Friday, July 30, 2021

Worship Workshop Session 3: Worship Deeper by Meeting With God In Prayer

Worship Workshop Session 3:
Worship Deeper by Meeting With God In Prayer

Taught by the Teacher Luke 11:1-4

Luke  11:1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Have you ever placed yourself among the disciples that asked this question?  What an opportunity, to ask Jesus the best way to pray!  If anyone would know how to reach the Father it would be the only begotten son, Jesus Christ. 

We were not there in person to ask the Master to teach us to pray but thanks to the Holy Spirit's work through Luke and the other gospel writers we can still learn the same lessons about prayer Jesus taught his first disciples.  And there is nothing lost in the translation, either, God's word is as pure and right in the Bible you hold as it was in the ears of those who listened to Him almost 2000 years ago.

So, are you willing to learn from Jesus Himself?  Are you willing to listen with an open mind and open heart as the Holy Spirit reshapes our conceptions of prayer and deepens the relationship between God and his people through prayer? Then let’s start with the platform


Platform for Prayer

 Luke 11:2-4 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Let's begin by looking at the model for prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples. Technically, this is not the Lord's prayer.  He did not pray it to His Father.  The Lord's Prayer is really found in John 17 and several other places where Jesus prayed as he did in the Garden of Gethsemane or before a meal.  This prayer is really a platform or framework upon which we should build our own personal prayers.  It is very simple in construction, as any framework should be.  It leaves room for us to raise up our own edifices of prayer in which we meet with God.


Relation: To the Father from His Child 

Our Father which art in heaven

Look at the beginning of the prayer.  What is the first thing you notice, Who is the prayer to?  The prayer is to Our Father in Heaven.  Jesus used a child's word for father, equivalent to our "daddy" it is the same word used in Romans 8:15 "Abba, Father." 

What does this tell us about the relationship of those who pray?  They must be children of God, they must be saved.  It also tells us that in prayer we are to understand God as our “Abba” Father, a very personal, intimate relationship.


How do you think of God when you approach Him in Prayer?

Do your prayers reflect that understanding or do they sound distant or routine? 

Would you talk to your earthly father in the same way you pray to your Heavenly Father? 

Would you use the same words, same tone, same order, same beginning same ending etc.

What are some ways in which my prayers should change and deepen along with my understanding of God as my Father?  I would spend more, not less time in prayer.  I would grow in respect for Him as I realize how much He loves me and blesses me.  I would talk to him more readily, sooner, quicker, rather than wait until I have to.


Adoration: Praise before Petition 

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

The next phrase brings us another portion of the platform upon which to build, yet it is often the most undeveloped part of modern prayer.

Jesus told them to say, "Hallowed be Thy name."  What does this mean?  Is it just a phrase which we repeat in order to make sure our prayer is going to be heard?  No, it is part of the model upon which our own prayers are to be erected. 

The word "Hallowed" is the verb form of the word holy.  In the case of the model prayer is an acknowledgment of the holiness, the sanctity of God's name and thereby God Himself.  The phrase in this abbreviated model is a place for worship and praise to the One we are praying to.

In our real prayers this room is often absent or very empty. We are so programmed to ask things from God in prayer that we neglect time spent with God in prayer.  To praise God during our prayer is to honor Him, commune with Him, and render to Him what is due as the Creator of the Universe and the only one who can intervene in time and space to help us.

Let's look at some examples of prayers from the great men of the Bible and mark how their prayers begin with praise and worship.

David in Psalm 86 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.  Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.  In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.  Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.  All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.  For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.  Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.  I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.  For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.  O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.


Daniel in Daniel 9:4-7  O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;  We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:  Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.  O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee,


Peter and the early church in Acts 4:24-30  Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

In these examples you can see that those praying had a deep reverence and appreciation for the High and Holy one they approached in prayer.  They understood what Psalms 100 tells each of us what we should do as we approach God. This was a pilgrim psalms sung as the Jewish pilgrims would come to the Temple for Passover. A Choir within the walls would sing as the pilgrims entered.

Psalm 100:1-5 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

If prayer is coming into God’s presence, bowing before His throne of mercy and grace, then it must be preceded with praise. One day when we truly stand in the presence of God in heaven praise will pour from us as the only proper thing in His presence. May we understand that truth in our prayers today.


Submission: to God's Rule and Will

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

The next part of the model prayer deals with submission.  Jesus constructed it in two sections, God's Kingdom and God's Will.

"Thy kingdom come" had a very real and obvious meaning to the disciples of Jesus.  The prophets had promised a kingdom of God ruled by the Messiah.  God's kingdom was first and foremost that promised kingdom.  It was not established yet or Jesus would not have told them to pray for it to come.  It was however, on it's way and would someday be established over all the earth with Jesus Christ as King.  This petition would fill the Roman dominated Israelite with hope as he endured the rule of another.

For us this is both petition for a future reality and a present attitude. When I pray is there a place in my prayer for the return of Jesus to establish his kingdom?  Is there an attitude of hope which permeates my prayer because I look for this to happen?  Do I realize that no matter how difficult it may be now, under the rule of Satan in this world, that someday Jesus will reign and all will be right? 

In a nursing home ministry I once led, I was talking to the residents after one of our services.  One dear lady asked me, "Do you believe Jesus is coming again?" I told her I certainly did.  She smiled very widely as if to say that was the only thing that kept her going.  She then said, "Keep looking up, young man.  Keep looking up!"  To me it was more than just the place I would look for Jesus to come in the clouds.  It was also the attitude I would have if I really believed and prayed for my Lord to return.  How could I be anything but "up?"

Next Jesus told the disciples to pray, "Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven."  In heaven is the qualifying statement for describing how God's will was to be done.  In heaven God's will is carried out instantaneously by uncountable armies of angels.  Angels aren't earthly creatures so who is to do God's will here?  We are.  His Servants.

If I add this room to my prayers, how will it change my prayers?  How will it change my life?  To honestly and completely yield myself to God's will is to remove any right of ownership to myself, my future or any possession.  To pray this is to make my words a vow of personal servitude in the ministry of God.  Every prayer then becomes a surrender of my own desires to God's desires for me.

The Dedication of Jonathan Edwards, leader of the 1st Great Awakening.

I claim no right to myself- no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members-no right to this tongue, to these hand, feet, ears or eyes.

I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own.  I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him.  I have given Him every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect.  I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace

I will not fail.  I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness, His law is the rule of my obedience.   I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life.  I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.

I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort and assist me.  This I have done.

I pray God, for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own.  Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own.  I shall act as my own if I ever make use of any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my whole and entire business.

If I murmur in the least at afflictions: if I am in any way uncharitable: if I revenge my own case: if I do anything purely to please myself, or omit anything because it is a great denial: if I trust to myself: if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me: or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God's.  I purpose to be absolutely His.  -Jonathan Edwards.


Recognition: Of God’s Power in Life

Give us day by day our daily bread.

The next phrase asks God for daily bread.  Certainly this looks to our food which ultimately comes from God, but within the framework of this model prayer it goes much further.  

Bread was the "staff of life."  It was the most important part of the middle eastern diet.  Meat, fresh vegetable and fruit were luxuries at most tables, but bread meant they would not starve.  "Daily bread" is that bread which is necessary to sustain our lives today.  It means we stand upon the promises of God to care for his children and provide for their needs.  It does not presume upon tomorrow except to believe that God will as always provide for us once we are there.  The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, "The Greek is concise and graphic,  'Keep giving to us our daily allotment'."

This room, in the building of my house of prayer, is more than the simple idea of "daily bread." It is an affirmation of God's promise for the necessities of life.  It is praying from faith not want. It is recognizing that it is God who must supply life itself to me.

Look at the following verses in which the first daily bread was given by God to his people of the Exodus.

 Exodus 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

Deuteronomy 8:3   And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

What was the lesson of the manna to the Israelites?  It showed God's provision yet it also showed the people's need of faith.  God only would provide enough for the day.  They had to trust him for tomorrow's provision.

What is the lesson of the manna to us?  The daily bread is an object lesson in God's care for us.  The greatest thing isn't the bread but learning to trust God. 


Reconciliation: Repentance toward God and Forgiveness of Others

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.


Now Jesus instructs that each prayer should have a place in which forgiveness is asked from God and because of that forgiveness we also forgive those who have sinned against us.

Very few prayers omit asking for forgiveness but we often neglect to grant that forgiveness to others.  It should be noted that forgiveness is given by God based upon what Jesus has done for us. No work or righteousness which we do can have redeeming merit from God.  Yet we must not ignore the fact that these two acts of forgiveness are tied together.  It should seem impossible to us who have been forgiven all our sin through Jesus Christ, to be unable to forgive someone else a slight or and offense. 

The Forgiveness Parable: Read the following parable told by Christ.

Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

What is the lesson to be learned from this parable?  We who have been forgiven a debt against God which we could never repay, should be grateful and willing to forgive those who have sinned against us.  To not do so is to mock and count as nothing the much greater forgiveness we have already received.

The forgiveness of our unbelief against God, is not conditional upon anything except the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and my accepting His death on my behalf.  Continued forgiveness from God after I have experience the new birth of salvation may be hindered if I cannot forgive those around me.  It is absurd to harbor feelings of resentment and bitterness toward another when God, who has every right to send me to hell for all eternity, willing forgave me and made me his child.  What offense against me could be greater than my rebellion against God which caused His own Son to die on the cross?

In practice, the fact that I will not forgive someone keeps me from going to God in prayer. I do not wish to be reminded by the Holy Spirit while in the presence of God that I am asking for forgiveness while refusing to grant it to someone else.


Humiliation: a Cry for Deliverance 

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

The final phrase which the disciples were instructed to pray dealt with temptation and deliverance from that temptation.  The word temptation can mean both temptation to sin and a test.  Indeed a temptation to sin is a test of a moral kind.  Jesus is not however saying that God tempts man to sin. 

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

James makes it very plain that God does not tempt in the way Satan tempts. 

The model prayer expresses an attitude, it began in petitioning God for His kingdom to come and proceeds with our submission to his will.  Now within that submission to whatever God brings into our life, we turn to the One into whose hand our entire being has been given and ask Him to remember that we are human and dependent upon Him. 

Lord, Keep us from temptation, protect us in the midst of trials, for we are weak, easily swayed and in our own power easily defeated. 

This room in the prayer is one of humility which is entered from the previous room of submission to God. In submission, we show our willingness to accept whatever God’s will is in our life, in humiliation we confess we need God’s protection and strength to succeed in that submission.


I believe Paul is operating in this attitude when he wrote

1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].


What is the way of escape? I believe Jesus gave us the answer.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Without humility my prayer is only a sham.  I must recognize that I am incapable of anything unless God intervenes to keep me from evil.  Humility is not weakness, it fact true humility is the key to real strength.  For God's strength is not given to the proud but only to the lowly.  Real strength is mine only when I realize how weak I really am.



Monday, July 26, 2021

The Epistle of Jesus #9: The Victory and Final Woe

 The Epistle of Jesus #9: The Victory Trumpet and Final Woe

Power Point Link

MS Doc Link


Past/ Review / Chronology
I. The vision of Christ and letters to the seven churches. 1:9–3:22.
II. The Lamb opens the seven-sealed book is opened. 4:1–6:17.
III. The sealing of the 144,000 and the angels sounding the seven trumpets. 7:1–9:21.
IV. Interlude 10-11 (To comfort and encourage the people of God, then and now)

Last week we were shown the Two, the witnesses for God, the two olive trees, the two lampstands,  the last two great heroes of God in the last epoch of the time of the Gentiles.

I stopped with their story, but chapter 11 continues with the Final Woe, which is the Seventh Trumpet of the Angels. That commences in verse Revelation 11:14.

A Proclamation Of Victory - Revelation 11:14–19 

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

The Seventh Angel Sounds The Seventh Trumpet
We have been waiting for this seventh trumpet to sound since chapter 8:13 Revelation 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
There are three woes that the angel announces after the fifth trumpet has sounded. These mark an intensifying of God’s wrath upon the dwellers on earth, who will not heed the call to repent of their sin and wickedness.

The first woe was the 5th trumpet in Revelation 9:1-4 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

The Second Woe was the 6th Trumpet in Revelation 9:13-19 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

We then saw in Revelation 10 and 11 an interlude a step away from the plagues of the seals and the trumpets for the purpose of showing God’s people, that God was working, to show the faithful believers who refused to take the mark of the beast God’s perspective during this time. First a heavenly perspective of the great angel and John eating the little book showing the call to be a witness for the Lord even though it would be a bitter experience.
Then there was the earthly perspective to be seen of the two witnesses on the earth, the great powerful last prophets and heroes of God. These powerful men who for 3 ½ years cannot be touched by the anti-Christ, but when the Beast returns from the pit, he kills them, who it seemed nothing could stop or even hinder. Yet God will show it was His plan all along and He raises them up after 3 ½ days and before the whole world calls them home to heaven.

The believers of that time and the persecuted believers of every time on earth can learn from this prophecy that lesson, to see things from God’s perspective and know that He always has a plan, He always has a purpose and He always has the power to carry them through. His plan may not be all that I want or ask for, but that is what perspective gives us. The ability to see from heaven’s mountaintop and know that God is the overseer of time, history and eternity.  He is not late, He is not lazy and He is not lacking the power to bring about His purpose. My part is simply to be faithful and trust Him.

Then we finally come to the Seventh Trumpet, The Final Woe of this series of plagues. The seventh angel sounds his trumpet and then this “woe” is announced by a great choir, great voices in heaven and they make and announcement not of woe but of victory.
The Trumpet of Victory Sounds - Revelation 11:15 “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

This is the victory call of Christ’s Kingdom. The kingdoms of the earth have become the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Now that is announced with the seventh trumpet but the final series of judgments and the return of Christ is yet to happen. This is the start of the end. I believe we should place it right at the middle of the seven year tribulation, 3 ½ years in and now 3 ½ years to go. The trumpet marks the final onslaught of God’s judgment on the earth and in particular upon the kingdom of the anti-Christ, the Beast and all those who follow him and have taken his mark on their forehead and hands.

Just as we saw in the seven seals, when the seventh seal opens it reveals the rest of the judgments of God. The seventh seal contains the seven trumpets and the seven bowl judgments. Here we see the seventh trumpet sounded and it opens or reveals the final woe which is the seven vials or bowl judgments, the final strike against the earth before the Lord comes back as Captain of the Lord’s Host and Messiah.

This Trumpet sound is like the Joshua’s army as they marched around the city of Jericho, six days they marched but on the seventh day they marched and blew the trumpets and the walls fell down. The battle still had to be finished before Israel could take possession of Jericho, but that seventh day marked the point of victory, there was no going back for the enemies of God’s people, no time to rebuild the walls, no time to recall the taunts, the jeers or their misplace faith in their pagan gods. When the trumpet sounded on the 7th day it was over for Jericho. The same is true here, there is still 3 ½ years to play out but when the 7th trumpet sounds but it is over for the anti-Christ and his kingdom and all of heaven knows it and calls out a victory cry, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

Woe to the inhabitants of earth but Joy to the inhabitants of heaven and the believers of earth who are hiding from the attack and persecution of the Beast.

Woe Of the World, Is often Joy to Jesus’ Disciples
This world may be destined for woe but God’s people are created for joy. A joy that overcomes the woe.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

2 Corinthians 7:4.Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.  

No matter how bad it will be in this world, Jesus has given us joy.
How Can I Keep From Singing?

In the middle of last year’s lockdowns and scares many people would get together and have Zoom meetings for church, for business, for family but the ones I remember and were such a blessing were those that brought singers and choirs together. Especially when they sang hymns. One of the best was a choir and orchestra from New York that sang, “How Can I Keep From Singing”

1 My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation.
I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Love is lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?

2 Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

3 What though my joys and comforts die,I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth. [Refrain]

4 The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his!How can I keep from singing? [Refrain]

Transition: Praise

And that brings us to verses 16-18 where praise is once again sung in the halls of Heaven’s Throne room

A Praise To God - Revelation 11: 16-18

16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

The 24 Elders Praise God

This short song of praise is the expression of the victory that has been proclaimed by the heavenly choir of vs. 15. It expresses the emotion of all of God’s people, both Old Testament and New, which are represented by the 24 elders, 12 OT Tribes, 12 NT Disciples.
This moment is what all of God’s people, the persecuted, the dispersed, the wanderers and the pilgrims have been longing and praying for.

Abraham left his home looking for that city whose builder and maker was God. Hebrews 11:8–10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and called people to the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:3–12 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

All those combined and multiplied prayers are now going to be answered as the seventh trumpet sounds. All that hope, all that faith, all that expectation will be at last realized when the Kingdoms of earth become the kingdom of our God.

And so the 24 elders, the representation of all believers, fall on their face, they worship and praise God, who has now answered the last unanswered prayer of all God’s people throughout history.
And that brings up a question?...

Are We praying for The Kingdom?

One day we will be in that throng, gathered round the throne and we will see these events play out just as John did. We will sing the songs of praise to Him as King and judge. We will lift our voices with the chorus of heaven and sing, “Revelation 11:17 We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

If we are the redeemed, if we are the children of God, if we are saved and sanctified by the blood of the lamb then what we just read will happen and we will be there! Now until that day we should be preparing for it by praying for the same thing we see these saints have been praying for; the prayer request of the people of God now being fulfilled here in heaven’s throne room. We need to be praying “O Lord God, thy kingdom come.”

Isn’t that what Jesus told us to do in? Matthew 6:9–10  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We need to be praying.

Pray for the kingdom of Heaven to come to earth. Yes, pray for Jesus to return. Pray for the sin, pain, sorrow to end. Pray for God to prove to this belligerent, hateful, atheistic world that He rules and reigns. We should also be praying for the Kingdom in another way. We should be praying…

Pray for the kingdom to come to human hearts. When John the Baptist and Jesus were preaching in Israel during Jesus’ first coming their message was…

Matthew 4:17 “…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Now they weren’t saying that the kingdom of heaven as we are reading about in Revelation 11 was near. No, they were preaching about entrance into that kingdom, about belonging to that kingdom.  The Kingdom of Heaven one day will be physically on the earth, but until then it is a spiritual kingdom in our heart. 

Jesus told Nicodemus, who was looking for that physical Kingdom,
John 3:3-5 …Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Until the seventh trumpet blows, we are to be working and praying to bring people into the Kingdom of Heaven. Do you remember what Jesus told Peter and the Disciples in Matthew 16:19? “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The ability, the power and the responsibility to open the kingdom of heaven is now ours. The keys to kingdom are in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we hold those keys as His church.

Mark 1:15 … The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Yes we need to be praying for Jesus to return, reclaim, and revive this sin corrupted world, but we should also be praying and working to bring that kingdom to the hearts of the lost around us. “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” has never been a more vital message than it is today.

Illustration: Keep Looking Up!

In a nursing home ministry I had as a Bible College student in DeSoto, Texas, I was once wheeling one of the residents back to her room. I had just finished preaching about the second coming and the sweet lady I was pushing to her room. Looked back over her shoulder and asked. Do you believe Jesus is coming back? I was a little surprised at the question, since I had just finished my sermon about just exactly that. But it wouldn’t be the first time I had put someone to sleep during a sermon so I smiled and said, “Yes Ma’am. I sure do.” She then smiled real big pointed her finger toward heaven and said, “Keep looking up!”

I’ve thought of that encounter many times since then, she preached a message to me that day. Keep looking up, Jesus is coming. Keep looking up, despite fear, pain and sorrow, Jesus is coming. Keep looking up, keep telling the Gospel to those in pain, Jesus is coming back. Just keep looking up!

When the 7th Trumpet sounds all that looking up, praying up and preaching up will come it final fruition and fulfillment.
Transition: There is one more event that takes place before this scene John is seeing changes, it’s in verse 19 .

A Promise Kept – Revelation 11: 19

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

The Temple of God Is Opened

This is an interesting verse and it shows once again that the book of Revelation is mostly about God and his people the Jews. Right after the announcement of victory, comes this observation, “and the temple of God was opened in heaven and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.” This is not the temple that John measured, that temple is the rebuilt temple on the earth, this is the temple of God in heaven and it contains the ark of the covenant.

You might wonder what is happening and why the ark of the testimony is in heaven. The truth is that this ark of the testimony has always been in heaven as has this temple. John specifically says “the temple of God in heaven.”

When God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle, back in the book of Exodus, it was meant to be a representation, a foreshadowing of this Temple in Heaven. The tabernacle was not just a place of meeting for Israel it was also a 3-dimensional model of the heavens God had created.

We see this Shadow of Heaven’s Temple in  Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

The tabernacle was divided into three areas the outer court, the holy place and the most holy place. The outer court corresponds to the heavens that surround the earth, the firmament of the clouds and birds; the holy place is the heaven beyond the atmosphere of earth, it would be the heavens of the planets and stars, the sun and moon. Some would include in 2nd heaven the place where the angels dwell and those who have died in faith dwell, Paradise. The most Holy Place was a representation the third heaven, the very throne room of God.

The Three Heavens - Paul mentions these heavens in 2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

When the seventh trumpet blows and the temple is opened, we see the heavenly Temple opened and the reason it is opened is that the people of God, the nation of Israel can see the ark of God. The ark that has been lost since the time of the Old Testament, the most precious possession of the people of Israel is safe in the Temple of God.

The ark on earth was the place where the presence of God dwelt between the two cherubim, the two arch angels. The lid of the ark was the mercy seat, where the priests sought forgiveness for the sins of the nation of Israel. It was a representation of God’s throne of mercy.

Psalms 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne:
mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Proverbs 20:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

When the Temple is thrown open in heaven and the ark of the covenant is seen there, it shows God’s mercy, truth and faithfulness in keeping the covenant with Abraham and Moses. It shows God’s forgiveness and His love. It shows His promises are true and never to be forgotten. It shows God never forsakes His own. What they thought was lost was always safe in the keeping of God.

The people of God could not keep the covenant, but the God of the people could and did. The ark seen in heaven is proof of that promise kept.

The Promise of the Gospel

Today, the Bible tells us that God’s Mercy, Truth and Promises are open to Us through the Gospel. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The mercy seat, the seat of atonement has never been lost. It has always been found at the throne of God.

Illustration: Newton and the throne of Grace

John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace truly was a wretch, he was slave trader taking men, women and children from Africa, transporting them in the worst conditions you can imagine, treating them with less dignity than animals. He was a drunkard. He was cruel to his men, they hated him so much that once when he fell drunk overboard, they rescued him by throwing a harpoon into his leg and dragging him back on board. He sunk so low that he himself became a slave to the very people he used to sell, like so much cattle. Even worse as he puts it he became a runaway slave. But John Newton found grace at the throne of God become a pastor and a hymnwriter. We all know Amazing Grace but here is one that isn’t published in hymnals anymore, not since the late 1800s. In most hymnals it is only a number but in one written in 1810 it is title “Coming To The Throne of Grace”

1 Not to Sinai's dreadful blaze,
But to Zion's throne of grace,
by a way marked out with blood,
Sinners now approach to God.

2 Not to hear the fiery law,
But with humble joy to draw
Water by that well supplied,
Jesus opened when he died.

3 Lord, there are no streams but thine,
Can assuage a thirst like mine;
'Tis a thirst thyself didst give,
Let me therefore drink and live.

The throne of mercy is open and the ark of the covenant is sure and fast. And just as God has held the nation of Israel in His hand all these centuries and now with the 7th Trumpet blowing, into eternity, He also will keep His promises through the Gospel to us.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Paul believed the promise of God and boasted that nothing could take him from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


All throughout the Bible we read the same promise if you come to the throne of Grace, trusting in the shed blood of Jesus that was poured upon the mercy seat of heaven, then you are His for eternity, you are safe for eternity, you are kept by the power of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as safe and secure as the ark of the covenant. Aren’t you glad, it’s sure, aren’t you glad it’s true, aren’t you glad your soul is kept by the unlimited power and unconditional love of God on high!