Understanding The Apocalypse

Revelation 11:15-19
Chapter 19

After "prophesying again" as directed in Revelation 10:11, John leaves the parenthetical narrative he began in Revelation 11:1, and returns to "the things which shall be hereafter."

I. The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
We know from Revelation 10:7, the sounding of the seventh trumpet begins the completion of the mystery of God. This mystery, which was declared to and through His prophets can be nothing other than the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is this second coming of Christ in power and glory that is revealed through the prophets; yet not understood, by Israel.
It is this second coming that explains how Messiah could come meek and lowly, on the back of a donkey, to be rejected by His own people and also come in power and glory, to fight Israel's battle and establish His kingdom.
It is this second coming that will stop the suffering of the Elect and conclude the Times of the Gentiles during which Israel will be downtrodden.

This is what our Lord had in view in Matthew 24:21-22, when He said,

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Keep in mind, the Church will be gone from the earth and the last two witnesses from God will be rejected and killed by mankind, then resurrected and called into heaven. Because there is no longer Godly influence in the world, unchecked evil will take a toll in human life that if left alone will destroy all humanity. Persecution of Israel will be so great and so thorough that if not stopped, even the 144,000 Elect of Israel will be killed.

However, the sounding of the seventh trumpet does not signal, neither is it followed by the immediate return of Christ. But there is an immediate happening of great significance, which is often overlooked, or seldom mentioned. Notice in Revelation 11:15,

II. The World Will Become The Kingdom of God

"The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15b).

When the seventh trumpet sounds the kingdom of the world will become the Kingdom of God. For the first time since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, God will claim the earth for His own Kingdom.

No longer will Satan be allowed to walk to and fro, seeking whom he may devour.
No longer will wickedness and evil go unpunished on the earth.
No longer will the governments of men be allowed to usurp the power and authority of God.

Never again will God allow anyone else to reign over the earth. Notice, the statement, "He shall reign forever and ever."

But wait a minute, you may be thinking. The Kingdom of God exists today. Sure it does. But the earth is not the seat of the Kingdom of God. Today, His Kingdom is in the hearts of people who are born-again through trusting Christ. Concerning this, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 14:17, "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink (things of the earth), but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."

We know the Holy Spirit indwells or lives in the Hearts of all who are born-again during the present, Church Age and when the Church is taken into heaven, just before the beginning of the Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will go with them and so too, will the Kingdom of God.

The mere fact that the earth is filled with sin should prove it is not the seat of the Kingdom of God. According to 2 Corinthians 4:4, the "god of this world" is Satan and he will remain the "god of this world" until the sounding of the seventh trumpet. But at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the kingdom Satan has worked so hard to develop for himself will become the kingdom of our Lord, forever and ever.

It is interesting this event, which is surely one of the high points in all of Scripture is rarely, if ever, discussed. But though it is mostly unnoticed today, it will not be unnoticed in heaven or on earth when it occurs.

III. The Reaction in Heaven

"And the four and twenty elders, who sat before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, saying, we give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who art, and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned" (Revelation 11:16-17).
Without question, the twenty-four elders who are representatives of the Church in heaven will be pleased that God is exercising His authority to reign over the earth. They will show their pleasure by worshipping, praising and thanking the Almighty, Eternal, God because they realize the return of Christ in Glory, to establish His Kingdom on earth, is near. This is the time when they too, will return to the earth with Christ and receive their rewards for faithful service. The individual reward for the Saints who have been faithful will be to reign with Christ, in the Millennial Kingdom.

IV. The Reaction and Effect on Earth

"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:18).
Perhaps, the nations will be angry because the wrath of God is coming upon them, or perhaps, they will be angry at the announcement from heaven, "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord."

It is interesting, the words "angry" and "wrath" in Revelation 11:18, are translated from the same word in Greek. For John to use the same word to describe both the reaction of the nations and God's righteous Judgment, indicates something about the attitude of the nations.

Rather than humble themselves and worship God, as the twenty-four elders in heaven will do, the nations will apparently have an attitude of self importance that is so great they will think they can execute "wrath" against God for claiming their kingdom as His own.

Psalm 2 foretells this event and this attitude of the nations:

"Why do the nations rage, and the peoples imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his great displeasure."
As always, when impotent and puny man lashes out in anger against the Holy and Righteous Lord God Almighty, he only harms himself for God always "...resists the proud and gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).

The attitude of wrath and rebellion against God will prove the righteousness of His wrath against those on earth who refuse to worship Him, praise Him, and thank Him.

John continues in v:18, by telling us what will happen on earth, now that, "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord."

(1) "The time of the dead, that they should be judged." This is not talking about the Great White Throne Judgment when all the spiritually dead from the beginning of creation will be judged and condemned to the Lake of Fire. Rather, this is a judgment to determine who will be purged from the earth, before the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know from Hebrews 1:3, that our Lord, "...when He had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." After completing the work of redemption, Jesus did not ascend to His own throne, but to the right hand of the Father and His throne.

Furthermore, our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 25:31, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory." Clearly, Jesus tied His own enthronement to His second advent. That is, He did not expect to sit on His own throne until after His return to earth in Glory.

In anticipation of His return to earth, to sit on His own throne, the promise the Father made to Christ is reiterated in Hebrews 1:13. "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." This is a quotation from Psalm 110, which says,

"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning, thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the nations; he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head."
Therefore, when the Lord reclaims the kingdom of the world for His own and for His Christ, it seems He will do so to prepare that kingdom for the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Part of that preparation is making the Lord's enemies, His footstool. This will be accomplished by the coming judgments that will purge the earth of unrighteousness.

(2) "Thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great." Those from all the ages who have been faithful to serve the Lord will be rewarded for their faithful service. The reward is a crown, which speaks of their authority and reign. They will reign with Christ when He comes in Glory to sit on His throne.

(3) "And shouldest destroy them who destroy the earth." We know from the previous chapters demonic forces unleashed upon the earth will bring death and destruction to the inhabitants of earth during the Great Tribulation. Satan, the evil one, and all his followers who hate God and humanity will pour out their fury in an attempt to destroy all who will not worship the Antichrist. They will seek to destroy the earth and its inhabitants rather than see them worship and serve their Creator. But when the seventh trumpet sounds, the destroyer and his followers will soon be destroyed. The return of Christ will mark the end of Satan's reign of terror over God's creation. No longer will the world be the domain of Satan for it will be returned to its rightful owner.

V. The Vision of the Temple
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his covenant; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderclaps, and an earthquake, and great hail" (Revelation 11:19).
John next saw a vision of the temple of God opened in heaven and in that temple was the Ark of His Covenant.

For centuries, the two primary symbols of Israel's relationship with God were the temple and the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark containing the law and promises of God, and the Holy Place where it was kept were unique to Israel. So high was Israel's regard for these two that her enemies thought they contained some magic power and continually sought to destroy the temple and capture the Ark. But what the Holy Place and the Ark within represented was the presence of God among His people, and the promise of God to redeem them.

However, because of the sins of Israel, God was forced to temporarily remove His Ark and His presence from the people. The Ark of the Covenant disappeared long ago and the temple has been destroyed, indicating God is not visiting His chosen people, as He did before they fell into sin. But God has not forgotten Israel or His promises to them, as evidenced by John's vision of the Ark and the temple in heaven.

While the Ark has disappeared from the earth and the temple on earth has been destroyed, defiled and desecrated, God has preserved them in heaven, awaiting the fulfillment of His promises to Israel, to again establish the Kingdom of David with his seed sitting upon the throne.

Then, in v:19, to show the majesty of God and the puniness of man, the forces of nature break out in a display of power over which men have no control. "And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderclaps, and an earthquake, and great hail."

Truly, man is at the mercy of the elements of nature and just as surely, he is at the mercy of the God who controls the elements. Rather, than being angry with God, the nations should humble themselves and worship Him but the unrepentant heart of sinful man would rather burn than turn.

So it has been from the time when Cain killed Abel. There are those who would suffer the torments of Hell for eternity, rather than humble themselves and turn to the God of Salvation.

From "Understanding The Apocalypse"
A book of sermons by Pastor Jim McColloch, Th.M., Th.D.
© Copyright 1994, 1999, 2006