July 09 2022
Today, Saturday July 09
The Voice of Rejoicing
“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!" Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
Remember in this chapter we hear at least four voices. The first voice was the voice of destruction by the mighty angel from heaven (vv. 1-3), proclaiming “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.” The second was a voice from heaven calling God’s people to come out of this worldly ungodly system. “Come out of her, my people” (v. 4). The third is a voice of lamentation (vv. 9-19). When this economic, commercial and political Babylon is destroyed in one hour there is great lamentation by those who have profited by her. They are said to be weeping, lamenting, mourning and wailing”.
Now the fourth and last voice that we hear is the voice of celebration or rejoicing. “Rejoice over her, O heaven…” (v. 20). In contrast to the lament of the kings and merchants is the rejoicing of heaven's inhabitants that Babylon has fallen. How important it is that God's people look at events from God's point of view. In fact, we are commanded to rejoice at the overthrow of Babylon, because in this judgment God will vindicate His servants who were martyred (see Rev. 6:9-11).
Note the repeated refrain, "Anymore", which is used as least six times in these few verses. Jeremiah used a similar approach when he warned Judah of the nation's coming judgment at the hands of the Babylonians (Jer. 25:8-10). Now that same judgment comes to Babylon herself! This description of Babylon's losses indicates to us that both the luxuries and the necessities will be removed. Both music and manufacturing, work and weddings, will come to a violent end.
Revelation 18:24 should be compared with Revelation 17:6 and Matthew 23:35. Satan has used religion and business to persecute and slay the people of God. During the first half of the Tribulation, as "the beast" rises to power, ecclesiastical and political-economic Babylon will work together in opposing the Lord and His people. It will seem that God does not care; but at the right time, the Lord will vindicate His people and destroy both "the harlot" and the great city. God is patient with His enemies; but when He does begin to work, He acts suddenly and thoroughly.
We must not think that this voice of celebration calls us to be glad because sinners are judged. The fact of divine judgment ought always to break our hearts, knowing that lost sinners are condemned to eternal punishment. In Ezekiel 33:11 we read that God “has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his wicked way and live…”. The joy in this section centers on God's righteous judgment, the fact that justice has been done.
It is easy for comfortable Bible students to discuss these things in their homes. If you and I were with John on Patmos, or with the suffering saints to whom he wrote, we might have a different perspective. We must never cultivate personal revenge (Rom. 12:17-21), but we must rejoice at the righteous judgments of God.
At this point in our study, the political and economic system of "the beast" has at last been destroyed. All that remains is for Jesus Christ to come from heaven and personally meet and defeat "the beast" and his armies (Rev. 19). This He will do, and then establish His righteous kingdom on earth.
But the important question is: "Are we citizens of 'Babylon' or citizens of heaven?" Can you rejoice because your name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20)? If not, then the time has come for you to trust Jesus Christ and "get out of Babylon" and into the family of God.