Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The response of heaven (Revelation 19:1-5)

The response of those in heaven concerning the destruction of the earthly city is detailed in Revelation 19:1-5. Three responses are mentioned. The first is from a great multitude. They could be angels or saints, but since they speak of salvation it is more likely that they are believers. Their song indicates that they see the judgement on the city as connected to the divine provision of salvation. They sing about divine justice, which is here divided into his response to the immorality of the earthly city and his vengeance on those who murdered his servants. They praise God for his amazing power that can overcome this strong expression of evil, indeed a combination of many kinds of evil.

The second group are the angelic beings who are located closest to the divine throne – the cherubim and the twenty-four elders. Their posture as well as their words are described. They bow in worship and praise God for his actions of judgement on the city.

The third speaker is seated on the divine throne (v. 5) and it is the voice of Jesus urging all his people to praise and reverence God whatever their social status. Some commentators don’t want to say that Jesus is speaking because they say that he would not say ‘our God’. So they suggest an angel spoke the words on behalf of God. But how can an angel speak from the divine throne? Jesus as the Mediator can use the words ‘our God’ because he is the spokesman for his people.

We can never forget the differences between Jesus and us. Nevertheless, he does refer to the Father as his God, and we also refer to the Father as our God. Jesus mentioned both these relationships when he spoke to Mary Magdalene on the day he rose from the dead. So it is possible to interpret verse 5 as an exhortation from Jesus to his people.

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