“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“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. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 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. 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, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 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”
And the seventh angel blew the seventh trumpet, and the signification of this trumpet blast is declared in heaven by “great voices.” It is fitting that the declaration that follows instantly evokes that great musical theme that Handel assigned to it in The Messiah—music indeed worthy of great voices. The seventh trumpet indicates the formal establishment of Daniel’s fifth kingdom, the rock that struck Nebuchadnezzar’s great statue on the feet, and which then grew to become a mountain that filled the entire earth.
The seventh trumpet indicates the formal inauguration of Christ’s reign on earth. Christ had ascended into the heavenly places forty years before, and had approached the Ancient of Days on the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13), where He was granted universal dominion. “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).In order to function as Christ’s body on earth, we needed the Spirit to empower us.But in order for this heavenly kingdom to have its earthly reality made manifest, two great things had to happen. The first is that the Spirit had to be poured out on the church, so that we could do the work of the kingdom in the power and authority of Christ. In order to function as Christ’s body on earth, we needed the Spirit to empower us. The second thing that had to happen was the removal of the old Judaic Temple. Before the Christian faith could become the holy Temple of God on the earth, the old shadow had to be removed. Had it remained, it would have been too great a distraction. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13).
We saw back in chapter 4 that the twenty-four elders are representative of all God’s elect throughout history. They are the ones who fall on their faces and give glory to God. They worshiped the Almighty, the one who gathered great power to Himself in order to reign. The lament of the saints under the altar in chapter 6 is now heard. The nations were angry, but God’s wrath came upon them. This passage says that it was the “time of the dead,” which I do not take as the last judgment at the end of history. Rather, the lament of the saints had earlier asked how long God would delay His judgment, how long before He avenged their blood. The same word for judgment is used here—and this is the point where God gives His reward to His servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to those who feared His name, whether small or great. God would destroy those who destroyed the earth, and a new aeon, the Christian aeon, opened up.The shadow Temple on earth was flattened so that the Temple in the heavens could be opened up to all mankind.The shadow Temple on earth was flattened so that the Temple in the heavens could be opened up to all mankind. “The temple of God was opened in heaven.” And just as the veil hiding the Ark of the Covenant was torn in two when Jesus died, so also the veil of the heavenly curtain was rent. The “ark of his testament” in the celestial realms was now seen. It is no longer hidden away. The mercy seat, the heavenly mercy seat, is no longer hidden in darkness for most of the year. The gospel of the new creation can be preached anytime, anywhere.
And to underscore and emphasize all of this, God italicized this great declaration, and He did it with lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.