The Trumpet of the Lord
|Bible Book:||Revelation 11 : 11-19|
|Subject:||Tribulation, The Great|
The Revelation is not a long book as modern books go, but it is a very long, detailed revelation clothed in mysterious language, complete with symbolism, metaphors, and imagery. It is not easy to keep the entire book in one’s mind, or to maintain, in one’s mind, a continuity from beginning to end. Our message today will overlap the previous sermon from this chapter. Right now, I would like for us to briefly review all of the book up to where we are today.
In Chapter 1, we see that the Son of God is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, beginning and the end.
In Chapters 2-3, we have the letters to the 7 churches of Asia Minor.
In Chapter 4, we are introduced to the throne room of Heaven.
In Chapter 5, The One on the throne has a scroll with seven seals in His hand, a seal no one could open until the Lamb of God, Jesus, undertook the task of breaking the seals and opening the scroll.
In Chapter 6, the first six seals are broken, each with its own dramatic revelation.
In Chapter 7, God’s judgment is held back until a mighty angel with the seal of the Lord seals those who are redeemed.
In Chapter 8, the seventh seal is broken, followed by 7 trumpet judgments.
In Chapter 9, the angel from bottomless pit unleashes plagues against those who are not saved.
In Chapter 10, John is told to take the little book, and eat it: it would be sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach.
In Chapter 11, verses 1-10, we see the Two Witnesses God sends to proclaim His message with awesome power, and supernatural results. In 11:1, God told John to take a reed and measure the sanctuary, excluding the court of the Gentiles. He stressed that Gentiles will trample under foot the streets of that great city for forty-two months, three and one half years.
This period is mentioned in Dan 7:25; Dan 12:7. This period of time covers the duration of the triumph of the Gentiles, of the prophesying of the two witnesses, of the sojourn of the woman in the wilderness. What we need to remember is that this denotes the second half of the Tribulation and that is coincides with the evil reign of the Antichrist (12:6; 13:5). During this time Jews will be sheltered in the wilderness by the Lord (12:6, 14).
The two witnesses will prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. In 11:3, we read, “I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” Then, “When they finish their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them” (11:7). Now, look at verses 8-10:
“Their dead bodies will lie in the public square of the great city, which is called, prophetically, Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. And representatives from the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will view their bodies for three and a half days and not permit their bodies to be put into a tomb. Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who live on the earth.”
As suddenly as it began the celebration came to a screeching halt. Refusing to bury one’s enemy was a way of showing contempt for them - however, in this case the burial would have been a bit premature!
I. THE TWO WITNESSES ARE RAISED FROM THE DEAD, 11:11-14.
1) After three and a half days God breathed life into their bodies, 11:11.
“But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet. So great fear fell on those who saw them.”
For three days and a half the forces of evil celebrated the death of the two witnesses, but then God breathed new life into them and they stood of their feet. What happened was so dramatic that “great fear fell on those who saw them.”
The word “fear” appears in the NASB 313 times; in the New Testament 77 times. Psychologists counsel with people in order to try to eliminate fear but God created us that we have a capacity for fear. Fear can immobilize, fear can cripple, fear can enslave, but fear can preserve, protect, and prevent disaster in one’s life. In other words, fear can be good, or it can be bad. We need to know what to fear and what not to fear.
Repeatedly, in the Bible when there is an encounter with the Lord, or His messenger, the individual, individuals were filled with fear. Fear gripped Zacharias the angel of the Lord told him that Elizabeth would give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah. Fear came upon all who heard the news about Zacharias’ temple experience. Fear gripped them all when Jesus raised the widow’s son. At the open tomb the guards shook for fear. The women left the tomb with fear and great joy. Often when one knows he is in the presence of the Lord he is admonished, “fear not.”
As I have lamented before, we live in a day when certain popular preachers seemingly know no fear in the presence of God. They stand in God’s sacred pulpit, in God’s sacred house, on God’s sacred day and entertain His holy people with stories that may well take the name of God in vain (in the sense that His name is used in a casual manner). I would remind you of the tel-evangelist who dramatically testified to a large crowd about something which I understood to be his visit to heaven. He pranced around in an entertainment mode, making jokes about what he saw and what he heard, and what he thought. The people were laughing and he was laughing with them. I could not help but think of Isaiah’s vision (Is.6). You remember the story - Isaiah was delivering one-liners while all the people laughed, right? Wrong! Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am undone.”
We live in a day when popular preaching has eliminated sin, the blood of Christ, the Cross, repentance, and hell from the sermon. One lady confidently affirmed, “I really like my pastor because he doesn’t preach the Bible. He just tells us how to live.” People are perfectly happy listening to someone tell them they should look around see a single parent family and invite them to Thanksgiving dinner. There is nothing wrong with that. But let me lay it on the line: To fail to preach on sin and its consequence, the agony of the Cross, power in the blood, repentance, and eternal punishment in a literal hell those who do not repent, is disastrous and dangerous, not only for evil people, but also for those who like church but do not want to hear the full Gospel.
My dear lost friend, if you can read the New Testament and never know that healthy fear we understand to be reverence for God, you have a problem. Christian friend, if you can read the New Testament and not know a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord, you need to repent!
2) Their work finished, they ascended to heaven in a cloud, 11:12.
“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ““Come up here.”” They went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them.”
The Lord breathed new life into the two witnesses, revealed them to the people, and then took them up to heaven in a cloud in the presence of the people. Some wonder why God did not permit them to preach again after their resurrection, but apparently the point here is that they were vindicated before the eyes of those who had celebrated their death.
3) A catastrophic earthquake hit the city, 11:13a.
“At that moment a violent earthquake took place.”
We have already seen how God use of earthquakes: “I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood” (Rev. 6:12, NASB). There is an even greater earthquake coming:
“And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was^ extremely severe” (emphasis added, Rev, 16:18-21, NASB).
4) Many gave glory to the God of heaven, 11:13b.
“A tenth of the city fell, and 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. The survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
The earthquake, only a hint of the great one to come, killed 7,000 people and the survivors were terrified. That is quite a change from all the celebrating they were doing when the two witnesses were killed. For two thousand years now, those who mocked and cheered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ have lived in a terror from which they will never escape. Those who reject Him today will suffer the same fate - and yes, that does mean a literal hell.
5) The second woe is past and the third is coming quickly, 11:14.
“The second woe has passed. Take note: the third woe is coming quickly!”
II. THE SEVENTH TRUMPET SOUNDS, 11:15-19.
1) The seventh trumpet sounds, 11:15.
“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 Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!”
The seventh trumpet includes the seven bowl, final judgments revealed in chapter 16, as well as the events leading up to the establishment of the millennial kingdom, revealed in chapter 20. There was silence in heaven upon the opening of the seventh seal, but here there are loud voices in heaven. These loud, clear, unmistakable voices proclaimed, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.” No wonder the hosts of heaven sing, “Amen, Hallelujah!” The celebration of what appeared to be a satanic victory over the two witnesses was short lived.
2) The four and twenty elders worship God, 11:16-18.
“The 24 elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
“We thank You, Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, but Your wrath has come. The time has come for the dead to be judged, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
The four and twenty elders, representative of all the redeemed who will be singing a similar praise to the Lord God, the Almighty, throughout eternity, offer thanks for the manifestation of His power and for the vindication of the martyrs. They praise Him “Who is and Who was” - bringing to mind the great hymn in 4:8:
“Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.”
It also reminds us of the name God gave Moses at the burning bush. He told Moses to tell Pharaoh that I AM sent you. God’s most holy name, His covenant name is a verb! It means, in its fullest expression, “I am that which I am, I was that which I was, and I will be that which I will be.” The late, Dr. Leo Eddleman had, according to J. Edgar Hoover, the best working knowledge of Hebrew of any non-Jew in the United States. Dr. Eddleman repeated that to me personally, not to boast but to explain why he was asked to do some very secret work for “a high-level secret organization within our government.” I checked with a man who had been a part of that organization many years later and he said, “I did not know Dr. Eddleman,” (with an unmistakable pause and definite eye-contact), he added, “but, we knew about him.”
Dr. Eddleman explained something of the significance of the covenant name for God to me when we were both working on a study of the Book of Acts. I talked with him personally on various occasions, and called him from time to time with questions. He explained that “I AM” means “I am that which I am, I was that which I was, and I will be that which I will be. But it means more than that. It means that He exists of Himself. He is the source of His own existence. And, by implication, it means that He is the source of your existence.”
2) With the word, “because,” they explain the reason they offer thanks.
a. Because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.
God has had that power all along, and He is the sovereign God of all eternity, but now He has begun to manifest His power by establishing His reign and by vindicating His saints who have suffered and bled and died for Him.
b. Though the nations were angry, “Your wrath has come.”
The nations of the world are angry with God today. The Islamic nations are raging against Him. Communist nations have railed against Him and slaughtered His saints, killing many times more people than Hitler. The mystery to me is that for years, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and the other “talking heads” of TV-land hated the Nazis, but continued their love affair with Marxists.
Not only do the Islamic nations and the Communists hate God, there is a growing number of Americans in post-Christian America who hate God. They demonstrated their hatred in attacks against President Bush. They hated Attorney General John Ashcroft, expressing doubt that a man of his faith could be fair with the decisions. That hatred surfaced again when he announced that he was resigning as Attorney General. That hatred for God in America is being manifested every day in many ways:
1) Attacks on the Ten Commandments.
2) Attacks on “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
3) Attacks on former Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama.
4) Attacks on Nativity scenes.
5) Attacks on the word Christmas.
6) Attacks on prayer in public places.
7) Attacks on the Bible.
8) Attacks on the Cross.
9) Attacks on Christian values.
Let’s read it again: “The time has come for the dead to be judged, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
c. God is praised because He manifests His sovereignty.
“The time has come for the dead to be judged, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
III. NOW LET US MAKE AN APPLICATION OF THIS MESSAGE.
(I am now making some points I made in our previous message from this chapter)
A. Look First at the Two Witnesses.
1) They will come during the Great Tribulation.
2) They will come in the power of God to bear witness for Him.
3) The world will hate them.
4) Satan will kill them.
5) Some glorify God because of their witness and because God raised them from the dead.
6) We will not be on earth when the two witnesses are here.
7) We can face the future with confidence in our Lord.
B. Now Let Us Make an Application for the Here and Now.
1) God has His witnesses in the world today.
2) Jesus was a witness to Father.
3) John the Baptist was a witness to Jesus.
4) Jesus’ words were a witness to His Messiahship.
5) His works were a witness to His power.
6) His death was a witness to the Father’s love for us.
7) The resurrection was a witness to his victory over death, hell, and the grave.
8) The Ascension was a witness to His sovereignty.
9) Revelation is a witness to His return.
10) Jesus left us here to be His witnesses (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
What should our response be? Fear God! Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt10:28, NASB). Paul was inspired to record the shocking cause of that catalog of sins that characterized the Gentile world of his day - and sadly, much of the world of our day: “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES" (Rom 3:18).
What should we do? Trust God. We read in Hebrews 2:13, “I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.”
What should we do? Glorify Him. “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 155-6).
What should we do? Witness for Him. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).