KALEO Notes on Revelation 15

Introduction:  One unusual definition of faith is the acronym: FROG. It stands for “Fully Rely on God.” When we do that, we’re enabled to worship even in the middle of tribulation. Worship is both a desire and a need. It’s a desire on the part of God who longs for us to worship Him in spirit and truth. It’s a need with us, for the human psyche only functions healthily when exercising its ability to worship. That’s what’s happening in Revelation 15. This is the shortest chapter in Revelation, but it’s like a miniature version of chapters 4 and 5 where we saw the great convocation in heaven before the seven seals. Here we have a similar, briefer scene before the releasing of the seven bowls of wrath.

V. 1: These plagues are the seven bowls of wrath about to be poured out. It represents the final set of catastrophes to be unleashed on earth.

V. 2: The “sea of glass” is a vivid image used in the Bible for the immense public square in the Highest Heaven where the throne of God is located. Refer back to Revelation 4:6. Around the throne are the martyred saints of the tribulation. They were victorious over the beast (the antichrist). It appeared that he had been victorious over them, because he had killed them. But God had turned everything on its head. The slain were the victorious ones because they didn’t give in. They were victorious over him, over the evil worship of his image in the rebuilt Jewish temple, and over his evil ID number – 666. They had not caved into pressure. They held harps given them by God. Instead of a trophy, they were each given a musical instrument.

V. 3-4: The Song of Moses refers to the hymn recorded in Exodus 15 that Moses wrote for the Israelites who came through the Red Sea. It is the first recorded hymn in the Bible. The miracle at the Red Sea was the greatest miracle in the Old Testament and the counterpart of the New Testament miracle of Easter Sunday. It represents the fact that God has opened up for us a marvelous passageway through death to victory and life. For the children of Israel, the Red Sea represented being trapped by death, but God unexpectedly and miraculously made a way of escape. He did the same for the entire human race on Easter. We were trapped by death, but God made a way through the empty tomb of Christ. In the Old Testament, Moses was a type of Christ. Moses predicted that God would raise up a “prophet like me” from among His people to provide salvation. Pharaoh was a type of devil. The Red Sea was a type of death. And the parting of the Red Sea was an adumbration of Easter. So from Exodus 15 to Revelation 15, God’s people have ever been singing of His deliverance. The words of the hymn in Revelation 15 are given to us, and this is one of the last recorded hymns in world history. So the music of the ages is encompassed here. Notice the names, attributes, and actions of God that are referred to in this brief hymn.

V. 5-8: These angels are described in almost antiseptic terms. They are pure, holy, and golden. They are the angels prepared for the final judgment of the Great Tribulation. They fly from the heavenly temple on their way to fulfill their mission. These are the angels of the seven bowls of wrath.

Conclusion: How interesting that at almost every point in the book of Revelation, there is worship and paise in heaven before disasters strike on earth. This doesn’t represent some sort of twisted cruelty in heaven, but a logical joy that sin and evil are being judged, dealt with, and defeated on earth.