Added Details: The Judgment of Babylon
Revelation 17:1 – 19:10
Revelation 17:1 – 19:10
Revelation 17:1 – 19:10. Really, what you have in this parenthesis is the comparison of two women, the harlot (false church) and the Lamb’s wife (true church). Both are looked at their highest form: one pure, the other corrupt. Both are looked at under two figures: a woman (harlot vs. bride) and a city (Babylon vs. New Jerusalem). However, Babylon is called ‘great’ whereas the new Jerusalem is never called ‘great’ but rather ‘holy’. As women, both the true and the false church have a religious character. As cities, both have an administrative character. However, the true church is not looked at as a city (reigning) until the Millennium, while the false church acts as a city right now, seeking to reign over the kings of the earth.
Preliminary events. One of the first things that will happen when the true church is raptured, is that the false church will begin to ride the beast. This may begin even before Daniel’s seventieth week commences.
Babylon. Literal Babylon in the Old Testament was not a whore. She was made by the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) for his glory and power (Dan. 4). But in Revelation, Babylon is the term used to refer to whichever entity holds the true power over the gentiles during the times of the gentiles. You will remember that God told Nebuchadnezzar, “you are the head of gold” referring to the image in the king’s dream. While other empires succeeded Babylon (Persia, Greece, Rome, etc.), they really are still in the place of Babylon, as holding the balance of power in the earth. There are two aspects of this power, one is religious corruption (pictured as a harlot), and the other is civil rebellion (pictured as a city). In scripture we have always these two characters of evil, for example in the book of Proverbs: the violent man and the corrupt woman. Go back into secular history as far as you like, you will find these two forms of evil linked together. Although the evidence is murky, we gather that when Nimrod built his first empire (Gen. 10:10), his wife also founded an idolatrous religious system. We see the same with Ahab and his wife Jezebel. It was she that institutionalized the worship of Baal and Ashtaroth. We are looking at the final state of both forms of evil in Revelation 17 – 18. Who is apocalyptic Babylon? That depends on the timing. In the first three and a half years of the prophetic week, the false church takes control of the Gentile powers. The false church therefore is Babylon in both these aspects, because she has the control religiously and politically. She is seen in Rev. 17 as the harlot, and in Rev. 18 as the city. “The woman which thou sawest is that great city”. Babylon becomes a whore in the New Testament under as the figure of the false church. She is a corrupt, independent woman. The closest thing to her in the Old Testament is Tyre (e.g. Ezekiel 27). However, the false church “falls” in the middle of the week when the political beast throws her off, and the personal beast comes forward to grasp the wheel of power. The beast, or revived Roman empire, takes on the title of ‘Babylon, the great city’ in the last three and a half years. The false church as an organization is completely erased at the middle of the week, but many of the persons within the false church continue under the umbrella of the beast until the end of the week. The last four verses of Rev. 18 show the final destruction of Babylon at the appearing of Christ, which corresponds to Revelation 16:19; “And the great city was divided into three parts; and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath”.
The Great Whore (17:1-6)
A detailed description of the great harlot (vv.1-6)
¶ And one of the seven angels, which had the seven bowls, came and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will shew thee the sentence of the great harlot who sits upon the many waters; v.1 The system that will become religious Babylon is already on earth today: the Roman Catholic Church. She is the woman Jezebel, see Rev. 2:20. She will be largely what is left when the true church is raptured. “Whoredom” in scripture always speaks of idolatry, because idolatry is adultery in a spiritual sense. This woman is viewed by John as “sitting on many waters”, or dominating the masses. This the false church has done this for centuries. It would seem that, in the grand scheme, while the whore controls the beast for a short time, that perhaps her influence is invited at first, then resented. Perhaps the false church has some kind of trump card that the politicians need to bring the Roman empire together? It may be commercial ties, control of the masses, etc. Perhaps this influence is exploited in the first seal of Revelation 6.
2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and they that dwell on the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. v.2 Religiously, this verse shows who the woman is. Which other religious organization is more guilty of leaving the true God and mixing in spiritual fornication; i.e. idolatry. How does it work? God has blessed the Christianized lands with external material blessings. The kings of the earth bring their pagan practices to her, and she adopts them. she then develops a consumer mentality. The kings then sell their raw materials and products to the Christianized lands which makes the kings rich (e.g. Japan, Hong Kong, the oil lords). They get intoxicated with Western greed. that is why they will weep (rev. 18:9). Note: It doesn’t say the peasants got rich.
3a And he carried me away in spirit to a desert; v.3a John’s respective points of observation are: for the harlot, A wilderness (Rev. 17:3) and for the bride, a great and high mountain (Rev. 21:10).
3b and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. v.3b The chief characteristic of the harlot is her control “sitting upon” the european power “the beast”. We know this beast is the revived roman empire because it is identical to the beast described in Daniel 7, speaking of the revived roman empire. Scarlet is the glory of The political government of the world. But the horns are not crowned yet (c.p. Rev. 13:2)… that happens in the middle of the week. that is because the woman holds the power in the first 3.5 years.
4 And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and had ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the unclean things of her fornication; v.4 The one color that is missing is white (purity). contrast with Rev. 19:8. ANother color that is missing is blue – heavenly character. No silver – no redemption. The cup is a bewitching cup, appearing on the outside to be righteous (gold), but containing all of her corruptions. The Lord will use this cup to judge her (Rev. 18:6).
5a and upon her forehead a name written, v.5a In history, the Harlot’s evil has been hidden (Mat.13:33), the depths of Satan (Rev. 2:24). Here it is blatant and open, like a banner.
5b Mystery, great Babylon, the mother of the harlots, and of the abominations of the earth. v.5b A counterfeit to the Mystery of God (Christ & the church), this is the mystery of Satan. A “Mother” of harlots – her Children are the various systems that have come from the Romanism; e.g. the anglican church. Now She is gathering the children back under her wing. There will be one sect of Christianity after the rapture. The first time you get the expression “great Babylon” is in Dan. 4:30, connected with the pride of man in opposition to God. MYSTERY BABYLON – It isn’t a “mystery” that the worldly power should become apostate. But it is a mystery that the church should become apostate. The ecclesiastical side always takes the lead in evil.
6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And I wondered, seeing her, with great wonder. v.6 Historically, this proves who the woman is. Which other relgious organization is GUILTIER of the blood of the martyrs of Jesus? It must be the apocalyptic version of the catholic church. Jezebel is the old testament type.
- “the saints” – Historical, Christian martyrs (Ecc. 3:15)
- “the martyrs of Jesus” – Future, tribulation martyrs
his “great admiration” is what we would call in modern terms “shock” or “incredulity”. It is not a positive reaction. He is schoked that this is the result of what man has done with God’s House.
The Beast (Revived Roman Empire) (17:7-18)
An explanation of the beast from start to end (vv.7-14)
7 And the angel said to me, Why hast thou wondered? “I” will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. v.7 He is now going to give interpretive details. it is important to understand that the horns are not crowned until after they destroy the woman and give their power to the beast. The beast “carries her” – while She controls the beast, at the same time it supports her… financially?
8a The beast which thou sawest (1) was, and (2) is not, and (3) is about to come up out of the abyss and (4) go into destruction: v.8a Four phases for the beast:
- “it was” – old roman empire, in place when John was writing
- “IS not” – currently there is no roman empire since 476 AD
- Historical revival at the beginning of the week (Rev. 13:1)… not mentioned here, but hinted at in “shall be present“
- “ascend out of the abyss” – will be satanically revived at the middle of the week
- “go into desctruction” – the destruction of the revived empire at the lord’s appearing… final destination.
8b and they who dwell on the earth, whose names are not written from the founding of the world in the book of life, shall wonder, seeing the beast, that (1) it was, and (2) is not, and (3) shall be present. v.8b Those who are taken with the beast are the earth-dwellers, who rejected the gospel of the grace of God. It is interesting that the earth dwellers “marvel” two times: Once when the empire is historically revived (“IS not, and Yet is” Rev. 17:8), and they marvel again when the deadly wound is healed, when the personal beast comes forward (Rev. 13:3) at the middle of the week.
9 Here is the mind that has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains, whereon the woman sits. v.9 The mind that has wisdom will draw conclusions from the following statements, rather than descend into speculation. Geographically, this proves who this woman is. Rome is the city of seven hills. What other great religious organization has its headquarters in rome? It must be the apocalyptic version of the roman catholic church.
10 And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes he must remain only a little while. v.10 politically, this proves who this woman is. The catholic church has influenced the Roman empire through all forms of government. “kings” in prophecy can represent forms of sovereignty (Dan. 8:21-22). The seven forms are:
“The other” – will begin when the roman empire is historically revived (beginning of the week), this will be the Revived imperial form – controlled by the harlot. He is the first “HE” of Daniel 9:27, not to be confused with the second “He” who is the little horn. “A Short space” – 3.5 years.
11 And the beast that was and is not, he also is an eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into destruction. v.11 Tells us that the final form is somehow different but “is of the seven” so it is really a new form of the seventh. It will become the eighth when it rises from the abyss, when the deadly wound is healed (Rev. 13:8), when the False church falls; it is the satanically revived imperial form – controlled by the personal beast under Satan’s power. He will be at the helm at the appearing.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have not yet received a kingdom, but receive authority as kings one hour with the beast. v.12 the ten kings are probably nations that exist in europe today, although they may not all be united yet. They don’t get real power (crowns on the horns) until the woman is thrown off, and the personal beast takes over. The ten kings are contemporaneous in contradistinction to the seven heads which were successive. after forcibly subduing three (perhaps the strongest) of the ten horns (Dan. 7:8, 20, 24-25), the others will capitulate.
13 These have one mind, and give their power and authority to the beast. v.13 They are one in mind with the beast to bring in satanic worship of his image, to force every subject in their empire into this religion. The ten horns are seen acting independently until they give their power to the beast.
14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords and King of kings: v.14a So stirred up in satanic energy, they will be mad against the Lord himself. This will happen at the end of the week.
14b and they that are with him called, and chosen, and faithful. v.14b There are “kings with the beast“, and there are “those with the lamb“. Accompanying Christ are the heavenly saints; see Jude 14; Zech. 14:5; Rev. 19:14. “Called” in time (II Tim. 1:9), “chosen” in eternity (Eph. 1:4), “faithful” until the end (Matt. 25:21-23; Rev. 2:10). There is of course a remnant on earth that are also “with him”.
The Fall of Babylon as a harlot (not a city) (vv.15-18)
¶ 15 And he says to me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. v.15 The clearest definition of what waters or seas speak of in scripture. Religious Babylon here is dominating the masses in the first 3.5 years. This is consistent with what Rome has tried to do throughout the church’s history.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall (1) hate the harlot, and shall (2) make her desolate and naked, and (3) shall eat her flesh, and shall (4) burn her with fire; v.16 At the middle of the week, god causes the ten kings to tire of the whore’s domination, to cast her off, and dismantle her organizationally. This will make way for the emergence of the anti-christ and the satanic worship of the personal beast. Not mentioned here is the forced cessation of Jewish worship (Dan. 9:27) as well. The persons within the false church are not killed, they continue on as part of political Babylon to be judged at the end of the week. (1) develop an evil disposition toward Christianity, (2) expose her corrupt condition, (3) take away all support for the organization, and (4) eliminate every last trace of Christianity.
17 for God has given to their hearts to do his mind, and to act with one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled. v.17 the judgment of religious Babylon is god’s will. However, he uses the beast to do it. It may be THAT GOD choses this method because of the character of the evil. It is evil in the name of Christ. sometimes a dirty job may require a tool, to keep you at a distance. The destruction of the whore is a dirty business, so god uses a tool, which he will in turn destroy 3.5 years later. This is similar to how the Lord judges Israel through the Assyrian, his “Rod” – Isa. 10:5.
the link between the political and religious aspects (v.18)
18 And the woman which thou sawest is the great city, which has kingship over the kings of the earth. v.18 Babylon will continue, after the judgment of the false church, as a city (political aspect) until the end of the week. This is the key to understanding the 6th vial. The great city is the spiritual continuation of the woman, because Rome is the final holder of gentile power.
Details of The Fall of Babylon as a City (18:1-20)
¶ After these things I saw another angel descending out of the heaven, having great authority: and the earth was lightened with his glory. v.1 Another angel descends. This change in narrators (a different angel in ch. 17) and the words “after these things” indicates a new chapter. In vv.1-20 we are going back over the fall of the false church – not as a harlot, but – as a city. It seems the judgment is here viewed more directly from the Lord (v.8 + v.20). It is the same incident, but ch. 17 and 18 are two different sides.
Announcement of Babylon’s fall (v.2)
2 And he cried with a strong voice, saying, “Great Babylon has fallen, has fallen” [Isa 21:9], and has become the habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hated bird; v.2 Babylon is called “Great” whereas the New Jerusalem is never called great. fallen – into a state of demonic and satanic control… her state after the “fall” in ch.17. The word “fallen” is emphasized here… it isn’t her final destruction yet. “Habitation of demons” – even today, the church has gotten mixed up in witchcraft… which is part and parcel with the pagan practices she has adopted. compare with the true church, the Habitation of God by the Spirit. Matt. 13:32 shows the evil working began a long time ago. In Matthew, the birds came willingly to roost in the branches. But not they are held or bound up in the cage of Christendom. Birds (evil spirits, Matt. 13:4,19), the opposers of the good seed are now the leaders of the church!
Babylon’s Indictment (v.3)
3 because all the nations have drunk of the wine of the fury of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have been enriched through the might of her luxury. v.3 Babylon is guilty of seducing three classes from their allegiance to God and Christ:
- “all the nations” – The peoples of Christendom
- “the kings of the earth” – the leaders of the nations in the prophetic earth, broader than the ten kings, perhaps not including them?
- “the mer-chants of the earth” – those who have profited commercially from relations with the church.
A Call for Separation (vv.4-5)
¶ 4 And I heard another voice out of the heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people” [Jer. 51:45], that ye have not fellowship in her sins, and that ye do not receive of her plagues: v.4 this call is of course applicable at all times. Specifically, it is to The believers of the gospel of the kingdom who are somehow mixed up with the religious organization prior to the beast taking full control. Perhaps there will be a very short vacuum when the church falls, before the beast begins to force the satanic religion on people. If anyone stays they will get sucked into the final form of babylon, and be judged at the appearing. The consequences are judicial and governmental. Eternal security is not in question.
5 for her sins have been heaped on one another up to the heaven, and God has remembered her unrighteousnesses. v.5 The reason why they need to separate… take god’s viewpoint. Religious babel has built a tower, “whose top may reach unto Heaven” (Gen. 11:4)… not of bricks but of sins. The sins are of such a character as to incur the outrage of heaven.
Righteous Retribution in Light of her Lifestyle (vv.6-8)
6 Recompense her even as she has recompensed; and double to her double, according to her works. In the cup which she has mixed, mix to her double. v.6 An imprecatory prayer… not a christian prayer. This would be the prayer of the martyred remnant, although in a sense They stand in the place of all the martyrs of the false church. The is the same cup as Rev. 17:4. God takes it from her hand, fills it double (humanly impossible) with His judgment (versus her delicacies) and forces her to drink it.
7 So much as she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so much torment and grief give to her. Because she says in her heart, (1) “I sit a queen, and (2) I am not a widow; and (3) I shall in no wise see grief:” v.7 Having been degraded from her public place by the ten kings of the Roman empire she still maintains her pride… Her spirit is unbroken. This is because of what she is in herself (not so much what she has done). She says three things in her heart:
- “I sit a queen” – she thinks she is still in control (II Kings 9:30).
- “I am not a widow” – the professes to still be in relation to Christ (his bride)
- “I shall in no wise see grief” – she does not believe her time of pleasure has come to an end.
8 for this reason in one day shall her plagues come” [Isaiah 47:7-9], death and grief and famine, and she shall be burnt with fire; for strong is the Lord God who has judged her. v.8 Her final destruction is stated in the future tense… “she shall be burnt, etc”… it will take place at the appearing. But her judgement is at the middle if the week; past tense “the Lord God who has judged her.” The scene in Rev. 17:16 is more historical (middle of the week), Here it is the final destruction at the end of the week. In ch.17 the horns are what turn on her, but in ch.18 the Lord takes credit for her judgment. “burned with fire” – we can help but think of the many saints who were burned at the stake… this is the recompense.
Lamentation over Babylon: By the Kings (vv.9-10)
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication, and lived luxuriously with her, shall weep and wail over her, when they see the smoke of her burning, v.9 it seems likely that There will be a great increase in influence of the False Church in the world before her fall… beyond her current level of influence. these kings of the earth are different from the ten horns (see v.3) they would be leaders of other nations that have profited by corrupt associations with the false church. The kings and merchants lament the fall of Babylon, but they are unaware that they have drunk a fatal dose, and will perish with final Babylon at the appearing, see notes on Rev. 19:19.
10 standing afar off, through fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for in one hour thy judgment is come. v.10 The city is mentioned seven times in the later half of Rev. 18: see v.10, 16, 18, 19, and 21. These kings are astonished at how quickly the great city has fallen from power. She seemed to big (strong) to fail, but it all came crashing down in a short time. three times you get, “Woe, woe, the great city” followed by particular interest of each group (v.11, v.16, and v.19)… she is a harlot, these men want something from her.
Lamentation over Babylon: By the Merchants (vv.11-17a)
11 And the merchants of the earth weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their lading any more; v.11 the merchants are the next to take up the lamentation. It is very clear from this verse that the false church was their primary customer for their materials and goods. it is not genuine concern for the church, but a sorrow at the lost financial gain.
12 lading of (1) gold, and (2) silver, and (3) precious stones, and (4) pearl, and (5) fine linen, and (6) purple, and (7) silk, and (8) scarlet dye, and (9) all thyine wood, and (10) every article in ivory, and (11) every article in most precious wood, and (12) in brass, and (13) in iron, and (14) in marble, 13 and (15) cinnamon, and (16) amomum, and (17) incense, and (18) unguent, and (19) frankincense, and (20) wine, and (21) oil, and (22) fine flour, and (23) wheat, and (24) cattle, and (25) sheep, and of (26) horses, and of (27) chariots, and of (28) bodies, and (29) souls of men. vv.12-13 Catalog of the times the false church has trafficked in. There are twenty-eight (Darby has 29) Articles of merchandise listed here. The first in the list is gold & silver (money), the last is bodies & souls. SHows where her primary concern is. v.13 the most fundamental currency of the false church is “the souls of men”. Without bringing men’s souls into legal bondage, none of her success would be possible.
|There are seven categories|
|ornaments||(1) gold, (2) silver, (3) precious stones, (4) pearl|
|Clothing||(5) fine linen, (6) purple, (7) silk, (8) scarlet dye|
|furniture||(9) thyine wood, (10) ivory, (11) precious wood, (12) brass, (13) iron, (14) marble|
|Perfumes||(15) cinnamon, (16) amomum, (17) incense, (18) unguent, (19) frankincense|
|food||(20) wine, (21) oil, (22) fine flour, (23) wheat|
|Vehicles||(24) cattle, (25) sheep, (26) horses, (27) chariots|
|Persons||(28) bodies, (29) souls of men|
14 And the ripe fruits which were the lust of thy soul have departed from thee, and all fair and splendid things have perished from thee, and they shall not find them any more at all. v.14 the voice of the merchants is interrupted by a voice to Babylon from heaven. The pleasures that the false church sought rather than Christ have been taken away from her.
15 The merchants of these things, who had been enriched through her, shall stand afar off through fear of her torment, weeping and grieving, V.15 the merchants stand afar off… as if to separate themselves from her.
16 saying, Woe, woe, the great city, which was clothed with fine linen and purple and scarlet, and had ornaments of gold and precious stones and pearls! 17a for in one hour so great riches has been made desolate. vv.16-17A three times you get, “Woe, woe, the great city” followed by particular interest of each group (v.11, v.16, and v.19)… she is a harlot, these men want something from her. Contrast with v.10. The kings of the earth were more shocked that her power has been taken away, but the merchants are more shocked that her material riches are taken away.
Lamentation over Babylon: By the middlemen (vv.17b-19)
17b And every steersman, and every one who sailed to any place, and sailors, and all who exercise their calling on the sea, stood afar off, v.17B it is not only the kings and merchants that have profited by corrupt association with the false church, but the middle men that have transported the goods, etc. In modern terms these would be like brokers, banks, insurance companies, and shipping magnates. A similar lamentation is made over the city of tyre (see Ezek. 27).
18 and cried, seeing the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like to the great city? vv.18-19 COntrast the reasons the middlemen give with the kings (v.10) and the merchants (v.16). These ones are more impressed with the sheer glory of babylon.
19 and cast dust upon their heads, and cried, weeping and grieving, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, in which all that had ships in the sea were enriched through her costliness! for in one hour she has been made desolate. v.19 very clearly we see that the middlemen made their money off of the trade generated by the corrupt associations of the false church. Her lusts opened up a lot of opportunities for them to get rich.
Heaven rejoices over babylon’s fall (v.20)
¶ 20 Rejoice over her, heaven, and ye saints and apostles and prophets; for God has judged your judgment upon her. v.20 a contrast to the lamentation. Heaven had already passed sentence on her, and When the apostle’s and prophets were on earth they passed judgment on the corrupt relgious system although only in a seedling form at that time. Now God judges from heaven and it is the same judgment. This should exercise us to pass judgment as well.
The Final Destruction of Babylon as a City (18:20-24)
21 And a strong angel took up a stone, as a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall Babylon the great city be cast down, and shall be found no more at all; v.21 A new angel appears, and a new scene. Now we are going on the end of the week, the final destruction of babylon. A similar description of the overthrow of ancient Babylon is found in Jer. 51:60-64. Those verses are prophetic of the destruction of the last gentile empire, so we are inclined to think Rev. 18:21-24 are speaking about the destruction of the political beast. It is final because it say she “shall be found no more at all“. she was known for being a snare to the these “little ones” (Luke 17:2). with no ark (christ) TO LIFT HER ABOVE THE WATERS OF JUDGMENT, SHE SINKS BENEATH THE WAVES, NEVER TO RISE.
22 and voice of harp-singers and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters shall not be heard any more at all in thee, and no artificer of any art shall be found any more at all in thee, and voice of millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee, vv.22-23 A poetic account of her utter desolation. There are five natural joys that will be taken away from her:
- Flute and trumpet players – natural joy of music
- Artists – natural joy of creativity
- Sound of a millstone – the joys of everyday life
- the light of a lamp – the warmth of family and friends
- voice of bridegroom and bride – the natural joy of marriage
there is nothing wrong with these things intrinsically, but they are in association with evil.
23 and light of lamp shall shine no more at all in thee, and voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard no more at all in thee; v.23a Compare with Jeremiah 25:10.
vv.23b-24 two reasons for her utter destruction:
23b for thy merchants were the great ones of the earth; for by thy sorcery have all the nations been deceived. v.23b The first of two reasons is given… she knowing involved others in her corruption. A solemn warning.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all the slain upon the earth. v.24 The second reason is: blood guiltiness. it isn’t just the blood of the martyrs that she is reponsible for. Babylon as the holder of gentile power has started most if not all of the wars in the prophetic earth (WWI, WWII, etc.). The false church is the same moral generation as the sanhedrin rebuked by the Lord in Matt. 23:34-36.
Two Celebrations in Heaven (19:1-10)
vv.1-10 There are two celebrations in this section. and both are in heaven. the first is celebration that the false church has been finally destroyed – a backward look. The second is that the true church is ready for the marriage – a forward look. Often at a marriage we hear “If there be any just cause why these two should not be joined together…” the Harlot’s false claim to christ must be settled once and forever before the marriage can go forward.
Because the mystery of iniquity has been closed (vv.1-5)
¶ After these things I heard as a loud voice of a great multitude in the heaven, saying, Hallelujah: the salvation and the glory and the power of our God: v.1 “After these things” tells us we have a new scene. There are two celebrations in this section. and both are in heaven. Our focus will not come back to the earth until the Lord appears. The deliverance of the earth, and the manifestation of God’s glory and power are results of the judgment in Ch.17-18 and a theme of praise
2 for true and righteous are his judgments; for he has judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and has avenged the blood of his bondmen at her hand. v.2 United heaven (Every family in heaven, not specific) vindicate God in his righteous judgment of the whore. Two chief reasons are cited for her judgment:
- Religious corruption for financial gain
- Physical Violence toward any who would speak the truth
3a And a second time they said, Hallelujah. v.3a This doxology begins and ends with Hallelujah, which means praise Jehovah. The Hebrew phrase is found four times in this celbration (vv. 1, 3, 4, 6) and nowhere else in the New Testament.
3b And her smoke goes up to the ages of ages. v.3b The doom of Babylon is an everlasting witness to the righteous judgment of God (compare with Isa. 34:10).
4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and did homage to God who sits upon the throne, saying, Amen, Hallelujah. v.4 We have noticed four other triggers for the worship of the redeemed saints (see Rev. 1:5; 4:9; 5:8; 11:16), now we have a fifth:
- the Mention of the Name of Christ (Rev. 1:5)
- the GLORIOUS TRUTHS AS TO THE NATURE OF GOD (Rev. 4:9)
- THE THOUGHT OF CHRIST HAVING HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE (Rev. 5:8)
- The public vindication of God in his righteousness (Rev. 19:4)
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his bondmen, and ye that fear him, small and great. v.5 Now the throne – the symbol of God’s government – speaks, calling for all who recognize the soverignty of God to worship him.
Because the mystery of god is now fulfilled (vv.6-10)
¶ 6 And I heard as a voice of a great crowd, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah, for the Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power. v.6 the “great multitude” in v.1 included the bride, but this multitude is separate…. it is the friends of the bridegroom. this is the moment anticipated in Rev. 11:15. This fourth Hallelujah is the expression of heaven’s joy in the accomplishement of the mystery of Christ and the Church:
- the glory of Christ is secured (v.6) – christ is stepping up to his throne
- the desire of His heart is fulfilled (v.7) – The marriage of the lamb has come.
In these two things we see the fulfilment of all the counsels of God for Christ and His church (Eph. 1:9-11).
7 Let us rejoice and exult, and give him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. v.7 It is the marriage of the Lamb. It is His joy that is ESPECIALLY in view. It is not the marriage of the bride (“Her day”) but his… it is all about him. It follows the Jewish wedding tradition. Who is the wife? Eph. 5:32 – it is the assembly, all saints between Pentecost (Acts 2) and the rapture (1 Thess. 4:17). Now that the wife has come into view, the term “elders” is never used again!
The terms “wife” & “Bride” are both used for the Church in Revelation. “wife” has the thought of assitng him in the administration of the kingdom. it is used at the marriage (rev. 19:7) and in the millennum (rev. 21:9). “wife” is discontinued in the eternal state (Rev. 21:2) and “Bride” is used only, which speaks of the satisfaction of his heart. Opposite from earthly weddings, our “early years” are administrative as well as intimate, but our “honeymoon” is eternity!
8 And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. v.8 She has made herself ready by devotion to Christ throughout her pathway, and by receiving rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “it was given her” – God’s soverignty. “righteousnesses of the saints” – man’s responsibility. Not showy like the Harlot, who “arrayed herself”.
9a And he says to me, Write, Blessed are they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. v.9a we had the marriage of the lamb in v.7 (which is for the Lamb’s enjoyment, a private affair – Eph. 5:27 “present her to himself”) and now we have the marriage supper in v.9 which is for the guests’ enjoyment. “blessed” or “happy” are those who are there to witness the occasion. the “friends of the Bridegroom” (John 3:29) will include every heavenly saint (excepting the wife) including the tribulation martyrs (Rev. 14:13), babies who died, etc. Note: no one feels defrauded if they aren’t the bride… rather “Blessed” or happy.
9b And he says to me, These are the true words of God. v.9B Affirmation of the grand truths of Rev. 19:1-9A.
10a And I fell before his feet to do him homage. And he says to me, See thou do it not. v.10a Overcome by these wonderful communications, John makes a human mistake. To worship even the most exalted of God’s creatures is idolatry. Both angels and saints worship God and his son, and the angel doesn’t accept what is due to god alone.
10b I am thy fellow-bondman, and the fellow-bondman of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Do homage to God. v.10b at the most basic level, saints and angels are fellow-bondmen. All intelligent creatures recognize that they owe all to god.
10c For the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. v.10C the object of prophecy is the Official kingdom glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “is” could be an “=” sign, a reciprocal expression ↔:
- Any true prophecy will be consistent with Jesus’ PERSON.
- Jesus’ person is the spirit of all the prophetic scriptures.