Revelation Chapter 11: 19
Revelation 11:19 – Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
After the “coronation of the King” that started in Revelation 11:15, the temple of God in Heaven opens, revealing the ark of His covenant. This is not the ark of the covenant made by Moses which held the ten commandments; this is the heavenly ark that set the pattern for the earthly ark:
“Temple of God … heaven” (see 3:12; 7:15; 14:15, 17; 15:5-8; 16:1, 17). The heavenly Holy of Holies (see notes on Exodus 26:31-36), where God dwells in transcendent glory, already is identified as His throne (chapters 4 and 5), and here the Holy of Holies.
“Ark of his testament”: This piece of furniture in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple (see notes on Exodus 25:11-18), symbolized God’s presence, atonement and covenant with His people. That earthly Ark was only a picture of this heavenly one (see Heb. 9:23; 10:20). It was there God provided mercy and atonement for sin. As the earthly Holy of Holies was open when the price of sin was paid (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:19-20), so the Holy of Holies in heaven is opened to speak of God’s saving New Covenant and redeeming purpose in the midst of judgment.
We see here the dwelling of God in all its awesomeness. There was an Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle in the wilderness. There is much speculation about where that earthly Ark is today. Some believe that it is underneath the city of Jerusalem; some believe it is in Rome. The strange thing is that it is unimportant where it is.
“Lightnings, thunderings … earthquake … great hail”: What was anticipated (in 4:5 and 8:5), will become a terrifying reality. These events occur as part of the seventh vial (16:17-21), and are the climax of the seventh trumpet. Since heaven is the source of vengeance, judgment also comes out of God’s Holy of Holies (14:15, 17: 15:5-8; 16:1, 7, 17; see note on 6:1).
We are reassured that God’s covenant with us will never fail. We see God’s power and might in all these manifestations such as these earthquakes. We must remember continually, that Revelation is not in chronological order. God does not tell us just exactly when each thing happens. We just know they will happen. All of these earthquakes etc., just show God’s dealing with man.
Hebrews 8:4-5 – For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
The heavenly ark is in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly temple, where Jesus offered His blood to redeem men:
Hebrews 9:11-12 – But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The ark of the covenant serves as a sign for Israel. Just as the temple reminded Israel of their iniquity, as discussed in Revelation 11:1, the ark of the covenant also reminds Israel of their corruption. The contents in the ark stood as a testimony of their rebellion against God:
Deuteronomy 31:26-27 – “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death?
Numbers 17:10 – And the LORD said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.”
Exodus 16:33 -34 – And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.” As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
Numbers 11:4-10 – Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased.
Numbers 11:31-33 – Now a wind went out from the LORD, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.
After Israel turns back to God, acknowledging their transgression against God’s covenant, the ark of the covenant will no longer come to mind:
Jeremiah 3:13-17 – Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD. “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the LORD, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore. “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.
God will make a new covenant with Israel, and the Law will no longer be kept in an ark, but written on the hearts of men in a new covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The ark is a reminder of the covenant between Israel and God, which Israel broke, but the Gentiles broke the everlasting covenant God made with Noah:
Isaiah 24:5-6 – The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
Genesis 9:16-17 – “The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
This everlasting covenant defiled by the inhabitants of the earth is also known as the “natural law,” where the laws God placed in nature help guide the conscience, acting as a law to follow for those not under the Mosaic Law:
Romans 2:12-16 – For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
God will judge the world for breaking the everlasting covenant. God judges the world in the Tribulation from His throne in the heavenly temple, as shown throughout Revelation and in the following Psalm:
Psalms 11:4-7 – The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
An earthquake and great hail follow the lightnings, noises, and thunderings in Heaven. As discussed in Revelation 11:13, earthquakes stand as fearful signs from God among other catastrophes. Massive hail, like that which God dumped on the Egyptians, not only wiped out all vegetation, but also had the power to kill (Exodus 9). The earthquake and great hail storm before the Bowl judgments is merely a taste of the earthquake and hail storm after the Bowl judgments:
Revelation 16:17-18, 20-21 – Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
The noises, thunderings, and lightnings that follow the revealing of the ark of the covenant in Heaven also appear before the Seal judgments and the Trumpet judgments, and after the Bowl judgments:
|Lightnings, Thunderings, Noises||When|
|Revelation 4:5 – And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.||Before the Seal judgments|
|Revelation 8:5 – Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.||Between the Seal and Trumpet judgments|
|Revelation 11:19 – Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.||Between the Trumpet and Bowl judgments|
|Revelation 16:18, 21 – And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth…. And great hail….||After the Bowl judgments before Jesus returns|
The narrative of the Bowl judgments begins in Revelation 15, but first we will go through a second interlude that covers additional events that occur during the last half of the Tribulation, as discussed at the beginning of Revelation 11.
In conclusion, it is fitting that the ark of the covenant appears as a sign to Israel at the end of this interlude near the end of the Tribulation, because the next chapter takes us back to the middle of the Tribulation with another sign in Heaven. After this sign, God calls out a Jewish remnant who will enter the Kingdom when the King of kings returns to lead them:
Micah 2:12-13 – “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the LORD at their head.”
Image courtesy: a daughters walk
Revelation 11-19 – mark mallett
Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing..
We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.