Revelation 11:14-19

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 2, 1997

Introduction

We pick up where we left off Ö

The Seventh Trumpet

:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

Itís been since Rev. 9:13 since weíve seen the sixth trumpet. Since then, weíve seen:

200 million horsemen coming from the Euphrates river to kill 1/3 of mankind.

We saw the "mighty angel" coming to stand on the earth and sea and to claim it for God (I am still leaning towards it being Jesus!) and then hand John a scroll, which he ate.

We saw John measure the temple that will be built in Jerusalem.

We saw the ministry of the two witnesses (Moses and Elijah we think)

(Rev 11:5-6 KJV) And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. {6} These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Then after a ministry of 3 Ĺ years, these witnesses are allowed to be killed by the antichrist, then after laying dead in the streets for 3 Ĺ days, they are raised from the dead, and taken to heaven.

Now itís time for the seventh trumpet.

:15 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ

This is where Handel took the line for his musical, "The Messiah".

To understand this, we need to understand the history of the kingdoms of this world.

The kingdoms of this world are currently under a different king than Jesus.

Ezekiel describes this king:

(Ezek 28:14-15 KJV) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. {15} Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Jesus called him "the prince of the world" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

He was the one who made this offer to Jesus:

(Luke 4:5-8 KJV) And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. {6} And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. {7} If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. {8} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

And now the voices are declaring that the kingdom has changed hands.

Keep in mind, the voices in heaven making this statement are not making it in the sense that from this point in Revelation, itís over.

Some take it this way, and then try to take the following chapters as some kind of recap of earlier events.

The voices are stating this in the sense of a conquering army landing on the beach and claiming the land for their king.

Even though they still have many battles up ahead, much fighting to do.

:15 he shall reign for ever and ever.

The Greek is: "eij touj aiwnaj twn aiwnwn"""

Or, "unto the ages of the ages".

There is a curious error that some people have fallen into concerning the punishment of the wicked.

They feel that there will be a day when the wicked will be finished with their punishment, and perhaps they just disappear or something.

They take this verse:

(Rev 14:11 KJV) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

And then say that "for ever and ever" means a specific length of time.

The problem is that this is the same phrase that is used to describe the length of the rule of Christ on the earth.

And when it says forever, it means forever.

:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats

seats - thronos - a throne seat. These guys are sitting on thrones in the presence of God.

These twenty four elders are the same guys we saw back in chapters four and five.

I mentioned back then that I felt that these constituted the leadership of saved men, twelve from Israel, twelve from the Gentile church.

Jesus Himself had promised the disciples:

(Mat 19:28 KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Letís look at where weíve seen these guys, and see what stands out:

(Rev 4:4 KJV) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

(Rev 4:10 KJV) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

(Rev 5:8 KJV) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

(Rev 5:14 KJV) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Re 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

(Rev 11:16 KJV) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

(Rev 19:4 KJV) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

:16 fell upon their faces

This seems to be the main occupation of these individuals in heaven.

Think about what it means to "sit on a throne".

It usually carries the idea of the one whose in charge, the one who makes the decisions, the one whose on top.

If indeed these are the leadership of redeemed, these individuals have truly "arrived".

There is no higher place to go in the universe, than to sit on one of the twenty-four thrones before the presence of God.

Yet these individuals have a hard time staying in their chairs.

They keep falling out off their thrones.

Lesson:

Learning True Humility.

Itís all about falling off your throne.

It seems that sometimes we try so hard to be something or somebody thatís "important".

We want so much for people to "respect" us.

We are thrilled when we find out how much God values us and cherishes us, and puts us on a throne.

Weíd like to stay there, on a throne.

Pride and criticism

I am grieved when I see this air of superiority over others, as we stand in judgment, criticizing them. Whatís worse is when I see it in myself.

(Rom 14:4 KJV) Who art thou that judgest another manís servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

When I find myself face to face with God, the only thing to do is to fall on my face.

I guess when I carry this superior air about myself, itís probably because I havenít spent enough time on my face before God.

It seems that when Iím on my face, all the petty criticisms and junk doesnít really matter any more.

Iím just a servant of the Lord.

Jesus said to Paul

Ac 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

Minister - huperetes - lit., an "under-rower"; a servant; any one who aids another in any work

Paul later wrote,

1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

We are just His assistants, simply here to do all that our master asks us to do.

:16 and worshipped God

This seems to go hand in hand with falling on their faces for the elders.

The Greek word is proskuneo and means literally "to kiss towards".

Itís a word that speaks of adoration and worship.

These 24 elders, who are right there in Godís presence, before His throne, keep finding themselves worshipping God.

Lesson:

The more you know Him, the more youíll worship.

There are times when we just have a hard time understanding whatís going on with our lives.

Life doesnít seem to make sense, and we can kind of get angry with God.

But the more we know Him, and the more we begin to see things from His perspective, the more weíll find ourselves adoring and loving Him.

The Psalmist writes:

(Psa 73:1-4 KJV) A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. {2} But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. {3} For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. {4} For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

(Psa 73:16-17 KJV) When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; {17} Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

I believe God wants us to learn to trust Him, even when we donít clearly see whatís going on.

This is to live by "faith", trusting what we donít see, trusting that God is doing whatís best.

Illustration

" T H E B U R N I N G H U T "

The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal, they replied.

We need to learn to offer up a "sacrifice of praise" even when we donít understand how things are to work out.

:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty

thanks - eucharisteo - to be grateful, feel thankful

This is the words they used to worship.

:17 which art, and wast, and art to come

Speaking of Godís eternal nature.

God dwells in three types of time at the same time.

He is right now dwelling in the present (which art)

He right now is dwelling in the past (which wast)

He is right now dwelling in the future (and art to come)

:17 because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

NAS - Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign.

God has always had the power, itís just that Heís waiting for this moment to move and take the earth back.

There are times when I hear lots of us getting impatient and praying, "Lord, come back quickly!"

Thatís understandable, weíre going to be much better off when He comes.

But think of how it would be for some of you if the Lord was not as patient as He is, and was moved by the cries of some of us twenty years ago.

Arenít you glad God waited?

2Pe 3:9 ∂ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Lesson:

Itís going to happen, all in Godís good time.

Itís really okay to pray, "Lord come back quick".

But keep in mind that itís not that bad that He waits, because thereís a few more people coming into the kingdom.

:18 And the nations were angry

Some have suggested that this verse is kind of a summary of the next portion of the tribulation period.

This is a little reminiscent of Psalm 2

(Psa 2:1-5 KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? {2} The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, {3} Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. {4} He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. {5} Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

During this last part of the tribulation, the antichrist will actually be gathering the nations together to get ready for Jesusí return.

Theyíre going to be getting ready to try and fight against Jesus.

(Rev 19:11-13 KJV) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. {12} His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. {13} And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

(Rev 19:19-20 KJV) And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. {20} And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

:18 thy wrath is come

The Tribulation period is known as the time of Godís wrath.

:18 and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great

If the Rapture happens before the Tribulation, then there has already been one resurrection, that of dead believers, who receive their new bodies just before we who are on earth are raptured to receive our new bodies.

At the end of the tribulation, there is another resurrection:

(Rev 20:4-6 KJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. {5} But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. {6} Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

This is a resurrection for those faithful who died during the tribulation, when they receive their new bodies.

There will be one more resurrection still yet, after Jesus rules for 1,000 years on earth Ė

(Rev 20:11-15 KJV) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. {12} And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. {13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. {14} And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. {15} And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is when the unbelievers will receive their new bodies, and be judged and sent to an eternal punishment.

:18 and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

destroy - diaphtheiro - to change for the worse, to corrupt; to destroy, ruin

God will punish the wicked.

But look how the wicked are described, as those "which destroy the earth".

Maybe we could make a case for ecology here!

After all, this was part of Godís original design for man, to take care of the garden:

(Gen 2:15 KJV) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Lesson:

Christians should care for the earth too.

Itís tough when most of the ecology movement is led by humanistic Darwinists. But the truth is, God wants man to take care of this place!

:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven

Some have suggested that this verse should really be with the next chapter.

The next chapter is going to deal heavily with symbolic pictures (it even tells us it does, vs.12:1).

The temple as well as the tabernacle were supposed to be mockups of heaven (Heb 9:23), and so in a sense were symbolic themselves.

So, what is a symbol of heaven doing in heaven?

:19 and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament

This is the "ark of the covenant" that weíve seen in the book of Exodus.

This was itself to be a model of the throne of God.

It was covered with a solid gold "mercy seat", or a throne.

Above the mercy seat were the "cherubim", the very angelic beings weíve seen in Rev. 4&5.

Itís interesting to note that the actual ark itself disappeared sometime around the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

When Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple seventy years later, there was no ark in the temple.

When Herod remodeled the temple during Jesusí day, there was no ark.

During the time of Johnís life, both when the temple was still standing, as well as when it was later destroyed in 70 AD, there had been no ark.

Yet it is seen here in heaven.

Suggestions:

1) The ark was taken to heaven by God before the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, and John is seeing the actual ark that Moses built.

Some have said that Jeremiah hid the ark in a secret chamber under the temple, which Solomon had built for just such an occasion.

There are men in Jerusalem today who claim to know where the ark is located under the temple mount, and theyíre just waiting for the right time to retrieve it.

Chuck Missler claims that there are some men who, when interviewed away from cameras, will admit that theyíve actually seen the ark.

2) John is seeing the real ark, of which Mosesí was just a copy.

Perhaps even in heaven, there are models and such, with this being the real one.

Lesson:

God never changes.

There are people who like to claim that thereís a big difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament, and that Godís rules and personality changed with Jesus.

I used to fall for it too.

But the more I read my Bible, I realize that God has never really changed.

The ark is the "file box" that kept the stone tablets with the ten commandments written on them.

The fact that the "mercy seat", or Godís throne, was sitting on top of these ten commandments is pretty important.

It tells us what Godís standards are.

It tells us what Godís rule over us is based upon.

Ps 97:2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

Godís standards are still the same.

God desires righteousness.

And if you canít match His righteousness, you better find a way to get some.

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

:19 and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

All this judgment flows from the temple, it all flows from the Ark, it flows from the standards of Godís throne.