Saturday, 13 May 2017 11:16

65. The seventh trumpet: God's reward comes at the end * Revelation 11:15-19 - Part 2 of 2

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18 And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward unto your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them who destroy the earth.

19 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 thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

 

Part 2 - Revelation 11:18-19

 

*** The wrath and the judgment ***: Revelation 11:18 starts with contrasting points about the people on God's side and those on the enemy's side. The verse says: "And the nations were angry". Their anger came because of what the angel in Revelation 11:15 announced: "The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." They oppose the people of God and His domain. God's response to their anger is the outpouring of His wrath. The word 'anger' was translated from the Greek ōrgisthēsan. The word 'wrath' was translated from the Greek orgē, and is the root word for ōrgisthēsan. In essence, God responds to the wrath of the nations with His own wrath . The wrath of the nations is challenging the authority of God but the wrath of the nations is no match for the wrath of God. The wrath of God can eliminate sin at the root. In Psalm 2:1-2, we see a similar scenario, where the nations were enraged against God and His anointed one. God responds by pouring His wrath (Psalm 2:5). In Revelation 11:18, we see that the judgment follows the wrath. For the faithful people, judgment is good news: they will be rewarded. For the wicked, it means destruction. Here is a diagram of Revelation 11:18:

 

The nations were angry
God's wrath is poured
Judgement starts to be executed
Wicked Faithful
The destroyers of the earth are to be destroyed The faithful servants (prophets, saints and all who fear God) are to be rewarded

 

*** Destroying those who destroy the Earth ***: In order for us to understand what this expression means, we must look at the Greek word translated as "to destroy", diaphtheiró, which means: 'to destroy utterly, to spoil, corrupt'. We see this same concept in the story of the flood. The flood account helps us understand what kind of destruction Revelation 11:18 is talking about. Is it the destruction of the environment? Or is it the destruction in a spiritual sense? As we read Genesis 6:11-13, lets keep in mind the idea of destruction in its meabing 'to corrupt': "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." (Genesis 6:11-13). In this description, God will send the flood because of the corruption going on. The text equates corruption with violence. God sent the flood because of the iniquity of the people. Their iniquity filled the Earth. The environmental destruction of the planet is only one of the consequences of the spiritual disease afflicting those who dwell on the Earth. The problem is actual a spiritual one. The people spreading false teachings and encouraging behaviors that go against God's commandments are the ones who are destroying the Earth. Revelation 19:2 gives emphasis to the spiritual nature of this destruction caused by the wicked because it talks about how a political-religious system (symbolically represented as a harlot or as Babylon) corrupted the Earth with her fornication. The term fornication means the betrayal of God's teachings by mixing in false doctrines, which are not based solely on Scripture. This woman (representing the political-religious power) is destroying the Earth "for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." (Revelation 18:5).

*** The temple of God was opened, showing the Ark of the covenant ***: The vision ends with a clear view of the Temple of God, all the way to the Most Holy Place, where the Ark of the covenant is. His temple is completely open. In the Old Testament, the Ark of the covenant was a golden box which contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of mana, and Aaron's flowering staff (Exodus 16:33,34; Exodus 25:16, Numbers 17:10, see also Hebrews 9:4). Also, the Book of the Covenant was stored by the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:26). The Ark represented the presence of God (Exodus 30:6), and that is why we see "lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" mentioned right after the description of the visible Ark (Revelation 11:19). Lightnings, voices, thunderings, earthquake and great hail are manifestations frequently used in the Bible to describe the presence of God (Revelation 4:5; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 16:18; Exodus 19:16-19; Exodus 20:18; Deuteronomy 5:22-23). The contents inside and near the Ark represent the agreement God has with His people. By displaying the Ark, God is once again showing His end-time faithful church that He has not forgotten about them and that He is present with them always. He will keep His promise to destroy the enemy.

*** Prophetic Application and Overview ***: The blowing of the seventh trumpet brigs us to the time of the very end. The kingdom of the Father has become also the kingdom of Jesus. It marks the beginning of His eternal reign. The nations of the Earth will be enraged against God and His people, but God will come to their defense and destroy those who filled the Earth with iniquity. With the Second Coming, Jesus will define the sentence of the wicked, and will reward those who filled the Earth with His Truth. The Bible says that Jesus will bring His reward when He comes again: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:12, emphasis supplied). His reward is eternal life. That reward only comes at the end, when He comes. It does not come before His Second Coming, it doesn't come in the form of a secret rapture, it doesn't come when a person dies - it only comes when He comes! We must be prepared for that day. And the way to prepare and to be saved is to believe in the One God has sent, to accept His sacrifice, to repent from our iniquity, and to practice God's truth (John 3:16-21).

   
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