Revelation 11:16-19

(Rev 11:16 KJV)
And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

Now the twenty four elders which also had seats in heaven have now fallen down and worshipped God because the great day of spiritual reckoning has come for the believers. The martyrs in heaven who had cried out to the Lord that He should judge those who made them martyrs are now seeing that come to pass. No longer will the true believers ever face the evil oppressors as they will be judged and sent to Hell for eternity.

(Rev 11:17 KJV)
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.

God is being lauded as having ultimate power as Almighty God. He is being lauded as the one who is, was, and is to come. God had always reigned and was in total control of the situation on earth where the true believers had faced persecution. God had a plan and that plan needed to be worked out but with that plan came the time that it would be completed so the Saints who have borne the brunt of satanic persecution would now rest eternally from that war. God is being thanked for the salvation plan He engineered and by bringing the true believers to heaven with Him for eternity. Now all the pains and the tribulations of the Saints on earth have now been turned into joy and rest and for this the Saints give God much thanks.

(Rev 11:18 KJV)
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.

Now the scene shifts back to earth as John focuses in on the attitude of the nations when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. The nations of the world had become angry because the world was now readied for judgment. Even now unsaved man still holds anger at the Lord Jesus, right on the precipice of judgment.

(John 5:28-29 KJV) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, {29} And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 5:28-29 teaches us that there is going to be one general resurrection when both the believers and the unbelievers are going to be raised on the last day. Two things are going to happen. First, we read in Rev. 11:18 that the day of wrath has come and the unsaved are going to stand for judgment and be cast into eternal hell. In Revelation 17 & 18 we will see why the world was angry because everything was going along fine and the world’s economy was making many people rich, so when judgment day has come, their fine lives which they lived on earth has also come to an end and into judgment. Then secondly, we learn that the true believers, no matter what their status was, whether they were prophets, saints in the workplace, or rulers in palaces. These will be receiving the great reward. Many falsely believe that the believers are going to receive some type of physical rewards like crowns or something else but God had revealed to Abraham what the true reward of the Christian is.

(Gen 15:1 KJV) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

God Himself with be the true reward of all His children. Can physical blessings be more valuable to the Christian than having God Himself as our eternal reward? God will be blessing us and will be fellowshipping with us throughout all eternity. To be saved from the eternal torments of Hell would be reward enough but some are not satisfied with that. Then we are told that those who destroyed the earth will themselves be destroyed. When sin entered the human race, the entire creation was also affected by it. (Rom 8:22 KJV) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. All sinners will face the judgment of God and must be cast into hell for their sins. (Rom 2:5 KJV) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; The word “destroy” carries with it the meaning in the Greek of “corrupt.” (Gen 6:11-12 KJV) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. {12} And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. The world was corrupted by sin in the days of Noah and behold it has always been corrupted by sin. (Mat 24:37-39 KJV) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. {38} For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, {39} And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. The nations were angry with the coming of Christ because according to the Matthew passage, everything was going along fine, business as usual but now the day of their destruction is at hand.

(Rev 11:19 KJV)
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.

In this final scene of the second vision of John, we read that the ark of his testament or covenant was seen in heaven. This is not the ark of the covenant which was carried around the desert by Israel, instead the symbolism here is that of the abiding presence of God. When Israel had carried the ark through its wanderings it represented that God was with them through their entire wanderings. In the Revelation verse, John is mentioning the ark for those who will go through the tribulation of the New Testament period. It is mentioned as a reminder to the true believers that God is always present with His children, no matter what situation they are in. Then the second part of this verse which contains the lightnings, voices, thunderings, earthquake, and great hail signify that final judgment has now come to the earth. We have seen these descriptions of the judgments of God falling on the unbelievers but in this verse it takes on the new meaning of all of them signifying the final judgment on earth and unsaved man. Thus ends the second vision of John.