Lesson 3

The Son of Man and the Final Judgment

(Psalms 94 & 96, Daniel 7, Acts 10)
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Introduction: Most people I know, including lawyers, are not anxious to appear before a judge. There is the pressure, the worry, the uncertainty of how things will turn out. Sometimes a lot of money is at stake. Sometimes a person's future freedom is in question. Those before the court always have something to lose. One of the promises of the Bible is a final judgment. Is that something to fear? Or something to desire? Let's jump in and find out!

  1. A Jubilant Judgment


    1. Read Psalms 96:11-13. Is this a happy time?


      1. Who, exactly, is happy?


      2. The heavens, the earth, the sea, fields, trees and fish are all having a great time. How come no people are listed here?


        1. Are the trees, the sea, the fields, the earth subject to a moral judgment from God? (No.)


        2. Is this like driving your friend to the courthouse? You are having a great time because you are just a spectator.


    2. Read Psalms 94:1-3. Who is happy in these verses? (The wicked are jubilant.)


      1. What are the righteous seeking? (Payback.)


        1. Does payback make you happy? (It is the theme of a number of movies!)


    3. Read Psalms 94:4-7. What kind of people are being injured by the wicked? (Those who have a hard time defending themselves. The most vulnerable are being hurt.)


      1. Why do the wicked hurt these defenseless people? (Verse 7: They think God is not paying attention to what is going on in the earth.)


      2. How do you feel about "payback" for people who take advantage of the defenseless?


    4. Read Psalms 94:9-10. What logical argument is being made here about God's ability to notice evil-doing? (The Psalmist says if God creates eyes and ears, He certainly knows how to pay attention. If God teaches us what to do, He knows what is proper conduct. The suggestion is that God is the ultimate in "paying attention.")


    5. Read Psalms 94:14-15. On what basis will God judge? Why should God judge? (If God simply allows evil to continue, then He has abandoned those who are faithful to Him. The righteous seek a judgment.)


    6. Read Psalms 94:16-17. Is judgment necessary? (The Psalmist tells us that unless God intervened with His judgment, the righteous would be killed by the wicked.)


      1. Is your life endangered by the wicked?


    7. Read Psalms 95:1-3. What is the source of all of this joy? (These three Psalms (chapters 94, 95 and 96) are all linked. Psalms 94 discusses the reason why the righteous are desperately seeking God to intervene as Judge. Psalms 95 is the joyful reaction to God judging - and a warning to be on the side of the righteous. Psalms 96 tells us that all creation will rejoice in the judgment. Taken together, these three Psalms tell us that the time of judgment will be a joyous time for the righteous!)


  2. Daniel 7 and Judgment


    1. Remember last week we studied the great prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7 which lay out the history of the world from the time of Babylon to the Second Coming of Jesus? Let's pick up just after the fourth empire, the "iron" Roman Empire. Read Daniel 7:7-8. How is this little horn like the wicked in Psalms 94:4? (They both "pour out" arrogant, boastful words.)


      1. What is wrong with boasting? Is this one of your sins? (This has long been one of my problems. Everything, every talent we possess comes from God. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:31 "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." This is a paraphrase of Jeremiah 9:23-24.)


      2. What is this "little horn?" (Read Daniel 7:20, 24-25. There has been great discussion among Christians on this point. Early commentators such as Albert Barnes (1798-1870) in Barnes Notes indicate that this may refer to the Papacy. This is consistent with traditional Adventist teaching. It is interesting to note that Matthew Henry, in his commentary published in 1712, raises the possibility that this refers to the "Turkish empire," which was the leading Moslem power. Notice that Daniel 7:25 says that this power will "try to change the set times and the laws." Moslems worship God on Friday. Is it possible that two powers who have changed times "fit" this prophecy?)


      3. What does Daniel 7:25 mean when it says the saints "will be handed over" to this little horn power? (They will be persecuted.)


    2. Let's read Daniel 7:9-11. What happens to the power that boasts against God and persecutes God's people?


      1. Is this a time for rejoicing?


    3. Read Daniel 7:12. If these "beasts," as we learned last week are the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian and Roman Empires, then how can they still live? (Remnants of each exist. My (poor) understanding of history is that Iraq is what is left of Babylon, Iran what is left of Persia, and Greece and Italy what is left of the Greek and Roman empires.)


    4. Read Daniel 7:13-14. What does this suggest is the sequence of the judgment and the Second Coming of Jesus? (That the judgment takes place before the Second Coming of Jesus).


  3. Jesus Our Judge


    1. Read Acts 10:40-42. Who is our judge? (Jesus)


      1. How does that make you feel?


        1. Why?


    2. Read Acts 10:43. What is the standard for Jesus' judgment? (This is cause for rejoicing!)


      1. Remember the problem with the "little horn" and boasting? What role does boasting have in the standard for judgment? (There is no room for personal boasting when we are saved by the forgiveness of our sins through the name of Jesus.)


      2. How do the worlds religions fit into this standard for judgment? Do they agree with the Bible? (Buddhism teaches perfection through works and has no Savior, Islam has no Savior, Judaism has no Savior. Evolutionists/pagans are works oriented beliefs and have no Savior. In fact some "Christian" religions are essentially works oriented. When the state of your spirituality turns on your own works, then you (presumably)have something to boast about. However, you do not have anything that will cause you to "pass" in the final judgment.)


  4. The Extent of Judgment


    1. So far we have seen that the judgment is "payback" time for the wicked who have hurt the defenseless. These wicked would have killed the righteous if they had not been stopped. We also learned that the standard for judgment is repenting and receiving forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.


      1. What happens to those people "in the middle?" All those "essentially good" people who do not really know Jesus, but who have been on "the path" of daily improving their life through hard work, grit and determination?


      2. Do these "good" people get destroyed too?


      3. If harmless people get destroyed in the judgment, how can that make people happy? (Read Romans 3:20. This idea of "essentially good" people deserving to be saved reveals the extent of our devotion to the idea that we can "earn" salvation. No amount of good works will save anyone -- as this text says. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned. Thus, we all deserve to die. There is no injustice in denying the unsaved eternal life. Indeed, Romans 3:20 suggests that those who truly battle to be good will be conscious of the sin problem. Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Those who realize their sinfulness and obtain eternal life by faith in Jesus - the only way to eternal life -- accept a gift. Those who do not realize the sinfulness of sin, and do not accept the gift, have no grounds for complaint.)


      4. Can you think of any reasons why "good," (but unsaved) people should be barred from heaven? (The sin problem is so immense, you do not want anyone in heaven who could begin the sin problem again. Only those who understand the conflict, and realize that Jesus is the only way out of the sin problem, are safe to save.)


      5. What is your obligation to those around you who do not understand the way to be saved? If you traded places with them, would you want to know about how to obtain eternal life?


    2. Friend, the time of judgment is at hand. It begins before Jesus comes again and it looks forward to a time when evil and evil-doers will come to an end. Do you want to spend eternity where there is no sin, sadness or death? Jesus offers eternal life as a free gift. A gift you cannot earn. It requires only two things, repentance and faith in Jesus.


  5. Next Week: Daniel 8: The Prince of the Heavenly Host

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