And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voice in heaven, and they said, The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever. And four and twenty elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and wast; because thou hast taken they great power and didst reign. And the nations were wroth, and thy wrath came, and the time of the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to the servants the prophets and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, the small and the great; and to destroy them that destroy the earth. And there was opened the temple of God that is in heaven; and there was seen in his temple the ark of his covenant; and there followed lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail. Revelation 11:15–19
A. THE SEVENTH ANGEl SOUNDS HIS TRUMPET: CHRIST’S FINAL VICTORY ANNOUNCED, verse 15
The day of final judgment is introduced. A magnificent heavenly choir is singing: “The kingdom of the world [a better rendering might be: The dominion over the world] is become the kingdom [or: dominion] of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Even while Jesus was on earth, in the state of his humiliation, he at times exercised great power, as is clear from the miracles which he performed. Yet, by and large he limited the use of that power and dominion. He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:5). He girded himself with a towel to wash the feet of his disciples. When the devil tempted him to assert his dominion over the world in general he resisted that temptation (Luke 4:5–8) and every similar temptation. When the multitudes would take him by force to make him king he withdrew himself (John 6:15). He rode into Jerusalem, not on a steed of victory but meek and lowly, riding upon an ass (Matt. 21:5).
When he ascended to heaven he, as divine-and-human Mediator, received from the Father the reins of the universe to the great rejoicing of the Church both in heaven and on earth. He sat down on the Father’s right hand (Eph. 1:20, 21; Phil. 2:9; Rev. chapter 5; also 12:1–12).
Nevertheless, that great dominion which he even now exercises has not become publicly manifested. It must be accepted by faith. “Now we see not yet all things subjected to him” (Heb. 2:8). This, too, will change. “One day all creation shall bow to our Lord.” That great and wonderful day of judgment is here (Rev. 11:15) introduced. It is for that reason that the heavenly choir is singing.
B. THE ELDERS GIVE THANKS, verses 16-1 B
The ciders respond to the song of the angels. They render homage to God in the most humble manner. Note how in this great anthem they praise the Lord for the outpouring both of his wrath on the wicked and of his love on all them that fear his name, both small and great. Is it not wonderful that the Lord is coming to reward his servants for deeds which apart from his enabling grace they never could have accomplished?
C. THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY IS OPENED, verse 19
This is the grandest scene of all. It very fittingly climaxes the first half of the book of Revelation. The sanctuary in heaven is opened wide, so that the ark of the covenant, so long hidden from view, is now seen. That ark is the symbol of the intimate fellowship between God and his people. It was above that ark that the Lord manifested himself by means of an aura of glory above the mercy-seat and between the cherubim. Had he not promised, “There will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat”? Does not Christ’s atonement, symbolized by the mercy-seat. make this communion possible? The meaning then is this: when one day all the struggles of life are over and we shall ascend to meet our Lord in the air, we shall remain forever with him, and shall partake of the sweetness of his fellowship, and this forever and ever!
1. Verse 15 reminds you of what great musical chorus?
2. The book of Revelation is full of swelling anthems. What Call we do to promote good music in church and in the home?
3. Read verse 16. How can we promote reverence in our circles?
4. Why does not verse 17 say, “who art and who wast and who is to come”? Cf. Rev. 1:4
5. Lampstonds result in seals; seals bring forth trumpets; trumpets, if unheeded, produce what?
6. Explain the last part of verse 19.
7. What are the main lessons of Revelation, chapters 1–11?