Revelation 11:15-19 Part 3


1)    Then a reed like a measuring rod was given to me saying, ‘go and measure God’s temple and the altar and the worshippers in it.

2)    And cast out the exterior courtyard of the holy place; you shall not measure it, for it and the holy city have been given to the nations and they shall be trampled forty-two months.

3)    And I will give to my two witnesses and they will prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days having been clothed in sackcloth;

4)    these are the two olives and the two lamps standing before the Lord of the earth.

5)    And if anyone wills to harm them, fire goes forth out of their mouth and consumes their adversaries; this is how anyone who wills to harm them is doomed to be destroyed.

6)    The authority to shut the heaven belongs to them in order that it might not rain during the days of their prophecies.  And they have the authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to smite the land in every plague as much as they wish.

7)    And when they have completed their testimony, the beast which is coming up out of the abyss will wage war against them and will overcome them and will kill them,

8)    their bodies on the street of the great city (which is called, spiritually, Sodom and Egypt where also their Lord was crucified),

9)    their bodies being observed for three and a half days from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations suffering not their bodies to be entombed.

10) And those dwelling on the land rejoice and are gladdened; and they will send gifts to one another, for these two prophets did torment those dwelling on the land.’

11) Then after the three and a half days Breath of Life from God did enter in to them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.

12) Then they heard a great sound from the heaven saying to them: ‘Come up here!’  And they did go into the heaven in the cloud, and their adversaries beheld them.

13) And in that hour great shaking did arise, and the tenth of the city fell.  And killed in the shaking were names of men… seven thousands.  And the rest became terrified and gave credit to the God of heaven.

14) The woe, the second, did go forth; lo, the woe, the third, comes quickly.

15) Then the seventh messenger trumpeted; and there were great sounds in the heaven saying, ‘the kingdom of the world of our Lord and of His Christ did come to be, and He will reign into the ages of the ages.’

16) Then the twenty-four elders that sit before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshipped God

17) saying, ‘We thank you Lord God the Almighty the IS and the WAS, for you have assumed Your mighty power and did prevail;

18) and the nations were enraged.  But Your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be brought to trial and to give the reward to your servants the prophets and the holy ones and the ones fearing Your Name, the menial and the great, and to destroy those who are corrupting the land.’

19) Then the Holy Place of God in the heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant in His Holy Place was revealed; and there were lightnings and sounds and thunders and shaking and great hail.



Our Lord, in chapter ten, said that in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God would be fully accomplished!  The mystery was that the fifth and eternal kingdom would be established in the midst of the fourth.  And the fourth empire would be splintered and scattered; and the kings (emperors) would no longer be able to hold it together as a world-wide kingdom.  And never again would there be another kingdom established in all the earth to compete with the Fifth.

And here in verse fifteen of chapter eleven, the entire host of the glory cloud in the heaven already proclaims it accomplished at the sounding of the trumpet!  Here’s what all the creatures of the heaven loudly proclaim: ‘the kingdom of the world of our Lord and of His Christ did come to be, and He will reign into the ages of the ages.’

The next chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ reveal God’s perception of “the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter”.  During those days the idolatrous harlot would be separated out and destroyed, and during which time the covenantal “Fifth Kingdom” of Jesus Christ is established over all the nations – never to be deposed!  Never again would there ever be a successful competitor to Him as King of all the nations.

As was said last Lord’s Day, judaism and dispensationalism are still looking for the coming of the kingdom, one that will gather God’s people in Jerusalem at the sounding of the seventh trump, which John already saw and heard, and which he wrote to the Churches!

How could there yet be a seventh trump, since John saw it and heard it already; and since the host of the heaven proclaimed it having come to be?

Judaism, along with its evangelical supporters, still anticipates a false messiah, one which will arrive in the city of Jerusalem (to a rebuilt temple) and gather the Jews back into the city.  But, once again, John has just heard the myriads of the glory cloud in the heaven praising God that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ has “come to be”!

Then here’s what it says in verses sixteen and seventeen:


“Then the twenty-four elders that sit before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshipped God saying, ‘we thank you Lord God the Almighty the IS and the WAS, for you have assumed Your mighty power and did prevail;”



Please recall (from chapter four) that these twenty-four are creatures of Triune God in the heaven.  They worship God in His holy place – the sanctuary.  They go almost completely undescribed in the Scripture until John says what they sit on, where they sit, what they have on, and what they have on their heads.

But remember, that Israel with its tabernacle was to reflect that which was in the heaven.  God’s covenant was established with Israel; and that covenant included a correspondence between the nation and God’s sanctuary/throne-room in the heaven.

So, in many ways Israel was to “image”, in its appearance, and in its life and in its worship, that which Yahveh revealed to exist in the heaven. 

And these creatures sit on thrones before God; they have on pure white robes; and they have crowns on their heads.  In other words they are a royal priesthood (kingly priests and judges) in the service of Yahveh Lord of Hosts.

So, since this was what was revealed to Israel, not only was Israel to have Biblical worship and Godly priests and wise judges after the likeness of that which is in God’s heaven, but there was a future “likeness” there indicated!

And John sees that which was prophesied in the twenty-four “presbyters” required by David back in First Chronicles twenty-four; for these creatures are positioned before God and properly attired for their employment.  So there is not only a “standard” shown to Israel for its kings and priests and judges, but there is also a “prophetic foreshadowing” of the future Kingdom of God’s Messiah; for that future kingdom was to be populated by royal priests and judges!

At the fullness of the mystery of God at the sounding of the seventh trumpeter, the new Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is inhabited by Jew and Gentile alike… all elect of the Father, and all priests in the Kingdom.  They are Royal Priests. And they all are judges of the earth.  And there is the “likeness” to be observed, in the Church of Jesus Christ, to the creatures in the heavenly sanctuary.

Now.  The teaching letters of the apostles to the Churches give great clarity to the fact that all those resurrected in the Christ are priests of the Royal Priesthood (their robes made white in the blood of the Lamb); and that they are all kings who sit with Him on thrones; and that they are all Biblical judges of God’s creation – IN Jesus Christ the Royal High Priest and Executor of the covenant!  And it’s all to resemble that which John now sees and hears in the heaven at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

And now, what does John hear?  ‘We thank you Lord God the Almighty….’

The twenty-four creatures that our Lord’s Kingdom is to resemble now respond to the shouts of joy from all the creatures in the glory cloud (verse fifteen) by giving thanks.

At the Revelation of the mystery of God (i.e. the Kingdom of the Savior of the World), all the creatures in the heaven erupt in cosmic elation; and the Kingdom of Priests in Christ Jesus gives thanks.

And now we who are “In Him” are to reflect that which is in the heaven.  Our Lord is the King of His new Kingdom; He is the High Priest of His Church (having made the sacrifice); and He is the Judge of all the earth.

The whole of the New Testament documents – the Gospels and the letters of the apostles – fully reveal our duties, in Him, as kings and priests and judges of the earth.  As Paul says, we were crucified, resurrected and ascended in Christ.  We are His brothers; and we share (not only) His sufferings, but we also share His Kingship, His Priesthood and His Adjudicatory.

When reading Paul and Peter and the letters of John and the letter to the Hebrews, we see many references to our kingly duties and our priestly duties and our duties as judges; and we ought to be reminded of this view of the heavenly sanctuary.  And our conduct should be patterned accordingly.

On the Lord’s Day we in Christ sit as a Presbytery (remember, these are “presbuteron” – presbyters – elders as the word is translated here in verse sixteen); and we are to reflect that which our God has created in the heaven.  Since He is the Word of God, He is, therefore, the standard for what a king is; since He is the word of God, He is the standard for what a priest is; and since He is the Word, He is the standard for what a judge is.  And all of us who gather on the first day of the week are to bear an image, or reflection, or correspondence to the sanctuary in the heaven and the “presbytery” that’s there (and we are also to bear that image for the other six days as well!)

As John looks on, he hears an eruption of joy and thanksgiving from the host of heaven – that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ has come to be!  And our public worship is to reflect that; for our Lord IS King of the nations.  He IS Savior of the world; and He IS “Overcomer” of the world.  And our singing and prayers and tithes and communion and togetherness are all to reflect that.

And we also learn knowledge of Him in His work as King and Priest and Judge, for we, too, are kings and priests and judges in Him.  This is where we learn about Him and how we are to participate in what He does.

And here’s the thing:  should you rule by some other standard than Him, then you portray a false image of God’s heaven; should you perform priestly duties by some other standard, then you portray a false image of God’s heaven; and should you judge the earth by a false standard, then you will be judged, from the heaven, with the standard by which you judge.

And when the weekly presbytery gathering (never to be missed on purpose) is called to worship, then the royal priests and judges of the earth congregate (Ecclesia) in full acknowledgement of His glorious ascent to the throne of the Kingdom of the World, with thanksgiving, and in anticipation of the completion of His promised work.

We don’t come to go through the motions; we don’t come forlorn; we don’t come in fear of the world and its circumstances; we don’t come filled with dread regarding the things we see around us; we don’t come in anxiety and depression and confusion regarding what’s happening.

We come to public worship in faithfulness and confidence… with thanksgiving for what He has done, steadfast in assurance and anticipation of what He is doing, and eager to know more and serve Him better.

You are the presbytery in the likeness of what John sees and hears!  You are Royal Priests and Judges IN Him.  The world belongs to Him, and it is being submitted to Him.  He is the “Overcomer”.

So you don’t have “a” voice among many; you have His voice above all!  You have no seat at the table of ideas; the table belongs to you (it’s His table)!

You see… the covenantal promises of the older Word of God came to their fullness here at the time of the written text of the Revelation.  Therefore the promises of our Lord’s continuing work will also come to their fullness.  There’s your assurance in the Royal High Priest and Judge of the earth, you see!

Therefore there is no “conversation” with the world in which you might offer “suggestions”.  Rather, the conversation belongs to the King of Kings; therefore it belongs to you!

There are no instances of “condescension” in which you are given “permission”; for the forum belongs to Him, and therefore it belongs to you.

As Royal Priests and Judges IN the Royal High Priest and Judge of this creation, there is never a situation in which you would reason with the world order from its starting point; for this creation belongs to HIM; therefore it belongs to you.

The WORD of God is the Royal High Priest and Judge of the world.  And you do not stand in between Him and the world as an “arbiter”.  According to Scripture, your place is IN HIM (not in between Him and the world as a moderator, or referee).  This all belongs to Him; so it all belongs to you.

You sit with Him – In Him – as kings and priests and judges (according to Jesus’ apostles), so your comprehension of this world is from His point of view.  Rather than looking toward the heaven from the world, we look at the world from the heaven!  That’s what the apostle Paul meant when he said that our minds ought to be “in the heaven”.

We can’t be judges of the whole earth, In Christ, if we’re looking at Him from the point of view of the world!

Should you allow yourself to be “subsumed” by this world order, then you’ve abdicated your judgeship in Christ.  So you are the “presbytery” In Him.  You are kings and priests and judges in Him.  And since He is the Word of God (and it’s not by might or by power, but by His Spirit), the world order should never be allowed to assume a superior position.  Neither should it be allowed to assume an “equal” position.  Neither should it be allowed to assume a “competing” position to the rule of our Royal High priest and Judge of all His creation.

As I said before, there is no “table” at which we sit in order to “reason” with competing ideas and reach acceptable positions.  The “table” belongs to The Christ of God.  So, all who come to the table must be made aware of that.

Now, the text says that “the nations were enraged” when Jesus assumed His position as Royal High Priest and Judge of all the earth (beginning of verse eighteen).  That rage is prophesied in Psalm Two!  That rage of the nations against the King and His Kingdom completely decreated God’s heaven-and-earth-Israel. 

But the Psalmist writes that God “laughs” at them and mocks them; for they do what our God has decreed them to do, for Israel’s destruction was the reconciling of the world.

Our forefathers in the first two centuries of Christ’s Kingdom were made very aware of the rage of the nations.  The Church was subjected to horrific persecution.  It would be safe to say that our Lord’s Kingdom was not welcomed by the world order.

That’s been the case throughout history; and it is the same now.  There is always rage as the Word of God strikes at the heart of the world order as it’s being overcome.  It doesn’t like the King; it doesn’t like His Kingdom; it doesn’t like His decrees; it doesn’t like His rules; it doesn’t like His judgments….  And when the Church preaches the Gospel (and its presbyters live like it) the world order doesn’t like His Church!  It rebels with gnashing of the teeth; and it can get really nasty.

However, allowing another world view to the King’s forum is unacceptable.  You see, what’s acceptable to the King is unacceptable to the world order; and what’s acceptable (or tolerated) to the world order is unacceptable to the King.  And that’s the way it will be (sometimes more, sometimes less – some places more, some places less) while the nations are being subdued by The Overcomer, and the kings and kingdoms of the earth bow and acknowledge the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  That’s the promise, you see.

Now, the heavenly presbytery, twenty-four presbyters, falls down and gives thanks to the One Who is IS and Was; for He has assumed His mighty power and prevailed.

Once again, we need to hear the words spoken to John and written in the first verses of the first chapter of this letter.  That’s where we see the same language to John directly from the Lord Jesus. Here it is:


1)    Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John,

2)    who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.

3)    Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.

4)    John to the seven Churches, the ones in Asia; grace to you and peace from the Is and the Was and the Coming, and from the seven spirits that are before His throne,

5)    and from Jesus Christ the Witness, the Faithful, the Firstborn from death and the Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth  --- To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood

6)    and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him the glory and the dominion into the age.  Amen.

7)    LO!  He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, all who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.  YES!  Amen.

8)    I Am the Alpha and the Omega, says Kurios God, the Is and the Was and the Coming, The Almighty.


So, as you just heard, what the Lord says to John there in the beginning of the Revelation is now repeated by the twenty-four elders at the end of our text here in chapter eleven.  Note that they “say” what the Lord had spoken.

At the beginning of the Revelation our Lord’s Parousia is near; here in chapter eleven He has assumed His Kingship.

At the beginning of the Revelation the Kingdom of Priests is revealed; here in chapter eleven the royal priests proclaim the fullness of the mystery of God.

At the beginning of the Revelation, our Lord reveals Himself as IS and WAS and COMING; here in chapter eleven the twenty-four elders proclaim Him as now “having come”; so The Almighty is no longer COMING….He is IS and WAS (verse seventeen).  They omit “COMING”, for in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter the fullness of the mystery of God is accomplished!

As in the days when we were preaching through the first chapter (nearly three years ago now), so now at the end of chapter eleven we can’t avoid saying something about Yahveh’s Revelation of Himself at the Exodus; for there we read of the Exodus of God’s people from Egypt to the promised “land”.

But here in the Revelation we read of the Exodus of the Lord’s people “from” the promised land “into” the nations.

There we read of the terrible plagues and infestations upon Egypt for their terrible persecution and pursuit of Yahveh’s elect people.  But here in the Revelation we read of the plagues and infestations upon Israel for its terrible persecution and pursuit of the Lord’s elect.

And in both instances (the Exodus from Egypt and the Exodus from Israel) Yahveh reveals Himself as Almighty God; and He does so with a wonderful “turn” of the tenses of the verb “to be”.

In response to Moses’ question as to what to tell the people regarding who He is, God tells him “say to them ‘I AM’”.

The same is true here in the Revelation (chapter one) as our Lord Jesus Christ (Yahveh of old) says to John that He is IS, and He is WAS, and He is COMING… all to be perceived as first person singular verbs!

And as the Hebrew verb “I AM” (in the Exodus from Egypt) has all the same letters as in the name YAHVEH, we are to understand here in the Revelation that the “to be” verbs are to be perceived likewise!  The connections are all too clear to be ignored.  He is IS; He is WAS.  And now He is “HAVING COME”.

The One Who appeared and spoke to Moses (the Word of God) is the One Who appeared to John in chapter one of this Revelation of Jesus Christ – YAHVEH IS HIS NAME…….incarnate, crucified, arisen, ascended and enthroned in the heaven.

In chapter one that we just read, He IS; He WAS, and He COMES; and in chapter eleven He is IS, and He is WAS, and He is HAVING COME… The Almighty.  All too wonderful… all Revelation… no explanation necessary.  Attempts at explanation would diminish the Revelation.  We just “receive” (first person plural, present tense).

However, the heavenly presbytery continues in place of the word “coming”.  They give thanks to Almighty God, IS and WAS, for (quote) “You have assumed Your great power and did prevail” (verse seventeen)

The word “assume” here is, by far, the better English translation.  But the elder-creatures don’t use the Greek word in the sense that what has been done is “taken for granted” (which is a common understanding of the word assume.  But it is used here to mean “appropriate”.

Our Lord has “taken on”; He has appropriated; He has assumed the throne as King of Kings, having all power and authority in the heaven and upon the earth.

And the elders complete the reason for their thanksgiving by saying “and you did prevail” (verse seventeen).  The word that’s revealed here by the elder-creatures is taken from the Greek word translated “kingdom” in English.  But this form is verbal, meaning Almighty God Yahveh of Hosts has exercised His Kingly prerogatives to the fullest!  He did prevail!

The Kingdom of this world of our Lord and of His Christ did come to be; and HE shall reign into the ages of the ages.

Next Lord’s Day we’ll hear some more Revelation of His Kingdom and the fact that we are kings and priests and judges in Him.  And we’ll have some time in the last two verses of the chapter.  Then I’ll recap the chapter for you… after which I’ll take some time to translate and begin the exegetical work in chapter twelve.

As the text of the Revelation of Jesus Christ now has reached the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpeter, the remainder of the letter is our Lord’s perception of all His work.  The great “mystery of God” sealed up during the time of Daniel is revealed; and it is all opened up for the Church from His perspective and in His language.

Our work is to view His covenant and His creation and His Kingdom and His Revelation from the perspective of His sanctuary in the heaven.  That’s where our minds must be as we look at this world and its history from that place and through His covenant promises.

That’s not an easy task for us (as we’ve already seen in the first eleven chapters); and it’s fraught with difficulty.  So the best thing for you to do for yourselves is to pray for me.  Do so often, that by His Spirit you might receive clarity through the preaching of His Word.