************ Sermon on Revelation 11:14-19 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on November 9, 2008


Revelation 11:14-19
"The Seventh Trumpet"

Introduction
We have listened and watched as the trumpets of judgment of Revelation 8-11 have been sounding. Trumpets one through four shook the heavens and the earth. Trumpet five has unleashed the hordes of hell. Trumpet six has ravaged the earth with fire, smoke, and sulfur.

Remember the trumpets have been sounding since the time of Christ's first coming. They will continue to sound until Christ comes again.

The trumpet blasts are intended as a warning. They warn an unbelieving world of the judgment to come. They warn an unbelieving world to repent and believe.

We are now finished with the intermission between the sixth trumpet and the seventh trumpet. In other words, the seventh trumpet is finally going to be blown. What do we see? We see the climax, the final consummation. We see God's enemies facing final judgment. We see God's people being rewarded.

In the blowing of the seventh trumpet, we are at the end. This is so clearly expressed by the description of God. Do you remember how God is identified in John's greeting in chapter one?
(Rev 1:4) Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come ...
Did you catch how God is identified in our Bible reading?
(Rev 11:17) We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was ...
Do you hear the difference? God no longer is He "who is to come." Why not? Because His mighty power has been fully revealed and He has begun to reign. Because the consummation has come.

The seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet. What happens? Singing! You heard me right. With the other trumpets there is shaking and devilish hordes, but with the seventh trumpet there is singing. With the seventh trumpet, there are songs of celebration and joy.

Before we look at the songs in front of us, let me say something about the tense of the Greek verbs. They are all in the past tense. The songs speak of the consummation as though it has already happened. So certain is the Lord's final and complete victory that it is spoken of in the past though it has yet to happen.

Think of the confidence this gives to John's audience including us. The wrong seem so strong. Evil seems so prevalent. Wickedness seems to go unpunished. But, the consummation is sure. In fact, it is so sure that any argument, any opposition, any conflict is futile and worthless and vain. That is what the past tense tells us.

I The Consummation Introduced (vs 14-15)
A In verses 14 & 15 we see the consummation introduced. We are told that the end has come.
(Rev 11:14-15) The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. (15) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Do you remember how the final three trumpets blasts were introduced to us back in Revelation 8?
(Rev 8:13) "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
The last three trumpet blasts are the three woes. A woe is not something wonderful. A woe is an expression of grief. A woe is something dreadful. A woe is something horrible.

The seventh trumpet blast is a woe. "The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon."

How can Scripture say the seventh trumpet blast is a woe when, in fact, it announces the final consummation? How can it be a woe when it fills God's people with hope and confidence?

The final consummation, my brothers and sisters, is a two-sided coin. For the Christian, it is a time of joy and rejoicing. For the unbeliever, however, it is a time of dread and horror because there is no more time for repentance, no more opportunity to believe, no more chance to acknowledge God and His Christ. The seventh trumpet is the final and greatest woe if you are an unbeliever because you experience the wrath of God; you experience the wrath of God physically, spiritually, and eternally. In other words, the final consummation includes both judgment and salvation.

B "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven ..." Who do these voices belong to? They do NOT belong to the twenty-four elders of verse 16 who clearly respond to the voices of verse 15. Listen to verse 16:
(Rev 11:16) And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God ...
Does this sound familiar? Doesn't this sound like Revelation 4? In Revelation 4, the twenty-four elders respond to the praises of the four living creatures. Remember who the four living creatures are? They are the highest, most elite, level of angels, those who are the closest to the throne of God. Now listen to what Revelation 4 says:
(Rev 4:9-10) Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, (10) the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne ...
The same thing happens in Revelation 11 the four living creatures sing and the twenty-four elders respond. The four living creatures announce the consummation has come and the twenty-four elders fall down in worship.

C Listen to the announcement of the consummation by the four living creatures:
(Rev 11:15) "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
Question: are they saying there has been a time when God has not been king of the world? The same question another way: don't we believe that Christ was crowned as King when He ascended into heaven; so, then, why do the four living creatures indicate that God and Christ rule after the blowing of the seventh trumpet? Is this world ruled by God and Christ before or after the blowing of the seventh trumpet? Answer: both!

I am not being a two-faced politician talking out of both sides of my mouth. I am not trying to be facetious. I am trying to remind you that the Kingdom of God is both already and not yet. The Kingdom of God has already been inaugurated and the Kingdom of God has not yet been consummated. With the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the Kingdom has already come. But it has not yet fully come in all its power and glory.

What is the difference between God's rule before the blowing of the seventh trumpet and God's rule after the blowing of the seventh trumpet? The difference is this: before the blowing of the seventh trumpet, the rule of God and His Christ is contested by Satan and his demons, by the unbelieving, by the wicked; after the blowing of the seventh trumpet there is no more rival, no more challenge, no more rebellion. As the four living creatures put it:
(Rev 11:15) "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
"He will reign for ever and ever." That is a mighty long time. Don't forget Who "he" is: He is the "Lord God Almighty" (Rev 11:16). This is not just a name. This is the King of the universe we are talking about. His is all power, all authority, all rule, all kingdom, all might, all glory. There is no possibility of rebellion against such a King for one thing, He is almighty (vs 16); for another thing, His enemies are destroyed (vs 18). No wonder He will reign for ever and ever.

II The Consummation Interpreted (vs 16-18)
A The four living creatures sing to God about the consummation of all things. Then, "the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God" (Rev 11:16).

These are the twenty-four elders. These are not run-of-the-mill angels if there are such a thing. As far as the angel world is concerned, these are second in glory and power only to the four living creatures. They, too, sit on thrones very near to the throne of God. Notice what these exalted angelic creatures do: before the Lord God Almighty they take off their crowns, they get down on their knees, they press their faces to the ground. They throw aside their dignity in the presence of God. All thoughts of themselves are gone. No room for ego. No place for pride. No hint of selfish self-interest. As an aside, isn't this the way all worship should be? Isn't this the way our worship should be?

B Why do the twenty-four elders respond this way? Because of the announcement of the four living creatures that the Kingdom has fully come in all its glory and power.

We see this very same thing in verse 17:
(Rev 11:17) 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.
The twenty-four elders cannot help but celebrate the fact that God is absolutely sovereign with not a hint of rebellion left. God has taken permanent control. God has dethroned all the powers of evil. God has subdued all opposition. God has vanquished every throne and power and dominion that stands in opposition to Him. God is Lord. He is "Lord God Almighty" (vs 17).

C Listen to the next verse: "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come" (vs 18). Do you know what this sounds like? This sounds like Psalm 2:
(Ps 2:1-3) Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? (2) The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One [that is, the Christ]. (3) "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."

Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm. It was read at the crowning of a new king in Israel. The psalm issues a warning to subject peoples and kings that plotting rebellion against the new king would be disastrous:
(Ps 2:10-12) Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

Revelation 11 is the fulfilment of Psalm 2. It is now King Jesus sitting on the throne. It is His rule that is being contested. The nations and kings of the earth were warned, back in Psalm 2 already, not to rebel. But what do we see in Revelation 16:14, Revelation 19:19, Revelation 20:7? We see the kings of the earth gathering together to make war against God and His Christ. And, what is God's response? Listen to Psalm 2:
(Ps 2:4-5) The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. (5) Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath ...
How does John put this? "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come" (Rev 11:18). God has taken His great power (vs 17). He has begun to reign (vs 17). His wrath has come.

D Notice the next line: "The time has come ..." (vs 18). One of our boys used to mark important days on his calendar his birthday, Christmas. Each day he would cross off another day and eagerly count the number of days still left. And when the day finally arrived, it was greeted with great enthusiasm. Well, the time has come. The day marked on God's calendar has finally arrived.

"The time has come ..." The time for what? The time has come "for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great ..." (vs 18). Who are in mind here? Are the twenty-four elders singing of different classes of Christians? These are all different ways of talking about the same group of people the church, believers in Jesus. When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, it is time for believers to be granted eternity in the New Jerusalem.

"The time has come ..." The time for what? The time has come "for judging the dead ... and for destroying those who destroy the earth" (vs 18). This is the fulfilment of Psalm 2:
(Ps 2:9) You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
However, there is one big difference between Revelation 11 and Psalm 2. In Psalm 2, the rebellious peoples and kings can still repent; in Revelation 11, there is no more time for repentance, no more time to believe, no more time to serve the Lord with fear and trembling (Ps 2:11).

"The time has come ..." God takes His power, He begins His eternal reign, His wrath comes, judgment begins, Christians are rewarded, non-Christians are destroyed. This is the consummation. The end has come.

Question: if the blowing of the seventh trumpet means the end has come and the consummation has arrived, what is in the rest of the Revelation? How come the Revelation of Jesus Christ does not end with chapter 11? Why are there eleven more chapters?

III The Consummation Depicted (vs 19)
A In the final verse of our Scripture reading we see an illustration of what the twenty-four elders have been singing about. Listen to verse 19:
(Rev 11:19) Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
This verse depicts what happens when God reigns fully and completely, without any enemies to oppose Him.

The first thing we see is the ark of the covenant in heaven's temple. Think about the earthly ark in the earthly temple. It represents the presence of God with His people. However, however, it is buried deep in the temple. It is beyond the outer courts, through the inner courts, into the Holy Place, through the double curtain, in the Holy of Holies. And, no one could see it. No one could touch it. No one could look inside of it. Talk about a double message from God: "I am with you, but don't get too close." "I am with you, but keep your distance." That, of course, is the result of sin. An unholy man cannot dare to approach the holy God.

But now notice what happens with God's temple in heaven. It was "opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant." No longer was the ark kept under wraps. No longer was it hidden away. No longer was it off limits. It was in the open for all to see and to touch. Hear the message? Not only was God with His people, but God can be approached by His people. This is Revelation 21:
(Rev 21:3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."
This is the reward of the faithful sung about by the twenty-four elders.

B The first part of verse 19 depicts what happens to God's people when God reigns fully and completely. The second part of verse 19 depicts what happens to God's enemies when God reigns fully and completely:
(Rev 11:19) And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
When God makes war with His enemies, this is His arsenal, this is His artillery, these are His weapons of choice. God marshals all the forces of nature into doing His bidding. There is no escape whether you are in the heavens or on the earth, on the ground or under the ground, on the seas or in the desert. Judgment will strike you. Fast. Hard. Loud.

C Put the two parts of the verse together in its context: the blowing of the trumpet, the presence of the ark, the reward of the faithful, the punishment of the wicked. What does this sound like? Doesn't this sound like Jericho? Remember? The priests blew their trumpets. The ark of the covenant was carried around the city. The earth shook and the wall fell down. The wicked were killed. And, the people of God entered into the Promised Land. That is what we have in verse 19.

Conclusion
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" (Rev 11:15).

You need to prepare for that day right now. It will come. It will come sooner than you think. And, when it comes, will you be rewarded or will you be punished? You know, don't you, that it depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ? Listen, again, to how the psalmist puts it:
(Ps 2:10-12) Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

Do you know how Psalm 2 ends? "Blessed are all who take refuge in him" (Ps 2:12). So I say to you, take refuge in Him today. Take refuge in Him and experience God's reward rather than God's judgment.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page