Revelation 11:17
Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE CHORUS OF THE CHURCH OF GOD.

(17) Saying, We give thee thanks . . .—Better,

“We thank Thee, O Lord,

The God, the Almighty,

He that is, and He that was,

Because Thou hast taken Thy great power and didst reign.

And the nations were angry,

And then came Thine anger And the season of the dead to be judged,

And to give their rewards to Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints,

And to them that fear Thy name, the small and the great,

And to destroy them that destroy the earth.”

On the expression “He that is and He that was,” comp, Revelation 1:8 and the Note there. We can catch the echo of the Second Psalm throughout this chorus of grateful praise. The prayers of the groaning Church (Revelation 5:10, and Luke 18:7-8) and the cries of travailing creation (Romans 8:19) have been heard; though the heathen raged and the people imagined a vain thing, their counsel against the Lord and His anointed, His Christ (compare Revelation 11:16), came to nought; the joy of their triumph was short-lived; the kingdom of evil was but for a moment; the kings were assembled, they passed by, they saw, they were troubled, they hasted away (Psalm 48:4-5); never did the real sovereignty of the Lord cease (Psalm 2:6); but the nations would not believe in His rule; they were not wise; they turned from the kiss of reconciliation, which was life (Psalm 2:10-12); then came His anger, and the season of judgment and the season of reward. The prophets, the saints, and those that fear God’s name, the small and the great— every class and rank of the true servants of the King are included here; none are forgotten; not a cup of cold water, given in His name, shall miss its reward; for not alone the pre-eminent in Christian power and in Christian holiness, but the weak, the struggling, the obscure, the small as well as the great, are remembered: “Unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Zion” (Psalm 84:7; Prayer Book version). Nor is the gladness only for this blessing; there is a joy at the overthrow of those who destroy the earth. The reign of evil is the destruction of the earth. The judgments of God are in mercy to stay the spread of destructive powers and principles. The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; the very judgments of God are merciful. (See Note on Revelation 8:2.)

But where, we may be disposed to ask, is the “woe” in all this? We are led to expect that the seventh trumpet as a woe trumpet will bring in some period of pain and trouble, as the others have done; but all we hear is the chorus of glad voices uttering praise: we see no token of woe. The answer is that we must not overlook all that this song of rejoicing implies. The chorus we hear is the thanksgiving to God that the hour has come for the overthrow of the kingdom of evil, the manifestation of the sons of God, and the acknowledgment throughout the world of the sovereignty of the Lord and of His Christ. The overthrow of that evil kingdom, which is now to take place, brings with it woo to those who have supported it; for the time of the judgment of the dead, and of those whose lives have marred God’s world, has come. It is, then, woe on all those who have misused God’s gifts and those beautiful things which He gave us liberally to enjoy. It is a woe on those who have defiled those bodies, which are the temples of the Holy Ghost, profaned the earth, which is God’s footstool, or darkened by their evil deeds the heaven, which is His throne. Those who thus defile (or, destroy: the word is so in the margin, and is the same as that which follows) God’s temple anywhere, God will destroy (1Corinthians 6:19; 1Corinthians 3:17).

11:14-19 Before the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, there is the usual demand of attention. The saints and angels in heaven know the right of our God and Saviour to rule over all the world. But the nations met God's wrath with their own anger. It was a time in which he was beginning to reward his people's faithful services, and sufferings; and their enemies fretted against God, and so increased their guilt, and hastened their destruction. By the opening the temple of God in heaven, may be meant, that there was a more free communication between heaven and earth; prayer and praises more freely and frequently going up, graces and blessings plentifully coming down. But it rather seems to refer to the church of God on earth. In the reign of antichrist, God's law was laid aside, and made void by traditions and decrees; the Scriptures were locked up from the people, but now they are brought to the view of all. This, like the ark, is a token of the presence of God returned to his people, and his favour toward them in Jesus Christ, as the Propitiation for their sins. The great blessing of the Reformation was attended with very awful providences; as by terrible things in righteousness God answered the prayers presented in his holy temple now opened.Saying, We give thee thanks - We, as the representatives of the church, and as identified in our feelings with it (see the notes on Revelation 4:4), acknowledge thy goodness in tires delivering the church from all its troubles, and having conducted it through the times of fiery persecution, thus establishing it upon the earth. The language here used is an expression of their deep interest in the church, and of the fact that they felt themselves identified with it. They, as representatives of the church, would of course rejoice in its prosperity and final triumph.

O Lord God Almighty - Referring to God all-powerful, because it was by his omnipotent arm alone that this great work had been I accomplished. Nothing else could have I defended the church in its many trials; nothing else could have established it upon the earth.

Which art, and wast, and art to come - The Eternal One, always the same. See the notes on Revelation 1:8. The reference here is to the fact that God, who had thus established his church on the earth, is unchanging. In all the revolutions which occur on the earth, he always remains the same. What he was in past times he is now; what he is now he always will be. The particular idea suggested here seems to be, that he had now shown this by having caused his church to triumph; that is, he had shown that he was the same God who had early promised that it should ultimately triumph; he had carried forward his glorious purposes without modifying or abandoning them amidst all the changes that had occurred in the world; and he had thus given the assurance that he would now remain the same, and that all his purposes in regard to his church would be accomplished. The fact that God remains always unchangeably the same is the sole reason why his church is safe, or why any individual member of it is kept and saved. Compare Malachi 3:6.

Because thou hast taken to thee thy great power - To wit, by setting up thy kingdom over all the earth. Before that it seemed as if he had relaxed that power, or had given the power to others. Satan had reigned on the earth. Disorder, anarchy, sin, rebellion, had prevailed. It seemed as if God had let the reins of government fall from his hand. Now he came forth as if to resume the dominion over the world, and to take the scepter into his own hand, and to exert his great power in keeping the nations in subjection. The setting up of his kingdom all over the world, and causing his laws everywhere to be obeyed, will be among the highest demonstrations of divine power. Nothing can accomplish this but the power of God; when that power is exerted nothing can prevent its accomplishment.

And hast reigned - Prof. Stuart, "and shown thyself as king" - that is, "hast become king, or acted as a king." The idea is, that he had now vindicated his regal power (Robinson, Lexicon) - that is, he had now set up his kingdom on the earth, and had truly begun to reign. One of the characteristics of the millennium - and indeed the main characteristic will be that God will be everywhere obeyed; for when that occurs all will be consummated that properly enters into the idea of the millennial kingdom.

17. thanks—for the answer to our prayers (Re 6:10, 11) in destroying them which destroy the earth (Re 11:18), thereby preparing the way for setting up the kingdom of Thyself and Thy saints.

and art to come—omitted in A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, Cyprian, and Andreas. The consummation having actually come, they do not address Him as they did when it was still future, "Thou that art to come." Compare Re 11:18, "is come." From the sounding of the seventh trumpet He is to His people Jah, the ever present Lord, WHO IS, more peculiarly than Jehovah "who is, was, and is to come."

taken to thee thy great power—"to Thee" is not in the Greek. Christ takes to Him the kingdom as His own of right.

Which art, and wast, and art to come; it is a phrase denoting God’s eternity and immutability; we met with it before, Revelation 4:8.

Because thou hast taken to the thy great power, and hast reigned; those celestial beings bless God for exerting his power, and recovering the kingdom of Christ out of the hands of antichrist, and setting his King upon his holy hill of Zion. Saying, we give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty,.... The person addressed is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose the kingdoms are become, and who now reigns in great power and authority; he is Lord of all, and truly and properly God, and the Almighty, as his works of creation, preservation, redemption, raising himself from the dead, &c. declare; and each of these titles exceedingly well suit him, when his visible kingdom on earth will be so greatly enlarged:

which art, and wast, and art to come: the everlasting, "I am", the unchangeable Jehovah: the phrase is expressive of the eternity and immutability; see Gill on Revelation 1:8; and it may be observed, whereas in this description of him it is said, "and art to come", this therefore does not belong to his personal, but to his spiritual reign; he will not be as yet come in person, to raise the dead, and judge the world, when these voices shall be in heaven, and these congratulations of the elders be made: the reason of their praise and thanksgiving follows,

because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned; power always belonged to him, as God; he always was the mighty God, and, as such, help for his people was laid upon him, he being mighty to save, and able to bear the government of them, laid on his shoulders; and, as Mediator, all power in heaven, and in earth, was given to him at his resurrection; and he had a name given him above every name, when exalted at the right hand of God, and was made, or declared, Lord and Christ; and from that time he has, in some measure, exerted his power and reigned: he endued his apostles with power from on high; and he went forth in the ministry of the Gospel conquering, and to conquer; and has ever since reigned in the hearts of his people; but now he will manifest and display his "great" power; he will show it more openly, and use it more extensively; his kingdom shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; he shall be King over all the earth; his power has been seen in ages past, but now the "greatness" of his power will be made manifest; he has always had a kingdom on earth, but now the, "greatness" of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, will be his.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 11:17. ὁ ἐρχόμενος is naturally omitted from this paean; God has already come! The variation of order in Revelation 1:4 and Revelation 1:8 has no occult significance. The phrase Lord God is considered by Philo (on Genesis 7:5) specially applicable to seasons of judgment; Lord precedes God, since the former signifies not beneficence but “royal and destructive power”.17. Lord God Almighty] See on Revelation 1:8.

which art, and wast] Omit and art to come, as in Revelation 16:5. It is not, however, likely that any importance is to be attached to the omission of the full expression we had in Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:8, Revelation 4:8.

17, 18. thou hast taken … thy wrath is come] It is hypercritical in the N. T., and in this book particularly, to attempt to distinguish regularly between perfects and simple preterites: but here it is perhaps worth observing that all the verbs (after the first) are in the same tense: “Thou hast taken Thy great power, and didst reign: and the nations were wroth, and Thy wrath came,” &c. Cognate words are used to express the wrath of the nations and of God.Revelation 11:17. Ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν, who is, and who was) Some have added, καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος.[121] The shorter reading here also is the true one; the fuller one is derived from a parallel passage. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. Such varieties of reading are not to be decided in a cursory manner, on common grounds, but by careful investigation, according to the strong arguments which peculiarly and naturally belong to each passage. By which method we shall find, in the present instance, that this passage, ch. Revelation 11:17, is not so much to be compared with the three preceding, as with the one which follows, ch. Revelation 16:5. What is the aspect of the three preceding passages, we have before shown, on the passages themselves, and especially on ch. Revelation 1:8 : but now both these passages, ch. Revelation 11:17 and Revelation 16:5, coincide with the trumpet of the seventh angel, and therefore with the consummation of the mystery of God, in which, that which had previously been foretold by the expression, καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, now is exhibited in actual operation, and indeed is exhibited first in heaven, ch. Revelation 11:17, and then on earth, ch. Revelation 16:5. Interpreters on this passage have long ago seen this. Ansbert says, They do not here subjoin, as they were accustomed, and who art to come; they speak of Him as already present. Haymo, who usually treads in the footsteps of Ansbert: It must be observed that he does not add, as before, who art to come. For they show Him already present in the judgment, by which all these things will be accomplished, and therefore they by no means speak of Him as (still) to come. John Purvey, in his Comm. published with the preface of Luther, says; He does not add the third clause, which he has usually added, namely, and who is to come, for this reason, because the prophet, with his intellectual vision, then saw God as it were already sitting in judgment. Zeltner published a dissertation, A. 1712, which is inscribed, Evangelium Tetragrammaton e Novo Testamento Exulans. The subject, as it is comprised in the title, derives something from the truth. When the Son of God was engaged in the world, of the promises given in the Old Testament, and comprehended in the name of Jehovah, as many as were to be fulfilled at that time, were fulfilled: and then, that which had been future, was advancing to the present. But, however, in the prophecy of the New Testament, that is, in the Apocalypse, that phrase, ὁ ὤν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, by which the tetragrammaton, יהוה, is usually expressed, is, as it were, set forth afresh; and the future itself, as though reviving in the second coming of Christ, respecting which see Hebrews 10:37, is placed before us, until at the entrance of the most important trumpet of the seventh angel, first the words, καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, which, at the beginning, were alone contained in אהיה, and afterwards also the words καὶ ὁ ἦν, which was denoted by the termination of the noun יהוה, are most magnificently absorbed, and pass into the single expression, ὁ ὤν. Hence it comes to pass, that even great things, from this very passage, are not said to come, as lately they were said to come, Revelation 11:14, and ch. Revelation 9:12, but to have come, shortly afterwards, Revelation 11:18, and ch. Revelation 14:7; Revelation 14:15, Revelation 19:7. Those persons do not sufficiently hold fast the normal force of Scripture, which ought to be retained even in addresses, who even still in prayers, and in hymns, from time to time, say, Jehovah, instead of Lord, or Jah. For under the trumpet of the seventh angel this Tetragrammaton ceases to be used, and the Diagrammaton, יָהּ, is the only expression which the saints utter, together with applause; ch. Revelation 19:1.

[121] Added by Rec. Text, in opposition to ABCh Vulg. Cypr.—E.Verse 17. - Saying, We give thee thanks. The only instance in the Apocalypse of the use of this verb. It is found in John 6:11, 23, and John 11:41, but in none of the ether Gospels, though frequently in the Epistles. "The elders" are peculiarly indebted to God, since the establishment of his kingdom is the victory of the Church. O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; the Almighty. Omit "and art to come" (Revised Version), with א, A, B, C, P, Andreas, Arethas, Primasius, Syriac, Armenian, etc. (cf. Revelation 1:4; Revelation 4:8). Perhaps the future is purposely omitted, since God's "coming" is now an accomplished fact (cf. also Revelation 16:5). Because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned; because thou hast taken thy great power, and didst reign (Revised Version). God never ceased to reign, though for a time he abrogated his power. This power he has now reassumed, and the elders thank him for it, for it is the assurance of the end of the suffering of the Church of God. So in Revelation 4:11 the elders declare that he is worthy to receive the power which he now visibly exercises. It has, indeed, been exercised before. The preservation of the Church set forth in the visions of the seals, and the punishment of the ungodly shown under the trumpet visions, are effected by means of this power; but now that power is visibly exercised. O Lord God, etc.

See on Revelation 4:8.

And art to come

Omit.

Hast taken to Thee

Omit to thee.

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