Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Joshua 7-9
New Testament Reading: Revelation 11
The second woe has passed. Take note: The third woe is coming soon! 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 (Revelation 11:14-16).
We have waited in great anticipation since Revelation 8:13 for this third woe to arrive, and now it is here. In the ninth chapter, the first woe, at the fifth trumpet, brought suffering and torment for five months. And the second woe, or the sixth trumpet, brought death to one third of the population of the earth. So, what possible judgement could the third woe contain?
As the third woe is revealed, we see it is far different from the first two. The blowing of the seventh trumpet announces the completion of God’s redemptive plan, the culmination of judgment on the ungodly sinners, and the establishment of the eternal Kingdom of our God. These events do not take place the instant the trumpet is sounded, however. The angel is simply signaling the beginning of the process. The third woe extends all the way through the rest of the book of Revelation into the twentieth chapter.
There will be judgement during this time as verse eighteen states, the time has come for the dead to be judged, but that will be described later in the book. For now, we are given a heavenly perspective of the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
First, we hear 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 (v15). What Christians have prayed as they were taught by Jesus through the centuries, “Thy kingdom come,” is now reality.
Then the twenty-four elders representing the church already raptured and glorified in heaven, got off their thrones and fell on their faces and worshiped God. In chapter four, the elders praised God the Creator. In chapter five, they praised God the Redeemer. Now their praise is for God the Conqueror and the King. This is the moment they have waited for. This is the fulfillment of their prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”
They praise 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 (v17b). It is a time of thanksgiving. It is a time for them to express their gratitude to God for answering the prayers of the saints. All the prophecies predicting this event are now fulfilled. All the anticipations and hopes of God’s people are to be fulfilled, and thanksgiving is the proper response.
Earlier in the book of Revelation it says, I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, the one who is, who was, and who is to come (Rev 1:8). Then again it says, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. (Rev 4:8). Notice the who was, who is, who is to come, Past - Present - Future.
However, now the elders praise God by saying, we give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was (v17). The “who is to come” is dropped because it is no longer in the future. Christ’s Kingdom has arrived.
What an encouragement this book must have been to John’s original audience, the Christians suffering from the Romans persecution. No matter how difficult the circumstances might be, or how defeated God’s people may think they are, Jesus Christ is still King of kings and Lord of lords. He is in control, and one day we shall all triumph with Him!