Today, Thursday May 19
Remember God’s Great Faithfulness
Revelation 11:15-19 “Then 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 and ever!" And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 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 those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth." 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.”
Today as we look and observe the events unfolding in the world around us it could be very easy to get discouraged and start feeling somewhat hopeless. But as we read and study the Book of Revelation, I’m finding that I am getting more and more excited about what is going on because everything obviously is setting up for the end times. And this chapter ends with a reminder of God's faithfulness (v. 19).
"And the time of the dead, that they should be judged" takes us to the very end of God's prophetic program. This judgment is described in Revelation 20:11-15 and is known as the Great White Throne Judgment. This will take place in heaven after the one-thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. Here the Book of Life is opened, that has recorded in it all those who have trusted in the blood of Jesus to remove their sin. They will enter eternity with Christ. But those whose names are not found written in the Book are thrown into the lake of fire for eternal punishment.
There will also be a judgment of God's children, known as "the Judgment Seat of Christ" (Rom. 14:10-13; 1 Cor. 3:9-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-11). God will reward His faithful servants (Matt. 25:21) and the sufferings they experienced on earth will be forgotten in the glory of His presence. Though God's children will not be judged for their sins (that judgment took place on the cross), they will be judged for their works and rewarded generously by the Master. This judgment will take place in heaven after Christ has called His people home. When He returns to earth to establish His kingdom, the saints will be ready to reign with Him, with every blemish of the church removed (Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-8). Today, we groan as we serve God, because we know only too well our handicaps and blemishes; but one day, we shall serve Him perfectly!
"Them that destroy the earth" refers to the rebellious earth-dwellers who will not submit to God. How ironic that these people live for the earth and its pleasures, yet at the same time are destroying the very earth that they worship! When man forgets that God is the Creator and he is the creature, he begins to exploit his God-given resources, and this brings destruction. Man is a steward of creation, not the owner.
As mentioned before, Revelation 11:18 is a summary statement of events yet to come. It is heaven's song of praise for the Lord's faithfulness to accomplish His purposes in the world. This chapter ends with a wonderful assurance of God's faithfulness (v. 19). This chapter opened with a temple on earth, but now we see the temple in heaven. The focus of attention is on the ark of God, the symbol of God's presence with His people.
In the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, the ark stood behind the veil, in the holy of holies. God's glory rested on the ark, and God's Law was within the ark, beautifully illustrating that the two must never be separated. He is the holy God and must deal righteously with sin. But He is also the faithful God who keeps His promises to His people. It was the ark of God that led Israel through the Jordan and into their inheritance (Josh. 3:11-17).
This vision of the ark would greatly encourage God's suffering people to whom John sent this book. "God will fulfill His promises!" John was saying to them. "He will reveal His glory! Trust Him!" And today, we should also be encouraged and excited as we remember God’s great faithfulness and His promises to us!