Thursday, 1 July 2021
Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” Revelation 19:3
The rejoicing over Babylon the great continues now with the words, “Again they said.” The Greek reads, “And a second time they said.” There is specificity to the word because what is said is forming a pattern that will be explained in a minute. For now, what they said is, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” The Greek reads “to the ages of the ages.”
The rejoicing over Babylon is great as her burning reaches skyward. It is as if her destruction is an offering before the Lord as the billows rise. The thought of smoke rising in this manner takes the reader back to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah –
“And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.” Genesis 19:27-29
Concerning these “Alleluias,” they are forming a pattern that corresponds to the four expressions of deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6, 7 which state –
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
These two verses, given by God to His people form the basis of the works of Jesus in redemptive history and which culminate in the joyous expressions found in Revelation 19. Though not found in Scripture, it is worthy of note that during the Passover ceremony, the people of Israel have four cups of wine present during the rite. The first cup is the Kiddush (meaning “sanctification”). It accompanies the thought “I will bring out.” Thus, it is the cup of salvation.
It was prefigured in the “taking out of the people from Egypt,” but it is realized in the act of removing from God’s people Babylon the great, the system of false religion, and into the kingdom of Christ. Thus, believers are “sanctified” in the presence of a holy God. When the first “Alleluia” was given, along with it the great multitude proclaimed, “Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”
The first cup is realized in the salvation and thus “sanctification” of the people as they are removed from the penalty of sin.
Now, we see the second “Alleluia.” This corresponds with the second cup of the Passover, the Maggid (meaning “preacher”). It accompanies the thought “I will deliver.” Thus, it is the cup of deliverance.
This was prefigured by the “delivery from Egyptian slavery,” but it is realized in the deliverance from slavery to sin and the oppression of Babylon the great. When this “Alleluia” is given, the great multitude proclaims, “Her smoke rises forever and ever.” Just as the Egyptians were destroyed and unable to recapture the Israelites, Babylon the great is destroyed and will never again be able to harm God’s people – her smoke rises forever and ever.
The second cup is realized in the delivery of the people from the power of sin.
There are two more cups that come during the Passover ceremony, and they continue to prefigure the heavenly chorus as the people of God move closer to their ultimate state in His presence.
Life application: The Bible is a marvelous book, filled with patterns and typology. And it is all centered on the Person and work of the Messiah. Be sure to read it daily, contemplate it always, and let it fill your heart and soul with the hope that it provides to man. The restoration of all things is coming, and it is the Bible that gives us the grand plan in how that is being worked out.
God is doing a great thing for His children. To become one of them, call out for God’s offer of peace and reconciliation. Call out for JESUS.
Thank You Lord for the surety that we are not waiting on the coming of the Messiah, but on the second coming of the Messiah! We have in Jesus complete freedom from the penalty of sin. We can grow in holiness because the power of sin has been removed from us. How we long for the day when we are removed from the presence of sin as well! Yes, how we look forward to that day! Amen.