Here is a Sunday school lesson or Bible study about heaven.
Coming from Heaven
Mark 14:62 “And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
This verse comes amidst Jesus’ trial when “the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” (Mark 14:61) to which Jesus answered “I am” which is the Old Testament covenant name of God and one that Jesus used often during His earthly ministry. The high priest knew who Jesus was claiming to be as “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” meaning the Son of God, the Messiah that was prophesied to come. He did come but they rejected Him and when Jesus says that they shall “see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven,” “the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death” (Mark 14:63-64).
Why did the reject Jesus as the Christ (Matt 27:18)?
Did the Jewish council understand Who Jesus was claiming to be?
Was Jesus deserving of death?
Descending from Heaven
First Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Just as Jesus earlier said that they will see Him “coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62), the Apostle Paul adds that “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command” and “the dead in Christ will rise first” so Paul is writing about the time of the resurrection of the dead saints and others who are not saved for judgment (Dan 12:1-3; Rev 20:12-15) and when Jesus does come, it is written by the Apostle John, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Rev 1:7). No one will miss this titanic event in history and those who have rejected Jesus will mourn or “wail on account of him” because they knew that He was God because they were suppressing this knowledge.
Why do they wail or mourn when they see Him?
Will this be a secret coming?
Why do the dead in Christ rise first?
Rewards in Heaven
Luke 6:23 “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
How does Jesus associate our rewards in heaven for what they did to “their fathers…the prophets?” Their rewards come as part of their being persecuted as Jesus said “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22). Elsewhere Jesus says “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matt 5:11). We don’t usually associate being persecuted and hated with being blessed but Jesus clearly says “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10).
What rewards do you thing will come in the kingdom of heaven from our being persecuted?
Is that blessing only for the coming kingdom or for the present time?
The New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:1-2 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
If there is one thing that gives the Christian hope, it is the coming kingdom of heaven which comes in the form of the New Jerusalem and what a blessing that will be as “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:3) plus the fact that “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4) and finally, we “will see his face” (Rev 22:4) for the very first time. What a joy that will be!
Can you even imagine what it will be like to see Jesus’ face for the very first time?
What does it mean that the “first earth passed away?”
Does this help you endure the great difficulties of today (Rom 8:18)?
Seated in Heaven
Ephesians 2:5-7 “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
The Book of Ephesians is an amazingly encouraging book because Paul shows that God set His love upon us before we or the earth existed (Eph 1:4-5) and that God has predestined us to adoption as His own children (Eph 1:5) but why does Paul say that God has “raised us up with him and [already] seated us with him in the heavenly places?” That’s because God sees things that are not yet as though they already are because He knows the future and looks at us from the perspective of what will surely be.
Do you feel you’re already seated with Christ “in the heavenly places?”
Have you contemplated that God has adopted you as part of His sovereign plan before time began?
What are some of “the immeasurable riches of his grace?”
I urge you in your study to look at all of the Bible verses about heaven and read them aloud in the class so that you can get the most out of these lessons because the more we know about heaven, the more we’ll realize that this is not our home. We’re only passing through and are strangers or aliens in this life but already citizens of the kingdom of heaven and that kingdom is swiftly approaching, so I beg you to consider repenting and trusting in Christ if you’ve not already done so.
Does thinking of the kingdom of heaven help you better endure what you’re going through today?
Does this hope give you comfort?
What have you learned about heaven in this lesson?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.