Seventh Trumpet - Page 1 of 3 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 7-22-16


Lesson: III.C.10: Seventh Trumpet (Third Woe): The Victory of Christ and His Kingdom Proclaimed (11:14-19)

Revelation 11:14-19 (KJV)

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, 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; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.


Introduction

The last trump is about to sound, and that will lead to the outpouring of the vials of God’s wrath. But first we are given a glimpse of the crowning in Heaven of God’s rightful king. It seems as though they never get tired of crowning Him in Heaven! The title deeds of earth were given to Him in chapter five, and the elders cast their crowns at His feet. Here He is acknowledged as earth’s rightful King. Later, in chapter 19, he comes forth as King of kings and Lord of lords, and on his head are many crowns.

The scene is in Heaven, but news of what is happening is released on earth, with the result that the nations are enraged. They want no king but Caesar. One is tempted to linger long over this passage because the next two chapters are indeed deficient of blessings because they are occupied with the purposes of the evil one. Two truths are set before us here. The third woe on earth is described, and the thankful worship in Heaven is described. The two events stand in stark contrast to each other. Judgment on earth, jubilation in Heaven; rage on earth, rejoicing in Heaven; cursing on earth, crowning in Heaven; woe on earth, worship in Heaven. God balances the one against the other with expert skill.

OUR STUDY OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION REQUIRES THAT WE BEAR IN MIND THAT JOHN IS DESCRIBING THE VISION THAT GOD GAVE HIM OF FUTURE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE END OF THE WORLD.


Commentary

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

Verse 14 marks the end of the parenthetical portion of the vision; that includes everything that takes place between the sixth and the seven trumpets (10:1-11:14).

The flying eagle had warned of three “terrors” or “woes” to come upon the earth: “As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (8:13). The first woe was recorded in 9:1-12; the “second woe” in 9:13-21 and 11:1-13.

The “third woe” is coming very soon. Most likely, 11:18 hints at the third woe which will include the battle of Armageddon—the final battle between God and Satan. This will begin when the angel sounds the seventh trumpet.


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

In verse 15 we have the resumption of the trumpet judgments. The sounding of the seventh trumpet is the official proclamation of the coming coronation of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Actually the change of rule, with Christ as King over all the earth, does not occur until the events recorded in chapters 12-18 have been fulfilled.

The Church is safe with Jesus in the air and at this time will have a grandstand seat in the heavens. The angel announced in Revelation 210:6 that God’s dealings with earth’s dwellers are almost over, and righteousness is about to take over. The Lord is

taking over what rightly belongs to Him. There was now no turning back. The coming judgments were no longer partial but complete in their destruction. God unleashed His full wrath on the evil world that refused to turn to Him: “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts” (9:20-21). When His wrath begins there would be no escape.

The seventh trumpet is not just one short event; it actually comprises the rest of the judgment of God and then the final end of the age, with the new heaven and the new earth. It also serves as a trigger for the next series of visions recorded by John. The seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet, and instead of immediate destruction there is loud praise from “voices in heaven.” The reference to loud voices implies a group, but we are not told the specific identity of the group. Perhaps it is everyone who is in Heaven, but most likely it is angels in Heaven, singing as they had in 5:11—“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.” This event is so certain to happen that the angels sang of it as though it had already occurred. They were shouting that the whole world has now become Christ’s kingdom. These voices were declaring the triumph of Christ and His assuming His rightful place on the throne, reigning forever and ever. The focus of this praise is this: The kingdom of this world has become Jesus’ kingdom.
Daniel had predicted a time when God’s kingdom would destroy the kingdoms of this world, “during the reign of those kings, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). Zechariah had promised, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—His name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9). The kingdom is with God’s people spiritually but has not been fulfilled historically. This verse refers to that final consummation. This is a worship pageant, portraying in Heaven what will be unfolded on earth.

The whole question of sovereignty is now settled. The revisers have changed the wording of this passage slightly so that it reads, “the kingdom (singular) of this world has become the kingdom (singular) of our Lord (the NASB, Revised Version, and Living Bible are some examples).” That is what the devil has been after for centuries—to unite the world into a single kingdom—but all his attempts have failed. He can no more overcome the disruptive, divisive power of sin than he can escape the ultimate judgment of God.

Back in the beginning of human history, when men first began to organize in the rebellion against God, Satan attempted at Babel to build a world society from which God was to be excluded. Men planned a city and a tower—the city was to symbolize their political unity and the tower their religious unity. They had a common tongue as well, which emphasized their cultural unity. God came down and confounded the whole thing. Man, united without God, was the form taken by the first apostasy after the flood. It will be the form of the final apostasy too.

When the Lord was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He was offered the kingdoms of the world, power, and Glory. The Lord rejected the offer. He had not come for the divided, disunited kingdoms of the earth; He had come for the kingdom. And so, the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord. That is the theme of Heaven’s song. But if it is wonderful news in Heaven, it is awful news on earth, for the transition will take place not by evolution, but by divine intervention in wrath. The kingdom is to be arbitrarily imposed on men by God, and terrible judgments lie between the crowning of the King in Heaven and the crowning of that same King on earth. Satan, although he is fighting a losing battle, will not give up—without a fierce struggle—his evil hold upon the planet he has dominated for so long.



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