LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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THE SEVENTH TRUMPET

 

 

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. Revelation 11:15–19

 

The sounding of the seventh trumpet is the third woe of the trumpets. A woe is an exclamation of grief. What causes the grief under this trumpet is the separation God makes between His servants and what is called the nations. Under this trumpet judgment comes upon the nations and reward is given to God’s servants who are the prophets and the saints.

 

The Closing of the Sixth Seal and Sixth Trumpet

 

We found the sixth trumpet closing in the same degree of obscurity as the sixth seal closed. That era in church history saw the servants of our God leaving the denominations and churches of the visible church-at-large to gather into fellowships based on the New Testament pattern of the early church. This was an attempt to be the biblical church of God as built by Jesus Christ. While it was correct in theory the Primitive Church Movement never united, which was its undoing. Many groups simply vanished after a short duration because of the lack of cooperation and fellowship among them. Many groups fell into the trap of exclusiveness and sectarian divisions. Some abandoned the New Testament example of the church and organized themselves into pseudo-denominations much like the denominations out of which they came.

 

Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet

 

As the seventh trumpet sounds we hear loud voices in heaven. The sounding of this trumpet reminds us of scenes from the great throne in Revelation chapter 5. There we saw the Lamb in the midst of the living creatures and the 24 elders taking the sealed scroll to open it. They fell down before the Lamb to sing their song of praise, part of which was You “have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (5:9–10) This caused the angels to join in singing a second verse, which then caused “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea and all that are in them” to join in on the third verse: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.” (Verse 13)

As the seventh trumpet sounds we find God’s people surrendering to Christ to such a degree as not seen in the church since the first century. The kingdoms of this world—people that truly praise Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and can sing with those seen in chapter 5, You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and . . . we shall reign on the earth. In other words: We turn our idea of the kingdom over to You. And we recognize as the redeemed that there is a distinction between us and the nations of the world because of our special inheritance as Jesus taught in Luke 12:29–32, “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” As the redeemed out of the world and heirs to the kingdom of God we consecrate ourselves to Christ so that He will reign forever and ever in our lives.

Our submission to Christ causes us to see more than just the church; we see the kingdom of God. This is the WHY behind all the failures of the church in history, including the failure we are now experiencing. We tend to think in terms of the church instead of terms of the kingdom of God. Christ’s goal in establishing the church was not to have a nice religious organization: He established the church to do the work of the kingdom, which is to take the gospel to the world.

Instead of being the body of Christ we see ourselves as organizations or churches and congregations with doctrinal systems and standards. We think that by growing our little group we are building the church. We forget that Jesus said He will build His church. And we have forgotten that He builds His church on Himself—the Rock of our salvation. When we promote church more than the atonement and what it does for people we are as much Sodom and Egypt as any group can be.

There certainly is a doctrine of the church in the NT but the church it teaches is always looked upon in a universal sense as opposed to just a group. Yes, there are local congregations of the church in the New Testament. But notice Paul’s address to the church at Corinth: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:2) As a local congregation we are part of “all in every place that call on the name of Jesus Christ.” While the biblical name given the church is the church of God, in this seventh trumpet time there are in fact others under different identifiers that are saints and “call on the name of the Jesus Christ”—our one and common Lord.

It is a fact that all Christian professing churches from the Church of Rome to the smallest one-church independent evangelical church believe they are the church of God—or at least part of the church of God.

 

Christ is not Pleased with Countless Divisions

 

Christ is not pleased with the countless divisions and splits among that which professes to be His church. That was not the concept of the church He wanted to build.

H. Richard Niebuhr in his book The Social Sources of Denominationalism posits that division in the world of church is based in the fact that we are human beings and we like to be around people that are like us. This is true to human nature; but the gospel is not just a human enterprise. The atonement and the new birth are spiritual realities that produce changes in the moral and spiritual natures of people. We retain our cultures, our interests, our personal likes and dislikes. But our salvation is not limited by what we retain, it expands our capacity to accept and love people that are truly different from us but spiritually the same through the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God. The Apostle John says this in very plain words in 1 John 5:1–2,

 

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

 

The sounding of the seventh trumpet stirs the 24 elders once again and they fall on their faces and worship God saying 4 things about this last era in the history of the church:

1.      We give you thanks.

2.      The nations are angry because your wrath has come.

3.      The time has come to reward your saints.

4.      And, it is time to destroy those who destroy the earth.

Those that hear the seventh trumpet comprehend the mightiness of God and His right and power to reign in their lives and the lives of others. We accept all who are truly redeemed even if they have some differences from us. We are willing to walk in the unity of Spirit until we come to the unity of the faith of which Paul speaks in Ephesians 4.

This upsets people that are attached to a church name or a theological position that excludes people who do not conform to their views. All kinds of excuses are given such as “we have the truth and you are in error therefore you are not saved.” Some will accuse those that submit to God’s power and reign in their lives of spiritual pride. “You think you are better than me.” Some have practices and standards that make them different and outstanding from other professed Christians and will not accept you if you do not conform to their standards. “You are worldly and in the throes of sin.” God’s submissive people see the error of these things and avoid them on the basis of the sound teaching of the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. That does not mean they are without a theology or standards, it means that we accept everyone who is washed in the blood of Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We do not judge; it is the Word and Spirit that judge.

Under the sounding of the seventh trumpet God’s servants are to be rewarded. Part of the reward is God’s keeping grace and blessing as you submit to Christ and contradict the religious sentiments of the nations. Remember Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12) Paul gives the servants of our God assurance of their reward in Colossians 3:23–24, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Even though many will reject us if we respond to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, think us odd or criticize us, we recognize the saints and will eventually enjoy a coming together in the common service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And with the sounding of the seventh trumpet there is a destruction of “those who destroy the earth.” When we studied the sixth seal we learned that the earth represents people with some degree of faith but are not established in the things of God. Through the study of the history of the church we repeatedly have seen men taking the leadership of the visible church-at-large out the hands of Christ and using it for some kind of personal gain, whether monetary, property, influence, fame or whatever. Apostasy, man-rule, and spiritual disappointment have undermined the faith of so many innocent and sincere people over the past 2000 years. This continues into our day and as we teach the reality of church history, the good, bad and the ugly, it puts judgment on everything but the church built by Christ. As the small and great that fear the Name of the Lord respond to the sounding of this trumpet, they will come together in whatever manner pleases Christ and works His divine purpose.

               

Closing of the Seventh Trumpet

 

Verse 19 closes the seventh trumpet harkening back to the heavenly vision of chapters 4 and 5.

 

Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

 

As we respond to the notes of this trumpet we will see the vail in the temple open for us and we will be ushered into the holy presence of God as never before. God’s presence hovered over the ark of the covenant in that holiest of holies of the temple. We do not need an ornate box or a special room in which God dwells; we need for God to dwell in our hearts as we submit to His presence and His will.

When the body of Christ gets to this place of submission giving the Holy Spirit of God unfettered access to our lives, our beliefs, our attitudes, and our obedience there will be lightnings, noises, thunderings, and earthquake, and great hail—a moving of God we have never experienced in our lives.

If you will recall the opening of the sixth seal, now as then our submission will give vent to the working of God through the church that will gather together God’s people and make them ready for the coming of Christ.

Do you want to be part of that church?