Revelation 11:15-19: The future has become the present.
15 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.’
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God, 17 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.
18 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.’
19 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.” NIV
I have found a comment from Tom Wright on these verses to be particularly helpful: ‘This climactic and decisive moment could well have come, one might suppose, towards the very end of the book. Indeed, parts of chapter 19 resemble what we have here. But this reminds us that we are not dealing, in Revelation, with a single sequence of events, in which the seals come first, then the trumpets, then all the material in chapters 12-14, culminating in the bowls of wrath, and so on. What we are dealing with is several different angles of vision on the one single great reality: that through the awful turmoil and trouble of the world, God is establishing through Jesus a people who, following the lamb, are to bear witness to God’s kingdom through their own suffering…’’ ‘Revelation for Everyone’, p.103.
I have deliberately put in italics what, for me, are the key words in this very significant quote. I appreciate that different Christians interpret this book in differing ways. I’m not dogmatically asserting that my viewpoint is correct. But this is certainly how I see it now, at this moment in time.
In verse 17 we read: ‘’We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who was and is…’’ Take a moment to compare that with 1:4: ‘’…him who is, and who was, and who is to come…’’ I’m sure you will immediately see the difference. By the time we reach 11:17, He’s come! The future is now the present.
In verse 18 we hear echoes of Psalm 2:1,2:’’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.’’ What we are seeing in Revelation 11 is the fulfilment of Psalm 2, as God’s Son-King comes to rule. The psalmist says that man’s best course of action in the circumstances is to submit, to sue for peace.
Do you ever feel insignificant and overlooked? Well, being ‘’small’’ (18b) won’t keep you from God rewarding (or judging!) you.