Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 19

God, the avenger of blood

Revelation 19:2

The crowds in heaven first praised God for his powerful acts and for his wonderful character (verse 1). Then in verse 2, they begin to praise him for his right judgements. They declare that his judgements are correct and proper. He is the judge of the whole world, and he has judged rightly.

In particular, they refer to his judgement against ‘the great prostitute’. A prostitute is a woman who offers herself for sex to earn money; here, however, it is a word-picture for Babylon (17:5).

It is clear, however, that the crowd are not just praising God for the defeat of one city. Babylon is itself a word-picture for something much greater. The selfish and evil behaviour, that Babylon’s people followed, controls people across the whole world. It has caused the most terrible crimes to happen - even the murders of God’s people. People across the world have behaved like prostitutes because, by such behaviour, they are selling themselves to the devil. All that must end - but it can only end by the judgement of God.

Numbers 35:16-31 describes the ancient rights and duties of the avenger of blood. The avenger of blood was the person who, after a murder, had the duty to find and to kill the murderer.

In Revelation 19:2, God himself has claimed the right to be the avenger of the blood of his servants. (Actually, the original language says ‘his slaves’ - they belong to him.) In Revelation 6:9-10, they had asked him to do that. Now he has acted; he has defeated their cruel enemy, Babylon. So, God’s people all join together to praise him.

Next part: The reaction in heaven to God’s judgements (Revelation 19:3)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.