Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Victory! Hallelujah!

"After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (Revelation 19:1).

The fall of Babylon causes the great multitude in heaven to cry out Hallelujah! which means “praise the Lord!” There are four hallelujahs. First, the multitude praises God because He has avenged the blood of His servants. Second, they praise Him because Babylon’s smoke goes up forever, like the smoke that ascended from Sodom. Third, the angels reply with a hallelujah of their own. Finally, the multitude praises God that the wedding of the Lamb has arrived (Revelation 19:1–8).

There are two suppers portrayed in Revelation 19: the marriage supper of the Lamb and the vulture’s feast. The unclean birds are invited to devour the flesh of God’s enemies (19:17–21). We are reminded that in the Bible, the curse of the covenant is to be ripped in half and devoured by the birds. Abraham drove away the birds in Genesis 15:11, but at this feast of vultures, there is no one to drive away the birds from apostate Babylon and the beast. But while the wicked are being devoured, the righteous are feasting with the Lamb.

When Babylon has been destroyed and the marriage supper has been announced, heaven opens and we see a Rider on a white horse (19:11–16). His name is “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Following Him are the armies of heaven. He rides forth to rule the nations (19:11–16). This appearance is usually taken to be a vision of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Babylon has been destroyed, and Christ returns to rule. As we shall see tomorrow, the premillennial interpretation says He returns to rule from Jerusalem for 1000 years. This view holds that the Millennium of Revelation 20 is inaugurated by the coming of the Rider.

There is another interpretation that has had a significant following in church history. In this view, the Rider here means the same thing as the Rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2. He rides forth to conquer, and the armies of heaven symbolize the church. The sword of His mouth is the proclamation of the Gospel. It is a picture of Christ’s missionary conquest of the world, which began nearly 2000 years ago. Christ rode forth to conquer on the day of Pentecost, and He is riding still.

The two interpretations of the Rider can be reconciled this way: Those who see it as the Second Coming can also affirm that Christ rides forth through all history, and those who see it as a picture of Pentecost can affirm that Christ’s coming at the end will complete the conquest. Either way, rejoice that you ride with the Victor.