Revelation - Lesson 11
The Rapture, The Anti-Christs and Rebuilding the Temple
Background Information for the Teacher
- The student can draw a chart depicting the pre-millennial view of last things.
- The student can use key scriptures to show the fallacy of the pre-millennial view.
- If you choose to use them, have ready your visuals-overhead projector and transparencies, PowerPoint, or chalkboard.
- Have enough copies of the chart of pre-millennialism to provide them to any not at the previous class meeting. It is on a separate document for downloading.
- Have copies of the Worksheet for Lesson 11 available.
- Have copies of Test 10 ready
- Have pens/pencils ready for use.
- All students should have access to a Bible.
Having reviewed the general outline of the pre-millennial view, we are now examining several elements of that view and comparing them to scripture. Today we will look at the questions about the rapture, the anti-christs and rebuilding the Jewish temple.
Lesson Plan for Conducting Class
Introduction: (10 minutes)
- Make the test available to students as they enter, if you wish. (Lesson 9 - Part 2)
- Call the roll, welcome visitors, and make any necessary announcements.
- Songs (as desired)
- Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet
- Give Me the Bible
- How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts
- Prayer asking God to help us to understand and be faithful to His Word and never to be drawn away into teachings of error.
- Give answers to Test 10.No. 1-raise, change. No. 2-a) living, dead, no b) living, raised c) righteous, wicked, same d) last, wicked, judged e) teach, when. No. 3-John; a) many b) in the first century c) one who denies the divinity of Christ d) against e) no. No. 4-a) Babylonian captivity b) ruins c) ruins d) living e) no f) soon g) rebuild h) temple i) that they could rebuild their temple when they returned from captivity. j) 516 BC. k) figurative l) sacrifices
- Ask students to get Worksheet 11 and their Bibles ready.
Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)
- Let's look at the chart of the pre-millennial view and review what we have studied and what we will be studying today.
- First let's look at the concept of the rapture. No. 1. Q: What does this concept teach? (That at some point, not long from now, Christ will "return" but not His second coming, and change living Christians into their new bodies and will raise all dead Christians in their new bodies and take them to heaven for seven years.
- The primary passage on which this view is based in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Turn to that passage and let's study it. No. 2 a. Q: What seems to be the special concern of the Thessalonians Paul is addressing here? (Whether those who are still living when Christ returns are better off than those who have died.) Q: What is Paul's answer to this question? (That they will both be treated the same.) No. 2 b. Q: When Paul says the "dead in Christ will rise first," what does he mean they will be raised before? (Before the living are changed so the dead are at no disadvantage.) Q: Does he mean that the dead in Christ will be raised before anyone else is raised? (No. He is comparing only two events in time-the resurrection of dead Christians and the transformation of living Christians.) Q: What parts of the rapture theory does this passage not teach? (Does not teach that-(1) dead Christians are raised before anyone else is raised, (2) does not teach that their resurrection takes place before the end of time, (3) does not teach that they will go to heaven for seven years and then return.) So the primary passage given to support "the rapture" does not teach it.
- Look at the chart. Q: How many resurrections are suggested? (three-Christian dead, Old Testament good dead, and wicked dead.) Q: Does the Bible teach more than one time of resurrection from the dead? (No.) Let's look at two passages. John 5:28-29. No. 2. c. Q: Who will be raised at the same "hour" or "moment." (Righteous and wicked.) Thus, only one time of resurrection-the same hour. Now some turn to John 6:39, some to John 6:40, some to John 6:44, and othersto John 6:54. No. 2 d. Q: On what day does Jesus say the righteous dead will be raised? (on the last day.) If they are raised on the last day, then the resurrection of the Christian dead cannot be followed by 1007 years more of life on earth.
- In connection with these passages, turn to John 12:48. Q: On what day will the wicked by judged? (the last day) No 2 e. Q: So what two things does Jesus say will happen on the last day? (resurrection of the righteous and judgment of the wicked) Obviously the pre-millennial theory does not fit this.
- No. 2 e. So two, among many reasons why the "rapture" theory is not biblical is: (1) the passage most often given to support it does not teach it and (2) it would contradict the teaching of Jesus about when the righteous are raised.
- Now let's examine the question of anti-Christs. Q: What does the pre-millennial theory say about anti-christs? (That there are two-Jewish and Roman-and they will sign a pact at the time of the rapture to re-build the Jewish temple. There would be other views about the concept of anti-christs but this is the most common one.)
- No. 3. We are now going to read all of the passages in the Bible that use the word "anti-christ" and then ask some questions from these passages. Someone read 1 John 2:18-22; 1 John 4:1-4; and 2 John 7.
- Now here are the questions. No. 3 a. Q: According to these passages, how many anti-christs are there? (many) No. 3 b. Q: When will they start coming? (in John's day) No. 3 c. Q: What is an anti-christ? (one who is against Christ, who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh, who denies that He is the Christ.) No. 4 d. Q: What does the word "anti" mean? (against) Q: So who is an anti-christ? (Anyone who is against Christ, who denies His divinity, who tries to lead people astray from their belief in Him.) No. 3 e. Q: Do any of these passages say anything about an anti-christ being a political or military leader? (No.) While those holding this view would go to some other passages for their idea, if the four verses in scripture which use the term "anti-christ" contradict this view, then we must not twist other passages to support it.
- Now a look at the concept that the Jewish temple is to be rebuilt. The principle passage on which this plan is based comes from Ezekiel 40-47. While we do not have time to study this passage in detail, let's check out a few things.
- No. 4 a. Q: Where was Ezekiel when he wrote this prophecy? (Babylon) Q: When? (During the Babylonian captivity-about 575 BC.) No. 4 b. Q: What was the condition of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple at this time? (Destroyed.)
- In chapter 36, Ezekiel begins to prophesy about a return from captivity to the land of Israel. God speaks (in a figure) to the hills of Israel. No. 4 c. Q: How does He describe their condition? v. 4. (They are in ruins and have been plundered.) No. 4 d. Q: What situation does this fit? (When Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Judah and Ezekiel and other Jews were in captivity in Babylon.) No. 4 e. Q: Does that describe the land of Israel today? (No.) No. 4 f. Q: When is God to fulfill the promise He here makes by Ezekiel? v. 8. (Soon). No. 4 g. Q: What will He do? v. 10-11. (Put people back on the land and rebuild the towns.) Q: How would the captives in Babylon to whom Ezekiel have understood these words? (That Israelites would be allowed to return from their captivity in Babylon and rebuild their land.) No. 4 h. Q: What aspect of this return does Ezekiel begin to discuss in chapter 40-still part of this same general subject? (The re-building of the temple) No. 4 i. Q: So how would the Jews have understood this prophecy about their temple being rebuilt? (That when they returned to their land, their temple would be rebuilt.) Q: Did Jews get to return to rebuild their land? (Yes-staring in 536 BC.) No. 4 j. Q: Did they get to rebuild their temple? (Yes-completed about 516 BC.) So this passage about the rebuilding of the temple fits into the time when the temple lay in ruins and when the people were hoping to be able to return and rebuild it. That is certainly the meaning they would have given this passage.
- No. 4 k. But, someone says, the temple they rebuild does match all the things Ezekiel says in his description of the rebuilt temple. That depends on how you look at Ezekiel's description. If it is all to be taken literally, then the rebuilt temple did not measure up to all Ezekiel said. But this whole passage is filled with figures of speech. It begins, for example, with God speaking to hills-surely a figure. Ezekiel is using poetic license as he describes the temple-he is trying to excite the discouraged people in captivity. He describes the rebuilt temple in poetic language to encourage them. One clear example of this is in 47:1-10 where he speaks of a trickle ofwater coming out of the temple that gets larger and larger as it goes to the Dead Sea and when it gets there it turns the salt water to fresh.
- So this passage is about the rebuilding of the temple after Babylonian captivity. It would certainly have been understood this way by those who first received it. And there is no indication of any double fulfillment that would mean it refers to the rebuilding of two temples.
- No. 4 l. A final reason for there being no rebuilding of the Jewish temple so that the sacrificial system can be re-started is that the offering of such sacrifices is entirely out of harmony with the teaching of the New Testament that Jesus has come with a better plan and that He is Himself the sacrifice offered once and for all. What a backward step it would be to start the animal sacrifices all over again.
- So, to summarize, look at the chart again. The Bible does not teach that dead Christians will be raised and living Christians will be changed at a point seven years before the return of Christ and 1007 years before the end of time. Neither does it teach that there are two anti-christs who will come near the end of time to rebuild the Jewish temple and, later, to start World War III. And the Bible does not teach that the Jewish temple will be rebuilt and the animal sacrifices restarted.
Application: (5 minutes)
- Some who believe the pre-millennial theory would suggest that if you are alive when the rapture takes place and you are "left behind," then you have a second chance to get your life right with God before Christ returns seven years later. Such a hope is unfounded. We all need to live as if Jesus might return today, for, indeed, He might.
- What responsibility do we have to friends who believe in the pre-millennial theory?
- Study the worksheet and prepare for a quiz at the next class meeting.
- Some oral review.
- Test at the beginning of the next class meeting.
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