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Song of Victory

Song of Victory


Revelation Chapter 15:1-4


“The last three chapters exhibit the spiritual reasons behind the struggle between the church and her persecutors.  Satan was identified as the great red dragon who gave power to two allies, the great sea beast and the false prophet.  Having failed in a direct conflict with God, Satan then attempted to destroy the kingdom of God left on earth.  A glimpse of the church was then portrayed in its heavenly state, redeemed from the earth and victorious.  In contrast, the allies and followers of Satan were cast into the great winepress of God’s wrath.  The present vision enlarges upon that judgment and reveals its intensity.  From this point to the end of the book all of the participants are presented step by step:  1. The full wrath of God is poured out with seven bowls, revealed in chapters 15 and 16.  2. The destruction of the great Babylon is described in chapters 17 and 18.  3. Praise is given to Christ who led the victory in the battle of the great day of God Almighty, recorded in chapters 19 and 20:1-10.  4. In conclusion, the final judgment and the beauty of the new heaven and the new earth are portrayed in 20:11-15 and chapters 21 and 22:1-5” (Robert Harkrider p. 172).


“The accounts of the trumpets sounding (chapters 8-9) and the bowls of wrath being poured out upon the ungodly world have underlying similarities, but there are marked differences as well.  The trumpets affect only a third of society; but the bowls of wrath indicate completeness or totality of judgment…If proclaiming the good news of redemption does not cause men to fear before God, and if partial judgments do not turn them from humanism and materialism to repentance, then such an unregenerated society forfeits its right to continue” (Revelation, Homer Hailey p. 318).


15:1 “Then I saw another sign in heaven”:  This is the third time John has seen a great sign in heaven (12:1, 3).  “In each instance the sign is seen from heaven’s point of view.  This one is ‘great and marvelous’, producing wonder because of its terrible nature and significance” (Hailey p. 319).  “Seven angels who had seven plagues”: These seven angels possess seven plagues, “which are public calamities or heavy afflictions sent by God as judgments or punishments upon men.  Other plagues had come as judgments before (9:20; 11:6)” (Hailey p. 319).  “This chapter gives a prelude to the judgment of the seven bowls. There was a heavenly scene of victory in chapters 4-5, just prior to the breaking of the seven seals, and a similar prelude in 8:1-6 anticipated the seven trumpets” (Gregg p. 344).


15:1 “Which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished”: The term “finished” means to find its consummation, or reach perfection, and also, to carry out, accomplish, perform and fulfill.  Hendriksen thinks that the finality of these plagues is not with reference to history in general, but to individual sinners who have not repented following the trumpet warnings that God has sent.  Every unrepentant sinner eventually exhausts God’s patience, bringing fatal judgment upon his life” (Gregg p. 345).  McGuiggan notes, “This is not to suggest that God is exhausted, but that these are all He needs to finish the job.  He will strike and need to do so no more (compare with Ezekiel 7:2,6)” (p. 227).


15:2 “I saw something like a sea of glass”: This appears to be the same sea mentioned in 4:6.  “The sea of glass is the approach to God.  It is modeled after the laver (Solomon’s brazen sea).  The priest had to go through the laver in order to enter into the sanctuary to serve God.  Therefore the sea of glass speaks of the holiness of God---His unapproachableness” (McGuiggan p. 227).  “It symbolizes the transcendence of God who could not be approached by men” (Harkrider p. 174).


15:2 “Mixed with fire”: Some view this as symbolizing the trials that the saints have endured (1 Peter 1:7; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  Others view this meaning divine judgment coming from divine holiness.


15:2 “And those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name”: These are faithful Christians.  “Standing on the sea of glass”: “The faith of these now standing on the glassy sea mingled with fire had been tested by the blazing trials through which they had passed” (Hailey p. 320).  The fact that they are standing on the sea of glass means that those who overcome are in some proximity to God (Luke 16:25; Philippians 1:21,23; Hebrews 12:23).  “Holding harps of God”: Compare with 5:8; 14:2. 



C.S. Lewis wrote:  “All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a mere symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible.  Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life that most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity.  Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy.  Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it (Quoted in Harkrider p. 175).


15:3 “And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb”:


The “song of Moses” is the song that was sung by Moses and the children of Israel after crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15).  This song praised God for their deliverance.  As God had delivered Moses and the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians and had destroyed the Egyptian persecutors in the process, now God does a similar feat.  “Under the same mighty hand of God, the Lamb had given deliverance and victory to these who had overcome the forces of the dragon” (Hailey p. 320).  “The deliverance God wrought through Moses in the Exodus foreshadowed the salvation accomplished by Christ at the cross” (Gregg p. 347).   As in the Exodus, Revelation reveals deliverance for God’s people, including the destruction of the pursuing enemy.


15:3 “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty”:  These words are also found in Psalm 92:5; 98:1; 145:17.  Such works would include the Creation, mankind made in His image, His acts of judgment and mercy/deliverance in the past and the formation of the church, where former lost sinners, Jews and Gentiles are in one united family.


15:3 “Righteous and true are Your ways”: God’s ways are still righteous and true when He judges.  God’s ways are just even when He casts the unrepentant into the lake of fire.  “Some think a loving God has no spirit of vengeance.  God is love; but God is also just.  He gives every opportunity of repentance (2 Peter 3:9), but justice demands punishment of the wicked, for God must remain true to Himself.  God’s wrath as portrayed in Revelation is justly poured out against the ungodly, as is true in the rest of the Bible as well (Romans 1:18; Hebrews 2:1-3)” (Harkrider p. 176).


15:3 “King of the Nations”: See Jeremiah 10:7; Daniel 521; Acts 17:26.  “As King of the nations, Jehovah rules and governs their destiny according to righteousness and truth, whether that nation be Egypt, Babylon, Rome, or the United States” (Hailey p. 321).  He exalts those nations who fear Him and brings low those who turn from Him (Jeremiah 18; Proverbs 14:34).


15:4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?”: Compare this with Exodus 15:11.  The answer should be obvious, all men should fear Him, but sadly this is not the case.  God’s “name” stands for all that He is. “There is no promise here of worldwide conversion.  The nations will and often know, but they will not accept the Lord as Lord.  This is seen over and over again in the lives of various people mentioned in the Bible:  Consider the conduct of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27);  Balak,  Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:34); Darius (Daniel 6:26); and the Roman Governor Felix (Acts 24:25). The peoples of Canaan, Moses said, were frightened half to death, yet the vast majority did not repent (Exodus 15:14-16; Joshua 2:10-11).   The Philistines knew all about the power of God and yet did not repent as well (1 Samuel 4:7-8).  So there are many who fear, but do not glorify His name.  To this day we are surrounded by people who know about the real God, who know that there is an eventual answering to Him, and yet who will not turn from their sins.


15:4 “For You alone are holy; for all the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed”


One day indeed all will acknowledge the Lord at the judgment but for many this acknowledgement will be too late.  Compare with Psalm 98:2; 86:9.  God alone truly possesses holiness (1 John 1:5) and that is one reason we so desperately need a relationship with Him, for all other leaders or role models have a feet of clay.  In addition, there will be good and honest hearts from all the nations who will come and worship Him (Isaiah 2:2-4).


15:4 “Have been revealed”: The acts of God have been observed by countless witnesses.  Jesus death on the cross and His miracles were not done in a corner.  In spite of there being so many on the broad way, the amazing moral standard and wisdom of the Bible is known by many people, including many among the lost. Even the average lost sinner knows about Noah and the ark, or that Jesus turned the water to wine.  Mark Dunagan/