The Seventh Trumpet

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SEVENTH TRUMPETThe seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. (Revelation 11:15-19)

The Kingdom of Our Lord – As the trumpet sounded, voices were heard in heaven: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This will ultimately be fulfilled at the Second Coming when Christ establishes His Millennial Kingdom. Yet the seventh trumpet also appears to introduce the seven bowl judgments, which is the final outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth that is described in Revelation 16 and that culminates in Christ’s return.(1) How can both be true? Perhaps the seventh trumpet sets in motion the sequence of events (seven bowl judgments) that will end with Christ’s return and the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth.

The One Who Is and Was – God is no longer called “the one who was and is and is to come.” He has arrived (see Revelation 1:8; 4:8). Since God now dwells among His people (see Revelation 21:3), the phrase “is to come” is dropped.(2)

Have Begun to Reign – God has always been sovereign over His creation. However, in John’s visions of the time of the end, God takes charge of the kingdoms of the world by setting His Messiah over them as King. This means the end of suffering for the people of God, the end of the kingdoms of the world, and the arrival of justice and a prosperous, utopian society (see Daniel 8:17).(3)

Your Wrath Has Come – There was intense suffering in the first half of the Tribulation, but only the last half will reveal the full wrath of God (Revelation 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15), which includes the seven bowls. There are two Greek words for anger. One means rage or passionate anger. The other, which is used here, means indignation. God’s anger is not an unpredictable outburst of temperamental rage. It is a holy and righteous indignation against sin. At the same time, God’s anger is not dispassionate. He hates sin and loves (is passionate about) righteousness and justice.(4)

Judging the Dead, Rewarding the Servants – Ultimately, this will take us to the very end of God’s prophetic program. In one sense, every day is a “day of the Lord” because God is always judging righteously. God is long-suffering toward lost sinners and often postpones judgment. But there will be a final judgment of sinners that none will escape. This is the “Great White Throne Judgment” described in Revelation 20:11–15.

There will also be a judgment of God’s children, known as “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10–13; 1 Corinthians 3:9–15; 2 Corinthians 5:9–11). God will reward His faithful servants (Matthew 25:21) and the sufferings they experienced on earth will be forgotten in the glory of His presence. Though God’s children will not be judged for their sins (that judgment took place on the cross), they will be judged for their works and rewarded generously by the Master. The Judgment Seat of Christ will take place in heaven after Christ has called His people home. When He returns to earth to establish His kingdom, the saints will be ready to reign with Him, with every blemish of the church removed (Ephesians 5:25–27; Revelation 19:7–8). Today, we groan as we serve God, because we know only too well our handicaps and blemishes. But one day, we shall serve Him perfectly!(5)

Ark of the Covenant – While the Ark of the Covenant is presumed by many to have been destroyed during Nebuchadnezzar’s final siege of Jerusalem (586 BC), its actual fate is unknown. In John’s apocalypse, it is revealed when God’s temple opens. The ark was the focal point of God’s presence with His people, and here it carries the same significance. God once again dwells among His people.(6)

Flashes of Lightning, Rumblings, Peals of Thunder, an Earthquake and a Great Hailstorm – Once again, John saw and heard the approach of a coming storm (see Revelation 4:5; 8:5). As incredible as it might seem, greater judgment is about to fall on the rebellious people of earth! God’s people need not fear the storms, for He is in control. The ark reminds them of His abiding presence and the faithfulness of His unbroken promises. On the ark was the mercy seat on which the blood was sprinkled each Day of Atonement (Leviticus. 16:15–17). Even in wrath, God remembers His mercy (Habakkuk. 3:2).(7)

Up Next – An Angel With a Tiny Scroll.

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References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 956–957). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 11:17–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  3. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 11:17–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  4. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 600–601). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 601). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 11:19). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 601). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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