Jesus Calls Out to Us Through His Word
These are the readings for the third Sunday of End Time—Saints Triumphant.
God’s Word for This Week
Like children playing hide and seek, Jesus calls out to us through his Word, “Ready or not here I come!” Thanks be to God that through Jesus’ saving work on the cross, we have been made ready! May his Spirit keep us in saving faith in him.
First Lesson – Daniel 12:1-3
A man dressed in linen, with a belt of finest gold around his waist (therefore, someone holy and royal (see 10:5) told Daniel about a book God has (12:1b). What did he mean?
By that book, the man dressed in linen (who may have been the Son of God himself), meant God’s list of his chosen children. God does not need a book to keep him from forgetting things. He wants to comfort us. What joy that God knows by name all whom he will save forever.
Describe the events of the Last Day. (See 12:2.)
On the Last Day, those who sleep in the dust will awake. That is, the dead will be raised. Some will receive eternal life and others eternal condemnation from God, the judge.
What is the key difference between those whom God will save and those he will condemn?
Those whom God saves are “those who are wise.” They have received true wisdom: trust in Jesus as Savior (not trust in themselves). That faith God credits to them as righteousness, so they are right in his sight. That faith shows itself in the way they lead others to trust in God and live for him.
Traditional Second Lesson – Hebrews 10:11-18
The book of Hebrews demonstrates how Jesus is superior to every aspect of the Jewish religion. How is Jesus’ sacrifice superior to the numerous sacrifices commanded in the Old Testament? (See 10:18.)
The Old Testament sacrifices were repeated “endlessly year after year” (10:1). They pointed to the seriousness of sin but didn’t actually take away sin (10:4,11). But Jesus, by one sacrifice of himself never to be repeated, has taken away the sins of the world. Confidence in the perfect forgiveness won by his sacrifice makes us ready for his return and gives us stamina for our daily struggles.
Supplemental Second Lesson – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Why does Paul call the death of believers to “fall asleep?”
Paul calls death for believers “falling asleep” for it is nothing to fear. Our bodies will rest. On the Last Day God will wake us up to his glorious, eternal dawn.
How can we be sure about what will happen? (See 4:15a.)
We can be sure about what will happen on the Last Day because we have the Lord Jesus’ own word on it. Paul, Jesus’ inspired apostle, has confirmed what Jesus said.
Will we float with Jesus in clouds forever? (See 4:17.)
Paul does not say that we will float with Jesus forever. He says that Jesus will snatch us up from the earth after the judgment. Jesus will destroy this world, then make a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13), so Jesus may snatch us up from this earth to keep us from being burned up with it, then put us back down on it. The main point is our relation to God, not our exact location with God.
Traditional Gospel – John 5:25-29
Describe the events of the Last Day according to verses 28 and 29?
All who are in their graves, i.e., the dead, will hear Jesus’ voice and come out. Then he will judge all people in righteousness.
Agree or disagree. Verse 29 tells us that we will be judged by our works and not our faith.
At first glance these verses, as well as other sections in Scripture (e.g., Matthew 25:31-46), teach that we are saved by what we do. To understand these verses, one must understand the relationship between faith and good works. Good works are the result and evidence of faith in Christ Jesus. No work can be good without faith. Faith in Jesus is what saves, but it can rightly be said that we are judged by our works. Our works are now holy and pure in God’s sight through faith in Jesus. Our works are the external evidence of our saving faith.
Supplemental Gospel – Mark 13:24-27
Right before Jesus reappears, should we expect things to be getting better and better or worse and worse?
We should expect things to get worse and worse. The sun will be darkened “following that distress.”
How will we all be able to appear before Jesus?
All believers will stand before Jesus, since his angels will gather God’s chosen children from all around the world.