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“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’ ” (Revelation 11:15).

THIS TEXT CONTAINS ONE OF THE MOST MAJESTIC STATEMENTS IN THE SCRIPTURES. It appears halfway through Revelation, the last book in the Bible, at a point where God’s enemies have been defeated: “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” The last half of Revelation recapitulates the story of triumph portrayed in the first “movement” (to put it in musical terms) and climaxes with a fervent expression of eternal hope.

Following the statement of Revelation 11:15, this song of praise is given before God’s throne: “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 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” (vv.17,18). These phrases lead me to believe that the great announcement of God’s victory in Revelation 11:15–19 refers not to His rule over the nations of men right now (though He certainly does rule over them), but to His ultimate victory — a victory that has not yet been finalized.

The outcome of the war, of course, is not in doubt. But since Satan’s power has not yet been completely taken away, Paul could speak of the “end” when Christ “delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24–26).

That triumph is going to take place. But until then, what is our response to the lordship of Christ? He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV). However, He has promised that He will return. When He does, there will be an accounting — a rendering of His judgment upon our decision concerning His kingship. If we need to change our decision, let’s do that. While we can.

“In the day when all men will stand before God, the significant question for each of us will no longer be what we think of Christ, but what he thinks of us” (Elva J. Hoover).

Gary Henry — +

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