A Celebration of Jesus' Salvation and Judgment
"I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.' "
-Revelation 19:1-2, emphasis added
What we are going to see in Revelation 19:1-6 is God's greatest celebration of all the ages. Verse 1 starts off with "Alleluia!"--which is the same word as "hallelujah." There are 144 mentions of this word in the Bible; four of these are in verses 1-6. Seventy-six are in the Psalms where it says "may God be praised"; sixty-four occur in the rest of the Bible. "Alleluia"--meaning "Praise God"--is an imperative.
Each "alleluia" in these celebration verses is related to one of these themes: a celebration of Jesus our salvation (v. 1); a celebration of Jesus the judgment (vv. 2-3); a celebration of Jesus we worship (vv. 4-5); and a celebration of Jesus our sovereign (v. 6).
A Celebration of Jesus Our SALVATION: "I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor, and power belong to the Lord our God!' " (Revelation 19:1). This is the first celebration of salvation because Babylon, the false worship of God in world religions, has been overthrown; materialism and Satan's kingdom have also been overthrown. Finally, as God is gathering all to the banquet table, salvation is celebrated.
We should recognize that, all through the ages, each saint has been saved the same way. I am saved because I personally looked back and believed that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God--who bore the pain and paid the price of my sins with His own blood on the cross. Adam, Enoch, Job, and Abraham all looked forward to that same Lamb of God--the One who would come as a sin offering. All of us who are redeemed believe in a substitutionary atonement. They looked forward to the cross, and we look back. The people in the Tribulation and Millennium will look even further back to the Substitute. All who are saved say, "I cannot save myself; Someone paid the price in my place, and that was God in human flesh, the Lamb, Jesus Christ." That is what is complete here: He has brought His redeemed to be with Him, and He is now there in their presence.
A Celebration of Jesus the JUDGMENT: "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.' Again they said, ‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!' " (Revelation 19:2-3).
Praise God! Jesus has judged the harlot--the false religions of the world that corrupted the church. Is this celebration proper? Isn't it fascinating that hell is talked about at this banquet? To God, it is not distasteful to talk about hell. You can praise God that the same One who promises that our life will be endless also promises that the judgment of the unrighteous will be eternal. To us, it is hard to understand the two at the same time. It is too awful to contemplate. But God is just and righteous, and He says, "I have so freely offered this salvation that if some reject the offer, it is righteous that I judge them forever." If you struggle with that, as I think all of us do, look at these verses: Psalm 104:35; Romans 12:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 10:30.
As Psalm 104:35 reveals, when you worship God, part of the worship should thank God for His sacrifice; the other part should thank Him that He is going to condemn sinners to eternal destruction who refuse His free gift of salvation. Romans 3:5 asks, "Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?" No-God is just.
So then, the answer to whether it is proper to celebrate God's judgment is repeatedly yes. As He said at the overthrow of Sodom: "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).
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