11:16-18 ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE JUDGMENT
“And the twenty-four elders, sitting before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is and who was and who is to come; because You have taken Your great power, and reigned. And the nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, small and great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:16-18).
This pivotal passage is crucial for the understanding of the rest of the Book of Revelation. First of all, it announces a change in God’s activity—“You have taken Your great power and reigned.” God has never lacked in power, but this verse shows that up until this point He has not “taken” His great power, but instead has allowed another to reign. Clearly that other is the evil usurper, Satan, whom Jesus called “the ruler of this world.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Satan, in claiming this world as his own in the book of Job, pointed to the faults and failings of God’s people as evidence that he had every right to “walk back and forth” and “go to and fro on the earth”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> that he had stolen from Adam. God has allowed Satan to rule, not because he had any right to, but because mankind chose Satan to be their ruler.
God has always placed the highest honor on the free choice of humanity, even if it has meant having to endure watching His beloved children suffer in the hands of their chosen ruler. But the choice of the great multitude to abandon
This theme of the great controversy is expanded and elaborated in the next three chapters of Revelation. There will be an exposition of “the nations” that “were angry,” of God’s enemies “who destroy the earth,” of those “who fear [His] name, small and great,” and of what it means to “be judged.” This will involve an extensive digression from the linear timeline, going back in history to the very beginning of the controversy when the “great, fiery red dragon” “drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Revelation 12:3,4).
Continue to next section: 11:19 THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]><![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]><![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6 See appendix 8 for a discussion of the great controversy in the book of Job.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]><![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> This passage is not specifying ecological destruction but rather the whole corruption of God’s creation caused by sin. The Greek word (dievtheiro) is used for example in 1 Timothy 6:5, “men of corrupt minds.”