The Psalms are filled with songs of rejoicing, but the very first time the word rejoice is used in Scripture is found in the Law. It had to do with the children of Israel coming into the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving for what he had done for their forefathers in Egypt, bringing them to this very land in which they lived. It was similar to America’s celebration of July 4th. Except, Israel had three seasons of rejoicing. Seven days in the spring, one day in the summer and ten days in the fall. Each season represented something the Lord had done for the forefathers, as he took them from Egypt and planted them in the Promised Land. Their times of rejoicing were seasons of their thanksgiving to the Lord.
When John saw the judgment of the great harlot (Revelation 18), he also heard a great sound of many people, and that sound was coming from heaven (Revelation 19:1). The text says: after these things. Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with time. We need to keep in mind that everything John witnessed had taken place within the confines of the Temple. The judgment of the great harlot took place in the outer court, which was given to the gentiles and trodden under foot (Revelation 11:1-2). The Apocalypse opened with Jesus among the seven lampstands, which, according to Revelation 2 & 3, were the churches of God, and all that took place there occurred in the Holy Place. Nevertheless, the persecutors of the Church worked in the outer court, which was given to the gentiles.
We need to keep in mind that the same Greek word was used in Revelation 1:19, and that verse divides the book of Revelation into three parts—what John saw (Jesus among the lampstands), what they are or signify (the seven churches of chapters 2 & 3), and what was after these things (Revelation 4 & 5). In other words, what was beyond these things. What was beyond the things done in the Holy Place was the Most Holy Place, or the Throne Room, and that is heaven.
Therefore, although Revelation 18 opens in the wake of mourning for the great harlot, over against that scene but concurrent with it was rejoicing over her judgment (Revelation 19:1). Both scenes (i.e. the events of Revelation 18 and the events of Revelation 19) were taking place at the same time, but in Revelation 19 we are given the perspective of heaven, rather than a fleshy point of view of chapter 18.
Therefore, according to what we have come to understand from Revelation 4:1, heaven was located in the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place of the Temple. Therefore, the rejoicing that was heard from heaven, was the sound coming from the Throne Room, or the Most Holy Place.
Keep in mind that when we come to Revelation 19:1, the Temple at Jerusalem had already been destroyed, so heaven, or the Most Holy Place, couldn’t possibly refer to that Temple. In the context of the New Covenant Scriptures, and this includes the Apocalypse, the only Temple John could be pointing to was the Church or the disciples of Jesus, whom the Lord said he would assemble (cp. Matthew 16:18). Moreover, Peter interprets Jesus’ words for his readers in Asia (1Peter 1:1) by showing they were living stones built up upon the great stone of Christ, who was their foundation (1Peter 2:4-5). This very same metaphor was also used by Paul in his epistles (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1Corinthians 3:16 and Hebrews 3:6). Therefore, and according to the Apocalypse, the people doing the rejoicing were the disciples of Jesus, who were located in heaven, which may also be described as being in Christ (Romans 8:1; 1Thessalonians 2:14; 1Peter 5:14), or in the Most Holy Place – the Church.
According to Revelation 19:1, the great number of believers shouted out:
“…Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: (cp. Revelation 5:13) For true and righteous are his judgments: for he has judged the great harlot, who had corrupted the earth with her fornication, and has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia…” (Revelation 19:1-3)
The first six verses of chapter nineteen of the Apocalypse contain four Alleluias! Actually the word is more properly expressed as: Hallelujah, which is taken from the Hebrew halal (H1984), meaning “Praise” and yahh (H3050), meaning “Jehovah!” or, in other words: “Praise ye the Lord!” However, what do we mean when we say: “Praise the Lord?” In what context is the phrase used in Scripture?
Praise is offered to the Lord when the wicked are destroyed (Psalm 104:35), so that the faithful might live for the Lord in obedience (Psalm 105:45). The Lord is given praise when he remembers his covenant with the faithful, and when he, through his mighty works, saves his people from destruction and oppression. Thus, showing the Lord is righteous and compassionate toward those who love him (Psalm 111:1-5). Therefore, we can now understand that what brought joy to the hearts of the disciples of Jesus was that their great persecutor, the great harlot (Jerusalem), was judged and destroyed (Revelation 18). The air had changed (cp. Revelation 16:17), and no longer were the faithful in fear. With their archenemy, the great harlot, destroyed, Jesus’ disciples were now free to preach the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of God among the nations.