And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet. And great voices were in heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become of our Lord’s and of His Christ, and he will reign to the ages of the ages.” And the twenty four elders sitting before God on their thrones fell upon their faces and worshiped God saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the one being and who was that you have taken your great power and begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and your wrath came and the time for the dead to be judged and to give reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who are destroying the earth.” And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of the covenant was seen in his temple, and there were flashes of lightning and thunderings and thunder and an earthquake and great hail.
This is the return of the Lord. As we see in 1 Corinthians 15:52, the return of Jesus takes place at the last trump. We saw similar language in 8:5, 11:19, and 16:18, all seeming to point to the same event. Because this is the return of Jesus, the language makes sense. Now the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Lord and His Christ. Now he will reign forever and ever. Now he has begun to reign. The nations were angry, but now His wrath has come – just like we saw in 6:12-17 was the return of Jesus and “the wrath of the Lamb”. Now has come the time for judging the dead and the rewarding the prophets and saints. It all makes sense under the ideology that this is somehow the return of Jesus.
For such a small passage, it is absolutely full of quotations. In the first statement of verse 15, we can compare Isaiah 27:13, Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It is quite often that the coming of the Lord is considered to be with trumpets. In Isaiah 27, the context is absolutely the Day of the Lord. For “the kingdom of this world”, see Matthew 4:8. “Our Lord and of His Christ” is an Old Testament expression from Psalm 2:2.
The Kingdom of Christ and God is one. In Ephesians 5:5, we read of “the Kingdom of Christ and God”. In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, the Son resigns His mediatorial Kingdom to the Father, that God might be “all in all”. But later, Christ too was conceived as “all in all” (Ephesians 1:23, Col 3:11). The Kingdom is for everlasting (Daniel 2:44, 7:14, 17, Psalm 10:16, Exodus 15:18, Luke 1:33).
Notice in verse 17 that it is “who was and is”, and no longer “is to come”. Christ has come. We can compare this verse to Psalm 93:1-2. In verse 18 there is a progression. We find this to be our chronology: 1) angry nations, 2) wrath, 3) judging the dead, 4) rewarding those worthy, and 5) destroying they who destroy the earth. We see this in chapters 19-22. Of course, this has duality. We see in the coming of Jesus this very thing, and then again in the larger picture of chapters 19-22.
With the coming of Jesus, we see that the nations rage (19:19). We see secondly that Jesus executes the wrath against them (19:20-21). Then, we see the dead are judged – or at least the nations are judged – from Joel 3:1-3 and Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus shall reward those who are worthy, as we read in Revelation 22:12, which is at Christ’s coming. Lastly, the destruction of those who destroy the earth occurs. This would be the finality of the judgment seen in Matthew 25, which is a parable based upon Daniel 12:2. It could be pressed, but I wouldn’t press too hard, that 20:9-10 would be the destroying of they who destroy the earth.
In regards to the larger picture, we see that the nations rage in 19:10 and 20:8-9. We see that wrath comes upon those raging nations in 19:21 and 20:9. Then, immediately following destruction of that army in 20:9 is the Great White Throne. It is upon this throne that everyone is judged, and thus rewarded or condemned.
For the individual phrases, we fine “nations enraged” comes from Psalm 2:1 and 5. “Time for the dead to be judged” implies Revelation 20:11-15, but Matthew 25:31 also speaks of judging at the return of Jesus before the 1000 years. “To give reward” i.e. Revelation 22:12. Compare Psalm 115:11, 13, 118:4, 135:20. “Destroy those destroyers of the earth” could be compared to Revelation 19:2. It may come from Jeremiah 51:25.
The final verse reports of the heavenly temple being made manifest in a manner that all can behold it. The trumpets start with the offering of prayer upon the altar of incense (8:3). The second woe opens with the answer to that prayer (9:13). Now, at the final trump, with the end of the age, the Holy of Holies is opened and the Ark of the Covenant is seen. The ark is God’s throne, as established in Revelation 4. Jeremiah 3:16-18 tells us that Zion shall be God’s dwelling place, and Jerusalem His throne. This signifies the uniting of the earthly and heavenly. Zion is no longer twofold, and Jerusalem no longer contrasted by New Jerusalem. They are one. Compare the end of the verse to the sixth seal and the seventh bowl of wrath.