It may seem odd at first that we should rejoice in judgement, but the fact is that we do it every day. The only time we don’t rejoice in judgement is when the judgement has gone against us. Which is a good reason to be on the right side of history.
We rejoice when the court rules in our favour and we rejoice when the referee rules that our team scored the winning goal, despite the fact that there are now at least a dozen or more miserable losers. Some of which, depending on the occasion, may also lose their livelihood.
As Christians we are to rejoice when God rejoices and celebrate what He commands us to celebrate. One of those occasions is God’s judgement on the earth.
In Revelation 19:1-3, we read this,
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, for His judgements 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. Hallelujah!”
Here, we are told that an awful judgement from which there is no return will fall upon a generation of bakers, handymen, Jewish tele-evangelists and guitarists (collectively known as the great harlot, Jerusalem under the imagery of Babylon, cf. Revelation 18:21-24), will be an occasion for rejoicing.
How is that possible?
It is possible to rejoice not because of what is lost but because of what is taken away.
Hypocrisy, idolatry, faithlessness and adultery are things that have destroyed countless human lives. Here, Christ removes them all.
Our rejoicing is not a rejoicing over the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) but over the removal of wickedness so that what remains is the kind of world in which heartache and despair and loss are no more.
To not rejoice over God’s judgement on the wickedness of the wicked and to not desire it is giving tacit approval for continuing evil.
What evil are you tolerating in your own life right now? What evil would you mourn the loss of? What evil are you refusing to declare God’s judgement on because, in all honesty, you like it?
Is it your husband’s dodgy business dealings that allow you to buy that new pair of Collette Dinnigans’ knickerbockers? Is it the subtle pornographic and adulteress innuendo you’re getting a kick out of in the latest Rom-Com on Netflix?
It is fitting that we rejoice at the victory of Christ over everything that sets itself up against Him, just as we rejoice when the police turn up in the middle of a home invasion in order to arrest the bandits and deliver our children from harm.
Everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of Jesus Christ is destructive. It is the cause of heartache and pain and death in this world. And the appropriate response, to His warnings today, and His judgements to come, is to fall on our faces and sing, Hallelujah!