*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Revelation 19:1-2 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Revelation 19:1
  • Revelation 19:2

The saints and angels in Heaven praise God now that Babylon (the fallen world system) has been defeated. They declare God the Righteous Judge who has rescued the corrupted earth from its evil rulers. He has avenged the believers who were put to death under the antichrist’s reign.

Revelation 19 begins with the phrase After these things. The phrase these things refers to the events of the previous chapter, in which the world system, called “Babylon” is thrown down. With the demise of this world system comes the end of persecution for believers, those who had been faithful witnesses, even unto death:

“And in her [the world system that is Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth”
(Revelation 18:24)

This demise of the world system is a cause for great rejoicing in heaven. We saw in Chapter 6 the prayer of the martyrs slain for their witness, longing for justice to be applied to their murderers:

“…and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
(Revelation 6:10)

Justice has been brought upon the entire world system that has persecuted and slain God’s faithful witnesses (“martyreo”). John now sees a massive heavenly celebration: I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.”

The word Hallelujah is a transliteration of the Hebrew phrase “Hallelu-Yah” and means “Praise Yahweh.” The great multitude in heaven now appears to pronounce this phrase in unison, and to John’s ears it sounds like a loud voice. This indicates the many are speaking as though they are one. This might indicate that the great multitude has rehearsed this statement, to be stated at this moment in history.

The great multitude pronounces their praise beginning with a statement of fact. They note that Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. The great multitude clearly has in common that they follow God, given that they say our God.

The word translated Salvation is “soteria.” Like the verb form “sozo,” it refers to someone or something being delivered from someone or something by someone or something. In this case, clearly God is the deliverer. God delivers many people from many things. He delivered the human race from the penalty of sin through dying on the cross (Colossians 2:14). He delivers each believer from the power of sin (and its negative consequences) working in their lives any time that believer walks in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). God also promises to deliver creation from the futility of the fall (Romans 8:22). Here the context of the great chorus refers to God delivering His faithful witnesses from the world system, called “Babylon” that has resisted and persecuted His people. This is part of a sequence of events where:

  • Satan is removed from being the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 16:11; Revelation 12:9-10).
  • The world system is defeated (Revelation 18).
  • Jesus descends and takes rule of the world (Revelation 19:17-21).

In addition to salvation belonging to our God, the great multitude pronounces that glory and power also belong to our God. Glory is a translation of the Greek word “doxa” and means someone or something’s essence is being clearly displayed to onlookers. In this case, the great multitude might be noting that God’s character is being clearly displayed in His bringing justice to the world system, called Babylon, that has persecuted and killed His people. God is able to accomplish this because in Him resides all power. The amazing thing is that God has withheld executing judgement for so long. The Apostle Peter tells us the reason God has delayed His return to earth to set things right (justice):

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
(2 Peter 3:9)

God has desired all to become a part of His family and come to know Him by faith. Therefore He has delayed His return. But no more. Now God is going through the process of setting all things right, for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.

The great harlot may also represent the world system, also called “Babylon the great” (Revelation 17:5). By picturing the world system as a harlot, it might emphasize that the world system views people merely as fodder to exploit. The strong exploit the weak for their own pleasure in Satan’s realm. This great harlot world system was corrupting the earth with her immorality. This might include the exploitation of children and women, as well as men.

However, the immorality of the world system includes that the “merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality” (Revelation 18:3). This sensuality also includes the indulgent accumulation of possessions (Revelation 18:11-18).

This passage ends by observing that in these acts of destroying the world system, called Babylon and harlot, God has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her. God has now answered the prayer of the martyrs who called for justice (Revelation 6:10). He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants who were persecuted and slain by the world system. The word translated avenged is also used in Romans 13 to describe the ministry God gave to human government:

“…for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
(Romans 8:4)

God authorized human government after Noah’s flood, after the earth had filled with violence (Genesis 6:11; 9:6). The purpose of human government was to be “an avenger” of evil, in order to prevent the earth from filling with violence again. Preventing violence is a necessary ministry because the essence of “righteousness” (Greek “dikeaosune”) is for the various parts of a system (such as a body) to work in harmony toward a shared purpose. The Greek word “dikeausune” can be translated into English as “righteousness” or “justice.”

According to Psalm 8, God crowned humanity with “glory and majesty” to “rule over the works” of God in creation. For humans to be “just” (Greek “dikē”) is for them to work together in harmony to steward over the earth, consistent with God’s design for it.

Due to the fall of humanity, it seems that Satan took reign of the earth (John 12:31; 16:11) and corrupted it with unrighteousness. Instead of humans serving and loving one another (according to God’s design), the world system under Satan encourages domination and exploitation. Hebrews 2:8 says of the passage from Psalm 8 “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”

By avenging the blood of His bond-servants God is taking a major step toward giving just due for the wrongs done, and beginning the restoration of all things, for the earth to be a place in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). God has now judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, clearing the way to restore the earth to become all it was intended to be, and more.

The term bond-servants is a translation of “doulos” which means “servant.” It refers to those who have been born again into God’s family, by having enough faith to look upon Jesus, hoping to be delivered from the venom of sin and death (John 3:14-15). Revelation is written to believers, God’s servants (“doulos” – Revelation 1:1). Believers, who are God’s servants (“doulos”) can be either faithful, or unfaithful (Matthew 25:23, 26). The major emphasis of Revelation is to urge believers to be faithful, because of the immense rewards God will give to those who are faithful witnesses, and do not fear death, loss, or rejection (Revelation 22:12).

Biblical Text

19 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;2 because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.”

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