attack those
who kept the Ten Commandments? (If you are not following
God's will for your life, how are you an enemy of Satan?
There is no need to fight those who are not on the field of
battle against you.)
- Testimony of Jesus
- Look again at Revelation 12:17. Put yourself in John the
Revelator's place. How important is the message about Jesus?
(The whole point of his ministry was to persuade people that
Jesus was the Messiah - Jesus is God.)
- What is Jesus' relationship to the Ten Commandments? (If
need be, read Romans chapters 4 through 8. Without Jesus,
the Ten Commandments only signify our death sentence.
Through Jesus we satisfy the requirements of the Ten
Commandments. Romans 5:9-19. Obeying the Ten Commandments
does nothing without the rest of the story - Jesus.)
- Let's read a series of texts to better understand how
Revelation uses this term "testimony of Jesus." Read
Revelation 1:1-2, Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:9, Revelation
14:12, Revelation 17:6, Revelation 19:10, Revelation 20:4,
Revelation 22:16, Revelation 22:20-21. How do you
understand the meaning of the term "testimony of Jesus"
after reading these verses? (These are people who are
communicating Jesus' message to the world.)
- Did you notice Revelation 19:10 says "the testimony of
Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." What do you
understand that to mean? (In this series of lessons we
learned that a prophet conveyed God's message. The
remnant's testimony about Jesus is a message from
- Read Joel 2:28-29. What does Joel prophecy about the remnant
in the last days? (They are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Their message about Jesus is driven by a close connection
with the Holy Spirit.)
- Friend, would you like to be part of the remnant? Are you
filled with the Holy Spirit, saved by the grace of Jesus,
witnessing to what Jesus has done, and determined to live a
life in obedience to God's law? How is your church? Is it
Spirit filled? If your answer is not a clear, "Yes!" then
will you pray right now for the Holy Spirit to come into
your life and your church in power?
- Next week: The Inspiration of the Prophets.
* Copr. 2009, 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.