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Twenty-four elders before God the Father and the Lamb - Jacob de Wet (1647)

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 his Messiah, and he will reign here forever and ever.”

Twenty-four elders worship God before the throneThe twenty-four elders fell on their faces and worshipped God saying:

“We give thanks to you Lord God, 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 and 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 the temple was the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a severe hailstorm.

What the story means to us today

Victory is declared as the world prepares for the return of Jesus Christ

At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, victory is declared – the “kingdom of the world” will no longer be guided by greed, selfishness, and corruption. From here forward, God and his Messiah, the true owner and king, will rule over earth.

In response to the proclamation, the twenty-four elders sank to their knees and thanked God for his salvation saying the time has come for judging the dead, rewarding God’s servants (“both great and small”) and the destruction of “those who destroy the earth” (including Satan, the beast, and the false prophet).

The declaration of victory occurs here, but the true destruction of the enemy will occur later – when Christ returns to Earth.

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Additional thoughts and considerations

A synopsis of the remaining chapters of Revelation is revealed

The twenty-four elders conclude their praise saying:

“The nations are angry, your wrath has come, the time has come for judging the dead, for rewarding Christ’s righteous followers, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Their statement is a synopsis of what remains in Revelation.

Twenty-four elders worship God before the throneThe dragon will incite those who oppose God (Revelation 12:12). God’s wrath will reign down on earth (Revelation 14:7, Revelation 16:1, Revelation 18:20, Revelation 19:19, and Revelation 20:11). The dead will be called before the throne and judged for what they have done (Revelation 20:11). The righteous will be rewarded with a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). Finally, the beast, dragon, and false prophet will be destroyed (Revelation 19:2, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 20:10).

The ark of the covenant in heaven

When the heavens are opened, John sees the ark of the covenant inside God’s temple. We can assume this is *the* ark of the covenant, although it could also refer to an altogether different container (albeit, not likely).

The ark of the covenant is described in Exodus 25:10 as the container that Moses used to house tablets that recorded God’s covenant with the Israelites. There is no further record of the ark in the Book of Kings or Chronicles and it is presumed to have been destroyed in 586 BC during the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Alternative theories however, propose Babylon captured the ark as loot (as prophesied by Ezekiel 7:21) or that it was hidden away before the Babylonians could capture it.

Regardless of the arc’s demise on earth, it will be found intact in heaven.

Bible Text

NIV

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 worshiped 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.

An Arc of the Covenant replicaThe New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The Message

15–18 The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out,

The kingdom of the world is now

the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah!

He will rule forever and ever!

The Twenty-four Elders seated before God on their thrones fell to their knees, worshiped, and sang,

We thank you, O God, Sovereign-Strong,

WHO IS AND WHO WAS.

You took your great power

and took over—reigned!

The angry nations now

get a taste of your anger.

The time has come to judge the dead,

to reward your servants, all prophets and saints,

Reward small and great who fear your Name,

and destroy the destroyers of earth.

19 The doors of God’s Temple in Heaven flew open, and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly seen surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a fierce hailstorm.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

The NET Bible

11:15 Then 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 for ever and ever.”

11:16 Then the twenty-four elders who are seated on their thrones before God threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and worshiped God 11:17 with these words:

“We give you thanks, Lord God, the All-Powerful,

the one who is and who was,

because you have taken your great power

and begun to reign.

11:18 The nations were enraged,

but your wrath has come,

and the time has come for the dead to be judged,

and the time has come to give to your servants,

the prophets, their reward,

as well as to the saints

and to those who revere your name, both small and great,

and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

11:19 Then the temple of God in heaven was opened and the ark of his covenant was visible within his temple. And there were flashes of lightning, roaring, crashes of thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

King James Version

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, gsmall and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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