Today, Monday July 11
Heaven’s Hallelujah Chorus
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” The Bible is the one Book that holds the key to the future. There are many reasons that we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God without error, and the most reliable source to tell us about the future. But one reason that stands out is the fulfilled prophecies especially concerning Israel and Jesus Christ the Messiah. Bible scholars tell us that there at least 300 Messianic (Jesus-related) prophecies in the Old Testament concerning His first advent, which is the life and ministry of Jesus while He was on earth for thirty-three and a half years. They were all fulfilled in detail!
And the truth is that there are many more prophecies concerning Christ’s second advent, which is His second coming to earth to set up His kingdom, than there are of His first advent in both the Old and New Testament. Jesus Himself spoke often of His second coming and the end times. One Bible scholar, after intensive study of the Bible and history wrote, “Approximately 2,500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2,000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.”
My friend, we can trust the Bible as truly inspired by God and as we study this book of prophecy, the Book of Revelation, we can be sure these end time events will happen just as John saw them and describes them to us. Here in Revelation 19-20, as we said yesterday, John has recorded five key events that will take place before God "wraps up" human history and ushers in His new heavens and earth.
First, Heaven will Rejoice (Rev. 19:1-10). When Babylon fell on the earth, the command was given in heaven, "Rejoice over her!" (Rev. 18:20) and what we read in this section is heaven's response to that command. The word alleluia is the Greek form of the Hebrew word hallelujah, which means "Praise the LORD" or “Praise Jehovah”. This is heaven's "Hallelujah Chorus”, and it will be sung for several reasons.
First, because God has judged His enemies (vv. 1-4). Since the "great harlot" of Revelation 17 was destroyed by "the beast" and his fellow rulers (Rev. 17:16) in the middle of the Tribulation, the "great whore" referred to here must be Babylon the Great. Comparing Revelation 17:2 with 18:3 and 9, the connection is obvious. Both the apostate religious system and the satanic economic-political system led the world astray and polluted mankind. Both were guilty of persecuting God's people and martyring many of them.
The song emphasizes God's attributes, which is the proper way to honor Him. We do not rejoice at the sinfulness of Babylon, or even the greatness of Babylon's fall. We rejoice that God is "true and righteous" (Rev. 15:3; 16:7; 17:6) and that He is glorified by His holy judgments. As we discovered in Revelation 8:1-6, God's throne and altar are related to His judgments. Revelation 19:3 should be compared with Revelation 14:10-11, and Revelation 19:4 with Revelation 5:6-10.
Second, heaven is rejoicing because God is reigning (vv. 5-6). The literal translation is, "The Lord God omnipotent has begun to reign." This does not suggest that heaven's throne has been empty or inactive, because that is not the case. The Book of Revelation is the "book of the throne," and the omnipotent God has indeed been accomplishing His purposes on earth.
God has been reigning on the throne of heaven, but He is now about to conquer the thrones of earth as well as the kingdom of Satan and "the beast." In His sovereignty, He has permitted evil men and evil angels to do their worst; but now the time has come for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Domitian was emperor of Rome when John was on Patmos, and one of his assumed titles was "Lord and God." How significant it must have been, then, to John's readers that he used the word alleluia four times in the first six verses of this chapter—truly, only Jehovah is worthy of worship and praise.