Youth ministry programs

The Mysteries of Revelation ...

Is it about the future? Is that future in the forseeable future?

"Ask youth which book of the Bible they would like to study and a most likely response woould be 'Revelation'. With so much modern emphasis placed on the 'end times', and prophesies about the future, youth are curious about the mysteries this book expounds."

We will be publishing an eleven lesson study on the last book of the Bible ... The Revelation of St. John, the Divine. The second lesson is below, following the introduction to the study. The second lesson is followed by Lesson One published three weeks ago. .


Introduction

This study makes no effort to attach a present or future identity to any of the beings described in the book of Revelation. Rather it presents the story as John wrote it ... a struggle between the forces of those who followed God and the enemies of God and the ultimate outcome of the conflict.

Since Revelation is a complex book, chart 22.1 would be helpful to have displayed while discussing the events of the book. When displayed with large enough print for youth to read at a distance, it is most helpful in aiding youth to focus on this complex story.

Begin by pointing out that Revelations chapters one through three are mainly reproductions of letters sent by the author, John, to seven Christian churches existent in the first century A.D. In Revelations 3:14-22 John writes to the church of Laodicea, "You are lukewarm in your faith ... you say 'I am rich, I have prospered and I need nothing'. You do not realize that you are poor, blind and naked. (2) John then continues by stating Jesus' call, "I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me". (3) Point out that it is clear that John writes this account of his vision not to just record it but for a purpose - to call people to Jesus, his Lord. Ask youth how many are ready to open their minds to the images to be portrayed and the meanings they have. Then ask how many are ready to open their hearts to Jesus, the source of the visions John experienced.

The study is broken into twelve lessons for the purpose of the ease of preparation in teaching as well as to help youth work through the complexity of this book. Chart 22.1 is organized by these twelve lessons.

Lessons One and Two can be found at: Old Lessons on Revelation


Lesson Three : The Seven Seals ... Revelation Chapter 6

The lamb opens the scroll and John begins to see the things, which must happen. The first four seals describe four horsemen. Ask youth to close their eyes and imagine as you read below:

A white horse with a rider holding a bow walks by silently. He is followed by a red horse with a rider again riding by in silence. Off in the distance you hear someone call out " a quart of wheat for a day's pay but don't damage the olive oil and the wine". The statement is repeated, a little louder as a black horse appears. The rider and speaker is holding a pair of scales. Once he passes, a pale green horse appears. Its rider holds nothing but is identified as death.

Ask youth to keep their eyes shut and imagine where they ride off to.

Question - Do they ride together or apart? Do the horsemen break off into separate directions? Do they look at you as they pass by or are their eyes fixed straight ahead on their destinations?

Ask youth to open their eyes and share what they imagined. After sharing, offer the following explanation for the horsemen.

  • White horse. White is a sacred color. The bow was the chief weapon of the enemies of the Romans who ruled most of southern Europe at the time John wrote Revelation.
  • Red horse. Red suggests war and bloodshed.
  • Black horse with rider holding scales suggests poverty and famine. A day's pay should have bought between eight and sixteen quarts of wheat at the time not the one quart offered by the rider.
  • Pale green horse. Note that it is pale ... the aftermath of war, desolation and famine.
  • After the horsemen leave, the fifth seal is open and John hears "the martyrs" calling out for vengeance in heaven.

    Question - What is a martyr?

    Question - In Revelation 6:11 the martyrs are told to wait a little while longer for justice. Is this fair?

    The sixth seal is opened and John reports:

    "There was a violent earthquake and the sun became black like coarse black cloth and the moon turned completely red like blood. The stars fell down to earth ... the sky disappeared like a scroll being rolled up and every mountain and island were being moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the rulers and the military chiefs, the rich and the powerful "hid themselves in caves and under rocks on the mountains. Fall on us and hide us from the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the lamb. The terrible day of their anger is here and who can stand up to it?"

    Question - What do you think is happening during this sixth seal? What do you think God is trying to accomplish?

    Advise youth that the seventh seal is about to be opened. After the description of events in the sixth seal, ask youth what they predict will happen in the seventh and last seal. Upon receiving responses record them, then advise that, according to Revelation, the seventh seal is not opened right away. Rather John has another vision. He sees 144,000 people who are "marked" by God with a seal in their foreheads. He then sees a much larger crowd, in white robes, calling out "Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne and from the lamb."

    John hears an elder ask about the identity of these people. John says he does not know. The elder responds "They are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution."

    A promise is made to these people, "never again will they hunger or thirst, neither sun nor scorching heat will burn them ... the lamb ... will guide them to the streams".

    Question - What do you think is happening during this sixth seal? What do you think God is trying to accomplish?

    Advise youth that the seventh seal is about to be opened. After the description of events in the sixth seal, ask youth what they predict will happen in the seventh and last seal. Upon receiving responses record them, then advise that, according to Revelation, the seventh seal is not opened right away. Rather John has another vision. He sees 144,000 people who are "marked" by God with a seal in their foreheads. He then sees a much larger crowd, in white robes, calling out, "Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne and from the lamb."

    John hears an elder ask about the identity of these people. John says he does not know. The elder responds, "They are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution."

    A promise is made to these people, "never again will they hunger or thirst, neither sun nor scorching heat will burn them ... the lamb ... will guide them to the streams of life giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

    Question - Is there any significance to the number, 144,000, depicting the survivors ? Note that this figure is 12 times 12,000. There are twelve tribes of Israel.

    Question - What persecution is John referring to in verse fourteen? Some scholars suggest he is referring to the persecution of Christians by the Romans, which was quite evident at the time that he wrote Revelation.

    Question - What is the seal in the believer's forehead? Note that Revelation does not reveal its nature. What is clear is that God knows what is in the heart of everyone and he certainly does not need a physical seal to identify who is a believer.

    Now review what youth thought the seventh seal would be and turn to Revelation 8:1. The seventh seal is opened and there was silence in heaven for a half an hour.

    Question - What is happening? After all of the tumult of the sixth seal why does the seventh and final seal bring silence? Some suggest that it is a moment for inhabitants in heaven to focus on the prayers of those believers still residing on earth. Others suggest the silence is a pause to prepare for something yet to come.

    Do you have some thoughts to share in regards to our study of Revelation? Please share your thoughts by writing to us at Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org

    Would you like access to all twelve lessons on Revelation? These lessons are found in chapter 22 of the book, Not the Same Old, Done-it before Youth Meetings". The above referenced chart can be found on page 185. See below.

    Activity Guide for Youth Workers

    "I totally had to get this book" better books for christian teens Jo writes regarding Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings ... "I think this book is really good and helpful. I first read the online version of the book because I did not want to pay for it. But after reading a couple of program ideas and having a very very successful youth program I totally HAD to get this book. It is well worth the money."

    Hear what Cara of Goodreads says about Review: "Wow! Its one of the few realistic and useful youth books I've run across and is recommended for youth pastors and adult volunteers in youth." Thanks, Cara, for reading and sharing.

    New Review on Amazon.com dated January 7, 2018 gives "Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings" 5.0 out of 5 stars and is entitled "Excellent Ideas". It reads, "Excellent and unique ideas. I would recommend this to any Christian youth group."

    Read more reviews like these reviews by clicking ... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

              Free Monthly Newsletter

        I Want to receive ...

       Christian youth ministry lessons that are both fun

                         and faith-based.

     

    Want to return to website, please click: Lessons for Christian Youth