May 31, 2020 – Daniel 9 – 12

Lesson Date: May 31, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Daniel 9:1-27; 11:36-37; 12:1-4

AIM: To lead students to discover what Daniel did to better understand God’s Word, and to encourage them to use those same methods to increase their understanding of the Bible.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Daniel 9 – 12 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Enlist some volunteers who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the following verses and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon: 2 Chronicles 36:21; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10; Matthew 24:15; Matthew 24:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students to silently answer the following questions, as you ask them aloud:

“Do you have trouble understanding the Bible?”

“Do you often read a Bible passage without understanding what you have read?”

“Do you want to have a better understanding of the Bible?”

“Are you curious about God’s plans for the end times?”

Tell the students in today’s lesson we will find out what Daniel did when he had trouble understanding God’s Word. We’ll also uncover some of God’s plans for the future.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the class this is our last lesson from the Old Testament book of Daniel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God controls history).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Jer. 29:11).
    • Tell the students that next week we begin a three-month study of the book of Revelation.
    • Give everyone a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for Revelation.
  2. Daniel Sought to Understand God’s Word.
    • Read Daniel 9:1-2.
    • Explain that Daniel wrote these words in 539 BC, the year that the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon. Darius was the regional king set over the area of Babylon, while Cyrus the Persian was the supreme ruler of the Persian Empire.
    • Ask: “What was Daniel reading?” (the prophecy of Jeremiah).
    • Refer everyone to the “Timeline Comparing the Ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel” on page 9 of the Sunday School Member Quarterly.
    • Note that the ministries of Jeremiah and Daniel overlapped. Jeremiah lived and ministered in Jerusalem (and later Egypt), while Daniel lived and ministered in Babylon.
    • Ask: “What did Daniel discover in Jeremiah’s prophecy?” (a prophecy about seventy years).
    • Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10 and 2 Chronicles 36:21.
    • Explain that God determined that the Jews would spend seventy years in captivity in Babylon, after which they would be released. God did this because He had told their ancestors to let the land lie fallow every seven years. The Jews disobeyed this command, so God took them into captivity and let their land rest for seventy years.
    • Tell the students that Daniel was taken captive in 604 BC. It was now 539 BC.
    • Ask: “How long had Daniel been a captive?” (65 years).
    • Ask: “Why do you think Jeremiah’s prophecy interested Daniel so much?” (it meant that he and his people could be released soon).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 9:3.
    • Tell the class that Daniel really wanted to understand God’s Word through Jeremiah the prophet. In the next verses we will see what he did to understand what God had said.
    • Read Daniel 9:4-19.
    • Ask: “What did Daniel say to God?” (he confessed his sins – v. 4; he confessed the sins of his people – v. 5-11; he acknowledged that God’s judgment was just – v. 12-15; he asked God to turn away His fury and show mercy to Jerusalem – v. 16-18; and he begged God to hear and forgive – v. 19).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 9:20-23.
    • Ask: “What did God do when Daniel begged for understanding?” (He sent the angel Gabriel to explain the meaning of the seventy years).
    • Summarize: Daniel had trouble understanding God’s Word, so he earnestly prayed, fasted, confessed his sin and the sin of his people, and begged God for mercy. God answered by sending Gabriel to explain the scriptures.
  3. Seventy Weeks of Years.
    • Read Daniel 9:24-26a (stopping with the words “not for Himself”).
    • Tell the students that the 70 years of captivity were literally fulfilled, in that the first captives went to Babylon in 604 BC, and the first Jews were allowed to return to Israel in 535 BC.
    • Explain that the word weeks in verse 24 literally means “sevens.” The “seventy weeks,” therefore, are seventy groups of seven years each, or a total of 490 years.
    • Ask: “According to verse 24, what will God accomplish by the end of that time?” (“to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”).
    • Tell the class these descriptions point to the Lord Jesus, who paid the final price for sin and brings everlasting righteousness to those who trust Him for salvation.
    • Explain verse 25, using the following outline:
      • While King Cyrus released the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple in 535 BC, the command to rebuild the city walls did not come until 445 BC (the decree of King Artaxerxes recorded in Neh. 2:1-8).
      • From that time until the Messiah would be 69 weeks of years, or 483 years.
      • These years were “prophetic years” of 360 days each.
      • Those 483 prophetic years from the decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the Messiah bring us to the time of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. God gave His people an exact timeline as to when the Messiah would come!
    • Ask: “According to verse 26a, what will happen after those first 69 weeks?” (Messiah will be killed, but not for Himself; this is Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross).
    • Summarize: God revealed to Daniel that the seventy years of Israel’s literal captivity foreshadowed His plans for Israel’s future. At the end of the first 69 weeks of years Israel’s Messiah would come and die for our sins.
  4. The Seventieth Week.
    • Remind the students that in verse 24 God said, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.”
    • Explain the following:
      • The seventy weeks relate to the people of Israel.
      • Sixty-nine weeks elapsed until the coming of the Messiah, who was “cut off” (killed).
      • The seventieth week is the seven-year Tribulation period in the future.
      • We are now living in the gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks: the time Jesus called the “times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 9:26-27.
    • Explain that “the prince that shall come” is the Antichrist, who will be the world’s ruler and object of worship during the Tribulation.
    • Ask: “What does verse 27 say he will do?” (make a covenant for one week – seven years; but in the midst of that time he will cause the sacrifices to cease).
    • Tell the students the Antichrist will enter into a seven-year covenant with Israel (the Tribulation period), but he will break the covenant after only half the time has elapsed. At the mid-point of the Tribulation, he will cause the Jewish sacrifices to cease by going into the Temple and demanding that the world worship him as God (see Dan. 11:31).
    • Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
    • Read Daniel 11:36-37.
    • Tell the class these verses are also about the Antichrist.
    • Ask: “What will he do?” (magnify himself above God and speak against God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Daniel 12:1-4.
    • Explain that when the Antichrist comes into his great power, Michael the archangel will stand up for the Israelites. There will be a time of unprecedented trouble.
    • Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Matthew 24:21.
    • Ask: “According to verse 1, who will be delivered?” (those whose names are written in the book: Christians).
    • Explain that verse 2 points to two resurrections: that of the saved and of the lost (1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-5, 11-15).
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what will those who are wise do?” (shine brightly and turn many to the righteousness found in Jesus Christ).
    • Ask: “What was Daniel commanded to do in verse 4?” (seal up the book until the time of the end).
    • Tell the class we can and should study passages such as this and the book of Revelation, but we will not fully understand them until they are fulfilled in the end times.
    • Summarize: God has revealed some of His future plans to His people in the Bible. Those who are wise and obedient will seek to spread the Good News of Jesus to others.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students all the things Daniel learned about the seventy weeks of years are fascinating. Daniel was curious about when the Jews might return to their homeland. We are more interested in the prophecies concerning the end times.

Remind the students that at the beginning of today’s lesson Daniel was having trouble understanding God’s Word. Ask: “What did Daniel do when he wanted to understand the scriptures?” (he confessed his sin and the sins of his people, he praised God, and he asked God to give him understanding).

Stress the fact that all the knowledge and understanding Daniel received from God came after his time of confession and repentance. Ask: “Do you suppose confession and repentance – or the lack of it – could have any impact on how much we understand God’s Word today?” (yes). Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Psalm 66:18 and Isaiah 59:2. Ask: “What do those verses tell us?” (our sin hinders our fellowship with God, causing Him not to hear our prayers).

Remind the students that you began today’s lesson by asking them if they have trouble understanding the Bible or want to understand it better. Tell them if they want to understand God’s Word better than they presently do they should do as Daniel did. The first steps to understanding the Bible are confession, repentance, and asking for understanding.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Encourage them to confess and repent of any known sin. Tell them to ask God to help them understand the Bible. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Psalm 66:18. Encourage them to start the “Daily Bible Reading Guide” in their Sunday School Member Quarterly tomorrow. Tell them before they read the Bible they should confess their sin, ask for understanding, praise God, and commit to accept what He says to them through His Word.

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