Question: Please explain Revelation 11:15.
Answer: I will explain this text to the best of my understanding, but I promise you that it will not be according to the general interpretation of this text in most religious circles. I do not understand this text to refer to a future time when Jesus Christ will come back to this earth and establish a universal kingdom which shall reign over all the kings and kingdoms of this world.
Before going further, I will insert the text which is to be the center of this discussion. “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.” Please note that this was a permanent, eternal, unending reign (for ever and ever) referred to here; not just a thousand years nor any other measured duration.
This verse of Scripture refers to the glorious triumphs of the gospel of Christ over the entire world and in all nations. Paul said in Romans 10:18, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Jesus gave the commission in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,…” The commission of Jesus is recorded by Mark in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” As this commission has been executed and the gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world and to all nations, it has had a profound effect and influence, and there have been converts to the Christian faith in all nations and among all people.
When John had a vision of the entire redeemed company in Revelation 7:9, he said: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” In I Peter 2:9 Peter referred to the people of God as “an holy nation.” The “Holy Nation” of God is composed of the saved people out of all of the nations. In Ephesians 2:14-15, we read, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;…for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” The “both” and the “twain” here refer to the Jews and the Gentiles, and the converts from among both of them constituted “one body” (verse 16) and make up the “one new man” or one holy nation, or one kingdom. In other words, the kingdom of God spread over the whole earth and to all nations and people through the effects of the gospel and there being converts to the Christian faith among all the nations.
The conversion of the Gentiles and their influx into the Church or Kingdom of God was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. God told Abraham in Genesis 22:18, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;…” Paul refers to this covenant between God and Abraham in Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Therefore, it is evident that this covenant was confirmed in Christ, and He fulfilled it and through Him the Kingdom of God extended over all the world because He tasted death for every man.
Isaiah 49:6 says, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” In Isaiah 42:6 God was speaking to His Son, Jesus, and said, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” Isaiah 60 contains a prophecy of the glories of the Church of God in this gospel age of time, and in verses 3-5 we read, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
In the 2nd Psalm, all of which is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus and the attitude of the people toward Him, and the effects of His work, etc., verse 1 says, “Why do the heathen rage,…?” It has been the general pattern of the heathen throughout their history to “rage” against the true and living God Who gave them their being, by living in open rebellion against Him and His holy will by not honoring Him as God but setting up their own idol gods and worshipping them instead of the true God. By this means, they fell into the deepest depravity and degradation possible. Paul describes the depths of their degradation and the cause of it in Romans 1:21-32. Please read this entire passage. Psalm 2:8 says, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
When the Jews at Antioch rejected the preaching of Paul and Barnabas concerning Christ, they turned to the Gentiles saying (Acts 13:47), “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” In Daniel 7:14, when Daniel had a vision of the kingdom of God, he said concerning Christ, “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” In a prophecy concerning Christ’s kingdom in Psalm 72:8 it says, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” Paul declares these prophecies to be fulfilled in his ministry.
The Kingdom of God was set up, set in order, and established on the Day of Pentecost, and soon afterward the gospel was preached unto the Gentiles and there were very many converts among them, and the Gentiles were received into the Church of God. So, it is evident that this was all fulfilled in the atonement of Christ and the ministry of the early Church and the converts to the Church throughout the succeeding generations, and that the kingdoms of this world became the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ through the effects and influence of the gospel.