Sermon: Hallelujah in Heaven Revelation (19:1-10)

Hallelujah in Heaven

Revelation 19:1-10

Primary Truth Taught

Introduction

It seems as though it’s been a while since we were in the Book of Revelation. So let me catch us up and set the context for today’s message.

Chapter 18 gives us the destruction of the great harlot city, Babylon. If you remember, Babylon was the system that the beast worked through. It is the Last Days world order of kings, governments, financial institutions etc.

In Revelation 18, John moves on to describe the response of both and heaven and earth to the news that God’s judgment is going to come upon Babylon. Heaven with resounds with praise, because God’s judgments are just and he will repay this evil woman in such a way the her punishments clearly fit her crimes. The glittering and prosperous Babylon will become a desolate wasteland, home to nothing but demons and vultures. But it is at this point in his vision that John also hears a voice from heaven warning God’s people one last time that Babylon’s destruction is immanent and that now is the time for all of God’s people to flee from the great city before it is too late. But while heaven rejoices at the news of Babylon’s destruction and even as God warns his people to flee from the arms of the harlot, three times in verses 4-19, John reports that an anguished cry of lament rises from the inhabitants of the earth, moved by the sight of the great city being consumed by flames. The kings of the earth, we are told, weep and mourn at her loss. Likewise, the merchants of the earth weep and mourn, as do the sailors and the stevedores who move the goods produced and traded by the city. Because they have all done the harlots’ bidding, Babylon’s destruction not only wipes out their own ill gotten gains, but the fate of the great city is an eerie foreshadowing of the judgment soon to fall upon all those who have worshiped the beast and his image, and who have taken his mark on the back of the hand or the forehead so as to buy and sell. The flames which now consume Babylon will soon consume them! Thus even as they mourn her destruction, they are also terrified. [1]

Henry Morris…
The last five chapters in the book of Psalms (146-150) comprise what might be considered a great “Hallalujah Chorus” to this “Hallel” book — the “book of Israel’s praises,” as the book of Psalms was called by the Israelites.
Each psalm in this five-psalm group both begins and ends with an exclamatory “Praise ye the Lord,” or, in the Hebrew, “Hallelujah!” This word, Hallelujah, occurs 22 times in the book of Psalms. This is significant in that the Hebrew language has just 22 letters, suggesting to us that the very purpose of language is for God to reveal His Word to man and for man then to respond with thanksgiving and praise to God.

It is further significant that the letters of the Greek language in the New Testament begin with “alpha” and end with “omega,” and that Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, has reminded us that “I am Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:11; 22:13). The Greek word “Alleluia” occurs just four times in the New Testament, all at the great congregation in heaven that will assemble at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:1-6,9). This may also well be what is called “the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23).
There, along with “an innumerable company of angels,” all the redeemed saints of all the ages will gather to rejoice and to give thanks and to “Praise our God, all ye His servants” (Revelation 19:5). It seems possible – even probable – that these five Hallelujah psalms will constitute the testimonies of praise and thanksgiving that will be sung by this great congregation there in the presence of the Lamb. The book of Psalms then closes with the great exhortation: “Let every thing that hath breath [or `Spirit’] praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). [2]
Human Need Met
I want us to see the eternal contrast between those on earth who do not have the seal of God and the great multitude in heaven. The same act, namely, the destruction of Babylon produces two opposing responses. In heaven the multitude of God’s people are rejoicing while the lost multitude on earth mourn their loss. I pray we can see together how important it is to not be so attached to Babylon that we would morn her destruction. Our attitude toward the immoral world we live in should align with heaven. I pray our hearts are not fixed upon Babylon but fixed on Christ.

Lord, give us ears to hear and hearts to understand Your Word today…

Revelation 19:1–10 (ESV)

19 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

       “Hallelujah!

       Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

       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.”

Once more they cried out,

       “Hallelujah!

       The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

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

       “Praise our God,

all you his servants,

       you who fear him,

small and great.”

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.

   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;

   it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

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.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

 

  1. Hallelujah! God is the Author of Salvation for His People and the Author of Judgment for His Enemies

19 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

       “Hallelujah!

       Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

       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.”

What the multitude, which is the redeemed from all ages, is singing and praising God for is their eternal salvation. Because God chose them in Christ from before the foundation of the world, He is praised. God planned salvation from the beginning. He receives all the glory. So, God’s salvation and glory are being praised and His ability to make it happen. These three attributes are especially praiseworthy given the immediate context of what is taking place.

All heaven is in agreement that saving the elect and judging the harlot Babylon is just and right for God to do. The one act of destroying the great harlot paves the way for the return of Jesus Christ. Much like the enemies of God had to be destroyed before Israel could enter the Promised Land. Earth is being made ready and rejoicing is the response.

  1. Hallelujah! All Who Fear Him

Once more they cried out,

       “Hallelujah!

       The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

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

       “Praise our God,

all you his servants,

       you who fear him,

small and great.”

There is a wonderful dynamic that John shows us in this section. Now, the heavenly multitude is praising God for the destruction of His enemies and specifically the destruction of Babylon. If we are to be able to praise God for these things we must have a healthy fear of God. In other words, it is the fear of God that allows us to praise Him even when He moves in a way we do not fully understand. The fear of God will cause us to align with Him even when things seem confusing to us.

Psalm 111:10 (ESV)

10    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

all those who practice it have a good understanding.

His praise endures forever!

The Fear of the Lord

awareness of God’s presence and coming judgment

If we knew that all of our secret thoughts, words, and actions would be displayed publicly so that everyone could watch them and evaluate them, it would make a profound difference in the way we live! We have an instinctive concern about what others think of us and how they will judge the things we do.
If we have this much concern over what other men and women think of us and our actions, how much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives?

The Assurance That God Is Watching
Each of us will give an account of our lives to God, and He is fully aware of everything we think, desire, speak, and do. The fear of the Lord is an awareness of these truths. It can be defined as a continual awareness that you are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God, and that every motive, thought, word, and action is open before Him and will be judged by Him.[3]

The reality here is that everyone praising and worshipping God also fear Him. This may seem like something that should not go together, namely, worship and fear. However, fear is rightly used when it pertains to God. We fear other things and that results in sin but to fear God is very good.

  1. Hallelujah! The Marriage of Jesus and His Bride has Come

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.

   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;

   it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Here we have the last song in the Bible. This is the wedding song of Jesus and His Bride, the church.

Most Bible scholars explain here that the wedding guests and the Bride are one and the same. All who belong to Christ are invited to this great wedding. The church makes up the guests and the Bride.

  1. Festivities

We read the exhortation to rejoice, be glad, and give God glory.

Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

       24       This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We often here this verse quoted to basically say, that today is the day the Lord has made, therefore we should be glad and rejoice. That is true in many ways but here, the Psalmist has in mind, not just any old regular day but it is pointing prophetically to this exact day John sees unfolding. The marriage of the Son of God, the wedding day when everything is made new, this is the day the Lord has made…let us rejoice and give Him the glory due His name.

When this ceremony takes place we will not be unprepared but dressed in white. Not just white but fine linen bright and pure, the righteousness of Christ.

  1. The Betrothal and Wedding

In the Hebrew setting the betrothal or engagement took place way before the wedding. The rite of betrothal bound both groom and bride together until the wedding day.

William Hendriksen, in his commentary on Revelation gives us the sequence of events leading up to this day…
In Christ the bride was chosen from eternity. Throughout the entire OT dispensation the wedding was announced. Next, the Son of God assumed our flesh and blood: the betrothal took place. The price—the dowry—was paid on Calvary. And now, after an interval, which in the eyes of God is but a little while, the Bridegroom returns and It has come, the wedding of the Lamb. The Church on earth yearns for this moment, so does the Church in heaven[4]

Being clothed with righteousness goes clear back to the Garden of Eden. When our first parents sinned and their nakedness was exposed, they sought to cover themselves. It took God by means of the first sacrifice to cover them. Here, because our Lord’s perfect sacrifice our nakedness before God is not covered temporarily with animal skin but we are dressed cleaned up and made suitable to appear before our Lord Jesus Christ for eternity. It was His sacrifice that purchased our redemption and His righteousness given to us when He died for us on the cross.

At this point, we need to make a distinct contrast here. This contrast works also as a warning…

The harlot Babylon had a false beauty. She had trinkets and jewelry but had no real beauty, it was all smoke and mirrors. The Church, on the other hand, is dressed in fine linen and is real beauty. True beauty is found in the Bride of Christ as she follows her Lord… for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

  1. Hallelujah! All His Words are Trustworthy and True

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.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Have you praised God because He has invited you by means of your salvation to be at that wedding celebration? Not only are we invited to attend, but because of Christ’s sacrifice we are participants.

For this reason we worship God alone. John has his second lapse in judgment due to the overwhelming visions. He falls down to worship the angelic messenger. Immediately the angel corrects him by saying worship God alone.

By holding fast to the message of what God has done for sinners in the person of Jesus Christ, we are even now preparing ourselves to receive the glorious gift Jesus Christ himself will give us, the wedding garment of fine linen, bright and clean. For our righteous deeds are wrought by Christ himself, as we testify to a dying world of the love and grace of Jesus Christ, while we resist the beast in our proclamation, “Jesus Christ alone is Lord,” and as we flee the harlot and her seductive ways. To all of you who are trusting in Jesus Christ through faith alone, you have received your invitation to the marriage supper of Christ the Lamb. With the true beauty of our wedding garment before us, the fine linen of Christ’s perfect righteousness, white and clean, we can see the apparent beauty of the harlot for what it truly is–a false and fading glory, destined to perish in the flames of God’s fury. Beloved, in Jesus Christ, God has invited us to that glorious feast which celebrates the destruction of his enemies and the final vindication of his grace and his judgments. There will be the finest of fare, aged wine, the best of meats. There is no more death, despair, pain or suffering. But it is also the appointed time for the glorious wedding of the king’s son. And we are invited to this wedding, but not merely as guests to watch the grand pageant. Beloved, we are invited to become Christ’s own glorious bride: “radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! Amen[5]

 

[1] Revelation 19:1-10 – Blessed Are Those Who Are Invited PDF by Kim Riddlebarger

 

[2] The Hallelujah Psalms by Henry Morris, Ph.D.

 

[3] http://iblp.org/questions/what-fear-lord

[4] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors pg. 181

[5] Revelation 19:1-10 – Blessed Are Those Who Are Invited PDF by Kim Riddlebarger

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