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Exultation in Heaven, over the fallen Babylon, and upon
the approach of the New Jerusalem.
CHAP. xix. ver. 1-10.
| And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia ; salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God:
2 For, true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication ; and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand,
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
4 And the four-and-twenty elders, and the four beasts, fell down and worshipped God that sai on the throne, saying; Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying ; Praise our God, all his servants, and
that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia ; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him : for, the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fiue linen, clean and white : for, the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me; Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him: And he said unto me, See thou do it not : I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus : worship God : for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Ver. 1. And after these things, &c.] In the 20th verse of the last chapter, Heaven, as described in ch. iv. and the saints, who are stationed in grand chorus before the throne, (ch. xv. 2.) are exhorted to rejoice over the fall of Babylon. The representation of this fall being now completed, we hear the
Ib. Allelujah!) Heb. Praise ye Jehovah ! word of holy exultation, which hath passed into many languages even of the heathens, both ancient and modern. This song of praise breaks forth on the fall of the harlot, -of Babylon ; and as she falls by the last vial, it has retrospect to that vial, and to the rest, which are preparatory to her fall.
Ver. 4. And the twenty-four elders, &c.] The song of praise is begun by the redeemed saints, in conjunction probably with the innumerable
of angels. The elders, and the cherubim, who are near the throne, sing the antiphonal “ Allelujah, Amen.” Thus the song beginning, from the lowest, advances to the highest orders of heavenly beings;' from “ the redeemed from amongst men,” to the cherubim, who are “in the midst of the throne and around the throne,” (ch. iv. 6;) till at length a voice proceeds from the throne itself, (ver. 5.) joining in the same harmony, and exhorting all the servants of God, of every rank and degree, to praise him. The exhortation is immediately obeyed.—And magnificent is the effect, when all unite their accordant voices, to sing praise to the almighty King; who, by destroying the impure harlot, (which had usurped the name of his Church upon earth,) had prepared the way for the Virgin-Bride, the true Church, who is now to be owned and espoused publicly by her Redeemer.
i See Schleusner or Parkhurst, in voc. 2 See notes, ch. iv. 9, 10.
3 And therefore the elders are mentioned here before the cherubim, as observed in note, ch. iv, 6, 9.
Ver. 7. The marriuge of the Lamb is come.] The holy and mystical union of Christ with his Church, is frequently mentioned in Scripture, (Isa. liv. 5; Jer. iii. 14; Hos. ii. 19, 20; Matt. xxii. xxv ; 2 Cor. xi. 2; Eph. v. 22–32.) The harlot, pretending to be that spouse, (ch. xviii. 16,) having been now convicted of fornication with the worldly powers; having been judged, and eternally discarded; the attention in heaven and earth is naturally turned to that chaste and pure Virgin, (2 Cor. xi. 2,) who is now to be presented to her Lord. The choral song brings her to view: arrayed, not " in purple and scarlet, and gold and precious stones ;” not in worldly splendour, like the harlot; but in the pure, simple, but resplendent garments, which are the clothing of the heavenly inhabitants. She had “ washed her garments, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb,” (ch. vii. 13.) By faith in her Redeemer, she is become righteous; for this is “the fine linen, the righteousness of the saints.”
Ver. 9. And he saith unto me, Write.] From the first opening of the vision, which exhibits “the judgment of the great harlot,” an angel, one of the seve had graciously accompanied the prophet, explaining to him the mystery, (xvii. 7.) This vision now closes with the triumphal chorus in heaven. The angel then orders him to write what he had seen; which was to be delivered to the seven Churches, and not to be sealed or suppressed with the prophecy of the
1 Matt. xxviii. 3; Rev. iv. 4; ii. 5, where see the note; xv. 6.
seven thunders, (ch, x. 4.) He then fixes the attention of the prophet, and of those who are to read what he thus writes, on the due application of what is now represented. “ Blessed are they who are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb !” Blessed are they who by the grace of God, co-operating with their own endeavours, “ make their calling and election sure,” (2 Pet. i. 10;) who, having on the “ wedding garment” of righteousness, (Matt. xxii. 11,) become entitled to “sit down to meat” in the kingdom of heaven, (Luke xii. 37.) The angel then concludes with this solemn assurance : “ These are the true words of God." All that thou hast now heard and seen, will assuredly come to pass.
Ver. 10. And I fell down before his feet, &c.] The prophet, affected with astonishment at what he had beholden and heard, and with veneration and gratitude towards his heavenly conductor, follows the natural bent of his feelings; and falls down before the angel, to express them, after the custom of the eastern nations. But the angel renounces this kind of adoration, ranking himself only where other intimations of Scripture have placed him and his fellowangels, “ as a ministering spirit, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation,” (Heb. i. 14.) The prohibition to worship angels, or any other being than God, is repeated in chapter xxii. 9, and, thus repeated, contains a very strong injunction against that angel-worship in which a great part of the Christian world has been involved.
Ib. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.) My office (says the angel) for which you honour me, is of the same kind with yours; I support the testimony of Jesus, by bringing prophecy from heaven; you and your fellow-servants perform a similar duty on earth, supporting the same testimony, by preaching, confession, martyrdom, &c.; even in the present instance, we are fellow-servants of the same Lord. I show to thee the vision from heaven, thou writest it for the use of those who inhabit the earth. Let us both worship God, and God only.