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Woe!

Revelation Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God will one day establish his eternal kingdom and receive praise for condemning his enemies and rewarding his servants.

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Introduction:
It seems the best Hollywood can do when it comes to heaven is to depict a user-centered virtual-reality machine. In movies like What Dreams May Come, paradise is pictured as a place where whatever we can imagine comes to be. Great visuals, but really a terrible movie. After the main character (Robin Williams) dies in a car accident, he is guided through the afterlife by his spirit guide, Cuba Gooding Jr.. His heaven is beautiful and can be whatever he imagines. Even his children are there. But, when the main character’s wife commits suicide and is sent to hell, he journeys to hell to save her. Upon arrival, he finds that rescuing his wife will be more difficult than he'd imagined, why? because to free her from hell she has to be convinced that it is her depression that is keeping her there.
In essence, movies like this portray heaven as a place where we get to be a god. How very wrong from the true, biblical picture of eternity! In Scripture, the great joy of heaven is not eternal life in a self-made world but abundant life in the presence of a reality-defining God. Unlike humans, who would probably max out our creativity after just twenty years of innovation, our God is infinitely beautiful, majestic, powerful, and creative. In His presence, we will never stop experiencing new, joyous realities.
With the totally inaccurate portrayal of heaven and hell (and the lack of a maker thereof) this movie, at best, unacceptable, but at worst, blasphemous. The movie allocates the Creator of heaven and hell to perhaps pantheistic in nature and unimportant. This is against what Jesus, the Christ taught as he was the one who spoke most about the subjects of heaven and hell in the whole Bible. Jesus ought to know the most about these subjects and certainly, we do get an accurate picture of the afterlife from Jesus, the Messiah as well as other biblical books, such as The Book of Revelation—so let’s turn there for our view of heaven and the afterlife.
One day, we will be brought into our eternal home—God’s glorious presence
Transition:
Now ending the interlude of chapter 10:1–11:13, we encounter the “third woe,” the completion of the seven trumpets (8:7–9:21). Surprisingly, instead of going into another series of plagues, this “woe” features a heavenly celebration that includes God “rewarding,” “judging,” and “destroying”:
Scripture Reading:
Revelation 11:14–19 ESV
14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. 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.
We have already been told in 10:7 that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, “the mystery of God will be accomplished.” The consummated kingdom of God has arrived. We need to remember that this book does not unfold completely in a neat liner, sequential fashion but sometimes retells the same great realities in different ways as it moves forward. The events and details described here will be more fully explained in chapters 19–22, but they refer to the same events.
This is still timely, even if it’s not totally chronological--John once again needs to be lifted up and encouraged. So God gives him a broad overview of what is yet to come.
John once again needs to be lifted up and encouraged. So God gives him a broad overview of what is yet to come.
The end time will be one of great horror and tragedy. We have watched scene after scene of catastrophic judgments take place. Imagine what John was going through. He was nearly living it as he had to look upon these scenes and be an eyewitness of these horrors. So John now gets a sketch form of the glory with the horror. That is why every so often Christ gives John a scene of hope and of the glory that is to come. That is what this passage is about this morning.
Transition:
The scene is now set for the rest of the book to unfold.
• The second woe will be demonic military horse-like creatures that sweep the earth, and kill one third of the ungodly and evil population.
• The third woe is the seventh trumpet, the judgments that result from the blast of the seventh trumpet.

I. The Introduction to the Woe (vv.14-15)

In chapter 8, the eagle/angel announced three “woes” prepared for the “earth dwellers” and tied them to the final three trumpet judgments. The first two woes occur in 9:1–21, but John announces the conclusion of the second woe here, and perhaps more importantly, that the third woe is coming soon.
There are only three woes, and we are told that the third woe is coming soon.
Revelation 11:14 ESV
The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.
Rev
Great! we are getting to the third woe! What is a woe? Who here has heard of a woe besides in Revelation? Actually, there are many “Woes” outside of this one book
we find this word used many time mainly in The Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Interestingly, in about every occasion in the Gospels, it is Jesus using it
[[, , , , ]]
Matthew 23:16 ESV
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’
Matthew 23:23 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
Matthew 23:25 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Matthew 23:37 ESV
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 23:29 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,
woe = οὐαί in context, as used in Revelation, the meaning is horror/disaster
As a recap in Revelation:
• The first woe will be the demonic locust-like creatures that sweep the earth and torment people.
• The second woe will be demonic military horse-like creatures that sweep the earth, and kill one third of the ungodly and evil population.
• The third woe is the seventh trumpet, the result from the blast of the seventh trumpet:
Revelation 11:15 ESV
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.”
Rev
This isn’t horror/terror?!? A Heavenly announcement about the eternal kingdom cannot be the third woe!
SO The 7th trumpet blasts and there is no judgment that comes forth. Why? Because there are some things that need to be seen before the judgments actually take place. What we are going to see is a continuation of a sequence of events. The judgments and woe of the 7th trumpet are actually still coming in the form of the seven bowl judgments. The 7th trumpet will blast forth 7 more judgments. The bowl judgments will bring the climax of human history and the end of time as we know it.
Before that happens, there are some things that we need to see and understand. The first thing we see is in this morning’s passage, and there is more to come.
The book of Revelation will quickly become very confusing if you try to make this passage fit into a neat, linear, chronological sequence. Although it occurs in the middle of the book, this text points to events to be explained more fully at the end of the book. Yet these are not separate events but the same events, taken in at different points in the narrative. In Revelation, it’s more like we are in a helicopter hovering over the action with the freedom to move quickly through space and time rather than in a car driving from point A to point B.
The present passage leaps ahead and shows us in a broad sense what is to happen over the next ten chapters. God was preparing John for the terrible events that were yet to be revealed to him. He prepared him by showing that God would triumph over evil and establish His kingdom forever. So John, and we, are given five scenes of what is yet to come.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
we now see the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord. The scene jumps over all of history and shows our God and His Christ ruling over the whole world. All the kingdoms of this world are done away with, and all the people on earth live and work as citizens of God’s kingdom.
The long-awaited messianic kingdom has arrived as God and his Messiah have now become king of the whole earth (cf. ; ; ; ). The singular references in “the kingdom” and “He will reign” point to the unity of Father and Son, a theme emphasized throughout this whole book.
Transition:
These next two verses elaborate on the announcement from verse 15

II. The Reaction of the Announcement (vv.16-17)

The big announcement that YHWH’s Kingdom is totally here causes a stir in heaven, and rightly so!
Revelation 11:16 ESV
And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,
Rev
The twenty-four elders are becoming famous for falling down in praise and adoration. Something we ought to emulate.
Revelation 11:17 ESV
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.
They thank the “Lord God Almighty,” a description of YHWH repeated several times in Revelation. In chapter 1:8 and chapter 4:8 this title is accompanied by “who was, and is, and is to come” as a means of emphasizing God’s sovereign reign over human history. But now, something is missing! do you see it missing? the “and is to come” is omitted since the future is here the eternity present. The day of the Lord has finally arrived! YHWH has begun to exercise his mighty power in all its fullness. He has defeated and judged His enemies, rewarded his servants, and established his eternal kingdom. The seventh trumpet offers a taste of what will unfold in greater detail in .
Now the inaugurated kingdom has been fully and completely established. YHWH and his Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, have begun to reign, not just in heaven but over the whole of creation.
As N. T. Wright says, “This is not about private spirituality in the present, or an escapist ‘salvation’ in the future. This is about the living God confronting the powers of the world with the news that He is now in charge, and that the mode of his rule is that which was established by ‘his Messiah,’ the Lamb.”
With the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the heavenly kingdom has overtaken the earthly to form one kingdom of God, a new heaven and a new earth.
Illustration:
Quote: Kingdom Come, by Sam Storms.
There are many and considerable disagreements among Christians on the subject of biblical eschatology. But none of them is of sufficient urgency or importance that we who trust and treasure Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior cannot unite in our common cry: Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Transition:
This text highlights what it will mean for God to establish his eternal kingdom. The consummated kingdom fulfills what had been foreshadowed in the Old Testament, so the only worthy reaction is to fall on our faces in worship. This also ushers in some results:

III. The Result of the Announcement (vv.18-19)

The elders continue their thanksgiving indicating that God’s “wrath” will overpower the nation’s “anger”.
Revelation 11:18 ESV
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.”
God’s wrath refers to his deliberate and intentional response to sin and evil based on his holy and righteous character.
The seventh trumpet is indeed a “woe” of destruction for those who “destroy the earth,” probably a reference to evil forces, wicked people included, who seek to harm God’s children. But judgment is not altogether negative since it will include the rewarding of God’s people.
rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great
In the original text, there are five categories listed: “servants, prophets, saints, those who fear your name, great and small.” While the term “prophets” often does refer to an office in the church, its location between “servants” and “saints,” as well as the context emphasizing the prophetic witness of the whole church, suggests that all five terms refer to God’s people. Every last believer, no matter what their earthly title or status, will receive their reward from the Lord. God does not show favoritism (; ).
and there is another result:
Revelation 11:19 ESV
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.
There is a heavenly temple which the earthly temple and tabernacle are patterned after. The instructions for the earthly temple were given back in the book of Exodus and carried out in the book of Leviticus. The heavenly temple is the master plan. It is the original set of plans.
This means something wonderful. It means that our earthly worship is patterned after the heavenly worship. But we can’t forget that the eternal, the new heavens and earth, will have no temple in them. Lehman Strauss states in more clearly:
“When the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven, it is called ‘the holy city’ () and John states expressly, ‘I saw no temple there” (21:22). When the scenes in chapter 21 are fulfilled there will be no need for a temple as a place of worship. It all were holy on earth now, there would be no need for a place of worship.
the ark of His covenant
William Barclay states it this way:
“The Temple is opened, but there is more than that. The Ark of the Covenant is seen. Now the Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies, the inside of which no ordinary person had ever seen, and into which even the High Priest went only on the Day of Atonement. This vision involves the opening up of the Temple and even the opening up of the Holy of Holies. This can have only one meaning; it must mean that now the glory of God is going to be fully displayed. That which was secret is going to be revealed; that which no man has seen is going to be opened to the sight of men. The full glory of God is going to burst upon men.
Why the special reference to the Ark of the Covenant? This is to remind people of God’s special covenant with his own people. Originally that covenant had been with the people Israel; but the new covenant is the covenant in Jesus Christ with all of every nation who love and who believe in Jesus. This means that in the full display of God’s glory, in the destruction of God’s enemies, God will remember His covenant and God will be true to His own. Whatever the terror and whatever the destruction to come, God will not break the covenant that He made with His people and will not be false to His promises.
So this picture is a picture of the coming of the full glory of God, which is a terrifying threat to the enemies of God, but an uplifting promise to the people of God’s covenant.”
So this picture is a picture of the coming of the full glory of God, which is a terrifying threat to the enemies of God, but an uplifting promise to the people of God’s covenant.”
Illustration:
Transition:

So What?

1. All people will face judgment—some will be condemned, while others will be received and rewarded by God. The last judgment marks the time when God will condemn his enemies and reward his people. Popular evangelical theology has lost sight of the biblical teaching that believers too will face judgment. Yes, the grace we have experienced in Christ secures our eternal destiny, but we must still give an account of how we have lived our lives. Paul refers to this end-time reality as “the judgment seat of Christ” [[]]
Galatians 5:6 ESV
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
or “God’s judgment seat” [[]].
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Romans 14:10 ESV
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
1 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV
remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The basis of judgment will be our relationship to God reflected in our way of life [[; ]].
Matthew 16:27 ESV
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
As God evaluates a person’s character established through habitual action, they will either receive a reward or forfeit such a reward, although they themselves will be saved ().
, but we must still give an account of how we have lived our lives (e.g., ; ; ; ). Paul refers to this end-time reality as “the judgment seat of Christ” () or “God’s judgment seat” (). The basis of judgment will be our relationship to God reflected in our way of life (; ; ; ; ; ). As God evaluates a person’s character established through habitual action, they will either receive a reward or forfeit such a reward, although they themselves will be saved (). What we do matters. An authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate itself through attitudes, actions, and words. Eschatology and ethics are bound tightly together in the Scriptures.
Romans 2:6 ESV
He will render to each one according to his works:
Paul refers to this end-time reality as “the judgment seat of Christ” () or “God’s judgment seat” (). The basis of judgment will be our relationship to God reflected in our way of life (; ; ; ; ; ). As God evaluates a person’s character established through habitual action, they will either receive a reward or forfeit such a reward, although they themselves will be saved (). What we do matters. An authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate itself through attitudes, actions, and words. Eschatology and ethics are bound tightly together in the Scriptures.
What we do matters! An authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate itself through attitudes, actions, and words. Eschatology and ethics are bound tightly together in the Scriptures.
The basis of judgment will be our relationship to God reflected in our way of life (; ; ; ; ; ). As God evaluates a person’s character established through habitual action, they will either receive a reward or forfeit such a reward, although they themselves will be saved (). What we do matters. An authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will demonstrate itself through attitudes, actions, and words. Eschatology and ethics are bound tightly together in the Scriptures.
2. YHWH is faithful, and one day we will experience His glorious presence forever. The opening of YHWH’s temple, where the ark of the covenant can be seen by all, represents God’s invitation for his people to experience and enjoy his faithful presence forever. Anyone who attempts to live in obedience to Jesus Christ in this world will face opposition and sometimes direct hostility. God’s people were suffering in the first century, and they have continued to suffer. We live as aliens and strangers in a broken world where things are not the way they are supposed to be. While remaining grateful for life as a beautiful gift, we also experience the struggle and the pain. In this passage, we have a glimpse of what God plans to do about it. He will right wrongs, vindicate his people, end suffering, and make all things new. God is faithful to keep His covenant promises. Our deepest longings, hopes, and dreams will all be fulfilled and realized as we experience the glorious presence of God, for which we were created.
Conclusion:
One day God and his Messiah will establish their eternal kingdom and reign over all creation.
At the final judgment, the wicked will face destruction while the faithful will be rewarded.
Above all, the consummated kingdom means God’s people will experience His presence.
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