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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 9: The Pre-Advent Judgment *
Introduction: Judgment! Who wants judgment? My general observation in
life is that everyone wants other people to be judged, but they do
not want it for themselves. Yes, the police should stop and give
tickets to other people who speed. No, the police should not stop me
and give me a ticket for speeding! The "problem" with God's judgment
is that it is for everyone. If we finally come to terms with a
personal judgment, what difference should that make in our life? When
I'm arguing a case in court, I need to know what legal standard
applies, I want to know about the judge, and I want to know about the
process. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can
learn about God's judgment!
- Read Daniel 7:1. Daniel has a dream. What gives us some
confidence that Daniel's report about his dream is
accurate? (First, Daniel tells us when this happened. He
tells us the circumstances and he wrote it down
afterwards. All of this is an indication of a reliable
- Scan Daniel 7:2-7 and read Daniel 7:15-18. What do these
beasts represent? (Daniel gives us the key to the
interpretation of his dream. I consulted several older
commentaries and they all agree that Daniel's dream is
about a series of powerful nations that followed each
other in history. Thus, the animals that arise represent
the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.)
- Why would God reveal something like this to Daniel
(and to us)? (To give us confidence in the future. To
let us know that our God is in charge and He knows
- Why would that message be especially important to
Daniel? (Recall that Babylon destroyed the temple in
Jerusalem, and took Daniel and many others captive.
God's people, God's nation, were in deep trouble.
They might conclude that God was not in charge of
- Read Daniel 7:23-24. What does this tell us about the
Roman Empire and the ten horns? (That ten kingdoms will
come after Rome.)
- Read Daniel 7:8-9. What time frame is indicated here? (The
discussion of the horns shows that we are looking at the
nations that came out of the Roman Empire. We know from
history that the union of territories that rose to power
after Rome was known as the "Holy Roman Empire."
Historians would place the dates of the Holy Roman Empire
from 926-1806 A.D. Thus, the reference to the "Ancient of
Days" taking His seat seems to follow 1806 A.D.)
- Let's consider this in more detail. Read Daniel 7:9-10.
What is happening here? (This is a courtroom setting. The
reference to "books" being opened indicates that the court
is in session and some sort of judgment is being made.)
- Read Revelation 20:11-15. What is being described here?
(This seems very much like what is being described in
- What is the standard for the judgment of these
people? ("What they had done.")
- We have another time marker here. When do you think
this judgment takes place? (It must be the end of the
world. "Death" is thrown into the fire. 1 Corinthians
15:26 tells us that the "last enemy to be destroyed
is death." This is at the end of time.)
- Read Daniel 7:8 and Daniel 7:20-22 and Daniel 7:24-27.
What is the relationship between God's people and the last
horn? (There is war between the horn and the saints. The
horn wins for a while, but God pronounces judgment in
favor of the saints and they win.)
- What is the reasonable conclusion to be drawn from
all of these texts talking about God's court and
judgment? (That some sort of judgment is taking place
in heaven. It began sometime after 1806 and continues
until the end of the world at which time the saints
- What do you think God wants us to learn from this dream?
(Just as revealing the future gave confidence to Daniel,
so Christians are told that we have an ongoing war on
earth that will be ended when God finishes His final
judgment. By God's power we will win!)
- What about the general timing of this? What is
important about that? (To some it might seem that God
is doing nothing. We are two thousand years after the
resurrection. Where is God? Why has He not returned
yet? These texts show us that God has a plan, that
the final judgment began around 1806 (other texts
could refine that date) and will continue until the
end of time - when the saints possess the kingdom. We
are living in the last days.)
- Read Daniel 7:13-14. What figure enters this scene? (This
- Read Hebrews 8:1-2. What have we learned in the prior
lessons about what Jesus is doing in heaven? (He is our
High Priest, ministering on our behalf.)
- What relationship do you see between Jesus' ministry
in heaven and the judgment prophesied by Daniel? (The
purpose of the sanctuary system was to transfer sin
to the animal sacrifice so that the believer would
not die. The final judgment is about who lives and
who dies. What Jesus is doing in Hebrews is part of
this final judgment of Daniel 7.)
- Read Hebrews 9:11-15. What is the basis for the judgment
of the saints? (Jesus died to free us from our sins! He
ransomed us from sin.)
- Read Hebrews 9:24-28. What is Jesus doing in heaven during
this time of judgment? (He is taking away our sins and
bringing salvation to the righteous.)
- Re-read Revelation 20:12-14. We looked at this
before. What is the basis for the judgment here?
(According to what they had done.)
- Read Hebrews 10:12-14. What is the standard for the
judgment of "those who are being made holy?" (Jesus'
sacrifice makes us perfect.)
- How do you explain these two standards? (Those who
are lost are judged by their works. Those who claim
Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf are judged to be
- I recently read "the anticipation of the judgment
encourages [people] to live a life of loyalty and
accountability." Do you agree?
- In light of what we have studied, do the righteous
need to fear the judgment? Will the fear of judgment
encourage them to live a proper life?
- Or, will the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf
because He loves them encourage them to live a proper
- Will the fact that Jesus died to preserve the rule of
law, rather than just changing the law, encourage the
righteous to live a proper life? (I disagree with the
quote. Christians should not be motivated to right
behavior by a fear of judgment. They should be
motivated to right behavior because they love God.
They should be motivated to right behavior because
they understand the war between good and evil, and
they want to stand on the side of good and God's
- God's Law and the Judgment
- In the last few lessons I've been talking about the "Rule
of Law." On the surface, emphasizing God's concern about
the rule of law when we are discussing judgment seems
contrary to the idea of righteousness by faith. Let's see
if the two can be reconciled. Read Galatians 2:15-21. What
is the standard for the judgment for those who accept
Jesus? (When Jesus died we "died to the law." "The life I
live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God." The
standard is not the law, but rather whether we place our
faith in Jesus.)
- Read Galatians 3:10. If the law is so bad that we are
cursed if we rely on it, how can the rule of law be a good
thing? (The problem is not with the law, it is with us.)
- Read Galatians 3:11-14, Galatians 3:21-22 and Galatians
3:26-28. The law is good and we are bad. If we rely on
keeping the law we are in big trouble, for we are under
the curse that comes to law breakers. As you consider your
name coming up in the final judgment, how do you think you
will do? (If you have clothed yourself with Christ, if you
have confessed your sins and asked Jesus to cover your
sins with His blood, then in the final judgment God looks
at what Jesus has done instead of what you have done. On
the other hand, if you have not accepted Jesus, then you
are judged based on what you have done.)
- Friend, do you want to stand alone in the final judgment,
responsible for your sins? Or, do you want Jesus to take
your place? The judgment is going on right now. Jesus is
standing there in the heavenly court ready to act on your
behalf. You need to decide today!
* Copr. 2013, 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.