Marriage & Worship

The contrast between heaven and earth is hard to miss when we read the Scriptures. One difference is that heaven is God’s dwelling place, while people dwell on earth. Also, heaven is said to be above, while the earth is below. Further, heaven is a place of perfection, while earth is a place of sin and suffering. We see these contrasted further in the reactions of heaven and earth to Babylon’s fall (Rev 17-19). Revelation 18 emphasizes the mourning of the kings, the merchants, and the people of the sea. When Babylon goes down, so do the hopes of these people of the world. Revelation 18 also highlights heaven’s joy, with a command to rejoice at Babylon’s judgment (Rev 18:20). This raises a question about the appropriateness of joy in another’s punishment. The early verses of Revelation 19 answer this concern by putting heaven’s joy in words. The key word of heaven’s joy is hallelujah. Hallelujah appears four times in the first six verses of Revelation 19. It’s a Greek (and English) transliteration of a Hebrew phrase that means, Praise Yahweh! The importance of this praise expands when we see the words, Give praise to our God in v5. Although it means the same as the Hebrew phrase, in v5 it is the Greek translation of Hallelujah! So the joy of heaven in Babylon’s demise is about God’s praise, especially since this is His purpose (Rev 17:17). These words explain that heaven’s praise isn’t a signal of spite but a symbol of justice. In destroying Babylon, God avenges the blood of His servants (Rev 19:2). With this understanding, we expect the reactions of heaven and earth to differ in this matter. The people of Earth see only the bottom line and their prosperity destroyed. The citizens of heaven see the purpose of God fulfilled and His character displayed. To that end let us join the praise of heaven acknowledging God’s glory in destroying the once great Babylon. –Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: 1 John 5:6-12–Receiving the Witness

10AM: Pastor Nate–Marriage & Worship–Revelation 19:1-10 (sermon notes)

6PM: Evening Gathering @ The Waters–Song of Solomon 1:8-2:6

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