Exegetical look into Revelation 15:1-8

 

  • Great and marvelous/wonderful is a celebration song of hope fulfilled and victory (Is. 6:1-4).
  • Last plagues refers to “filled up” and completion.
  • God’s wrath refers to the judgment that is coming and that it will be a reality (Joel 2:11; Mal. 3:2). This is something Christians need not fear as Christ covers our sin for us (Zeph. 1:14-18; Nah. 1:6; Mal. 3:2; Rom. 1:18; 3:9-23; 6:23; Rev.19:15). There is hope and assurance when our trust is in Christ and His righteousness. He is our hope, even when the very foundations of the universe are collapsing around and under us. When our hope is in Christ, nothing can shake us (Luke 12:32-34; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; 2 Thess.1:7-9; Heb. 12:25-29; Rev. 6:16).
  • Sea of glass. This is a representation of worship, as the temple had the “Bronze Sea,” referring to the “basin” in the heavenly temple. In context, this also may refer to how Israel was delivered through the parting of the Red Sea, or the “Sea of Reeds” (Rev. 15:5-6, 8; 16:1, 17). Elsewhere, this image of water and worship is found when the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds) was parted by God, as was the Jordan River (which was actually a greater miracle).These images indicate that all that exists is submissive to God’s supremacy, and He has victory over all that opposes Him. In conjunction, water also means that He supplies us with all we need so we can take comport in Him in times of doubt or stress (Ex. 24:10; Deut. 11:11; 1 Kings 7:23-25; 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Chron. 4:2-6,15, 39; Psalm 11:4; Is. 51:9-11; Jer 27:19; Ezek. 1:22; Rev. 4:6-8; 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:2). 
  • Mixed with fire refers to God as a consuming fire who delivers the faithful (Deut. 4:24).
  • Been victorious who had conquered indicates that the faithful have a role in God’s judgments to those who persecuted them or have done evil. Perhaps, they will be witnesses and/or their prayers have motivated God. This also means we do not fear the devil when we are in Christ (Rev. 6:9-11; 12:11).
  • Number of his name. This was also a common way to express a warning to us about godlessness or those opposing Christ—a warning to make sure we are not opposing Christ in thought, word, or deed, taking oaths, or making promises that counter Christ’s principles (Rev. 13:11-18).
  • Song of Moses indicates a song that pictures redemption and hope. Moses sang to praise God for His deliverance and his people’s triumph as God led them safely and unharmed from oppression and through danger, and then God “took out” their enemies. This was/is used in Jewish worship on Sabbath evenings to celebrate deliverance. It is also a contrast between being oppressed by evil and the oppression we bring on ourselves by seeking idols and things not of God, and how He seeks to deliver us. God accepts us; it is we who have trouble accepting Him (Ex. 15:1-18; Deut. 31:28-32:43; Psalm 86:9-10; Rev. 5:6).
  • Song of the Lamb was an early church hymn pointing to how Christ obtained deliverance because He arose from the dead and triumphed over His enemies (Psalm 22; Phil. 2:9-11).
  • Great and marvelous are your deeds is another song of praise (Ex. 15:11; Psalm 92:5; 111:2 Rev. 1:8).
  • Just and true means how God is right and never acts with spite or in unfair anger. His judgments are pure and deserving; it would be a farce and immoral for Him not to judge. Evil would not be contained or accountable, and rightfulness and holiness would not mean anything without judgment (Is. 55:6-13; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:2-11).
  • King of the ages/world is a name for God, referring to His universal right to be recognized as first, foremost, and the only worshiped being (Psalm 86:9-10; Is. 45:22-23; Jer 10:10; Zech. 14:9; Mal. 1:11; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:17).
  • Tabernacle of the Testimony/Sanctuary is an image of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that meant God’s heavenly dwelling. It refers to the inner sanctum of God’s moist holy of holies that contained the Ark with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai. This represented God’s home on earth as a “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle that was a tent, used before the Temple was built by Solomon. Now, John sees the real heavenly version in a corporal state to condescend to his and our understanding (Ex. 24:9-11; 25; 25:40; 32:15; 38:21; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 5-7; 22:19; 2 Chron. 2-4; Is. 6; Ezek. 1; 10:1; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 13:38; John 8:42-45; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).
  • Shining linen/pure bright linen…. golden sashes refer to the clothing of priests who represent God and His Holiness through their call and priestly occupation. It also refers to how our Lord creates, redeems, and empowers us (Ex. 28:42; Lev. 16:4; Ezek. 18:4).
  • Four living creatures is a figurative image from Ezekiel and Babylonian descriptions, possibly referring to angels who minister to God, who act as protectors, guardians, and servants, giving their adoration. The point is that “God is Great;” God is Holy, He is universally glorious, and He is greater than any earthly power or king. This may also be an assault on the powers and authority of Babylon and Rome. To read into these images more than what is there misses the point of the passage and muddies the waters of Revelation (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:17-22; 1 Kings 7:29; 1 Chron. 12:8; 28:18; Psalm 18:10; Is. 6; Ezek. Chaps 1, 10; Rev. 4:6).
  • Seven golden bowls/vials refer to the incense bowls or chalices used in the Jewish Temple. Here, instead of being used to please God, God uses this image to appease His just wrath (Psalm 75:8; Is. 34:10; 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Mark 15:35; Rev. 5:8; 8:3-5; 14:9-10; 16:6,19).
  • Smoke. In the Old Testament, smoke indicated both God’s presence His anger. This is also, in context, an image of God’s power and glory filling the Temple when it was dedicated (Ex. 19:9-18; 20:18; 40:34-35; Num. 12:5; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Ezek. 10:3-4; 44:4; Psalm 18:8-11; 74:1; Is. 6:4; Ezek. 1:4; )
  • From his power means that our Lord is our Help, and He will never forsake us. From the context of the Song of Moses, this is also a warning to “see if your false gods (apostate, corrupt, weak church) can help you.” (Ezek. 18:4; Psalm 37:7, 20, 34; Matt. 10:28-31)
  • No one could enter the temple. Those who are wicked had their chance; now, they are beyond reclamation.
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