Reading for Friday, Nov 30: Revelation 15
Chapters 15&16 form a unit in Revelation, a vision of seven angels with seven plagues. These chapters form John’s most thorough use of Exodus imagery in the book of Revelation. The plagues here can be linked with the plagues of the Exodus. The people of God are assembled “beside the sea of glass” (v2) to sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, calling to mind the image of Israel singing to God on the banks of the Red Sea. Listen to their song:
“Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed,” (v3-4).
The particular story of Israel now serves as a microcosm for a more universal scene. God is praised by His people — a Kingdom comprised of members of “all nations” (v4). Rather than assembling on the banks of the Red Sea, we will gather on the shore of the heavenly sea to sing this song of victory.
One interesting note: v2 may also be translated “standing on the sea of glass”, which brings to mind an interesting idea. The people of God have been engaged in a conflict with the great sea monster, and this struggle has occurred “on his turf”, so to speak. But the scene of this victory song is precisely the place of this great struggle. Rather than watching safely from the banks of the Red Sea, Lamb-followers are bolstered by the image of resurrection: the faithful standing over the waters of the sea, a biblical representation of cosmic evil. In the end, we will sing victory, praising the God who faithfully sees us through even our most difficult times.