Revelation 19:1-4 (NIV)
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
3 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”
On verses 1-4: Earlier in Revelation 17-18 we read of Babylon, a prostitute who according to many commentators symbolizes the spirit of false religion that is all about man thinking he can reach God on his own effort. In Revelation 17, Babylon’s fall is predicted. In Revelation 18, we read of how the kings and merchants who dealt with Babylon will mourn after her death. Now in Revelation 19 we hear heaven’s response to Babylon’s fall. John hears the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting praises to God because He has judged Babylon and avenged the blood of His servants whom Babylon was responsible for killing (v1-3). The 24 elders and 4 living creatures in heaven join in this great worship. They cry, “Amen” (a word spoken to affirm the trustworthiness of what has just been said) and “Hallelujah!” (which means “Praise the Lord”) (v4).
What can we learn from this?
Heaven rejoices when God’s rivals are defeated and God’s people are avenged.
Just as the great multitude in heaven is not afraid to shout their praises to God, don’t be afraid to shout your praises to God. Worship the Lord with passion and joy. Don’t be so shy, self-conscious or passive that you miss giving God the worship He is due. Let’s follow heaven’s example and “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!” (Psalm 66:1-2) Since through faith in Christ you are a citizen of heaven, shout the way that heaven shouts.
Revelation 19:5 (NIV) 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!”
On verse 5: A voice from the throne calls all of God’s servants, “both small and great” to praise God. Jesus and the New Testament repeatedly talk about how there are those who will be great in God’s sight. It’s those who not only believe that Jesus died on the cross for them, but also who follow Jesus’ example and serve. As Jesus says, “whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). If you want to be great in heaven, serve God and others.
Revelation 19:6-8 (NIV) 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
On verses 6-8: In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the relationship between God and His people is likened to a marriage. Here in verses 6-8, it is in the roaring praises of the great multitude that we learn that it is time for a wedding. Jesus the Lamb is the groom and His church is His ready bride.
Notice that in Revelation we meet three women: the first woman, Israel, was pregnant and in pain (Revelation 12). The second woman, Babylon, was drunk and destroyed (Revelation 17-18). Here we meet the third woman of Revelation. It’s Jesus’ bride, the church, and she is righteous and radiant.
Verse 8 describes the wedding dress of Christ’s radiant bride the church. She is described as being given fine linen to wear. Verse 8 says that the fine linen “stands for the righteous acts of the saints”. The fact that these fine linen clothes are “given” to her suggests that this righteousness is not something she earned but is a gift of God’s grace. For it is not by our works that we can become righteous; rather righteousness is a gift of God’s grace that we receive through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-9). Praise God that by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we become bright, clean, righteous and radiant in God’s sight.
Revelation 19:9 (NIV) 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
On verse 9: In Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5, Jesus gives His beatitudes, 9 statements on who the “blessed are”. Revelation features its own set of beatitudes describing who “the blessed” are, starting with Revelation 1:3 all the way to Revelation 22:14. Here in verse 9 an angel tells John to write down one of those beatitudes: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.” How do you get invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb Jesus Christ? By believing that this Lamb was sacrificed for your sins, that He died and rose again.
Revelation 19:10a (NIV) 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!…
On verse 10a: Perhaps because he was so overwhelmed by everything he saw, John falls at the feet of the angel to worship him, but the angel stops him from doing so. The angel affirms that he is only a fellow servant of God with John and with John’s Christian brothers. Thus John is to worship God, not someone less than God.
What can we learn from this? Whether in life, or in your faith experience, you may experience great and wonderful things, and you may meet great and wonderful people, but do not worship them in place of God. Don’t hang onto them more than you hang onto God. God alone is truly great and wonderful. Only He is worthy of our worship.
Revelation 19:10b (NIV) 10 …For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
On verse 10b: Earlier in verse 10, the angel talks about John and his Christian brothers “who hold to the testimony of Jesus” (v10a). Here the angel elaborates and says “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. What does this mean and why does the angel say this? It means that the goal of all Christian prophecy is to give Jesus glory. In 1 Corinthians 14:3 we learn that prophecy is for people’s “strengthening, encouragement and comfort”. But here we learn that prophecy has one more equally important purpose: to glorify Jesus.
That is why the angel makes this statement to John in verse 10. It’s so that John would know that the reason why he has been given all these prophetic visions is so that John would glorify Jesus even more with his life.
So when you experience anything of the prophetic in your Christian faith, always remember: it’s not for your glory. It’s for Jesus’ glory. It’s so that you would know Jesus and glorify Him even more with your life.
Heavenly Father, thank You for every powerful lesson we can learn from Your Word. Since I am a citizen of heaven, may I not be afraid to shout like heaven shouts. May I serve You and others with humility. May I always remember that through Christ I am part of Your church, righteous and radiant in Your sight. May I never worship anything or anyone other You. And may I use every prophetic word I receive to glorify Jesus with my life. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!