Saturday, 20 February 2021
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. Revelation 11:17
This verse begins the doxology of the twenty-four elders who have fallen on their faces to worship God. In this act, they are “saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty.’” The verb, though a common one in the gospels and epistles, is found only here in Revelation. It is eucharisteó, and it signifies to be thankful.
Here, in Revelation 11, we have an interesting parallel to John 11. The eleventh letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet. The eleventh letter, kaph, pictures an open palm, and it signifies “bend,” “open,” “allow,” and “tame.” In this chapter is found the modeh anakhnu, Hebrew for “We give you thanks,” that would certainly be accompanied by the open, outstretched palms of the worshippers.
John 11 corresponds to this in Jesus’ words of John 11:41, “I give you thanks,” or modeh ani in Hebrew. In John 11, it is the same Greek word as here, eucharisteó. Both chapters also have the return of life from the dead. In John 11, it is Lazarus. In Revelation 11, it is the two witnesses. Jesus’ prayer of thanks to the Father precedes the raising of Lazarus. The twenty-four elders’ prayer of thanks to the Lord God Almighty follows the raising of the two witnesses.
Here, the term “Lord God Almighty” is repeated from verse 4:8 which was referring to Jesus on the throne. The term “Almighty” (Greek: pantokratór) was first claimed by Jesus in Revelation 1:8. That is next followed by the words, “The One who is and who was and who is to come.”
Again, it is an expression spoken concerning Jesus in verses 1:4, 1:8, and 4:8 as well. To more fully understand the expression, reviewing the explanatory comments from Chapter 1 will help. Of the Lord on the throne, the elders next call out, “Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.”
This is the main theme of the doxology – authority to rule. The Eternal One (who is and who was and who is to come) is the Creator. He is before His creation. His presence is above and yet in His creation, directing it. And He ever shall be, as He rules His creation.
Just as we move into the future, live in the present, and look back on the past, we also anticipate God’s revelation. We live moment by moment in His revelation, and continuously look back and learn from the things He has revealed.
This is noted by the chorus of the twenty-four elders in saying “You have taken Your great power and reigned.” In analyzing the three doxologies that have been given, the logical sequence of this heavenly scene goes from Creation to Redemption and then to the Authority to Rule –
First doxology, Revelation 4: Creation (And by Your will they exist and were created).
Second doxology, Revelation 5: Redemption (And have redeemed us to God by Your blood).
Third doxology, Revelation 11: Authority to Rule (Because You have taken Your great power and reigned).
In Matthew 4, we read this account between the devil and Jesus –
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’” Matthew 4:8, 9
Jesus didn’t question the devil’s authority over the world. That dominion was lost at the fall of man, but Jesus regained the authority in His work on the cross. Now that authority is being exercised as the final judgments on the earth are being readied in anticipation of His millennial reign.
Life application: The term pantokratór, used when speaking of Jesus, is equivalent to the Lord of the hosts or Yehovah Sabaoth of the Old Testament. Jesus is the omnipotent Creator, Redeemer, and Ruler. He is sovereign over His creation and has full authority to reign. His purposes for man are being realized within His creation – the very creation He participated in when He walked among us.
This is the marvel of what God has done in the sending of His Son. We have rebelled against Him, we moved to the authority of the devil, but Jesus has destroyed the devil’s works and has regained full authority over all things. For those who come to God through Him, there will be a complete restoration of all things, and the glory that lies ahead is beyond our ability to even grasp. Let us wait patiently as the redemptive narrative unfolds. In due time, we will receive our reward. In due time, we will see JESUS!
Glorious and Almighty God! The story which You have planned and participated in is beyond our comprehension. You came and united to Your creation in the Person of Jesus Christ. You walked among us and shared in our humanity. How can we not give You all the praise and honor and glory You are due! Great are Your works among the children of men! Amen.