June 28, 2020 – Revelation 6
Lesson Date: June 28, 2020
Focal Scripture Passage: Revelation 6:1-17
AIM: To lead students to discover some of the terrible judgments God will unleash upon the earth during the Tribulation and the reaction of lost humanity to those judgments, and to examine themselves to see if they are trying to hide any sins from God.
Before class: Read the notes on Revelation 6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get seven envelopes. These can be white letter-size envelopes or larger manila envelopes. Label each envelope “First Seal,” “Second Seal,” “Third Seal,” etc. (you will only use six of the envelopes for this lesson; the seventh will not be needed until we get to Rev. 8:1 on July 12). Print and cut apart the teaching notes for the first six seals (steps 2-7 below). Place the teaching notes for each seal inside the appropriate envelope. Seal the envelopes, but only seal them in the middle of the flap so they will be easy to open. Bring a sealed piece of mail to class (try to bring one that is in a plain envelope, so that the contents are not obvious without opening the envelope). Think of a time from your childhood (or from raising your children) when you (or your child) tried to hide or run away from punishment.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class about an incident from your childhood (or that of your children) when you (or your child) tried to hide or run away to escape punishment. Tell what you did wrong, why you tried to hide, and if hiding prevented you from being punished.
Ask: “Why is it human nature to try to run away or hide from punishment?” (because we know when we have done wrong and we want to escape punishment). Stress the fact that God gives us a conscience that tells us when we are doing something wrong. We innately know that we have done wrong and deserve punishment. Write the word “Hide” on the marker board or chalkboard. Tell the students to keep that word in mind as we study today’s lesson.
Show the class the piece of sealed mail you have brought. Ask them what is inside the sealed envelope (they won’t know). Ask: “What must we do to find out what is inside the sealed envelope?” (break the seal and open the envelope). Open the envelope you have brought and show the contents to the class. Write the word “Seal” on the board.
Tell the class in today’s lesson we are going to see what happens when Jesus begins opening the seven-sealed scroll that He took from His Father’s hand (last week’s lesson). We will also see how the people on earth respond to the opening of those seals.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the book of Revelation.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the throne room in heaven; Jesus was the only one in the universe found worthy to take the sealed scroll).
- Remind the students that the scroll contains the judgments and actions (described in the rest of the book of Revelation) through which Christ will defeat Satan and his forces and reclaim His rightful place as Lord and King of the earth (and universe).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Rev. 4:8).
- Remind the class that by this point in Revelation the Rapture of the church has taken place and the terrible seven-year Tribulation period (Daniel’s 70th week) has begun.
- It is now time for Jesus to begin opening the seals on the scroll.
- The First Seal – the Antichrist.
- Open the “First Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 6:1-2.
- Ask: “Who opened the seal?” (the Lamb: Jesus Christ).
- Ask: “What did one of the four living creatures (angels) say to John when the first seal was opened?” (“Come and see”).
- Ask: “What did John see when the seal was opened?” (a white horse with a rider).
- Tell the class this rider represents the Antichrist. Explain the following:
- The Antichrist appears on a white horse, imitating how Christ will return to earth (Rev. 19:11).
- The Antichrist has a bow (a weapon) but no arrows, and a crown “was given unto him.” He will be given authority to rule the world: his conquest will be peaceful.
- Summarize: Near the beginning of the Tribulation the Antichrist will be given power to rule the earth. He will appear as a savior to the world.
- The Second Seal – War.
- Open the “Second Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Read Revelation 6:3-4.
- Tell the class when Jesus opened the second seal another of the angels called John to “Come and see.”
- Ask: “What did John see when the seal was opened?” (a red horse with a rider).
- Tell the students the rider on the red horse represents war.
- Ask: “What will he be given power to do?” (take peace from the earth, such that people kill each other).
- Note that “a great sword” was given to him.
- Explain to the class that Antichrist’s rise to power will be peaceful, but soon wars will break out. Antichrist will have to wage wars, killing many people to try to maintain his rule of “peace.” Many people will be killed during the Tribulation.
- Summarize: Wars will break out around the world during the Tribulation. Many people will be killed in those wars.
- The Third Seal – Famine.
- Open the “Third Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 6:5-6.
- Tell the class Jesus opened the third seal and another of the angels called John to “Come and see.”
- Ask: “What did John see when the seal was opened?” (a black horse, ridden by one who held a pair of balance scales in his hand).
- Tell the students this rider represents famine.
- Explain that famine often accompanies and follows warfare: crops are destroyed, workers are killed, and populations are relocated. Starvation is often an after-effect of war.
- Tell the class the famine during the Tribulation will be so bad that a day’s wage will be required to buy enough wheat to make bread.
- Explain that the reference to not hurting the oil and wine indicates that the rich will get richer while the poor go hungry. This is common under totalitarianism and socialism.
- Summarize: Famine will be widespread during the Tribulation. Many will die of starvation while the wealthy rulers only get wealthier.
- The Fourth Seal – Death.
- Open the “Fourth Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Read Revelation 6:7-8.
- Tell the class Jesus opened the fourth seal and another of the angels called John to “Come and see.”
- Ask: “What did John see when the seal was opened?” (a pale horse, ridden by one called Death).
- Tell the students this rider represents death.
- Ask: “What followed this rider?” (Hell).
- Ask: “What power was given to this rider?” (power to kill one-fourth of the world’s population).
- Ask: “How will this rider kill people?” (sword = war and violence, hunger = starvation, death = pestilence and disease, and wild beasts).
- Summarize: During the early years of the Tribulation a quarter of the people on earth will die from violence, starvation, disease, and attacks by wild animals.
- The Fifth Seal – the Martyrs’ Cry.
- Open the “Fifth Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 6:9-11.
- Ask: “What did John see when Jesus opened the fifth seal?” (the souls of martyrs who had been killed for the Word of God and their testimony of following Jesus Christ).
- Ask: “Where were they?” (under the altar).
- Explain that in Old Testament times the blood of sacrificial animals was poured out at the base of the altar.
- Ask: “What did these martyrs ask God?” (how long He was going to wait to avenge their blood).
- Tell the students that from the earliest days of Christianity many of God’s children have been killed for their faith. This is still happening today.
- Ask: “What was given to the martyrs?” (white robes, representing purity and reward).
- Ask: “What were they told?” (to rest for a time until others who would be killed for Christ die and join them in heaven).
- Summarize: There have been many Christian martyrs down through the centuries and many of those who get saved during the Tribulation will die as martyrs. God promised to avenge their blood.
- The Sixth Seal – Cosmic Upheaval.
- Open the “Sixth Seal” envelope and take out the teaching notes for this step.
- Tell the class many amazing things happen when Jesus opens the sixth seal.
- Ask them to listen for those things as you read Revelation 6:12-17.
- Ask: “What happened first?” (a great earthquake).
- Ask: “What happened to the sun, moon, and stars?” (the sun became black, the moon became like blood, and the stars fell from heaven to earth).
- Tell the students these events were predicted by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus (Isa. 13:13; Joel 3:16; Hag. 2:6-7; Matt. 24:29).
- Ask: “What happened to the heavens and the mountains?” (heaven departed like a scroll that is rolled up; every mountain and island was moved out of its place).
- Stress the fact that God will bring major and cataclysmic destruction on earth!
- Tell the class this is a preview of the cosmic upheaval that will occur at the end of the Tribulation (see also Rev. 11:15-19 and 19:11-21).
- Ask: “According to verse 15, what will the people on earth try to do?” (hide from Jesus).
- Ask: “According to verses 16-17, what will they realize is happening?” (Jesus is coming in wrath to judge them).
- Direct everyone’s attention to the word “Hide” written on the board.
- Explain that just as it is human nature to try to hide from punishment, when Jesus returns in wrath and judgment the lost people on earth will try to hide themselves and even ask the mountains to crush them. They will see Christ coming, but they will refuse to repent (see also Rev. 9:21, 16:9, 16:11, and 16:21).
- Summarize: When Christ returns in wrath and judgment, cataclysmic cosmic upheaval will occur. The lost people on earth will understand what is happening, but they will refuse to repent and vainly try to hide themselves from Jesus.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that we have learned what will happen when Jesus opens the first six seals of the seven-sealed scroll. Only one seal remains, but Christ will not open it until Revelation 8 (our lesson for two weeks from today).
Direct the class’ attention once again to the word “Hide” written on the board. Remind them that it is human nature to try to hide one’s sin and disobedience from others and try to avoid punishment. Ask: “Does that ever work out?” (seldom, because the Bible tells us in Numbers 32:23, “be sure your sin will find you out”). Tell the students that just as it was usually hopeless to try to hide from your parents in order to avoid punishment, it is always futile to try to hide from God because He knows everything!
Tell the class we can’t hide our sins from God, but people still try.
Ask: “Are you trying to hide some sin? There is one thing of which you can be certain: God already knows all about your sin.” Encourage the students to stop trying to hide from God. Urge them to confess their sins to God right now. He has promised to cleanse us and forgive us if we do (1 John 1:9).
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to be honest with God, confessing any known sin. Voice a closing prayer, thanking God that He forgives sin and has our future planned out.
CONCLUSION: Ask the students to memorize Revelation 6:17. Tell them we’ve just read the “headlines” of the Tribulation. Throughout the rest of this quarter we will learn more about God’s plans for the future. Remind them not to try to hide their sins from God.
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