Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Dec 24 2013 - Revelation 15:1-8 – The song of Moses and the Lamb

Revelation 15 prepares the way for the final judgments of God to be poured out on the earth. But before these judgments are executed, John sees a crowd of those who had been victorious over the beast – though he sees them in heaven. They "sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb" (Revelation 15:3) – a song which celebrates the righteous power of God.

The "Song of Moses" would seem to be a reference back to Exodus 15. After the Israelites had been brought out of Egypt, they came to the edge of the Red Sea. The Sea was before them and Pharaoh's army were behind them. It seemed that they were about to be destroyed, or at least, returned to slavery. But God acted in a remarkable way to save them. He created a path through the sea, through which the Israelites passed on dry ground. When the Egyptian army sought to follow them, their chariot wheels got stuck in the sand and the waters rolled back over them and they were drowned. This great act of salvation is celebrated in the song of Moses. Here are just a few verses from that song (Exodus 15:1-2, 11-13):

I will sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and my defence;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him...

Who among the gods
is like you, LORD?
Who is like you –
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?

You stretch out your right hand,
and the earth swallows your enemies.
In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.

The song celebrates judgment upon the Egyptians. But it does so only because this is the means by which God has saved his people. Those who threatened them can threaten them no more; they are destroyed. The song celebrates the saving power of God and the assurance that, by his strength, he will bring his people safely to the place where he will dwell with them.

This also is the theme of the Book of Revelation. He has redeemed his people through the blood of his Son. He will not abandon them to those who now threaten them. God will destroy those who seek to enslave his people so that they might be brought safely to his holy dwelling.

But the “song of God’s servant Moses and the Lamb” is no nationalistic song, glorying in the destruction of another nation. On the contrary, it affirms that “all nations” will rejoice in the saving acts of God. God is rescuing his entire creation from the one who has taken it captive. All creation shall rejoice together in its liberation from sin and death:

Great and marvellous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.

Lord God Almighty, we rejoice today in your great salvation which shall one day transform the whole of creation. Lord Jesus, you have gained the victory over the powers of darkness that have enslaved your world. By the power of your Spirit help us to bring the light and liberating power of your salvation to those who still live in darkness and despair, that they may join us in singing your praises and living to your glory.

Peter Misselbrook