In this penultimate lesson in the Revelation series, we see the second coming of Christ our Hero, Savior of the world. This can be an exciting lesson for the children of modern America who are steeped in the mythologies of our times: Superman, Batman, Star Wars, and the like. Children love a hero, and Jesus is the greatest hero of all time! Even better, as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have taught us, He is the Myth that is True!
In our last lesson, we talked about the judgements God will send to the earth, the consequences of the sin the people will be living in during the end times. What is this terrible sin? The whole world will worship and follow the beast, the Antichrist. This terrible leader will openly blaspheme the one, true God, and everyone in the world who does not belong to God will love him for it! The Antichrist will make new laws saying that everyone must put his special mark on their hands or foreheads, identifying themselves with him and showing that they follow only him. Anyone who does not take this mark of the beast will not be allowed to buy or sell. That means not being able to get food or clothes or pay for a place to live. Of course, those who are followers of Christ will not take this mark of the Antichrist, and so they will suffer hunger and poverty. But to make things worse, the Antichrist will put a statue of himself in the temple in Jerusalem and command the whole world to bow down and worship the statue. This statue will speak as if it were alive. Isn’t that creepy? But anyone who refuses to worship the Antichrist and his statue will be killed.
This is scary stuff! But don’t worry! God always takes care of his people. The Antichrist will not be allowed to rule for long. Do you remember how many bowls of judgement the angels poured out over the earth for the sin of following the beast? That’s right, it was seven. When the seventh bowl of judgement is poured, John sees the Antichrist gathering an enormous army, bigger than any army ever in history, to march to Israel and wage war against God’s people once and for all. The Jews who are still living in Israel will flee to the mountains and hide in caves! They don’t need to fight this terrible foe, because they cry out to Messiah to save them, and Messiah will fight their battles for them Himself! Who is the Messiah of the Jews? Yes, it’s Jesus. Picture this: The millions of soldiers the Antichrist has gathered are all armed and ready for war. They want only to destroy all of God’s people, the Jews, once and for all. They are in a valley in Israel called Armageddon, which is just outside Jerusalem, and they are out for blood. Imagine how terrible this army must look, how frightening their war-cries must sound, like thunder! But suddenly, before any of them can fire a shot, the sky opens up and a man dressed in white and riding on a white horse appears, standing in the heavens! He is coming to fight for His people. His eyes blaze with the fire of His righteous judgement. He charges down from the sky like a lightningbolt, followed by all the armies of angels from heaven to destroy the enemies of Israel. John says that this mighty hero from heaven is named The Word of God, Faithful and True. From His mouth comes a sharp sword to strike down His enemies. What do you think this means? It means that Jesus won’t have to fight at all, and neither will any of His army of angels. He will need only to speak a word, and all the armies of the Antichrist will fall dead!
Jesus will then take over the rule of the world. John says the on Messiah’s robe is written “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” When Jesus comes back, it will not be like the first time He came. The first time Jesus came, it was humbly and as a servant. He came the first time to be one of us, to identify with us, to die for us. The second time He comes, it will be as a king and a the greatest hero you can imagine, to rule over us and take care of us. He will destroy sin and evil forever and will live with us, his people, for eternity.
All of this, John writes about at the end of chapter 19 in the book of Revelation. But here’s a really cool thing: in the first half of this chapter, John tells about all of heaven rejoicing because Jesus has won the war against the Antichrist and has defeated sin. I think it’s significant that Jesus is praised for His victory BEFORE He has even left to fight the war. There is no doubt that He will win–in fact, He has already won. He won the war when He died on the cross for our sins and then rose again from the grave. He just hasn’t taken over the earth yet. He wants to give everyone in the world a chance to turn to Him and be saved from judgement. He loves us all so much that He wants everyone He created to spend eternity with Him.
Here is part of the song the hosts of heaven sings in victory: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are His judgements!” “Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, both small and great!” John says that there were so many voices singing these songs that the sound was like the roar of rushing waters and like peals of thunder!
Then another kind of victory song was sung. “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” What do you think this means? Who is the bride of the Lamb? It’s us, isn’t it? All those who trust in Jesus the Messiah as savior are part of the bride of Christ. This is the reason marriage here on earth is so important and so sacred and holy. Marriage between a man and a woman on earth is a picture of the true marriage between God and His people. Just as a man and woman who marry become one, so will God and those who believe in Him become one. This is a mystery that we may spend all of eternity learning to understand. But God wants to be with us forever, as much as a man and woman who are in love want to be together. I know none of you are planning to get married any time soon! But keep this in mind when you do think about getting married. Your marriage will be a picture for others to see of God’s love and relationship with His people. It is a huge responsibility, to be a symbol for God! How can we act in a marriage that will help others see God and His love for His people in us? (Give time for discussion.)
Suggestion: If you have extra time, ask the class if they have seen the movie “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” The scene at the battle of the Hornburg is a great picture of the battle of Armageddon: King Theoden, Aragorn, and their armies are vastly outnumbered by the armies of the enemy, the orcs; they are like the Jews holed up in caves awaiting the inevitable slaughter. Suddenly, Gandalf the White appears in his glowing white robe, riding a white horse, on a mountain above the battlefield, and behind him is an army he has raised to fight the orcs. The sight of this shining white figure on a rampant stallion causes the tired, desperate men of the Hornburg to cheer when they see the source of their salvation appear. Gandalf charges down the mountain with his army to victory in one of the most thrilling scenes in cinematic history.