Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Prophets and Kings (or Royalty and Ruin) chapter 60
Being in a sin-stained world has its share in our choices regarding our eternal destiny. But Isaiah proclaimed a message of hope that would set his people free and take them home to Jerusalem to begin a new life.
Someday, we’ll begin again. Jesus will return and take us to our heavenly home. We’ll have a millennium to recover, reconcile, and come to terms with our life on Earth. Then the day will come when God makes all things new.
The universe will take one last look at sin and all it’s done to the planet. As sin was unmasked before the universe at Calvary, so all will see the true face of sin as the devil tries to attack God’s people, before God at last wipes the universe free of sin and death. God’s people will be free to live, love, and create without the ache, frustration, and tragedy sin inevitably brings.
This week’s lesson explores that promise—that our world will not always be broken, that God will give the whole universe a fresh start.
Supplies needed: Paper, pens (if desired)
Share the following questionnaire with your students, either by passing out individual printed copies, or simply discussing it with them.
HOW WILL I RELATE TO IT?
1. The concept of eternity in a sinless universe makes me think:
2. If I could accomplish absolutely anything I set my mind to, I would:
3. As I contemplate a restored world, I think:
God’s every promise to His people will come true in the New Earth.
“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”
“They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.”
Isaiah 65:21, 22.
“The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.”
As we dig into the Bible’s depictions of the end of sin and the New Earth, remember that God’s love is the principle that guides the universe. Sin has shattered it that principle. But Jesus took sin’s natural consequences of suffering and death upon Himself, and God has ensured that sin will never rise again.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Heart to heart
Read Malachi 4:1-6.
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty. 4“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 5“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Read Isaiah 65:17-25.
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
20“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.
All Things New
Read Revelation 21:1-5.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Jesus declared, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2, 3).
As you await Jesus’ promised return, consider:
Sketching out the ideal neighborhood you’d like to live in on the New Earth.
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
The end of a calendar year (2022) seems like an opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to a new start. For many teens, the “new year” begins more with the start of a school year than the start of a calendar year. Even so, take this opportunity to look back and then look forward.
The Old Testament book of Malachi contains a message with multiple applications. It was true in Malachi’s day, more than 400 years before the birth of Christ. God’s people were going through the motions, but weren’t very serious about God’s promise that he was going to send the Messiah to earth. Malachi sought to give God’s people a wakeup call.
Two indicators of the Messiah’s appearance were the proclamation of someone who would prepare the way for the LORD—the Messiah. This person would bring to mind Moses and God’s law given on Mount Sinai, as well as Elijah whose ministry brought the people from Baal worship to vowing before Yahweh on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). The second indicator was someone who would turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to the parents.
John the Baptist fulfilled these indicators when the Messiah came in the form of Jesus. For those interested in some of this background, consider the following passages of Scripture: Luke 1:17—The angel Gabriel told Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that John would fulfill the role of Elijah; John 1:20—When asked by the religious leaders, John the Baptist said he was not the expected “Elijah the prophet”; Matthew 11:10-15 and Matthew 17:10-13—Jesus identified John the Baptist as the promised return of Elijah.
Seventh-day Adventists, and many other Christians, expect there will be a repeat of this before the second coming of Christ. In fact, SDAs consider the renewal of the seventh day Sabbath as one important element that harkens back to Moses and the fourth commandment, plus the prophetic voice of Elijah more recently manifested in the messages for Ellen White at the start of the Advent Movement and an expectation that more prophets of all ages will be given messages from God at the very end of earth’s history (Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18).
Some people see the start of another year as proof that Christ won’t return (since another year has gone by). Others see it as proof we’re one year closer to that return. Which way do you view it? How will it affect the choices you make and the way you live?
Let’s look at the last two chapters of the Old Testament, Malachi three and four, and ask God to reveal to us what it means for us today.
The End, and a New Beginning
What are your plans for ending this year and starting 2023?
Read Malachi 3:1-18.
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes
6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God
13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’ ”
The Faithful Remnant
16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
Read Malachi 4:1-6.
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
1. Who prepares the way for God?
2. What preparation does God need before He arrives?
3. In what ways do the wicked tread on the righteous now?
4. When He returns, who do you want God to judge most severely?
5. In what way(s) have you cheated God?
6. What part(s) of the law of Moses given on Sinai do you remember?
7. What turns the heart of the fathers to their children? What turns the hearts of the children to their fathers? When will this take place?
8. When do you want heaven to begin? When do you think it will begin?
God promised in Old Testament times the Messiah would come. Jesus did come! And Christ promised he would return a second time to take His people with Him to heaven. We’re living in anticipation of that. We seem to be following the same pattern before Christ’s first coming—lots of superficial spirituality and some people just ignoring God’s message of getting right with Him before Christ comes. The call goes out yet again to turn to God, and to turn to one another. Christ’s return will be tragic for some and extremely joyful for others. Start your new calendar year by being right with God and with others. Spread the good word in 2023!
Whatever happened in 2022, and there was plenty, is now in the past. As we begin a new year, what adjustments or big changes will you make, or do you plan to just continue on the pathway you’ve been on lately? Here are some ideas to spark your application of God’s Word to your life this coming week and for all of 2023.
“Happy New Year!” Whether or not you want 2022 to never end, or for 2023 to never begin, both happen tomorrow!
Those who make New Year’s Resolutions often feel defeated by mid-January if they even bother to check to see how well they’ve done.
Some families experience a lot of friction, and others, not so much. As teens mature, they naturally prepare to face life on their own without their parents telling them what to do. What a change from early childhood when little ones are completely dependent on their parents! By one’s teens, a person is quite independent in a number of ways. Perhaps the last step of independence happens when a young person becomes financially independent. A lot depends on the parents, but a lot also depends on the children. What could be done in your family to turn your hearts toward each other even as you mature toward independence or interdependence?
By Vandeon Griffin, Tracy Wood, and Armando Miranda
The #ONETEAM CHALLENGE is a 21-day devotional written by leaders for leaders. As co-laborers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church commissioned to lead and serve the youth and young adult generation, we share the burdens and triumphs of ministry.
In this devotional, we will walk together through scripture and journey through the lessons of life and ministry. Daily, you will be challenged with reflective questions and to share your affirmations on social media to encourage and inspire others. We are #ONETEAM!
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00