(1) After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
John just saw the vengeance of God executed against his adulterous people. It was the fulfillment of the Law of Moses to accomplish such curses on the house of Israel. Even Jesus prophesied of those days, saying to that generation, “these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.” (Luke 21:22). How significant then are these visions! And now we hear the cry of victory! A great loud “Hallelujah!” – i.e. praise the Lord – we hear from a great assembly in heaven.
(2) for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
The praise to God rings out from the multitude, and for worthy reasons, “his judgments are true and just.” This multitude is praising God for the judgment which he just accomplished with the adulterous bride. She had done much harm to the faithful from the Old Testament to the New, but God “has judged the great prostitute” and he “avenged on her the blood of his servants” (see comments on 16:6; 17:6; 18:20, 24). God has accomplished justice! God has helped his servants!
(3) Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
Hallelujah they cry again! The Lord saves! God has put down the enemy of his people, never more will they rise again! The smoke of the harlot city “goes up forever and ever;” this is a statement of the finality of the judgment.
(4) And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”
We haven’t seen any of the four living creatures since chapter fifteen, and any of the elders since chapter fourteen. We can see for this verse that nothing has changed for them, they still fall before the God of all, praising and serving him. Recall from 4:4 that the twenty-four elders are figure for the faithful people of God who are on earth, but still serve the Lord daily before his throne (Ephesians 2:6). To see these individuals again is very refreshing, especially after the judgment of the harlot city. They are alive and well; and they are victorious in Jesus.
(5) And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
John hears a voice “from the throne” of God. At first it seems logical to say that this must be the Father, or the Son speaking; but the words themselves, such as “praise our God,” suggest a different speaker. John doesn’t seem to know who the speaker is. It may be someone near the throne, or a part of the throne – like the four living creatures. Whatever the case, the real point of the matter is that these words carry the full weight and authority of the throne of God, saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
(6) Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Now “all” the servants of God, “small and great,” respond to the command from the throne, and burst out in a great cry of praise. So great a cry, that John describes it as the roaring of waters, many waters; and the sound was like thunder, mighty peals of thunder! Such a powerful sound from the great multitude of his servants. They begin with “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” Their shout of praise will continue in the following two verse. The first “hallelujah” (19:1) was shouted for the praise of God for judging the great harlot (19:2); the second “hallelujah” was for the completeness of God’s judgment (19:3); this third “hallelujah” is praising God for the marriage of the Lamb to his holy bride (19:7).