Wednesday, 30 June 2021
For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” Revelation 19:2
The loud voice of the great multitude in heaven that began to cry out praise to God in the previous verse now continues with the words, “For true and righteous are His judgments.” The word translated as “true” has already been seen five times in Revelation. It is an adjective that connects what is true with its source of origin. It is thus that which is genuine.
The word translated as “righteous” speaks of that which conforms to God’s own being. As these describe His judgments, it means that they are made in connection with His character and nature. What has been determined by Him is in perfect accord with who He is. Of His judgments, they next cry out, “because He has judged the great harlot.”
This takes the reader back to Chapter 17 –
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’” Revelation 17:1, 2
From there, Chapters 17 and 18 detailed the state of Babylon the great, exposing her wickedness, and then detailing the Lord’s judgments upon her. These came in complete accord with His perfect and holy nature. She reaped what was deserving because it was she “who corrupted the earth with her fornication.”
The word translated as “corrupted” is in the imperfect tense (literally “was corrupting”) demonstrating the continuous nature of her fornication. Through her actions, the earth was continuously being corrupted.
One can think of the false teaching of Roman Catholicism. Instead of sharing the gospel, which is by grace through faith, she is teaching a false works-based gospel. Instead of revealing Christ to the world, she is consolidating power and setting forth agendas. In her actions, there is only a corrupting influence, hidden behind the guise of religion. The corrupting nature of Babylon the great brought only corruption, “and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”
These words demonstrate that, above all, the judgment against her is because of the great blood guilt she bears. She has been behind the death of innumerable martyrs through “holy wars,” inquisitions, neglect of the gospel to those who should have heard it, and on and on. In Revelation, one can see that idolatry and persecutions stand as her most eminent traits as her influence has spread out and corrupted the earth.
The words of this verse witness against Babylon the great, but they also are a fulfillment of the promise made to the martyrs recorded in Chapter 6 –
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:9-11
The Lord is the Avenger of Blood of those who were slain by this harlot, and He acted to right the wrongs done against them. Of note is that the Hebrew word for “kinsman redeemer” and for “avenger of blood” is the same, goel. In other words, Jesus Christ is both our Redeemer and our Avenger.
As such, His judgments are both true and righteous. His judgment of Babylon is the obvious outcome for her because of her violations against His redeemed. She was judged in righteousness and her judgment is both complete and final.
Life application: God’s nature is seen in many more moral virtues, love, holiness, righteousness, truth, and so on. Love is one of them, but to proclaim the love of God only, without proclaiming His other moral qualities, is to proclaim a heretical view of His nature. It is like denying the Trinity because God’s nature must be considered in its fullness, or one has created a god in his own mind and to fit his own desires.
This verse proclaims two of his moral virtues – righteousness and justice. As these express His very nature, it means that judgment for wrongdoing must come from Him. He cannot arbitrarily overlook offenses. All must be met and judged according to His perfect nature.
As there are many chapters between the saints call for their blood to be avenged, and the actual record of that having been done, we can understand other aspects of God’s nature. He is orderly because He has a predetermined concept of when His justice and righteousness will be displayed. He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but to come to a saving knowledge of His work through Jesus. He is merciful, not taking vengeance immediately on the sins committed by the people of the world. In fact, if He did, no person would be alive because we are all fallen, and we would all be destroyed immediately. He is also holy, full of grace, and truthful. Each of these qualities is revealed in the pages of Scripture.
God is great, and so it is of the utmost importance that we do not lose sight of any of His moral virtues or attempt to place one above the others. They are a part of His very nature. To skew His nature can only lead others to a false understanding of Him. As you read the Bible, think on how God’s nature is revealed in His actions and in how those actions are presented. In this, you will get a much fuller sense of what God is truly like. When you get this better grasp of Him, you can then more fully appreciate the incarnation. God’s expression of Himself through the incarnation gives us the fullest sense of who He is. What you understand concerning God is perfectly revealed in our Lord, JESUS.
Lord God, You have given us a detailed and accurate revelation of Yourself in the pages of the Bible. Help us to contemplate who You are, what You are like, and to then always act in accord with what we see recorded there. Help us to be faithful followers of You. May we emulate our Lord Jesus who is the full expression of who You are. Thank You for our Lord Jesus. Amen.