June 21, 2020 – Revelation 4 – 5

Lesson Date: June 21, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Revelation 4:1 – 5:14

AIM: To lead students to recognize that Jesus Christ is the righteous and ultimate Judge of the universe, and to encourage them to examine their lives to see if they are ready to face Jesus the Judge.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Revelation 4 – 5 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get a gavel to bring to class. If you can’t get a real gavel bring a picture of one.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the gavel (or picture of a gavel). Ask them what it is. Ask: “What is a gavel used for in a court of law?” (the judge uses it to pronounce official rulings, such as a verdict or a sentence for a crime).

Ask if any of the students have ever served on a jury or witnessed a trial in a court of law. Ask: “How much authority does the judge have in his or her courtroom?” (he or she has absolute authority in the courtroom). Tell the class the judge must be respected and obeyed by everyone present; anyone who disobeys or disrespects the judge will face punishment).

Tell the students that man is sinful and God has already pronounced the world guilty (see Rom. 3:19, 23). In today’s lesson we will see that Jesus Christ is the great and righteous Judge of the universe. Like a judge entering a courtroom, Jesus will take His place of judgment and prepare to pass sentence on our wicked world.

Explain that there is one very important distinction between the throne room in heaven and a courtroom here on earth. Earthly judges may have their rulings overturned by a higher court; but when Jesus Christ passes judgment there can be no appeal because He is the ultimate authority. There is no higher court or higher authority to which one may appeal.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the book of Revelation.
    • Remind them that the Apostle John was in exile on the island of Patmos when Jesus appeared to Him, telling him to write the things he saw.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Jesus’ letters to the seven churches of Asia).
    • Remind the students that Jesus told John he was to write about the past, present and future (Rev. 1:19). John recorded the past in chapter 1 and he recorded the present in chapters 2 and 3. Now it is time for Jesus to reveal future events to John.
  2. The Throne Room.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 4:1-3.
    • Ask: “What happened?” (John was summoned up to heaven).
    • Tell the class that John’s summons to heaven represents the future Rapture of the church (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
      • Like the Rapture, John was called personally and he was immediately transported to heaven.
      • Note that the church figures prominently in chapters 1 – 3 of Revelation, but does not appear again until the return of Christ in chapter 19.
    • Ask: “What did John see?” (the throne of God in heaven).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 4:4-5.
    • Ask: “What did John see around the throne?” (24 elders seated on 24 seats or thrones).
    • Tell the students that these elders represent the church: in heaven, glorified, and surrounding the throne of God. The seven Spirits of God represents the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
    • Read Revelation 4:6-8.
    • Ask: “What did John see next?” (a sea of glass and four “beasts” or living creatures).
    • Tell the class these four creatures are angelic beings.
    • Ask: “How are they described?” (they were full of eyes, they looked like different animals, and they each had six wings; compare this description to Isa. 6:2-3; Eze. 1:5-14; and Eze. 10:1-22).
    • Ask: “What were these four angels doing?” (praising God continually).
    • Tell the students the four angels praise God for His holiness, power, and eternality.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 4:9-11.
    • Ask: “What happens whenever the four angels praise God?” (the 24 elders fall down before God, casting their crowns at His feet and praising Him).
    • Ask the class what the elders say about God (He is worthy to be glorified and to receive honor and power, because He is the Creator and ruler of everything).
    • Summarize: Jesus summoned John to the throne room of Heaven, where he saw God on His throne and the unending worship of angels and the glorified church.
  3. The Sealed Scroll.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 5:1-4.
    • Ask: “What did John see?” (God seated on His throne, holding a book or scroll that was written on both the inside and outside and completely sealed with seven seals).
    • Explain that this scroll contains the judgments and actions described in the rest of the book of Revelation, through which Jesus Christ will defeat Satan and his forces and reclaim His rightful place as Lord and King of the earth (and universe). If this were an earthly courtroom, the scroll would be the verdict that the judge will read.
    • Ask: “What did John hear?” (a strong angel asking in a loud voice who is worthy to open the book and loose the seals).
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, who was found worthy to open the book?” (none of the glorified saints and angels in heaven, no one living on earth, and none of the unredeemed dead under the earth).
    • Ask: “How did John feel about this?” (he was brokenhearted; he “wept much”).
    • Tell the class John wept because he was afraid that no one could defeat Satan, redeem God’s creation, and re-establish Christ’s unchallenged rule of the universe.
    • Summarize: John saw a sealed scroll in the hand of Almighty God, but he wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and unleash the judgments necessary to defeat Satan and place Jesus Christ on His rightful throne.
  4. The Worthy Savior.
    • Read Revelation 5:5.
    • Ask: “Why did the elder tell John to stop weeping?” (because Jesus has prevailed to open the scroll and loose the seals).
    • Tell the class the word prevailed means conquered, overcome, and gained the victory.
    • Ask: “How is Jesus described in verse 5?” (the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Root of David).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 5:6-7.
    • Ask: “What did John see in verse 6?” (a Lamb that looked as if it had been slain standing in the midst of the throne, the 4 angelic beings, and the 24 elders; the Lamb had 7 horns and 7 eyes).
    • Tell the students that a slaughtered lamb can’t stand, but the Lamb of God is ALIVE!
    • Ask: “What did the Lamb do in verse 7” (took the sealed scroll from God the Father who was sitting on the throne).
    • Tell the students that this verse is pivotal to this lesson and to the remainder of the book of Revelation. Jesus is about to read the verdict. He is ready to unleash His judgment and wrath upon this sinful world and upon Satan.
    • Tell the class when the verdict is read in an earthly courtroom there may be some reaction, but it is subdued. The judge will not allow loud outbursts. The remainder of this chapter describes the reaction of those in heaven when Jesus took the scroll.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 5:8-10.
    • Ask: “How did the 4 angelic beings and the 24 elders react when Jesus took the scroll?” (they fell down before the Lamb and sang a new song, praising His worthiness).
    • Read Revelation 5:11-12.
    • Ask: “How did the rest of the angels react when Jesus took the scroll?” (they praised Him for His worthiness, power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Revelation 5:13-14.
    • Ask: “Who else joins in this worship and praise of the Lamb?” (every creature in the universe).
    • Tell the students when Christ takes the scroll containing all the terrible judgments described in the book of Revelation, all creation breaks out in praise (Ps. 22:29; Phil. 2:10). In the words of Warren Wiersbe, “All creation anticipates the redemption that will come when Christ finally overcomes the enemy and establishes His kingdom.”[i]
    • Summarize: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, took the sealed scroll from the hand of His Father who was seated on the throne. All creation rejoiced and praised Jesus that He is worthy to take the sealed scroll.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students we have read about an awe-inspiring scene of praise and worship in heaven. God the Father and Jesus Christ are worshiped and praised because they are holy and deserving of praise. Ask: “In the passage we read today, when did the praise of Jesus Christ begin?” (when He took the scroll). Remind the class that the scroll contains judgment that will come upon the earth during the Tribulation (we will begin learning about that in next week’s lesson.) As strange as it may seem to us, the greatest praise of Jesus Christ begins when He prepares to execute His fiercest judgment. He is the only One in the universe worthy to bring judgment upon the earth and its wicked inhabitants; and His judgment is certainly coming!

Remind the students of the earthly courtroom they discussed during the introductory step. The judge in an earthly courtroom has absolute authority within his courtroom; everyone present must show reverence and respect for the judge. Tell the class the scene they have just studied describes the throne room (or “courtroom”) in heaven. The Great Judge of the universe has taken His place and all creation shows reverence and respect. The verdict has been rendered; the Judge has made His judgment. In next week’s lesson He will open the verdict and begin reading the sentence. Terrible judgment will befall the earth and those who reject Jesus Christ. There will be no appeal.

Stress the fact that one day every person who has ever lived will stand before Jesus Christ, the Great Judge of the universe. That will come either at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the saved (2 Cor. 5:10), or at the Great White Throne Judgment for the lost (Rev. 20:11-15). Everyone will face Jesus Christ one day. Ask: “Are you ready to stand before the Great Judge of the universe? One day you certainly will. Is there sin in your life? The Judge will see it and judge it. Why don’t you confess it and get right with God right now?”

Say: “If you have never yielded your life to Jesus Christ I hope you will do so now.” Read the plan of salvation printed on the back cover of the Sunday School Member Quarterly. Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask any who are not saved to confess their sin and receive Jesus by faith. Tell those who are already saved to confess any unconfessed sin in their lives. Voice a closing prayer to the One who is worthy to judge.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Revelation 4:8. Encourage them to examine themselves every day this week, and confess any sin God brings to mind. Urge them to come back next week to see what happens when Christ starts opening the sealed scroll.

[i] Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, Warren. W. Wiersbe, Copyright © 1992 by SP Publications, Inc.

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