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Sabbath School Lessons on The Prophetic Gift
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About the Author
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 38 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 1: Heaven's Means of Communication *
Introduction: Have there been times when you wished that you could
sit in the same room with God and talk with Him about your situation?
Most Christians would undoubtedly say, "Yes, I would love to talk
directly with God!" What if we asked God this same question and He
responded "Yes, I would love to give you some better guidance!" Does
this raise a new issue? Is there some aspect of your life about which
you are completely satisfied to be "unclear" when it comes to God's
opinion? This is the first in our series of lessons by which we will
learn more about the ways in which God communicates with humans. Our
goal is to help to increase our awareness of God's will. Let's dive
into our lesson!
- Direct Revelation
- Read Genesis 3:8-13. How would you like to be in the place
of Adam and Eve right now?
- Would they have any doubt about what God wanted them
- Would they rather not know God's thoughts?
- What was God's reason for wanting to talk with them?
- Read Revelation 12:7-9. Why were Satan and his followers
tossed out of heaven? (There was war - a conflict between
God and them.)
- What would be your best guess as to the relative
timing of Revelation 12 and Genesis 3? (Since Satan
tempted Eve, logically the battle and the "toss" of
Revelation 12 comes before the temptation in the
- Step back a minute and think about this. If you are God,
and your enemy is running around on the same planet as
your new creation, would you want to have clear lines of
communication with your creation?
- Why would God put us together with Satan and his
angels? (I don't know. Clearly God wants clear lines
of communication and clearly this world is the
battleground between good and evil.)
- Read Exodus 33:17-20. Are God and man still in
- What has happened between the time of Adam and Eve
and the time of Moses that face-to-face conversation
with God no longer possible? (Sin entered the world.
Part of the judgment on humanity seems to be that in
their sinful condition they could no longer see God's
- Read Exodus 3:1-6. How can you resolve this conflict? This
makes it appear that Moses could have seen God in the
burning bush. (Read John 1:18. After humans were banished
from the Garden of Eden, God never directly speaks to them
in His glorious "God form." God either appears in human
form(as He did in Jesus) or in the form of an angel.)
- Read 2 Samuel 23:1-3. King David says that God spoke to
him and through him. What does this suggest about other
ways that God has revealed Himself? (God gave messages to
humans through King David. In addition, God is directly
speaking to David in some way which does not present God's
glorious "God form.")
- Read 1 Chronicles 28:11-12. How does this show us
that God spoke to King David? (Through the Holy
- Read John 16:7, 12-13. Do you have to be a prophet to have
the Holy Spirit speak to you? (No. The Holy Spirit can
speak to us directly or through another person. He speaks
to the entire world to convict us of sin.)
- How would you summarize the transition in the way God
directly speaks to humans after sin? (God never again
speaks to us face-to-face in His glorious God form.
However, He does speak directly to us through the other
members of the Trinity - Jesus and the Holy Spirit.)
- Whether God the Father speaks to us, or Jesus or the
Holy Spirit, is it all direct revelation? (Yes. If
you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, then any
one of these forms of communication is a direct
revelation from God.)
- Indirect Revelation
- We have seen that God speaks through humans to other
humans. The law ranks the reliability of information.
When making a determination of what is the truth, the law
prefers hearing something directly from the speaker rather
than indirectly. What is the potential problem of speaking
through others? (In court, direct testimony is always
better than second-hand testimony because it is more
- Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What other source of learning
about God's will do we find in this text? (The Bible.)
- What does it mean to be "God-breathed?" (Read Acts
1:15-16. This gets back to our discussion of speaking
through King David. This is an example of the Bible
being composed of writings of men which found their
source in the Holy Spirit.)
- Is the Bible direct or indirect revelation?
(Unless the person is acting like a pen or
merely a transcriber, then the law would look at
this just like any other indirect communication.
This is a subject we will discuss in greater
detail in later weeks.)
- Which would give you the most accurate information about
God's will for you: 1) Reading the Bible to see what God
has revealed about your situation; or, 2) Having God speak
through a messenger to you about your situation? (If God
has given a specific message to you, that would logically
be more accurate because it would cut out the problem of
you figuring out which Bible advice best applies to your
- Read Acts 16:6. What other way does this suggest that God
can communicate with humans? (Arranging circumstances to
block certain actions.)
- Catching the Revelation
- As you consider the ways we have learned that God can
speak to humans, how would you rank them in terms of
- Would you agree that face-to-face conversation is the
most reliable way to get the word from God?
- Would you agree that next in line is direct
revelation - the Holy Spirit speaking directly to
- Would you agree that the next in line is God speaking
a message to another human to give specifically to
you? Or, would a silent "block" be next in line for
- Would you agree that last in line is God speaking to
a messenger who then writes down God's words for
others to apply to their specific situation? For
example, the Bible?
- Are you comfortable with this logical ranking? Many
Christians (including me at this point in our study)
consider a clear statement in the Bible much more
persuasive then what someone tells me that God said to
them. Except for face-to-face conversation, I have been
conditioned to accept the Bible as the highest form of
communication from God.
- Read 1 Kings 13:18. You are welcome to read this
entire astonishing story. The point for us is that
one prophet lied to another about what God had said.
What does this do to our ranking? (Any time God is
supposed to have spoken through another human, it
injects the problem of the quality of the messenger.)
- Read Jeremiah 23:25-26. Aside from deliberate lying,
what other reliability issue arise from indirect
revelation? (These prophets are called liars, but the
text suggests that they are deluded - meaning that
they might not realize that they are lying.)
- Read Jeremiah 17:9. What does this tell us is a
potential problem with direct revelation? For
example, the Holy Spirit speaking to us? (Our hearts
are evil. We would be inclined to twist what we
- Read Isaiah 6:9-10. What arises from the problem
of an evil heart? (We have trouble hearing or
understanding the message given to us because we
want a different message.)
- Read Genesis 3:1-5. Assume what would be equally
possible, that the serpent did not appear at all, it
was just a voice. What new issue arises about direct
revelation from the Holy Spirit? (You have to know
who is speaking to you. If you have an evil heart (as
we all do), then we might easily be deluded into
thinking that the Holy Spirit was speaking when in
fact Satan was speaking.)
- This is just an introduction into our study for the rest
of the quarter. We are not going to resolve the best means
of communication today. However, before we end I want us
to look at another form of revelation.
- General Revelation
- Read Psalms 19:1-3. The Bible tells us this is
communication. What kind of communication is this? (This
would be "general revelation.")
- What is the purpose of general revelation? (For me,
its greatest importance is to prove the existence of
God. That there really is a God would want to
communicate with us.)
- Friend, would you like to know God's will? If so, let's
continue on this study to determine God's best means of
communicating with us.
- Next week: The Prophetic Gift.
* Copr. 2009, 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.