Special Covenant Promises
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Special Covenant Promises (Revelation 11.18-19)

"The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small and for destroying those who destroy the earth. Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm." (Revelation 11.18-19)✞

Rewarding Your Servants

Archippus and his wifeIn the Bible, God does not always give his special covenant promises to his people in this life according to what they may wish or even deserve. In the Old Testament, obedience often brought blessings, but obedience and immediate appreciation are not always linked. If they were, good people would always be rich, and suffering would always be a sign of sin. While it is true that God has promised to reward us for our earthly deeds, our greatest reward is not something earned but God's free gift of eternal life.

The Holy of Holies

ShechinahThe heavenly Temple is opened in this Revelation 11 and the Ark of the Covenant is seen. This was the Holy of Holies, only a very few ordinary persons had ever seen, and into which even the High Priest went only on the one Day of Atonement once a year. Even then a rope was tied around his waist so that if he should collapse the other priests could haul him out without entering and defiling themselves.

Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the CovenantThe glory of God is now going to be fully displayed. The reference to the Ark of the Covenant is a reminder of God's promises to his people made in his covenant with them. This is the container that holds the terms of agreement, the ten commandment tablets, the manna from the wilderness and the rod of Aaron. The ark had been made one year after the Israelite's exodus from Egypt to the pattern given to Moses by God. Interestingly, there is another earlier mention of an a more primitive ark in Deutoronemy 10.3-5 where Moses writes, "So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now." Whether this is the same Ark of the Covenant that we read about later we do not know. Originally, those promises had been made to the people of Israel, but the new covenant is with all those from every nation who love and believe in Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Messiah. Whatever the terror to come, God will not break his promises. This is a picture of the coming of the full glory of God, a terrifying threat to his enemies and an uplifting promise to his covenant people.✞

"Special Covenant Promises"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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