The Lord Reigns, pt.2 Rev. 11:16-19

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This is the response of the 24 elders on their thrones before God. as they hear the great host of heaven declaring that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever. They respond by falling on their faces and worship to God. Remember that we noted when we were first introduced to the 24 Elders that they represent the believers in heaven. We believe that because they have crowns and sit on thrones (angels do not) and they have white robes that we noted symbolizes the righteousness of the saints.
We also noted last time that this proclamation is the consummation of the coming of the Lord. It is the answer to the Lord's prayer "thy kingdom come". It is the answer to the prayer of the martyred saints for God to avenge their blood; it is the answer to the prayer 'come Lord Jesus'. So these elders are responding with praise and worship to God for

I. Their Praise

Their worship is manifested by their falling on their faces.
lit. they fell down on their faces, Rev. 7:11,12
the idea of course is that they fell down with their faces to the ground. In other words they rose up off their thrones where they were seated and prostrated themselves on the ground with their faces in the dirt before God. This is a sign of devotion or humility before one of high rank or in this case God.

I. The voice of their worship is directed toward:

* the God
* the Almighty- παντωκρατορ
* the one who is and was,ie. the eternal one, the one who always was and always is.
I reminded you before that the title Lord/kurie is the GK translation of the Hebrew YHWH. It is often used of Jesus, as in Paul's often stated Lord Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ our Lord. Here it is a statement directed at God on the throne. They are speaking to the God who spoke to Moses in the bush, who called Abraham out of Ur, Who made the covenant with Abraham, Who created the World. He is the Kurie that is spoken to here. Their praise is directed toward the One who sits on the Throne of the Universe.
The also identify Him as the Almighty
the word παντωκρατορis used several times in Revelation to describe God,
Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14 ;19:15; 21:22.
Revelation 1:8 AV
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 4:8 AV
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Revelation 15:3 AV
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Revelation 21:22 AV
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
It is only used of God as translation of the Hebrew word for hostsצבאות and shaddai. He is the all-powerful, omnipotent one.
Paul refers to God in this manner to encourage the Corinthian believers to live lives separate from unbelievers, "come out from among them" he said quoting from Isaiah 52 and Ezekiel 20 I "will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor. 6:18.
The Elders have the Almighty in focus as they bow in praise to Him who is all powerful, easily defeating this world and bringing to the surface His kingdom.
I think the main point here is that the believers contemporary to John are to see this as a great encouragement to them who are being pressured on every side to yield allegiance to the Emporer as almighty God. When the reality is the one they worship in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ IS the ALMIGHTY. Just refer back to those many statements already addressed in this Revelation.
Choose you this day whom you will serve, is the question we all have to answer today.
God is also identified by the phrase
"Who is and Who was and who is to come" the last of the tripartite phrase is not found in the better mss. You might notice if you are using the ESV/NASB that thee third clause "art to come" is absent from the text. Just a word about that.
The textual evidence shows that it is absent in the better mss. It is in a few and in the Textus Receptus, therefore in the KJV. However, theologically it need not be there. In fact, it is out of place there because The praise being invoked is because the Lord IS come. His coming in this case is not future. He IS here in John's vision. So the need to say "are to come" is both unnecessary and odd. Thus, due to the mss evidence and the exegetical evidence, and the theological evidence most think it was a scribal addition to keep consistent with the like statements earlier in Revelation.

II. The voice of their worship is verbalized by:


* Because God reigns

The reason for the thanksgiving is because God has taken His great power and begun to reign. That is, He has assumed power. He has taken the reins, though He never really gave them up.
This means that the last part of the triadic name for God is not merely a general reference to his sovereignty over the future but specifically speaks of the end time, when God will break into world history and end it by overthrowing all opposition to his people and setting up his eternal kingdom.
Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 613). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.
The Lord Reigns, that is why.
The background of that phrase is found repeatedly in the Psalms
Ps. 47:8; 93:1; 96:10-13; 99:1
Psalm 47:8 AV
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Psalm 93:1 AV
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Psalm 96:10–13 AV
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Psalm 99:1 AV
The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.
When you think of why John is seeing this and writing about it is so that it might encourage the believers of his day to persevere and not give up to the pressures of the world in which they live and turn away from Christ. Instead, this vision would give them courage. Though the world is falling apart around them and there is devastation and danger on all sides of them; though it might appear that the enemy has the upper hand (though our preceding text shows us even though the two witnesses were killed they do rise and live) God is the One who truly reigns.
Even Jesus said to Pilate when he claimed power to crucify or release Him,
John 19:11 AV
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
Let me give you an OT illustration of this.
2 Chronicles 10 records the separation of the Nation of Israel: two tribes go with Rehoboam, son of Solomon and ten tribes go with Jeroboam. There is a national division that rips the nation apart. But the text tells us in v.15 "the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform his word, . . . ." later on (2 Chronicles 13) there was a war between Abijah, son of Rehoboam who was king of Judah, and Jeroboam king of Northern Israel. It was 400,000 of Judah against 800,000 of Jeroboam. this is 2-1 odds in favor of Jeroboam. But Abijah was standing for God calling people back to God. Jeroboam had set up a parallel worship system, which was satanic really. So here is the stage, Jeroboam has the odds overwhelmingly in his favor. He even is able to strategically get the upper hand by totally surrounding Abijah's army. He was in front and behind them. They had ambushed Abijah's army.
I just gotta read this.
2 Chronicles 13: 13-18 This is a powerful example of the power of God as the ALMIGHTY God who reigns over the affairs of men. We have many examples right here in Revelation too.
Now come back to Revelation: We see the enemies rule is merely a puppet regime that is temporary. John speaks in the aorist tense which indicates the rule of God is now to Him. It is not that God will rule some day, but for now power belongs to the enemy. No! it is that God rules now and that any power the enemy has is a derived power that has a terminal date. God rules now!
Paul alludes to this in 1 Cor.15:24-28.
1 Corinthians 15:24–28 AV
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Since He rules now, any power a nation, dictator or other leader has is a derived power given by God for a time. It doesn't matter if it is a Hitler, Mussolini, Hussein, Kim Jong Un. Romans 13:1 reminds us that "there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."
And so it is here in our Text.
thus, the elders and the host of heaven praise God and give thanks because He Reigns!
We need to recognize that too. Your boss doesn't rule, our president or governor, doesn't rule. God does. Any power they have over us is given them by God for our good and His glory. The best thing we can do is to submit to those in authority over us unless they demand of us something that is contrary to God's laws.
He reigns in our life. think about that.
His rule means that whatever is going on your life right now is under His control. He has purpose for it. He is wanting to use it to make you more like Jesus, Romans 8:28,29. Surrender to His rule in our life and get involved in following Him no matter what.
A second reason for their thanksgiving is because

* Your wrath has come v.18

1. the dead to be judged
2. reward given to your servants
3. to destroy those who destroy the earth
The fact that they would rejoice and praise God for his wrath coming on man is a little fuzzy for me. Luke records an incident in Samaria where Jesus and the disciples entered a village but they didn't receive him, so James and John (the sons of thunder, justifiably called) said to Jesus "why don't you let us call down fire from heaven and destroy them like Elias did?" Jesus turned and looked at them and rebuked them saying "you know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:54, 55.
That's amazing. Yet NOW that is exactly what God is going to do. The difference is that Jesus was preaching the Gospel to those people. He was calling them to repent in order to save them. Not to judge them.
Now the situation is different. Yes, the gospel is being preached to the nations, by the 144,000 and those that became believers during this time, but the time is running out. Judgment has come. The nations are angry.
-Hostility of the nations
So the nations rage against God and His people. reminds back to Ps. 2:1, 2 read this
Read also Matt. 24:4-15
A fitting response to the rage of the nations is the rage of God. He gives them in kind to what they want. This is just like what happened to Pharoah during the ten plagues. The nations are in a rage because of the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ. that He is the only way to life. And because of the devastating judgments that have fallen on the earth and the inhabitants. Rather than repenting of their sin we see that they become more enraged. It is a reminder of how Pharoah responded to the plagues in Egypt.
Instead of the nations having their way, though they will for a time, as seen in Daniel as well as v.2 in this chapter. Their rage is short lived in reality. God's wrath will come and show Himself righteous. His wrath has been seen in the seals, trumpets and will be seen in the vials. But here it is clear in the three ways mentioned.
-judgment of the dead.
"it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment" Heb. 9:27
as well as the sea, hades and death giving up their dead Rev. 20:13-15.
I think this is the judgment both of good and bad.
All those who have died and did not choose Christ and have him pay for their sin will now face their final judgment. the OT and Jewish writers expected the judgment of all the dead unbelievers in the end,
Daniel 12:2 AV
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
and the parallel in
Rev. 20:12-15

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

make this clear.
For believers we will go through the Judgment seat of Christ where we will be judged for our words and actions and service to Him.
-Reward is given to the servants of God:
the bondservant prophets, saints, those who fear your name both small and great. Rev. 22:12 speaks of this reward as does 1 Cor. 3:8
Revelation 22:12 AV
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
1 Corinthians 3:8 AV
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
what is the reward? not experiencing the second death (being cast into the lake of fire), thus having life, being vindicated as to the truth, not being found a liar, to inherit the kingdom and the millenial kingdom and receive the crowns.
Notice that there are different categories of believers to receive rewards. I don’t think we need make a big deal about this. The prophets would clearly be those of the OT and NT, but also those like the two witnesses of this chapter.
The Saints are those who do fear the Lord and they are from all walks of life, every tribe, nation and tongue, every economic status, etc. All will receive rewards for their service, sacrifice, and conduct.
it is noteworthy that God sandwiches the reward of the saints between the judgment of the unbelievers who have wreaked havoc on believers. Part of the reward must be in seeing the answer to their prayer for God to avenge their blood, Rev. 6:9-11. And Rev. 18:24-19:5
And then finally the third part of this judgment which I believe is really a further clarification of the judgment of unbelievers.
-destruction of those who are destroying the earth
Who are these? To understand this we need to look at the word destroy-diaphtheiro- which means to defile, destroy, corrupt, the idea of corrupting morally.
I think here it is not talking about those who pollute the environment, the water, soil, air, etc. but rather that which pollutes, corrupts morally, spiritually. The earth being used here as a metonymy standing for the people of the earth. Something we might say "the whole city has gone to pot' meaning that the city is falling apart in its government and character of the city. Cf.
Psalm 7:14–16 AV
Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
Those who are of corrupt minds, corrupting others with their thoughts and behavior, 1 Tim. 6:5 where Paul tells Timothy to withdraw from them. Or
2 Tim.3:8 whre Paul refers to Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses because they were men of ‘corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Here it is used twice, once for destruction, ie. judgment of those who corrupt others, cf.
1 Cor. 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are
In other words God will also judge those who lead others astray with their false, corrupt, immoral teaching.
So then we clearly see that it is the Lord who reigns supreme.
the time of the return of Christ has come. The earth is in a panic and the judgment of the dead begins. This all unfolds in the remaining chapters of Revelation.
So Heaven is praising God because He Reigns and Because He is going to Judge.
Now we come to verse 19.
Here John MacArthur calls this

III. The promise of Communion

The chapter began with John being given a reed to measure the temple, presumably one on earth. Here it is in heaven.
the temple of God- Note the temple he sees here is in heaven. AS was noted in our earlier study, the word for temple is naos which generally refers to the Holy of Holies and Holiest, where only the priest can go into the outer room where the table, incense altar and candlestick are, and the High priest into the holiest once a year with the ark of the covenant with the mercy seat were located. So this is clearly the Holiest of Holies where only the High priest can go once a year. But in this case the veil is opened for John who was not the High Priest could go. So this indicates to me that because of Jesus Christ the veil is rent, those who put their faith in Jesus have access at any time. Romans 5; Heb 10:19-25.
Romans 5:1–2 AV
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Hebrews 10:19–25 AV
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The fact that the Holy place is open, the inner sanctum where the ark is placed indicates as we see that communion is available to all who believe. The way to God is opened wide.
the ark of the covenant
Heb. 9:4 describes the Ark of the covenant, 1 Kings 8:6 it is in the Holiest of Holies. The Ark was lost when the temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans, 2 Kings 25:10, the Babylonians probably destroyed it.
According to Jewish tradition Jeremiah had taken the ark and all that the Most Holy Place contained, and concealed them, before the destruction of the temple, in a cave at Mount Sinai, whence they are to be restored to the temple in the days of Messiah.
Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 521). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
The top of the ark was the mercy seat overlaid in gold. Ex. 25:10-22 describes the ark.
Mercy seat. This noun is used twenty-seven times and always refers to the golden cover of the sacred chest in the inner shrine of the tabernacle or temple. It was from above the mercy seat that God promised to meet with men (Num 7:89). The word, however, is not related to mercy and of course was not a seat. The word is derived from the root “to atone.” The Greek equivalent in the LXX is usually hilastērion, “place or object of propitiation,” a word which is applied to Christ in Rom 3:25. The translation “mercy seat” does not sufficiently express the fact that the lid of the ark was the place where the blood was sprinkled on the day of atonement. “Place of atonement” would perhaps be more expressive.
Harris, R. L. (1999). 1023 כָפַר. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 453). Chicago: Moody Press.
The mercy seat is Christ.
John sees the place in the holiest where the blood of sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world was sprinkled over.
The Ark is significant here. The Ark represented the presence of God to the people of Israel as they travelled through the wilderness. It was the symbol of His faithfulness to Israel to bring them to the promised land and be with them. It was a symbol of His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel.
To the believers of John's day it was a reminder that God was still with them; that He was still faithful to His covenant. The blood of Jesus Christ atones for sin still. The way is still open and available to all who want it. So this would give the believers hope, just as its presence did in the days of the exodus, the conquest, and the Judges.
The temple seen here is in Heaven. the chapter did begin with a temple on earth that John was to measure. Here it was again an indication of the faithfulness of God to His people. Remember that there was no temple in Jerusalem at the time of John's writing. So the mention of the temple and the ark of the covenant would give them hope in the midst of the rule of the Emperor. it was a reminder that God was the true Ruler and they could persevere. It is to us today a symbol of hope. God still reigns along with Christ.
So this is a picture of Mercy a promise of communion with God.
But we also see a picture of judgment in this verse.
We first see this image at mt. Sinai
reminds me of mt. sinai with the lightning, voices, thunder, earthquake and great hail.
there you will remember that the people were warned not to cross the boundary of the mountain on pain of death. Sinai became a picture law to prophets and the writers of the NT because it was there the law was given to Moses. the law kills in that those who violate it are judged as violators of the law. And so this is a picture of the judgment of God.
We also see this repeatedly in Revelation
REv. 4:5; 8:5; 16:18 in each case indicating an act of judgment. In the OT they indicated a theophany so it was also a picture or indication of God's presence. so we have in this verse the dual picture or reminder of mercy to those who want it and to those who don't judgment.
God is about to appear to execute his final judgment that continues through the end of the book. That ought to give believers hope that Justice will be done to those who the saints in Rev. 6 were asking God to exact vengeance upon.
The 7th Trumpet which encompasses all the rest of Revelation gives great hope to the believers undergoing severe trial.
They/We can be confident
God Reigns! Jesus Rules!
We can be confident in God’s righteous Judgment upon the wicked and in Rewarding believers like you and me. Be sure that our, that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Paul said.
Finally, we can be confident of Communion with God through it all, from our darkest hour in the valley to the highest heights of our victory.
Just as believers of John's day were going through very difficult times and this vision gives them hope that God has not abandoned them, but is still very much with them, so it ought to give you and I confidence in the presence of God with us during our times of travail.
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