Rejoice over her, thou heaven
This is said by the voice from heaven, ( Revelation 18:4 ) which having called upon the saints to come out of Babylon, and to take vengeance on her, now calls upon all good men to rejoice at her ruin, while others were weeping and wailing; not at that, simply considered, but as the justice of God is displayed therein: heaven may be literally understood, which sometimes is addressed when anything of very considerable note and moment is done or spoken of, whether it be something exceeding bad, as in ( Isaiah 1:2 ) ( Jeremiah 2:12 Jeremiah 2:13 ) or something exceeding great and good, as in ( Psalms 96:11-13 ) or else the inhabitants of heaven, either the angels, who as they rejoice at the good and happiness of the saints, so at the confusion and destruction of their enemies; and the Syriac version reads, "heavens and angels"; or else the souls of men departed, particularly the souls under the altar, that have been long crying for vengeance on account of the shedding of their blood, ( Revelation 6:9 ) who may be made acquainted with Rome's destruction; or rather the true church of Christ upon earth, which in this book often goes by the name of heaven, in opposition to the apostate church, called the earth, because its members, doctrines, and ordinances, are from heaven, and its happiness lies there:
and ye holy apostles and prophets;
the Alexandrian copy and Complutensian edition read, "and the saints, and the apostles, and prophets"; making three distinct sorts of persons, of which heaven, or the church, consists: by "saints" may be meant private members of churches, who are sanctified by the Spirit of God, and live holy lives and conversations; and by "apostles", not the twelve apostles, or persons in such an office as they were, but ordinary ministers of the word, who are sent forth to preach the Gospel, and will be upon the spot at the destruction of Babylon, and will be such as shall have preached and defended the pure apostolic doctrine; and by "prophets" are intended not the prophets of the Old Testament, nor such under the New who had the gift of foretelling things to come, but such who have a gift of interpreting the Scriptures and preaching the Gospel; the same with the two witnesses, who till this time will have prophesied in sackcloth, but shall now put it off, and put on the garments of praise and joy:
for God hath avenged you on her;
or "judged your judgment on her"; that is, has executed righteous judgment on her, for all the evils done by her to the saints in ages past, the predecessors of the persons here mentioned, as well as to themselves: vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he will avenge his elect sooner or later.