August 27, 2023 – Bible Doctrine 13 – Last Things
Lesson Date: August 27, 2023
Focal Scripture Passage: Luke 16:22-23; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 6:1-8; 19:11-21; 20:1-4, 11-15; 21:1-4
AIM: To lead students to discover the Bible’s teachings about the end of life and the end times, and to encourage unsaved students to accept Jesus Christ and saved students to serve Him more faithfully in light of the fact that He is coming back.
Before class: Read the chapters containing the focal passages several times during the week. Get enough copies of the Lesson Outline handout for your anticipated attendance. Write the words “The End Is Near” on the markerboard or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to words “The End Is Near” written on the board. Ask: “Have you ever seen that message on a sign or billboard?” (they probably have).
Tell the class that down through the centuries there have been many predictions about when and how the world would end. Here are just a few examples:
- Some believed that the ancient Mayan calendar predicted the world would end in 2012.
- Others said Nostradamus predicted the end of the world would come in 1999.
- Many people have set specific dates for Christ to return, all of which have all been wrong.
- Some thought Halley’s comet would destroy the earth in 1910.
- Some people believe the world will end due to global warming, nuclear war, or alien invasion.
Tell the class the end of the world may be far away, but “The End Is Near” has a personal meaning for each of us. Ask: “What is that personal meaning?” (some day each of us will die). Stress the fact that all of us, regardless of our age or health, will one day face death. Ask: “What happens after we die?” Allow time for responses, and then tell the class the opinions about that question are as varied as opinions about when the world will end.
Tell the students the important question for us, however, is, “What does the Bible say about these things?” Tell them the title of today’s lesson is Last Things. Explain that as we study several Bible passages, we will learn what the Bible says about the end of our lives and the end times.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Tell the students this is the final lesson of our survey of Bible doctrine.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Angels and Demons; we learned what angels and demons are and what they do).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Ephesians 6:12).
- The End of Life.
- Ask everyone to turn to Hebrews 9, and then ask a volunteer to read Hebrews 9:27.
- Ask: “What does this verse promise?” (that each of us will die some day).
- Stress the fact that Death is a certainty and could come at any time.
- Ask everyone to turn to 2 Corinthians 5, and then read 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.
- Tell the students these verses were written to believers.
- Ask: “According to verse 6, what is our state while we live in these mortal bodies?” (we are absent from the Lord; in other words, we are not in His presence).
- Ask: “According to verse 8, what happens when we die and leave our mortal body?” (we are immediately taken to the presence of the Lord in heaven).
- Tell the students that when a believer dies, he or she goes immediately to Heaven.
- Ask everyone to turn to Luke 16, in which Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus.
- Ask a volunteer to read Luke 16:22-23.
- Ask: “What happened when the rich man died?” (he went to the torment of hell).
- Tell the students when an unbeliever dies, he or she goes immediately to Hell.
- Summarize: Concerning the end of life, the Bible reveals that death is a certainty for each of us. After death, those who have believed and trusted Jesus go to heaven, but those who have rejected Him go to hell.
- Ask everyone to turn to Hebrews 9, and then ask a volunteer to read Hebrews 9:27.
- The End Times.
- Tell the class the remainder of our lesson will focus on what the Bible reveals about the end times.
- Direct their attention to the timeline of End Time Events on the last page of their Sunday School Member Quarterly, and tell them we will learn about six major end times events.
- Ask everyone to turn to 1 Thessalonians 4, and then read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
- Ask: “What will the Lord Jesus do?” (come down from heaven and summon all believers to meet Him in the air).
- Ask: “How long will believers remain with Jesus?” (forever).
- Tell the students this event is known as the Rapture; it is the first event on the timeline.
- Explain that at the Rapture, Jesus will come down from heaven, but He will not come all the way to the earth; instead, He will meet believers in the air and take them home with Him to heaven.
- Tell the class the Rapture could come at any time, without any warning; there are no signs or prophecies that must be fulfilled before the Rapture.
- Ask everyone to turn to Revelation 6, and then read Revelation 6:1-8.
- Tell the class that after the Rapture of the church and while believers are with Jesus in heaven, the world will be plunged into seven years of terrible Tribulation, the second event on the timeline.
- Tell them the verses you have just read describe just a little of what will take place on earth during the Tribulation; Revelation 6 – 18 contain more detail.
- Explain that during the Tribulation the Antichrist will rule the world, control all commerce, demand that everyone on earth worship him, and desire to destroy Jesus.
- Ask everyone to turn to Revelation 19, and then read Revelation 19:11-16.
- Ask: “Who is the rider on the white horse?” (Jesus).
- Tell the students the next event on the timeline is the Return of Jesus.
- Explain that at the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth “with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26).
- Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 19:17-21.
- Tell the class the Antichrist (the Beast) will make war against Jesus, but Jesus will destroy him and his armies; this is known as the battle of Armageddon.
- Read Revelation 20:1-4.
- Ask: “According to verse 2, how long will Satan be bound?” (1,000 years).
- Ask: “According to verse 4, how long will believers live and reign with Christ on earth?” (1,000 years).
- Tell the students the next event on the timeline is the Millennium, during which Jesus Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years, and His followers will reign with Him.
- Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 20:11-15.
- Explain that these verses depict the next event on the timeline, the Final Judgment of unbelievers.
- Stress the fact that the Great White Throne Judgment described in those verses is only for unbelievers (“whosoever was not found written in the book of life” – verse 15), all of whom will be cast into the lake of fire.
- Tell the class that in contrast, believers will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).
- Read Revelation 21:1-4.
- Tell the class that chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation describe the Eternal State of believers with Jesus in heaven.
- Explain that while Christians will enjoy eternity with Jesus, the lost will spend eternity in the lake of fire (as we already read Rev. 20:14-15).
- Summarize: Concerning the end of time, the Bible reveals a series of events, including the Rapture, Tribulation, Return of Christ, Millennium, Final Judgment of the lost, and the Eternal State of believers and unbelievers.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students’ that the title of today’s lesson is Last Things. Give everyone a copy of the Lesson Outline handout. Review the lesson by reading the main points and subpoints from that outline:
The End of Life
- Death – Hebrews 9:27
- Heaven – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
- Hell – Luke 16:22-23
The End Times
- The Rapture – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
- The Tribulation – Revelation 6:1-8
- The Return of Jesus – Revelation 19:11-21
- The Millennium – Revelation 20:1-4
- The Final Judgment – Revelation 20:11-15
- The Eternal State – Revelation 21:1-4
Tell the students that death is a certainty, and there are only two possible destinations after death: heaven and hell. Stress the fact that only those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior will spend eternity with Him in heaven; all others are doomed to eternal torment in hell.
Ask: “What about you? Do you know Jesus? Will you go to heaven when you die?”
Tell the class that while we don’t know the day or hour, Jesus will return for His church, ushering in the Tribulation and other events on the timeline of End Time Events. Stress the fact that we don’t know when Jesus will return for His church, but all of the end time events are nearer than they ever have been. In other words, time is running out for all of us. Ask: “If you know Jesus, are you serving Him as faithfully as you should?”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Urge any who don’t know Jesus to repent of their sins and trust Jesus for salvation by faith. Tell those who are already saved to commit to the Lord that they will serve Him more faithfully for whatever amount of time He gives them. After a few moments of silence, voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Offer to stay after class and speak with anyone who may have just received Christ or have questions about salvation. Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly. Tell them next week we begin a study of the Old Testament book of Ruth. Encourage them to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide tomorrow.
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