Week - 33 The Ultimate Hallelujah Chorus Revelation 19:1-10
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall In 1741, a brilliant, yet hot-tempered German composer began to work on a musical masterpiece that even till this day has remained the most frequently performed and highly regarded oratorio ever written. I am speaking of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah. Using the words of Scripture compiled by his friend Charles Jennens, he composed the music for all fifty-three numbers in an unbelievable twenty-four days.
Handel conducted the first public performance of The Messiah in Dublin on April 13, 1742. He gave his last presentation the day before he died in 1759. While most of us associate the performance of The Messiah with Christmas, it was really a musical written in commemoration of Easter. Perhaps the most popular of the numbers in the musical is the thrilling “Hallelujah Chorus.” Charles Jennens took the words for this song directly from the only chapter in the NT that uses the word, Hallelujah, Revelation 19.
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 the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
This chorus breaks out in response to the admonition given in Revelation 18:20. This jubilant expression of praise and adoration is in stark contrast to the mourning of the monarchs, merchants and mariners as they beheld the destruction of the capitol city of the final world empire.
The 19th chapter of the book of Revelation can be divided into two parts. The first, having to do with what John heard, which was the jubilant shouts of praise in heaven prompted by the exercise of God’s judgment resulting in the destruction of Babylon. The second part of this chapter records what John saw, which is the preeminent event of this book, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. From this section of God’s word, emerge some very practical challenges regarding worship and how we are to live while we wait for Christ to come for His Bride, which is the church of the living God.
We will begin by examining Revelation 19:1-10, which contains the shouts of praise in heaven. Four reasons are given for such jubilant adulation.
I. The Possessions of God (Revelation 19:1)
“After these things,” marks the beginning of a new aspect of the revelation given to the apostle John. This follows the destruction of the political, economic and religious empire of the Antichrist which is called, “Babylon” (Revelation 17-18). John heard what sounded like a great multitude in heaven, saying what amounts to the beginning of the ultimate hallelujah chorus. The text does not identify those who compose the voices.
This great assembly could be made up of angels or the martyred dead coming out of the Great Tribulation and who are now residing in heaven.
“Hallelujah” comes from the Greek word allelouia, which is a transliteration of a Hebrew phrase comprised of the word “Halal” (to praise), and the word “Yah,” which is short for Jehovah, which means the Lord. So the word means, praise the Lord!
This word is used twenty-two times in the book of Psalms. It is used only four times in the NT, all in this chapter. The substance of this praise is composed of three things that belong to the Lord.
A. His Salvation
The Lord is to be praised because He is the source of our salvation. Every aspect of redemption comes from God as a source. He has saved all true believers from the eternal condemnation of sin, the mastery of sin, and now the final aspect of redemptive history is about to take place. All true believers will enter into the glorified state.
The words of the apostle John recorded in his first epistle are about to become a reality:
1 John 3:1-2 (NASB) 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
Please note that no person is ever praised for earning his or her salvation. Being rescued from the condemnation of sin is never a human enterprise; it is solely the work of God. It is not something to be earned; it is something to be received along with the gift of repentance and faith that enables those prepared souls to trust in Jesus for their deliverance from sin.
B. His Glory
Glory is used in the sense of ultimate honor, or in the sense of giving God the ultimate credit and praise because of who He is and what He has done. It is elevating the character of God in the sight of all for the purpose of adoration in reflection of the great things He has done. It is the glory of God which He declared that He shares with no one (Isaiah 42:8). All of redemptive history is the work of God’s hand. Therefore, all adulation, all praise, and all credit is to be directed to Him alone. Pursuing the glory of the Lord is the chief purpose of the church (Ephesians 3:20-21). The church is to function on earth in accordance with the Lord’s purpose and for His glory.
C. His Power
The Lord possesses all power, which is the unlimited ability to carry out all of His sovereign purposes in accordance with His perfect will. He alone is omnipotent. That power has been revealed to us in the manner that God has carried out His judgment upon this world during the time of the Great Tribulation. He has power over the land, the sea, and the heavens.
He has power over all circumstances and every circumstance. He has power over all created beings. Even Satan, his Antichrist and false prophet, must ultimately conform to God’s power and will (Cf. Revelation 20:1-3, 10).
II. The Judgment of God (Revelation 19:2-4)
An additional reason for giving praise to the Lord is because of the nature of His judicial determinations. God’s judgments are true and righteous as illustrated in the destruction of the ultimate evil empire under the rule of Satan and his puppet ruler, who is the Antichrist. This empire was the source of the moral and spiritual corruption of the whole earth. And it was at the hand of the Antichrist and his followers, that the blood of the martyrs was shed. It is fitting and just that those who caused the moral ruin of the nations and persecuted God’s people, should face His full wrath.
Just as the Lord promised the martyred saints who were under the altar in heaven (Revelation 6:9-11, 20:4), He exercised his awesome vengeance against those responsible for their unjust deaths. God’s judgments are based upon truth and always in conformity to righteous standards that are established by His holy character. This warrants another hallelujah!
There will be no rebuilding of the final world empire. It will remain forever destroyed, leaving smoldering smoke as the only evidence of its existence (v.3). This marks the end of all worldly empires.
“The rebellion that began long ago in the Garden of Eden is finally ended. There will be no more false religion, worldly philosophies, injustice, and unrighteousness; all the sorry results of human depravity will be vanquished.”
In verse four, we find the heavenly court giving its worship and affirmation.
The ultimate hallelujah chorus is prompted by what God possesses in terms of salvation, glory and power; as well as the righteous and true judgment of the Lord expressed against the final world empire.
III. The Reign of God (Revelation 19:5-6)
The text does not clearly identify the voice that came from the throne. It is most likely an angelic voice because the command he gives is to praise OUR God! Referring to God as “Our God” would not be appropriate for one of the members of the Trinity.
This command to praise the Lord is directed to the bond servants of God. “Bond servants” is a hybrid word which is not a formal translation of the Greek word doulos, which is the word used here. A doulos does not describe a servant. It refers to a slave. These are the slaves of Christ who gave their all to serve the Lord exclusively instead of their personal freedom, comforts or ambitions.
In addition, the command to praise the Lord is directed to those who fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord is that chosen mind-set toward God which includes reverence, awe, adoration and the submission of your will. It also includes a wholesome dread of living independent of the Lord, knowing that He disciplines those whom He loves. Those who fear the Lord transcend all human categories and social distinctions.
Then, in obedience to this command, a deafening crescendo of praise comes from this great multitude. John describes the sound as something like the roar of rushing waters and loud peals of thunder. This sound is majestic, startling and awesome. The central theme of their praise is what served as the dominant theme in Handel’s Messiah, “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Or as the NASB has it, “The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” This is why this great work of art focused on the resurrection, because there could be no Second Coming of Christ if He never left the grave.
The Lord is to be praised because in His sovereign design. All the worldly empires have come to an end and now God’s kingdom will come into its fullness. The model of prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples would now be answered, “Thy Kingdom Come!”
IV. The Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-10)
This momentous occasion should prompt the redeemed to rejoice and to be glad. Their hearts should be filled with joy and gladness, and they should give honor to the Lord because the marriage of the Lamb has come. His Bride has made herself ready. The Bride is composed of all whom the Father has given to the Son (cf. John 6:37-40; 17:6). They are that company of redeemed people who make up the body of Christ, which is the church. Every one of them has been saved by faith alone in the death and resurrection of our Lord. The Lamb of course, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is portrayed in this book as the slain sacrificial Lamb of God (cf. John 1:29, 35-36). John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, loved to use this metaphor of Jesus because it captures not only the purpose for why Jesus came to this earth, but also the substitutionary nature of His once for all time sacrifice made in behalf of His Bride.
In order to understand the significance of what is being stated here, we must understand ancient Jewish marriage customs that serve as the model for what is taking place here. The weddings of biblical times were not like the weddings of our day.
Marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event of the biblical world. Wedding preparations were very elaborate, and the celebration lasted a lot longer than weddings today. There were three states that were observed in the typical Jewish wedding.
1. The legal consummation of the marriage by the parents of the bride and of the groom, with the payment of the dowry; this contract was reached long before the children reached the marriage age of 13 or 14.
2. The bridegroom coming to claim his bride (as illustrated n Matthew 25:1-13, in the familiar parable of the Ten Virgins).
3. The wedding supper (as illustrated in John 2:1-11, where Jesus turned water into wine), which was a several day feast following the previous phase of the wedding.
What we have before us in verses 7-9, is the third step in the wedding process. The legal consummation of the marriage of the Lamb with His bride, the church, was made in eternity past when the Father promised the Son a redeemed people and wrote their names in the book of life, which is the registry of the elect. And the price that would be paid for this bride is the very life of the groom – Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The second phase of the wedding process had been completed when Jesus came for His Bride at the time of the rapture of the church. Like a biblical wedding, the bride did not know the exact day or hour the bridegroom would come. She just knew with certainty that He would come. What the bridegroom would do once he arrived at a marriageable age, would to be prepare a place for he and his bride to live. That is exactly what Jesus promised in John 14:1-
4. Now everything was ready for the wedding ceremony to begin. The feasting and the festivities are about to get under way.
In the power of God, by the grace of God, through the work of the Spirit of God, the Bride of Christ has been purged from all sin and impurity. She is blameless, an unblemished virgin in the sight of her groom.
The clothing given to the bride to wear (v.8) symbolizes the practical outward manifestation of the transformation that the Bridegroom has made in her life. The fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints. These acts are not done in order to merit salvation. They are done as a result of being saved, not as a means to procure one’s deliverance from sin and its eternal consequences. “Throughout Christian history, every holy attitude and good deed prompted by God’s grace has been woven into the tapestry of the Brides’ attire.”
(19:9) Those blessed ones who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb is not referring to the church. She is the Bride of Christ! The Bride is not invited, she along with the groom are the hosts of the celebration. Those who are invited are the guests. The word invited is a translation of the Greek word, kaleo, which means to be called or summoned. It frequently refers to a divine summons. The perfect verb tense indicates that this summons was a past completed action having a present result.
The implication of this passage is that there are distinctions among those who are the saints. These distinctions reflect the various and unique ways that God has dealt with His elect throughout history. There is the OT saint which refers to all who were true believers in the Lord up to the birth of the church, which occurred on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Then there are NT saints who are those who have trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their salvation. They have been placed in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). They are the Bride of Christ. Then there are the tribulation saints who have come to know Christ in a saving way during the time of the Tribulation.
Certainly, the bride is not invited to her own wedding! This invitation goes out to the guests, believers from the Old Testament era and the time of the Tribulation.
(19:10) John, no doubt was so overwhelmed by what the angel had declared to him, that in a thoughtless exuberant act, he fell to his knees in order to worship the heavenly messenger. Now angel worship is strictly forbidden in the scriptures (Colossians 2:18). The angel quickly rebuked John, reminding him that he is a sundoulos, which means a fellow slave of the Lord. He was not to be worshipped; only God is to be worshipped! The Apostle Peter gave a similar correction to Cornelius
The reference to the testimony of Jesus speaks of the heart or essence of God’s prophetic word. Jesus is the central theme of all of God’s prophetic declarations. Biblical prophecy looks to or is dependent upon the work of Christ and its proclamation
(See 1 Peter 1:12). The very nature or purpose of prophecy is to testify of Jesus Christ and to bring glory to Him.
1. Worship is the theme of redemptive history and the purpose for which believers were redeemed (John 4:23-24). It will also be their eternal occupation.
2. No created thing or being, not even the greatest man or most exalted angel is ever to receive worship. This privilege belongs uniquely to God. It is right to respect highly respected individuals; however, they are never to be worshipped!
3. At the wedding supper of the Lamb, each member of the Bride of Christ, which is the church, will be wearing the wedding garments of his or her own making (Revelation 19:8). Every holy attitude and good deed done by God’s grace and for his glory will be woven into the tapestry of the wedding garment of those who are the Bride of Christ.
4. In order to be prepared for the Second Coming of Christ, you must respond in repentance and faith to the first coming of Christ.
1 The NKJV Study Bible. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2007, S. Re 19:10