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The Hallelujah Chorus of Heaven

Revelation 19:6 (ESV)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.”

There are hallelujahs in heaven (19:1–6). The hallelujah chorus is sung in heaven! Four times the two words are lifted high: “Hallelujah! Amen!” Those two words seem to be the same in all the languages of men. They are praise words of heavenly hosts, loaned to men to help them voice their worship of the Lord. They are part of a universal tongue.

Two men once met aboard an ocean liner; the one was white, the other black. They had never met before; both were Christians; both felt out of place among the frivolous and pleasure-seeking crowds on deck. Each carried a Bible in his hand. They met, shook hands, and tried to exchange a few words of Christian greeting. But the barrier of language stood between. Then one of them had an idea. “Hallelujah!” he said, to which the other replied. “Amen!” They had found a common tongue of praise.

The news of Babylon’s fall prompts praise in heaven. They sing Hallelujah for the salvation of God. John says, And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. Although it occurs twenty-four times in the Old Testament, this is the first time the word hallelujah occurs in the New Testament. It simply means “praise the Lord!” The saints in heaven praise God for His salvation, His splendor, and His strength. They give thanks that His salvation has now been vindicated in power. The overthrow of Babylon marks the end of those organized evils that have plagued the earth for so long. Evil things are so entrenched in society already that no amount of legislation can root them out; the rot has gone too deep. The shout of praise in heaven for the salvation of God is given by “much people.” The disciples once asked the Lord if there would be few who would be saved. Here is the answer: much people!

They sing hallelujah for the severity of God. They sing, For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. God. in love and patience, has stayed His hand so long that it seems at times He does not care at all for the wrongs being done on earth. The ages roll on. and wickedness ripens, flourishes, and bears fruit and multiplies. But in the end. God always acts. His severity, when at last it is unleashed, proceeds along the lines of truth and righteousness and falls with wrath and indignation upon all that is false and wrong. In heaven they are particularly delighted at the judgment of the whore, the Babylonian system, for without the system there would have been no city. The city was but the final materialization of the system—its physical, material, tangible expression. But now the severity of God has erased both city and system from the earth, and heaven is glad.

They sing hallelujah, for the sovereignty of God. John says, And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying Amen; Alleluia. This is the last time the elders and the living creatures are mentioned in the Apocalypse. They appear first when the throne, symbolic of the sovereignty of God, is introduced; and they appear now, at the very end of things, to say a hearty “Amen” to God’s judgments and a warm “Hallelujah” because of the glorious triumph of His throne. We leave them prostrate before God in worship, the attitude in which they are always found when God’s sovereignty is asserted. From their standpoint in glory, the sovereignty of God, no less than the salvation of God, is seen to be something eminently worthy of praise.

They sing hallelujah for the supremacy of God. John says, And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Could anything be more majestic than that? God is supreme, He is the Lord God omnipotent. Every being in the universe, inspired by a love of God, from the humblest saint to the mightiest of the cherubim, joins in the swelling chorus. It reverberates and rolls, echoes and swells, resounds and grows until it is a mighty waterfall of sound, a thunderous roar—Hallelujah! Creatures great and small need authority. Now supreme Authority has spoken, and all whose longing to be properly ruled has been satisfied in God cry out in ecstasy—hallelujah! And with that note rolling like shock waves across the heavenly hills, the Spirit of God turns abruptly, almost in the middle of a sentence, to another theme. Enough of the harlot! Behold now the bride!

Two great events are now to be described, one in heaven and one on earth. One is a wedding; the other is a war. The church and the world both come to the consummation of their ways. Joy, long delayed, is the happy portion of the one: judgment, delayed even longer, is the portion of the other. The Lord Jesus fills both scenes.[1]

[1] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary (Re 18:21–19:6). Kregel; WORDsearch Corp.

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