Seventh Trumpet: Rapture and Jesus’ Return (Rev. 11:15-19)

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET (REV. 11:14–19)

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 …!” 16 The twenty-four elders … fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty … because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 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 should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 The temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. There were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Rev. 11:15-19)

The seventh trumpet highlights God’s kingdom being released on earth as it is in heaven with all the forces of evil being driven off the planet. This is the main theme of the book of Revelation. The context of the seventh trumpet is the crisis of the sixth trumpet which resulted in the death of one-third of the earth (Rev. 9:13-19). It will be the last major event on earth before the rapture.

God’s rule is referred to in the proleptic past tense as though it was a finished fact of history. A future event may be referred to in this way because of the absolute certainty of it occurring.

The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord. (Rev. 11:15) The kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come. (Rev. 12:10)

John highlights five things in the seventh trumpet: First, the proclamation that Jesus is taking over the government of every nation on earth. Second, the nations’ anger at Jesus’ leadership. Third, the unrighteous dead will be judged (sentenced to the lake of fire). Fourth, the saints will be rewarded. Fifth, the wicked alive on earth will be destroyed (by the bowls of wrath: Rev. 16).

We see three sections as we outline Revelation 11:14-19: First is the proclamation of God’s triumph over the all the nations (v. 15). Second, the 24 elders thank God for judging the wicked and rewarding the righteous (vv. 16-18). Third is the opening of the temple in heaven (v. 19).

Usually in the NT the term “Lord” refers to Jesus, but here it points to the Father. Christos is the Greek word for “messiah” or “anointed one.” Jesus is referred to here as “His Christ” (anointed one). This emphasizes Jesus’ subordinate relationship to the Father. The Father is the King (Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:2-3; 1 Tim. 6:14-15). He gave this title to Jesus (Rev. 17:14; 19:16). The subject of “He shall reign forever” is singular and refers to the Father in Rev. 11:15.

Scripture does not always distinguish between the millennial kingdom of Jesus and the Father’s reign on the new earth. Paul saw two distinct periods in establishing the kingdom on earth. First is Jesus’ reign between His ascension and “the end” of the Millennium, when Jesus delivers the kingdom to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Second is when the Father rules in face-to-face communion with His people on the new earth (Rev. 21:3 22:4), referred to as the consummation.

THE SAINTS WILL BE REWARDED: RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

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. (Rev. 11:18)

The seventh trumpet is the last trumpet in the series of seven that are numbered by John in Revelation (Rev. 8-9; 11:15). At the seventh trumpet or the last trumpet, the saints will be raised from the dead and rewarded. At this time, Jesus will rapture the Church.

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment … at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible… (1 Cor. 15:51-52)

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven … with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [raptured] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thes. 4:16-17)

Believers will be quickly evaluated and rewarded with garments that reflect their obedience. The saints will have their heavenly garments by the time they enter Jerusalem with Jesus.
To her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev. 19:8)

The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen … followed Him on white horses. (Rev. 19:14)

The saints are rewarded on the day in which Jesus appears in the sky (Isa. 40:10; 62:11; Mt. 16:27; Rev. 19:8; 22:12).

The Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing… (2 Tim. 4:1) The crown of righteousness, which the Lord … will give to me on that Day. (2 Tim. 4:8)

Jesus will publicly, supernaturally, and eternally vindicate the saints as righteous instead of being criminals of society and social outcasts as declared by wicked men. The saints are salt and light in the earth (Mt. 5:13-14). When they are raptured, it is a judgment on society by removing the salt and light that the mature end-time Church brings to society.

Three stages of Jesus’ second coming procession: First, Jesus comes across the sky to be seen by the wicked and to rapture the saints (Mt. 24:30-31; Rev. 1:7). Second, He comes on the land to kill His enemies (Isa. 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3-16). Third, Jesus enters into Jerusalem (Mt. 23:39).

Stage #1: Jesus’ procession across the sky: raptured saints and mourning unbelievers (Rev. 1:7)

Stage #2: Jesus’ procession on the land: traveling through Jordan to Israel (Isa. 63; Hab. 3)

Stage #3: Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem: to the Mount of Olives followed by His coronation

Jesus will be seen by every person on earth. This requires a global procession over every inhabited place. This procession will be believable enough to cause unbelievers to mourn.

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him … and all the tribes of the earth

Since the earth is round, it is impossible for all the people on the earth to see Him at the same time. He will need to be seen in each longitude and latitude of all the inhabited places on earth. What height and speed will Jesus travel at so as to be recognizable to everyone? His procession across the sky will be close enough to be seen and slow enough for each unbeliever to interpret what they see. It will be convincing enough to cause hardened unbelievers to mourn. What they see will produce awe and/or terror in them.

I refer to Jesus’ coming as a procession because He comes with all the saints (1 Thes. 3:13) and all the angels (Mt. 25:31) as He travels on clouds across the whole earth for all to see (Mt. 24:30). He will come with the Father’s glory (Mt. 16:27), great power (Mk. 13:26), and flaming fire (2 Thes. 1:8), traveling with the brightness of lightning (Mt. 24:27), the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God as He raises the dead (1 Thes. 4:14-16). The sun and moon will not shine and stars will fall (Mt. 24:29).

Jesus’ coming and ruling will be in the context of the natural human processes not being suspended, yet significantly enhanced by the supernatural dimension of the Spirit. We see aspects of this when Jesus appeared with His resurrected body (Jn. 20-21; Acts 1).

Jesus raptures the Church to initiate His second coming procession. It has three stages, including many events occurring over a30-day period, which can be seen by comparing the 1,260 days or 3½years (Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5; Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7) with the 1,290 days (Dan. 12:11).

From the time … the abomination of desolation is set up there shall be 1,290 days. (Dan. 12:11)

There are four different phrases that describe the final 3½years before Jesus’ return. Different terminology is used so that the meaning is clear and that no one would dismiss it as symbolic. This time period is referred twice as “1,260 days” (Rev. 11:3; 12:6); twice as “42 months” (Rev. 11:2; 13:5); three times as “time, times and half a time” (Rev. 12:14; Dan. 7:25; 12:7: “time” refers to one year, “times” refers to two years, and “half a time” speaks of half a year); and once as “the middle of the week” (Dan. 9:27; the Hebrew week is a period of seven years or days).

The seventh trumpet is the same as the trumpet referred to in Revelation 10:7. The mystery of God will be complete, which includes His plan to prepare a Bride to rule the earth with Jesus.

In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery [hidden plan] of God would be finished, as He declared to His … prophets. (Rev. 10:7)

THE REBELLIOUS WILL BE DESTROYED: FULLNESS OF WRATH (REV. 16)

Your wrath has come … and should destroy those who destroy the earth. (Rev. 11:18)

In context, the nations had just endured the crisis of one-third of the earth dying in the sixth trumpet. While people are still grieving, God will destroy many who survived by releasing the fullness of wrath.

The seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. (Rev. 15:1)

As Jesus travels on the land, He will pass through the city of Bozrah in Edom (Jordan) killing His enemies on His way to Jerusalem. Their blood will be sprinkled on His robes (Isa. 34:5-10; 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3-18; Zech. 9:14; Ps. 110:5-6; Deut. 33:2; Num. 24:17-19; Rev. 19:11-16).

1 Who is this who comes from Edom [Jordan] … from Bozrah [capital of Edom], this One [Jesus] who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? … 2 Why is Your apparel red …? 3 “I have trodden them [nations] in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled on My garments, and I have stained all My robes. 4 The day of vengeance is in My heart [bowls of wrath], and the year of My redeemed has come.” (Isa. 63:1-4)

Jesus as the “greater Moses” will release the bowls of wrath as the end-time plagues of Egypt.

The pinnacle of the second coming procession is Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to be officially received by the governmental leaders of Israel as their King. The high point of natural history is when He enters into Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives and sits on His throne

I say to you [governmental leaders in Jerusalem], you shall see Me no more till you say,

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Mt. 23:39)

I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem … 3 The LORD will go forth and fight against those nations … 4 His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives … 5 The Lord … will come, and all the saints with You … 9 The LORD shall be King over all the earth. (Zech. 14:2-9)

Jesus’ procession begins in the sky at the seventh trumpet with the rapture and ends on the earth after the seventh bowl to end the Armageddon campaign at Jerusalem, where He splits the Mount of Olives and is received as King of kings by all Israel (Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 12:1-14; 14:1-9).

PROCLAMATION: JESUS IS TAKING OVER THE GOVERNMENT OF EVERY NATION

The seventh angel sounded: 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…” (Rev. 11:15)

Heavenly voices declare that Jesus will take over and replace all of the governments on the earth. This will be a hostile takeover of angry nations who will make war against His leadership.

The kings of the earth … gathered together to make war against Him. (Rev. 19:19) These [the Antichrist’s ten kings] will make war with the Lamb. (Rev. 17:14)

David prophesied of this conflict between the kings of the earth and the Father in Psalm 2.

Why do the nations rage … 2 The kings of the earth set themselves … against the LORD and against His Anointed … 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” (Ps. 2:1-6)

Jesus will replace all the governments of the earth with righteous leaders (Mt. 25:31-32). The saints will be given governmental leadership over the earth (Rev. 20:4-6; Dan. 7:27)

I saw thrones … they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4)

Scripture gives three different views of the seventh trumpet and the rapture. Jesus described it by its cosmic glory (Mt. 24:30-31). Paul described it by its effect on the saints (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:16-17). John described its impact on world governments (Rev. 11:15). In the chronological sections, John emphasized what will take place on earth more than in the sky.

The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mt. 24:30-31)

THE UNRIGHTEOUS DEAD WILL BE JUDGED

Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged. (Rev. 11:18)

The unrighteous dead will be judged or pronounced guilty and sentenced to spend 1,000 years in Hades as their temporary prison until they are thrown in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11–15). All the dead will either be raptured to glory or sentenced to hell.

Jesus will judge all who followed the Antichrist. The wicked who died in the great crisis of the sixth trumpet soon will be publicly pronounced as guilty criminals in God’s court and sentenced to endure God’s eternal wrath. They will not be lamented over as innocent victims.

It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those … who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction … 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints. (2 Thes. 1:6-10)

THE NATIONS EXPRESS THEIR ANGER AT JESUS’ LEADERSHIP

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come … and that You should reward Your servants …and should destroy those who destroy the earth. (Rev. 11:18)

The seventh trumpet follows immediately after the sixth trumpet, which results in the death of one-third of the earth (Rev. 9:13-19), leading to a worldwide hardness of heart toward God (Rev. 9:20-21). Satan is raging (Rev. 12:12, 17) and world leaders are angry (Rev. 11:18).

The nations will be angry as Jesus pronounces judgment on those who followed the Antichrist. Add to this the supernatural removal of all the saints, which publicly vindicates them.

We cannot fully imagine what the social and emotional state of billions of unbelievers will be as they see their error and hear of their imminent demise.

The response of the twenty-four elders, or the government of heaven, is opposite of the leaders on earth.

THE OPENING OF THE TEMPLE IN HEAVEN

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. (Rev. 11:19)

God opens the temple in heaven so that the ark of the covenant is seen resulting in the manifestations of God’s glory, including lightning, noises, thunder, an earthquake, and great hail.

This speaks of our covenant-keeping God manifesting His glory as He dwells with His people. The ark of the covenant speaks of God’s manifest presence among His covenant people and His victory over all His enemies.

Heaven’s temple being opened signifies an open heaven over God’s people at the time of the rapture—at the seventh trumpet. This unveiled the ark of glory and released manifestations of God’s power on earth in great lightning, noises, thunder, an earthquake, and great hail.

Some suggest that all on earth and in heaven will see into the temple. At the time of the rapture the veil between the heavenly and earthly realm may be lifted. Scripture is not definitive on this.

God has always had the power to rule the nations, but chose in His sovereignty to restrain His power to allow His mysterious plan (Rev. 10:7) to unfold through 6,000 years of human history.

In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery [hidden plan] of God would be finished, as He declared to His … prophets. (Rev. 10:7)
6.The mystery of God, or the plan of God, is to prepare a Bride to rule the earth with Jesus. In other words, God as the ultimate social architect has set into motion a plan that will create the optimum context to bring forth voluntary lovers of God for eternity who are empowered with gratitude, knowing the details of their sin, God’s love, and the eternal judgment. This plan will be complete at the seventh trumpet (same trumpet referred to in Rev. 10:7).

An angel spoke to John about the seventh trumpet (Rev. 10:7), saying that God’s mystery, or hidden plan, would be fulfilled in the days when the seventh trumpet sounded.

The seventh trumpet also releases the seven bowls of wrath seen in the next chronological event (Rev. 15-16).

The next time the saints are seen in Revelation, they are in victory on the sea of glass, anticipating the imminent release of the bowls of wrath.

I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast … standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. (Rev. 15:2)




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