The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Revelation 15

Rev 15:1

Rev 15: The "Song of Moses" : Israel's Red Sea crossing; destruction of Pharaoh's army; timbrels/dance (Exo 15:20); Israel's song of triumph; tabernacle in wilderness; priests in white linen; High Priest with golden girdle; cloud covering tabernacle.

Rev 15:2

A SEA OF GLASS: A crystal, calm sea. The nations at rest; ct Isa 57:20-21.

MIXED WITH FIRE: "Which had been mingled with fire." Fire is a symbol of war, and though the nations will have been involved in war, it will have finished at the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy.

"The primary idea here is undoubtedly that of 'the sea of glass like unto crystal', seen in the presence of the heavenly throne (Rev 4:6), 'the paved work of a sapphire stone', seen at Sinai (Exo 24:10), 'the fiery stream which came forth from before the Ancient of days' (Dan 7:10), 'the firmament over the head of the cherubim, as the colour of the terrible crystal' (Ezek 1:22).

"This expanse beneath the heavenly throne, seen by so many of the prophets of the Lord, is, first and foremost, a symbol of the firmament of heaven separating the majesty of God from His earthly creation. But here the Redeemed 'stand upon the sea of glass'. For them there is no longer any barrier to the glory of the divine presence, except the one fact (v 8) that certain judgements -- 'the seven last plagues' -- must be poured out before the final consummation of all things.

"Remembering, then, that the sea of glass is a symbol of the expanse of heaven, there is special point in the fact that it is now seen to be 'mingled with fire'. Here, instead of the blueness of a calm azure sky (Exo 24:10), the sky is 'red and lowring'. Wherefore, 'it will be foul weather today' (Mat 16:3): the judgements of the Almighty go forth once again, and for the last time" (WRev).


Rev 15:3

The Lamb in Rev: his wrath (Rev 6:16); his blood (Rev 7:14); his book of life (Rev 13:8); his song (Rev 15:3); his marriage (Rev 19:7); his supper (Rev 19:9); and his throne (Rev 22:1).

THE SONG OF MOSES: A song of deliverance, speaking of the triumph of Yahweh as a Man of War (Exo 15). The relative status of Moses the servant, and Christ the son is expressed in Heb 3:1-6. Those who sing this song stand upon the glassy sea, ie, they assume authority over the nations at a time when peace has been established (Rev 5:9,10).

Passover deliverance:
  1. Israel's crossing of the Red Sea: the redeemed standing on the sea of glass.
  2. Israel's timbrels and dances (Exo 15:20): the harps of God.
  3. The destruction of the army of Egypt: victory over the Beast.
  4. Israel's Song of Triumph: their Song of Triumph.
  5. "Who is like unto thee... glorious in holiness; fearful (LXX: thaumastos) in praises"... : "Great and marvellous (Greek: thaumastos) are thy works."
  6. Fear and dread shall fall upon them (Edom, Moab, Canaan)... : "Who shall not fear thee ... for thou art holy ... all the nations shall come and worship before thee."
  7. The erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness: the tabernacle of God opened in heaven.
  8. The cloud covered the tabernacle. Moses not able to enter (Exo 40:34,35): the temple filled with smoke from the glory of God. No man able to enter.
  9. Priests in white linen. The High Priest girded about the breasts with a golden girdle (Exo 39:20,21): Seven angels in white linen having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

Rev 15:7

SEVEN GOLDEN BOWLS: These were used for sacrificial purposes in pouring out blood on 4 horns of the altar. The "pouring out" of God's wrath also suggests the rapidity of the outpouring of Divine judgements, in ct to the breaking of seals and the sounding of trumpets.

Rev 15:8

Thus the manifestation of glory was temporarily hidden. There were occasions in the past when a similar happening occurred, and a cloud filled the Tabernacle or Temple so that the priests could not minister on behalf of the people (see Exo 40:34, 1Ki 8:10; Isa 6:4). The symbol suggests that there is no priestly intercession for the nations, no hope for the world, until the judgments are complete. There is hope only for individuals who elect to "come out" of it. At the conclusion of the outpouring of the vials, however, the nations will be gathered into the Kingdom, and will have national access to the Most Holy. Meanwhile the Divine glory is hidden from the nations.

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