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Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

Nothing will steal our hope if we put our hope in Jesus' Kingdom and believe that we belong to an eternal kingdom that is and is yet to come.

 

Revelation 11:15-19 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.

 

How do you find hope in a hopeless world with injustice, inequality, war, pain, suffering, disease, and death? Where do you go when situations in your life become hopeless?

 

Last week my dad in Pakistan suffered a massive stroke. The situation seemed hopeless, so where did I go? I went to Jesus. When I asked you, my church family, to commit my dad to prayer, that was, in and of itself, the evidence of the hope which is not wishful thinking that something will happen but rather something that is deeply rooted in our faith.

 

It was the “confident expectation” that God would move in compassion because of the cry of His children. And He did. So, please continue to pray for my dad’s recovery.

 

The problem is that when people put their hope in this hopeless world and not in Jesus, they remain hopeless. They need to know that if they put their hope in Jesus, nothing will steal their hope.

 

Revelation 11:15-19 was originally written to give hope to the first century church because as they faced persecution, suffering, pain, diseases, death, and disaster. They needed a reminder that they belonged to an eternal kingdom that was and was yet to come where there would be no more pain. We need that reminder, here and now, also.

 

The big idea is, in this hopeless world, nothing will steal our hope if we put our hope in Jesus and believe that we belong to an eternal kingdom that is and is yet to come. Revelation 11:15-19 reveals three realities about Jesus and His Kingdom that are necessary to find hope in this hopeless World: Jesus reigns over His Kingdom, Jesus regains all His Kingdom, and Jesus remains in His Kingdom.

 

Jesus Reigns Over His Kingdom

 

As we continue “Uncovering Revelation” verse by verse, we have reached the final trumpet with the final woe in this book.

 

In Revelation 5, Christ took the scroll with seven seals, the title deed to the earth, from the hand of God.

 

In Revelation 6, Jesus opened the first six seals and the four horses of the apocalypse were unleashed.

 

In Revelation 8, when the seventh seal was opened, it introduced the seven-trumpet judgment and the fourth trumpet judgment ended with the announcement of the three woes.

 

In Revelation 9:1, at the fifth trumpet blast, the first woe brought disasters. The shaft of the bottomless pit which is thought to be the lower part of the abyss where powerful demons and fallen angels are imprisoned was opened to bring havoc on earth. People longed to die but death fled. Many hopeless people think death is an easy way out but consider the depth of hopelessness when even the possibility of death is taken away.

 

Revelation 9:12 said, “The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.”

 

In Revelation 9:13, at the sixth trumpet blast, the second woe was activated. It brought death and killed a third of mankind. Yet the world neither repented nor gave up on worshiping demons and idols. They continued to put their hope in demons, idols, and this hopeless world which has not changed.

 

In Revelation 11:14, we read, “The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.” So, today’s passage is part of the third and final woe.

 

Revelation 11:15 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 first mention of the kingdom here is the unit of earthly kingdoms that Satan showed to Jesus in Matthew 4 and said that if Jesus bows down to Satan, Jesus can have them. Today, there are 195 countries in the world, and all of them are under the dominion of Satan.

 

The second mention of the kingdom refers to God’s sovereign rule. This is the kingdom we pray for when we pray, “thy kingdom come, and thy will be done.” There are three crucial aspects of this verse to understand.

 

The Tense. The past tense indicates that it has already happened even though in John’s and our reality, it hasn’t happened yet. This is what hope and faith are all about. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In God’s eternal vision, Christ’s Kingdom has already taken over the kingdoms of the world even though in human history, it will come to pass later.

 

The Title: The verse says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” We know God the Father and God the Son are one but why does it explicitly say the Kingdom became of the Lord and of His Christ? This is probably because it is intended for a wider audience and not only for the church who certainly views Jesus as Lord.

 

Today, billions of people do not believe they need redemption, but they believe in God so to them, the Lord is God the Father. For example, in Islam there is no original sin, rather original forgiveness because Islam teaches that God forgave Adam and Eve’s sin. The redemptive work of Jesus makes no sense to Muslims; they deny Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. However, they do believe in Jesus’ ascension into heaven and His second coming.

 

The Time. The verse defines the length of time of the reign as forever and ever. This is the fulfillment of all the promises of God regarding the Davidic Messiah who will reign forever and ever. Isaiah 9:7, Psalm 10:16, and Daniel 2:44 state that the Messianic reign would last forever.

 

The central focus of Handel’s Messiah, is on Revelation 11:15, “and he shall reign forever and ever.” I read that while writing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Handel’s servant found him with tears in his eyes and saying, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of Angels.” That’s what happens when our worship comes from the inspired Word.

 

Though one day Jesus will reign physically, today He reigns spiritually over His Kingdom made up of believers everywhere in this hopeless world. We are His Kingdom. God could have taken us up in heaven like Elijah and Enoch the day we were saved but we were left in this hopeless world to share the hope of Jesus in us. God made believers a necessary part of bringing hope to the hopeless world.

 

Jesus Regains All His Kingdom

 

Revelation 11:16 says, “And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God.” The twenty-four elders represent believers from Jewish and gentile backgrounds.

 

Revelation 11:17 says, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” There are three truths here also.

 

The Paradoxical Nature. Believers singing this song of thanksgiving in heaven are actually some of the same people who receive this revelation of hope. In other words, the recipients of the message are the speakers of the message. If you truly believe in Jesus, I am preaching to you your own words that John heard in heaven. That alone should blow our minds. Imagine if you come back from the future to tell yourself that everything you believed in Jesus came to pass, will you not continue to hold on to that hope? This is what was happening in the first century.

 

The Apocalyptic Nature. Usually, the phrase “who is and who was” ends with “who is to come” but its absence declares He has already come to judge and regain all His Kingdom with great power.

 

The Prophetic Nature. Revelation 11:15-19 is an introduction to what follows in the later chapters. Even this small section predicts how things will unfold. In verse 18, we read, “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.” Some say destroying the destroyers of the earth is about environmental care issues. There is some merit to that because God did put the earth under our care in Genesis 1:26.

 

On Wednesday, Amoon shared that the last time he was in Pakistan, the air quality was so bad that on the way back, his whole plane was sick. The polluting and depleting of God’s resources on earth to gain money and power is most certainly infused by the greed that affects all but mostly the poor and the destitute. God has a special heart for the poor. I think the phrase “destroying the destroyers of the earth” is God’s way of saying the punishment fits the crime.

 

God has a set time for everything— “the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants.” Trust God’s timing for everything in your life. That is necessary to keep hope in this hopeless world.

 

Jesus Remains in His Kingdom

 

Revelation 11:19 reads, “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.” Jewish people believe that God hid the ark until the end of time. Verse 19 tells us that in the end times, the Ark of the Covenant was revealed in heaven in the heavenly temple.

 

The question is, why does it shows up in the heavenly vision in the end times? Since the ark was the sign of God’s covenant and God’s presence among His people, perhaps, here, it is meant to give God’s people hope in the end times, just as His presence was with His people during the wilderness, He will remain with them in this hopeless world.

 

It was also the fulfillment of God’s covenant. God made a promise that He will live among His people. Today, Jesus reigns spiritually over His Kingdom as He lives in us His church, but once Jesus regains all of His Kingdom, He will physically reign and remain with us forever and ever.

 

Growing up I was fascinated by the Ark of the Covenant. Even so, I never thought about the contents of the ark.

 

Hebrews 9:4 tells us that the Ark of the Covenant holds a staff, a jar of manna, and the two stone tables of the covenant. The staff reminds us of God’s guidance, shepherding nature, and miracles in hopelessness. The manna reminds us of God’s provision, sustenance, and heavenly food that only God can give in hopelessness. The stone tablets of the covenant reminds us of God’s promises and His Word that directs us how to live day-to-day life full of promises in this hopeless world.

 

In the last two weeks, there has been a sense of anxiousness around us. My wife, Sarah, and I took our children to a park in Metuchen to see the eclipse. The people there were talking about the earthquake, which happened on a Friday, and the eclipse, which happened on the following Monday.

 

What is going on in our world, whether war, famine, disease, earthquakes, or other disasters, is making people hopeless. They need to hear that in this hopeless world, nothing will steal their hope if they put their hope in Jesus and believe in His eternal kingdom that is and is yet to come. Jesus reigns over His Kingdom, Jesus regains all His Kingdom, and Jesus remains in His Kingdom.

 

To find hope in this hopeless world, allow Jesus to reign fully and completely over His Kingdom which is us— the believers. When He reigns, hopelessness does not.

 

If you are hoping for a miracle, do not put your hope in anything or anyone other than Jesus or else you will set yourself up for hopelessness. God’s Word in Romans 5:5 says, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

 

Give yourself over to His rule and reign today.  In the Kingdom of Christ, there is no hopelessness even when we face injustice, inequality, war, pain, suffering, disorder, death, and disasters.

 

Study Questions

 

1.       How does the announcement that Christ is about to take back the kingdom of the world in Revelation 11:15 give you hope? Who does the kingdom of the world belong to right now? Read Matthew 4:8-11 to understand from whom Jesus is taking the kingdom back.

 

2.       What is the significance of the phrase "who are and who were" in Revelation 11:17? How does that give hope in a hopeless world? 

 

3.       List all the actions that were acknowledged in Revelation 11:18 and discuss how each action reflects hope.

 

Deeper Study Questions

 

1.       How does this passage gives you hope? Perhaps there is a situation that you are dealing with right now.

 

2.       Read Revelation 11:18 and discuss your personal and corporate responsibility as a church to share the hope of Jesus in a hopeless world.

 

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