Revealing Revelation – The Seventh Trumpet

02Feb11

Now that John has finished this interlude in which we glimpsed into the working of the Gospel preached and proclaimed in Jerusalem throughout the siege and sacking of the city, he now returns his attention to the seventh and final trumpet. This also marks the third and final woe.

Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

19Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

The first thing that should be noted that unlike the seventh seal in which a silence in Heaven was noted, this time the seventh trumpet bring great and loud noises. This is one argument against the repeated cycles of the tribulation, or that each cycle is speaking about the same events. That notwithstanding, the climate here is radically different than the somber, expectant tone of the seventh seal.

In this case we see and hear the victory of the Lord being proclaimed followed by worship of the Lord and a dramatic revelation of the heavenly temple that resides in the person and work of Christ and His victory and rulership.

So, with the blast of the seventh trumpet, those voices that had previously been requesting their vengeance has shifted from silence and awe to rejoicing and worship. The thrust of their proclamation is declaring that Jesus has received His kingdom in a physical, obvious since. This fulfills two major and important portions of the book of Daniel.

First, in Daniel 7 we are given the description of the Son of Man ascending up to the Ancient of Days to receive His kingdom. Though this was granted at His victory over death in His resurrection the literal, physical reality takes place when the Temple on earth is destroyed and He is vindicated through the destruction of the first enemy of the church and the ones guilty of His death. This is ultimately, physically noted at the fall of Jerusalem.

But previously in Daniel 2 we heard of a fifth kingdom that will come into existence that will never fall.

Dan 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold

This Heavenly Kingdom takes shape and begins it’s worldwide conquest at the fall of Jerusalem and Old Testament Judaism. The physical representation of that Kingdom expansion takes place when Christianity is no longer a subset of Judaism but is recognized as the world wide religion and Kingdom that it would  become. Jay Adams describes it this way:

“This [the destruction of the Temple] marked the fact that Hod had set up His own kingdom (the fifth kingdom of Daniel’s prophecy) and had begun to reign. Christianity only became a world religion…after it became totally disassociated from Judaism in 70 AD.”

So, though Jesus receives His kingdom at His ascension two things had to take. One was physical and the other spiritual. The spiritual birth of the kingdom would best be seen at Pentecost when Godly men of all nations heard the Gospel, believed and returned to their homes taking this new Gospel with them.

The second event, the physical one, would be the destruction of the temple and the divorcing of apostate Israel who had harloted herself with Rome to crucify the Lord of glory, and the beautiful picture of the New bride of Christ, His Church.

The next note worth considering is the unique change in a popular phrase…

Rev 11:17 “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.

The phrase “who is and who was and who is to come” is mentioned several times in the Book of Revelation alone. But here and following there is a change. It is simply “who is and who was.” No longer is there an expectation of the one “one who is to come.” This signals an understanding that Christ had come, at least in the fashion of judgment and that His Kingdom is not one that is to come, but had already arrived. This is proven as the verse in question finishes with “begun to reign.”

His kingdom and His reigning is NOT POSTPONED! He is not to be seen as one who is to come in relation to His kingdom. The nations raged, but could not withstand His judgment nor slow down His kingdom! The dead were judged for their rebellion and His martyrs were vindicated.

This image closes with familiar language noting the presence of God. This image of thunder, lightning, earthquake, etc hearkens back to the   the Old covenant at Mt. Sinai. Here the New Covenant is visibly and obviously ratified using similar language. the physical representation of this ratification of the New Covenant is the destruction of apostate Israel and the Old testament symbol of the Old Covenant, the Temple. We then see the Spiritual Temple replace the physical one.

Rev 11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

With this the time of the trumpets have ended and we begin a transition to the expanded judgment hinted at in Chapter 10 and the little book. With this expansion we are introduced more clearly to the second persecutor of the Church and the coming judgment it will face. It doesn’t leaven apostate Israel out, but rather expands the judgment to include the Beast, whom we will see represents that most powerful nation the earth has ever seen.

But even this Beast cannot stand against the power of the Gospel!

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