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 Revelation Chapter 15 (Part 65) (Verses 1 – 3)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 15 (Part 65) (Verses 1 – 3)   Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:45 pm

Revelation Chapter 15 (Part 65) (Verses 1 – 3)

All Christians were raptured off of the Earth in the previous chapter, so we are now in the period of the Great Tribulation. Chapters 15 to 19 will spread out over a three and a half year span. Jesus said that He would spare the Elect from the Great Tribulation because the, well, tribulation will be so great that His Elect might not be able to endure it. Revelation 15:1 says, “I saw in Heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.” God is love. But that is just one attribute of many that He has. God is also wrath. And He is holy, and His holiness demands righteousness and judgment for wickedness. In the Old Testament, when someone sinned, God’s wrath had to be appeased by either shedding the blood of bulls, goats, and lambs, or by stoning the culprit who sinned. Jesus, through His payment on the Cross, deflects God’s wrath onto Himself for those who believe in Him. These people in the Great Tribulation have all rejected Christ, so they will experience God’s wrath in full. God has stored up His wrath of all of mankind throughout human history for this Day.

After these last 7 plagues, our verse tells us that God’s wrath will be completed. God’s wrath needs propitiation in order to be satisfied; in order for Him to move on. In Joshua 7:25-26, after the Israelites stoned Achan and his family, and then they burned them and their possessions, the bible says, “Then the LORD turned from His fierce anger.” When God’s anger reaches it pinnacle, then there must be some form of propitiation in order to appease His great wrath. God almost killed Moses in Exodus 4:24 because he didn’t circumcise his son, until Sephora made propitiation for him. God is currently storing up His wrath for all nations for a Day (7 year Tribulation, which includes a 3 ½ year Great Tribulation).

Today we see God’s patience. It seems like the wicked get away with their wickedness. God’s patience made Job question what he saw. In Job 21:7, he says, “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them.” God’s patience made the Psalmist Asaph question God’s justice. In Psalm 73:3, he says, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” But Asaph came to a revelation in verses 16-17. It says, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” The irony here is that he didn’t understand this until he entered the sanctuary of God. Left to his own opinions, he did not see clearly.

Hell is God’s final judgment of the wicked. But in God’s justice, God is not satisfied with just Hell as judgment for the wicked, while leaving them free without judgment during human history as they live out their lives on Earth. But in God’s patience, He is giving all wicked a chance to repent. His patience is seen even during the Tribulation, as He will allow many to get saved during the first half of the Tribulation. But in God’s wrath, God allows His patience to store up His wrath to be expressed at a future time. It is called “The Day of the LORD.” The Day of the LORD is when God’s patience has been used up, and all of His wrath that was stored up over time becomes unleashed and released here on Earth against all of the wicked on the Earth in that day. Isaiah 13:9 says, “See the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.” Verse 11 says, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.” God has a future date to where He will judge the wicked of all generations on that Day (“Day” meaning “short time period”). If the Tribulation is 3 generations from now, we might be tempted to say, “What about this generation? Why will the wicked in this generation live out prosperous years without judgement?” Their judgment will be Hell, which will be an eternity of perpetual pain and darkness without relief—so they don’t really get off. This is just how God has chosen to do things. The Tribulation will represent His judgment of all the wicked for all generations, not just the one at the time His wrath is released: but for all past generations since Adam and Eve. But we’ve seen this before. God was going to punish His people Israel for the sins of Manasseh. But because of Josiah’s righteousness, God said that He will defer their punishment until after Josiah. God ended up punishing a future generation for a past generation’s sins that had been stored up.

Revelation 15:2-3b continue: “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb…” There is a lot here to look at. “Fire” in the bible, represents God’s judgment. The sea of glass is likely the floor of God’s throne room in Heaven. Moses and several of his buddies got to see the floor of God’s throne room in Heaven, and its description is similar to a sea of glass. Exodus 24:9 says, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders went up and saw the God of Israel. Under His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise His hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.” This pavement where God places His feet is see-through. This could be describing the same as we read in Revelation. But “sea” often represents a multitude of something. For example, Revelation 20:13 says, “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.” “Sea” here refers to a multitude of dead people: that is, people without the life of God. Referring to different waters (not the sea here in chapter 15 or 20), Revelation 17:15 says, “Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.” So “waters” refers to multitudes there, but I think “sea” here in Revelation 15:2 is speaking of what Moses saw. It says that those who have been victorious over the beast are standing beside it. It makes more sense that they are standing beside the floor of the throne of God than it would if they were standing beside a multitude of an unnamed entity. And by the way, what makes them victorious over the beast is simply that they did not become deceived by the beast. Many Christian converts will die as martyrs in that day and will be called “victorious” even though the beast killed them.

The sea of God’s throne room is mixed with fire. Fire is really a good thing when it comes from God (as long as you’re saved). It can seem negative because His fire can scorch His enemies when they rebel against Him, but at the same time His fire refines and purifies His own people who are His. If we are His by our faith in Christ, then when we sin, we experience His fire, which is a good thing. Fire hurts when one experiences it, but it always matures and makes the Christian better after the Christian has gone through the fire. That’s enough babbling, let’s look at some verses. In Matthew 3:11, regarding Jesus, John the Baptist says, “He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Please note that this does not say, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and those wicked evil people with fire.” No, the same people who He will baptize with the Holy Spirit are the same who He will baptize with fire. With the Holy Spirit, John says, comes fire from the Lord. As I said, fire is a good thing. All Christians have the Holy Spirit; therefore, all Christians will at some point of their growth in Christ be baptized with fire. Jesus says in Mark 9:49, “Everyone will be salted with fire.” Some might retort after reading that passage by saying, “But wait a second, in the verse before, Jesus is speaking of people in Hell.” I would agree that the verse before is speaking of Hell, but this verse says “everyone” will be salted with fire. And Jesus continues the thought of “salt” in the verse after, which all interpreters apply to saved Christians. Fire is what takes away the impurities from gold and makes it pure. Trials from God are His fire. James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Fire tests our faith, but it develops us in the end. These Tribulation saints have just come from a great “testing” of fire because they are now martyrs who were highly persecuted during the Tribulation time. They refused to accept the mark of the beast even though it was so tempting to take it because it would have apparently relieved the temporary fire they were going through. Fire is always temporary for the Christian, but it is unfortunately permanent for the soul of the non-Christian who rejects Christ.

I won’t go over the basin in God’s temple in the Old Testament that most likely represented this sea, but please read, for example, Exodus 30:17-21 in your leisure. It includes the sea and the fire in that passage. Exodus 40:7 says that the basin was to be placed between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and was to be filled with water. The Tent of Meeting is also called the Tabernacle of Moses. Please see also 1 Kings 7:23-26 and verses 38-40. And of course, Hebrews tells us that the things in the Old Testament, regarding the Temple and the things in it, represent the things in Heaven.

God gives these victorious Christian martyrs harps, and they sing 2 songs. The first song they sing is the Song of Moses; the second is called the Song of the Lamb. It appears that verses 3b-4 contain the words to the Song of the Lamb. But first, let’s consider the Song of Moses. Keep in mind that these are Tribulation Christian convert saints who are now in Heaven who sing these songs. It is not the Church or the Old Testament saints who are singing these songs.

[Side note: if you are not musically gifted right now, when you get to Heaven, you will be. When God gives you instruments such as harps, He will at the same time give you the gift and ability to play them. The same principle applies to the Word of God. If God commands you to do something, with the command comes the empowerment and ability to pull it off. God does not command us to do things that we cannot do. If we couldn’t before, with the command He will supply the ability.]

Interestingly, what we call “The Song of Moses”, Moses actually did not write, but rather, God wrote it. It is technically the Song of God that Moses gave to the people. God speaks in Deuteronomy 31:19, saying, “Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.” This verse informs us that God wrote the song. In chapter 32, Moses sings the song. Verse 31 of chapter 31 says, “And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel.” Also interestingly, this song references the Tribulation Period 3 times.

We are going to look in detail at the song in a moment, but before we do, we shouldn’t skip 31:14-22, which states the reason that God gave this song to the Israelites. Verse 14 says, “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, where I will commission him.’ So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the Tent of Meeting.” The Tent of Meeting is almost synonymous with the Tabernacle, except, technically the Tabernacle was built later which replaced the original Tent of Meeting. They both were the place where God would meet and communicate with his people, especially with Moses. The Tent of Meeting (and the Tabernacle) also included the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua is about to succeed Moses as the new leader of the Israelite tribes. Moses would have gone into the Promised Land, but because he disobeyed God by not striking the rock when God commanded him not to, his life was cut short so that he dies before the Israelites enter the Promised Land. (There is an interesting reason that God got so angry with Moses, which we might discuss at some later time.) At this occasion, God is going to commission Joshua as the new leader of Israel. And by the way, God not only knows when we will die, but as we see here in the case of Moses, God controls when Moses dies. God extends the life of Hezekiah by 15 years; and here, God shortens Moses’ life.

Verse 15 says, “Then the LORD appeared at the Tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the Tent.” Verse 16: “And the LORD said to Moses: ‘You are going to rest with your fathers, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.’” God knows when we will sin before we even commit the sin. An example of this is when Jesus told Peter that before the cock crows he would have denied Jesus 3 times. There is a common pattern throughout the bible (and history) that when a great leader passes, that the sheep scatter and return to their old sinful ways. Verse 17 says, “On that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them, and on that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?’” Here we see that God’s people will experience “tribulation” for turning to other gods after Moses dies. But unlike people during the Great Tribulation day, this verse tells us that these Israelites will realize the source of their disasters, and it hints that they will eventually turn and repent. Verse 18 says, “And I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.”

Verse 19 says, “Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.” Verses 20-21: “When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” Here we get the reason for the song from God. It is to remind them and their descendants that forsaking God and turning to false gods incites the wrath of God and brings disasters and difficulties to the people. Please note that it will be at the height of their prosperity that these people will reject God and turn to other gods. When they enjoy the land flowing with milk and honey and have their fill is when they will turn to false gods. But when the disasters come is when they will return to the true God and God will relent and bless them again (for a short time until they repeat the cycle again). This is a sad theme and reoccurrence throughout all generations of mankind with God. Mankind tends to have revival only when we fall into great sin and the disasters come. Mankind is spiritually lax during the time of prosperity. This reminds me of Ecclesiastes 12:1, which warns, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’—before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain (in other words: and the sun still doesn’t shine)…”

Let’s look at the Song of Moses now, since Revelation 15 mentions that the saved Tribulation martyrs in Heaven will sing it. Again, there are 3 references to the Tribulation in this song in Deuteronomy. The three references are: 1) verse 22; 2) verses 34-35; and 3) verses 40-43. The first reference could be extended to verse 25: that is, verses 22-25. But verses 23-25 could also apply the Israelites during Moses’, or rather, Joshua’s time as a double application.

Actually, this has become a bit lengthy, so let’s pick this up here the next time.


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Revelation Chapter 15 (Part 65) (Verses 1 – 3)
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