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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 41 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 13: When All Things Become New *
Introduction: Let's continue last week's exploration of our
"retirement" in heaven - a glorious place where we have unlimited
time and resources. We have our ticket and we know we should be
careful to avoid showing up at the wrong event. We are living a life
reflecting God's love to us and anticipating our life in heaven. Now
Jesus comes! Let's dive into our Bible and learn more of the details
of what happens next!
- Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. What is being described
here? (The Second Coming of Jesus.)
- This text does not mention those who do not go to
heaven. Why is that? Will everyone go to heaven?
- Read Revelation 20:5. How many resurrections are there?
(More than one! These texts tell us that there are two
resurrections. The Second Coming of Jesus represents the
first resurrection - that of the righteous. The second is
the resurrection of the wicked. Hint: you want to be part
of the first resurrection!)
- Read Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 14:14-20 and
Revelation 6:15-17. Is this what you are waiting for? Last
week we discussed the great joy we experience being caught
up in the air to meet Jesus. What are we reading about in
these texts? (In the Second Coming, Jesus gathers the
righteous, both the dead and living, and then He destroys
the wicked who are alive.)
- Read Revelation 19:17-21. What happens to the enemies of
God at the Second Coming? (This is further evidence that
they are destroyed.)
- Are you happy to see this? (How many books and movies
have we seen where the "good guys" are being pursued
and threatened by the "bad guys," and then suddenly
the hero arrives to save the good guys and get rid of
the bad guys? This suggests that the righteous are
in serious trouble just before the Second Coming.
Jesus, our Hero, comes with the cavalry and saves us!
Such joy! Such relief!)
- At the same time, this strikes me as being odd. If
Jesus is coming as a thief in the night (1
Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10), how is it that
Jesus has an enemy army waiting to attack Him? (What
if this army is really gathered to destroy the saints
on earth, and our Lord comes to save us? The problem
is that the text says that they are "gathered to make
war against [Jesus]." Revelation 12:17 tells us that
the dragon is waging war against the saints. Making
war on God's followers might be considered to be
making war on Jesus.)
- First Stop: Heaven
- Read Revelation 20:1-3. What is the term of Satan's
sentence? (One thousand years!)
- Who does Satan have to deceive? (No one. All of the
wicked are dead.)
- Read Revelation 20:4-5. Where have the righteous gone? (To
heaven. We have a "big picture" here that at the Second
Coming, the righteous are taken to heaven, and the wicked
- Read Revelation 20:11-14. What is the basis for the
judgment? Does it vary based on whether you are saved or
not saved? (This is very important. Those who are lost are
judged by their works. Those who are saved have their
names in the Book of Life. This is grace! When you
repent and rely on Jesus, your name is written in the Book
of Life. If you rely on your own works for salvation, you
will be judged by them!)
- What are the righteous doing in heaven? (Read 1
Corinthians 6:2. The verses in Revelation, coupled
with Paul's comment here, suggest that the righteous
spend at least part of their one thousand years
looking over the judgment made on the lost.)
- Why would God have them do this? (God is
transparent in His judgment. God wants us to be
comfortable with His decision. He wants us to
know that He is more than fair. Imagine if one
of our loved ones is lost. God wants us to
agree with Him on the judgment.)
- What other reasons can you think of for
allowing us to confirm God's judgment?
(Eternal life needs to be sin-free. We
need to be forever convinced of the error
- Second Stop: Earth Made New
- Read Revelation 21:1-4. After the thousand years, where do
the righteous move next? (The New Jerusalem comes down to
earth. This should be an easy move, because they are
moving my New Jerusalem City condo at the same time! I
should not have to pack, but perhaps I'll have to remove
the pictures on the wall.)
- Read Revelation 20:5 and Revelation 20:7-9. Look carefully
at Revelation 20:9. What city is this? What does this
reveal? (The second resurrection of the wicked occurs
after the one thousand years. The wicked are raised to
life. Satan is released. They surround the New Jerusalem
in one last desperate attempt to win the battle between
good and evil.)
- Let's give this some serious thought. First, what
does this tell us about Satan? He has had one
thousand years to contemplate his sins. What should
he have concluded? (This shows that Satan is an
impossible case. He is the hardened opponent of
- The wicked are already dead. Why would Jesus raise
them to life just to kill them again? (Consider again
the saints who have friends and family who were not
saved. We saw first that Jesus allows the saints to
review the record, and draw their own conclusions
about His judgment. Imagine how that judgment is
reinforced when the friends and family who are lost
try to attack the New Jerusalem? They try to attack
- What does this say about the lost? What does this say
about our Lord? (It shows us that our Lord is more
than fair. He cares about our opinion of His
- Read Revelation 20:10. What is Satan's ultimate destiny?
- How does the rebellion in Revelation 20:9 work out
for the wicked? (Fire comes down from heaven and
- Read Revelation 21:1. What is the most notable feature of
the earth made new? (It has no sea.)
- Why eliminate the sea? (Ocean covers 71% of the
surface of the earth. I think the continents will
expand to cover the place where the ocean used to be.
This will allow a greater population.)
- Read Revelation 21:2-3. Why move us back to this old (new)
globe? Why does God move His throne here? (This is the
scene of God's great victory over sin. This is the
epicenter of the battle.)
- Will we recognize places on the earth? (I think so.
If God were changing everything, why mention only the
fate of the sea? Why call it the "new earth" - using
part of the old name? Just as we will be new and
improved, but still recognizable (see Matthew 8:11, 1
Corinthians 13:12), so I think that the earth will be
new, improved and still recognizable.)
- Read Revelation 21:3-4. What does God do for us? (He wipes
away every tear!)
- When bad things happen to us on earth, does God care?
(His end-game is to take away all mourning, crying
and pain! That is God's goal.)
- Read Revelation 22:1-5. What does this suggest about life
in the earth made new? ( Genesis 1:26 tells us that we were
made in the image and likeness of God. The logical
conclusion is that our new body in a new earth have "image
and likeness" similarities to our current body on the old
earth. We will see trees, rivers, crops, fruit, leaves and
light in the New Jerusalem. Think about how the first
kind of crank phones are similar to our current smart
phones. A crank phone user would be astonished by a smart
phone, but it would not take too long to understand the
similarities. I think this illustrates, in a crude way,
the nature of the new earth.)
- Friend, how about you? Would you like to spend eternity
in a vastly improved earth? Would you like to be free from
all worry about family and friends? I think the choice is
clear. We have an enemy who, even after one thousand years
of contemplation, wants to destroy God and destroy us.
Those who follow Satan have the same goal. The choice is
obvious. Why not make it right now?
- Next week: We begin a study about the significance of our
belief in the Creation. This is an incredibly important study,
so come along!
* Copr. 2012, 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.