Scripture: Daniel 7-12
- Students will learn God exists outside of time and knows what will happen in the future.
- Students will learn God’s prophecies always come true.
- Students will learn there have always been false prophets. Some or all of their prophecies do not come to pass.
- Students will participate in an activity to help them understand the chronology of the Bible and God’s prophecies.
Guiding Question: What does the Bible record God’s prophecies?
Materials: roll paper, markers
Procedure: Tell students the stories of Daniel’s dreams and visions found in chapters 7-12. Perhaps the most interesting are those found in Daniel chapter 11.
Explain to students God sent prophecies for his prophets like Daniel to share with the people. Sometimes, the prophecies were just things God wanted the people to remember from things they had already been taught. At times though, these prophecies foretold the future. Because God knows everything, He knows what will happen in the future. People today who claim to tell the future are often wrong, or just make lucky guesses. Usually what they say is so general people can believe the prophecy came true no matter what actually happens.
God, however, is always exactly right on His prophecies. He is so accurate hundreds of years before the events are supposed to happen that people can’t help but begin to understand how amazing God is! It also helps those of us who already believe in God to have stronger faith.
The prophecies in Daniel 11 are one of the best examples of how amazing God’s prophecies are. Daniel wrote down these prophecies in about 606 BC. They were fulfilled many years later. In fact verse 4, describes Alexander the Great who wasn’t born until 356 BC! Even the first few verses about the kings of Persia mentioned people who would not be in power for many years!
An ancient historian named Josephus wrote about what happened when Alexander the Great came to conquer Jerusalem. The priests rushed out and showed him the place in Daniel that told of him. Alexander was so impressed God had predicted his rule so many years earlier, he spared Jerusalem from destruction.
Explain that we are still waiting for God’s most important prophecy to happen. It is God’s promise that Jesus will return one day and take His people to spend eternity in Heaven. We know God was so accurate with these prophecies – that He kept all of these promises – that He will also keep His promise about the return of Jesus.
Explain that the first kingdom in the prophecy in chapter 11 is Persia. The Persian rulers were the ones who allowed the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild. The first was King Cyrus and ends with King Xerxes (in the Bible).
The Persians were known for many things. They were particularly known for their spices. Share the spices with students. (The edible rose petals are often used to make flavored water or in desserts. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices on earth. It is actually the dried stigma of a special crocus (flower) found in Persia.) Today what was left of the Persian Empire was renamed Iran in the early 1900’s.
Show students the roll of paper. Using the attached Bible timeline, help students create and illustrate a giant Bible timeline. The dates aren’t as important as it is for students to understand the chronology of various people and events in the Bible. Older students may appreciate the dates of prophecies versus their fulfillment more when seen in timeline format. Pre-readers can be directed to draw a picture of specific Bible stories in different areas of the timeline. (This is also a great way to review various Bible stories with students.)
Take photos of the finished timeline and send it to the parents of students so they can discuss it at home