This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 18: Seven Songs About Rome.
Here’s a fun bit of Bible trivia. There is no “J” sound in Hebrew. Jesus’ earthly parents didn’t call Him Jesus, instead they called Him Yeshua–a very common Hebrew name which often gets changed to Joshua in English Bibles today.
Now let’s think about the Name Yahweh. Yahweh was the special Name which God the Father picked for Himself when He established His first Covenant with the Jews. What’s a nickname for Yahweh? Yah. We find both Yah and Yahweh in use throughout the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah 26:4 actually says:
Trust Yahweh always, because Yah, Yahweh alone, is an everlasting rock.
But by the time we substitute “the LORD” for God’s Covenant Name in the Bible, we miss what’s really going on in verses like Isaiah 26:4, and instead we write:
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isa 26:4, NIV)
Okay, so Yah is an alternate Name for Yahweh. Why does this matter? Well, start saying the names of some of those famous Old Testament prophets out loud and see if you notice any patterns: Jeremiah, Elijah, Isaiah, Obadiah. We’re hearing a lot of “Yah” endings, aren’t we? We spell them differently in English—often putting in a j or i for that “y” sound. But the point is that all of these names are ending in God’s nickname of Yah. Once you realize that, it’s hardly a surprise to learn that the meanings of many Hebrew names make direct references to Yahweh.
Isaiah means Yah is salvation.
Obadiah means Servant of Yah.
Elijah means Yah is my God.
Jeremiah means Yah has lifted up.
Guess what you’re really saying when you use the term hallelujah? Do you hear that Yah ending? Hallelujah means praise Yah. So we’re really using the Covenant Name of God the Father whenever we sing hallelujah, and we’re declaring that people should praise Him. It has nothing to do with Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
So what does all of this have to do with Revelation 19? Well, there are several hallelujahs found in this chapter, and when you don’t understand what a Hebrew speaker means by saying “hallelujah”, you miss the fact that these are specific references to Yahweh, not Jesus. Instead of writing hallelujah, we’re going to write praise Yahweh, because that’s actually what’s being meant. The Jews didn’t lump our three Creators into one mysterious blob like we are taught to do today. They were very specific about which God they were praising. To help you understand this, we put the Names of Yahweh and Jesus back in where your Bibles have replaced them with the generic titles of Lord and God. The Name of Yahweh used to be in the New Testament, but early on in Church history it was intentionally removed by those who made copies of the early manuscripts. The way we remove Yahweh’s Name from the Old and New Testaments today only adds a lot of confusion and encourages you to misinterpret the text. Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not one Being with multiple personalities. We have three Gods. They present Themselves as three distinct Beings in the Bible, and we help you see this by undoing the damage which has intentionally been done to biblical manuscripts.
Now in our last chapter, we went through seven songs about the fall of Rome. In those seven songs, the fall of Rome was still being anticipated. Now here in Chapter 19, we suddenly switch to the past tense as believers in Heaven start singing as if the fall of Rome has already happened.
After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in Heaven shouting,
“Praise Yahweh! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of His servants.”
And again their voices rang out: “Praise Yahweh! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!”
Then the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshiped Yahweh, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, “Amen! Praise Yahweh!”
And from the throne came a voice that said: “Praise our God, all His servants, all who fear Him, from the least to the greatest.” (Rev. 19:1-5)
Notice how our choir of twenty-four elders and the four freaky beasts have returned once again to get in on this epic praise fest. Those elders are still in fine form as they fall down on the ground before God (when do they ever get up between bows?). Yahweh alone gets the glory for trashing Rome because Yahweh is who the Jews consider to be the supreme Power. But if you go through the Gospel books, you’ll find Jesus describing both Himself and Yahweh acting as Judges in eternity, so it’s really not correct at all to make Yahweh out to be the only Ruler in this situation. Don’t worry—Jesus’ turn is coming.
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise Yahweh! For Yahweh our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to Him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from Yahweh.”
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of Yahweh, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship God! For the message from Jesus is Spirit inspired prophecy.” (Rev. 19:6-10)
Really?? John tries to worship the angel? How very tiresome. Our Gods detest it when we worship created things, but these Jews are steeped in an idolatrous awe of angelic beings much as we are today. Do you know what the cure for this kind of idolatry is? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how awesome your Creators are. The better you know Them, the more lame and utterly insignificant every other being seems by comparison. It is our lack of understanding about God that leaves us so easily impressed by angels and demons. It’s like thinking dirt tastes good until you finally taste real food. Once you experience the real thing, substitutes just don’t cut it. We should not be giving our worship away to anyone or anything other than our three glorious Lords.
Then I saw Heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its Rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns. A Name was written on Him that no one understood except Himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. (Rev. 19:11-13)
Well, it’s about time for Jesus to get some more time in the spotlight. He’s ditched His slaughtered Lamb costume and now He appears as a majestic Warrior. He’s got those fiery eyes which the Jews associate with supernatural beings, and He’s got many crowns on His head to signify His great Authority.
Today some scholars argue that the John who wrote this Revelation isn’t the same John who wrote the Gospel. Yet notice how John says Jesus’ title is “the Word of God.” That’s a title which John invented for Jesus, and it has caused no end of confusion thanks to the fact that Christians today worship their Bibles and call those Bibles by the same title. Realize that as a Jew entrenched in Old Covenant thinking, the terms God and Yahweh are synonymous in John’s brain. So when he calls Jesus the Word of God, he means that Jesus is the Word of Yahweh. When Jews refer to God’s words, they mean His spoken words, not a book. The title Word of God is a reference to how Jesus is the fulfillment of Yahweh’s spoken prophecies about a Messiah. The title would be better worded as The Fulfillment of Yahweh’s Words. But this would make things too clear, so instead we have this “Word of God” business which leads to endless foolishness about Jesus being the Bible, or the Bible being Jesus or the Bible existing in Heaven since before the creation of the world—it’s all so very painful because we insist on making it far more complicated than it is.
Now this isn’t sweet and friendly Jesus standing on stage here: it’s militant, massacring Jesus. He’s got a massive army behind Him and He’s stomping all over those who defy God. Once again people are likened to grapes in a big vat for making wine and God’s judgment is likened to one of our Creators stomping the life out of us.
The armies of Heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet Yahweh has prepared. Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.” (Rev. 19:14-18)
In the Old Testament prophetic books, Yahweh often alerts scavenging animals to come and feast on the corpses of His enemies. In this passage, references to high ranking rulers and professional soldiers remind us of the scope of God’s power. No human is a match for Him. Here warrior Jesus is taking on the whole world with ease and already predicting the outcome.
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the One sitting on the horse and His army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the One riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies. (Rev. 19:19-21)
When Jesus first showed up in Revelation 1, He had a sword protruding out of His mouth. The sword symbolizes judgment. Here Spotty Domitian leads a massive human army that represents the whole world ganging up against God. Remember that John and his fellow Jews feel like world they live in is filled with hardcore spiritual rebels. Here Jesus is showing John human beings joining forces with demons to try and do their best to conquer God—then He demonstrates how utterly pathetic their best is. In this passage, Spotty Domitian and Bossy Horns both get captured and chucked into Hell. So much for those two beasts. All the humans are mowed down by Warrior Jesus’ mouth sword, and as the vultures start stuffing themselves full of dead flesh, we have just one more beast roaming free: Devil Dragon.
Notice how even though Jesus rides out with a great army in tow, He does all the killing Himself. It isn’t Jesus’ army of tunic wearing warriors who chop down His enemies, it’s one zap with the mouth sword and everyone goes down. God doesn’t strain to keep His creatures reined in. He can easily obliterate us whenever He feels like it.
Well, you know there’s still trouble afoot because no one has mentioned Devil Dragon getting his. At the start of our next chapter, Devil Dragon will get locked away in the underworld for 1,000 years so he can’t deceive people. Wait a minute—what people? Everyone’s just been turned into vulture food. How can there still be whole nations alive and kicking on a planet that’s been scorched, pummeled, shaken, flattened, and bludgeoned? What happened to all of the water being turned to blood and all the grass being burned up? How many times does the human race need to be obliterated? If God doesn’t end this drama soon, He’s going to start looking like He’s incapable of really killing anyone and having them stay dead. The humans in this book are far more resilient than the zombies in those cheesy sci-fi horror movies—you know, the guys that are supposed to be dead, but they keep showing up outside of some woman’s bedroom window at night? Try a whole bunch of vulture snacks who come back to life in the very next chapter. The imagery in this book is so absurdly unrealistic that we’d be laughing if it wasn’t such a grave matter. But the truth is that there’s just nothing funny about the wrath of our Gods. When They get fed up with this planet in real life, it’s not going to be anything like Revelation: we won’t all get mowed down one evening only to spring back to life the next morning. Each of us will only die once, and after that we’re going to immediately receive the consequences for how we responded to our Creators while we were here. Now is the time to take an inventory of your own life and ask if there is any unfinished business between you and the Holy Spirit. If there’s anything we’re learning from Revelation, it’s that we really, really do not want to be someone who our Gods are mad at.