The following lesson is taken from Daniel 12 and introduces students to the truth that all people will be resurrected and receive rewards. Those who have placed their faith are written in the Book of Life and receive eternal life and will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. Those who reject Christ as the only way to God will receive eternal separation from God and be punished according to their sin. This lesson was created for older elementary students but can be adapted for the needs of your ministry.
Bible Story: Resurrection and Rewards
Scripture: Daniel 12
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, visual aids to help teach the lesson, 5 construction paper crowns with the titles: Crown of rejoicing, Everlasting crown, Crown of Righteousness, Crown of life and Crown of glory; crayons, markers, pens/pencils, glitter or jewel stickers for decorating crowns, coloring page,
Learning Goal: Students will learn that only those whose names found in the Book of life will receive eternal life.
Learning Activity #1: While students are arriving have them decorate prepared construction paper crowns.
Learning Activity #2: Students can color an Olympic Game picture.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Daniel 12:3 “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Bible Lesson: Resurrection and Rewards Daniel 12
A few weeks ago we studied Daniel 7 and we had two paper dolls that represented two teams. Does anyone remember the teams? (Sons of God and Enemies of God) Which team wins after all the battles of this life are over? (Saints of God-believers)
As we study this lesson the 2012 Olympics are taking place in London. If you watch them what do the top three winners receive? (Medals-gold, silver and bronze)
Did you know that one day there will be an ‘award ceremony’ for every human being that has lived on this earth? Unlike the Olympics even the ‘losers’ will receive something on that day as well. Let’s turn in Daniel 12 to see what I mean by that statement.
Daniel 12 is the continuation of the angel telling Daniel about end time events. (Show clock flannel)The end times that the angel spoke to Daniel about are still future to us. (Place question mark flannel) We don’t know when these terrible times will begin but we can trust that they will happen exactly as God said they will. In our study of Daniel’s visions we have discovered how things in history happened exactly the way God said they would.
Because the end time is still future to us we have responsibilities to respond by obedience to what the Bible teaches us. A follower in Christ still living on this earth is in a competition or race. (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Timothy 4:7) Believers are on God’s winning team. Each day they walk in obedience to Jesus they are fulfilling their purpose on God’s team. At the end of the race (death) they enter heaven to live with Jesus forever.
Unbelievers are on a path to destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Philippians 3:18-19). As believers run along the path God sets before them they invite those on the path to destruction to join the winning team by sharing the Good News. (Rescue the perishing by extending the baton of grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ-He died on the cross for their sins, was buried and rose again the third day. All who believe in Him will be saved.)
Read Daniel 12:1-2.
“Everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered.” What book is the angel talking about? (Allow responses) In order to understand this reference we are going to compare this Scripture with others to understand.
- (Exodus 32:32) Moses refers to this Book when God’s people sinned by worshipping the golden calf. He was pleading for the forgiveness of the people. Moses was willing to have his name taken out of the Book so they could be forgiven.
- (Exodus 32:33) God’s response to Moses’ request: “Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of My Book.”
- (Psalm 69:28) This passage refers to the Book of Life where only the righteous are written (listed).
- (Philippians 4:3) The phrase Book of Life is found in the New Testament. In this passage it is referring to believers in Christ who served with Paul.
- (Revelation 20:12-15) The eternal destination of each human being is determined by whether they are found written in the Book of Life.
Simply put, the Book of Life is a Book that has recorded the names of each person who has been saved by faith in Jesus. You may be wondering how people were saved before Christ came to the earth and died on the cross. People in the Old Testament believed God’s promise to send a Savior and it was their faith in God’s promise that saved them (Genesis 15:6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:1-3, 9-13). They looked forward by faith that God would send His Promised Messiah. After Jesus came and died on the cross fulfilling God’s promise to send a Savior people look back by faith in His completed Work on the cross (Romans 4:18-25, Acts 4:12).
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: The angel is referring to a future day when there will be a day when all people will stand before God. (Revelation 20:12-15)
Some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting contempt: The Bible refers to this time where people stand before God as judgment day (Romans 14:9-10; Revelation 20:11-12)
Let’s read Daniel 12:3,10,13.
Award Ceremony: On judgment day people will be awarded for the things they did on this earth.
Believers will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). This event takes place for each believer to have his/her work for Jesus awarded. It is not a place where Jesus puts up on a screen every sin that was committed in this life. That doesn’t happen because He paid the price for all our sins at the cross and all of our sins are cancelled by the shedding of His blood. (Hebrews 9:22)
How each person used the life that God had given them on this earth to serve Him will be tested. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) If a believer faithfully obeyed Jesus and allowed His Spirit to equip and enable him to do God’s Work it will survive the fire test. If a believer does nothing like the unfaithful servant who buried his talent in the ground he will have nothing but ashes as a reward but will still have eternal life.
Believers will be given awards (crowns to cast at Jesus’ feet) and will live with Jesus for all eternity.
Use prepared crowns to briefly illustrate the crowns that believers can present to Jesus:
- Crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20-For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. (Souls won for Jesus)/Daniel 12:3)
- Everlasting Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.)
- Crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.)
- Crown of life (James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.)
- Crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away)
Unbelievers (those who have rejected God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ) will stand before God’s White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Unbelievers will be awarded according to the deeds they have done and will be cast into the lake of fire to be eternally separated from God.
Awards at the Great White Throne:
Let’s read Revelation 20:11-15. This is a terrible place to be standing in line. The awards the people receive who stand here is eternal punishment and separation from God. Every evil deed they have committed will be brought up at that time because they refused to have Christ forgive their sins.
God’s Word always demands a response. We all have been challenged from Daniel 12 and the teaching about resurrection and rewards. If you are a believer are you faithfully obeying what He asks you to do? If you are not a believer you can get in the right line and receive eternal life and begin serving Jesus to have rewards to place at His feet one day.
Before I close us in prayer I am going to be silent to allow you time to respond to God in prayer. If you want to discuss the lesson further please speak to me after we close in prayer.
Close in prayer.
- What is the Book of life? (A book with the names of all who have believed in the Lord Jesus)
- Who will stand before God one day? (All people)
- Name the two places people stand for judgment. (Judgment seat of Christ, White Throne of Judgment)
- Which people stand at the Judgment seat of Christ? (Believers)
- What is being tested at the Judgment seat of Christ? (What a believer did for Jesus while on this earth)
- What will believers place at Jesus’ feet? (Crowns)
- Who stands at the Great White throne of Judgment? (Unbelievers)
- What is the reward for those who rejected Jesus? (Eternal separation from God in the lake of fire)