Teachers Helps Lesson 1 Index
Prophecy Seminar - Daniel
Research Material

The first night of your seminar is a very critical and important evening. People come to the seminar excited and expecting to learn much. They also may be skeptical when they come. Therefore it is very important during the first night to help the people relax and feel comfortable about the presentations that are going to be made.

The first 15-20 minutes of your first evening should be devoted to introduction. Normally your seminar should last between 60-75 minutes. Most evenings you will be nearer 60 minutes, and some of the larger subjects may need to expand to 75 minutes. However, never should you go beyond an hour and a quarter, no matter how excited the people may be. Resist the temptation to go longer or you may wear your people out and they will not come back. Start on time and always finish on time. Below is a suggested order of presentation for the first evening. Remember, the first 15-20 minutes are for this introductory material, after which you will present Lesson 1.

  1. Welcome the participants to the Prophecy Seminar
  2. Introduce yourself. State clearly that you are (name) a pastor or layman from their local Seventh-day Adventist Church, who is sponsoring the Prophecy Seminar. Be up front from the very beginning. Do not hide your identity or connection with the Church. You may wish to add that while the Prophecy Seminar is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it is open to individuals of all faiths. . . .
  3. Ground rules:
    1. Since we may have come from different religious persuasions there may be times when we might not see things in the same light. That is perfectly all right in the seminar. It is all right to disagree, but not to be disagreeable. We can love and respect each other even though we don't fully agree with each other.
    2. All questions should be directed to the teacher. If you have a question at any time, please raise your hand and wait until the teacher recognizes you. If your question is one that will be studied in a later lesson, we will ask you to hold the question until that time. It it is a question that cannot be answered very quickly, the teacher might recommend that those who are interested in the answer to that question stay after class and we will discuss it at that time. If the student asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, let them know that you would be happy of research it and bring back an answer.
  4. Have them fill out the survey sheet.
  5. Go over the materials that they have received: the Bible, the lessons - briefly explain their content and how they are to be used, the pen, the ruler, and the binder. Explain that these materials are theirs to take home and to keep at the conclusion of the seminar if they complete the series. If for some reason they are unable to complete the seminar, they should return materials so they can be made available to others.
  6. Show them the diploma they will receive upon completion of the Prophecy Seminar.
  7. Explain the quiz envelope. Each evening there will be a quiz at the beginning of each night's program. The quiz will ask five questions regarding the previous night's seminar. This will give you a chance to review the previous lesson. It is recommended that the quiz be done at the beginning rather than at the end so that the student leaves thinking about the decision that he was asked to make at the end rather than the quiz questions. Since the quiz reviews the previous night's lesson, there will be no quiz the first night, but the quiz will begin with the second evening.
  8. Also explain that the quiz envelope is used for offerings. while everyone is free to come whether they can give or not, it does cost to put on the Prophecy Seminar and if they care to share in the expenses of the seminar, they can do so by placing an offering each night, or any night they wish, in the envelope and just leave it on the table.

After this brief introduction you are ready to begin the study of Lesson 1. Have the students take our Lesson 1 and begin going through it with them. While Lesson 1 is primarily introductory, you as teacher are laying a foundation that will determine your success or failure in the Prophecy Seminar. Many of the basic concepts as taught in the book of Daniel, as well as the way the book of Daniel is interpreted, will be covered in this introductory lesson.

You will need to make clear to your students that while the seminar focuses on the book of Daniel, we will also look very carefully at the book of Revelation, that Daniel and Revelation are companion books. One cannot be understood without the other. You should make it clear that Lesson 1 will give a basic introduction to the book of Daniel, Lesson 2 will cover the basic theme in the book of Daniel, and Lesson 3 will begin with Chapter 1 and move chronologically through the book. However, there will be times when the lessons will move to the book of Revelation in order to better understand some of what is happening in the book of Daniel. This basic method of study should be made very clear to the students on opening night.

Read the first paragraph of the lesson. Be excited so your students will be excited about what they're gong to learn from the Prophecy seminar. It is imperative that you be excited about your study, or you will never get your students to be excited about the study that they are entering.

Read through the five points on what the Prophecy Seminar will do for you. Give particular emphasis to items 3, 4 and 5. Your students need to see very clearly that his seminar is not designed to merely give them knowledge of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, but is to help them develop a better relationship with Jesus Christ and find real meaning to their life. Give strong emphasis to the fact that the books of Daniel and Revelation can be understood. Many of your students have heard preachers say that Daniel and Revelation cannot be understood, and many of them are skeptical about the possibility of understanding Daniel and Revelation. Thus you need to assure them that before the seminar is over they will clearly understand these books and their meaning for today.

Three Basic Premises: Make sure that you read and elaborate on these three basic premises. the people you are working with need to know your basic premise and method of interpretation.

  1. They need to hear you saying again and again that you interpret Daniel and Revelation by what the Bible says, that you let the Bible explain itself. We don't go by human teachings, we don't listen to preachers, we don't look at current events to find how to interpret the Scriptures - we let the Bible explain the Bible.
  2. Point number two is also extremely important to emphasize. Many of the people who come to the seminar have had misconceptions about Seventh-day Adventist. some of them think Adventists do not even believe in Jesus Christ; therefore, it is of utmost necessity that you make it clear to these people that are coming to your seminar your purpose to uplift Jesus Christ. Talk of Jesus; let the folk know that you love Jesus, that you have a personal relationship with Him and that you want them to have that same personal relationship with Jesus.
  3. Point number three is also vitally important. Share with them that our purpose in studying last-day events is not to just have a detailed understanding of the last days, but to also be prepared for the last days. Let them know that you're more concerned about their preparation for the day of the Lord than you are with the exact order of events that may be taking place.

These three points will help you establish a spiritual overtone to your seminar from the very beginning. Many people come to the seminar expecting to get only a theoretical knowledge of the books of Daniel and Revelation like they would from any other class they might attend. Right at the very beginning you must be laying the foundation that they need to make spiritual decisions over the book of Daniel. We are not conducting the Prophecy Seminar just to give them a head knowledge of these books, but to led them into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

Note on Question 3:

  1. Several scholars have questioned the authenticity of Daniel being the author of the book.
  2. They have also questioned whether Daniel was written in the sixth century B.C. as the book of Daniel claims.
  3. Many scholars date the book of Daniel in the second century B.C.
  4. The reason for doing so was that the events predicted in Daniel are so accurately fulfilled, they could only have been written after the event.
  5. In other words, it is an attempt to deny [the foreknowledge of God].
  6. Recent archaeological evidence has substantiated the fact that the book of Daniel was indeed written in the sixth century B.C., rather than in the second century.
  7. If we believe in [the foreknowledge of God], then we have no problem with dating Daniel in the sixth century.
  8. The problems associated with the book of Daniel have been resolved today by modern archaeological excavations that have validated that the book of Daniel has to have been written by a person living in the times of Nebuchadnezzar.
  9. Point of fact, many of the things revealed in the book of Daniel were lost sight of and not known in the second century B.C.
  10. The fact that Daniel knew these things further verifies that the book of Daniel was written in the sixth century B.C.
  11. It would be well for you to read the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary on the date of the book of Daniel, so that you are familiar with this area in case one of your students should question you.

Note on Question 5:

  1. This question needs good emphasis.
  2. The student needs to see that the focal point of the entire book, both stories and prophecies, is the time of the end
  3. Since we are living in the time of the end, the focal point of the book of Daniel thus becomes our day.

Note on Question 6:

  1. The people attending your seminar need to clearly see the value of studying the stories of the book of Daniel.
  2. Most of them have looked at the stories as nice bedtime stories to tell their children, but have never seen the impart these stories make on the prophecies.
  3. The point that needs strong emphasis here is that the stories illustrate the prophecies, and since the whole book is focusing on the time of the end, the conflicts that Daniel and his friends went through in the time of Nebuchadnezzar are illustrative of the conflict that God's people will go through in the time of the end.
  4. Either read the note under Question 6, or go over the material in your own words with the students, but make sure he catches the connection between the historical and the prophetic sections of the book.
  5. This is also the time when you can clearly enunciate the methodology that you will be using in your study of Daniel, that is, you will explain to them the chapter-by-chapter approach and the excursions into Revelation.

How to Interpret Daniel:

  1. One of the major decisions that your students will have to make will be over the question of the secret rapture.
  2. it is the major hurdle that most people have in accepting the Seventh-day Adventist message today.
  3. These lessons have not been designed to hit the rapture head-on until much later in the series.
  4. However, foundations are laid in each lesson that undermine the rapture theory.
  5. It begins right here in this section of Lesson 1.
  6. The rapturist is primarily a futurist who places all the interpretation of Daniel and Revelation basically in the future.
  7. Thus it is very important that at the very beginning your students learn the correct method of interpretation.
  8. You will not mention the rapture at this point in the lesson, but for your information you need to understand that what you are saying here is undermining rapture theology.
  9. Our basic method of interpretation is that of "outline prophecy."
  10. Outline prophecy presents world events from the prophet's day to the second coming of Christ.
  11. Each succeeding prophecy in Daniel repeats and expands those events, showing that each prophecy is building on the previous one.
  12. The prophecies are therefore tooted in history, yet focusing on the time of the end.
  13. Please give strong emphasis to this section of the lesson.
  14. Make certain that you are not crowded on your time so that you have to skim through this section quickly, since this is probably the most important section of Lesson 1.

Three methods of interpreting prophecy:

  1. Preterist view:
    1. Recognize that most of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation have already found their fulfillment in the past.
    2. Many times they suggest that the prophecies were actually written after the events took place.
    3. The prophecies were merely history written as if it was yet to happen but it had already happened.
    4. They date the book of Daniel in the second century B.C., since many of the prophecies had already been fulfilled by then.
    5. Was developed by the Roman Catholic church to counter the Historical method used by the Reformers.
  2. Futurist view:
    1. Places all prophecy basically in the future.
    2. Prophecy is not rooted and grounded in history.
    3. Usually interpret prophecy on the basis of the latest newspaper account.
    4. Any event that takes place in the world that looks similar to the bible prophecy, they feel is a fulfillment of the prophecy.
    5. This becomes very speculative prophetic interpretation.
    6. Was developed by the Roman Catholic church to counter the Historical method used by the Reformers.
  3. Historical view:
    1. The traditional method of interpretation used by the Christian church from earliest times, and even used by the Jews previous to the coming of Christ.
    2. Sees prophecy as beginning in the prophet's day, but focusing towards the time of the end and the second coming of Christ.
    3. Rooted in history and continually expands as history develops, but always maintaining its focus.
    4. The most consistent interpretation method used by the Christian church down through the ages.
    5. The method of interpretation espoused by the Reformation leaders.
    6. Oldest method of Bible prophecy handed down by the earliest Christian church and the Jewish church previous to the first coming of Christ.
    7. This is the method used in this seminar.
  4. NOTE:
    1. The Preterist and Futurist views originated during the Catholic counter-reformation in which the Catholic Church tired to divert the attention of the prophecies from the Roman Church to some other power.
    2. Consequently they devised two methods of interpretation:
      1. One that placed all the prophecies in the past, which took the blame off the church and
      2. One that placed all the prophecies in the future, and likewise took the blame off the church.
    3. Rapture theology is basically a futuristic approach to prophecy

In Lesson 2 we are going to look at the basic theme of the book of Daniel. It is imperative that we understand the basic message of the book before we can go into a detailed explanation of the book. Be sure to whet their appetites for Lesson 2. Talk about the exciting things they are going to be discovering as they continue to study the book of Daniel. Let them know that the most exciting adventure of their lives awaits them as they open up these tremendous books of Daniel and revelation.

Read Question 8 and invite the students to mark a response in the blank.

Close with prayer. Remind them to take their materials home and be sure to be back the next evening the Prophecy Seminar is held.