Year of the Bible – Mark 3:1-5:36

Year of the Bible - Advent Week Two - Mark 3



. . . What shall we say the kingdom of God is like…It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant. – Mark 4:30-31

Mark 3:1-5:36 (3:20-30)

The person of Jesus, the Word of God, the second person of the Trinity, was the source and revealer of the Law of Moses. But strangely, when He came into the flesh, He did not “abide” by the Law, even though He lived under the Law and perfectly fulfilled it. That is to say, He did not abide by the Law in the way that men, filled with hatred and greed and ignorance, interpreted the law. Sinful man uses God’s law to judge and punish others. But God uses the law to lead us to see the threat of condemnation before us SO THAT WE MIGHT NOT TRY TO JUSTIFY OURSELVES BY WORKS OF THE LAW. His ultimate goal and intention, however, is not our judgment and condemnation, but our forgiveness through Christ, who through faith becomes our life and salvation. This perspective radically changes the way that we interpret the Bible and live our lives. That is why Jesus says that love fulfills the Law. Thus, when Jesus gathered His Church out of the world and called men into service to God (3:13ff), He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Gospel, the gift of teaching and preaching a rightful division and distinction between Law and Gospel. This preaching of the Gospel is the means, the act, by which evil is destroyed and the Kingdom of God comes to exert its power and influence in the hearts of men (cf. The Parable of the Sower). This Gospel is not an outwardly significant or powerful thing. It is something small that grows into greatness (The mustard seed). It is the small seed of the Gospel, revealed in the preaching of the Apostles. Christianity eventually became a great world religion, dominating and standing above all other religions on earth. This outward form of Christianity, however, is not to be equated with the real Kingdom of God. The real Kingdom of God is lowly and humble, hidden in men’s hearts and God’s heart. Seldom is it seen as being great in men’s eyes. It will not always be recognized and appreciated by those around us. Only in heaven will we come to see the full extent of the grandeur and power of this little seed – the righteousness of Christ.

Questions – Mark 3:1 – 5:36

  1. Why did Jesus appear to be a breaker of the Mosaic Law?
  2. Why are there different ways of interpreting the Bible?
  3. What is the key that opens up the true sense of God in the Scriptures?
  4. What is the seed that must be sown in the hearts of men?
  5. What is ironic about the Kingdom of God – seen in the story of the Mustard Seed?
Year of the Bible – Advent Week Two | Thursday | Mark 3:1-5:36 – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Genesis 1:1 – 2:3

Year of the Bible - Advent Week Two - Genesis 1




In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Genesis 1:1-2:3 (1:1-5)

In the beginning . . . These words take us back to the beginning of time. Time, connected to matter and space, suddenly came into being. All things were “generated” out of the willing of the Father, effected through the Son, carried out by means of the Holy Spirit. The Word spoke. What was not came to be out of nothing. This is the meaning or sense of the word “genesis.” Genesis continues today. God’s Word generates new life into us in baptism. God’s Word generates the body and blood of our Lord into being in the Lord’s Supper. God’s Word washes our hearts with absolution, generating our forgiveness before God and within our own hearts at the same time. God’s Word “bespeaks” us righteous—“generating” innocence and blamelessness before God. God’s Word will open our graves and call us forth from death into eternal life. In the beginning . . . God generated light before there were suns or stars, teaching us that there is a light from Him that enlightens the soul, a light that is not a worldly light. Even as man does not live by bread alone but on the Word of God, so man is not enlightened by the Sun (what is seen or learned by means of the Sun) but by the Word of God from Christ. In the beginning . . . God separated light from darkness. Truth has its counterpart in ignorance, even as spiritual light has a counterpart in spiritual darkness. At first there was a “dark side” to the universe, but it was not evil. God declared all things to be “good” (10). Darkness was the absence genesis, of the Word of Truth, which would only later be used against mankind when Satan fell from heaven. Satan does not want the Word to be heard, to be seen, because the Word creates spiritual light. This is the reason why we are under an imperative from God to preach the Word to all the world. The Word creates a spiritual light that is the means, the instrument, by which men are saved. Without it we live in darkness. In the beginning . . . God separated . . . God gathered . . . God said . . . and it was so.


Questions – Genesis 1:1 – 2:3

  1. Why is it hard to understand what life was like before time?
  2. What unique property or quality does the Word of God have that the word of men does not have?
  3. What are some examples of this quality at work in our lives?
  4. What is the light of Christ?
  5. What is spiritual darkness?
  6. How is this light restored to our fallen and darkened world?


Year of the Bible – Advent Week Two | Tuesday | Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Psalm 150 – Psalm 6

Year of the Bible - Advent Week Two - Psalm 150



When I consider your heavens. . .what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? – Psalm 8:1

Psalms 150 – Psalm 6 (Ps. 2:1-12)

The psalm readings for this week end the Psalter and then take us back to the beginning of the Psalter once again (Psalm 1). As we conclude with Psalm 150, and then turn back to the beginning with Psalm 1, the Holy Spirit takes us in search of the ideal righteous man, in search of the Messiah on earth. The Messiah is described in Psalm 2, which we call a “Messianic Psalm.” The Messiah is “the Anointed One” against whom the kings of the earth conspire. He is the Son of God who will rule the nations with an iron scepter. His rule is not just to be in a future rule. It is a rule that has and takes place in time and history, even in the present moment, to save those who cry to Him in faith. In the next few psalms we can see the theme of Advent beginning to emerge: Let the light of His face shine upon us. O Lord. (4:6) How wonderful it would be to see God, face to face! In a manger He is about to grant our request. Are we ready to meet Him?

“God blesses the righteous!” Psalm 5, says, reminding us to lay our requests before God every morning. We live in a deceitful world, an evil world with many dangers. We must contend with deceit, arrogance, lies and bloodthirstiness. The Christian’s defense can only come from God. He defends by declaring the deceitful to be guilty. God’s divine imputation of guilt always results in poetic justice. His punishment of the unrighteous, however, usually results in the righteous also experiencing suffering. We must live among the unrighteous (Psalm 6) and will suffer for it. Like innocent civilians who must live under an evil government but pray for deliverance, we pray for God’s justice while we pray for His protection and defense.

Questions – Psalm 150 – Psalm 6

  1. Where is Christ to be found and where is He worshipped in the world today?
  2. Why do the psalms include the rest of creation in their command to praise God?
  3. What makes a psalm a “Messianic” psalm?
  4. For what reasons, when we look at the world, must Christians be watchful and prayerful?
  5. What takes place when God “declares” evil men to be guilty?
Year of the Bible – Advent Week Two | Monday | Psalm 150 – Psalm 6 – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Revelation 20:1-22:21

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One - Revelation



They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun for the Lord God will give them light. – Revelation 22:5

Revelation 20:1-22:21 (22:18-21)

I am coming soon (22:12), Christ says at the end of the book of Revelation. What is He going to give us when He comes? Heaven, the temple of God, Himself—a worship of the Lamb in a place where we need no light because He Himself is the light of heaven! In that place will also be the river of life and a divine throne. There the servants of God will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads (22:4). This chapter strongly affirms the inspired and inerrant character of Holy Scripture: These words are trustworthy and true (22:6). The chapter confirms the resurrected and glorified human nature of Christ: I am the Root and the Offspring of David (22:16), Jesus said. It also seals the Scripture, forbidding anyone to modify or add to it (22:18,19). Revelation ends with an Advent exhortation from our glorified Lord: Yes, I am coming soon. (22:20). To this we respond, with all Christian saints, with the prayer of Advent: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (22:20)


Questions – Revelation 20:

  1. When is Christ coming again?
  2. Describe what heaven is like, according to Revelation.
  3. What does it mean to have God’s name “on our foreheads?”
  4. What does this text tell us about the Bible?
  5. What is our worship-like response to Christ’s promise of His return, something that we often pray at our dining tables?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Saturday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Jude vs. 1-25

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One - Jude



They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. – Jude 1:21

Jude vs. 1-25 (vs.17-25)

Jude was the half brother of Jesus, the brother of James. He used his letter to warn the Church about false teachers, teachers who “change the grace of God into a license for immorality” (4). They were taking the free forgiveness of sins and the gift of life beyond the tomb and using it to say that sin or vice was permissible—perhaps even an opportunity to show how gracious God was! Jude uses vivid imagery to describe the false teachers that would use such doctrines to advance their evil in the Church: They were clouds without rain; autumn trees without fruit; wild waves . . . foaming shame.” Jude warned the true believers to be wary of such men. They bring division and do not have the Holy Spirit, he said. In contrast, Jude encouraged them to wait for the mercy of our Lord, to be merciful themselves and to hate moral corruption. And in the end of his letter Jude proclaims a doxology—a statement of praise to God—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. 


Questions – Jude

  1. How was Jude related to Jesus?
  2. What kind of false teaching, in particular, was Jude warning the Church about?
  3. What images does Jude use to describe false teachers, and what do they mean?
  4. Why is Jude’s praise of God so comforting to us?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Friday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Mark 1:1-2:28

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One - Mark 1




The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1 

Mark 1:1 – 2:28 (1:1-18)

Mark’s Gospel tells us absolutely nothing about the facts surrounding the birth of Christ. It simply begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was called by God to prepare Israel for the Messiah. He stood in the tradition of the great prophets of Israel, dividing light and darkness, showing men their sins but also a gracious Savior. His clothing was dramatic—a fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi predicting that the forerunner of the Messiah would come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet.

To avoid any false supposition that John himself was the Messiah, John emphatically asserted that he was NOT the Messiah. John only came to prepare men to receive Him. Mark then proceeds to reveal to us who Jesus was and is—in the Baptism of Jesus and through His subsequent temptation in the wilderness. Mark’s Gospel gives us two parallels to Genesis to help us understand what Jesus came to do: (1) In his introduction to the Gospel, he repeats the phrase, “in the beginning.” We are thereby brought to remember the creation of the world at the beginning of the book of Genesis and, thereby, the fact that in Christ we become a new creation; and (2) from the temptation of Christ and His unharmed presence among “the wild animals”, that Jesus is the New Man who overcomes the evil that the first man could not withstand—the wiles of Satan and the darkness of unbelief.

The theme of Mark, therefore, is before us: Christ has come to destroy evil and reverse the consequences of the fall of man into sin. Mark proves that Christ has successfully brought about a reversal of the fall into sin by the way that Christ exercises: (1) Authority to call men to preach the Gospel 1:14, 2:13; (2) Power over demonic spirits, which He accomplishes through the power of His Word 1:21; (3) Healing of the sick. 1:29, 1:40, 2:1. Sickness came into the world along with sin and can only depart through the removal of sin; (4) The right interpretation of God’s Word—interpreting it with the spirit of the Gospel, proving that He Himself is the Word of God, the second person of the Trinity, the one and only source of saving light. 2:18, 2:23.

Questions – Mark 1:1 – 2:28:

  1. What information does Mark give us about the birth of Christ?
  2. What was John the Baptist sent to do?
  3. How did John go about fulfilling his calling?
  4. What literary allusions does Mark use in the first chapter to point us back to the beginning of the book of Genesis?
  5. What things did Jesus do to prove that He has the power and authority to save us from sin and evil?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Thursday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – John 18:1-21:25

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One - John 18



Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

– Mark 1:17-18

Wednesday: John 18:1-21:25 (John 21:15-25)

The resurrected Jesus defied all the laws of nature—and He should. He had passed from this side of creation into the next. When Simon Peter decides to go back to a vocation he had before being called by Christ, Christ used the opportunity to teach Peter what his true vocation was—he was to become a fisher of men. What stood between Peter and his vocation was guilt. He had been compromised. He had betrayed Christ. Three times. So Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved him—not once, not twice. Three times. Each time, in response, Jesus told Peter what his calling was—to feed his sheep. What a Lord, what a merciful Lord! Our sins and weaknesses are not held against us, but used by Christ to make us stronger in our commitment and resolve to be faithful servants of Christ. John ends his Gospel by clearing up a rumor. It had been said that Jesus made a promise to John – that John would not die until Christ came again. But that had only been a misunderstanding from a conversation that John and Jesus had about Peter. John would die in time, it was only his testimony to Christ that would live on to the end of time.

John Questions:

  1. In what ways was Jesus the same as He was before his resurrection and in what ways was He different?
  2. Why might Peter think it was necessary to go back to fishing?
  3. What did Peter need to hear before he went on with the work of Christ?
  4. Do you think that Peter was a weaker or a stronger Christian as a result of Christ’s forgiveness?
  5.  What was the rumor that John cleared up at the end of his Gospel?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Wednesday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Daniel 12:1-13


Year of the Bible - Advent Week One



Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. – Daniel 12:10


Daniel 12:1-13 (12:1-4)

Daniel foresees the end of time and the resurrection of all men. The time before the end is going to be a time of great stress. The archangel Michael will battle forcefully for the cause of the Church. The spiritual forces of evil will be unleashed like never before. Those who are faithful will remain, but thankfully, God shortens the time so that we may not be overwhelmed. Suddenly, all men will be resurrected out of the dust and judged. The righteous will inherit eternal life. Those who attempt to justify themselves before God on the basis of their own righteousness will be given over into shame and everlasting contempt. The details of the end of time are denied to Daniel. The only thing that Daniel knew for sure is that God’s people would suffer many tribulations, but these tribulations would not cause them to fall from faith. Tribulations would become a refiner’s fire to purify and strengthen faith. Daniel’s book ends with an assurance from God: These things would not take place within his lifetime.

Questions – Daniel 12

  1. What is the good news and the bad news about the end of time?
  2. What will happen to our bodies and souls at the end of time?
  3. What will happen to those who have claimed the righteousness of Christ?
  4. What will happen to the self-righteous?
  5. Of what value are tribulations to the Christian?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Tuesday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Psalm 143 – 149

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One



I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 

Psalm 146:2


Psalm 143-149 (149)

These psalms are a treasure house of precious worship-phrases employed by the many and various liturgies of the Christian Church. Psalms 141 to 143 hyperbolizes the urgent prayers of God’s people by characterizing them as “cries.” They reflect the desperation that David felt when he was in great peril. His cries are not unlike our own. They are the recurring prayers of the Church, constantly assailed, constantly in need of God’s grace.

Psalms 144-147 are psalms of praise. The praise of God is, in a sense, a proud description of God’s qualities, a confident boasting that is not self-centered but God-centered. As we read or sing these psalms, reflecting upon the qualities of God, since those qualities are for our benefit, we will find ourselves growing more confident in our praise of Him and in our life. To mediate and think about one event will always lead us to mediate and think about the other. So there is a crescendo of praise in the final psalms—as though they sense our final destiny as a new creation. They reach out and entreat all of creation to join in the praise of God—heaven, angels, sun and moon, shining stars, sea creatures, mountains, hills, wild animals, cattle, kings and nations—all are called upon to join in the magnification of God’s glory. Lest we think that this is a call for nature worship,

Psalm 149 takes us to the place where true worship is to be found: Sing to the Lord . . . in the assembly of the saints. (vs. 1) Proudly exuberant about God’s grace, we are reminded that God delights in the humble (vs. 4), words similar to the Magnificat, the song about the humble woman chosen to be the mother of our Lord and a model for the Church’s faith. Divine worship mysteriously praises God in his sanctuary on earth and, at the same time, in his mighty heaven.

Questions – Psalm 143-149

  1. How many times did/will Christ come into the world?      
  2. 2. Where is Christ to be found and where is He worshipped in the world today?
  3. 3. Why do the psalms include the rest of creation in their command to praise God
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Monday – © John W. Fiene

Year of the Bible – Revelation 17:1-19:21

Year of the Bible


“Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” – Revelation 17:1-2

Revelation 17:1-19:21 (19:6-10)

Babylon, once a great empire some six hundred years before Christ, had long since fallen in obscurity when John the Apostle wrote Revelation. But because of her worldliness, Babylon had come to be a figure of speech, a symbol, of the anti-God, anti-Christ world. At first, in this text, Babylon is represented as a prostitute, drunk with the blood of Christian martyrs. She is seen as the source of every blasphemy and abomination—desolations that defile sacred things. The influence of this Babylon, the Babylon that lives on today, is enormous. But in the end, when Christ returns, she will be given her rightful recompense. All Christians are called by God to separate and distance themselves from her harlotry, for it intends to seduce and compromise both morally and spiritually. She appeals to the sins of the flesh, but she also gains power through guilt, fear and doubt—ultimately by blinding the world to the mercy and forgiveness of Christ. Of great comfort to us all is what happens to her on the final day. The world, so bound now by her magic spell, will mourn when they see her end. The saints who have been destroyed by her will sing with the multitude of heaven at her demise. The faithful who have endured her temptations and tribulations will sing praises to God as His judgments are executed upon her. And they will sing and worship at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Righteous before God, they will be the privileged ones invited to wear the robes of Christ’s righteousness. 

Questions – Revelation 17:1-19:21

  1. What does Babylon symbolize?
  2. What does it mean when Babylon is portrayed as being drunk with the blood of martyrs?
  3. What is blasphemy?
  4. What is going to happen to Babylon on the last day of Christ’s return?
  5. In what way does Babylon gain power over men?
  6. What does it mean to “live in” Babylon?
  7. What are we commanded to do when we find ourselves in Babylon?
  8. What do the robes of the righteous represent?
  9. Explain the symbolism of the Feast of the Lamb.


© John W. Fiene | Artwork by Brian McFarland

Year of the Bible – 2 Timothy 1:1-4:22

Year of the Bible

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” – 2 Timothy 3:2-4

2 Timothy 1:1-4:22 (3:1-17)

The Apostle Paul gives us a clear picture of the reason he was in chains and about to die: Join me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (1:8-12) NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING WE HAVE DONE! What beautiful words, what Gospel words. Paul commanded Timothy to entrust this “pattern of doctrine” to reliable men. Timothy was to find an example of perseverance from the Apostle himself. He was to flee evil desire, avoid foolish controversies, watch out for self-centered and self-absorbed people, to use the Scriptures and their God-breathed wisdom to bring people to the faith and guide them in holy living. He was to preach the Word in all times and circumstances, being wary of the impending hardness of men’s hearts and the itching of their ears. Referring to the Christian life like that of an athletic contest, Paul concluded: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (4:7)

Questions –  2 Timothy

  1. When did God determine to give us His grace?
  2. What is the purpose that God has for us and our lives?
  3. What has God done for us in spite of and apart from anything that we have done?
  4. What is meant by “itching ears?”
 © John W. Fiene | Artwork by Brian McFarland

Year of the Bible – 2 Thessalonians 1-3

2 Thessalonians 1



“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10


2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18 (2:1-10)

The congregation at Thessalonica had been greatly upset when Paul wrote this letter. False reports and lies had come to them saying that the “day of the Lord” (the day of resurrection and the beginning of eternal life) had already occurred. Clearly, if that had been the case, they had been “left behind.” The Apostle Paul wanted to assure them of three things.

(1) The end had not yet arrived, indeed it would not come until the “man of lawlessness”—the Antichrist—had been revealed. He was active already in Paul’s time (2:7); he would continue and increase in power until destroyed at the end of time by Christ (2:8); He would use phony miracles and cunning deception to delude men—a delusion which God Himself increased in men as a punishment for rejecting the Gospel (2:11).

(2) That the fraud of evil would always abound in the world and should be expected. Not all men have faith. Their perseverance in the faith would be a reminder and a confirmation of their own call and election by God.

(3) That the final victory over sin and evil would only come upon the return of Christ (1:7ff).

The Thessalonians were not to look to their own righteousness and perfection for the certainty of salvation, but to the promises of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that had been granted to them before the beginning of time (2:13ff.)

Questions – 2 Thessalonians 1

  1. What false reports had the Thessalonians received?
  2. What three things did Paul want them to understand about the end of time?
  3. Who is the Antichrist?
  4. What assurances does God give to us that we are His children?
  5. When was our salvation given to us?
 © John W. Fiene | Artwork by Brian McFarland

Year of the Bible – John 11:1-17:26




“There is a judge for the one who | rejects me and does not accept | my words; that very word which | I spoke will condemn him at | the last day.” –  John 12:47

John 11:1-17:26 (17:1-19)

The hatred that arose against Jesus is hard for us to reason out. Why would He who raised Lazarus from the dead be so hated by the leaders of the Jewish people? Why would one who rode humbly upon a donkey cause mighty kings to tremble? Why would one who washed the feet of His disciples and urged them to have the same attitude towards each other be betrayed and denied? All causes of hatred can be found in man, not in Jesus.

The Pharisees and leaders of the Sanhedrin hated Jesus because people were putting their faith in Him. Rejecting the belief that Jesus was the Messiah, they considered Him a political figure capable of leading insurrection and revolt—which, they reasoned, would place them and their own lives at risk. Men hated Christ because He had come to drive out the “prince of this world.” The devil, who holds men captive through fear, uses the fear of God and His judgment to drive men into hating God even more.

When Christ showed mercy and kindness towards sinners, the hatred of men was stirred against him by the prince of the world. Satan did not want the world to know that God is merciful and that He would mercifully save even the greatest of sinners. He did not want men to realize that God had willed salvation for all, that it was a free gift, not based upon human worthiness but upon God’s mercy. Because of this, men hated Jesus because He made all human righteousness invalid before God and His judgment. The sinner can only find mercy before God through Christ’s promise—that is, HIS NAME.

If Jesus, the Son of God, was treated in this way, then His disciples should expect the same. By remaining in Him as branches are within a vine (15), though the world will hate us, the Holy Spirit will preserve us. God will uphold and keep us in this faith through every trial and tribulation of life. In fact, such tribulations on account of Christ are to be taken as a sign of God’s approval and a mark of faithfulness to the Gospel. Like Daniel, who prayed for his church, Jesus also prayed for His disciples, for them and for us, that we would not be taken from the world, but, being left in the world, that we would be spared the wrath and power of the “evil one” by means of faith in the Gospel, spared to confess His name to the entire world.

Questions – John 11

  1. Give three reasons why people hate Jesus.
  2. What treatment should we expect for being disciples of Christ in an anti-Christ world?
  3. What promise does God make to all who would suffer for the Name of Christ?
  4. What (Who) sustains and keeps us in the faith through tribulations?
  5. Why did Jesus pray for His disciples and for us?
© John W. Fiene | Artwork by Brian McFarland

Year of the Bible – Daniel 9:1-11:1

 . . . all this disaster has come | upon us, yet we have not sought | the favor of the Lord our | God by turning from our sins | and giving attention to your truth. – Daniel 9:13

Daniel 9:1-11:1 (9:20-27)

Daniel prayed to God for the restoration of Jerusalem. He had read from the book of Jeremiah that God would end Israel’s captivity after 70 years. Based upon the promises of God, Daniel then petitioned God to fulfill His promise. He began by confessing the sins of his people, Israel, contrasting their sinfulness to God’s righteousness. The curse of the Law had fallen upon the people for their unbelief and hard-heartedness. God was fair in what He had done, Daniel confessed. “All this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.” (9:13) Let us look more closely. On what basis does Daniel ask for God’s help? Clearly not on the basis of his or the people’s own righteousness: “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (9:18) Since Daniel held on to God’s “Name”—to the Gospel—and called upon God for help because of what God was and is—He is merciful—Daniel knew that God would hear and answer his prayer. In answer to His prayer for restoration, God immediately sent Gabriel and not only revealed God’s plan to restore Jerusalem in the near future, but also revealed His plan to bring the Messiah into the world and to destroy Jerusalem once again.

Questions – Daniel 9:1-11:1

  1. How did Daniel come to understand the length of Israel’s captivity?
  2. How did he go about approaching God and asking for His help?
  3. What was the curse of the Law?
  4. Was the unbelief of the Jews the cause or the result of the curse?
  5. What was the basis for Daniel’s request to God?
  6. Who came to Daniel and what kind of a creature was he?
© John W. Fiene | Artwork by Brian McFarland