Amen; Alleluia
Revelation 19:1-8
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power…

I. We have in these two words (which sum up and condense the whole spirit and tenour of the adoration of the saints in bliss) a marvellous simplicity of perfected intelligence, blending in one eternity of love and infinity of thought. It would not be heaven if either of these words were wanting; it must be heaven where both are felt. For what is Amen? The perfect receiving of every dispensation from God. And what is Alleluia? The perfect giving back of all praise in every dispensation to the bosom of God. Amen is the open breast to receive; Alleluia is the full heart to return the ray: for Amen gathers all, and Alleluia reflects all: Amen sits still and endures; but Alleluia soars away in praise. The one sets to its seal that God is true; but the other encircles the confession with a crown of glory: and the passing and repassing of their crossing rays is heaven. But let us look for a moment at each component part in the whole, which is not to be divided.

1. Amen is nothing else but the ratification of another's will. Thus Christ, being the ratification, in the counsels of the adorable Trinity, of His Father's will, and perfectly performing it, is called the true "Amen." The promises of our redemption in God are said to be "Yea and Amen." God Himself is called in Isaiah the "God of Truth," or (in the original) the "God of Amen." Thus man's truth comes from God's truth. They who desire to say a full Amen in prayer, must thereby understand that they not only ask or appropriate to themselves all that the mouth of the interceding priest or of the petitioner desires; but far more than this; that there may be on all points agreement between their mind and the mind of God; that whether the prayer be granted or denied, they may equally subscribe with the heart, and say "Amen," and desire that all the mind of God, expressed or unexpressed, may be fulfilled in them. This is indeed to say "Amen." And who can estimate the peace of a mind thus at one with God, which should never turn over a leaf of time before subscribing an Amen to the last? Would you gain such a mind? You must recognise the ever-present care of God. You must seek to acquaint yourself with Him whom you seek to obey. You must not only connect the event with God, and God with love; but you must connect God and all events in one great scheme, of which you see only the outline: you must look on to the grand result of all this complicated work: you must live much in the distant future; and there — not in this preparatory scene, but in that grand development — must learn to ponder reverently on the being, the character, the design of God, till you are able to bring back with you to this lower world your firm Amen.

2. Now consider the word "Alleluia." It is one which, in the letter, is found only in this chapter, where it is several times repeated as the native language of heaven. But that it is known too upon earth, David shows: for in all those Psalms which begin "Praise the Lord," the word is "Alleluia"; yet, doubtless, we shall pronounce it as a foreign word, till we have learnt the accents of our home. Still, even upon earth, we can associate and connect it with our nearest approaches to the future bliss. It is when no cloud comes in between to obscure the light of God's countenance; it is when we read Him in His full and overflowing mercy; it is when we kneel in lowly adoration at the altar, and the Lord whom we seek comes to His temple; it is when we most feel, as then, "This God is our God for ever and ever," that Alleluia, unprompted and untaught, is wont to flow. Had we to define Alleluia as it regards God, we should say it is admiration of God, affection to Him, joy in Him. Had we to define it as regards man, we should call it a present bliss, the earnest of a bliss future, and deeper still.

II. It is not needful to consider whether of the two is the sweeter sound, the Amen or the Alleluia. Let us not so love the one as to forget the other. Sometimes the thought of past mercies will give us preparation of heart, and the Amen will grow up out of the Alleluia. Sometimes trial itself will lead us into the experience of such deep and blessed comfort, that our Amen will pass gradually from acquiescence into Eucharist. The more we join the two, the deeper our portion of the Spirit of Christ, the nearer our approach to the worship of redeemed souls.

(J. S. Bartlett, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

WEB: After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God:

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