Revelation 15:1-8 Part 4

REVELATION 15:1-8 Part 4


1)    Then I saw another great and awesome sign in the heaven; for God’s wrath was carried out in full through seven messengers having the last seven plagues.

2)    I saw as a crystal sea mingled with fire and the ones overcoming the beast and its image and the number of its name standing on the crystal sea having God’s harps;

3)    and they sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb saying, ‘great and awesome Your works, Kurie the Almighty God; just and true Your ways, King of the ages.

4)    Who shall not fear Kurie and glorify Your Name - alone holy?  All the nations shall come and bow before You, Your righteous acts be manifest!’

5)    After this I looked, and the holy place in the tabernacle of testimony in the heaven was opened,

6)    and the seven messengers having the seven plagues came out of the holy place clothed in pure white linen and girded about the breasts with golden girdles.

7)    And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven messengers seven golden bowls being full of the wrath of God – the One Living into the ages of the ages;

8)    and the holy place was filled of smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and not one was enabled to enter into the holy place until the seven plagues of the seven messengers were finished.


YAHVEH will vindicate His people – the promised covenant seed, taking vengeance on the harlot nation.  It is the promised seed, the hundred and forty-four thousand of the tribes of Jacob that John now sees in this sign; and they are harping this song of Moses that YAHVEH told him to write and teach to all the tribes of Jacob as a witness to God against Israel.  It is the song of vengeance and vindication.

And it is the Lamb of God (foreshadowed and prophesied all through Moses) Who has come and saved them (every last one) from the wrath of God.  And they harp HIS song, as heard previously by John and written in Revelation five.


The song of Moses (we read it all last Lord’s Day)… a song of vindication and vengeance; choosing, nurturing, protecting and vindicating those of the promise, and taking full, and final, vengeance upon all the rest, who have hated Him and prostituted themselves with idols.

And the song of the Lamb (we read this also – from Revelation chapter five)… a song of the One Who came to seek and to save the lost sheep of the house of Jacob; the One Who shed His Own blood that all those of the promise might be spared the wrath of God in the latter days; and the One Who bought bondservants for God with His Own blood from every nation, tongue and tribe… the Savior of the World.


As we heard last Lord’s Day concerning the structure of this portion of John’s letter, verse one is his statement of the full scope of this awesome sign as it was shown to him.  As you can hear, it is set in the stop-action, completed Greek tense:  “God’s wrath was carried out in full….”  So that’s the indication that verse one covers the entirety of the sign, you see.

But then, almost unexpectedly (and before continuing with his account to the Churches of God’s wrath poured out upon the land), John is shown another view of the elect remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel!

In verses two, three and four, John describes them (and this is integral to the “sign” of YAHVEH), John describes them standing in the Presence of the Ancient of Days over the firmament of the creation – the “crystal sea” that John mentions here in verse two.  It is the “separation” that exists between Almighty God and all that He’s created; and it is described by the prophets (Moses, Ezekiel, Daniel and Isaiah) in those terms - and by the word “firmament”.

God isn’t contained by that which He has made (if that were the case, then the creation would be greater than He!).  But He isn’t contained by it.  He is above it all; and, as the law of the sacrifices makes clear, nothing imperfect or impure can penetrate that crystal sea/firmament and approach a holy God.

In order to approach Him, man must be “without sin”.  The entire temple/ceremonial/sacrificial system spoken to Moses at Sinai makes that very clear.  And it foreshadowed and prophesied the One man, God the Word made flesh Who, at His death for the sin of the world, penetrated that “veil” and entered the Presence of The Father with all Who belonged to Him!

He is the One IN WHOM we directly (and boldly) approach the Father.  There is no longer a veil of separation between those IN CHRIST and God the Father.

When we come to worship on the Lord’s Day, we come in the Name of Jesus the Christ of God; for we are of His heritage!  And IN HIM we boldly approach The Father in the heaven, without a partition – without a separation – without a veil, to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  That’s the case because the “perfections” of The Son of Man are “attributed” to all who are IN HIM.

So this direct access to the Father that we have in public worship (also in private worship, but especially in public worship) is due to the shed blood of the Christ, and our rebirth into Him… out of our adamic sin nature and into the perfections of the second Adam.  Because HE is acceptable to The Father, so are we.

But, back to verse two, all of those who He came to seek and to save from the twelve tribes of Jacob (those of the promise) have been marked out by Him and sealed in rebirth into Him; and they now appear above the firmament and in the Presence of The Ancient of Days.


This is their second appearance to John as He is shown what is occurring here in the “latter days”.  The first appearance was with the risen Lord Jesus Christ on the new Mount Zion (chapter fourteen); and it was directly after the sign of the woman and the sign of the dragon.  These hundred and forty-four thousands of the tribes of Jacob were all those of the promise; and God had protected them and secured them from the vengeance of the dragon by the blood of the Lamb.

And now (here in this chapter) they are shown to John in the very Presence of God over His creation firmament.  They are “firstfruit” of the resurrection, those of covenantal promise, secured as marked and sealed by the Christ, and here in the Presence of God shown to John for a purpose!


The question was posed during the preaching last Lord’s Day.  And the question was: what was that purpose?  Why is John now shown the entire remnant of Israel in this great and awesome sign?

We know that they are now “acceptable” into the Presence of God, having been rebirthed into the Christ; but what’s the purpose of their now being shown to John in His Presence as “integral” to this sign of YAHVEH?

Why... after writing one sentence about the sign of Yahveh’s final judgment on the harlot nation, does John immediately describe the remnant of Israel harping the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb; and then come right back to the final judgment in the seven plagues?

The insertion of that information, at that location in the sign, has to be critical and invaluable to the understanding of the entire sign!

And the answer to that question rests securely in the covenantal continuity of God’s Word, doesn’t it?

Moses was instructed to write the song.  The song was about “final judgment” upon this idolatrous nation in the latter days.  And Moses was to teach the song to everyone of the tribes of Jacob; and the song would be in the mouths of their offspring.

The song, according to Yahveh, was to be a witness to Him against Israel (in the mouths of their offspring)!

And what we see in the sign (here in chapter fifteen of the Revelation) is the introduction of the “final judgment” of Yahveh upon this harlot nation (verse one), and the “offspring” of the twelve tribes of Jacob are seen harping the song of Moses as a witness to Yahveh against Israel!  What is shown to John here is the “fullness” of the written Word in Deuteronomy thirty-two!


Now, I think it extremely relevant here that the Law of God, received and written by Moses, says that judges in Israel were to require more than one witness to a death-penalty offense.  One witness was insufficient for a judge in Israel to put a man to death!

   But here in the sign to John we see a hundred and forty-four thousand witnesses standing before the Judge of all the earth – witnessing to Him against Israel concerning her harlotry!  Some of these had already cried out to Yahveh to avenge the blood of the righteous that had been spilled by her.  And now they’re witnessing to her centuries-enduring prostitution with idols!  The Song of Moses was an indictment; and these are the witnesses.

And it’s now time for adjudication.  The law-suit against Israel was reaching finality.  The charges (indictment) were brought against Israel in the Song of Moses sixteen hundred years earlier; and they were made clear to all in the twelve tribes (we read that last Lord’s Day from Deuteronomy thirty-two) It was also made clear that there would be an “arraignment” (sentencing) in the latter days!

There was also the charge that Israel was so blinded by its “whoreing” that it couldn’t even discern its own “latter end”… even though it was taught to them word for word, and promised to them that it would be in the mouths of their offspring!

Let me read a portion of Yahveh’s instructions to Moses for you again:


19) "Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness to me against the people of Israel.

20) For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.

21) And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring).  For I know what they are wont to do today, even before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give."

22) So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel.


And since they all had to memorize the song; and since their offspring were to memorize the song; and since the song was an indictment by which their offspring would confront them and testify against them; and since the sentencing and execution of the offender was right there in the song, the rendering of the death penalty sentence would be that much more severe… for Israel didn’t even discern their own latter end!

So, what John is shown here in the sign is: the witnesses to the Judge concerning the indictment; and then the arraignment – the sentencing phase of the covenantal law-suit against Israel. 

The multiple witnesses standing before the Judge of the earth harping the very song of Moses as a witness to God against Israel… they are the “offspring” of the twelve tribes, having the words of the song in their mouths.

And what follows, in verses five and following, is the execution of the sanctions of the song – the law-suit, the covenantal law-suit, being one of a death-penalty offense against the nation of Israel.


But that’s not the only “awesome” thing about this sign, is it?

The full, and final, wrath of God upon the covenant-breaking nation is just one facet of the great mystery of God; therefore the harping doesn’t conclude with just the witness to YAHVEH against the harlot nation!


While I’m here (and before we come to the second part of this awesome sign of the mystery of God), I want to spend some more time with you with regard to the “harping”.

In the tabernacle (and later in the temple), there were musicians playing on stringed instruments and singing.  That whole practice (playing and singing) was called “harping”.  That’s what we see in the sign here to John in the text.  They were “harping” the song of Moses.

Be aware that this doesn’t exclude the other instruments that are prevalent in the text of Scripture; but they’re used for other types of celebrations, and they are reflections of other aspects of the tabernacle in the heaven.  But inside the holy place of the tabernacle there was “harping”.

We’ve been constantly alerted, all through the Revelation, to the fact that the tabernacle complex itself, and the alignment of the twelve tribes of Israel all around it, and all the ceremonies in and around the tabernacle, were to be an earthy image – a reflection – of the tabernacle in the heaven, with the Ancient of Days above His tabernacle in all His glory. 

Moses saw the tabernacle of God, for Yahveh rode over the mighty cherubim as His entire glory cloud settled upon Mt Sinai.  And He called Moses up to the top and into the tabernacle (he was there for forty days and nights).  And he was given intricate instructions for engineering the entire complex of the twelve tribes and its tabernacle.  And everything inside the man-made tabernacle was to be constructed in accordance with what he saw, and in accordance with Yahveh’s instructions.  It was all to mirror, in an earthy, man-made way, the heavenly tabernacle.

And not only were the items in the tabernacle to be made as prescribed; but all of the ceremonies and all of the activities were also to reflect what he saw and what he heard while on Mount Sinai.  All of these were also prescribed specifically by Yahveh.

While Moses was there he not only saw all that was there, but he also heard the glorious “sounds” of the heavenly tabernacle.  The crashing and thundering sounds of the glory cloud, and the loud trumpeting sounds… all of which have their earthy counterparts as Israel was to reflect the glory cloud/tabernacle of God.

But the sound “emanating” from the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle is described best by the word “harping”.  And the best way to get at this is to dwell on the “perfections” of God’s tabernacle – all of which were to be reflected in the man-made tabernacle.  In other words the sound of the perfect, God-created tabernacle in the heaven was to be imitated by “harping” in the man-made tabernacle.

The stringed instruments and the voices singing the Words of God are “created reflections” of the consummate perfections of the sound of YAHVEH’S tabernacle.

The “instruments of ten strings” used in the tabernacle in the desert were to be plucked in order that they might vibrate and produce a created sound similar to the original transcendent sound of the heavenly tabernacle.

The voices of man-in-the-image-of-God, singing the words of God in the earthy tabernacle, are a created sound produced by vibrating vocal cords that image the definitive, preeminent sound of YAHVEH’s tabernacle in all of its perfections.

We know, from the exactness of the instructions to Moses concerning the construction of the tabernacle complex, and the institution of all its ceremonies, that God’s heavenly tabernacle is exhaustive in its perfections.  And the sound emanating from sublime precision would vibrate with life and movement and fidelity of sound, which harping would emulate.

The perfect consonance and harmony of that definitive perfection would resound with exquisite and elegant harmonics and vibration and resonance and pitch and tone and sonority and acoustics – all created by our God in order and in symphonic unity… to which all of the stringed instruments and vocal instruments of the created tabernacle conform and reflect; the “harping” being that sound that God prescribed through Moses for His earthy, man-made tabernacle; for the sound “conformed” to, and was “similar” to the sound of His heavenly tabernacle.


I would be remiss if I didn’t continue with this for a another minute here; for our Lord’s Kingdom – the new heavens and the new earth – should be a more conspicuous reflection of His heavenly tabernacle, above which He now reigns over all the heavens and the earth!

Those of us who are rebirthed in Him and who now live in the new Jerusalem on the new Mount Zion should be effecting and exhibiting that which is reflective of His holy tabernacle; for He is Immanuel – God With Us.  His body is our tabernacle, and it is flawless in all its perfections.  And our lives must “image” the perfections of the One in Whom we live.  And that includes our “sounds”.

And His Church should be practicing the beauty of the sounds of the tabernacle as we come together in public worship with our instruments – both vocal and stringed.

Mindless practices and insertions into public worship that don’t present an image of the heavenly tabernacle, above which our Lord reigns, are “strange fire” indeed… and, might I say, strange “sound”; for His tabernacle is the “pattern” for the reflection.  And we are to reflect His glory… not only in public worship; but also in our lives.  And our obedience extends even to “sounds”… not just to words, but to the sounds that we permit; for as you can readily see, our God is Lord of those, as well.

There is an ethic of aesthetics.  What is lovely and beautiful isn’t open to the taste and preference of creatures.  “How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts!”  The perfections of that “dwelling place” – the tabernacle in the heaven – must be our goal, to the end that we are reflective of His glory… especially since we live in the body – the Person - of our Lord Jesus Christ, the tabernacle of Holy Spirit.


Now, having said that, and since I just mentioned “fire”, let’s go back to verse two for a minute.

As you can see from your text, the “crystal sea” is now mingled with fire!  In chapter four, when the apostle was received into the glory cloud, he described it as a “sea of glass like crystal”.

Moses also had described it as written in Exodus twenty-four.  Listen to it at verses nine and ten:


9)    Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of Israel's elders,

10) and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the heaven itself.


Moses is describing the firmament of YAHVEH’s creation, outside of which, and above which He reigns over all.  Moses says that it was “beneath His feet”.

But the important thing (for our purposes here in the text) is that it looked like “sapphire” to him.  In all its wondrous clarity (as clear as the heaven itself), it was “blue”!  Sapphire stones are blue.

And Ezekiel saw the same thing as he was shown the tabernacle of God.  He described it, in chapter one, as an awe-inspiring crystal “expanse” over the heads of the cherubim.  It was the firmament of God’s creation; and Ezekiel says it was in the appearance of sapphire stone.

However, here in the sign to John in verse two, he is shown the crystal sea mixed with fire!  What is that?  John would have known exactly why this was shown to him.  So would the remnant of the house of Jacob in the Churches receiving this letter.  It’s right in the Song of Moses that we read last Lord’s Day!  Listen again:


21) They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: And I will move them to jealousy with those that are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

22) For a fire is kindled in My anger, and burns unto the lowest sheol, and devours the land with its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

23) I will heap evils upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them:

24) They shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured with burning heat and bitter destruction;


As John sees the hundred and forty-four thousands, and hears them witnessing to YAHVEH against Israel, it is the Song of Moses that they’re harping!

And as we just read, the Song of Moses prophesies – promises – the burning heat of the wrath of God against this people, which is now reflected in the entire firmament of His creation!

The expanse like unto blue sapphire, as clear as the heavens under the feet of the Ancient of Days, is shown to John as mixed with the fire of His wrath as it burns through – even unto the depths, and melts the elements of His heaven-and-earth paradise.

All of those for whom His Son had died had witnessed to Him, in His Own Words, against Israel – reminding Him of His covenant promise.  And, as Isaiah would later say:


6)    She shall be visited of YAHVEH of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.


And as Ezekiel prophesied:


21) Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst thereof.

22) As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall you be melted in the midst thereof; and you shall know that I, YAHVEH, have poured out my wrath upon you.


And that’s exactly what John is shown here; for the heat of the anger of YAHVEH burns through the firmament of His creation into the very depths of Israel’s existence.  For the final, full, perfect-seven, wrath of God is now to be poured out upon the land.


Now, the wondrous sounds of the glory cloud/tabernacle of God resonate above the firmament of the creation with another song.  And it is the Song of the Lamb.  And John sees and hears, in this sign of Yahveh, the redeemed of the house of Jacob “harping” the song of the Lamb of God.

This isn’t to be understood as a song that the Lamb “wrote” or “sang”, such as the one Moses wrote and taught to all the tribes of Jacob.  This is to be understood as the song “about” the Lamb.  It is a “harping” of the mighty acts of “Kurie” (the proper name of the Lamb of God Who has “filled up” all that is written, and has been faithful to the will of The Father).

John has heard the harping of the creatures in the tabernacle once before.  They were harping the awesome deeds of the Lamb of God.  It is the song of the Lamb from chapter five, harped by the four cherubim and the elder/creatures.  The majestic sound of the tabernacle “rings” with the deeds of the Lamb.  And it’s the great mystery of the ages concerning which there are two primary aspects.

As we finish this morning, I’ll touch on those once again; but first listen to what John was shown in chapter five:


7)    And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)    And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)    And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre (a harp) and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10) and singing new songs, saying “worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11) And You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

12) And I did see and hear a sound of many angel/messengers and the creatures and the elders around the throne, and was the number of them myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands

13) saying in a great sound, “worthy is the Lamb, the One slain, to receive the power and abundance and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise.

14) And every creature which is in the heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and upon the sea, and all things in them I heard saying, “the praise and the honor and the glory and the might into the ages of the ages to the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb”.

15) And the four creatures kept on saying “Amen”!  And the elders fell down and paid homage.


“Kurie” – LORD of the heavens and the earth.

God the Son became the Son of Man with the stated purpose to “seek and to save those who were lost” of the Father’s elect of the tribes of Jacob – those of the promise; for the Father had promised to “save” Israel (Jacob); Jacob IS Israel!

For His faithfulness to the will of His Father, He was given all authority over all created existence and crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and Savior of the World!

The harlot having been destroyed in the wrath of God, and all creatures under His absolute power, the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth are beneficiaries of His shed blood and His resurrection out of death; for His further work of the salvation of the world is to the end of the glory of His Father.  It all MUST reflect the glory of God!

So the two primary aspects of the mystery of God and the song of the Lamb (heard by John in chapter five and here in chapter fifteen) are: 1) the salvation of God’s remnant – Israel, and the destruction of the harlot nation, and 2) as the Savior of the world, the establishment of His Kingdom over all the Gentile nations – to the end that all creation glorifies its Creator!

Now we’ve heard the witness to God against the harlot, and the praise for the mighty deeds of the Lamb of God and (Kurie) Lord of heaven and earth.

Next Lord’s Day we begin to see the wrath of God poured out seven-fold on the heaven-and-earth/paradise/promised land.  It is the full, and final, vengeance of God for which the blood of the righteous cried out.  In the heat of His anger, the nation that was to be the special reflection of His glory cloud/tabernacle will pass from existence (as Moses prophesied in his song).  And then we’ll see the institution of the New Heavens and the New Earth as prophesied by Isaiah, and as shown to the apostle John.