The End. Then the credits roll. Not subtle, not secret, all men everywhere whether alive or dead will know what time it is. Will not be opportunity or necessity for explaining why nothing appeared to change but it really did – e.g. Russellites, Campingites, and others who have picked date for Second Coming. Six seals, six trumpets, two of three woes have passed; heaven is holding its breath waiting for God to move, to come “out from his place” (Isa. 26:21).
Not a mystery to those in heaven what comes next: prayers of the saints will be answered, their persecution over, God will receive glory due to him, opposition to God’s righteous rule over earth will end, effects of Curse will be removed and creation restored. These things and more cause for great rejoicing, now is the moment when God in time and space will have final triumph over sin and death.
The sounding of the seven trumpets signalled the fall of the city of Jericho, so the seventh trumpet signals the end of the “city of man”, the kingdom of the world. Labor pains are over, time for which creation has been expectantly waiting has arrived. God begins to move in a visible and universal way like never before since days of Creation. Righteous saints and angels celebrate God’s accomplishment of his purpose.
A. opposition ended v.15
No matter how gloomy, difficult, painful church’s time on earth may become, the Light will dawn, the Son will come out. God has always been, is, and always will be the absolute Sovereign over all creation. The way in which he has exercised his sovereign authority has not always been the same: in the Garden of Eden, related to man face to face. In time of Moses, governed his people through a mediator. When the trumpet sounds, when God comes out from his place, he will take immediate control. No longer working through means, mediately, but directly, immediately.
Saints will receive a comprehensive answer to their prayer: “thy will be done on earth as in heaven”. All lesser authorities regardless of allegiance give way to the supreme authority, God and his Anointed who mount the throne and exercise their sovereign will over the universe. What does that mean? What will it look like?
No longer any dispute about God’s sovereign authority; battle for possession of the world will have ended. Spiritual warfare going on around us will cease; all who have persisted in rebellion against God will be forever imprisoned, sequestered, experiencing God’s wrath eternally. No more conflict, only complete and perfect subjection to will of God. No longer will there be hindrance to vision of God present with people:
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
David Pareus – “best interpreter of this place is Paul”, 1 Cor. 15:24-28
B. the church worships v.16-17
representatives of OT and NT church – 24 elders – fall on faces and worship. Perfect opportunity for “high-fives”, cheers, applause. Big guy, home team, man upstairs won the last round; makes it time to party hearty. Nothing like that ever described or legitimized in Scripture. Yes, written from 1st century perspective; however,… still a divinely inspired account of what will occur in future. It must not be reinterpreted or contextualized to justify worship style someone thinks is cool. Besides, picture is of entire church worshiping, together, not each individual doing their own thing.
True worship thanking God for:
who he is
“a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase תואבצ(ה) (יהלא) הוהי YHWH (‘ĕlōhê) (haṣ)ṣĕbā’ôt, “Yahweh (the God) of (the) Hosts,” found 9 times in Amos (3:13 ; 4:13; 5:14, 15, 16, 27; 6:8, 14; 9:5) and only 10 times in the rest of the OT (2 Sam 5:10; 1 Kgs 19:10, 14; Hos 12:6; Jer 5:14; 15:16; 35:17; 38:17; 44:7; Ps 89:9). The shorter form “Yahweh of Hosts” occurs 267 times in the OT.” Word Biblical Commentary
Self-existent covenant-keeping, all-powerful creator, commander-in-chief; a technical name that “it affirms his universal rulership that encompasses every force or army, heavenly, cosmic and earthly”. TWOT
“ο ων και ο ην” who is and who was, same construction as chapter 1:4 , 1:8, 4:8, 16:5; eternal and unchanging God
what he has done
“has taken his great power” – by exercising and visibly demonstrating his power by overthrowing all opposition, delivering the church from all her affliction. Power and glory seen in:
executing justice in punishment of evildoers
bestowing grace in reward of righteous
“has begun to reign”
rules with full authority, no longer restrained in way it has been during this age.
C. evil judged, righteousness rewarded v.18
Mankind’s response – rage (Psalm 2:1)
since Fall man has raged against God-imposed limits. Desire to be autonomous, doing their own thing, not being reminded that there is a God with expectations. Response goes “over the top” when seventh trumpet sounds; frenzied rage that their time is up, no more opportunities to attempt their own agenda. Sound of the trumpet means
Time has come to:
judge the dead – they will receive their just reward, God’s perfect justice meted out to those under the law. If gave any thought to heaven, believed could merit it on their own by living up to some standard of law. Fine, they will be judged according to their keeping of the law and condemned by it.
reward the righteous – they will receive their just reward, God’s perfect justice meted out to those under grace. Trusted in Christ to merit heaven on their behalf, followed God’s law as standard of living and out of desire to please him. Fine, they will be judged according to their Substitute’s keeping of the law and acquitted by it. Then God will reward their works that he has done through them (Isa. 26:12)
destroy the destroyers – mete out just punishment on those who corrupted the earth by their evildoings. God will have complete victory over all his enemies who are also enemies of his church and bent on plundering and destroying his good creation.
Many details not included in this vision – what will actually happen on that day, how will it all go down? Further revelation later on in Revelation, we’ll get there!
D. God’s glory revealed v.19
What John saw is original of which OT tabernacle/temple a copy
“The ark was the most holy object in the tabernacle (Exod. 25:10-22). It was normally concealed from sight behind the tabernacle curtains. The revealing of this innermost object signifies that God has fully revealed his glory, both the glory of his law (the covenant words) and of his mercy (as signified by the atonement cover).” Poythress
True and unhindered worship will be restored. God has remained faithful to his covenant, God and his people will dwell together as announced in Rev. 21:3
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Promises made repeatedly through prophets – Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah – will be kept in its fullness: “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” At that time God’s people will see and experience his glory to the fullest extent possible – no unnecessary restraint on God’s part, nothing to impede on people’s part.
Cause for great rejoicing, hope, comfort: “prophets and saints, those who fear God’s name, small and great”, none are left out of reward. God can be trusted to bring his people safely to their eternal destination – deliver them from their enemies of all kinds (persecutors, sickness, hardship, sin, death) and welcome them into his immediate presence. God will truly make it worth it all – all that “stuff” will be completely erased from our memories when we see Christ.