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Looking into the Future

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LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

Scripture: Book of Revelation; Revelation 1:3, 2:1–3:22, 22:1–21

Memory verse: Revelation 22:7
"Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll."

Lead—In

Before class write two or three riddles on separate paper slips. Include the answer in parentheses. In class have a volunteer read a riddle. Allow time for the students to come up with an answer. If they cannot, let the reader give the answer. Possible riddles include: (1) I am round and long and my head is made of rubber. You use me in school. What am I? (A pencil) (2) I have an eye but cannot see. I have never had stitches in me, but I make them all the time. What am I” (A needle) (3) I have a mouth, and I am usually full of food. I have no teeth, and I cannot chew. You will often find me sitting on a shelf. What am I? (A jar of food).

Ask the students how they figured out the answers. Tell them that it was by using the clues.

Discuss other times we use clues to figure out mysteries. For example, we might guess what is for dinner by the smell of what is cooking and the ingredients we see in the kitchen.

The Bible contains many clues—only God knows all of the answers. Some clues about the future are found in the Book of Revelation.

Hearing God’s Word

At times throughout history, God has revealed certain future events He wants people to know. Such an experience happened to Jesus’ disciple John. Let us read Revelation 1:9, 10 to find out where John was and what he was doing when he had his vision or “revelation.” (Let volunteers read the verses.)

John’s Vision

The One who spoke to John was Jesus. When John saw Jesus, what did he do? (Ask volunteers to read Revelation 1:17–19, one verse per student.) Jesus told John to write three lists of things (verse 19). John was to write about things he had seen, things that are, and things that will take place later. He was to write about the past, the present, and the future.

The Seven Churches

Things “which are” were the conditions of seven churches John was familiar with. What Jesus said to the churches can apply to us today.

  1. The message given to each church concerned its spiritual state. For example, the church at Ephesus had worked with patience and had not allowed false apostles to become part of its group. But Jesus said to them, “You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4).

Ask: “What do you think He meant?” (Allow responses.) They did not love God with all their hearts anymore.

  1.  Two churches, Thyatira and Pergamus, had allowed false teachers to remain in the church. Neither church had surrendered its faith in God nor had either forgotten to do good works. But Jesus told them both to repent for not getting rid of people in the church who encouraged others to believe false teachings.
  2. Two other churches pleased Jesus in everything they did. In the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches the love for God was strong and they did not allow false doctrine to be taught. Jesus said only good things about these churches. Apparently many poor people in the church at Smyrna had suffered because of their faith in God. Jesus urged them to stay faithful and they would receive a reward. (Have a student read Revelation 2:10.) The other church that had obeyed God in the face of persecution was Philadelphia, which means brotherly love. Jesus promised a reward for their faithfulness also.
  3. The church at Laodicea was made up of rich people who felt they needed nothing. But Jesus said they were really poor and miserable spiritually. Jesus told the church it was lukewarm. The people were not dependable because they really did not stand for anything—good or bad. They were neither cold nor hot. Jesus said because these people were lukewarm. He would spit them out, or reject them. (Read Revelation 3:15, 16.)
  4. The church at Sardis had a reputation for being Christian, but it was Christian in name only. Today many half-hearted Christians go to church also but really are not living for Jesus. God commands them to repent of their lack of commitment and return to Him.

Things to Come

After John was given the messages for the churches, he heard a voice from heaven say, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Revelation 4:1). The Book of Revelation is considered a book of prophecy because of all the things John saw about the future. John’s vision had many different parts to it. Many of the things he saw actually symbolized, or represented, other things.

Part of John’s vision showed things that will happen on earth near the end of time. John saw seven seals opened, one at a time. When each seal was broken, it allowed a different event to take place on earth. Some of the events were war, famine, and death. Then seven trumpets were sounded, which signalled such things as hail, fire, poisoned water, and the darkening of the sun and moon.

Finally, seven bowls were poured out on the earth, causing water to be turned to blood, physical sickness, death, and great heat.

The Rapture and Tribulation

All these things will happen during a period called the Tribulation. This is a seven-year span of time after believers have been “raptured” or taken to heaven by Jesus. During that time, very few people left on earth will recognize Jesus as the Son of God and be saved. However, it will be tremendously difficult to serve Jesus then. Any believers left after the Rapture will be persecuted by the rest of the world, who will be serving an evil ruler called the antichrist. Persecution of those who believe in the true God will be severe.

By staying ready to meet Jesus at all times, we do not have to worry about the Tribulation. Jesus promised that all true Christians will escape the Tribulation. (Let volunteers read Luke 21:34–36 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8–11.)

Judgement of Believers

When He died on the cross, Jesus took the punishment for the sins of those who receive Him. If you are a true Christian who loves and obeys God, you have nothing to fear. Still, Christians will be judged for the work or service they did for Jesus. This event will take place after the rapture of the Church. At that time, rewards for what we have done for Jesus’ kingdom will be given. Though all faithful Christians will get to live with Jesus, some will receive rewards because of the work they have done for Jesus during their lives.

The Revelation

Immediately following the Tribulation period, Jesus will make a triumphant return to the earth with His angels and all the saints who have joined Him in heaven’s kingdom. This event is called the “revelation” (not to be confused with the Book of Revelation). At the rapture of the Church, Jesus will appear only in the clouds as believers are caught up to be with Him. However, at the revelation, Jesus will actually set foot on the earth.

The Millennium

When Jesus returns to the earth with His Church after the Tribulation, He will cast Satan into the bottomless pit. There Satan will stay for 1,000 years. During that time of peace called the Millennium, saints who returned with Jesus and Christians who were martyred during the Tribulation will rule with Jesus on earth. After that, Satan will be turned loose for a short time, after which he will be cast into a lake of fire where he will spend eternity.

The Great White Throne

After the final defeat of Satan, the next event will be the Great White Throne Judgement. Believers were judged earlier and given rewards according to their service they did for God. At the Great White Throne, all who have rejected Jesus will be judged. The Book of Life will be opened. Those whose names are not written there will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer forever.

The New Jerusalem

The last part of John’s vision is especially exciting for those of us who are ready to meet Jesus. For Christians a new heaven, a new earth, and a new holy city of Jerusalem will come down from God.

(Read Revelation 21:1–8.) God will live with His people in that beautiful city. John described it as being built of all kinds of precious stones, or jewels. It will need no place of worship and no sun to give it light. (Ask someone to read Revelation 21:22, 23 to see why.) Revelation 22:1–5 tells us more about our future home. (Ask volunteers to read these verses to the entire class.)

Accepting God’s Word

We are overcomers when we resist temptation and do not sin. This is not always easy to do. Satan will try many ways to deceive us and lead us into sin. He knows our weaknesses. We cannot stand against Satan’s power in our own strength. That is why it is so important for us to read God’s Word daily, pray daily, and attend church to receive strength to do what is right. The Holy Spirit will help us to be overcomers for Jesus when we do our part.

Gospel Messengers

Returning to our Safi guide’s home, we sat down to a meal of rice and okra prepared by his lovely wife. I was asked to pray and give thanks for the food.

I have been praying ever since that God will send revival to the Safi nation and that Christ’s kingdom power will be manifested by many coming to saving faith in Jesus. May the Lord send messengers into this needy harvest field. 

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Intercessors

1. The Holy Spirit to lay a burden on our hearts to pray for the Safi,
2. Members of our class who will make a commitment to pray regularly for the Safi,
3. Allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you for revival among the Safi.

Prayer Promise

"Ask and it will be given to you...For everyone who asks receives" (Matthew 7:7).

 

 

 

Remember: LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

Memory verse: Revelation 22:7
"Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll."

1. I want to stand firm for Jesus in any situation.
2. Help me to see God's hand in the glove of current events.
3. Jesus is coming. I want to prepare others for His return.

Pray for Intercessors.

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Study 15 | Preach Christ/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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