Hallelujah Chorus

Revelation 19:1-10

One of those situations we can read about but not really picture. Can’t even really imagine what will be like to experience – have no frame of reference, nothing closely comparable to use as starting place. Understand concept of victory – game of checkers or chicken foot. Some have participated in victory at team level; may even participate vicariously when our team wins championship. Are some who remember celebration at end of WWII – joy mixed with relief that was over at last. All victories ever won all put together can never measure up to what is being celebrated in our text – this surpasses all in scope and significance. Truly will be war that ends all wars.

If we celebrate when evil is overcome, when justice is truly served, no surprise that heaven resounds with hallelujahs when Babylon falls to her doom. Only place in all of NT where word is used – both Greek and English imported Hebrew phrase, made it part of own language. Maybe remember Sunday School or youth group, song often sung as two-part – Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord! More than just fun song, has deep roots in God’s word the Bible. Gives two Hebrew words and their meaning – hallelu: praise, Yah: shortened form of Yahweh, Lord. Our text truly does represent NT Hallelujah Chorus, no wonder v.6 (along w/ v.16) formed foundation for G F Handel to build portion of Messiah upon.

Important to recognize celebration here has more than overthrow of evil in view. Focus rapidly shifts to one responsible for victory: “our God” – what he has accomplished, who participates in his victory, what end goal is. Serves to remind us story of human existence not “what goes around comes around”. We are not hamsters running the wheel of life around – we are pilgrims traveling on road that has beginning and end. Adam and Eve started at beginning of road, second Adam Jesus joined partway along and made his way to the end. Is our turn now to follow in Jesus’ footsteps until reach great victory celebration and wedding feast promised by him for his people.

A. wickedness destroyed v.1-3

loud voice of great multitude: those from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) along with living creatures and elders and angels “number(ing) ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11)

praise begins with God, who he is, followed by what he has done – two can be distinguished but not separated… what God does flows directly from who he is

need to start in our praise with the source of the fountain, then its overflow of refreshing water – God’s character, then acts

no question who is being praised: hallelu YAH – one true God revealed as triune, not false trinity of dragon, beast, false prophet

is the one who is: deliverer, glorious, worthy of honor, omnipotent – delivers his people as promised because has all power

is worthy of praise and honor because is majestic and glorious, most glorious of all beings anywhere, majestic beauty and splendor that draws worshipers in to his presence and causes all others to cower in fear

don’t need more reason to praise God… but heavenly multitude supply it anyway – God is just, has judged evil, carried out judgment

God is just – know that from Deut. 32:4“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” – is essential to his nature

God, where are you?” asked Mr Duterte. “I believe in God but that is my perpetual question to him,” he added. “Where were you when we needed you?” He asked. “It’s not enough to say that at the end of the world, he will judge the living and the dead. What would be the purpose of all of that if the heartaches, sorrows and agony have already been inflicted in this world?” Mr Duterte said.

purpose: righteous judgment will be done, justice served, and here’s the key – in God’s perfect way on his perfect schedule

can imagine how this repeated declaration would encourage those living under Domitian, self-proclaimed “Lord and God” (dominus et deus)

just like dragon/beast/false prophet, Domitian only a pretender to God’s throne – real God delivers all his from counterfeits to eternal reward planned for them

even when claim to deity not so blatant as Domitian’s, is great comfort / encouragement to saints to be reminded who wins

reinforced by second Alleluia: Babylon, epitome of evil, facing an end that is irrevocable and inescapable – is not Phoenix, rise from ashes, trouble people of God again

these are ones who earlier cried out: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:10)

their response: Praise the Lord! You have answered our prayers!

who judges the harlot? Jesus, one being praised with Hallelujahs – clear testimony to deity of Christ

Acts 10:40-42Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.”

B. righteousness established v.4-6

as those representing Christ’s church from all ages (twenty-four elders) declare approving praise of what God has achieved, another voice, another call to worship

universal call to all of the righteous regardless of station – all who serve, all who fear, both small and great

no one excluded from this invitation to worship, no one is excused from invitation – is a duty, should be a delight to praise God

think about setting – one of celebration, both for what has just been accomplished… and what is about to take place

every enemy of Christ and his church has been finally defeated, overthrown – will revisit their overthrow again, rest of this chapter and the next

not that Christ had anything to prove, yet has established his superiority / preeminence over all who try to steal bride’s affections

heaven and earth joined together in resounding praise – the all-powerful sovereign King of the universe has established his sole rulership over all things

up to this point Christ has been ruling according to mercy – allowing evildoers and evil to run the course he has set for it

now Christ begins his eternal reign in its fullness and without opposition – God’s wrath is complete, nothing left to hinder final and full union of Bridegroom with his Bride

C. saints vindicated v.7-8

genuine bride for true Christ

contrast could not be more profound: conquering majestic Lamb of God ready to receive his glorious bride, the church, “not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless”

otoh, the one just defeated/overthrown seen for who she was: a tawdry prostitute chasing a counterfeit libertine

bride ready… finally complete

her number – membership roll of Christ’s church completely full with every living and active member as God purposed: “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” John 6:39

her righteousness – bride has perfect glorious gown of righteousness, purified and presented to her by her Bridegroom

Isa. 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

now is fulfilled incredible promises of OT

Hos. 2:16“And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,'”

this begins perfect eternal consummation of relationship between Bride and Bridegroom – intimacy between Christ and his people

eHarmony advertised ability to measure 29 dimensions of compatibility – well, not even scratching surface of what awaits Christ and his Bride

unlike anything ever experienced, transcending even Adam and Eve – perfect togetherness going beyond physical and emotional, reaching to perfect complete union, oneness in every respect

D. worship God alone v.9-10

everyone who is effectually called to wedding feast will be there – won’t be any no-shows, no party-crashers without proper wedding attire

all who have invitation are promised blessing – 4th beatitude of Revelation – here’s where magnitude of blessing becomes obvious

at typical wedding banquet, are many tables – head table with bride, groom, wedding party… other tables for guests

at this banquet, is only one table… head table… for Bridegroom and his Bride the church – none simply guests, observers

blessing of perfect oneness with Christ will last for all eternity – only one proper response: worship, God, beginning now

how? see previous 9 verses

praise him for who he is (1)

Keach’s Catechism: Q. 1. Who is the first and best of beings? A. God is the first and best of beings – worthy of glory and honor

the only one who is “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth

praise him for what he has done (2-3)

has brought about perfect justice – punishing all those who depend on their own righteousness, satisfied with Christ as substitute for all who trust in him

praise him because he deserves praise (4-5)

every one of his attributes, his perfections deserve to be acknowledged – we lack proper words to express his worth

praise him for what he is doing (6)

in perfect wisdom is now and forever will be governing all his creatures and their actions, supplyinig all necessary for the eternal good of his people

We, people of God, ought to be singing people! More importantly, ought to be worshiping people! Most importantly, must be worshiping this God, true God, all-powerful Savior. The one who made all things for his own glory, governs all things for his own glory, sustains all things for his own glory, redeems his people for his own glory. Hallelujah!!

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