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Saturday, 06 May 2017 18:19

64. The seventh trumpet: time to celebrate * Revelation 11:15-19 - Part 1 of 2

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15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.

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

17 Saying, We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned.

 

Part 1 - Revelation 11:15-17

 

*** Background ***: After the sixth trumpet, we see an interlude, just like the one between the sixth and the seventh seals. We will study the interlude between the final trumpets in the following lessons. For now, let's continue with the last trumpet and see what happened at the sound of the third and final woe.

In Revelation 10:5-7, we see that the angel makes an important announcement. The end will only come when the last trumpet sounds. When that happens, the "mystery of God" will be fully disclosed. God has been revealing His mystery through His prophets throughout time. A piece of His mystery is revealed with the preaching of the Gospel to the World. God's army will finish the proclamation of the Gospel at the sound of the last trumpet: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Mathew 24:14).

*** The announcement ***: When the seventh angel sounds the trumpet, Heavenly beings respond by making a loud statement. The "mystery of God" is complete, and Heaven announces with "great voices": "[...] The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15). The last time we saw the Heavenly chorus is saying something in a loud voice, they were praising Jesus (Revelation 5:12). In both instances, the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped God after making a loud statement.

Revelation 5:12,14 Revelation 11:15,16
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." "The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever."
"And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that lives forever and ever." "And the four and twenty elders, who sat before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God"

The scene John describes immediately after the sounding of the trumpet takes place in Heaven. This is different than the previous trumpets, where the scenes happen on Earth. The event following the sounding of the trumpet triggers a special worship service in Heaven.

*** The kingdom of this world ***: When God finished the creation of our planet, He gave to Adam and Eve the rulership of this new kingdom (Genesis 1:26-30). When they sinned, humans lost the dominion over the Earth, and handed it to the one they listened to: Satan. The enemy became the "prince of this world", as Jesus referred to him sometimes (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11). Jesus had to provide a way to take back the rulership of the World in order to free people from slavery. Under Satan's dominion, people are kept tied up to sin. When they believe in the sacrifice Jesus made for them, they are freed from sin, and no longer belong to the enemy. Jesus paid the price to acquire the "kingdom of this world". By believing in Satan's lies, we lost our freedom. By believing in Jesus' Truth, we will gain it back.

*** The kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ ***: The last trumpet announces that the kingdom of this world is under new management. It has become "the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15). The meaning of the word "Christ" is very special. Christ is not Jesus' last name. 'Christ' is a title. The word comes from the Greek Christos, meaning 'the anointed'. Christos is the direct equivalent of the Hebrew name Messiah, which means 'anointed one'. The king of Israel was often referred as the 'anointed' (Psalm 2:2; 1 Samuel 24:6; 2 Samuel 3:39; 2 Samuel 22:51). The terms 'anointed' and 'kingship' are related when it comes to ruling over God's chosen people. Jesus was the One whom the Father had chosen to sit on the throne with Him and rule the Universe together. The kingdom of the Earth had become the kingdom of the Father and of the Son. This kingdom will last forever, just as the prophecy we read in Daniel 2:44 said: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."

*** The twenty-four elders worshiping ***: Once all recognize that the perfect kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ will last forever, the twenty-four elders fall down on their faces to worship God and give Him thanks for what He has done. They address God as "Lord God Almighty" (Revelation 11:17). What they say next differs slightly depending on which manuscript your Bible version is based on. The versions based on the Textus Receptus read "who is, and was, and is to come". The versions based on Sinaitic manuscripts read: "who is, and was", and omit the "is to come". The Greek expression for "is to come" is erchomenos, and was seen in Revelation 1:4, referring to the Father (please see study #5). We also see it in Revelation 1:8, in a very similar statement to the one in Revelation 11:17: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (revelation 1:8). Either way, this is a clear reference to God. The twenty-four elders identify Him as the one in charge. Some translations use the expression "have reigned", for the Greek word ebasileusas. This Greek word actually translates more accurately as "begun to reign". When we take all these considerations into account, we understand that the special worship service is a celebratory one, marking the beginning of the Almighty Lord's eternal reign.

*** Overview ***: The seventh trumpet is received with great joy in Heaven. Heavenly beings worship God with a loud voice and are thankful for the things God has done for them. The Lord Almighty is the supreme ruler of the Universe. His Truth has spread throughout the whole Earth. Everyone had a chance to make their choice. The "mystery of God" has been disclosed to humanity. With the Second Coming of Jesus, the kingdom of this World becomes the kingdom of the Father and the Son, and together, as one, they begin their everlasting reign. In chapter 5, when Jesus sat on the right side of the Father, they were reigning undisputedly over the rest of Universe but the Earth still had people being influenced by the arguments of the accuser. God was still giving a chance to those who dwell on Earth to change their minds, repent, and turn to Him. With the sounding of the seventh trumpet, there is no longer time to change sides. When that moment comes, those who have listened to what the Spirit had been saying all along - those who remain faithful to the end, will be filled with overwhelming joy and thankfulness because the time has come for God's reign to start, in His great power.

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