TEXT: Revelation 21:1-27; 22:1-5
The students will be able to explain that this sin-polluted earth will pass away after the White Throne Judgment, and God will create new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness shall dwell.
The earth on which we now stand, that seems so big and solid under our feet, is going to pass away. The heavens also which now exist will be no more. What John saw in his vision were not a renovated earth and a rebuilt heaven, but a new heaven and a new earth.
At the Great White Throne Judgment, “the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11). Creation, which has been defiled by sin, will not be able to stand before the Judge of all the earth. When all enemies are put under the feet of Christ, the defiled elements themselves shall vanish away like a vapor. God is going to create new heavens and a new earth untainted by the presence of Satan or any of his followers.
The new heavens and the new earth will surpass anything which man is capable of describing.
Imagine walking through one of twelve enormous gates—each made of a single pearl—and being surrounded by massive walls of crystal-clear jasper. People may stroll along streets of pure gold, to a beautiful, pure river that is also crystal clear. On either side of the river is the tree of life bearing twelve kinds of fruit. Everyone is so happy! There is no sorrow or crying or pain. This City was prepared for you by God himself. It is more than just an imaginary scene. It was revealed by God to John the Revelator, and it will someday become a reality to us if we prepare for it here on earth.
- What great event precedes the coming of the new heaven and the new earth? See Revelation 20:11.
Response: The Great White Throne Judgment. Use this question to reflect on that lesson, and continue to show the sequence of events.
- Write a brief description of the new Jerusalem that John saw.
Response: Encourage the students to read their descriptions. This is a good time to talk about the good things in store for the Christians. See Titus 3:7.
- Explain what the absence of sorrow, pain, crying, and death will mean to you.
Response: Encourage your students to share their thoughts. Help them to realize that the effects of the curse will be gone, and we will be in our glorified bodies. There will be nothing to cause pain, nor will there be reason for grief or sorrow. Emphasize the differences which will be apparent when “the former things are passed away.”
- Revelation 21:7 tells us that “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.” What constitutes an overcomer? See 1 John 5:4-5; Revelation 2:26; 12:11.
Response: Allow time for your students to give their thoughts as to the characteristics of an overcomer. Some points mentioned will likely be: one who is born of God and has faith in Jesus; one who keeps the Word of God to the end; and one who, through the Blood of the Lamb, gives testimony and loves not his own life. You might want to continue your discussion by bringing out the rewards of the overcomer. See Revelation 2:7,11,17; 3:5,12,21.
- Who will be excluded from the new Jerusalem?
Response: The point of this question is to help the students realize that sin separates (Revelation 22:14-15; Isaiah 59:2). Unless we avail ourselves of salvation we will be cast into eternal punishment. See Hebrews 2:3 and Revelation 20:15.
- Who is the Light in this City? How does that relate to us today? See John 8:12; Matthew 5:14-16.
Response: The glory of God and the Lamb (Jesus) are the Light. Discuss how Jesus brought the Light of salvation to mankind (John 3:17). After we are saved we become a Light in the world. See Matthew 5:14-16.
- 2 Peter 3:13 lets us know that there will be only goodness in the new heavens and new earth. Not everyone will be able to enter. How can you be sure you will have a part in this wonderful place?
Response: This verse tells us that righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth. Only those who have been redeemed by Jesus’ Blood will be able to dwell in that wonderful place. After your students respond to the question, you will have a good opportunity to wrap up this lesson as well as the theme for the whole quarter, by encouraging the students to be sure that they are prepared. See Revelation 22:14 for qualification to enter the City Foursquare.
Bring a world globe to class and talk about the fact that the earth, as it now exists, will be destroyed and a new earth will be created.
Bring a picture of a landscape revealing bright sunlight and deep shadows (or any picture with shadows). Ask students if there will be shadows in the New Jerusalem, then explain.
Clip pictures from magazines or catalogs, of very costly items (gold coins, jeweled rings, necklaces, crowns) and, where possible, the cost or value of those items. Show these to your students, then remind them of the New Jerusalem with its streets of gold, walls of jasper, gates of pearl, and a foundation of precious stones.
Show your students some things which are difficult or impossible to burn (a rock, a piece of iron or steel, asbestos, etc.) Explain that it will be the supernatural power of God that will destroy the heavens and earth, even as it was the power of His Word that spoke the worlds into existence.