APOCALYPTIC HALLELUJAHS (Part 2 of 2)

1.  Radical Holiness

Well, Revelation 18 seems to be one more Bible passage about which some of us will ask questions when we get to heaven.  Meanwhile, it will appear from that passage that some folks will be no less righteous in their private souls and no less deserving of their Holy titles for celebrating the divine termination of an infamous foe.  In fact, to so celebrate will be to obey a heavenly call, but not everyone hears that call, not especially those so focused on the purple and pearls of their Babylon in smoke (like Lot’s wife) that they become unmindful of the cautions from angels; folks so focused on ephemeral earthly sights as to miss eternal heavenly sounds.

2.  The Endless Hallelujahs

I might have had less worry if Revelation 18 were the only Bible passage that bothered my compunctious ethics, but chapter 19 is another.  That chapter seems to continue the insensitive call, as if the previous chapter had not done it enough.  Not only holy priests on the earth but also the entire citizens of Heaven are called upon to join the celebration of Lady Babylon’s fall.  The celebration is not ‘respectfully’ low, but mindlessly loud; the crowd is not discreetly small but callously massive.  What we hear over the festive loudspeaker is the “GREAT voice of MUCH people” (v.1).  Much people, much sound – and that is supposed to be New Testament?

As if one Hallelujah had not been sufficient, “AGAIN they said, Alleluia” (Revelation 19:3).  We hear repeated Hallelujahs toGod from holy folks, for the terrible disaster that has come upon a powerful foe (vv.1,3,4,6).  For a city “utterly burned with fire” (Revelation 18:8), hear what a holy community says to their God: “true and righteous are his judgments” (Revelation 19:2).   The calamity that has caused so much sorrow in one camp is the strange subject of so much joy in the other.  Could that be right?  Is that acceptable under New Testament grace?

Yonder in Babylon, “her smoke rose up for ever and ever” (v.3); on the opposite side, even Elders who should know better join the apparent joyous disorder, “saying, Amen; Alleluia” (v.4).  From the very throne of God also, a voice calls upon God’s “servants” to take praise to Him for the tragedy that has thrown everyone else into abrupt universal grief (v.5).  Could that really be the voice of God?  I still have much Bible to learn!

3.  When I Meet Jeremiah…

Can a people be so insensitive as to thank God for what makes so many others to cry and weep and wail?  A great city goes up in flames and smoke, with a mammoth loss of property and collateral lives, and someone who calls themselves ‘holy’ commends that as the “true and righteous” act of God (v. 2)?   Is that not a misrepresentation of the loving God?  Can they still be called saints who unsympathetically exclude themselves from a common global grief but harken to callous calls to rejoice at another’s pitiable expense? 

Shouldn’t true New Testament saints have interceded for Lady Babylon, than wait and rejoice at her doom?  Should holy priests of God, if they be really so, not have asked their God to show mercy to Babylon until she repented?  Who knows, she might have repented if they had sincerely prayed!  Or are there some who might never repent, despite the many ‘sermons on the mount’ that they hear and the holy bread and wine that they receive?  Are there some who might never change despite how close to the Master they sit at Passovers? 

Where does prayer come for such matters?  Does God answer every prayer point for every person or place? Do intercessors sometimes waste sincere prayers?  What is the line between being spiritual and being merely religious?  Hmm, when I meet Prophet Jeremiah, I will ask him to explain chapter 11 verse 14 and chapter 7 verse 16 of his holy book.

4.  Wedding at Last!

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 fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints (Revelation 19:7-8).

Only after Lady Babylon is judged is the Marriage of the Lamb announced; only after the fake Lady is out of the way does the True Bride appear; only after the abomination has been judged does the celebration commence.  I remember Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel.  Only after that prophet of God had cut off the hundreds of Baal prophets was he able to hear and announce the “sound of ABUNDANCE of rain” to his famished land (1 Kings 18:41).  While those hundreds of false priests roamed the land, sponsored officially by the throne of Jezebel and Ahab, the drought lingered and the land groaned, awaiting rain. 

5.   A Prayer

O Lord, whoever should go for our rains to come in this season, take them off speedily.  Any Babylon of harlotry that must be judged for the Bride of the Lord to be announced and united to her Lord, may she be cut off now, in Jesus name, Amen. 

She has drunk the blood of Your prophets and saints.  Our peace and welfare have never been her pleasure.  Our destruction and sorrow have always been her wine.  So now, her smoke and sorrow cannot be our own sorrow, though the wailing world might call us callous for responding thus to Your just voice.  Amen.

6.  Epilogue

   6 Give back to her as she has given; / pay her back double for what she has done. / Mix her a double portion from her own cup. / 7 Give her as much torture and grief / as the glory and luxury she gave herself. / In her heart she boasts, / ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, /and I will never mourn.’ / 8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: /death, mourning and famine. / She will be consumed by fire, / for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. /20 Rejoice over her, O heaven! / Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! / God has judged her for the way she treated you (Revelation 18:6-8, 20, New International Version).  Amen.

Soon, the land shall again hear the Heavenly Announcer, for afar and then for near, calling understanding apostles and prophets to another rejoicing, as Babylon shall drink of the cup that she so long has served others.  Amen.

 

From The Preacher’s diary,
September 4, 2022.

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