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.