Book of Revelation – a series presented by pastor Michael Walker
Lesson #12 – Revelation, chapter 11
Chapter 11 (continued)
The 2nd Woe is the judgement under the 6th Trumpet, which ended in 1840 (c.f. Revelation 8:13; 9:12). These first 2 Woes failed to produce repentance upon the earth (Revelation 9:20,21): there has been no abandonment of Islamic extremism, nor of revolutionary atheism, nor of the papal, idolatrous system; so now the 3rd and final Woe takes place in the remaining verses of this chapter. [c.f. Lesson 8, The Three Woes].
The vision now reverts back to intervening events during the final days of earth’s history leading to the eventual conclusion of all things.
When the 7th Trumpet sounds, the ‘Mystery of God’ will be finished (Revelation 10:7). Then the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. This will be the long-expected day when Jesus comes in all His glory. This will usher in His eternal reign of righteousness and His saints will inherit the Kingdom for ever: Daniel 7:27.
On the other hand, it will be a time of terrible judgement upon all who have despised His grace.
Christ receives the Kingdom a short time prior to His return to this earth: (c.f. Daniel 7:13,14). Jesus made this clear in the parable of the nobleman who journeyed into a far country to receive himself a kingdom, after which he returned: Luke 19:12-15. So, it will be that when Jesus ceases His High Priestly ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, that while still in Heaven, He receives the Kingdom from His Father and then returns to earth as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16), seated on His throne of glory (Matthew 25:31), to gather His faithful saints.
“Every case had been decided for life or death. While Jesus had been ministering in the sanctuary, the judgment had been going on for the righteous dead, and then for the righteous living. Christ had received His kingdom, having made the atonement for His people, and blotted out their sins. The subjects of the kingdom were made up. The marriage of the Lamb was consummated. And the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, was given to Jesus and the heirs of salvation, and Jesus was to reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords” – E. G. White, Early Writings, p. 280.
At the time of His coming all earthly opposition is crushed (Revelation 17:14) in what is called “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).
Under the 6th Plague (Revelation 16:12-16), preparations are made for the battle, which is fought under the 7th Plague. Christ intervenes at the moment the forces of evil launch their attack on the saints at the opening of the 7th Plague: Revelation 16:17-21.
“When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honour the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. At the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof. The people of God – some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains – still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen” – E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 635.
NB. Under the 6th Seal the ‘Time of the End’ commences and continues through to the 2nd Advent (Revelation 6:12-16). [See Lesson 5: Opening the Seven Seals]
The 7th Trumpet coincides with both the 6th Seal and the 7th Plague (Revelation 16:17), and its Revelation comes in sequence during the opening of the 7th Seal when there will be silence in Heaven (c.f. Revelation 8:1).
“With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God’s covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness. . . . It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done.” Revelation 16:17.
That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.’ Verses 17-18. The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters . . . people who have been held in bondage for their faith are set free. Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth . . . awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2” – E.G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 635-637.
The unfallen beings of the universe burst into joyous praise when Christ receives His kingdom. Amongst them are the 24 elders (those who were resurrected with Christ at His resurrection and ascended with Him to Heaven). They witnessed Jesus take the book of human destiny and open the 7 Seals. It is upon opening the 7th Seal that the 7 Trumpets commence their successive sounds (Revelation 8:1,2).
“Nations were angry” – an accurate description of the condition of the nations during the Time of the End just before Christ’s return. They will join together to oppose God’s Commandments and His saints: Revelation 13:12-17; c.f. Revelation 14:8-10. God’s wrath is experienced in the 7 Last plagues: Revelation 15:1.
The time of judgement referred to is the Final Judgment at the end of the Millennium because it will deal out rewards and punishments. The wicked receive their reward at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15; c.f. 2 Peter 3:7). The saints receive their reward at the 2nd Advent, but their full reward will only be fully realized when they possess the earth made new.
He will destroy those who destroy the earth. This is a very significant statement in the light of man’s lack of care for this planet. It uses the same word for “destroy” that Jesus used in Luke 12:33 – i.e. διαφθειρω (diaphtheirõ) – ‘to waste’, ‘to spoil’, ‘to ruin’.
The 7th Trumpet, which began in 1844, continues throughout the period of the Investigative Judgement. Human Probation will then close and the 7 Last Plagues will be poured out. Christ, having already received His Kingdom when the Investigative Judgement ended, returns during the 7th Plague.
The fact that “the ark of his testament” (or “Covenant”), which contains God’s 10 Commandments, is seen in Heaven is a clear indication that in earth’s closing scenes God’s Moral Law should still be revered by those who seek to serve God in harmony with His will (c.f. Revelation 12:17; 14:12).
“Since 1844, the people of God have seen by faith the open door in heaven, and the ark of God’s testament within. They are endeavouring to keep every precept of the holy law written upon the tables deposited there. That the tables of the law are there, just as they were in the ark in the sanctuary erected by Moses, is evident from the terms which John uses in describing the ark. He calls it the “ark of His testament” – Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 546, 547.
“At the beginning of the vision recorded in this chapter, John was told to ‘measure’ the temple to provide a standard by which to test the loyalty of the People of God, and here at the very end of time, as the final judgment of the world is about to begin, John sees, dominating the heavenly scene, ‘the ark of His testament’ containing the sacred law. Here is a convincing answer to those who suggest that since the cross the law has been abrogated, and no longer serves as a test of loyalty or a standard of judgment. It always has been and still is both. Not a jot or a tittle has been dropped or ever will be” – W. L. Emmerson, God’s Good News, p. 425.
This panorama of the 7 Trumpets shows us where we are today: we area almost home! Jesus said that men’s hearts would fail them for fear of what was coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26) – and that is true of all the terrible disasters and atrocities we are witnessing around us today. The very things we see around us today are the very omens of this coming day of triumph! One day soon, the last sermon will be preached, the last invitation given, and then it will be too late to accept salvation. The saddest words in the Bible are these: “The harvest is past. the summer is ended, and we are not saved” – Jeremiah 8:20. But as Christians we need not fear the tragedies of our present time, because if God’s peace fills our hearts and we are walking closely each day with Jesus in sacrificial service, we can confidently look forward to His 2nd Coming when He shall receive us into glory!
May our prayer be the same as that which the apostle John wrote at the close of the Book of Revelation: Revelation 22:20.
The full video presentation is available below: