The Book of Revelation gives us many of the pictures we have about life after death. In this article, I want to look at short passage with plenty of content. This is part of a series of revelations that starts with seven seals being broken on a critical scroll, is then followed by seven trumpets sounding, and finally seven incense burners being poured on Earth. These visions are not to be understood as being in chronological order, but rather each set of seven run parallel between the time of Jesus re-entering Heaven and His return to Earth.
The section I will write about today is Revelation 11:15-19:
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 shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.Revelation 11:15-19
The seventh trumpet is sounded in the midst of Judgment Day. Perhaps it is the trumpet spoken of in Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It marks the transition from the Earth being Satan’s kingdom to it being God’s Kingdom once again. Once this happens there will be no more falling away again, for it says that He will reign forever and ever. “Forever and ever” is a bit redundant, but it emphasizes the point and makes for great music lyrics.
In what sense did God not reign? He is the Almighty. But operating under God’s own laws, Satan had seized control through Adam and Eve and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That event changed the genetics of creation at a minimum. Now God’s Word will be coded in the flesh of all living things.
The inhabitants of God’s throne room give Him praise, for now Judgment Day will begin. What does it involve?
- For the dead to be judged (Here the captives of Sheol are in view)https://afterdeathsite.com/2019/08/13/what-distinguishes-sheol-from-hell/
- The rewarding of your servants https://afterdeathsite.com/2016/12/13/judgment-day-for-the-righteous/
- The destroying of the destroyers of the Earth
The list of those being rewarded is curious. First, anyone being rewarded on Judgment Day has to be someone forgiven through the death of Jesus (John 14:6) They are made clean by Jesus’ blood (Revelation 7:14b). Then building on that forgiveness people can have a reward. The list breaks out prophets, saints (literally holy ones, not the Roman Catholic definition of saint) and those who fear God’s name. This would seem to be overlapping categories. The point I would make is that it is a comprehensive description of God’s people, as opposed to Revelation 6 and 20 which only enumerate the martyrs. The reward is some aspect of living in the New Heaven and Earth.
The final bullet is the destroying of the destroyers. Who is this? People have defiled the planet through pagan worship and sin, but they would be included in the judgment of the dead. Judgment Day also brings the final destruction of Satan and the demons that follow him. They have been fundamental in ruining God’s creation for Him. Now they will get theirs.
In the final verse, God’s temple in Heaven is opened. This is to distinguish between the former earthly temple (gone since 70 AD) and the arrangement of the New Jerusalem which will have no temple. Within it is the ark of the Covenant. So it is not in a church in Ethiopia https://nypost.com/2021/02/20/at-least-800-ethiopians-killed-after-defending-ark-of-the-covenant/ , nor is it in a US government warehouse like in Indiana Jones. God’s most holy relic is His. Its unveiling is merely to show that God’s people will have direct access to God.