31 – Joy and Celebration in Heaven
At last, we are very clearly seeing the fulfilment of all that our loving Father has promised us and the resulting outcome for the enemy, which has also been completed. After this there is a tumultuous Hallelujah chorus in heaven, as all the saints praise God for His salvation, glory and power! This is no ordinary celebration; it is heartfelt and the response to the outright victory. The fall of Babylon marks the end of organised evil that has plagued the earth for so long. The city was the final materialisation of the system; its physical, material and tangible expression, which God now razes from the earth, releases the peals of loud rejoicing in heaven! This destruction declares categorically that the victory has been won and comes from the very Throne Room of God. It clearly shows that those in Heaven can ‘see’ and are intimately aware of what occurs on the Earth during this time.
As we have worked through this wonderful study of Revelation, we have certainly received the blessing, which was promised at the outset, Revelation 1:3. It has also been an important reminder that no study is exhaustive, as no one has total knowledge – only God! We have seen through this book what trouble is caused when humans attempt to usurp God’s will and the chaos this has caused right from the beginning. God chose to reveal only limited knowledge, which is such a blessing and protection for us, as we might not wish to see or understand everything that happens in our future! He has given us a general working knowledge, which we need to both encourage and enable us to share all our experiences and all that we know about Jesus. Our mission field is within our circle of influence, and the goal is to pluck many from the cliff edge of hell – what an awesome responsibility!
God is not mocked. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is He, Who has created the Heavens and the Earth. It is in His Hands that they rest. All others who set themselves up in His place are impostors and liars. We need to KNOW in our hearts, that He is the One, to whom we owe our lives, our salvation and our eternal life. The joyous celebration comes from a vast crowd of people who are praising and worshiping God, because of His just judgements. This multitude comprises the promised descendants of Abraham, Genesis 15:1-6 NLT. Abraham believed God for them, and he is watching as God’s promise to him is fulfilled; then Abraham only saw by faith; now he is seeing it in truth!
So, what has God promised you? What are you seeing by faith? Or have you given up on something because it has taken too long? At this point in history, it sometimes feels as if God does not care that evil is multiplying; corruption exhibits itself everywhere, even among the children. Doesn’t it sometimes feel as if Jesus is never coming back? These doubting thoughts can be compared to those of ‘the foolish virgins,’ and look what happened to them! Matthew 25:1-13. God always acts in His time, which is perfect, so be encouraged! Thankfully, in Romans 5:20, we have His promise, “…where sin increased, Grace increased all the more.” Abraham experienced doubts too, but because it was God Who gave the promise and He is faithful, the promise came to pass. So if God can do this for Abraham, what will He do for us? All Abraham did was to believe God and put his faith into action, so his ‘faith-ing’ was credited as righteousness! That’s all we have to do – to believe God’s Word. Has Satan stolen a promise? Might it have been for life, health, prosperity, friendship, family salvation or eternal life? Well, let’s agree together now, to reinstate the promise and to believe God once again. It is never too late! We need to discern what we are entitled to and to discover what Satan has taken from us. “Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. 31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house,” Proverbs 6:30-31. We can claim back seven times what he has stolen! Now the situation is reversed, so this is exactly what is happening to Satan in Revelation; his whole household is judged and he loses everything. This judgement will be to avenge the blood of Christ’s servants, whom he has destroyed. God is no man’s debtor He always repays any, who come against His children; but it is not always in the children’s timing!
God’s judgements are true and just and we know that He is bringing all things together; He is shaking the heavens and the earth once again. The outcome will soon be made manifest; those who love God will see it with their own eyes! Not only is Satan attempting to corrupt the earth by bringing in his own demonic beast system, he is also trying to complement that by bringing in his organization of satanic worship. It will begin – indeed it has already begun – with people emulating the Church (i.e. the cults. They may have some similarities, but with subtle differences!). The focus of worship is not God, but self and possessions – anything but God……! Who or what do you worship? Who or what are the focus of your attention, adoration and thoughts? The corrupt system is known as the great harlot, or prostitute. The earth is full of her sexual immorality; her ways are amoral and their corruption has taken its toll on God’s servants, some of whom have fallen for her wily ways. There’s such a battle between the spirit and the flesh, isn’t there? Many have been tried and tested and some have willingly lost their lives, rather than bow down to the filthy evil that this prostitute uses, in her attempt to ensnare them.
Revelation 19:2 shows that God has judged her. As we read this verse, we are looking ahead at the time that this judgement will happen; we can see this great evil of sexual immorality being poured out on the earth, but we cannot yet see how God will overcome it. In Revelation 19:1-5, the vast throng in Heaven is living at the time of God’s judgement. The group worshiping round the Throne comprises the Church and includes the Jewish evangelists, who have finished their assignment. These people have already witnessed the victory. John has written it down, to enable us to ‘see’ this in part, prophetically, so by faith, we can rejoice with them today. The glorious praise and worship is also a preparation for the Marriage feast of the Lamb. This is such a sharp contrast with the declaration over Babylon from Revelation 18:21-23, that never again would there be any form of light or rejoicing. What a curse!
For a second time, the host in Heaven praises God! The word “Hallelujah!” means praise be to God! The judgement is complete and everlasting. It is not some temporary injunction to prevent Satan from harassing the Believers. No, this is absolute judgement and Revelation 19:4 underlines this by emphasising that the authorities in Heaven fell down prostrate on the ground in complete worship and thankfulness, to the Author of such a great salvation. The reference to the twenty four elders probably refers to the 12 Old Testament Tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles of the New Testament, signifying all the redeemed people of God (Jews and Gentiles) who are represented at this heavenly ‘Praise Party.’
It is our duty as Believers to praise and thank God at every opportunity. It was never intended that we should be ‘closet Christians;’ on the contrary, we must declare the wonderful deeds of the Lord with every opportunity, Romans 8:18-19. Praise is one of the most powerful weapons we have as it silences the enemy, Psalm 8:2. It declares our faith in God’s Word rather than our circumstances, Ezekiel 37:3-4; 37:7; 37:10. It lifts our heart to see things from His perspective, Psalm 103:1-5 and we know that God inhabits the praises of His people, Psalm 22:3 KJV.
Read Revelation 19:6-8
For a third time, the sound of the crowd roars as they praise the Victorious Lord of all the Earth. There is no more opportunity for deception; no one is left to be capable of any further duplicity. Satan has finally lost; he is a defeated foe on his way to serve his sentence, having been judged and found guilty. Jesus reigns; He is the undisputed King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the Bridegroom at His own marriage to the Believers, His Bride; the Church, who has prepared herself for this time. She is radiant, ultimately beautiful and resplendent in her wedding garments of righteousness and truth, Revelation 19:6-8
These two events, the judgement of Satan together with the wicked, and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, signify the culmination of human history, as we know it on the earth and in heaven. This feast is the one that has been longed for and alluded to by Jesus, in His Word to us in several places in the New Testament, Matthew 13:24; 25:1-13.
The focus is very much on the joy and excitement in Heaven, as the vast throng of saved people shout their acclamation of the One True God! He has always been such; the rebellion in Heaven by Satan, who wanted to be like God Himself, has been brushed aside as inconsequential! The background of Satan’s lies has been silenced and the Lord God the Omnipotent reigns Supreme. No wonder such a glorious deafening chorus rises! This jubilation is a response to the call for such joy following the fall of Babylon in Revelation 18:20.
The word ‘Hallelujah!’ comes from two Hebrew words: Hallelu (meaning ‘give praise (to)) and Jah, the shortened form of Jahweh. It means Praise Jahweh! or Praise the Lord! What an amazing and heavenly response……….
A Jewish wedding can be described as having three phases. The first is the betrothal. At the betrothal or engagement, the future husband comes to visit his future wife. A contract of declaration is drawn up and although the marriage is not consummated at this stage, the two would have been considered husband and wife, regardless of their age, even if they are children. Whenever a person becomes a Believer, by asking Jesus to take control of their life, they are adopted into, and become part of the Body of Christ. This is the betrothal stage and will last as long as the Church Age lasts. The mark of the Holy Spirit represents the engagement ring; the outward sign of the inward promise. The future husband would then leave his wife presents with which to beautify herself, for the future wedding ceremony. With the continuing analogy, these presents are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are used to equip us, as we live out our lives with Him living in, and through us, for His purposes and to bring glory to God.
The second phase was the Presentation, when the contract would be presented and the bridegroom would go to the house of his bride, in the company of his relatives and friends, in order to escort her to their new home; the place he has prepared for them. John 14:2-3. At their new home, the marriage ceremony would take place in front of friends and family. The final phase is the Reception – the Marriage feast. Matthew 22:1-14 depicts this as we see Israel, as being too busy to care to come. The invitation is then extended to the Gentiles to come to the feast. In Matthew 25:1-13, the invitation is proffered to all people – Jews and Gentiles – to come by faith in the Groom Himself, Jesus Christ. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is the wedding invitation, and holding this invitation gives us the wedding robe, which is essential to enter the feast.
We cannot buy a wedding garment at the door, or borrow another’s personal invitation! We have to agree with God that we are sinful, having lived our lives in our own strength and recognise that there is no way we can come to Him in our dirty clothes! Only when we repent (saying sorry and turning away from our sins) and invite Jesus to be Lord of our life, will He then exchange our dirty clothes for His pure, fine white linen wedding garment. Yes, it really is that simple!
In Revelation 19, the time for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb has come. The betrothal has happened – the Believers have been grafted into the Body of Christ – and the preparation period (the Church Age) is now at an end. All are now safely gathered in. This is the day for which every Believer has waited. Now all that remains is for the hand of the Bride to be placed in the hand of the Bridegroom’s Father, Who will then pass it on to His Son. The invited guests will all rejoice at the beauty and purity of the occasion. This was the tradition at a Jewish wedding in the days of Jesus, so John subsequently included the description, when he wrote the Book of Revelation. The Marriage Feast reflected the wealth of the Bridegroom’s family and the celebrations would often go on for a week or more. Of course, Jesus is the only Son of the Father, so the celebration and display of the Bride will last a thousand years!
The Father owns it all, and we as Believers are the heirs to His Kingdom. So the Marriage Feast is announced! The Bride is radiant, beautiful beyond imagination, Ephesians 5:27; fit for Jesus her Bridegroom. Her clothes are in direct contrast to the world’s wedding attire; this Bride is clothed in her righteous acts from her right standing with God because of Christ, Revelation 19:8. All the amazing Gifts (of the Spirit) left by Jesus to enable His Bride to prepare herself for the Marriage, are there to enable each Believer to live a life of beauty and service to her future Husband. As the Gifts are used, the user is enabled to live more fully in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, lovingly and sacrificially given by Jesus, Who has said that without Him, we can do nothing, John 15:4-5.
Read Revelation 19:9-10
The angel points out how blessed are those who are called into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Revelation 19:9. Imagine the blessedness of being one of the Bridegroom’s invited guests? We will all walk past the Bridegroom and take our place at the table prepared by Jesus Himself, what Joy! Our focus will not be on the food or décor on the table; the only focus will be our Lover, Friend and Bridegroom, Jesus Himself. Imagine Jesus’ joy having His Bride with Himself at last? Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding when He turned water into wine, now it is His own wedding and He drinks the new wine of the Kingdom, as He promised He would, Matthew 26:29.
All John could do was to fall prostrate in wonder before this angel; what a mistake! Angels, like men and women are created beings, and should know not to treat each other as God. This angel certainly did and gently reminds John not to worship him. (This is the ‘litmus test’ to the appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ in the OT, as He allowed worship, but the angels did not). The angel and all of the Church hold the testimony about Jesus and we have a responsibility to pass this on and explain it to others. This is our calling, our purpose, which is part of our allegiance and work for Jesus. Every time we share our testimony, of all Jesus has done for us and in us, we show the substance of the spirit of prophecy, which points to Him alone, Revelation 19:10. The time has now come for God to settle the account with the godless millions running the earth; the beast, the false prophet and the dragon. Now we move on to the war of Armageddon and the good news is that as soon as Jesus Christ appears, it is finished!
Read Revelation 19:11-21
Here again we see Heaven opened and Jesus appearing on the white horse. This is not His coming in the air to receive His Church 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; this had occurred earlier. This time He is coming with His Church to deal with His enemies and to rule and reign. What a beautiful description of Jesus, Faithful and True, or as the Amplified Bible says “Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, and Steady.” After all this horror there could be no more worthy names for Jesus, as King! People could never dispute His faithfulness to His people and His Father, and they now behold this for themselves, that all He did and said was indeed The Truth. He really is the Way the Truth and the Life and this is the fulfilment of that Word.
Christ comes now to judge and to make war and His judgements are righteousness! This has been going on through time with the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls. For His followers it is hard to see Jesus choosing to make war, but we need to grasp the complete picture of God, not a false image that we may have built to suit our own needs. Christ is certainly a God of unfailing Love, but also of fierce righteous indignation and jealousy. He certainly does not allow the wicked to get away with their evil acts and especially if they are against His children; He is a God of holy vengeance. The world has never seen Him in quite this light before! It has never quite believed in His absolute authority – and in many respects this is still true today – even at this late stage. It still does not believe in His sovereignty! God delights in being our Father and friend, so isn’t it much better to meet Him in His Love, rather than in His wrath? Now human sin reaches such a staggering depth of depravity – that Jesus Himself comes to deal with it – and it must be stopped by force of arms. There will not be much fighting when He joins the battle, as it will all be over in a flash!
Jesus rides out in full and complete authority to deal with Satan and his followers. He is depicted here as Judge and Warrior and His Name is Faithful and True. Jesus’ appearance is one of regal majesty, focussed and intent on what lies ahead. His going is with divine purpose. His eyes are ablaze and the diadem crowns on His head speak of Kingly authority and dominion. The heavenly armies, many, too many to count, follow Him on their white horses and represent His utter Kingship to the ends of the earth. No person who follows Satan will avoid the coming impending judgement.
We know His Name as King of kings and Lord of lords, but we are limited by our mortal understanding. If we attempted to understand the dimension of His power and authority we would never be able to fully comprehend it! That is why the true meaning of His Name – the unfathomable depth, the vast expanse and true nature of Almighty God – is known only to Him. Names in the Bible and in reality speak of the character of the owner; we can only begin to imagine this Name above all names and what it might mean. One day we will discover its full extent; we shall know as we are known, and we will no longer see as in a glass, darkly, but rather face to face, 1 Corinthians 13:12. What an amazing day for all believers.
Those penetrating eyes will look on us too and will show us the amazing love, which has paid the ultimate price for our fallen humanity. Those eyes will look deep into our very beings – and will love us completely, intimately and ultimately, 1 John 3:1. We will see Him for Who He is and for what He has done for us. How fitting that He should ride out in clothing dipped (or soaked) in His own Blood, which was shed for us and for the entire sins of the whole world. Those He is riding out to judge, have decided once and for all, to spurn the salvation bought for them too. They have decided that they don’t want any part of His provision, preferring instead to rely on their own imperfect ideas and capabilities. We need to be regularly asking ourselves, if we are relying on our own strength to make ourselves good enough for Heaven, or on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross? Hebrews 10:14
The King of kings, Who lives in eternal light, now rides out into the darkness. Heaven is opened – and everywhere He goes there is light; Satan can no longer hide. When Jesus came into the world the first time, He came as a helpless baby, full of grace and truth; but now He rides as the Just and all-powerful Judge, Who is waging a war that only He alone can win! He will come with all the Believers and the angels.
The scene is laid out by John for his readers so that there will be no misunderstandings. The Roman ‘Triumphal Procession’ was the highest honour that could be bestowed on a victorious general. It was both public and triumphant! It processed from the Forum up the Via Sacra, Rome’s main street, to the temple of Jupiter that was on the Capitoline Hill, and the general to be honoured was seated on a white horse. First came the spoils of war, which were eventually given to the general’s army and friends. Next came the captives, who had been defeated and captured in battle, disarmed and in chains. Then came the general on his white horse followed by his family, friends, and his army. Later the prisoners were often executed by the soldiers, often one-on-one until they were all dead.
Paul saw this in his time and wrote about it in Colossians 2:15, “Disarming the rulers and authorities, He has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the Cross.” At the Cross, Jesus warned the devil of his impending punishment. We need to fully appreciate that through Christ, we are the victorious ones, so we should not be deceived by the defeated power of Satan and his demons. One Word from God is all we need to be overcomers in ALL situations, not just for some of our problems, but all of them!
The One Who is called the “Word of God” in Revelation 19:13, has been this from the beginning John 1:1-5. He has been the Word of God, since He passed from the eternal into the temporal and returned to eternity to lead people from subjugation to freedom. He came into the human race, not from it, so He alone is honourable, faithful and full of truth. Why, oh why, does mankind find it so difficult to believe and trust in Him? In Genesis 1 He only had to speak and the sun, moon and stars were flung into space and life came out of the dust! He spoke a word to the fig tree and it withered away. He spoke to a storm and saved His friends in a boat. This last battle will be won by a word; The Word. He will speak, that’s all, and His foes will be smitten where they stand. His Name, which is written on His clothing and on His thigh, is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” His Name is Jesus!
Now another invitation is given out to an entirely different feast. This is not an invitation to a wedding feast, but to the birds of the air – vultures and other carrion eating birds, Revelation 19:17-18.
The kings of the earth and the armies of the world, who were led by the beast and the false prophet, gathered together to wage war, initially against each other. However, when they realised that they were both facing the same arch-enemy, Jesus Christ, they quickly decided to overcome their differences and to join forces in the battle against the Rider on the horse and his armies. Suddenly these two architects of evil are removed from the confrontation. The opposing armies are immediately challenged by The One, whom they see as their arch-enemy. This is the end of Armageddon and the beginning of the thousand year reign.
The Antichrist and the false prophet, who had deceived so many by their sorcery, are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire, which will never be extinguished; they will burn for eternity. Then all those who followed them and received the mark of the beast are killed by the sword; the two-edged sword of the Word of God. This is a fitting end for those, who for all their lives have despised the truth of the Word! All the carrion-eating birds of the air sat down to gorge themselves and to clear up! Never has there been such a repulsive worldly banquet! Thank God that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
31 Revelation 19 – Joy and Celebration in Heaven – Challenge Questions.
It is suggested that you answer all the questions in your homework but only do those marked with ‘*’ in your group to save time and give more time to prayer.
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. Can you see your own testimony of your journey as a Christian, in relation to the Jewish wedding described in the notes? What do you have to look forward to and how do you feel about that?
3. *Check out the picture you have of God, is this the One True God as seen in Jesus Christ?
4. How do you feel about the fact that God even has a plan to clean up the earth, after the battle of Armageddon? Are there any battles you have been through that God sorted in such a way, that it looked as if it had never happened?
Read Revelation 20:1-10
5. *Who was holding the key of the Abyss? Whom did he use the chain to bind? How long was he bound? Where was he hurled and why? What happens to him after that? Revelation 20:1-3
6. What does John see in heaven?
7. *What do you understand is the first resurrection? How long will they reign? On what do they miss out?
8. What will Satan do after his time of confinement?
9. What was the outcome of his activity? What was his outcome?
Read Revelation 20:11-15
10. *What activity does John now witness? Does this say that we are saved because of everything we have done? Who has their name written in the Book of Life?
11. What is the second death? What happens to death and Hades?
12. *Is there anything in this chapter to encourage you?