“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. The 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.” (Revelation 11:17-18, NIV).
In the series of judgments described in Revelation 5-16– the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls of the wrath of God– there is always a break or intermission between the sixth and seventh judgment (Chapter 7-seals; Chapters 10-11-trumpets; the Chapter 12-14 interlude is before the sixth and seventh bowls in Chapter 16). Revelation 11 is a further elaboration of the interlude beginning in Chapter 10.
Chapter 11 opens with the measuring of the Temple of God. The idea of measuring communicates ownership, protection, and preservation. When this Temple is measured, it shows that God knows its every dimension.
It establishes that God is in charge of all things and all events on Earth now and in the future!
The sovereignty of God is one of the primary themes of the Book of Revelation. Revelation 11:17 uses the title Almighty for God. The Greek word for Almighty is pantokrater meaning one who has his hand on everything. Nine out of the ten times this word is used in the New Testament, it is used in Revelation.
The identity of this Temple is a matter of interpretation. Many see this Temple as symbolic of the Church. We won’t attempt to identify the temple except to say that the Temple is best understood to be a real temple on the earth, likely in Jerusalem.
The two witnesses described in vs. 3-12 are best understood to be two real individuals. But, who they are must not be important or we would have been told. Yet, their ministry may be representative of Old Testament figures such as Moses and Elijah in much the same way as John the Baptist ministered “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17, NIV).
This chapter reveals some details about the depths of unbelief and faithlessness into which the world sinks prior to its end.
Then, the seventh trumpet sounds to announce the inevitable resolution to this faith dilemma. “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (vs. 15).
In other words, there is absolute certainty about Jesus’ reign over the universe even before the fact is accomplished.
It’s like what happens in an election. When a new candidate is elected to a political office, there is great joy over the election results though it may be some time until the newly elected candidate is actually installed into office.
So, the present joy anticipates the inevitability of the future event.
You might even think of it this way. There’s going to be a new sheriff in town and He’s going to make some changes around here!
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. (Revelation 12:10, NIV)