Part 1 – Introduction
Prerequisites of Bible Study
Why do so many people who identify as Christians claim to revere the scriptures, yet never (or rarely) actually read them?
I believe it may be due to a lack of spiritual perception, which I will speak more about in this study.
People everywhere wish to know the Bible at a deeper level but often give up studying it for themselves. And with increasing anxiety over doomsday scenarios, a variety of false teachings are beginning to gain popularity because most people aren’t aware of what the scriptures actually say.
I’m going to share my personal bible studies to help you get a deeper understanding of bible teachings as I learn along with you.
Most people come to the Bible looking for comfort, while others are seeking answers in Bible prophecy to guide them through the last days. In this video I’m going to touch on this topic with a brief introduction to the prophecy of Daniel and Revelation. Books that are key to understanding the end of time.
“Who shall be able to stand?”
In Revelation 6:14-17, John the Revelator describes a frightening scene depicting the second Advent. Through the devastation of this event, we see people hiding from the presence of the Lamb of God, while in a state of panic, hoping the rocks and mountains will destroy them rather than face the wrath of God.
Are you familiar with this? Can you imagine?
Everyone on earth, found spiritually unready will be surprised by an event the Bible has prophesied since the beginning of time. An event most people think isn’t real. Just a few years ago, I also subscribed to this idea.
The Time is Near
To understand more, let’s begin by reading Revelation 22:6-10.
Father, please help us understand your Word and protect our minds from error. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 22:6-10 (KJV)
The angel commanded John not to seal the sayings of the prophecy, which tells me this information is meant to be understood. So why are there so many different interpretations?
Why A Flawed Understanding?
As we begin to answer this question, let’s first look at some Bible verses that establish the guidelines for correct bible study.
In Revelation 22:18-19 we see a word of warning against teachers who want to add to or take away information from the Bible.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)
The word “prophecy” is defined by Thayer’s Bible dictionary as: “a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; especially by foretelling future events.”
This definition agrees with what Paul wrote about in 2 TI 3:15-17 regarding the rules of Biblical interpretation saying:
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2Ti 3:15-17 (KJV)
Peter taught that Bible prophecy should never be interpreted of our own understanding.
“Most important of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in the Scriptures comes from the prophet’s own understanding.” 2Pe 1:19-20 (ERV)
Are you starting to see why studying the Bible correctly is so important?
Unbelief in Christ’s Second Advent
Another reason I believe people reach a flawed understanding of the prophecies is because these Bible teachers don’t actually desire Christ’s return.
In Revelation, Jesus repeatedly says that He’s coming quickly:
- Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I come quickly”
- Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I come quickly”
- Revelation 22:20 “Surely I come quickly”
Do you believe that repetition serves an important purpose in understanding?
Why do you think Jesus keeps repeating Himself about His appearing?
The fact that He repeats Himself clearly indicates that we should pay close attention and trust in His return. This echoes John the Revelator’s sentiment in Revelation 22:20, where he ends his letter saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“An Hour When He is Not Aware”
In the Bible, we’re counseled to keep watch and to pray always to ensure we’re not ensnared and caught unaware of His advent. In the following parable, we see Jesus teach about the fate of unbelievers.
“But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Luke 12:45-47 (KJV)
If we want to avoid falling into this state of spiritual confusion, we should pay close attention to the counsel Jesus provides in Luke 21:34.
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:34-36 (KJV)
Similar to how Jesus keeps emphasizing His return, He also keeps stressing the importance of readying ourselves so we can escape the snare and successfully stand before Him.
Reward of Unbelievers
So far we’ve learned that unbelievers are found unprepared because they’ve fallen in a state of darkness, drunkenness, and anxiety.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:3-4 the apostle speaks about the fate of those ensnared with sensual enjoyment and careless indifference, while believers are aware of the certainty and suddenness of the Advent of Christ, saying:
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
As you continue to read Paul’s letter we learn the “thief in the night”saying describes how Christ’s sudden arrival will find those who indulge in spiritual sloth. This we must avoid at all cost.
No Peace for the Unbelievers
Paul strong reprimand is meant to entice action. “When they shall say: peace and safety,” is when they’re at greater risk of falling to sinful passions. The snare they’re not going to be able to escape from. In Deuteronomy 29:19-20 we learn the thought process of lustful, insatiable persons living to indulge their passions.
“Some people might hear these curses and comfort themselves by saying, ‘I will continue doing what I want. Nothing bad will happen to me.’ But that attitude will bring total disaster. The LORD will not forgive them for that. No, the LORD will be angry and upset with them and punish them. The LORD will separate them from the tribes of Israel. He will completely destroy them. All the curses that are written in this book will happen to them. They are a part of the agreement that is written in this Book of Teachings.” Deuteronomy 29:19-20 (ERV)
Following our own way and indulging our lust is the snare. This is why the prophet Isaiah said “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)
“There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isa 57:21.
So how do we prepare for Christ’s second advent and avoid falling in the snare of the fowler?
Bible prophecy was designed precisely to develop a Christ-like character for Its students. But we must be clear about two things:
- We have to agree to follow the Bible’s guidelines of interpretation and not our own.
- We must understand what prophecy is and what it isn’t.
Psalms 19:7 says the law of the LORD is perfect and His testimony is sure, given for the purpose of restoring the soul and providing wisdom to the foolish. And Peter tells us we’ve been granted precious and exceeding great promises that we may be able to escape from lustful corruption, and become partakers of the divine nature. (2Pe 1:4)
This is the purpose of Bible prophecy, to renew our corrupt sinful minds. The problem is that most people think of prophecy as a tool of divination given merely to foretell the future, while ignoring the work of receiving the Word into their minds.
In Revelation 19:10 the angel says that the testimony, the witness of Jesus, IS the spirit of prophecy.
“Then I bowed down before the angel’s feet to worship him. But the angel said to me, “Don’t worship me! I am a servant like you and your brothers and sisters who have the truth of Jesus. So worship God! Because the truth of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10 (ERV)
For this reason all the prophets give witness to Jesus, so He can achieve character perfection in us through his name if we exercise our faith in him. (Read Acts 10:43, and 1 John 5:10)
The goal of the scriptures is to create in us a Christ-like character for eternity. The Bible tells us prophecy is a Spirit whose purpose is to make us conscious of sin and righteousness. Whose goal is to teach us how to link our minds with His. So prophecy gives us a choice: We either yield our sinful characters and obey, humbly relinquishing control of self to God when we’re reproved of sin. Or to continue in the error of our own way and deceiving ourselves.
So revisiting the instruction left for us in Revelation 1:3 we see His instruction is two-fold:
- We read (or hear), denoting learning.
- We keep those things we’ve learned and apply these divine principles into our lives.
We are counseled to turn at God’s reproof then He will pour out His spirit unto us, who will make His words known to us. (Read Pro 1:23 (KJV)).
Reading, keeping, and yielding self to God will help us recover from this state of spiritual sloth and darkness. It’s what sets us free from this snare of the enemy and ensures we stand conquerors at that day. But this victory can only be secured by studying Bible prophecy as prescribed by God. Because learning and doing the will of God is true wisdom, this is how we establish a close and personal relationship with Him. (Read Luke 11:28, Matthew 7:24, John 15:14).
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14 (KJV)
Daniel’s Friendship with Jesus
You can see this principle in practice in Daniel 9:2. And note, in Daniel’s record, no sin is ever recorded.
“…I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
This verse is showing us that while Daniel studied the writings from the book of Jeremiah, he understood the close of the 70-year prophecy foretold for the desolation of Jerusalem was near it’s fulfillment.
Immediately upon learning this, Daniel humbled himself in prayer and confessed the sin of his people, vindicating God’s righteous judgment.
Daniel is doing principles He learned from Bible prophecy.
Take a look at the principle being taught in Leviticus 26:40-42:
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” Lev 26:40-42 (KJV)
Now take a look at the prophecy written in the book of Deuteronomy 30:1-5:
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” Deuteronomy 30:1-5 (KJV)
Our only safety is found in learning the story of Jesus and in keeping His commandments. Should we decide to depart from His Word of instruction and follow our own plan, we will be caught and ensnared in deception. Receiving instruction from anyone who doesn’t respect the Word of God will seduce us into a state of false comfort.
If we set our minds to understand Bible prophecy as Daniel, God will restore us. Take a look at what Daniel did to achieve this.
“And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” Dan 10:11-12
There’s nothing more satisfying than having a close and personal relationship with God and understanding His Word. But as you can see from what we just read, it takes effort.
Do you wish to truly understand the Word of God?
Truly, because we need God’s help to be able to discern truth from error. Take a look at the story written in John 8:42-47:
“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:42-47 (KJV)
We just saw Jesus makes a distinction between the children of God (the children of the day) and the children of the devil (the children of the night). Here’s what I find interesting about these verses, the people Jesus was speaking to believed and identified as God’s people, yet they didn’t recognize the Father’s character in His Son.
Imagine this scenario happening in our day. Jesus walking up to popular churches and telling them these things? Can you imagine Jesus saying “If God were YOUR Father…” or “Why do YOU not understand my speech?” When we sincerely believe to be Christians.
This is so sad. God’s people rejected Jesus and thought they were God’s people!
Listen to what Ellen G. White wrote about these verses in her book “Desire of Ages.” You can find this statement in the chapter titled “The Light of Life.”
“Jesus looked upon these men, the slaves of malice, whose thoughts were bent upon revenge, and sadly answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” They were in the worst kind of bondage,–ruled by the spirit of evil.”
In other words, walking according to the spirit that works disobedience, disqualifies us from understanding the Scriptures. How can we establish a friendship with God when we’re ruled by passion?
A Teacher from God
To those who hear God’s words and know Him, Jesus promises to give the spirit of truth. In 1 John 4:6 it says:
“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
So if we want to interpret the Scriptures correctly we are going to need the Spirit of truth.
Let’s talk about who can receive this Spirit.
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17
This Spirit is going to be in us and will live with us, right? We’re also going to know Him…
Let’s read John 15:26:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me…”
Wow! Our teacher is the Spirit of truth, the Comforter.
Let’s identify who this is according to the Scriptures.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
The Holy Ghost. He’s the Person responsible for giving us this anointing. Do you accept Jesus in your life today to be your advocate before the Father?
Turn your Bible to 1Jn 2:27.
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” 1Jn 2:27
Do you want this anointing?
I certainly do… Let’s talk about what we need to do to receive the Holy Spirit.
A Spiritual Mindset
Do you know what we need to be able to understand the Bible?
Romans chapter 8 explains this topic, but for the sake of time I’m only going to read verse 6 in our study today.
Here the apostle is explaining the mindset we must adapt in order to receive the teachings from the Spirit of truth.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Rom 8:6
And 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Co 2:14
I’m telling you these things because we have to prepare ourselves for what we’re about to study. I don’t know about you but this sounds pretty serious to me, and seeing how many people have come to weird conclusions and are now publicly teaching insanities, I want to make sure I don’t end up screaming for the rocks to fall on me alongside these false teachers when God shows up…
I want to read the cross reference notes for 1Co 2:14 defining what the natural man is:
the natural man: ψυχικος [G5591], the animal man, one who lives in a natural state, and under the influence of his animal passions; for ψυχη [G5590] means the inferior and sensual part of man, in opposition to the νους [G3563] understanding, or πνευμα [G4151], the spirit. 1Co 15:44, 1Co 15:46; Jas 3:15; Jud 1:19 *Gr.
Seeking Wisdom From Above
Are you now understanding why some people come to strange conclusions?
If the carnal mindset is at war with the Spirit of truth, how could we pick up the Bible in the wrong state of mind?
This is why some are unable to receive the teachings. We’re counseled to come to God as we are, but as we learn more about His requirements we’re taught to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” 1Pe 2:11
If we want the Spirit of truth to be our guide we need to start making some life changes.
When you study the Word, trust God will lead you to Himself and ask for the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. It’s clear we can’t continue to operate from the reptilian brain; we’re not going to see success in our efforts to know God otherwise.
This is where we have to make a choice. We can either choose to operate from our primitive urges and allow lust to run our lives and come to conclusions that “feel” right regardless of what’s written in the Scriptures… or, we could instead choose to use our neocortex and allow our frontal lobes to take full control. God communicates with us through our neocortex. Ever wonder why everything in this world is designed to kill that connection? Popular music, diets, content… etc… so this is going to be hard! But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Reasoning with God
Are you familiar with the text where God calls us to reason with Him? Take a look at Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD…” Literally, use our frontal lobe and think with Him. This doesn’t involve emotion or feeling. We’re just scratching the surface. I’ll end the study with this quote from a book titled Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White, from page 438.