Journey with Daniel
“A Song Because Of Joyful News”Categories: A Month of Victory
A Song Because Of Joyful News - Revelation 15
Let me take a moment to remind us where we are in the story of Revelation. Remember that Revelation is told in pictures, symbols, that are not literal. Yet, they fit together to tell the story of how God will deliver His people from their adversary.
The story our chapter fits into began back in Revelation 12 by introducing a fierce enemy. Satan is shown trying to destroy the plan of God to save us in Jesus Christ. Yet, Satan is unsuccessful. So, Satan then turns his attention to the people of God. If he can destroy the people of God it doesn’t matter if the plan of God was fulfilled in Jesus. So he “makes war” against the church (12:17).
He raises up powerful opposition to make war against the church in chapter 13: “The first beast” was given power to “make war against the saints and overcome them” (13:7).
To make things worse Satan raises up a second beast, elsewhere called “the false prophet” to deceive people into worshiping worldly power, and all those who would not worship the devil’s devices were “killed” (13:15).
Soon it became abundantly clear those who followed the world wore the mark of the beast. You could hear it in the way they talked, the values they had, the things they loved, the activities they did. But, you could also tell those who wore the name of God on their forehead. They lived by godly values. Those who lived by godly values were soon singled out and the rest of the world would not “buy or sell” with them (13:17). As a result believers suffered, starved and died.
Revelation 12-13 paints a desperate situation as the church faces the fierce persecution of Satan and his terrible sidekicks.
However, beginning in chapter 14 we are given a preview of victory. While those who bore the mark of God on earth were hated and shunned, they are accepted and singing in heaven. The redeemed who have died in the Lord are seen singing in heaven—safe and secure on Mount Zion in the presence of the true Lamb of God (Rev. 14:1-5).
While the godly are safe, the angels ascend to the height of the sky to pronounce that the ungodly will fall! God promises to make the ungodly drink the cup of His wrath (14:6-13). God then orders for a great harvest to take place. The righteous and the wicked will be separated. The wicked will be crushed like grapes under the wrath of God.
That brings us to Revelation 15. Here the righteous respond in song to the joyful news of God’s deliverance of the righteous and judgment upon the wicked. When God’s people see what God is doing, worship is the only worthy response.
In fact, worship and God’s work are often tied together in this book. Before the two previous cycles of seven we see God’s people/creation worshiping. Before the opening of the seven seals, we see the great worship scene in heaven (Rev. 4-5). Before the sounding of the seven trumpets we see a great worship scene in heaven (Rev. 7:9-8:6). Now, before the pouring out of the seven bowls we see a great worship scene (Rev. 14-15). Is there a lesson for us here? We may usually think of worshiping only after God has done a good work for us. Yet, here we see an example of worshiping God in light of the good work He will do for us! That is worshiping by faith!
In addition, Revelation 15 introduces the third cycle of seven in the book of Revelation—the pouring out of seven bowls. This is called the “last” of the sevens, because when these seven bowls are poured out, God promised deliverance of His church and judgment upon their oppressors will be completed.
The singers are identified as “those who have victory over the beast.” These are the ones with whom Satan waged war and killed and persecuted.
These are the same ones we saw in Revelation 14:1-5. There we saw their character, now we hear their praise.
These victors stand on, or by, the sea. This sea is the same one we saw in Revelation 4:6. This sea of glass speaks of beauty and rest (glass, calm waters). However this glass also is “mingled with fire.” This could refer to, 1) the fiery trials that the saints endured to get there, or 2) to the fire of God’s wrath which was about to be released against the ungodly.
Back in Revelation 14 we were told when the redeemed believers opened their mouths they formed a powerful worship chorus which was as beautiful as harpist playing on their harps (Rev. 14:2-3). Here we have the same image used, “Having harps of God” (15:2). In verses 3 and 4 we are told something about the song they sang. Notice it is a song completely focused on the Lord. They did not sing of their problems they had survived, but of the power God has shown; not of what they had achieved, but of what the Lord had accomplished. There are no first-person pronouns (“we” “us” “our”), but only second-person pronouns (“You” “Your”) referring to God. Worship is about God! That doesn’t mean we can never refer to ourselves in worship, but we need to be careful that the emphasis of our worship is not ourselves. In worship if we just talk about ourselves, our acts, our experiences, our needs, our plans, it reveals who we really worship! Does our worship speak God’s name above, and more often, than ours?