“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth.’
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
Last week we talked about the resurrection of the two witnesses and how the ensuing earthquake helped some of the people in Jerusalem see God in the right way and begin to glorify Him. Death is a feared end for all mankind. Some will come to death painfully, some will slip away in their sleep, some will fight a long drawn out battle with a disease, and some will come to it suddenly. Those of us that know the Lord understand that death is a door into the new life beyond, a life without pain, failure, sin or disappointments. Most of us that know the Lord are not afraid to die; we are fearful of death and the way that we will go.
Recently I had a dear friend die after a long battle with disease; his body was wrecked with diabetes and he had to have some of his extremities removed. Another acquaintance went to sleep one night and never woke up. Two very different paths, but both woke up in Heaven and in the presence of the Lord.
We are told in Luke 19:22 that angels carried the beggar Lazarus to the Paradise called Abraham’s Bosom. If these two men were met and carried the same way, oh what an awesome experience! Death would be immediately forgotten and the wonder of the next life begins. The death and resurrection of the two witnesses is a reminder, as is the resurrection of many others in the Bible, that life actually begins at the grave for those of us that know Jesus.
When is the last time that you wrote a song for the Lord? There are many in the scriptures. In Exodus 15 we find Mariam singing a song to celebrate the crossing of the Red Sea. In Deuteronomy 32 we find the Song of Moses. The book of Psalms is actually a collection of songs. We sing hymns or contemporary songs written by men and women down through the ages; it would appear that worship, God’s greatness and the need to write and sing songs go hand in hand. I encourage you to write a song or a poem about the Lord’s goodness and majesty in your life; I bet there is a lot for you to say.
The Kingdoms are All His Forever, Revelation 11:15
In Matthew 4 we find Jesus being tempted by Satan. In Revelation 11:8-9 we find this temptation:
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’”
Satan offers Jesus the kingdoms of the earth if He would turn and worship Satan. Jesus, of course, refuses, and the devil leaves Him for a time. I am sure that there was other testing, and temptations. We are told in Hebrews 4 that Jesus was tempted in ALL points as we are, yet he never sinned.
In Revelation 11:15 we find that the kingdoms of the world become Jesus’ Kingdom. Unlike Satan, Jesus, God in the flesh, knows the end from the beginning; and so He knew that He was going to get the kingdoms of the world given to Him by God the Father, so He did not have to betray His loyalties.
Often when we are tempted by our own lusts and fleshliness, it is that we are impatient and wanting what we want now and are not simply trusting God that He will give us every good thing in His time, for His glory and our edification. Jesus simply trusted God’s promise and that He would do what was promised.
This day had come. Jesus got the kingdoms of the world handed back to Him by God the Father. This is clearly stated in verse 15. Notice that they are His forever and ever. This is how it will be from here on out.
For a short period in God’s time, Satan had control over the kingdoms of the world. This control was seeded to him by Adam in his sin in the Garden of Eden. Jesus, upon His death, burial and resurrection began the process of redeeming the earth to Himself.
First, we, the Gentile church were redeemed, then there were Tribulation saints, and then the process of redeeming Israel is just beginning. With that came the redemption of the earth’s kingdoms. They would no longer be ruled by Satan and his minions, including the antichrist, whose days are numbered from here on out in the Revelation.
Jesus created the whole universe, and now He will begin to remodel the marred creation. For about the next 1,000 years, Jesus will rule over the kingdoms of the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem, fulfilling a promise that God made to David personally but was made to the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49:10,
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet.”
The Song of the Elders, Revelation 11:16-18
God loves worship. He loves when His people humble themselves and worship. God is a God of music; He invented music. He invented music for worship, for praise, for comfort and just about everything that comes under the sun. Listen to birds chirping away in the summer, listen to frogs in the marshes calling out, listen to the sound of bees around the flowers and you can see that there is a music to creation.
In Ezekiel 28:13-14 we see that Lucifer had beautiful “tabrets and pipes,” referring to his ability to create music. He was the chosen angel, a cherub – from what we understand, a ruling angel like Michael and Gabriel, and music was his thing given to him from the Lord. Now, of course, Satan uses music to teach lies and disobedience to the Lord.
There is no such thing as ‘neutral music.’ It is either glorifying God or it is detracting from Him.
These 24 elders spring into song at the declaration from verse 15. This song tells us that God is Almighty; that judgment is coming to the living and the dead – there will be rewards for His servants and for those that feared (honored and revered) His name no matter who you were, and harsh judgment for those that destroy His earth. This is a short but deep song.
Songs do not have to be long to be powerful, and there is nothing wrong with repetition. The Psalms are full of repetition. The songs of God should be sung with gusto, with energy, with love and adoration, and with reverent fear. Some songs are songs of sorrow; but even at a funeral the saved can sing with gusto, for death has been killed by Jesus.
True worship songs are filled with doctrine; they teach and extol the attributes and power of the Lord. They remind of the judgment and they recite to us the truth of the scriptures.
In the introduction I asked you if you had ever written a song to the Lord. Every now and then around the Valentine’s season, our church will do a time called ‘Love Songs to the Saviour,’ and I encourage our church people to write poems, song and stories to the Lord about His goodness and power in their lives. You should try this some time. Begin to write down the wonders of the Lord’s majesty, power, presence and place in your life. Write the Lord a love poem or love song. We are called to love the Lord with all of our hearts, body and minds. This practice may help you to see more clearly the wonders of the Lord and spark even more confidence in Him.
These elders sing this song of praise to the Lord and worship Him. They understand who is God and who is not. The antichrist and his people on earth are about to find out who the true God of the universe is, and they are about to see Jesus take over the earth and take what is rightfully His.
The Temple in Heaven, Revelation 11:19
The Temple on earth is fashioned after the Temple in Heaven. Over the course of the Revelation, we have seen various aspects of the Temple area in Heaven. We see God on His throne in Rev. 4:5; we see an altar in Rev. 6:9; and here we see the Holy of Holies where the heavenly Ark of the Covenant dwells. The temple is opened, and we can see into the Holiest of places in the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of God’s presence, atonement and covenant with His people.
On the Day of Atonement, on the 10th day of the 7th month, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies with a basin of blood and offer the annual atonement for the sins of the people of Israel. In Leviticus 16:29-34 we find these instructions:
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
“The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.’ And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
I encourage you to read the whole of chapter 16 in Leviticus. This is what the Lord Jesus did for us. He is our blood sacrifice that atones for our sins. He is our scapegoat and at the same time our High Priest. Only the perfect God/Man could be both at the same time. Oh, what a mighty God we serve! We get these little glimpses of what heaven will look like, and we can just imagine what awaits us and the glory that we will see and experience.
The opening of the Temple is accompanied by thunder, lightning, noises, earthquakes and great hail. The Day of the Lord is soon coming. Are you ready?