SAME SONG, BUT IT'S GETTING MUCH LOUDER: Chapter 19 marks the sixth time now we've read about Christ's ultimate victory, but although these different perspectives unfold parallel to one another in time, each perspective progressively contains more detail. What an amazing picture is painted by John's words here: a great multitude in heaven singing, the 24 elders falling down in worship, and angelic announcements of Christ's wedding to His bride, the Church.
HALLELUJAH CHORUS: Handel's Messiah is a song we most associate with Christmas, but in that it is arguably the pinnacle of Western civilization's musical expression, we ought to associate the song with this incredible wedding feast described in chapter 19. But not only because it's the best music we can imagine, but also because of the primary word sung in the chorus: hallelu-jah (v1, 3, 4, 6). The Hebrew word 'hallelujah' is probably one of the most recognized and used Biblical words, so it might surprise you (as it did me) that chapter 19 is the only place we read this word in the Bible. The next time you hear this word, remember the great victory of Christ it represents. (to be fair, the word is used 21 times in the Psalms, but it always appears in our English translations as "Praise the Lord.")
The church's overarching job is to present the gospel, which literally means 'good news.' The proclamation of this good news is done by proclaiming the grace communicated by God's Word. The second half of chapter 19 tells of the mighty Word of God, the majestic KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, going out of heaven one more time. Only this time, the gospel does not contain any good news at all; only judgment and wrath for the beast and the kings of the earth.
Although God's grace is unconditional, it is not unlimited. There will come a time when God's grace will no longer flow through His Word. All creatures will be required to bow before this Word (Phil 2.10), but only those God has gathered to Him will experience the peace that comes from the Word (v1-10). All those who persist in their sin will face the fury of that terrible swift sword that is the Word of God (v21).