Today's Bible Reading: Revelation 11
Selected Biblical Text
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever."
16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small-and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. (Rev. 11:15-19 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
The figurative language of this chapter is some of the most difficult we have thus far encountered in the book. Many readers of Revelation easily work through the introductory prologue and letters to the churches (Chapters 1-3). The heavenly scene that reveals God on the throne and the Lamb who can open the seals is not too troublesome (Chapters 4-5). The seals, declaring that God and the Lamb control all of history including martyrdom and judgment, are more difficult (Chapter 6) but we are comforted by the protective interlude between the sixth and seventh seals (Chapter 7). The trumpets of judgment introduced by the opening of the seventh sea present difficult details but the judgment of God against evil is again comforting (Chapters 8-9). Now in the interlude between the sixth trumpet and the seventh trumpets (Chapters 10-11), we meet two witnesses, both of whom are martyred and then resurrected.
The two witnesses of Chapter 11 testify to the power and holiness of the Lord (11:3-6). They also testify to the resurrection power of the Lord by their own resurrection and by being taken to heaven. Everything is not as it seems -- God is the God who works to reverse irreversible situations. In the face of an all-powerful God, Satan's power is limited and temporary.
The completion of the second woe (the sixth trumpet) opens the way for the final victory, but the judgment of God convinces only a few to give glory to God. Today's selected text presents the theme statement of the book: "The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he reigns forever."
The book could close and the celebration could begin immediately were it not for John's command to prophesy again. The brief view into God's temple (11:19) may remind us of Chapters 4-5. Certainly it gives us orientation as we start down a road not unlike the road we have just traveled, a new road that advances the story of God's actions in this world even further.
Spend a few minutes today thinking about the journey we have completed thus far in the book of Revelation. Think about how God may want this story to change your life and pray about those things that come to mind.
Dear God, help me see where and how you want me to change, and empower my life, I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.