Song of the Lamb

The fifteenth chapter introduces the seven angels who empty the contents of the “seven bowls of wrath.” But first, the “overcoming” saints are found standing on the “sea of glass mingled with fire” where they “sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.” They have overcome the “Beast, its image, mark, and number.”

The chapter’s first paragraph is transitional. It introduces the “seven bowls of wrath” and concludes the preceding literary section about the “war in heaven.”

Structurally, the chapter parallels the “seventh seal” and its transition to the series of “seven trumpets” where the “seventh seal” introduced the angels who held the “seven trumpets” - (Revelation 8:1-6, 15:1-4, 12:1-14:20).

Before the “seven trumpets” sounded, the “prayers of the saints” were offered on the “golden altar” as “incense” to God, and an angel hurled fire from the altar onto the earth. This produced “claps of thunder, loud voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

Likewise, in chapter 15, before the seven angels are dispatched to unleash the plagues contained in the “bowls of wrath,” the “overcoming” saints sing the “song of Moses” in praise to God.

Having triumphed over the “Beast,” the saints praise God for His “just and true ways” in preparation for the “seven bowls of wrath” that will complete His “wrath.”

THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES


Like the “seven trumpets,” the series of seven “bowls” uses language from the ten plagues of Egypt when describing its judgments.

  • (Revelation 15:1) – “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues because in them was ended the wrath of God.

The “seven last plagues” were anticipated by the judgment pronouncements recorded in chapter 14. They provide a graphic picture of those judgments, and they culminate in the destruction of the “great city,” Babylon, and the completion of God’s “wrath.”

The seven plagues, the last ones.” The plagues are given in the literary order in which John received them. They are not necessarily in chronological order. Collectively, they comprise the “last plagues” that complete the righteous judgments of God, therefore, they are the “last ones.”

SEA OF GLASS


The vision of the saints “standing” on a “sea of glass” while singing the “song of Moses” stresses the Exodus theme. The glassy sea corresponds to the Red Sea, the Beast to Pharaoh, and the victorious company of saints to the nation of Israel after its deliverance from Egypt. Hence, they sing the “song of Moses” AND the “song of the Lamb.”

  • (Revelation 15:2-4) – “And I saw as a glassy sea mingled with fire, and them who escape victorious from the beast and from his image and from the number of his name, standing upon the glassy sea, having harps of God; and 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, the Almighty! Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the ages! Who shall in anywise not be put in fear, O Lord, and glorify your name, because alone full of lovingkindness; because all the nations will come and do homage before you because your righteous deeds were made manifest.

The Greek verb rendered “standing” provides a visual and verbal link to the previous vision of the priestly saints who were “standing” before the “Lamb” and the Throne on “Mount Zion.”

Unlike the “inhabitants of the earth,” they are able to “stand” on the “day of the wrath of the Lamb” since they have not rendered homage to the “image of the beast.” They will be among the “innumerable multitude” found “standing” before the “Lamb” in the city of New Jerusalem.

In the Hebrew Bible, the “sea” is the abode of “beasts” and “Leviathan,” and the latter often represents the Pharaoh of Egypt. So, also, the “glassy sea mingled with fire” represents the persecuting agents and their activities for Satan, only now, they have been subdued by the “Lamb” - (Psalm 74:12-15, Isaiah 51:9-11, Ezekiel 32:1-6).

Previously, John saw the “sea of glass like crystal… before the Throne. Here, he sees the “glassy sea mingled with fire.” The “sea” is the place from which the “Beast ascends.” It is identical to the “Abyss.” The “fire” refers to divine judgments. Thus, the “sea of glass” is the source of evil and opposition to the saints.

In the Exodus story, liberated Israel stood “beside” the Red Sea. In the vision, the “saints” stand “upon” the sea, portraying their victory over the “Beast.”

THE SONG


In both chapters 14 and 15 the victorious saints have “harps” and “sing” the song of the “Lamb.” The group from “Mount Zion” now stands on the “glassy sea,” having traversed to the other “side.”

This is also the same company as the sealed “servants of God” and the “innumerable multitude” that came out of the “great tribulation to stand” before the “Lamb.” What distinguishes it now is its victory over the “Beast” - (Revelation 7:1-17).

The use of the Greek verb nikaō or “overcome” provides a verbal link to the churches of Asia that are summoned by the Spirit to “overcome,” to the “brethren” who “overcame the Dragon,” and to the “Lamb” who “overcame” and sat on his Father’s Throne - (Revelation 2:7-11, 3:21, 5:5-6, 12:11).

Having “overcome” the “Beast,” the followers of the “Lamb” stand victorious in worship before Jesus, even as the “seven angels” prepare to unleash the final “wrath of God” on the “inhabitants of the earth,” the “kingdom of the Beast,” and the “Great Whore, Babylon.”


Comments

POPULAR POSTS

Language of the New Testament

Two Little Horns?