Verse 15 reads,
“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.”
The seventh shofar is the last trumpet and the last woe. Have you wondered with hopeful expectation what it could be? Have you dreaded what the last woe could be? This is the last warning, the last call, and the last chance for the people of the earth to respond and repent. There are no more chances after this. The time is now. While that is awesome and joyful for believers, it is awful and terrible for the lost, and they do not even know it. Verses 16-17 read,
“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.”
The twenty four angels give thanks to the LORD and look at the name they use for Him, “Lord God Almighty, who is and who was.” They praise Him for his strength which has brought the long-awaited to day to be. They praise Him for his constancy and they use a name reminiscent of the name God has used for Himself. Revelation 1:7-8 says,
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
In Isaiah the LORD calls Himself the First and the Last as well, Isaiah 41:4 reads,
“Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he.”
This name describes the Lord as one who carries out His will, His plan. It says He makes promises and keeps them. That His word is as good as done, because it is done, whether we have seen it manifested or not. The moment God speaks, we can be sure that what He said is already accomplished, even if the manifestation takes ten years or 10,000 years. What has God promised you? Stop waiting for it and start thanking Him for it. Stop wishing it would be and start expecting it to manifest at the perfect time. He is the first and the last.
The words the elders use are reminiscent of Revelation 1:8 but not exactly the same. The Lord said, “who is and who was and who is to come,” but the elders not only change the order, they leave out who is to come. They say, “who is and who was.” Why? Because He IS and He always has been and because the seventh trumpet fulfilled it all, He came. At that point He will no longer be “to come.” The promise of His coming will have been fulfilled. The seventh trumpet ushers in everything else that happens from the moment it is sounded until every part of what is written in Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah, and every other word of scripture is manifested. The day has arrived! The promise we have been waiting for, the mystery of God fulfilled just as he announced to all the prophets, per His oath in Revelation 10:7.
The elders continue their worship in verse 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.”
There is one plan; and we could have faith in it from the moment God announced it. Isaiah 53-5-6 is one part of that beautiful promise,
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
When Jesus gave himself up for us on the Cross, as they pierced Him for our transgressions and brought us peace with God, and as He healed us from the death we carried Jesus said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30). He wasn’t talking about His life, He knew He would resurrect on the third day and live eternally. He was talking about the plan for our salvation, our peace with God. When Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7, it was not merely a hopeful dream, it was already carried out.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
When the angel said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11) to the shepherds, they called Him Savior, even though He had not yet saved us. And when Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4:18-19 saying,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor”
it was already done, even though He had not yet died or resurrected. God’s promises are as good as achieved. They are a ‘sure thing.’ It is finished. With the completion of the elder’s song to the Lord, our great hope is fulfilled and the last woe happens. Verse 19 says,
“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.”
The ark is not lost and it is not in a government warehouse waiting to be catalogued. It is not in an Ethiopian Church somewhere or hidden in the mountains of the East. It is in God’s temple in Heaven. The ark is not a magical relic. It is the place where God’s presence and mercy rested in order to fellowship with Israel. When Jesus came, He embodied God’s presence and mercy. When He ascended to Heaven, He gave us His Holy Spirit and allowed us to be in his presence always. When He returns again and judges the dead and rewards the saints we will be in His physical presence eternally.
As believers we read this passage and think of how amazing and jubilant the revelation of the mystery of God is, was, and will be. We celebrate, we shout for joy, we sing with exuberance at the thought. But the same plan that brings us reward and eternal life brings the lost death and eternal punishment. God’s deep love is also great wrath.
The reason the last shofar is a woe is because it is the closing of the door, the end of the invitation. God will not call them anymore, if they choose to come now it will not be because He said, “come up here.” That truly is more horrible than the all the trumpets before this one.
The picture I envision is one between a teenager and her Dad. The dad is angry with me for some disobedience. I see my Dad at my bedroom door, angrily telling me why what I did hurt him and telling me the damaging consequences of my actions. Throughout this confrontation, I could respond, I could apologize, I could acknowledge my defiance and reconcile with my Dad, but instead I sit silently while he speaks and metes out my punishment. I am probably not even listening to him as I stew in my pride. Then quite suddenly, he stops speaking, and disappointedly closes the door and walks away. That moment is worse than any punishment he gave me. That moment means he has given up on me. That is why this last trumpet is so awful for the unbeliever. God wanted to be their Father, but they wouldn’t humble themselves to listen and he finally had to say, “It’s finished. My children have been waiting.”