God of Power

Revelation 11:15-19

SS Lesson for 11/14/2021

 

Devotional Scripture: Heb 12:26-29

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Revelation has been traditionally understood to have been received by the churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) during the last decade of the first century AD. This likely dates its reception during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian (reigned AD 81–96). While scholars differ as to whether he persecuted Christians, it is widely accepted that one of his predecessors, Nero (reigned AD 54–68), instituted vast persecution of Christians across the empire. The audience of the apostle John (author of the book of Revelation) would have been familiar with such persecutions. The key to understanding Revelation lies in recognizing the type of literature it is, known as “apocalyptic”; this type of writing can be found in other parts of Scripture (compare and contrast Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Daniel 8:9–10; Matthew 24:29–31; Mark 13:24–27; and Luke 21:25–28). Apocalyptic literature features unveiling of a big-picture reality by a heavenly being (God or angels) to a human recipient. The reality that is revealed includes elements of both time (dealing with end-time salvation and judgment) and space (the reality of another, supernatural world). In some instances, apocalyptic literature repeats a story several times with different details but the same ending. For example, the imagery of seals, trumpets, and bowls in Revelation depicts God’s righteous judgment on rebellious and sinful earth. The final act in each series is accompanied by extraordinary weather phenomena that culminates in the worship of God for his righteous acts. The central part of Revelation concerns three sets of seven events initiated in Heaven: the opening of seals (Revelation 6:1–17; 8:1–5), the sounding of trumpets (8:6–9), and the pouring out of bowls of judgment (16:1–21). The results on earth are cataclysmic. Each set of events ends with a time of worship and adoration. Today’s lesson details the climax of the second of these three sets of events. The immediate context for today’s passage is that of seven angels who were ready to sound seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6). The results of the first four of the seven soundings find parallels with the 10 plagues poured out on Egypt (see Exodus 7:14–11:10).

 

Key Verse: Rev 11:15

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

 

Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

While it is clear that 11:1-14 continues the parenthetical section begun in 10:1, an amazing variation of interpretations of this portion of Scripture have been offered. Alford calls this chapter “one of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse” (The Greek Testament, 4:655). The best guideline to follow in interpreting this section is to take each fact literally. In line with this principle, a literal temple will be in existence during the Great Tribulation, and the city should be considered the literal city Jerusalem in keeping with its identification in 11:8. The time periods of 42 months (v. 2) and three and one-half days (vv. 9, 11) again should be considered literally. The earthquake will kill literally 7,000 individuals, and the two witnesses should be considered as two individual men.

11:1-2. John was given a reed, a lightweight rod, to be used as a measuring instrument. John was instructed to measure the temple and the altar but not the outer court, meaning he was to measure the holy place and the holy of holies. While others could come into the outer court, only priests could enter into those two temple rooms. The explanation was given that this would be under the control of the Gentiles who would trample on the holy city for 42 months. Why should John measure the temple? Measurement is usually taken of one’s possessions, and the temple belonged to God. In a similar way the temple of Ezekiel 40 was measured and the New Jerusalem was measured (Rev. 21:15-17). The temple here will be constructed so that orthodox Jews can offer sacrifices according to the Mosaic Law in the period in the first half of the seven-year period known as Daniel’s 70th week. At the beginning of the 42-month Great Tribulation, however, the sacrifices will stop and the temple will be desecrated and become a shrine for the world ruler of the Great Tribulation who will put an idol in it and proclaim himself to be God (cf. Dan. 9:27; 12:11; 2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15). John was also instructed, however, to count the worshipers who came to the temple. Here the thought seems to be that God will evaluate both the temple and those in it. The tendency of some is to spiritualize the 42-month length of the Great Tribulation, but this should be taken as a literal period, as confirmed by the 1,260 days of 11:3 which are 42 months of 30 days each. From this it is also clear that “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) will not end until the second coming of Christ to the earth to set up His kingdom. Though Jews may possess Jerusalem temporarily, as they have in this century, they will lose possession in the Great Tribulation. Some believe that the 42 months refer to the first half of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:27). While it is not clear, the evidence surrounding this passage in Revelation seems to refer to the final three and one-half years. This also seems to be confirmed by the fact that in the first half of the last seven years the Jews will actually possess the city of Jerusalem and worship in their temple, whereas here the context indicates that this is the period when Gentiles will tread down the Holy City, implying ill treatment of the Jews and desecration of the temple.

11:3-6. It was revealed to John that the two witnesses would be empowered by God to serve as prophets for 1,260 days or 42 months. They would be clothed in sackcloth and would be called two olive trees and two lampstands. Numerous and varied interpretations have been given concerning the two witnesses. Some have suggested that they are not literal individuals. However, in view of the fact that they die and are resurrected, the implication is that they are actual people. Another problem is their identification. A common interpretation is that they are Moses and Elijah because the judgments inflicted by Moses and Elijah in the Old Testament are similar to those of these two witnesses (11:5-6). Further support is given the identification of Elijah because of the prediction (Mal. 4:5) that he will appear “before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” Christ said this prophecy of Elijah was partially fulfilled in His lifetime (Matt. 17:10-13; Mark 9:11-13; cf. Luke 1:17). And both Moses and Elijah were involved in the transfiguration (Matt. 17:3), which anticipated the Second Coming. But a problem with this suggested identity is that Moses had already died once. Some have identified the two witnesses as Enoch and Elijah inasmuch as they did not die but were translated (cf. Heb. 9:27). While there is room for considerable discussion of these various views, the fact is that the passage does not identify the two witnesses, and they probably do not have historic identification. The description of the two witnesses as olive trees and lampstands has an Old Testament background (Zech. 4:2-14). The two witnesses in this passage were Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor. Their connection to the lampstands was that they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the olive oil. In a similar way the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Like prophets of old the two witnesses will be able to do supernatural miracles, and fire will destroy those who will try to harm them (Rev. 11:5). Like Elijah they will have power to stop rain, and will have power like Moses to turn water into blood and to bring on plagues (v. 6). In the midst of the unbelief, apostasy, and satanic power of the Great Tribulation these two witnesses will be a threat to the entire wicked world for a literal period of 1,260 days.

11:7-10. With the ministry of the two witnesses ended, God permitted the beast that comes up from the Abyss (cf. 9:1-2, 11; 17:8; 20:1, 3) to overcome them. The beast, that is, the Antichrist, is mentioned nine other times in Revelation (13:1; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 17:3, 13; 19:20; 20:10). After the witnesses were killed, their bodies were left unburied in Jerusalem, figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, because of the people’s apostasy and rejection of God. For three and one-half days the whole world gloated over their dead bodies. This implies some worldwide display, now made possible by television. Their deaths were considered a great victory for the world ruler and Satan, and were celebrated by people sending each other gifts.

11:11-12. After three and one-half days in the street, however, suddenly the two witnesses were resurrected and stood on their feet. They responded to the invitation, Come up here, and went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on with great fear.

11:13-14. At the same moment an earthquake occurred in Jerusalem with a 10th of the city collapsing and 7,000 people were killed. In contrast with previous judgments where revolt and rebellion against God continued, the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. So ended the second woe, leaving only the seventh trumpet, the final and third woe, to come.

11:15. Though the full results from the sounding of the seventh... trumpet are only introduced here and not brought to finality (as they will be in chap. 16), the introduction of the seventh trumpet itself is dramatic. As the trumpet sounded, voices were heard in heaven: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever. (Cf. predictions of the earthly kingdom of Christ in Ezek. 21:26-27; Dan. 2:35, 44; 4:3; 6:26; 7:14, 26-27; Zech. 14:9.) The fact that this will be fulfilled at the Second Coming makes it clear that the period of the seventh trumpet chronologically reaches to Christ’s return. Therefore the seventh trumpet introduces and includes the seven bowl judgments of the wrath of God revealed in chapter 16. In contrast with previous trumpets where a single voice was heard, here a mighty chorus from heaven joined in the proclamation.

11:16-18. After this announcement, the 24 elders, who appear frequently (4:4, 10; 5:5-6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4) and who were seated on their thrones before God, were seen by John as falling on their faces to worship God. Their song of praise indicates that the time had come for God to judge the nations, to judge the dead, and to reward God’s servants. God was described as the Almighty (pantokratōr; also used in 1:8; 4:8; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22), eternal (who is and who was; cf. 1:8; 4:8), and possessing power (dynamin) (11:17). In general their hymn of praise anticipates the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His rule on earth.

11:19. The chapter closes with another dramatic incident. John wrote, Then God’s temple in heaven was opened. At the same time John was able to look into the temple where he saw the ark of His covenant. This refers to the heavenly temple rather than to a temple on earth. The corresponding results in the earth, however, included lightning... thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm (cf. 8:5). The dramatic introduction of the events relating to the seventh trumpet concluded here and will be resumed in chapter 16. Chronologically the time was close to Christ’s second coming.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Power to Reign (Rev 11:15-17)

 

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,

17 saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come,  Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

 

Reigning over His Kingdom (15)

A kingdom that God sets up (Dan 2:44)

44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.

A kingdom where righteousness is supreme (Heb 1:8)

8 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

A kingdom that God rules over (1 Chron 29:11)

11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

A kingdom that is a matter of power (1 Cor 4:20)

20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

A kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28)

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

 

Reigning that is worthy of worship (16)

Worship to bring glory to God's name (Ps 86:9-10)

9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. 10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.

Worship our God and Maker (Ps 95:6-7)

6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

Worship and serve God only (Matt 4:10)

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)

24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

 

Reigning for eternity (17)

A kingdom where God’s authority never ends (Luke 1:32-33)

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

A kingdom that endures because all other kingdoms will end (1 Cor 15:24-28)

24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

A kingdom that endures because it is eternal (2 Peter 1:11)

11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A kingdom that endures because God established it (Isa 9:7)

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

A kingdom that endures because of God’s authority (Dan 7:14)

14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

A kingdom that endures because all rulers will obey God (Dan 7:27)

27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'

 

Power to Judge (Rev 11:18-19)

 

18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."

19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

 

Judging of the nations (18)

A judgment where people are separated like sheep from goats (Matt 25:31-33)

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

A judgment that will bring everything to light (1 Cor 4:5)

5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

A judgment that judges men's secrets (Rom 2:16)

16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

A judgment that all will stand before (Rom 14:10)

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

A judgment that judges what was done in the body (2 Cor 5:10)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

A judgment that is destined for man (Heb 9:27)

27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

 

Judging for entrance into heaven (19)

A judgment to test the quality of works (1 Cor 3:10-15)

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

A judgment of testing and refining (Jer 9:7)

7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: "See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?

A judgment of affliction (Isa 48:10)

10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

A judgment that purifies (Dan 11:35)

35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

A judgment that God judges with grace (Rom 11:4-6)

4 And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace

 


Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Allen Carr

Revelation 11:15-19

HEAVENLY REJOICING ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY

Intro: We have spent the better part of a year in the book of Revelation. I don’t know about you, but this book has been speaking to my heart and I am enjoying our study. This message brings us to the half way point of the book of Revelation. It also brings us to the end of a very long section that began back in Rev. 10:1. In this passage, the seventh trumpet, which was announced in Rev. 10:7, is about to sound. When it is sounded, this trumpet will unleash God’s final acts of judgments upon the earth.

The seventh trumpet will bring about a devastating wave of judgment. It will fulfill the ancient prophecies of Joel 2:1-2, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (2) A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.” When it is sounds, the seven bowl judgments are revealed. These bowls contain the final, awesome, awful judgments of God, Rev. 15:1. The sound of the seventh trumpet alerts the world that King Jesus is about to reclaim everything that belongs to Him.

Now, the seventh trumpet is sounded here in Rev. 11:1, but the events it brings to pass are not recorded until we get to Rev 15. Chapters 12-14 are a retelling of the Tribulation story from a different perspective. In Rev. 6-11, the focus has been on the Lord Jesus. We have learned about the process He uses to take possession of this earth. Rev. 12-14 takes the focus off the Lord and places in on the Antichrist. We have been observing the Tribulation from God’s perspective. For the next few chapters we will observe that awful period of time fro Satan’s perspective.

This passage takes us forward in time to the very edge of eternity. We are transported ahead to the end of the age to a time when Jesus has taken possession of the world and judged sin and sinners. As we look ahead to that blessed day, we find Heaven in a state of rejoicing.

Today, we want to look into these verses, and by virtue into Heaven itself. In doing so, we are allowed to witness Heaven’s reaction to the reign of the Lord Jesus. I want to show you the great reasons why we see worship, praise and excitement in Heaven as time comes to an end. The words “great voices” translate the Greek words “mega” and “phonay”. We get the word “megaphone” from these words. It refers to shouting and loud speech. This is a picture of loud, vigorous praise in glory, v. 15-16! I want to preach on this thought: Heavenly Rejoicing On The Edge Of Eternity.

   I.  v. 16-17       THERE IS REJOICING OVER A RULER

(Heaven rejoices because God and His Son Jesus have taken possession of a world that was lost to sin and Satan thousands of years ago.)

A.  v. 15  The Scope Of His Kingdom – “kingdoms of this world” – In the Greek, the word “kingdoms” is singular. There are many rulers, leaders, kings and presidents in this world, but there is but one true kingdom. Men think they rule, in reality, Satan rules this world today. Satan is called “the god of this world” in 2 Cor. 4:4. The Lord Jesus called him “the prince of this world” three times in John’s Gospel, John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11.

The truth of Satan’s rule can be seen in the hatred that is being leveled against Jesus Christ and His Gospel in this world. People have no reason to hate Jesus. They do so because they are led to by the devil! He is the ruler of this world today.

I praise the Lord that His kingdom is to be short-lived. Jesus Christ will come in glory and power and assume His rightful place as King, Lord and God of this world! There is just one rightful King and one day, the whole world will bow at His feet and worship Him, Phil. 2:9-11!

B.  v. 15  The Span Of His Kingdom – “He shall reign for ever and ever” – Jesus will not be like a human ruler. All human rulers eventually reach the end of their reign. They die or are deposed and replaced by another. Not Jesus! He will reign eternally, “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations,Psalm 145:13.

 (Ill. The Republicans have held the reigns of power in Congress since 1994. It looks like they are about to lose their power, at least in the House of Representatives, to the Democrats. There will be a lot of sad people after the election because their side lost. Those who give their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ need never fear that He will be overthrown! He is and ever will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!)

 C.  v. 17  The Strength Of His Kingdom – God is called “Almighty”, “Thou hast taken to the Thy great power, and Thou hast reigned.” Every human kingdom fails because it is built on the limited power of men. Saddam Hussein ruled by the power of fear, but he was overthrown. Kim Jung Il rules by intimidation and ruthlessness, he will be defeated.

God’s kingdom is established on One Who holds all power, Matt. 28:18. He will never be overcome by any enemy, for He has placed all His foes under His feet, Heb. 2:8. He will never be deposed by any rival, for He has no rivals, Psa. 86:10.

D.  The Stability Of His Kingdom – “Which art, and wast and art to come” – God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom! He has always reigned! It may look like Satan has his hands on the wheel in this world today. It may look like he is in control. Even Satan is the servant of Almighty God and he operates within a limited sphere of activity. He does only that which God allows him to do. His activity is limited by the providence, sovereignty, purposes and power of God. (Ill. Satan had to get permission to attack Job – Job 1-2.) Satan is a finite, limited, created being. He must always yield to the One Who has reigned by eternity past; the One Who will always reign!

Ill. Heaven rejoices in this truth. If we really believed it, we would rejoice as well. We would know, without a doubt, that our God reigns and that He is in absolute control of everything in His universe! (Ill. Col. 1:16-17) (Ill. Psa. 93:1-5)

E.  The Surety Of His Kingdom – The verb phrase “are become” is in the “proleptic aorist” tense. This tense is used to describe future events that are so certain; they can be spoken of as they had already happened. This tense is used in Isa. 53:3-9. Though the ministered 700 years before Jesus, he writes of the sufferings of Jesus as though they had already happened!

 (Ill. People can believe what they will, one day the kingdom of this world will be given over to the Lord Jesus. He will rule and reign on the throne of this earth forever. Praise God! No wonder Heaven rejoices. I thank God that I will be there when Heaven bubbles over with praise. But, I thank Him that I can praise Him today! You see, He may not b recognized as the King of the world yet, but He is the King of my heart!)

 II.  v. 18  THERE IS REJOICING OVER A REWARD

A.  The Sinners Will Be Rewarded – This world hates Jesus and demonstrates that hatred against Him when He comes to reign. This verse looks ahead to that day when the armies of the world will gather themselves together to fight against the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming, Rev. 16:14.

      The hatred of the world is clear to see in our day. Everywhere you look; this world is trying to eradicate the name of Jesus and anything to do with Him from the public arena. They will not bow to Him! Their hatred is expressed in Psalm 2:1-3. There, we see that they will rise up against Him and attempt to conquer the Lord. But, Psalm 2:4-9 tell us that God will have the final say in the matter.

      In the end, lost sinners will be rewarded for their rejection of Jesus by having to face Him in judgment, Rev. 20:11-15, v. 18b. God will have the final word and all lost sinners will receive the due reward of their sins, Rom. 6:23. What a tragedy, since they could be saved if they would only come to Him!

(Note: We may wonder about the saints in Heaven rejoicing over the punishment of sinners. It bothers us when we see scenes like that. After all, we do not want to see anyone go to Hell. We want to see people saved. All I can say is that when we arrive in Heaven, we will possess a mind like that of the Lord Jesus. We will think like He thinks and we will agree with His plan to judge all those who reject Him! When He pronounces their sentence, we will say “Amen!”)

B.  The Saints Will Be Rewarded – While the lost sinners will face the Lord in judgment, faithful believers will be honored for their devotion to Him. He will reward His servants (“prophets”). Those who have faithfully preached His Word will be rewarded by the Lord one day. He will also reward His saints (“them that fear thy name, great and small”). One day, every act of devotion to Jesus will be rewarded by Him. Nothing was so small that He missed it. He saw every sacrifice, every labor of love, every gift, every deed, which was done in His Name, and He will reward all those who faithfully serve Him! (Ill. Even something so small as a cup of cold water given in His name will be rewarded some day, Mark 9:41.)

III.  v. 19           THERE IS REJOICING OVER A REALITY

(Ill. This verse almost seems out of place in this chapter. It just doesn’t seem to fit in with the seen of rejoicing in Heaven. But, this verse is important. The mention of the Temple places us back on Jewish ground. You see, the church does not have a Temple, we are the Temple! This verse contains two great realities that I want to touch on for just a moment.)

A.  The Reality Of Access – The open Temple and the vision of the Ark serve to remind us that in Heaven, we will have access to the Lord. We will see Him and be able to worship Him. There will be no veil to separate us from Him. There will be no flesh to separate us from Him. There will be nothing to keep us away from Him in that day! We will have free, unfettered access to the God of glory, Rev. 22:3-4!

B.  The Reality Of Affirmation – The mention of the Ark places us squarely on Jewish ground. You see, for the Jew, the Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God, the communion of God and the redemption of God. Here, the Jews are reminded that God is not finished with them. He will complete His plan for Israel and He will keep His covenants with the seed of Abraham!

 (Note: In the Bible, there are five different names for the Ark of the Covenant mentioned. These five names reveal what God is doing in these verses.

1. The Ark of the CovenantNum. 10:33 – The ancient Ark contained the Law. In these verses we see a world that has transgressed God’s Law. The world has angered the Lord and He has come down to judge them!

2.  The Ark of the TestimonyEx. 25:22 – The Ark testified to God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. God is still holy and man is still a sinner. As a sinner, man will be judged by a holy God.

3.  The Ark of God1 Sam. 3:3 – The Ark was the only visible throne of God on the earth. This vision of the Ark reminds everyone that God is still on His throne!

4.  The Ark of StrengthPsa. 132:8 – It was called this because of the miracles and great works associated with it. We are reminded here that God is still Almighty God and He still reigns in power.

5.  The Holy Ark2 Chron. 35:3 – It was called the Holy Ark because it is where God dwelt! This vision of the Ark reminds us that God is still alive and well!

 Conc: Verse 19 closes with premonitions of impending disasters. More horrors, worse horrors, than those we have seen thus far, are on the horizon. We are at the half-way point of the book and of the Tribulation. We have seen things from God’s perspective, now we will see things from Satan’s perspective.

These verses have literally taken us to the very edge of eternity. The question that must be faced today is this: Which group mentioned in verse 18 are you a part of?

Are you a part of that group that will be doomed and damned to Hell? Are you lost today? If you are, you need to know that the wrath of God already abides on your life, John 3:36; 3:18; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 1:18. You also need to know that you do not have to stay in that condition for another minute! If you will come to Jesus, He will save you by His grace! Come now, if He is calling you to come to Him.

If you are part of that group that will be rewarded and rejoicing one day, then praise the Lord! You ought to bow before Him and tell Him how thankful you are that He has saved you.

If you are lost today, you may be here for the Tribulation and you may not. But think about this: You are one heartbeat away from eternity. Have you ever thought about that? All that has to happen for your heart to stop and the moment it stops and your spirit will leave your body you will be in eternity.  Up in Washington, D.C., at the depot there is a strange mark on a wall. That mark is there because many years ago President James Garfield was in that depot. An assassin walked in, saw the President, and fired a shot. The shot went through President Garfield, killing him, and the bullet hit the wall and left a mark, and mark is still there. It identifies the place where President Garfield stepped from time into eternity.

And dear friend, for every one of us, somewhere on this earth there is a mark.  It may be on a death bed in a hospital somewhere.  It may be on an interstate highway where an accident will occur. There is some point in time where your time will cease and your eternity will begin.

If you came to the place where your mark is located today, how would it be with your soul?  Are you saved?  Do you know that you know you're saved? Let’s mind Him today!

                            (Adapted from URL:http://www.sermonnotebook.org/revelation/Revelation%2011_15-19.htm)

 

Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

A certain church closed its doors after 30 years of ministry. Hundreds once worshipped there each week. But in recent years, that number had dwindled to about 30. Maintaining the property had become too burdensome. The decision to close this church and sell the property was difficult but necessary. The discussions surrounding the decision were very emotional. Church members had fond memories of weddings, baptisms, and other special moments shared in that building. Although the congregants decided to close the doors of its place of worship, they leaned into discerning how best to continue to worship God and serve his people. Closing the church building did not mean that worship would cease. Instead, the group began to worship in local parks and with other congregations. They used the money from the sale of the church property to fund mission opportunities around the city. The people’s worship and service continued, and that’s the main thing. Israel’s center of worship, the temple, had been destroyed about 25 years before John wrote Revelation. But some 40 years before that destruction, the Jerusalem temple’s importance had been superseded by Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matthew 27:50–51; Hebrews 8:1–10:22). That resulted in a new understanding of “temple” (see 1 Corinthians 3:16–17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21). John’s vision saw an even better reality to come—that of God’s heavenly temple where worship continues into eternity. For the original audience that had experienced persecution, perhaps even being unable to worship communally, how encouraging this coming reality must have been! Today’s passage invites us to anticipate a future where the kingdom of God is fully established everywhere, where injustice no longer prevails, and where we worship God for eternity

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

Jesus Will Reign - John observed the sounding of the seventh I trumpet. Loud voices cry out, "Jesus reigns forever and ever/' John heard the praise ring out in heaven as if these truths have already come to pass. With absolute certainty, Jesus will eventually return to reign over all the kingdoms of this world. His authority and superiority last throughout all eternity. How can there be gratitude and joy when these events are still pending? One scholar points to the occasion of a new politician winning the race on election night. Though the candidate "wins" on election night, the actual swearing-in to office and taking on of governmental responsibilities does not happen until several months later. Jesus died on the Cross, then returned victoriously to heaven where He now reigns with the Father. But one day in the future, Jesus will reign over all the nations with a rod of iron. Therefore, believers can thank Him for His authority right now and the ultimate control He is destined to possess throughout all eternity.

 

Seeming Defeat, Promised Victory - John watched as the elders prostrated themselves in worship in God's throne room. They explicitly give thanks for what is bound to come to pass. At the time John wrote, the church on earth appeared to be defeated. Rome held its knee on the neck of the church, and persecuting Christians was the rule of the day. After John's vision, he wrote Revelation to encourage the congregations. He reminded them that Jesus is still the conquering King, and God's children are a kingdom of priests, reigning with the Savior (Rev. 1:5-6).

The events listed in Revelation will unfold in time. The heathen nations rage because they want to go their way, do their own thing, and take their stand against God (Ps. 2:1-3). The world desires to possess this kind of authority, yet the reality will be that God and Jesus rule supreme.

 

Rejoicing in the Temple - The eleventh chapter in Revelation began with the opening of the temple on earth, and the ark, symbolizing God's presence. In the temple, the veil hid the ark, God's glory the Holy of Holies. These events cause rejoicing, a heavenly song because of the accomplishment of God's purposes in the world, the final judgment. Just imagine the suffering saints in John's time hearing the encouraging words referring to Jesus' glory to be revealed. These facts should also cause the church of today to be thankful for Christ's eternal reign.