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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!

  1. Resurrection!

    1. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. What is being described here? (The Second Coming of Jesus.)

      1. This text does not mention those who do not go to heaven. Why is that? Will everyone go to heaven?

    2. 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!)

    3. 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.)

    4. Read Revelation 19:17-21. What happens to the enemies of God at the Second Coming? (This is further evidence that they are destroyed.)

      1. 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!)

      2. 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.)

  2. First Stop: Heaven

    1. Read Revelation 20:1-3. What is the term of Satan's sentence? (One thousand years!)

      1. Who does Satan have to deceive? (No one. All of the wicked are dead.)

    2. 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 are killed.)

    3. 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!)

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.)

          1. 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 of sin.)

  3. Second Stop: Earth Made New

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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 Jesus.)

      2. 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 the saints.)

      3. 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 justice.)

    3. Read Revelation 20:10. What is Satan's ultimate destiny?

      1. How does the rebellion in Revelation 20:9 work out for the wicked? (Fire comes down from heaven and destroys them.)

    4. Read Revelation 21:1. What is the most notable feature of the earth made new? (It has no sea.)

      1. 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.)

    5. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    6. Read Revelation 21:3-4. What does God do for us? (He wipes away every tear!)

      1. 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.)

    7. 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.)

    8. 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?

  4. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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