1] Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
2] And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3] They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
“Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
4] Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.”
Chapter 15 introduces us to the final series of judgments, then, after an intermission of a few verses, chapter 16 gives us the quick execution of these judgments. These two chapters are the consummation of events leading up to our Lord’s return to Mount Olivet and this world, described in chapter 19.
Though the shortest chapter in Revelation, this chapter has a great deal to say to us. It has two sections, though we’ll only get through a small part of it today:
- Praise, vs. 1-4
- Preparation, vs. 5-8.
Praise, vs. 1-4.
Before John gets into the actual description of the seven angels of v. 1 and the bowls of wrath they carry, something draws his attention. In vs. 2-4, he sees a great company of people praising God. Perhaps we might think this is nothing unusual. After all, praise and worship of God is the main activity in heaven, willingly and joyfully entered into. However, it is this particular group of worshipers which is noteworthy: they have the victory over the beast, v. 2. They have endured the worst time ever witnessed in human history – and are victorious over it! Now, from the standpoint of the world, perhaps, they were deserving criminals who were executed for their refusal to bow down to the Antichrist and his world government. Perhaps their adversaries thought, “Good riddance!” It’s still often true that what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God, Luke 16:15.
The world mistakenly thinks that the grave is the end, that is there is nothing “out there” after the final breath is taken. Scripture says that is not true. The bodies of these martyrs may lie in disrespect on this earth, but the martyrs themselves are in heaven!
And there’s a great deal to think about in what they are doing, as well. They are singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, v. 3. Why these two songs, and not some Psalms or other songs? Because these two songs are especially songs of deliverance!
Exodus 15:1-21 records the song of Moses, a paean of praise for the great deliverance God had brought about for Israel, His chosen nation. It had seemed like Israel was doomed, hemmed in by the Red Sea in front, and the armies of Pharaoh in hot pursuit behind. There was no way out!
Ah, but there was….
There was a great rushing of wind across the water and a path opened up through the Sea itself, Exodus 14:21, 22. Israel was able to cross on dry ground, 14:16, and so perhaps Pharaoh and his armies thought they could simply keep on after them, v. 23. Not so! There was suddenly difficulty with the chariot wheels, v. 25, so that the Egyptians began to sense that the LORD was against them, and they tried to flee. But there is no flight from the Lord, and the Scripture says, when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it, v. 27. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead on the shore, v. 30. Not so much as one of them remained, v. 29.
Victory snatched out of the jaws of certain and overwhelming defeat!
The song of Moses.
What about the song of the Lamb?
It may be that the song recorded belongs to both of them, and aren’t two separate songs. I don’t know that it really matters.
The song of the Lamb is also a song of deliverance.
Deliverance from a far greater bondage that Israel suffered in Egypt.
John introduced to the Lamb in 5:6, where he saw that there stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.
Notice, though, that the Lamb is standing – alive. He’s not still hanging on the Cross, as so much of the “Christian” world portrays Him. Nor does His body lie moldering in some grave somewhere, as the world likes to think. No one will ever find the skeleton of Jesus!
Or else the Easter services we had a few days ago are a monstrous lie!