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Lowell Brueckner

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Revelation 19:1-9


Chapter 19

1. After this I heard that seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2. for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3. Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5. And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you is servants, you who fear him, small and great.”

Heavenly hallelujahs and an amen

These verses describe heavenly praise. Warren Wiersbe comments that this is the heavenly “Hallelujah Chorus”, referring, of course, to that well-known part of Handel’s “Messiah”. Wiersbe would agree wholeheartedly, I’m sure, even though he used this comparison, that the praise that John heard in this chapter far exceeds any comparison with songs that are merely earthly, no matter the fame that they have received.

I know some people who claim that the words hallelujah and amen are religious terms. Sadly, they show their lack of spiritual understanding and, for that reason, their lack of appreciation for heavenly things. Let me ask you a couple questions: What do these words mean to you? Do you think that they are English vocabulary? I believe that they are words that can only receive a proper definition from a “heavenly dictionary". They were given to the Hebrews because, “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Ro.3:2). They cannot be justly translated into human language and therefore, in the church in every part of the world, Christian pronounce these words, as they were in the original Hebrew language.

While the judgments of God are falling upon the world, there is great joy in heaven, expressed by loud voices of a great multitude. They are voices of prophets, apostles and saints in general, who are now rejoicing in heaven. They begin with the first Hallelujah, which we try to translate, as best we can, Praise the Lord.  In heaven, doubt does not exist, as to the outcome of what is taking place on earth. In spite of everything, the heavenly multitudes give praise to God! He is the fountain of salvation, glory and power and everything is securely in His powerful hand. He is our God and, because that is so, He works salvation, glory and power towards our well-being (1). We, who are still on earth, should continually mix our praises with those in heaven.

His righteousness is perfect, true and eternal and for that reason Babylon fell; His righteousness is above everything temporal on earth. Praise overflows, because He has triumphed over another enemy, and this one was great in the world and had prevailed since the book of Genesis until the hour described in chapter 19. The prostitute was corrupt and opposed God and humanity (2). She dirtied the world with her immorality and shed the saints’ blood.

The second Hallelujah resounds in praise to God, because He deals out eternal punishment: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever” (3), cries the great multitude. We should not be ashamed, but exult in the righteous judgments of the Lord, because they are manifestations of the glory of His eternal holiness. Infinite holiness demands infinite punishment and, because that is true, we should understand that those, who see eternal chastisement as something disproportionate, demean the thrice-holy God.

In the early chapters, we were introduced to the 24 elders and the four living creatures. The elders are representatives of redeemed humanity and the living creatures are cherubim, which attend the throne of God. These 24 humans, which have been in heaven for a long period of time, along with the cherubim, confirm the praise of the multitude with an amen. They worship prostrate before the throne, which is the only correct position for worship. The word amen in English is translated so be it, but that definition is not complete or adequate. The Son of God pronounced that word, when He taught His infallible doctrines: “Truly, truly, I say unto you…” is the usual translation of the original words, “Amen, amen, I say unto you.” It is a word confirming absolute, unquestionable truth. Then, the same elders and living creatures joined to pronounce “Hallelujah” (4).

The voice that followed presented another motive for praise, about which we will learn in the next section. In verse five, the voice called for all of the servants of God, everyone who feared Him, small and great, to participate. Who would not be included in this number? No one who dwells in heaven, because everyone there exists to serve Him for eternity. Also, in the presence of the heavenly throne, there is no one who does not fear. Possibly it is calling the servants on earth, who fear Him, to unite with the triumphant in heaven, who are giving praise.

6.  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

7.  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

8.  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9.  And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

The marriage of the Lamb

Jesus Christ is the joy of heaven and everything there is vitally connected to Him. He is a sweet aroma in the throne room of God. Heaven would not be heaven without Him. A revelation of heaven is a revelation of Christ. He is the most pleasant of all companions, and the most winsome of characters. It is His infinite goodness and wisdom in all His dealings with us, which makes our reservations so sinful.

May we obey the mandate of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (Jn.1:36). John’s eyes saw beyond his own ministry, though it was the mightiest from the beginning of time up until his day. His preaching of repentance and his baptisms were not the ultimate goal. Somehow in John’s wilderness wanderings, he caught a glimpse of the heavenly Bridegroom and all his desire turned to Him. He was not dismayed, as his disciples were, that “… all are going to him” (Jn.3:26). On the contrary, his work was brought to fruition by the realization that “the one who has the bride is the bridegroom” (Jn.3:29). John needed no greater testimony to the success of his ministry. His crowds dwindled, while Jesus’ increased and John joyfully slipped into obscurity – a true friend of the Bridegroom.

As Paul meditated in the Arabian desert, he lost sight of the temporal and caught a glimpse of a mystery hidden since the foundation of the world. It made him forget his ambition to become a ruler of the Jews and turned him zealously towards the purpose for which God had arrested him on the road to Damascus. The beauty of Christ excelled and all else was blotted out. No amount of persecution or peril could keep Paul from fulfilling his heart’s passion. Love constrained him. He had a vision of an eternal marriage and his one goal was to espouse Gentile hearers to one Husband (2 Co.11:2). What a need there is today to follow the selfless examples of these two spiritual giants!

The best concept that we can hold of God and of that which concerns Him is not of a kingdom or an army, but that of a family. All those within it are born of God and think of each other as brothers and sisters. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to a heavenly Father. He Himself is the beloved Son of God and the Father is preparing a bride for Him. In this chapter of Revelation, we read of a wedding about to take place called the Marriage of the Lamb. All history points to this great event. For this purpose, God created man in His image and likeness. For this reason, He called Abraham out of heathendom and formed a nation from his descendants. Christ was born into that nation and suffered the agonies of the cross, because of the joy to which He looked forward: “That he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph.5:27).

The love of Christ for each member of His church surpasses all kinds of physical or earthly love. It is totally pure. The Old Testament coincides with the New Testament in depicting that love relationship. The Song of Solomon, for instance, is a love story portraying a spiritual courtship between a shepherd and a woman, who considers herself a very unlikely object of His affections. Luke writes of an unworthy, sinner woman, who came to Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee. She knelt behind Jesus at His feet, washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. She anointed them with perfume. Jesus said, “Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much” (Lk.7:36-50). Here are models given to us, that we might know the nature of the blessed association into which we have come

Psalm 45 joins beautifully with Revelation 19. I wonder if it will be sung at the great wedding celebration: “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King… Thou are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Thy lips; therefore God has blessed Thee forever… Thy God has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.” The song then addresses the bride: “Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.” This is the motivation behind total consecration. It springs from a fountain of love and its one goal is to please the object of its love.

A worthy wife for the Lamb of God, the bride, birthed in the gospel, will reach maturity and make herself ready for a glorious marriage. Every earthly bride is only a shadow of her; every wedding only an illustration of this matchless event. Earthly matrimony is holy, above all other reasons, because it points to a heavenly union. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Eph.5:31-32).

This is the reason behind the third Hallelujah. All His servants and the ones, who fear God, are invited to praise Him and it appears that they produce a voice, which is stronger than the former one… “what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder”. Because of what is happening, the great multitude sees God more glorious than ever and more worthy than ever to reign. (Throughout eternity we will discover more and more of His majesty.) Warren Wiersbe comments: “The Book of Revelation is the ‘book of the throne,’ and the omnipotent God has indeed been accomplishing His purposes on earth… 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.”

For this, the great multitude praises Him and enter into the spirit of celebration, the atmosphere worthy of a heavenly marriage. The hour has come to celebrate the purpose for which God created men and women, and the reason for which the Bridegroom abandoned heaven to die on the cross. He gave His life for His bride. At this marriage, the attention is focused on the Bridegroom: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.” Christ has accomplished all that was necessary so that she can be present at the marriage in heaven, but she, for her part, longs to be in her best state for this moment. She has diligently prepared. 

“Write this!” (9). This command is common in the book of Revelation, as the canon of Scripture comes to an end. The first human writer, who recorded the words of God, was Moses and God on various occasions, commanded him to write. Israel’s history and literature was written for future generations. God commanded the prophets to write. Luke told Theophilus concerning the Gospels, “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you” (Lk.1:2,3). Even Pontius Pilate wrote on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews” in the three most important languages of the day. Paul told the Colossians, “When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and also read the letter from Laodicea” (Col.4:16). So the Gospels and the epistles prospered in the early church and hundreds of copies were written to pass along.

That, which is written, is preserved beyond the spoken word and is validated over the spoken word. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all Scripture and He has shown His concern for future generations, seeing to it that His Word has been preserved through writing. It alone holds absolute authority over everything that concerns the people of God. Jesus spoke the written word, in replying to the temptations of the devil. In history, the devil always mounted persecution against the translators of the word, as well as those who have had the word in their possession. To this day, he is attacking those who possess, read and practice the written word. Beware of those, who deny or belittle the whole, or any part, of the written Word. Liberals, who still like to call themselves Christians, question the veracity and authenticity of the Bible. Society largely considers it an antiquated book. Let us give it its rightful place in our hearts, minds and lives and give thanks continually to God, because today we have the full revelation of God’s word. He has faithfully preserved it to this present generation. “These are the true words of God.”


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