“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having seven plagues, which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only are holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy righteous acts have been made manifest” (Revelation 15:1-4).
One of my dear friends, Hadassah Abram, older and wiser in the faith than I, expounded her theory of the apparent jumble of ideas in the Revelation to John. Said she, “I visualize John surrounded by drama of every sort all being enacted at once. John would look in one direction and declare, ‘Oh, look at that’ and quickly write what he could before looking in another direction and repeating, ‘Oh look at that!’ and furiously writing some more.” She made an eloquent case for not even attempting to place one passage chronologically before another in the body of the book. The book’s introduction is clear and its ending is very clear. Between these two extremes I like to follow her view of the vision.
So, here in the fifteenth chapter we see another sign, possibly later than the other, possibly not. These ransomed saints demonstrated the failure of the devil. “They came off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name.” All the horrors of the Tribulation that I’ve imagined over the years could not stop these people. Once they saw the evil they were dealing with and the great Goodness that they may have ignored before, they became serious about following Jesus.
I love the song of Moses and of Jesus that they will sing one of these days. This song leads us all in praising: “Great and marvelous are your works, righteous and true are your ways. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? Your righteous acts have been made manifest.” And the song leads us in worshiping, too: “You King of the ages, you only are holy. All the nations shall come and worship before you.”
Both these groups of redeemed saints are deserving of special mention in the book. The first consisted of those who were not defiled. The second appears to be made up of those who have “overcome him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death,” as it says in chapter 12:11. Perhaps these Chapter Fifteen saints got off to a bad start. But they made it, and made it gloriously, in the end. That’s an encouragement, too, for our times.
I may not know exactly where I will appear in this grand finale of the human experience before heaven’s glories begin, but—because of the grace of God, I can say with assurance, “I will be there.” And I trust that each of us will be there also. As we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, here and now, we are being personally prepared for a place in the “grand and glorious era” even now struggling into birth. Maranatha! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”