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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Week - 19 The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet Revelation 11:15-19

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Authored by Jerry Marshall The passage that is the focus of our study today speaks of the ultimate outcome of God’s final judgment. The Kingdom of the Lord and His Christ will be firmly established. The judgment of God will be fully exercised. And finally, the presence of God will be fully experienced by those who are His. And although these events are yet future, they will be spoken of as if they have already taken place.

At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, as a sort of preamble of things to come, there will be a heavenly celebration and praise service that will break out that is revealed to us in three segments.

I. A Declaration of Triumph (Revelation 11:15)

The seventh trumpet includes the seven bowl, final judgments depicted in chapter six and all the events leading up to the establishing of the millennial kingdom (chapter 20) and the coronation of Jesus as King (chapter 19). The seventh trumpet represents the third woe in the book of Revelation. The fifth and sixth trumpets were the first and second woe.

A. The Theme (15A)

The central theme of this triumphant declaration is the final triumph of the kingdom of God over the kingdom of the world and the establishment of His eternal reign.

Those who make this declaration are described in this text as loud voices in heaven. More than likely, it is a heavenly host of angels who shout this victory cry. Yes, there are a few more details that must yet take place before this ultimate end is realized, but these mighty choruses of heavenly host express this victory declaration with a sense of certain expectation and conviction.

It would be like the football fans whose team is ahead by twenty points with thirty seconds more to go in the game. Technically speaking, the game is not over, but for all intents and purposes, the game is over, the end is very near and the outcome is certain.

It is interesting to take note of the fact that the aorist tense is used eleven times in this passage which conveys a sense of absolute certainty about these events taking place.

For example, the declaration states that “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” (NIV)

“Has become” accurately reflects the original language. The word become is a translation of the Gk word ginomai, which conveys the meaning of coming into existence. The verb tense is aorist and the mood is indicative which means that this is presented as a factual completed action in history.

“Has become” is what Gk grammarians refer to as a proleptic aorist which describes a future event that is so certain, that it can be spoken of as if it has already taken place. In other words, this is not a declaration filled with wishful thinking. No, the theme of this declaration is one of confident affirmation and certain expectation as if these events are historical.

B. The Transition (15B)

The dominion and rule of this world, typified by the antichrist in submission to Satan during the Great Tribulation is over! The God of this world, who is Satan, will no longer have a kingdom to rule. That portion of the Lord’s model of prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” will be finally and fully answered.

At one time, during the earthly ministry of Christ, Satan tempted Jesus by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would only worship the devil. Jesus rejected these terms (Matthew 4:8-9). Now He will reign on His own terms.

The kingdom of the World is a descriptive phrase for that diverse yet singular realm which is ultimately under the power of the god of this world who is Satan. Its final expression is seen in the book of Revelation during the Great Tribulation in which the antichrist will serve as a sort of stand-in king for Satan (note Revelation 13:1-8).

The Scriptures clearly affirm that although Satan is not the rightful king of this world, he through his deceptive scheming is the present ruler of this world (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19).

At this point, during the end times, Satan will exercise autocratic political rule over planet earth, which will be terminated at the Second Coming of Christ. However, every since the fall, Satan has ruled over this world spiritually. That is the reason why the New Testament is filled with exhortations addressed to believers about our relationship with this fallen world (cf. Romans 12:2; James 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

Anyone whose loyalty and love belong to this world is holding on to a system that is destined to perish. And the declaration of this heavenly host looks forward to that real time event in future history when the kingdom of this world will give way to the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, a kingdom that has no end.

There will be a transition of power and it will not be smooth. It will be preceded by the most severe expression of God’s wrath manifested in what is called the bowl judgments.

II. An Anthem of Praise (Revelation 11:16-18)

A. In View of the Victory (16-17)

Joining the loud voices of the angelic host are the twenty four elders who are seated on thrones around the throne of God. And they do what we see them doing continuously in this book, falling on their faces and worshipping God. This appears to be their common gesture of praise (cf. 5:8; 14; 7:11; 19:4).

Previously in this book we have seen these twenty elders worshipping God for His great act of creation (4:11). They also worshipped the Lamb of God for His great act of redemption (5:9-10). Now they praise God in worship because of His final act of judgment. They declare what is an expression of anticipated victory.

The elders gave thanks for three special blessings: that Christ reigns supremely (Revelation 11:17), that He judges righteously (Revelation 11:18), and that He rewards graciously (Revelation 11:18). In Revelation 4:10–11, the elders praised the Creator; and in Revelation 5:9–14, they worshiped the Redeemer. Here the emphasis is on the Conqueror and the King.

The phrase, have begun to reign, is really a translation of one word in the original language which is basileuo { bas-il-yoo’-o} which means to exercise kingly power, to reign. It’s another one of those proleptic aorist verbs, which views a future historical event as a present reality.

Notice the interesting way the elders described the Lord in this passage.

Revelation 11:17 (NASB) 17 saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.”

Revelation 11:17 (NIV) 17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”

They address Him as the Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was.

Noticeably absent is the common phrase, and who is to come which was consistently used in this letter earlier as a reminder of the coming of the Lord to establish His kingdom. But at this point, the elders see that the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ as being eternally established - He has come! They see the events recorded in Revelation nineteen and twenty as being completed.

The final phrase, “who is to come,” (used in 1:4, 8; 4:8) is omitted in the most reliable r. Manuscripts. The coming of the kingdom is no longer future, it will be immediate.

This passage clearly eliminates any attempts to see the glorious reign of Christ over the whole world in some sort spiritual sense related to some past event or fulfilled in the establishment of the church on earth. There is no way that this text can be fulfilled except by the universal reign of Jesus Christ actually in existence in fulfillment of the many prophecies of Scripture.

The twenty four elders are prompted to praise the Lord as an expression of their gratitude at the exercise of God’s omnipotent power, which resulted in God taking the power of this world from Satan (Luke 4:6).

B. In Anticipation of the Time (18)

18 “The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (NIV)

Immediately, at the Second Coming of the Lord, the very first thing that He gives His attention to is the issue of judgment. This flies in the face of those who believe in a loving God who doesn’t judge anybody nor punish anybody. But because God who is holy can never be morally indifferent, He begins the task that His holiness and righteousness demands- He begins the process of the exercise of His judgment.

By the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the nations of the world seem no longer afraid as when everybody on earth cried out the words that are recorded in (Revelation 6:15-17).

“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.”

16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Their fear has now given way to a defiant anger or rage, as they have now tasted the wrath of God. Soon they will taste the final judgment of God. This reaction is in fulfillment of Psalm 2. But now the time has come for judgment, rewards and destruction.

1. A Time for Judgment (18a)

This is more fully developed in Revelation 20:11-14

2. A Time for Rewards (18b)

The twenty four elders were prompted to praise and worship because the time had finally come for those servants of God, those prophets, to be rewarded for their faithful fulfillment of their calling. The prophets here would be a reference to all those individuals who have been called by God to proclaim His divine revelation as it was disclosed to them.

It refers to those specific individuals who were given new revelation from God and who were commissioned to proclaim it to the world from Moses, to Jeremiah, to Isaiah, to Malachi and to the New Testament prophets concluding with the two prophets that are mentioned earlier in this chapter. Many had suffered and died in the exercise of their calling. But now was the time for their reward for their service.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus...Matthew 5:11-12

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Twenty four elders worshipped the Lord because this would also be the time for rewarding the Saints and all who fear the Lord both small and great.

The word “saints” in the original language, speaks of those who are set apart from this world and unto God by way of their common experience of redemption in Christ. They are saints not because of their own merit or because of some sort of high level of holiness achieved by them. They are saints because of the saving grace of God.

The saints and all who fear the Lord both small and great is all one in the same. The primary mindset of the true saint is one of the fear of the Lord which is descriptive of an intentional attitude of reverence, awe, honor and deference directed exclusively to the only true God. It also incorporates a dread or apprehension of living beyond the will of a holy God.

3. A Time for Destruction (18c)

In addition, the twenty four elders issue forth this anthem of praise because the time has come for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

This is not referring to a judgment of God exercised against those who have polluted the environment of the world. The dominant nuance from the original language of the New Testament for the word “destroy” in this text conveys the idea of corruption of the minds and morals of people. The word speaks of both moral and spiritual destruction. And those that will be destroyed are those who corrupted that moral and spiritual environment of the world. The ultimate example of such a destroyer will be destruction of Satan himself (Revelation 20:7-10).

III. A Sign of God’s Covenant (Revelation 11:19)

The passage tells us what John saw but it does not clearly state an explanation of the significance of this sight. Since God does not speak in a vacuum, we can be sure that this vision of the Temple of God in heaven and the ark of His covenant are directly related to the context. The earthly Ark of the Covenant was a very significant piece of furniture in the Temple. As a matter of fact, it was the only piece of Temple furniture that sat in the Holy of Holies behind the curtain that separated the holy of holies from the holy place.

The earthly ark was a rectangular chest-like structure made of acacia wood, about 4` by 2` by 2`. It was overlaid with pure gold sheathing. Its lid was made of solid gold having carved cherubs at each end looking down on the ark with their wings covering the ark. There were poles inserted into golden rings attached to the side of the ark which were never to be removed and used as the only means of transporting the ark (Exodus 25:10-22). The golden lid to which the cherubim were fastened was called the “Mercy Seat.”

Within the ark were duplicate tablets of the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded; one symbolizing the revelation of God, the other the provisions of God in the wilderness and the other the purposes of God in His selection of Aaron and his descendants as the high priestly family.

This most sacred piece of temple furniture had been lost during the Babylonian captivity when the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed way back in the sixteenth century.

Why this vision? Because it serves to assure all true believers that God’s promises, plans and ultimate objectives are certain. The kingdom of our Lord and His Christ is so certain to come that it is spoken of as if that future event is a present reality. And the judgment of God is as certain as if it had already taken place. As a matter of fact, the atmospheric and catastrophic happenings mentioned here serves as precursors to the unleashing of God’s final judgment from His Temple in heaven.

Practical Implications

1. The certainty of the fulfillment of the sovereign purposes of God serves as the substance of the true believer’s faith, convictions and hope.

(i.e. Romans 8:28-30 - The past tense is used in this passage in order to express the certainty of them and to serve as the substance of the believer’s hope).

2. The certainty of the coming Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ prompts us to examine whether we have entered His kingdom as He has prescribed (John 3:1-3, 5).


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