We Know How This Ends [7-17-22]



I get to do two things today that I rarely do.


First, I get to embrace my inner nerd. Shocking, right? As cool and hip as I appear, I am a nerd at heart.


Second, I get to do something that preaching gurus say you should rarely, if ever, do in a sermon. And no, it's not using slightly coarse language. I've done that before, so I sure as heck would not be covering new ground.


Let's first look at Revelation 11:15-19:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces

and worshiped God, saying,

“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.”

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.


Sometimes, a simple look at the grammar of a passage gives us an overall sense of its meaning.


For example, if I said, "I ran to the store," you would know it already

happened. I didn't say "I will run to the store," or "I am going to run to the store." I ran to the store. You don't know whether I literally ran or drove my car. You don't know why I ran to the store or whether or not I actually went into the store. All you know is that the event happened…I ran to the store.


That's where we're at here at the end of chapter eleven. Eleven times in these few verses the aorist tense of Greek is used. The aorist tense is simple past tense. In other words, all the things stated here are actions that have already happened. It gives no indication on how long they took - simply these things have already happened.


We'll see how huge this is.


While all of The Revelation to John fills us with joy, this section brings tremendous joy to our hearts because it focuses on the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as an accomplished fact. Remember the aorist tense. These verses affirm the victory that has already happened. For God, time does not exist. There is no past, present, or future, there only IS, and it is all under the direction of His sovereign will. So God is showing John how what He purposes to happen will happen. We will stand in the throne room of God. We will worship him. We will see Jesus face-to-face. And it will happen in one of two ways. We'll either be alive when Jesus returns, or we will see him face-to-face when we have our own personal revelation moment, when we die, and we will experience what he said to the thief who was crucified with him - this very day you will be with me in paradise.


One way or another, the joyous moment in verses 16-17 will be experienced by all those who have their names entered in the Book of Life of the Lamb Who was Slain.


Here's a funny thing about verse fifteen. As we saw last week, the first half of chapter eleven ended with, "The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come." So, we'd think, seventh trumpet, third woe. But the third woe is a no go. Not yet, at least.


More than anything else, what we have here is:

PRAISE FOR GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY.

That is something you might want to write down. These verses proclaim that God has done what He said He would do…reclaim the kingdom of this world from the powers of sin and wickedness…taking over what is rightfully His. This has happened. Then, the chapters that follow will describe the process by which the foregone conclusion has been reached. Here's a sampling of what the next three chapters will cover:

  • The career of the antichrist unfolding.

  • The development of his rule and reign of terror.

It is not going to be good. But here we have the assurance that God's absolute victory has already happened. It is a trajectory that cannot be altered. So these short verses are foundational to our joy.


Here is the momentousness of verse fifteen - as we'll see at the end of The Revelation to John. Starting with chapter nineteen, the ungodly are destroyed, and Satan and the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:41, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" Following that will be the establishment of the New Heaven and the New Earth, followed by a new state of eternal life. All of this flows out of the blowing of the seventh trumpet. The victory is assured.


It's like watching the rebroadcast of Super Bowl 51. It's embarrassing how many times I've seen that game. The Patriots were woefully behind late in the third quarter. The Falcons fans and players and owners were shifting into celebration mode. Once, when I was watching it, a Patriot player dropped a pass early in the game. I yelled at the television, "C'mon, man, you gotta make that catch!" My lovely wife was walking through the room, and without missing a beat, she asked, "What is wrong with you? You know how this game ends." And she was right. Truly, it is fun to watch a game you thought was going to end tragically end in triumph.


No matter what we experience or go through in life, we know that all is well because God is sovereign. He is in control of history and he has written the final chapter of our lives:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in

heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our

Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the

twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces

and worshiped God, saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign."

That is a beautiful thing. It is an expression of absolute joy.


Next comes a shift in the scene. "The nations raged." You know that's not going to be good. These are people in utter and absolute rebellion against the grace and mercy of God. I love how one man puts it:

"Among the many things people misunderstand about the character of God, is He will allow us to go our own way if we persist in unrepentant rebellion. Three times in Romans 1:24-28, the phrase 'God gave them over" appears."

- Darrell B. Harrison

I might add, we are witnessing that daily in our culture. There is wanton

hostility toward God. The nations are enraged. Absolute rage. Defiant rage.

People are filled with hostility to the truth.

Verse eighteen speaks of inevitable judgment. As we've already seen, the time for repentance is coming to an end. Mercy is almost no more. I love the fearsome poetry of destroying the destroyers of the earth. This is the bad news of God's plan for judgment.


Here's something pithy from Pastor Emilio Ramos:

"If sermons on the Wrath of God make you uncomfortable, how much of the Bible will you have to ignore then?"


"The nations raged, but your wrath came." They are getting close to the point where mercy ends. Hostility to God has reached a fevered pitch. With a boldness that only rebellious sin can muster, they spit on the cross. And so, the seventh trumpet sounds. That is the bad news of these final verses of chapter eleven. The wicked have wasted their opportunity for repentance. Notice again the aorist tense of verse eighteen…but your wrath came. John invites us to reach forward and look at the final judgment. There is no salvation for those bearing the mark of the beast.

While this is fearful judgment, those who bear the mark of the Lamb Who

was Slain celebrate.

Now, don't misunderstand. They are not celebrating as they watch evil people receiving their just reward. It's not like that at all. While fearful judgment is being poured out on the wicked, those who have been made righteous in Christ are rejoicing. They are worshiping. When you are doing such a glorious thing, you notice nothing else.


Here's what they are celebrating {and it's something you might want to write down}:

THIS IS A TIME OF REWARD.

And what is the reward? It is to be in the abiding presence of the Lord and of His Christ. That's where the ark of the covenant figures in. Back in the Old Testament, the ark represented that time when God would gather His people together and shower His mercy on them. This is the fulfillment of that promise. The only thing you would want to do is worship God. Your whole focus would be on giving Him all glory and honor and praise.


We see two simple things happening in these final verses of chapter

eleven:

  1. God will destroy the enemies of His people.

  2. God will faithfully carry out His covenant promises to His people.


Those are both beautiful things.


Here's what Jesus promises in Matthew 25. This is preparing us to see what John is shown:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

- Matthew 25:31-34,41,46


Bound up in the seventh trumpet is an amazing promise:

WE WILL ENTER INTO UNBROKEN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD FOREVER.

So do not be afraid. No matter what we experience or go through in life, all will be well because of that amazing promise. God has chosen to save us. Even while lightning flashes and thunder rumbles and hail falls and the earth quakes, all is well. All is well, because the throne room of heaven has been opened to us.


So here we are. Chapters 12-14 will introduce us to conflict between the church and the powers of evil. But before that happens, God gives John a message that everyone needs to hear. The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And the staggering truth is that Jesus will bring his own unto himself. We will enjoy his holiness forever.


SOLI DEO GLORIA…

To the Glory of God Alone!


12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All