Sabbath School Lesson for November 12-18, 2022
Overview of Lesson 8
The New Testament hope for the Second Coming, including our resurrection and future eternal life, can be seen quite clearly in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15. This week we explore…
- our need for this hope (Sunday)
- how soon is His Coming (Monday)
- when we receive immortality (Tuesday)
- how this hope comforts us (Wednesday)
- what is the “mystery” that happens “in the twinkling of an eye” (Thursday)
The hope for a heavenly reward, dating back to Old Testament prophets and patriarchs, continues in the writings of New Testament authors and in the preaching of Jesus Himself.
It was believed that Enoch preached about the Second Coming, saying “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all…” (Jude 14, 15). Those in Old Testament times had an understanding of our future hope. Hebrews 11: 39, 40 speaks of this promise and the fact that those living back then would not “be made perfect apart from us”.
Memory Text: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11, 12 NKJV
This statement emphatically declares that we must have a saving relationship with Christ in order to live eternally. It dismisses the belief that those who sin and don’t know know God will also have an immortal life of eternal torture and punishment in a place called “hell”.
God’s punishment for the wicked in a lake of fire is eternal in the sense that it eternally eradicates sin from the universe, burning up Satan and his followers, leaving them neither “root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1). This lake of fire is even called “the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
Our hope is based on a precious promise for an eternal existence of peace and happiness. We therefore embrace our loving Savior, who provides everlasting life to all who believe in Him and live their life for Him.
Sunday: Hope Beyond This Life
The realization that we are going to die is quite an emotional load to carry, when you stop to think about it. Nearing the end of our life, either by age or receiving a terminal health diagnosis, or perhaps learning of the tragic death of someone close to us, become vivid reminders of our mortal, short-lived existence on this troubled planet.
Without the hope of eternal life, centered on the reality of our future resurrection, we truly are tempted to just “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:32). As one author has stated, “Heaven is worth everything to us, and if we lose heaven we lose all.” Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 349.
This is why the belief in Christ’s resurrection strikes a common chord of hope with so many who hear the story. His miraculous death and resurrection, based on numerous testimonies of witnesses who saw the risen Lord, give us hope that there truly is something beyond this current life with all its pain and suffering.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
- Why is a belief in the resurrection so vital to our faith?
- Why would our life be miserable if our hope in Christ was for this life only, and there was nothing beyond the grave?
Monday: “I Will Come Again”
Jesus’ great promise in John 14:1-3 has given hope to many of us. His short time on earth was not wasted, and He is now preparing our heavenly home, so we can once again be with Him.
The early, apostolic church was so excited about this reunion with their Lord that they fully expected Him to return in their lifetime. It was a great disappointment to many when their loved ones began to die without witnessing the glorious event. They fully expected the Second Coming soon, just as we who are now living in what we believe are the end times.
Despite the many years we have waited for Him to come again, the length of time we wait is not what is important. Our lifetimes are relatively short– only 70 to 80 years, as Psalm 90:10 tells us. His return will therefore be soon to us individually, because our lifetimes are so short. These brief years of life are all we have to wait and prepare for the blessed hope.
The surety of the Second Coming is what we definitely cling to. The timing is in God’s hands. Even the delay was predicted, as we recall in the parable of the ten virgins. It mentioned in Matthew 25:5 that the bridegroom would be delayed, while the virgins slept, waiting for him.
We can only be sure that He will come back for us, and that is the only thing that matters. Whether we are one of the living or the resurrected, we will all be there together when He appears once again in glory.
- Why have many saints chosen these verses to be on the gravestones of their loved ones? What is so special about these words?
2 Peter 3:4, 8, 9
- Why is the question of when He will return heard so much, both in Peter’s day and ours?
- How satisfactory are the answers given by Peter here? Why are they even more important to us living in the end times?
Revelation 3:11, 22:7, 12, 20
- Why is it important for us to remember that He will come quickly?
Tuesday: ” ‘I Will Raise Him Up’ “
Jesus has promised to come again, but also to raise us up, speaking of our resurrection. Even though we believe our eternal life with Him is secure as long as we believe, it is at “the last trump” that we are given immortal bodies, with the ability to live forever as God originally intended (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
The miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes captured the minds of Jesus’ followers. He used the experience to remind them that He was the “bread of life” (John 6:48), the giver of life everlasting. At one point, He stated, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).
John 6:35 and Matthew 5:6
- What do we hunger and thirst for, and how does Jesus satisfy us?
John 6:44, 48 and John 11:24, 25
- How are we to understand the relationship between the “bread of life” and the “resurrection and the life”?
Wednesday: At the Sound of the Trumpet
In Matthew 24:30, 31, Christ described the Coming of the Son of Man as a visible, audible event. He said all the tribes of the earth will see Him coming with power and glory, and “with a great sound of a trumpet”–all of this occurring after the signs and wonders that would be seen in the last days.
Paul was obviously talking about the same event of His Coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. He tried to comfort believers who were concerned that some of them would miss out on the Second Coming because they had died. He referred to these saints as “those who sleep in Jesus”. He similarly described the scene as happening with a “great shout…and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
What a thrill it will be to reunite with loved ones. Those who are resurrected and those who are alive at the time of His Coming will meet Him together in the clouds, and thus we will “always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 24:30, 31
- Why is it important to understand when the sound of the trumpet is heard?
Thursday: The Everlasting Encounter
Our final victory over death is summed up nicely in 1 Corinthians 15:50-55. Some Christians have interpreted the “mystery” Paul speaks of here as the secret rapture, which they say happens seven years prior to the Second Coming of Christ. They believe faithful Christians will be whisked away secretly, while those left behind are left wondering where they have gone.
Although there is little to no biblical evidence for such a theory, a best-selling series called “Left Behind”, and four movies about the books, have exposed millions of people to this highly questionable teaching.
The “mystery” Paul mentions is simply the glorious moment when the living righteous join those who are resurrected at His Second Coming, at the sound of the last trumpet. Happening “in the twinkling of an eye”, our mortal bodies are given new, perfect, immortal ones. This is when the sting of death is eradicated. Christ, and Christ alone at that time, can give us this victory over our worst enemy.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55
- What is the “mystery” Paul refers to in this passage?
- When are we “changed”?
Friday: Final Thoughts
Hope in the New Testament is centered on Christ’s Second Coming and our resurrection from the dead. We long for our glorious, incorruptible, immortal bodies, which are received at the end of time, in the last days of earth as we know it.
These events would be meaningless if our immortal souls or spirits were already in heaven, as many Christians have come to believe. How easy this belief makes it for Satan’s legions of fallen angels to impersonate our loved ones and lead us away from God.
It not only allows for the deception of spiritualism, but just as dangerous is the belief that the souls of the unrighteous are raised to life and are punished without end in the fires of hell. This commonly held belief totally puts God’s character in question. How could God, who is full of mercy and justice, appoint such a harsh, unfair punishment on any of His creatures?
A thorough examination of biblical testimonies found in the New Testament, however, will ground us in the hope and desire of all ages: our grand reunion together with Jesus, just as He promised His disciples when He was with us.
Next Week: Contrary Passages?
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