“After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” Revelation 19:1-6 New American Standard Version
Most all of us are familiar with the Hallelujah Chorus, but perhaps less well appreciated is that the word or expression, “Hallelujah” does not appear in the New Testament writings until Chapter 19 of the book of Revelation. It appears or is heard in connection with the fall of Babylon. The immediate context is the two preceding chapters – 17 & 18. But for a much greater perspective on the full significance of Babylon and its fall we have to go all the way back to Genesis, Chapter 11:
“Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:1-9 NAS
Right from the beginning, Babylon is pregnant with meaning! From here, to Revelation Chapter 19, stopping off at the book of Daniel is also helpful in providing perspective on the truth revealed in and by Babylon.
While we don’t normally associate the Hallelujah Chorus with the fall of Babylon, (and who knows what was in Handel’s understanding when he wrote this monumental song) in the context of the New Testament, it has to do with the fall of Babylon. The greatness of Handel’s masterwork does suggest that we stop for a moment here on the brink of current events, and think about the multifaceted significance of the Fall of Babylon. The Biblical perspective on this economic collapse (i.e. the perspective of Heaven and the saints of God) is that this disaster is a long awaited cause of celebration.
P.S. Hint: common language is not unlike a common currency – wrong language – wrong currency. A city, and a tower in our day, more often than not is a bank building or a financial center.
By Jay Ferris, originally posted Feb. 24th, 2012