Haggai 2:1-23; Revelation 11:15-19; Psalms 139:13-24; Proverbs 29:18
NT: “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 Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, saying, We give you thanks, 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. Then the temple of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant appeared in his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and severe hail.” (Revelation 11:15-19 CSB)
One common tradition of the Christmas season is the performing of Handel’s oratorio “Messiah.” One of the most well-known pieces from that work is the Hallelujah chorus. Though sung during the Christmas season, the text for that song does not come from the advent scriptures, but from this declaration in Revelation 11:15, and a subsequent declaration in Revelation 19:6. This is the culmination of the nativity story: Christ humbled Himself and came to earth as a lowly baby born in a dirty manger that He may save humanity from its sins, claim His inheritance, and become the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 11:15-19 is the beginning of the fulfillment of Psalm 2, where the psalmist prophetically saw the nations rage, the peoples of the world plot in vain, and the kingdoms of the earth take their stand against the Lord and His Anointed One. The result of those vain efforts against the Lord God is that the Son of God, the Anointed One will be given the nations (or the kingdoms) of the world as His inheritance. The sounding of the seventh and last trumpet is the beginning of the end for those who have rejected God and His Son, and it is the beginning of an eternity of fulfilled promises for those who have given their life to and for the Lamb of God.
When the 24 elders declared that the time had come for the dead to be judged and for rewards to be handed out, they were referring to the righteous dead. Paul explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, that when that final trumpet is sounded, the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet our Lord. At that point, the righteous dead and the faithful who were still alive will stand before the judgement seat of Christ. In Romans 14:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul explained that those in Christ will one day stand before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account for how they stewarded their life in Christ. It is then that our righteous rewards (as referenced by the 24 elders) will be handed out.
The elders stated that the nations were angry, meaning they had become exasperated in their railing against the Lord to the point of anger. However, the time for God’s wrath (justifiable indignation, vengeance and punishment) had come. The seal judgements and the trumpet judgements were merely precursors to the full outpouring of God’s wrath upon those who have made themselves His enemies. Those who are faithful to God’s covenant are not subject to God’s wrath – and as a sign of His unyielding faithfulness, the temple of God in heaven was opened and the spiritual ark of His covenant with His people was revealed. God’s ultimate plan for His people is to dwell with them and bless them with His life-giving and sustaining presence, and for them to rule and reign with Him forever. To those who are faithful, God will be faithful, guaranteed.
Psalms: “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began… Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalms 139:13-16, 23-24 CSB)
The God who stands victorious at the end of time as King and Lord of all is the same God who carefully and lovingly created us and knit us together, cell by cell, in our mothers’ wombs. That same God who intentionally crafted us has a detailed plan for our lives written out in His book – a plan full of significance, purpose, and fulfilling satisfaction. We can either submit to His plans, or we can reject His plans for our own. At its barest essence, sin is the rejecting of God’s master plan for the extremely limited and short-sighted plans of our own design. We are always tempted to make a name for ourselves, but if we submit ourselves to God, He will search us, test us, know us and reveal any sinful way in us, give us the opportunity to repent, and lead us in His everlasting way.
Proverbs: “Without revelation people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.” (Proverbs 29:18 CSB)
Without the revelation of God that comes through faith in Christ and submitting ourselves to His word, will and ways, we would run wild – railing against the very loving and purposeful God who created us. In the end, as we see in Revelation 11, outside of Christ, we end up angry and unsatisfied. However, when we submit to the Lord and follow His divine instruction, we are blessed with peace, satisfaction and happiness for eternity.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that I have been remarkably and wondrously made. I thank You that You have a master plan for my life – a plan full of blessing, peace, joy, contentment, purpose and satisfaction. I thank You, that though it is my natural tendency to resist Your word, will and ways, You have made a way through Your life, death, and resurrection for me to fully walk in faithfulness to You. I thank You that in You, I am not appointed to your wrath, but will instead share in Your blessed inheritance. Search me, know me, test me and lead me in Your everlasting way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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