Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 19

The reaction in heaven to Godís judgements

Revelation 19:3

Cruel people like to see their enemies suffer. That was how many people expected the inhabitants of heaven to behave at the defeat of Babylon (18:20). Babylon had dealt cruelly with Godís people for many centuries (18:24). Now Babylon itself must suffer.

The Book of Revelation records many terrible judgements and many severe punishments that must happen. The people who suffer in these judgements and punishments are wicked people; they are fierce enemies of God and his people. However, it does not please God that wicked people must suffer punishment (Ezekiel 18:32). Godís servants have a similar attitude. Therefore, there are no great expressions of joy in heaven at the judgements and punishments in the Book of Revelation.

There is, however, the frequent declaration that Godís judgements are right, for example in Revelation 15:3, 16:5-6 and 19:2. He is the judge of the whole world; everything that he decides is right and proper.

Perhaps only here in Revelation 19:3 do Godís servants praise him for a judgement. That may be because they prayed for this judgement in Revelation 6:9-10 (compare Revelation 18:24). It is right for them to express thanks when God answers their prayer. They praise him because the punishment of Babylon is both complete and permanent. Godís people do not praise him because of the punishment that their wicked enemies must suffer. They praise him that he has dealt with the cause of their troubles. He has ended the power of Babylon, and it cannot continue its acts of cruelty. It can never have any power again. It will never again murder Godís people.

Babylon took the responsibility for all the murders on earth (18:24). Here, Babylon seems to be a word-picture for peopleís selfish and cruel behaviour. Godís law says that there must be a proper punishment for murder. Until that punishment has happened, murder ruins the earth (Numbers 35:33).

At the proper time, that punishment will happen. Immediately before Christís return, God will defeat Babylon and everything that ĎBabyloní means. Then, at last, the earth will be clean and ready for Christís rule to begin.

Next part: Godís government (Revelation 19:4)

 

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© 2016, Keith Simons.