Revelation 19 seems to be the conclusion of God’s judgments. We’ve seen these cycles of God’s judgments continue to go all at the end of time, and then cut off and go to the next cycle. But we’ve never really seen the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ glorified as a part of that end-time event. In Revelation 11:15, He’s mentioned in connection with the Father that “…the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ…”. But here in 19, this is going to be what most interpreters see as the ‘Parousia’ or the 2nd Coming. Revelation 19:1-5 is discussing the Hallelujah chorus if you please, for the destruction of the great Whore in chapters 17 and 18, that we interpreted as an end-time worldwide anti-God world system. So, verses 1 through 5 are going to be praise to God for bringing that to a close. In chapter 19 we’re going to see judgment on the beast and the false prophet of chapter 13. And then in chapter 20, we’re going to see judgment on Satan himself. I must admit it’s difficult through here to know how many end-time battles there are. Is it just one taken in different stages, or there are 2 separated by the Millennium, or there are three, one with each enemy, I’m just not sure.
For chapter 19 verse 1, “After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven,…” – this is an obvious allusion to Jeremiah 51:48. We have seen that Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 are the major backgrounds to Rev. chapters 17 and 18. Now, this ‘loud voice of a great multitude’ – some take this back to Rev. 11:15. It’s always been a question about which group is it? Is it the redeemed or the angelic order? We’re not sure. “…saying, Hallelujah!” – this basically means “Praise Yahweh”. Personally, it seems to me it is the redeemed that says, “Hallelujah”, and it is a present imperative. This may also be an allusion to the praise Psalms, Psalms 111:1; 112:1; 113:1. “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;” – you might want to see Rev. 7:10 for ‘salvation’, and Rev. 4:11 for ‘glory and power’.
Verse 2, “because His judgments are true and just…” – these judgments being ‘true and just’ were very important for a group of persecuted Christians. You might want to see Rev. 15:3-4; 16:7 for a related concept that God is going to bring justice even if it is an end-time judgment and in an afterlife. Now notice as it says, “for He has judged the great harlot…” – obviously the fallen world system of an end-time setting. We see it beginning in Daniel 2, as it develops, we see it in Rev. 14:8 where it began, we see it in 16:19 as well, and we see it ultimately in chapters 17 & 18. “…who was corrupting the earth with her immorality,” – obviously idolatry somehow connected to commercial greed and materialism. “…and He has avenged the blood of His bondservants on her.” – this is the reference to the fact that God has brought judgment because they had killed His people, and the prayers of His people have motivated God to act on their behalf. You might want to see Rev. 18:20. God has taken vengeance on her. This vengeance, you might want to go to Deuteronomy 32:43 or see a New Testament parallel in Romans 12:19. God’s wrath is as true as God’s love. God is going to set things straight; that’s what the Hallelujah is all about.
Now beginning in verse 3, “And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” – it’s obvious we’re going to have a new earth that this is not a literal metaphor. So, it’s obviously a metaphor for hell. From the New Testament it seems to refer to everlasting punishment, and you might want to see Matthew 3:12; 25:41; Luke 3:17; Mark 9:43, 48 for the concept of ‘forever and ever’. You might want to see Matthew 25:46 where the same word ‘forever and ever’ used for heaven is also used for hell. I think that’s very significant for this same concept was repeated earlier in Rev. 14:11.
Notice as it mentions in verse 4, “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” – this word ‘Amen’, we found it in Rev. 5:14 and 7:12. It’s a liturgical sense of ‘I agree’ or ‘I affirm’. Originally, the word ‘amen’ is the Old Testament form of the word ‘faith’ (see Habakkuk 2:4). It originally meant ‘to be firm’ or ‘to be sure’ and came to be used of the trustworthiness of God to which man must respond. Now notice in verse 5, “And a voice came from the throne, saying,” – it’s obviously an angel. It can’t be God or Christ because it’s going to say, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” – now this ‘small and great’ goes back to Psalm 115:13, and it’s repeated in Rev. 11:18 which is an inclusive statement for all God’s children.
Verse 6, “Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters…” – In Revelation 1:15 this ‘sound of many waters’ is used for Christ, although it could be used for the angels in 14:2, we’re just not sure. It says, “…Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” – this threefold Old Testament title for God has been used several times in some different forms in the book of Revelation: 1:8; 4:8; 15:3; 16:7 & 14; 19:15; and 21:22. Now this idea of the ‘Lord our God, the Almighty reigns’ is an aorist tense, and there’s been some discussion about what it means. I thought God has always reigned, and so this couldn’t be the beginning, but back in chapter 11:15, it seems to imply a new stage of God’s ultimate reign is beginning. It seems to me it relates to Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:10 where ‘God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God is Creator. He is owner. He is sovereign, and ultimately His will is going to permeate His whole creation.
(TO BE CONTINUED)