And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The Two Witnesses testify to the mercy of God that even through severe judgment, God gives a sinful and rebellious world ample opportunity to repent. For the first three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation, they have preached in the streets of Jerusalem and the whole world heard their message so that they have no excuse. Surely, many turned to Christ because of their message, but to be a Christ-believer in these times is a life-commitment indeed. We saw them underneath the altar as those who had been “slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9).
When “the beast” kills the two witnesses, the world celebrates their demise. However, the jubilation comes to an abrupt end when after three days life returns to their lifeless bodies, and they ascend to heaven as the whole world watches. The shock of such a sight cause many to reconsider their eternal state, and “the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13).
In the account of the two witnesses, John gave us a brief look back at the previous three-and-one-half years in the midst of the trumpet judgments. Six trumpets have sounded thus far, and one remains to be sounded.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The heavenly pronouncement gives a sense of finality for what is to come. It’s game over!
I will not be dogmatic about this. The chronology of these events is all up for debate, and anyone that claims they know doesn’t. However, as it appears to me, the trumpet judgments begin the final three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation. This is the time of Great Tribulation, and the seventh trumpet introduces the final 21 months of the Great Tribulation represented by the seven “bowl” judgments.
For this reason, I believe the heavenly pronouncement announces “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (11:15). It’s a done deal. The end is very near.
“And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Revelation 11:16-17). The end of the horror on earth certainly is cause for celebration knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will soon take His throne.
The worshipers continue. “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). The psalmist captures this sentiment perfectly.
Why do the [nations] rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. (Psalm 2:1-4)
“The dead” speaks of those who have rejected God’s free gift of grace through faith. Whether physically alive or physically dead, they are spiritually dead in their sins because they have rejected Christ who is the only source of eternal life. These will be judged at the “Great White Throne Judgment” at the end of the Millennium. By contrast, God’s servants, the prophets, and the saints will enjoy eternal rewards.
Chapter 11 closes with a scene of the Temple of God in heaven and the Ark of the Covenant. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament [covenant]: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:19). This is the real Temple of God and the real Ark of the Covenant from which the earthly Tabernacle/Temple and Ark were patterned. The “lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” are just a prelude of what the seventh trumpet announces – the final seven “bowl” judgments.
John describes the “bowl” judgments in Chapter 16. However, before John goes there, he gives us another parenthetical pause to provide insight into the events that have taken place on Earth, so far. Stay tuned!
The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”