It is intriguing, is it not? The event over which sinful men express the greatest lamentation is the same event over which heaven expresses the greatest exultation! I can think of no starker image to describe the difference between the views of each as illustrated here. Men weep for money, sensuality, and immorality—indeed, cannot bear to live without them. The angels and saints utterly despise such things and instead rejoice over their destruction. They instead magnify the name of God—his salvation, glory, power, truth, and justice. They have no greater occupation than to exult in God their Savior and to meditate upon Him and His attributes day and night forever and ever. Worldly things disgust them as much as heavenly things disgust worldlings. The saint remade after the image of Christ and the sinner all but bereft of the image of God are as different as night and day. And this is why they cannot coexist. Oh, for a time the wheat and tares grow together, but then must come the separation (Matthew 13:24-30). And do not bother thinking that the tares will long for the barn. They will hate the barn, only they will know that they shouldn’t, and deserve instead that place which they will hate the more. And they shall hate God and His Christ that they hate the barn and the place they must go. So they shall be forever stuck in that cycle of hate and unrepentant regret. And that is why hell is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But the angels in heaven and the saints on earth cry, “Hallelujah!” And they praise him specifically for judging “the great prostitute” who enticed sinners to destruction. In other words, they praise a God who judges men. On first hearing this, we should stand in fear. After all, we too are sinners. And if we shall be saved, it is only by the blood of Christ; otherwise, we are no different than those who reside in Vanity Fair. It is only by His grace that we stand at all and may look forward to a heavenly dwelling worshiping alongside angels, elders, and cherubim. And we must never lose sight of this. This is why a voice from the throne said, “Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, small and great.” We never lose our fear of Him—that holy regard for who He is and who we are. It is that filial fear, the fear a son has of offending and disappointing his father, of falling out of favor due to sin.
We may rightly rejoice over the fall of Babylon, but not in a self-righteous or arrogant way. We stand by grace alone. So let our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and our mouths with praise. Hallelujah!