Taking Back the Reign(s)
VIDEO – “Stock Footage – Stage Coach Out of Control video clip.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT33fQm58ko].
Seth and I took the motorcycle course in Gettysburg so we could get our motorcycle license
It was two days in the classroom and three days on the course
The last day is when we took our road test on the course
It had been raining and the blacktop was wet
Part of the test was to accelerate into to second gear and then downshift and brake at the same time, so you could stop within a certain distance
We were not supposed to brake early, but only start to brake after the front wheel past the two cones
This one had me the most nervous
We got one practice run through this element and I starting braking before the cones
When it was time to do it for the test, I waited to brake until my front wheel past the cones, but then the wheels locked up and I started to slide
I had to put my feet down so the motorcycle wouldn’t tip over (that would have been an automatic fail)
I also went past the last stopping line on the pavement
I thought for sure that I had failed, but they waved me on to the next element
I past, by the way
I felt like I was losing control and had to reign in the motorcycle
Boys in the car
Judy remembers coming outside when we lived in Missouri and finding the car rolling backwards down the driveway
One of the boys had gotten in the front seat and knocked the stick shift into neutral, causing it to roll backwards
Praise the Lord she was able to get in the car and reign it in
Perhaps all of us can remember a time when we lost control of a vehicle (some of us don’t want to think about it, because we never told our parents)
Teaching our children to drive can make it feel like things are out of control
But there are other situations when things can get out of control
Other areas where we feel like things can get out of control
Work – what seems like a small thing at work can very quickly spiral out of control if people don’t address it immediately (rumors about layoffs or buyouts, etc.)
Relationships – if we don’t communicate with others correctly and clearly (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, parent, child, neighbor, coworker, etc.) things can get out of hand and feelings can get hurt. In a dating relationship emotions and passions can get pretty intense and we find ourselves having to reign them in, so we don’t cross the line
Finances – it’s easy, sometimes, to throw caution to the wind and just buy that item that’s a want or buy something simply because we think we deserve it. Others may struggle with spending, because they are trying to keep up with their friends or neighbors
Entertainment – sometimes it’s difficult to reign in the amount of time we spend participating in entertainment (sports, video games, other kinds of games, outdoor activities, etc.)
In Revelation 11:15-19, we will see that the seventh angel sounds his trumpet and instead of some judgment coming down from heaven, we see a worship service break out in heaven. John wants us to understand from this worship service that...
BIG IDEA – We can have confidence that God will reign for ever and ever.
He may have allowed Satan to reign on the earth for a period of time – under His watchful eye, of course – but at the end of the age, He will take back the reign of the earth and judge the dead.
GOD (Revelation 11:15-19)
Announcement (v. 15)
The seventh angel sounds his trumpet
The unexpected happens again like it did with the opening of the seventh seal
What we saw with the first six seals was judgment
The same is true with the first six trumpets – judgment!
When the seventh seal was opened there was silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev. 8:1) – what happened to the judgment?
When the seventh trumpet is sounded we don’t see more judgment, but rather rejoicing and a hymn of praise
There is a change in perspective once again from an earthly scene to a heavenly scene (we saw last week the two witnesses who were prophesying in Jerusalem)
We have been introduced to loud voices ten times in Revelation including this occurrence (1:10; 5:2, 12; 6:10; 7:2, 10; 8:13; 10:3; 11:12)
We will see the use of loud voices nine more times throughout the rest of the book (12:10; 14:7, 15, 18; 16:1, 17; 19:1, 17; 21:3)
In some of the earlier passages we talked about the fact that the loud voice represented clarity – those who heard what came from the loud voice will understand what is being said
This is true here as well
There is a heavenly choir that’s filling the air with their praise!
Osborne believes this heavenly choir is singing during the eschaton when Christ returns [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 440]
Revelation 19:11-12, I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
God is taking back full control
“First, in a sense there has never been a time when all the cosmos, including the kingdoms of this world, have not belonged to the Lord. But there is also a sense in which, under the overarching rule of divine providence, satanic forces have been allowed to exercise limited sovereignty in the world.” [Patterson, The New American Commentary, Revelation, 252]
Kingdom of the world
There has been a rejection of God as the king of this world since the beginning, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God – they rejected Him as their king
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, rejected Him as their king in favor of an earthly king
1 Samuel 8:6-9, But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
The Jews in the 1st Century rejected Jesus as the Messiah and had Him killed
People of every generation continue to reject the Lord as king of their lives
They want to be their own boss
They don’t want anyone else telling them what to do
This is the human condition of sin!
Regardless of whether we recognize God and Jesus’ rule, their kingdom will one day overcome the kingdoms of this world
Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ
Aorist tense [Osborne]
In the original Greek we see a string of verbs that are in the aorist tense in vv. 15, 16, and 19
V. 15 – “there were” and “has become”
V. 16 – “fell” and “worshiped”
V. 19 – “was opened,” “was seen,” and “there came”
The aorist tense gives us the idea of a completed action
“. . . it is an event so certain that it is spoken of as if it has already taken place.” [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 1728]
We can have confidence that God will reign for ever and ever.
This is particularly important because John is seeing and writing about future events as though they have been completed
That is certainly how God sees His reign over the earth, especially after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection
The war has been won!
Jesus is victorious!
Everything is set for Jesus’ return
“Of course, Christ does not claim His royal rights until He returns; but the victory has already been won. Satan offered Him the world’s kingdoms, but He refused the offer (Matt. 4:8-9). Instead, He died on the cross, arose, and returned victoriously to heaven; and there the Father gave Him His inheritance (Ps. 2:4-9).” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 2, 600]
This isn’t brand new information
This was predicted by the prophets of old
Daniel 2:44, “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
Zechariah 14:9, The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
Read Psalm 2:1-12
This completed action of Jesus reigning will not be temporary, but eternal
He will reign for ever and ever
The Greek here can be translated literally as “unto the ages of the ages.”
In the Hebrew tradition this depicts something that never ceases [Patterson, 252]
Daniel 7:13-14, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
We can have confidence that God will reign for ever and ever.
As the loud voices of heaven make this proclamation about the eternal reign of Jesus, we see the 24 elders enter the vision again
Hymn (vv. 16-18)
The twenty-four elders first appeared in Rev. 4:4 when John sees the throne room of God
They worshiped God in Rev. 4:10-11 as the One who created and sustains all things [Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 206]
They worshiped Jesus in Rev. 5:8-14 who brought redemption through His blood poured out on the cross [Akin, 206]
Just as they did in chapter 4, the twenty-four elders leave their thrones and fall face down before the Lord
They are worshipping Him again in vv. 17-18
Their worship is focused on God’s eternal reign after ending the world
Give thanks for who God is
The title of Lord God Almighty has already been given to God by the living creatures in Rev. 4:8
We know that God is supreme over everything, which is what almighty is referring to here
Part of the three-fold designation for God is missing
We normally see God as the one “who was, and is, and is to come”
The order is changed here and the third designation is omitted
God is the One who is (present)
God is the One who was (past)
In John’s vision the end has arrived, the eschaton is here!
There is no need to mention that He is the One to come, because God’s eternal reign has begun!
PRINCIPLE – God is eternal!
God’s great power here is not talking about His omnipotence as general attribute of God
Rather, it refers back to what we saw in Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 14:9, and Psalm 2:1-12
God will crush all the kingdoms of the earth and will establish Jesus as the only true king and ruler of the world
When Jesus begins to rule some people are not going to be happy
God’s judgment of the dead
We see that the nations were angry
The Greek word for angry is the same root word that is translated as God’s wrath in the second half of the sentence (it is a play on words in the Greek)
The nations were expressing their anger (wrath) towards God by rebelling against Him
“In the end the anger of the nations is not directed merely against one another but is a deep-seated hostility to all the truths and virtues of God and against him personally.” [Patterson, 254]
God’s righteous wrath has come
This is not God getting upset really quickly and flying off the handle at the unrighteous inhabitants of earth
Rather, it’s a settled frame of mind that God has towards those who have continued to reject His offer of redemption through Jesus Christ
It is the consequences of their sin and rebellion
Jesus will judge everyone (righteous and unrighteous)
Judging the dead
This can be taken two ways
The dead could be referring to the unrighteous (inhabitants of the earth)
It could also be referring to everyone who has already died, both the righteous and unrighteous
Daniel 12:2, Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel views it as everyone who has died prior to Jesus’ return will be resurrected and then “judged” (those who are righteous will be rewarded after being judged and those who are unrighteous will be destroyed after being judged)
The way it’s been translated in English makes it sound like there are three distinct times that are appointed by God
Time for judging the dead
Time for rewarding the righteous
Time for destroying the unrighteous
I’m still trying to determine if the judging of the dead encompasses the rewarding of the righteous and destroying of the unrighteous, or whether they are three separate events
We see next those who are rewarded
There is debate concerning how many groups are being identified here
Some believe there are five groups (servants/slaves; prophets; saints; those who fear Your name; small and great)
Others believe there are only two groups (prophets; saints) with the other terms describing those two groups in more detail
I believe were looking at two groups who are both servants of God that revere (fear) Him
The reference to both small and great was a commonly used phrase to indicate everyone
We aren’t told directly what their reward is, but the most obvious one, as Christians, would certainly be eternal life – being in the presence of God for ever and ever
The word destroy is used twice here and is a word play in the Greek
The Greek word can mean “to destroy completely” and “to corrupt morally”
“God’s judgment on those who have led the earth into moral depravity is that they will be condemned to eternal destruction.” [Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary, Revelation, 198]
Romans 2:5, But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
They will receive in like kind what they have been giving out – destruction
This ends the hymn of the twenty-four elders, but there is one last thing in this chapter
Cosmic Events (v. 19)
Most commentators include v. 19 as the conclusion of the hymn from the twenty-four elders, but there is also evidence that it could also be the transitional verse that introduces the events coming in chapters 12-14
So, we will talk about how it concludes the hymn this week, but also begin with this verse next week
God’s presence with us
Opening of the temple in heaven
It is not a temple like we find on earth, but rather the sanctuary of God in heaven
God and Jesus are the temple in heaven, so it’s not a physical building like it was on earth
Ark of his covenant
The ark was “the symbol of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his covenant promises.” [Mounce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 228]
It was also a symbol of God’s continual presence with His people
The ark was used in battle as an encouragement and reminder that God was with them
1 Samuel 4:5, When the ark of the Lord’s covenant came into the camp, all Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.
When it was captured by the Philistines, they put in the temple of Dagon and found out that the living God was more powerful than the idol Dagon
They people of Ashdod also realized how powerful God was when they were inflicted with tumors, because God’s had was heavy on them
The city of Gad also experienced the wrath of God when the ark was sent there
The people in Ekron refused to have the ark brought to their city
It was eventually returned to Israel
PRINCIPLE – God promises His presence with His people for all eternity.
What an incredible promise for us
One day we will be with God in the new heaven and the new earth
Revelation 21:3, And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
My Next Step Today Is To: Claim God’s promise that He will always be present with me.
In whatever area of life you may feel like things are out of control, God is present with you
Whether it is work, relationships, finances, or entertainment, God is there
God’s wrath on the unrighteous
Some believe the flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm are forms of punishment for the unrighteous
Those same things can also represent the sovereignty of God over the eschaton (end times)
God keeps His promises, so we can claim His promise that He will always be with us
We can also have confidence that He will reign for ever and ever
God has allowed Satan to reign on the earth for a short period of time
As we saw today, God will take back the reign of this world and His kingdom will be eternal
This is an incredible truth that we need to share with the world
That is our commission as followers of Jesus Christ
VIDEO – “Royal Choral Society: ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c].