The trumpet judgments are resumed in Revelation 11:15 with the seventh and final trumpet judgment. This final trumpet judgment will not be an event that takes place at a particular moment in time, but will occur over a period of time. The seventh trumpet signaled the beginning of the final judgment and return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His earthly kingdom. But before any activity on earth had begun, John described what would follow this final trumpet judgment – the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, after which unbelievers will be judged and believers of the Millennium will be rewarded. The announcement of the final judgment caused an angelic host to sing a song of rejoicing. (Revelation 11:15-18)
The Kingdom of God is God’s eternal kingdom to which every believer belongs from all dispensations. It is God’s spiritual kingdom, which is entered only through salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. (Matthew 6:33; Luke 13:28-29; John 3:3-7; Hebrews 12:22-23) Within that kingdom there is the Kingdom of Heaven (the kingdom of the heavens). The Kingdom of Heaven is only part of the entire Kingdom of God, and refers to the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. Since the Kingdom of Heaven is a part of the Kingdom of God, they are sometimes used interchangeably.
It is this earthly kingdom that was announced by John the Baptist and offered to Israel by Jesus Christ and rejected by the Jewish nation. Since it was rejected and the Messiah crucified, the Kingdom of Heaven was postponed until after the Tribulation. Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Millennium are the same period of time. This period will be the time when “David’s greater Son,” Jesus Christ, will rule on earth. It is a time when all the covenants to Israel will be fulfilled. It is a time of peace and prosperity. (Matthew 3:1-3; Luke 1:31-33; Zechariah 12:8; II Samuel 7:7-10)
When John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, it simple meant that the Messianic ruler was on the scene and ready to set up His kingdom on earth. Even the disciples of Jesus thought that the Kingdom of Heaven was going to be set up at that time. (Acts 1:6) In Matthew 13, Jesus taught the multitudes about the Kingdom of Heaven in parables, so, these parables and their meanings apply only to the Millennium, not to the Church Age. In the end, the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah and with the assistance of the Romans fulfilled prophecy by crucifying the Savior. (Matthew 27)
Therefore, we see that there is a difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. The first is a spiritual kingdom and the second is an earthly kingdom. Both, of course, are God’s kingdoms.
Rejoicing in Heaven broke out as the angels anticipated the final judgment and the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. John looked forward into the future to see Christ’s earthly reign, which will be perpetuated into eternity. By falling on their faces in worship and giving thanks for Christ taking control of the earth and reigning, the twenty-four elders confirmed this prophesy.
Only Jesus Christ can bring righteous government to this earth. Human beings, with human viewpoint thinking, can only attempt to reform the devil’s world, but will never succeed. In this present world, it is not the responsibility of believers, especially pastors, to attempt to improve Satan’s kingdom in the name of Christianity. Our responsibility is to study, learn, believe and apply God’s Word to our individual lives. This is not to suggest or imply that we are not to be good citizens of the country where we live. Believers should be the best citizens.
The peace that well-meaning people are attempting to bring about by human means will never be realized. Only when the Prince of Peace appears on earth at the Second Coming will peace on earth become a reality. The only peace that is currently available to anyone is peace with God that comes as a result of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (reconciliation) and the peace of God that comes from advancing in the Christian Way of Life (experiential sanctification). (Colossians 1:20-21; Philippians 4:5-9)
There are two words for reconciliation in Greek. One word “diallasso” means to reconcile two parties that are mutually hostile toward one another. The second word “katallasso” means to reconcile two parties where only one party is hostile toward the other. “Katallasso” is the word used for reconciliation to God. This means that it is man who is hostile to God and has become rebellious by means of his inherent sin nature. It means that mankind is the enemy of God and it is man who needs to be reconciled to God.
Literally, “katallasso” means to change or to exchange (originally referring to money). It came to mean a change from being one’s enemy to being one’s friend. This is the meaning throughout the New Testament. At salvation, the believer is reconciled to God. This means that the believer is no longer God’s enemy but that peace with God has been made as a result of his change of mind (the true meaning of repentance) towards Christ and believed in Him as Savoir. (Romans 5:10)
The peace of God is a result of fulfilling His plan, purpose and will by the consistent study and application of accurate Bible doctrine. Even though we have peace with God, we will not realize the full aspect of this until we receive a glorified body at the Rapture, which is ultimate sanctification. In the meantime, we are to have the peace of God. (Colossians 3:15-17; II Timothy 2:15)
In Revelation 11:18, the song of rejoicing continued with a description of the final days of the Millennium when the nations of the earth assembled themselves to wage war against God and how God responded by destroying those who opposed Him. They also sang about the Great White Throne Judgment, where the spiritually dead unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire. And they sang of believers and the time when they receive their eternal rewards. (Revelation 16:14-20, 20:8-15)
The Great White Throne Judgment will be for unbelievers only, when the unbeliever will have the opportunity to present his case for entrance into Heaven. Theologically we call this the “resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:22-29; Revelation 20:12-15)
The Great White Throne Judgment will take place immediately following the Millennium and after Satan, the Beast (Anti-Christ) and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:7-10)
Judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ will be on the basis of the unbeliever’s good works, which fall short of God’s righteousness. This is tantamount to the rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior. (John 3:18,36; I John 2:2; Revelation 20:12-13)
The result of the Great White Throne Judgment will be that the unbeliever’s name will be blotted out of the Book of Life and he will be sent to the Lake of Fire (Hell) for all eternity. (Revelation 20:15)
Revelation 11:19, describes the scene immediately following the Millennium. Heaven is opened to all believers from all dispensations, including the Holy of Holies (formerly closed to all except for the high priest, once a year). Jesus Christ removed this barrier at the Cross. In eternity, access that once was only a positional truth for us will be a reality. The lightning, voices, thundering, earthquake and great hail speak metaphorically of the presence of God.