It is of the utmost importance for the future understanding of the book of Revelation that you have a clear view of the question in what connection this seventh trumpet is here mentioned, and how it occurs. Let it be definitely understood that in this passage we have no detailed description of the effects of the seventh trumpet, but merely a general proleptical vision of it. The last part of the chapter bears the same character as the entire portion that preceded. As we have said, in the preceding we had only general pictures: a picture of the church, her testimony, her struggle, the Antichrist, Babylon, and the relation between all these. In future chapters this will be worked out in detail. We must not be surprised if we read of the church again, even though in this chapter we saw her already going up to heaven. We must not be surprised if in future chapters we shall read again of the false church, of Babylon, of Antichrist, and of the intrigues against the church. All that follows describes in detail what is here mentioned in general. And the same is true of the seventh trumpet. We are told here that it blows, and in general terms the voices in heaven and the elders tell us what is the effect of this seventh trumpet. That trumpet finishes all. You will remember that there are seven seals, and that the last seal reveals itself as seven trumpets. When therefore the seventh trumpet shall have had its effect, all shall have been completed, and the mystery of God shall have been finished. Babylon shall have fallen, and Antichrist shall have been judged. Gog and Magog shall have been destroyed. The devil and all his host shall have been cast into the pool that burns with fire and sulphur. The new heavens and the new earth shall have been realized, and Christ shall have delivered His kingdom to the Father. The seventh trumpet shall finish all things, and carries us into eternity. Now in our portion we have the picture of the effect of the seventh trumpet, but not in detail. We are not told here of the fall of Babylon and of the last mighty attempt of Antichrist to gain control, of the final defeat of the devil. Nor have we a real description of the resurrection of the dead and of the judgment, of the coming down out of heaven of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the realization of the kingdom. All this will be described in the future. We shall therefore also meet with the seventh trumpet again, when it shall dissolve itself into the seven vials of wrath. But in our portion we have a proleptical vision, revealing in a few sentences the entire effect of that seventh trumpet. A general statement it is of the effect of this trumpet as viewed from heaven. 

We are told in the text that at the blowing of the seventh trumpet great voices were heard in heaven. Many attempts have been made to identify these voices and to answer the question whose they are. But the text does not tell us; nor is this of any account to us. There are indeed many possibilities. In future portions of the book, in connection with the carrying out of the plan of God especially in connection with the realization of the seventh trumpet, we read of voices that speak and cry and sing. When the dragon is cast down to the earth, we read that a great voice speaks in heaven, making mention of the salvation of God’s people and of woe to the earth, 12:10. Chapter fourteen makes mention of various voices. It speaks of the voice of the one hundred forty-four thousand who sing with the voice of many waters, of great thunder, with a voice of harpers. It makes mention of the voice of the angel flying in mid-heaven and proclaiming eternal good tidings to them that dwell on the earth. It speaks of a second angel announcing the fall of Babylon the great, of a third announcing woe to them that worship the beast and his image, of a voice pronouncing a beatitude upon the dead that die in the Lord. Chapter fifteen speaks of a .multitude that stands by the sea of glass and sings the song of Moses and of the Lamb. Chapter sixteen tells us of a voice that proceeds from the temple and speaks to the angels that hold the seven bowls of wrath. Many and various voices are mentioned in connection with the realization of the mystery of God. As the time approaches that the kingdom shall be completed, the voices in heaven multiply. We receive the impression that heaven is watching and waiting for a long time. An occasional voice is heard now and then; but in the end it becomes plain that God Almighty is to have the victory, and heaven appears teeming with life and rebounding with songs and outcries and voices that rejoice and take part in the carrying out of the plan of the Almighty. And therefore we need not be surprised that our text describes in a few sentences the effect of the seventh trumpet, and speaks of great voices that cause themselves to be heard. 

Of more importance it is to us to know what these voices say. The text says that they shout: “The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” In our version we read of kingdoms, in the plural. This would leave the impression that the reference was to the various kingdoms and empires in the political sense of the word that exist upon the earth. But the original does not speak of kingdoms, in the plural, but simply of the kingdom. And the idea is that the sovereign rule over the world has completely fallen to God Almighty and His Christ. We might therefore paraphrase: “God and His Christ have gained the sovereign rule over the world as a whole.” That world was originally made to be a kingdom as an organic whole. And now, at the end, when the seventh trumpet blows, God has with and through His Anointed, His Christ, gained the actual sovereign dominion over all the world. We feel that these voices speak proleptically. At the moment the seventh trumpet sounds they speak as if the effect of it had already been accomplished, and in one sentence they tell us that God and His Christ have assumed the sovereign rule over all the world. 

Two questions arise in our mind when we listen to these voices. In the first place, the question arises: in what sense does God become sovereign over all the world at the end of time, when the seventh trumpet is finished? Is He not sovereign, and His Christ not actually sovereign, all through this dispensation? And, in the second place, what is the relation between the sovereignty of God Almighty and that of His Christ at the finishing of the seventh trumpet? Shall they reign side by side, or shall there be subordination? In answer to the first question, it must be said that God is indeed sovereign all through the history of the world. There is nothing, there is no creature, that can thwart His will; and all are in subjection to Him. Even the devil and all his host and all the wicked world can after all do nothing against Him, even though they so imagine in the wickedness of their heart. But although in this sense He is sovereign, absolutely sovereign, yet it is not true that His sovereignty is undisputed. Even though we tremble at the thought, it is true nevertheless that the devil conceived of the plan of becoming sovereign instead of the Most High, and that he has employed other angels and man to realize this plan of his own sovereignty. And therefore, he, together with his agencies, the host of the devils from the abyss and Babylon and Antichrist on earth, rise in rebellion against the Sovereign of heaven and earth. There is therefore a battle being carried on in this world for the possession of the whole world as kingdom between God and His Anointed, the Christ, and the devil and his anointed, the Antichrist. God’s sovereignty is disputed. The devil wars against God, to wrest His sovereignty from Him. And the full and complete sovereignty of God Almighty shall not appear before these rebels have been subdued, before these enemies have been destroyed, and God and His Christ reign in undisputed sovereignty forever. This destruction of the enemy, this final subjection of all that rebel against God, the seventh trumpet shall bring about. By this seventh trumpet Babylon shall be brought to its ruin, Antichrist shall be destroyed, Gog and Magog shall be annihilated and punished, the new Jerusalem shall be realized, and God shall spread His tabernacle over all. And now these voices, at the sound of the last trumpet, see the realization of all this. They speak as if the trumpet is already finished, as if the enemies have already been destroyed. And therefore they now shout: “The sovereignty of the world has become the sovereignty of our God and of His Anointed for ever and ever.” 

As to the second question, we must remember that the plan of God is that the kingdom of the world shall be a kingdom of man under God. Man is made king of the world in obedience to God. Almighty as Sovereign. He is made viceroy. But man rebelled. The first man went with his power and royal glory and subjected himself to the prince of darkness with his kingdom. And now God has sent His second man, the Anointed, the man Jesus Christ. He is to take man’s place. He is the Servant of God, the head of the covenant that is to be realized, the King of the new creation. But He is to take the place of man. Now He reigns at the right hand of God and carries out the decree of God with a view to the coming kingdom. He breaks the seals. He causes the trumpets to blow. He sends the vials of wrath. For He alone was worthy to receive the book out of the hand of Him that sitteth upon the throne. But in the end, when all is completed and the seventh trumpet shall have finished its work, He shall subject Himself too, according to the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15, and reign over all the works of God forever and ever, but under God as His Sovereign. In Christ, the Anointed of God, the new creation shall lie at the foot of its Maker and give Him glory. What a glory that shall be! The enemies of God and of His church are destroyed. The people of God are delivered. All creation is lying at the feet of the Sovereign forever and ever. There will be no more war or disturbance. There will be no more sin. There will never be a second fall of angels and men. But into ages of ages God, the Supreme Ruler, reigns over all, and we shall reign with Christ forever over the works of His hands. 

But there is not only the voice of these mighty ones that is heard, but also the voice of the four and twenty elders that shout in this connection. Who they are we have explained in a different connection. We will not go into detail again. Be it sufficient to say that they are the representatives of the church of all ages, both of the old and of the new dispensation. We read of them that at the voice of the seventh trumpet they fell upon their faces and worshipped God. This is in complete harmony with the contents of the great voice that has just spoken. The latter had announced that God and His Christ had assumed the full sovereignty of the world, and that forever and ever. In harmony with this the twenty-four elders fall upon their faces and worship.