The New Creation
Workshops in this lesson set:
- Art - decorate butterflies
- Computers - Bibleland.com - learn about John
- Cooking - take part in a New Creation Celebration, similar to a New Year’s Party
- Drama - play (script included) teaches that because Jesus is coming at any time, we should be careful to stay busy serving Him until He comes
- Games - a board game that will help us get a sense of that excitement the disciples must have felt as they expected Jesus to come back at any moment
- Movie - Video/DVD St. John in Exile starring Dean Jones by Alpha-Omega Publications ASIN: 1563712962
- Science - students will learn that the earth as we know it is not a perfect place. Humans do not always take good care of the earth. In Revelations 21:5, Jesus is described as “The Spring of the Water of Life.” He invites everyone who is thirsty, (longing for God), to come and drink freely. To demonstrate this analogy, the teacher and students will do an experiment to create a fountain effect. An optional object lesson is to water a wilted plant. In about 15 minutes the plant will absorb the water and be refreshed. Students will talk about the owl, and how they can teach us to look back with gratitude to Jesus first coming, his death, and his resurrection; but also to look forward to his second coming. During journal time, the students will write New Year’s resolutions.
- Storytelling - Saint John tells the class his story
Memory Verse: The One who is seated on the throne said
“ See, I am making all thing new.” Revelation 21:5A
See other passages cited in next section
What’s Going On Here?
Throughout the Bible, we are given many glimpses of a great new future that God has planned. Among some of these passages are:
Isaiah 11:1-9 The Peaceable Kingdom (WRM lesson November 2003)
Isaiah 25:6-9 Death destroyed forever; God serves a banquet!
Matthew 25:31-46 The Great Judgment
Mark 13:24-27 The Son of Man coming in power and glory
Luke 21:25-28 Creation in chaos, but your salvation is at hand!
Romans 8:18-25 Creation set free from its bondage to decay
I Corinthians 15 (esp. vv. 50-58) We shall all be changed through Jesus!
The clearest promise of a new creation, however, is in the book of Revelation—especially chapters 21 and 22. The Apostle John, the last living of Jesus’ twelve disciples (and, according to tradition, he would be the only one to die a natural death) was living in exile on the Island of Patmos, a small mountainous island in the Aegean Sea near modern Turkey. He was sent there to keep him from proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had already seen his brother James and many other Christians executed for their faith. On Patmos, God gave John a vision of God’s final triumph over all his foes, and the beginning of a new creation. He was told to write down what he saw and send the book to the churches in seven cities (Revelation 1:9-11).
The style of writing is a form of prophecy called “apocalyptic.” There are sections of apocalyptic literature also in the books of Daniel and Ezekiel. Apocalyptic literature is written during times of persecution, and uses symbolic images as “codes” that other believers would recognize, assuring them of God’s victory. Over the years, we have lost track of what all those images represent, so the book of Revelation can be confusing and, at times, scary. People have tried to interpret the symbols to predict current political situations, or to scare others into God’s kingdom. The overall message of the Revelation, however, is clearly one of hope. The evil and problems of the current age will not last forever. One day, God’s triumph will be complete and there will be a new creation!
What is the Story?
Having experienced the joy of knowing Jesus face to face as well as living through times of great suffering and persecution for the Church, John is given a vision of God’s future. The book begins with letters of instructions to some communities of faith. John then sees the joy of heaven as angelic creatures as well as “people from every race, tribe, nation, and language” (Rev. 7:9) give God praise. Times of battle and suffering are seen ahead for the earth, but in the end God’s enemies are defeated and destroyed.
In Revelation 21, God makes a new creation—“a new heaven and a new earth” (v. 1). One can see how different that new creation is from the present one as John quotes a voice speaking from the throne of God, “Now God’s home is with mankind! God will live with them, and they shall be God’s people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared!” (Rev. 21:3-4). The gates of the city will never be closed (Rev. 21:25) because there is no crime or threat from enemies. There are no lights—not even the sun or moon—because God’s glory gives all the light it needs (Rev. 21:23-24). There isn’t even a Temple, because people are already in God’s presence! (Rev. 21:22).
The time line for all of these events is not given. Jesus simply invites everyone to come to him in faith, and promises, “I am coming soon.” (Rev. 22:7, 12, and 20)
Why is This Important?
The promise that God will bring about a better, more just future has always given God’s people hope. That hope is probably most strongly felt at times when suffering has been the greatest. Many of the great African-American spirituals from the days of slavery, for example, are filled with images of God’s final victory. The certainty of God’s victory even over death has also given Christians courage to witness to Jesus even at the cost of their lives.
Even though we live in relatively comfortable times, evidence of trouble abounds and even young children are aware of some disturbing things in the world—warfare, natural disasters, injustice, diseases, accidents, and death. The promises of the Bible for a new creation from God show us:
- God is not pleased with the world the way that it is. There is much that happens in this world that is not God’s will.
- God has promised a better world in the future, and
- The future is in God’s hands.
A lesson set by Augustana Lutheran Church
Saint James, Minnesota
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.