To encourage class members to face the future with hope because they know that the forces of evil will be overcome and the Savior will reign in triumph.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Revelation 5:1–5; 6. John sees through revelation a book with seven seals and observes some of the events of the first six seals, or time periods. He sees that Satan has fought against the righteous in all time periods.
Revelation 20:12–22:21. John learns that after the last judgment takes place, the righteous will dwell with God.
Suggestion for teaching: “Above all, the most important preparation is of yourself. Prepare so as to have the influence of the Holy Ghost” (Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently , 219). Each of us should be striving to live as the Savior lived and to teach as he taught. Prayerfully consider what you can do to ensure that you are teaching with the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Suggested Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Display a recent newspaper, and point out two or three distressing articles, such as accounts of crimes or natural disasters.
How do you feel when you read about incidents such as these? (Do not discuss individual incidents in detail.)
Have a class member read 2 Timothy 3:1.
Point out that we are living in the last days, in the times the Apostle Paul described as “perilous.” Explain that one of the challenges of living in the last days is learning to conquer fear and despair so we can overcome trials and temptations. This lesson will discuss how we can find hope and courage through an understanding of the events to come in the last days.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Discuss how the following scripture passages can help us have hope as we face the difficulties of the last days. Help class members understand that the righteous do not need to fear the Second Coming.
1. Satan fights against the righteous.
Discuss Revelation 5:1–5; 6. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that the first three chapters of the book of Revelation pertain to John’s time (see lesson 45). The rest of the book deals with events that were future to John, from the Apostasy that occurred after the death of the Apostles to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the final judgment.
Explain that chapters 5 and 6 of Revelation use the symbol of a book “sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1). Each seal represents a thousand-year period of the earth’s temporal existence (D&C 77:6–7; see the third additional teaching idea for more information on the seven seals). In chapter 6, the Lamb (Jesus Christ) opens the first six seals, showing John some of the events associated with each time period.
One thing we learn from chapter 6 is that Satan has fought against the righteous throughout the history of the earth. According to Revelation 6:4–11, what are some ways he has done this? (Answers may include those listed below.)
Violence and warfare (Revelation 6:4, 8)
Hunger and famine (Revelation 6:5–6, 8. Explain that the Roman penny was an average day’s wages and a measure of wheat was one day’s worth of food for one person; verse 6 indicates that a day’s wages would only buy a day’s worth of food for one person.)
Persecution (Revelation 6:9–11)
What tactics does Satan use today to try to overcome the righteous?
President Gordon B. Hinckley stated:
“That war, so bitter, so intense, has gone on, and it has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him. His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every other unholy and impure practice to thwart the work of Christ. …
“[Opposition] has been felt in the undying efforts of many, both within and without the Church, to destroy faith, to belittle, to demean, to bear false witness, to tempt and allure and induce our people to practices inconsistent with the teachings and standards of this work of God. …
“The war goes on. It is waged across the world over the issues of agency and compulsion. It is waged by an army of missionaries over the issues of truth and error. It is waged in our own lives, day in and day out, in our homes, in our work, in our school associations; it is waged over questions of love and respect, of loyalty and fidelity, of obedience and integrity. We are all involved in it” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 55–58; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 42, 44–45).
After making the comments quoted above, President Hinckley added, “We are winning [the war against Satan], and the future never looked brighter” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 58; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 45). How can we maintain hope and a positive outlook as we fight the war against Satan? What resources do we have to strengthen us against the power of Satan and his followers? (Answers may include the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets, priesthood authority, temples, and association with other members of the Church.)
2. Satan will be bound, and Christ will reign in triumph during the Millennium.
John identified many plagues, wars, and judgments that would occur before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 8–16). Then, in Revelation 19, he described the coming of the Lord, symbolized by a marriage supper (Revelation 19:7–9). What does the wife of the Lamb represent? (The Church of Jesus Christ.) What does the symbol of the marriage supper, with Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride, suggest about the relationship between the Lord and his Church?
What must we do to be invited to this marriage supper?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “The elders of Israel are now issuing the invitations to the marriage supper of the Lord; those who believe and obey the gospel thereby accept the invitation and shall sit in due course … at the marriage feast” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 3:563–64).
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will usher in the Millennium, a thousand-year period when Christ will reign personally upon the earth. What will happen to Satan during the Millennium? (See Revelation 20:1–3.) What will life be like when Satan is bound? (See 1 Nephi 22:26; D&C 45:55, 58.) How can we limit the power of Satan in our lives right now?
After the Millennium, Satan will be loosed for a season, and one last great battle will be fought between the armies of God and the armies of Satan (Revelation 20:7–8; D&C 88:111–13). This is sometimes called the battle of Gog and Magog. What will be the result of this great battle at the end of the Millennium? (See Revelation 20:9–11; D&C 88:114–15.) Since the result of the battle is already known, what is our responsibility regarding this victory?
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good enlist new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions showing the cause we support. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will win. But what remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this battle—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last days and fulfill our foreordained missions?” (“In His Steps,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 2).
3. After the last judgment, the righteous will dwell with God.
Read and discuss selected verses from Revelation 20:12–22:21.
After the last great battle, the final judgment will occur. What can we learn from Revelation 20:12 about how we will be judged? What blessings will come to those who are judged to be righteous? (See Revelation 21:3–7. List class members’ responses on the chalkboard. Answers may include those listed on the next page.)
The righteous will:
Dwell in God’s presence (Revelation 21:3).
No longer experience death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Inherit all things as sons and daughters of God (Revelation 21:7).
How can knowledge of these great blessings help us as we face difficulties in mortality?
Revelation 21:10–22:5 describes the celestial glory of the earth and the city in which those who have attained celestial glory will reside. Why is there no temple in the celestial city? (See Revelation 21:22. The purpose of the temple is to bring us closer to God and teach us of his plan. When we live with him again, temples will no longer be necessary.) What does Revelation 22:14 tell us we must do to be able to enter the gates of the eternal city?
President David O. McKay told of a vision in which he saw a beautiful city, many people dressed in white, and the Savior:
“The city, I understood, was [the Savior’s]. It was the City Eternal; and the people following him were to abide there in peace and eternal happiness.
“But who were they?
“As if the Savior read my thoughts, he answered by pointing to a semicircle that then appeared above them, and on which were written in gold the words: These Are They Who Have Overcome the World—Who Have Truly Been Born Again!” (Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss , 60).
Point out that the New Testament ends with a message of great hope. Prophets like John the Revelator have seen the things that are to come and have told us of the blessings we will receive if we remain righteous and endure to the end. Testify that the righteous will triumph at the end of the world. Encourage class members to take courage and hope from this knowledge as they stand against wickedness and seek to overcome the obstacles of this life.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. The dangers of setting our hearts on worldly possessions
Revelation 18:11–18 teaches that the wicked will mourn the loss of their worldly possessions and be amazed that a great worldly kingdom could be destroyed in a brief time. When have you seen worldly possessions destroyed or lost in a brief amount of time?
What are the dangers of setting our hearts on worldly things? In what ways do worldly things distract us from spiritual things?
2. The First Resurrection
Have a class member read Revelation 20:4–6. To help class members understand these verses, share the following information (on the next page):
The First Resurrection, or the resurrection of the just, will begin at the Savior’s Second Coming. Those who will receive a celestial or terrestrial reward will come forward in this resurrection (D&C 88:98–99). The Second Resurrection, or the resurrection of the unjust, will not begin until the end of the Millennium. Those who will receive a telestial reward and the sons of perdition will come forward in this resurrection (D&C 88:100–102).
3. The seven seals in the book of Revelation
The following chart provides additional information about each of the seven seals. The chart may also be useful in understanding the structure of the book of Revelation. Note that events are listed chronologically, according to the time periods in which they occurred. They should not be confused with the dispensations of the gospel.
Point out that the first five seals are covered in 11 verses, the sixth seal is covered in 14 verses, and the seventh seal is covered in 226 verses. What does this emphasis teach us?
Point out that John gave the most attention to the events of our time period and the one to come. The book of Revelation was written for our day, and our lives will be blessed as we study it and prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior.