Monday, June 27, 2011

Revelation 11:15-19, The Seventh Trumpet (The Study of the Apocalypse)


It is striking that the seventh trumpet/third woe is not a severe judgement! In previous passages, the trumpets and woes were bad, but here, we have the glorious end -- the Kingdom of God has arrived! There are some elements of the woe in the passage, but the greater explanation of the woe will come in chapter 20. Osborne*** (Pg. 438).

     15 And the seventh angel sounded1 his trumpet and there were great voices in heaven2 saying3,
     “The kingdom of the world has become4 the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign5     forever6.” 
16 And the twenty-four elders7 [who are]8 sitting on their thrones before
God fell down on their faces and worshipped God 17 saying,
     “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, 
     the one who is, and the one who was9
     because you have taken your great power 
     and you have reigned.10
     18 And the nations were enraged 
     and your wrath11 came12 
     and the appointed time came for the dead to be judged13
     and to give the reward14 to your slaves the prophets, 
     and to the saints, namely15, the ones who fear your name, 
     the small and the great16
     and to utterly destroy the ones who destroy the earth.17
19 And the temple of God18 which is in heaven was opened and the ark of his covenant was seen19, and there were lightnings, voices, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail.20

1 The seventh angel sounds its horn announcing a profound change. Restoration of creation has begun, as darkness gives way to light. The signal is given for the second coming of God’s Son Jesus, and all things have been given to Him.

2 A heavenly choir! These great voices sing the upcoming hymn.

3 λέγοντες (saying)

John has turned the Greek on its head again! λέγοντες (a participle) is in the masculine, but φωναὶ μεγάλαι (great voices) are feminine. Perhaps John is referring to angels as that noun is masculine, but angels doesn’t appear in this passage. The TR replaces λέγοντες with λέγουσαι which is feminine form to smooth this out.

4 ἐγένετο (has become)

or “became”. The verb is placed at the very beginning of the hymn expressing emphasis on the action of the verb. The “has become” has finally arrived!

     Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done 
     On earth as it is in heaven

The certainty of the future is emphasized by expressing it as accomplished.

5 βασιλεύσει (he will reign)

Note the shift to the singular right after announcing “of our Lord and his Christ”. This show the oneness of the Father and the Son (The Lord and his Christ).

     No longer will Christ be breaking into a strong man’s house to save those chained there, but the house becomes His. The time of forbearance is over. The season of rebellion has yielded its fruit and the harvest of its reward has begun.

6 εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (forever) 

Greek: “into the ages of ages”.

7 Twenty four elders

     This group is distinguished in the giving of this praise. They leave their thrones before God to fall on their faces to worship God. Whoever they are, their presence and position in heaven are unique.

8 [οἱ] ([who are]) 

This is in brackets as it may not be original to the passage.

ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν (the one who is and the one who was)

The most astonishing thing about this phrase is not the phrase itself, but what is missing from the phrase. καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος (and the one who is coming) has been omitted as we are now at the end! He has come! Mounce** (Pg. 231). Beale* states that the change shows that the passage is narrating the actual establishment of the kingdom and the judgement as the content of the seventh trumpet. (Pg. 613).

     The kingdom of heaven was brought near through the use of a cross. The power of God has raised the Son to rule in the kingdom, exchanging a cross for a scepter and crown. We are told that the one who believes and endures to the end will receive a crown and rule with Him.

Sadly, the TR/KJV adds καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος into the passage. By doing so, the copyists (or copyist?) destroyed one of the greatest “end-time” passages in Revelation as God’s own title is changed to signify that his kingdom has finally come!

10 This passage shows God’s absolute and sovereign authority over all things including his own creation. Osborne*** (Pg. 443).

11 ἡ ὀργή (wrath)

or “anger”.

12 An allusion to Psalms 2:1-6.

13 This part will be explained in 20:11-14 at the judgement scene.

14 τὸν μισθὸν (the reward)

Osborne*** points out that a list of the rewards are given in the individual messages to the seven churches in Chapters 2 and 3. Beale* states that the rewards are eternal life and judgement on their (the believers’) persecutors. (Pg. 615).

     We are given promise of life for the endurance of faith. The riches of this life are expressed in various ways, just as God Himself is given different names to convey some understanding and reality of the One God. These are only crude sketches of something wonderful to come, offering words to describe that which is beyond words.

15 καὶ (namely)

or “and”. In this case, the ones who fear God’s name are the saints, so καὶ should be translated as “namely” instead of “and”. This division lines up with Mounce** as he sees two groups of believers. (Pg. 232).

     We have become one in body of Christ, though there are differences between us. One plants, one waters, but all have one Lord and are united in the same Spirit.

It is also possible to translate the whole passage as:

“ your slaves the prophets, and to the saints, and the ones who fear your name, the small and the great...)

By dividing the passage this way, there seems to be three groups (or possibly four) of believers. Incredibly, scholars debate the meaning of these groups. I think Beale* puts it best when he says that the list represents the church/believers as a whole. (Pgs. 616-617).

16 τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους (the small and the great)

Apart from the fact that John has turned the Greek language on its head again (the nouns/adjectives are in the accusative, but should be in the dative), this is an echo of Psalms 115:13. Perhaps the case change is a result of John wanting to bring attention to the passage as being an echo of Psalms 115:13. In the LXX (113:21b), the phrase is τοὺς μικροὺς μετὰ τῶν μεγάλων (the small with the great) and τοὺς μικροὺς (the small) is in the accusative.

     Accepting the mercy and grace of God, we are no longer bound by our ideas of small and great. God is no respecter of persons, and gives life to all that would call on His name. The least in the kingdom of heaven, those born from above, are greater than any man born of woman. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

As one would expect after reading these blogs, the TR has the dative instead of the accusative thus showing that earlier scribes saw the same problem with the Greek and changed the passage from (τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους) to (τοῖς μικροῖς καὶ τοῖς μεγάλοις).

17 This will be expanded in upcoming chapters, but it refers to “Babylon the Great”. Osborne*** (Pg. 447). It is an allusion to Jeremiah 51:25 where God says to Babylon:

Jeremiah 51:25 “I am against you, O destroying mountain, 
     you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the LORD.
          “I will stretch out my hand against you, 
          roll you off the cliffs,
          and make you a burned-out mountain.

Beale* states that “Babylon is a type of the eschatological world community, which will be judged at the end.” (Pg. 616).

18 ὁ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (the temple of God) 

The inter most part of the temple, the Holy of Holies. That is where the Ark was in OT times.

19 In the OT, the Ark of the Covenant represented God’s presence. Here, God’s presence is before all as the Holy of Holies is now open to all. Although the passage states that the temple is in heaven (the heavenly temple), Osborne*** believes that the “earthly” Ark will reappear. (Pg. 449). Mounce** believes that there is no connection between the heavenly Ark and the earthly Ark. (Pg. 233).

     The reality of heaven is made apparent in a new way. The blowing of the seventh trumpet opens the heavens and exposes the earth to the presence of God. As light of God mixes with the darkness of men, creation begins to fall apart.

20 Similar passages appear in 4:5, 8:5 (Seventh Seal), here (Seventh Trumpet), and in 16:18-21 (Seventh Bowl). The passage is an allusion to Exodus 19:16 where God is on Mount Sinai. Osborne*** (Pg. 449). He goes on to comment that “the great hail” signifies God’s majesty and judgement. It summaries the judgements of the seven trumpets.

NT = New Testament 
OT = Old Testament 
ESV = English Standard Version 
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version 
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A 
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV) 
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)
The Greek

Ἀποκάλυψις 11·15 Καὶ ὁ ἕβδομος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐγένοντο φωναὶ μεγάλαι ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ λέγοντες·
ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ κόσμου τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ,
καὶ βασιλεύσει εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. 16 Καὶ οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι [οἱ] ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καθήμενοι ἐπὶ τοὺς θρόνους αὐτῶν ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῷ θεῷ 17 λέγοντες·
εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν, ὅτι εἴληφας τὴν δύναμίν σου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐβασίλευσας.
καὶ τὰ ἔθνη ὠργίσθησαν, καὶ ἦλθεν ἡ ὀργή σου καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῶν νεκρῶν κριθῆναι
καὶ δοῦναι τὸν μισθὸν τοῖς δούλοις σου τοῖς προφήταις καὶ τοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ τοῖς φοβουμένοις τὸ ὄνομά σου, τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους,
καὶ διαφθεῖραι τοὺς διαφθείροντας τὴν γῆν. Ἀποκάλυψις 11·19 Καὶ ἠνοίγη ὁ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ ὤφθη ἡ κιβωτὸς τῆς διαθήκης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ ναῷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐγένοντο ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταὶ καὶ σεισμὸς καὶ χάλαζα μεγάλη.

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