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REJOICING IN HEAVEN – Revelation 19:1-10

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on September 21, 2016 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; September 21, 2016 from Revelation 19:1-10

Theme: This passage describes the joy in heaven that will immediately precede the return of our Lord to earth, after the destruction of the ‘harlot’ city Babylon.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

In chapters 17-18, the story of Revelation was temporarily put on hold; and we were given background information about the destruction of ‘Babylon’—that great ‘harlot’ city that will represent the summation of the Antichrist’s system of political power, ungodly philosophy, wayward religion, and idolatrous materialism. When the story resumes, the next great thing that is described to us is the return of our Lord to the earth to conquer and reign (19:11-20:6).

Between these two events, though, we find this lesson’s passage. It gives us a remarkable picture—after the grim mourning of the earth over the destruction of Babylon—of the great joy that will fill heaven in response. The word “Alleluia!” is used; which is the Hebrew form of “Praise God”. This passage contains the only occurrences of that phrase in the New Testament; and it is found here four times (vv. 1, 3, 4, and 6). Note also how it contains the call to praise God (v. 5), the declaration, “Let us be glad and rejoice” (v. 7), and an affirmation of the ‘blessedness’ of those who are called to this great heavenly celebration (v. 9).

Heaven already seems to be presented to us as a happy and joyful place. But here, we’re made to understand that this is a remarkably loud, happy and joyous time in heaven. Here, we’re given three causes for this joy … and at the end, an affirmation of the testimony of Jesus Christ.


A. “After these things”—which may mean ‘after’ the description of the destruction of the harlot city Babylon (chapters 17-18), and specifically, after the symbolic casting of the stone into the water (18:21-24); but which may more likely mean ‘after’ the pouring-out of the seventh bowl (16:17-21)—we’re told that John heard “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven”. We’re not told who this multitude is. It may be angelic voices. But it may be the same great multitude referred to in 7:9ff; that is, those coming out of the great tribulation. In a manner very much like that which is found in that passage, those also give praise to the Lord God—attributing salvation, and glory, and honor (though some texts do not contain the word “honor”), and power to Him.

B. The cause given for this praise is that God’s judgments are “true and righteous”; and the context of these judgments is the destruction of that great harlot city. We’re told that she corrupted the earth “with her fornications”; and that God had avenged on her “the blood of His servants shed by her” (or literally, “the blood of His servants by her hand”). Here, the great cry of the saints under the altar, “How long?”—which we find in in 6:9-11—is finally answered.

Note that there is a second cry of “Alleluia!” by this same great multitude. Apparently, one ‘Alleluia’ is a response to the destruction of the city; and the other is to the endurance of that destruction—that “Her smoke rises up forever and ever” (see 14:11).

C. A second group joins in on the praise with this great multitude—that is, the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures. They fall down and worship God “who sat on the throne”; affirming the praise of the multitude; saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” All the beings of heaven rejoice at the destruction of this city! What a contrast this joyous celebration is to the mourning from this world over the city’s destruction! (18:20).


A. Another voice is heard. This one is from the throne. Though we’re not told who the source of this voice is, the fact that it comes from the throne suggests that it is from the Lord Jesus (see also Revelation 7:17). If this is so, then the Lord Jesus now calls forth praise to God; saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”. Note something wonderful in this; that if this is indeed the Lord Jesus, He has now made it possible for those He addresses to speak of God, along with Him, as “our God” (see John 20:17).

B. Who are these that the voice speaks to? They appear to be distinguished from the Bride (mentioned in the next section). And this has caused many to speculate that they may be the Old Testament saints, and the saints redeemed during the tribulation—that is, the redeemed of God from before and after the church age. In response, a great multitude is heard—the volume of which staggers John’s capability of description: first as the sound of a great multitude; then as the sound of many waters; and finally as the sound of mighty thunderings. They all join in with one another, saying, “Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” The devil’s multi-millennia-long program of rebellion and deception and ruin on earth is over; and God’s reign through His Son—the hope of the redeemed throughout the ages—is now about to be realized on earth!


A. This same multitude from verse 6 now expresses rejoicing over the “marriage of the Lamb”. This would speak of the Bride of Christ—the Church (Ephesians 5:25-33). Note that we’re told that she has made herself ready. To her it was granted, by God’s grace, to be arrayed in fine linen, “clean and bright”. We’re told that the fine linen is “the righteous acts of the saints”. (By the way, fellow Christian; do you realize that this means that we are, by grace, making our bridal gown now? May we live in a way that will clothe us in a worthy manner at His coming!)

B. Note also that a voice (most likely the angel that first began speaking to John in 17:1) now tells John to write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” What a glorious wedding invitation! May many receive it and be there for the feast! And note also that this is further strengthened by the angel who says, “These are the true sayings of God”.


A. The impact of all of this was too much for John. And so then, he commits a great error. He falls down and worships at the feet of the angel! (See also Revelation 22:8-9). How many people have made a similar mistake—so overcome by the message they hear that they direct too much adoration to the messenger! May God help us not to make the same mistake!

B. The angel calls John to (literally) ‘see that he not do that’; and insists that he is simply a fellow servant with John—and along with all who bear the testimony of Jesus. Instead, he directs John to understand something that ought to be writ large on the whole of our study of Revelation, “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” All prophecy—rightly understood and interpreted—shines the spotlight upon Him!

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s wise to hold our interpretation of this passage cautiously. We aren’t told who the different entities in heaven are who speak in it. John himself, who saw these things, was not led to say who—and perhaps he himself didn’t know. But what we do know for certain is that they—whoever they are—are presented to us as praising God and rejoicing loudly before His throne.

May we, on that great day, be found doing the same—and for the same reasons as they!As the apostle Paul put it in his letter to the Thessalonians:

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10).

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