Celebration of Praise
Revelation 19:1-5
r19a

19:1a
The multitude honors God for who He is

     "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore. . . ." (Rev. 19:1, 2)

Who are these people?
     "And after these things [a new scene begins] I heard a great voice of much people [a multitude] in heaven. . . . ."   We remember the great multitude of 7:9,10  They appeared there in chapter 7 just after the 144,000. I believe we see both groups again in the present context.

Alleluia (or Hallelujah)  the Hebrew connection
   This word sounds like the Greek word it translates. And the Greek word comes from the sound of two Hebrew words halû "Praise" and yah "God." So when we use this word in reverent praise we are saying "Praise God" in Hebrew.
   This is not the first word in the book of Revelation with a Hebrew sound. Listen: "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (1616c Rev. 16:14-16). The symbolism is drawn from Elijah's experience on Mt. Carmel and in the valley below where he killed the false prophets. It was a sad story for those who were called by the Lord's name. Of course many chose to turn away from Baal and follow the true God. Reference to this story in the symbols of Revelation 16 describes true and false religion at the end of time.
   In our verse here in chapter 19, another group is brought to light, those called by the Lord's name who are indeed His true followers. They are the multitude who shout, "Alleluia" and add "Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God." We have seen their victory before: Rev. 7:9, 10.
   God's judging and destroying the false religious system symbolized by the whore or prostitute was prefigured by the crisis on Mount Carmel and the destruction of the false priests in the valley below. And the call of Elijah is for us. ". . . if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.  . . ." (1 Kings 18:21)

19:1b
Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power
   Why are these characteristics ascribed to "the Lord our God"? First notice Satan's words to Eve in the garden. He promised her (and all of us) a better way of Salvation. "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" (Gen. 3:1-4).
   Do you recall Satan's mission statement while he was still called Lucifer? It reveals the glory, honor, and power he coveted. "For thou [Lucifer] hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isa. 14:13, 14). Jesus taught us to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." (Matt. 6:13)
   Satan's objective to sit above the stars of God indicates that he aspired to take Christ's place in sitting above (ruling over) the stars (or angels, Job 38:7). The clouds he wanted to be above are clearly associated with Christ. They, too, represent the angels 1001. This contest between Christ and Satan is also seen in the story of the war in heaven 1207a.
   Satan wanted to sit on the "mount of the congregation" This is the place of God's throne where created beings come to meet Him (Job 38:6, 7). The tent in the sanctuary model God instructed Moses to make (Ex. 25:8, 9) was called the "tabernacle of the congregation" or, in modern terms, "the tent of the meeting." It helped them, and us, understand our encounter with God.
   "The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even. . . . This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory." (Ex. 29:39-43)
   Let's look at 19:1 again: "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God." This is the good news. The multitude of humans are now certain that these attributes belong to the Lord their God.

Salvation salvation is through Christ alone,
Glory He is ruler of the angels,
Honor God is supreme. We worship Him. And
Power the three-fold God alone is the creator and all-powerful One. Soon the forces of evil will be destroyed.
   The Greek uses the definite article before each attribute. His is "the" true salvation, "the" true glory, honor and power! He is the only source of these elements, returning our thoughts to him as creator.
   "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." (Ps. 33:6, 9).

 

19:2a
Awesome judgments of the Lord our God

     "For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever." (Rev. 19:2, 3)

True and righteous
   "The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether? (Ps. 19:9)

   The two characteristics of the Lord may be seen to define character: "True" for right thinking, and "righteous" for right behavior. Here they are objects of judgment. Babylon, the prostitute or "whore," is condemned. She has corrupted the earth with her fornication (not "true" doctrines in this case) and shed the blood of saints (not "righteous" actions). This is basically a contrast between Christ and Satan.

19:2b
Blood avenged
   God will one day make everything right. This is not our job (Rom. 12:19). How sad it is to see ethnic groups in our sin cursed world killing each other in a never ending passion to get even. Do you remember the question of the souls under the altar?
   "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:9, 10)
   This is the judgment result they had expected earlier r06e.

Judgment involves more than Babylon
   Thinking about judgment, we realize that all people are judged. (Eccl. 12:14).
   Here at the beginning of Revelation 19, we are looking specifically at the judgment of Babylon, the massive false religious system at the end of time. The condemnation of Babylon and the vindication of the righteous (which we will see in verses 5 to 8) happen at the same time.

19:3
Alleluia again and rising smoke

     "And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever." (Rev. 19:2, 3)

   A second round of praise, not with a loud voice this time. The smoke going up recalls the third angel's message against the beast worshippers 1410:
   "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Rev. 14:9-11)
   There we concluded that the smoke rising is a symbolic situation drawn from what Abraham saw the day after the destruction of Sodom. From related passages we learned that the literal smoke has long since ceased. Do we have evidence from the present context that the punishment of Babylon (the beast worshippers) described here will not continue throughout the ages of eternity? You might just want to stop reading my words here and look in your own Bible, at the beginning of Genesis 19 (but please come back).
   Now that you have returned, I'll first add that, although our KJV Bible says that the smoke "rose up," the present tense, "rises up," is better, so the verse itself doesn't help us conclude that the punishment will terminate.
   The whole point of our passage here at the beginning of chapter 19 is praise that the judgment of Prostitute Babylon, the whore, has been completed. And from verse 2 we see that the punishment is also finished. God "hath judged the great whore . . . and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand" properly past tense this time. We have more evidence.
   The praise of the multitude is a response to the scene in chapter 18. Look back at verse 21. "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." And to confirm the finality of the treatment of Babylon, we find that the musicians, the craftsmen, and the bride and groom are all gone, gone. No one is left to punish. When Abraham saw the smoke rising, he knew that Sodom and its wicked people had been destroyed.
   So why is rising smoke in the present tense and punishment in the past? We can only confirm that the smoke is symbolic of the finality of the destruction an expression of the fact that evil will never again arise to plague the earth and the universe. It will be a present peace (like the rising smoke Abraham saw) based on past events (judgment and punishment).

19:4
Praise from the agencies of heaven

     "And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts [literally translated "four living ones"] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." (Rev. 19:4)

   Beginning in chapters 4 and 5 we have seen 24 elders and 4 living ones. The elders are heavenly representatives of the great multitude 0404, so their praise at this point fills out the picture of bringing glory to God.

Throne scene
   Who is praised? "God that sat on the throne." This connects with with earlier events pictured in chapters 4 and 5.
   "And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, , , ,
   And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. . . . . And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
   And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." (Rev. 3:9 - 4:7)
   Now, at the time of the opening of chapter 19, the judgment that began then is over. The false religious system is finally silent.

   Praise God. Our world of hatred and falsehood, will one day be at peace. Jesus is preparing a place for those who love Him !

19:5
Invitation to praise

     "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."  (Rev. 19:5, 6)

   In chapter 7 verse 13, we saw the victory of the same multitude described as those who came out of the tribulation and washed their robes r07d.
   In the introductory block for chapter 14 we saw a parallel scene involving the 144,000, in contrast to the multitude seen here.
   This call for praise is the thematic center of a chiasm contrasting the wicked woman and the pure woman 1908.
   We identify the voice when we hear it again in verse 10 1910.
   Why did the voice out of the throne invite praise? This represents a time of suddenly being relieved of the oppression. Our Lord is victorious! No more temptation. The wandering multitude is home at last! It's time for praise.
   I long for that day and I want to see you there!

You who fear Him
   This connects us with chapter 14 where the first of three angels cried out with a loud voice, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14:6, 7) r14h.
   Here in chapter 19, we see the wife. The one representing the people who have chosen to fear God.
   What an honor to have this relationship of awesome respect for the creator of heaven and earth!

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