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The Seventh Trumpet

Revelation 11:15-19
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.' And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying: 'We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.' Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. (NIVUK)

As each of seven trumpets are sounded by the seven angels in heaven, God's chosen action takes place on earth. Six trumpets have already been sounded in John's vision (Revelation 8:6-9:19), each one heralding a 'natural disaster', a plague inflicted on a rebellious world. After an intermission in the drama, in which John was invited to take part in the action on earth (Revelation 10:1-11:14), the scene shifts back to heaven for the sounding of the seventh and final trumpet which heralds the reclamation of the world by Father God and Jesus Christ from the devil's control.

The loud voices in heaven after the seventh trumpet announce that the kingdoms of the earth now belong to God, the Father and Son. It is what Daniel prophesied in Daniel 2:35, 44; 4:3; 6:26; 7:14, 26-27). After the changing empires of earth become weak and successively deposed by a superior power, God will set up a kingdom which can never be destroyed, and it will crush all other kingdoms. No wonder that the 24 elders fell on their faces: what God had long prophesied was starting to happen.

The Lord has not been impotent previously, but He has given people time to repent (2 Peter 3:8-9). But despite His gracious restraint, most did not (Revelation 9:20-21). So the heavenly chorus announces that the time has come for the wicked to be judged and God's faithful people rewarded. Those who destroyed the earth which God made will be destroyed. Wicked people who have long since died will face their Maker as Judge. There will be no escape, either reward or judgement. John sees violent extreme weather conditions on earth confirming that the earth is 'under new management'. The Ark of the Covenant appears in John's vision. That was the symbol of God's presence with His Old Testament people. It had contained the Ten Commandments etched in stone, Aaron's rod that budded, and a pot of Manna (Hebrews 9:4). Now it is seen in heaven to confirm that judgement will be according to God's righteous standard which everybody knows in their conscience (Romans 2:14-16); and that God's people will be nourished and rewarded for their faith.

This glimpse of God taking control of everything which He had given to human beings to look after, will remind us of how badly we have fulfilled that creation commission (Genesis 1:26-30). It will cause us to examine our own hearts and motives, as well as the consequences of our actions. As Hebrews 4:13 says, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." And yet by His grace He has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:10-14). It is only as we put our trust in the sacrifice of Jesus, that we can have confidence when He comes to reign (1 John 4:17).

Almighty God. Thank You for this promise that You will personally take full control of this corrupt and polluted world, punishing the wicked and rewarding the faithful. Forgive me for living as though You will not assert Your authority. Please help me to live in the light of Christ's return and seek to live for You each day until then. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams