Revelation 11:14-19 Following the rapture of the church the end time will be a period of horror and tragedy. The world and its people will go through great tribulation, tribulation such as the world has never before seen. Scene after scene of catastrophe and horror have already been seen. This is the reason, that scattered throughout Revelation, we have seen the Lord give to John scenes of hope and of the glory that is to come. This is what the present passage is all about. John once again needs to be lifted up and encouraged. Therefore, God gives him a broad overview of what is yet to come; John sees in sketch form the glory with the horror. This is the overall picture of things to come. Here is an outline of v 14-19.
1. The third woe comes quickly; that is, the seventh trumpet is the third woe (Revelation 11:14-15).
2. Scene 1: this world becomes God’s kingdom (Revelation 11:15).
3. Scene 2: the Lord God Almighty is acclaimed (Revelation 11:16-17).
4. Scene 3: the nations make a final rebellion and are destroyed (Revelation 11:18).
5. Scene 4: God’s temple is to be opened (Revelation 11:19). Revelation 11:14-15 The third woe will come quickly the woes are periods of extreme distress, suffering, and calamity. The first woe was the demonic locust-like creatures that sweep the earth and torment people (Revelation 8:13-9:11).
The second woe was demonic military horse-like creatures that sweep the earth and kill one third of the ungodly (Revelation 9:12-21).
The third woe is the seventh trumpet, the judgments that result from the blast of the seventh trumpet; but when the seventh trumpet blasts there is no judgment or woe that comes forth, because there are some things that need to be seen before the judgments actually take place. The judgments and woe of the seventh trumpet are actually the seven bowl judgments; that is, the seventh trumpet will blast forth seven more judgments, and these will be far worse than any of the judgments that have been cast on the earth so far. The bowl judgments bring the climax of human history and the end of time as we know it.
Since both the seventh trumpet and the seven bowls are said to finish God’s wrath, the bowls must be part of the seventh trumpet judgment. It should be noted that although the seventh trumpet is the last in the sequence of the seven trumpet judgments, it is not the ” last trumpet ” Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The seventh trumpet covers an extended period of time while the trumpet blast of the rapture is instantaneous (” in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye “).
Therefore this trumpet does not parallel the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, but does parallel the trumpet of Joel 2:12. Before this final woe takes place there are some things that we need to see and understand. The first thing is an overview of events that are yet to take place in the Revelation. The present passage leaps ahead and shows us in a broad summary what is to happen over the next ten chapters of this vision.
God is preparing John’s heart by showing him that God would triumph over evil and establish His kingdom forever. God gives John (and through him us,) five scenes of what is yet to come. In Revelation 11:15 we have the first scene in which one of God’s angels declares that God has reclaimed fully that which he allowed to be lost the kingdom of God has now fully come to the earth. The Greek tense is past tense and shows our God and His Messiah ruling over the whole world.
The kingdoms of this world are done away with and all the people on earth live and work as citizens of God’s kingdom. Presently, in our day and time, human governments involve some earthly authorities and rulers some of which are good and some are bad. It includes earthly laws that favor some people and treat others unjustly. It includes an economic system where some have jobs and others do not; some earthly governments protect their citizens, others abuse and enslave them; some governments provide good services for their people such as roads, sewage, water, and health care while some provide poor service. The point is that earthly governments are imperfect.
They focus on the pleasures and possessions of this world system and on war and conflict. The apex of this will be seen in the end time under the rule of the Antichrist. The world will be filled with sin and evil, selfishness and greed, war and conflict. But the day is coming when the kingdoms of this world are going to become the kingdom of our God and His Messiah. God is going to reign over the world and bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven during the millennium. The millennium is the period of one thousand years, that Jesus is to return to this earth and rule over the nations and people of the earth. God is going to send His dear Son back to earth to establish peace and prosperity for all. What Jesus refused to take on Satan’s terms (Luke 4:5-8).
He will take on His own terms. Jesus affirmed that Satan, though a usurper and not the rightful king, is the present ruler of the world. Three times in John’s gospel Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). Satan will rule in the future over a united fallen humanity in one visible kingdom under Antichrist’s (the Beast of Revelation 13:14) leadership. Satan will not relinquish his kingdom without a struggle. In a desperate effort to maintain his control of the world, God will allow him to overrun it with hordes of demons during the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments (Revelation 9:1-19).
But his efforts will not keep the true King from returning and establishing His earthly kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21;20:1-3, 10). Jesus will return to sit on the throne of His father David (2 Samuel 7:12-16). This is really the theme of Revelation – the triumph of God over Satan as evil is purged from the world and God places His anointed as the world’s holy ruler (Psalm 2:6-9; Isaiah 2:2-3). The seventh trumpet not only announces consuming judgment on unbelievers, but also the coronation of the Lord Jesus. In the Old Testament, trumpets were frequently sounded at the coronation of a king. This is the glorious promise of this passage (Daniel 2:44, 6:26, 7:13-14, Luke 1:32-33; Revelation 19:6, 20:4-6).
Revelation 11:16-17 This is the second scene in which the Lord God Almighty is acclaimed. As soon as the angel gave a glimpse into the future that showed the victory of God, the twenty four elders will fall on their faces before God. They worship and praise Him for three things:
1) They praise God as the Lord God Almighty that He deserves to be the Lord and Master over all lives. That He is the Creator and Maker of all, and He is the only one who deserves to be worshipped, and that He is Almighty, all powerful.He can do anything, and He will always be able to execute His will.
2) They praise Him as the Lord God who “is, and was, and is to come.” That He is eternal Who exists now and has always existed, and always will exist. That the Lord God possesses life forever and ever, and is able to give life to whom He wills.
3) They praised Him for taking His great power back from the world and beginning to reign in His rightful place. God has allowed Satan to have access to the world and to man to accomplish His ultimate will for mankind giving man an opportunity to choose to willingly follow and serve Him. Unfortunately, most of mankind has chosen to follow Satan instead of God. But not all people.
Some have done exactly what God was after: to freely chose, believe and follow Him and to love Him. The result has been a world inhabited by a mass of people who deny and ignore God and by only a few people who focus on God. And the inevitable has happened: selfishness, greed and lust have gripped people who have focused on self and the result has been the mess that the world has been in since the fall.
Revelation 11:18 The third scene describes the reaction of the nations of the world who have no desire to repent of sin, they will gather for their destruction at Armageddon (cf.Psalm 2:1,5,12;Acts 4:24-29). The judgments people will experience during the Tribulation should cause them to turn from their sins and submit to God. Instead they will be like Pharaoh, who kept hardening his heart until the point came when God judicially fixed his heart in that hardened condition (Exodus 10:1, 11:10).
The unbelieving world will reach that point during the events of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 16:9, 11). They will gather to fight against Him at the battle on the plain of Megiddo (Revelation 16:14,16). They will be utterly destroyed in that battle (Revelation 19:19-21). Ezekiel 38-39 depicts the gathering of unbelievers to fight against the Lord’s annointed and His people, Israel, at the battle of Armageddon. There will also be another invasion, at the end of the Millennium, which will involve Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8-10) .
The same names are used which tells us that this later invasion will be similar to the one during the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:16-23). The sounding of the seventh trumpet begins the fulfillment of the great judgment that the prophets foresaw and that Believers throughout the ages have longed for (Psalm 3:7, 7:6, 35:18, 44:26, 68:1-2). Not only will the seventh trumpet signal the outpouring of God’s wrath on earth, it will also indicate that the time has come for the dead to be judged.
The establishing of Christ’s kingdom will be the time for the dead to be judged. This is not the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) since that judgment explicitly involves only unbelievers. It is best to see the reference to judgment here as a general reference to all future judgments. The elders in their song make no attempt to separate the different phases of judgment as they are separated in the closing chapters of Revelation. They simply sing of future judgments as though they were one event, in the same way that other Scriptures do not distinguish future judgments from each other (John 5:25, 28-29, Acts 17:31).
The judgment will first of all be the time for God to reward for those who have served Him and honored Him, the small and the great. Though the power to serve God in a way worthy of reward is a gift of God’s grace, still all through the New Testament believers are encouraged to work in view of those promised rewards (Matthew 5:12, 10:41-42, Mark 9:41, 1 Corinthians 3:8, Colossians 3:24, 2 John 8, Revelation 22:12). The reward promised believers is that they will inherit the kingdom, in both its millennial (Matthew 25:34-40, Mark 10:29-31) and eternal (Revelation 21:7) phases.
Believers are also promised crowns, including the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the crown of life (James 1:12,Revelation 2:10), and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). These rewards are for both Old and New Covenant saints. Revelation 11:19 We now come to the fourth scene when God’s temple will be opened. This is the picture of eternity. God will dwell with His own in His temple. It will be then that His promises will then be known to be true and His majesty will be experienced.
This is the heavenly temple after which the earthly temple and tabernacle were patterned. Scripture clearly says this (Exodus 25:20, Hebrews 9:23). This reminds us that our earthly worship is patterned after the heavenly worship. In this scene the Temple is opened and the Ark of the Covenant is seen. The earthly Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies, which until it was destroyed in 70 A.D. no ordinary person had ever seen it except the High Priest and only on the Day of Atonement.
This vision involves the opening up of the Temple in heaven and the opening up of the Holy of Holies this must mean that at that time the glory of God is going to be fully displayed. That which was secret is going to be revealed; that which no man has seen is going to be opened to the sight of men. The Ark of the Covenant was something that was part of God’s covenant with Israel and will exist once again during the Millennium.
But this scene is a picture of the coming of the full glory of God, which is a wonderful promise to all the people of God’s covenant. The new heavens and earth, will have no temple in them (Revelation 21:2, 22). There will be no need for a temple as a place of worship because we will be worshiping God in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24).