If, as is true, everything that God does is perfect and praiseworthy, even His acts of judgment, and if, as is true, believers ought to praise Him on earth, even on a cursed earth and in the presence of sin and its consequences, it should not surprise us that those in the perfection of heaven and viewing the glory of God directly should be consumed with worship, adoration, and praise. Today’s hymn, the final one recorded in The Revelation, might well be titled: “Four Hallellujahs,” i.e., “Praise the Lord!”
The Timing of the Hymn. “The great city, Babylon, the strong city” (Rev. 18:10), will be the seat of power for the Antichrist during the tribulation. In the eighteenth chapter of Revelation, the destruction of its immense worldwide commercial power is chronicled. That God-ordained collapse is the harbinger of the return of Christ in glory with His saints to destroy His enemies, to set up His throne in Jerusalem, and to begin His millennial reign. It is between these two momentous events of judgment that we will join the unified chorus as one “loud voice of a great multitude in heaven” (19:1) and sing this song.
The Text of the Hymn.
Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;
Because His judgments are true and righteous;
For He has judged the great harlot [Babylon]
Who was corrupting the earth with her immorality,
And He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.
But that’s just the first verse, for John explains that “a second time they said”:
Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.
But that’s not the end either. Apparently, we will all be standing during these two verses. But before the third verse, the church and the four living creatures will all fall down and worship saying:
Still, we have not finished. For then a voice will come from the throne commanding everyone assembled to “Give praise to our God,” at which point, we will join those who, with “something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder,” sing:
Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns.
The Theme of the Hymn. For some six millennia of human history, God, in a demonstration of infinite mercy and longsuffering, has allowed depraved, rebellious men to thumb their collective noses at Him. But after seven years of horrendous judgment, during which men’s hearts will be only hardened more and more, God will say, in effect, “Enough.” And that will be that. Christ will come; He will destroy the rebels; the one- thousand-year kingdom will begin; and “the Lord our God, the Almighty” will reign. Thenceforth, sin and rebellion will be dealt with swiftly and with a rod of iron. And after it is fully demonstrated that just as horrendous universal judgment did not soften men’s hearts toward God, neither will a millennium of holy, righteous, beneficent rule by Christ turn men’s hearts to Him (for only the Holy Spirit doing God’s foreordained work can bring men to God). Then will come the final sentencing of the unregenerated at the Great White Throne Judgment. And “the Lord our God, the Almighty” will usher in eternity. Saints, wet your lips, clear your throats, and take a deep breath because you are about to break forth in singing!
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