We now come to the end of the 11th chapter. Allow me to give you a brief synopsis of what we have said so far:
1. The book of Revelation is primary the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1) , “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father…” (1:5,6). This book reveals future things – “the things that must soon take place” (1:1; 4:1). The destinies of all peoples, nations, tribes and their kings are in view here . There is no god for the Muslims or god for the Hindu’s or god for the Christians . There is only One God an Creator, and He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom He made all things (John 1:3). Jesus Christ is the Son of God who gave Himself for the world , that is , He gave Himself for all His sheep among the tribes , nations , tongues of the world. He has set a time when He will return from where He is now seated in the heavenlies, to judge all of mankind with respect to the revelation that is given us in this Bible. He will then divide mankind into two kinds of people, sheep and goats, at the final judgment (Matt 25:31-46). Mankind will face two destinies : eternal heaven or eternal hell
2. In Chapter 11 we are given a general overview of the history of the world :
(i) The place of the church in history : When the temple was measured in 11:1-2, a distinction was made between the temple of God and the outer court and the holy city. We observed from this that there is always a nominal church which is distinct from the true church.
(ii) From that true church 2 witnesses arise. From an exposition of 11:4 we saw that these two witnesses are the true church and true ministers of the gospel. They testify powerfully (in word and deed) against the nominal church and the world. Their words become a fire, effectively silencing the arguments of their enemy . They will prophesy (speak with authority from God) until the appointed time .
(iii) Then we observe the rise of the anti-Christ , the beast which comes out of the abyss. The anti-Christ exists in the whole age, but towards the end of time and before the coming of Christ he is allowed to kill these two witnesses, so that it seems that the true church and her true ministers are now extinct.
(iv) But lastly, we find that the witnesses do not remain dead. We note, that the days of trial for the true church are shortened ( 11:11-cf Matt. 24:22). Like their Lord Jesus, they are raised from the dead and taken up to heaven (11: 12) before the 7th trumpet of the final judgment is thrown is blown ! This trumpet corresponds with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 . This, in a nutshell is the biblical view of the history and the future of the world. You are privileged to know the outcome!
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET ( 11:15)
Do you remember what we had previously said about the significance of the number seven ? It is the number of divine perfection and of accomplishment . When the 7th seal is opened and the 7th trumpet is sounded and when the 7th bowl of God’s wrath is emptied out upon the earth , the end has come in a two fold sense : (i) God’s people will have been delivered and taken to heaven to be with their Lord forevermore, and (ii) God’s enemies will be judged and separated from Him forevermore. And now as the 7th trumpet is blown (or, as the third woe is announced) we need to make some important observations :
1. Remember that the blowing of the 7th trumpet occurs within the context of the 11th chapter. This chapter does not provide a lot of details. Rather it paints a picture in broad strokes with respect to the history of the church, as she both triumphs as the church militant against her enemy , the anti-Christ. There are no explicit details given here of the ‘grim and gory’ details that we would associate with the end of history, when Jesus comes to judge. Only one thing , the final fact is clearly stated : “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
2. Chapter 12 will provide us with more details as things get more intense . Remember again that the pattern of the book of Revelation is cyclical – indicated by the visions of the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets and the 7 bowls. The 7th seal, the 7th trumpet and the 7th bowl always indicate the end of a cycle - now from this angle and now from that angle. As we consider the 12th chapter we shall see that the church , which has just gone to heaven with her Lord ( 11:12) will be involved in an epic struggle with the great dragon (Satan) .
3. We take note then at this point of the twofold outcome - the triumph of God’s kingdom and the judgment of all evil :
The kingdom of God is fully established : With the 7th trumpet the kingdoms of this world will have become the kingdoms of our God and King (v.15). Christ’s first advent inaugurated the kingdom of God . By His miraculous signs and wonders, by the casting out of demons, and, after the cross, by rising from the dead, the Lord Jesus had showed us that someone greater than the devil was here. The inauguration however is only the promise of the reign. Just as Saul was reigning as an evil king for quite a while after God had rejected him, whilst God had already anointed David as King, so Satan also rules as prince of the earth whilst God has already installed Christ as His holy king. This is where we are at this point in time. We are currently living under the rule of an evil prince of darkness. We see this in our world . Our world is ruled essentially by self -centered rulers . Rarely do you hear of a Christian President of a country who truly speaks as a biblical man . The leaders of the world are all pragmatists , and politically correct , lest they lose their positions !
However , the Son of David , the Christ is already the anointed King of God and He is on His way , and when He comes at His second advent the kingdom of God will be fully realized . We are now living in the time of the inaugurated kingdom in which the battle between light and darkness is often very heavy . But we know that when Christ appears all these struggles will instantly end when Satan will be thrown into the fiery lake ( Rev. 20:10) !
The joy of the redeemed will be seen and heard : Firstly, there are the “loud voices in heaven” which affirm the triumph of God’s kingdom of those that are now gathered in heaven , and secondly we find in v.16 24 elders (see also Revelation 4:4! ) who fall on their faces, worshipping God-. All this is in response to the great rescue of the church by her Lord! The 24 elders are symbolical representatives - 12 of the OT and 12 of the NT church, and together they are the representatives of the church of all ages - the whole church of all history.
In verses 17 & 18 we find the chorus of the elders celebrating the accomplishment of the 7th trumpet : “ 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 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. “
The church is now freed from harassment ! The first response is that the elders come down from their 24 thrones and fall on their faces to worship  God . Remember that from their perspective (and the perspective of the whole creation, and including the angels) they and we are not omniscient . Each step in the revelatory process is watched with bated breath. Paul says in Rom. 8:19, “ the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” And so , when this happens , there is loud jubilation and worship in heaven.
Dear friends , this is the church’s future , and when this happens it shall surpass our boldest expectations. That is why John says in 1 John 3:2: “Now we are the children of God , and what we will be has not yet appeared ; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is .” And the apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 13: 12 : “Now we are seeing but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face”. Now we worship by faith. Then we shall worship when we see the completion of the facts - by sight !
And so we find that God’s people rewarded. In v. 18 the 24 elders celebrate the fact that:
· The angry , mocking nations will be silenced when God’s wrath is finally displayed
· The dead will be judged
· God’s servants – His prophets , saints , those who fear His Name will be rewarded .
· The destroyers of the earth will be destroyed .
Finally , the temple in heaven containing the ark of the covenant ( the law) will testify against humanity ( v.19) : The revelation of the temple with the ark of the covenant in heaven must not be understood as a literal temple , for there will ultimately be no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (Rev. 21:22). This is a replica of the temple of God in Jerusalem which was given to Moses by God from heaven ! The temple became the dwelling place of God on earth , and it and its furniture and its priests symbolized the holiness of God .
Well, that symbol holiness now testifies against the world which constantly has mocked and desecrated that temple which was made according to a divine pattern. In Rev 14:17 we shall see the angel of judgment coming out of that , with a sharp sickle . Out of that temple shall come the 7 angels that carry the 7 bowls of wrath , ready to pour them on the earth (Ch.15:5ff- 16: 1) .
The point is that humanity has sinned greatly against the revealed truth of God , as it was represented on earth by the temple , and that is why the flashes of lightning, rumblings , peals of thunder, an earthquake and heavy hail follow . These are all symbols of divine judgment!
And so we see that the 7th and final trumpet is full of comfort to believers. It is the end of the fight for you. You will enter into your promised eternal rest  in heaven.
Yet, at the same time the 7th trumpet is a trumpet of terror filled with destruction and judgment to those who have mocked and opposed the kingdom of God .
All this begs the question once again : Are you sure that you have received mercy and pardon from God . Can you say , as you come to this communion table , “To Him who loves me and has freed me from my sins by His blood… be glory and dominion forever and ever . Amen ! (Rev. 1:5,6)