And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God.
The song of Moses (Exodus 15) is the first song recorded in the bible; the song that Israel sings when God safely delivers them to dry land, safe from the waters of the Red Sea and Pharoah’s army, intent on their destruction or return to slavery.
Here in Revelation, in the wake of the waves of the terrible tribulation period, those who overcome “the beast, and its image and the number of its name” eventually come to rest upon the firm footings of the sea of glass (Rev 4:6) before the heavenly throne.
In the Jewish temple, the bronze laver was filled with a sea of water (1 Kings 7.23), around 30000 litres, which was used by priests for cleansing before approaching the Lord.
Here in revelation, the sea that John describes lies in front of the heavenly throne. However, the sea is not needed for cleaning any more. In heaven, we are dressed in robes of white, purified by the Blood of the Lamb; there is no need to use the water any more for purification. And it is not just a few selected priests who approach the throne, we can all approach with “boldness”! Indeed we are all priests, even a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2.9).
John is describing a new era, with enormous changes, even the sea is stilled, as a sea of glass. The powers of darkness are defeated, we are united with our God, the chaotic oceans are stilled in obedience, and we are singing!
The recurrent use of numbers in Revelation such as 12 or 7 (and 144,000!) emphasise this completion and perfection.
When we pass through our own times of tribulations, we have an assurance that these trials and troubles no longer have the power to engulf us, to crash over or consume us. Jesus himself reminds us of this fact when he tells us that “in this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, and just as Moses and the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea, so too may we stand firm on Jesus’ victory over sin and suffering in the midst of our own times of troubles. Let us take heart.
We are told in reading Revelation 1.3
“blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear”.
We can indeed be blessed by reading Revelation: we see how it all ends, we get to see the end of the story, which really is only the beginning, and what we are made for all along to- “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.
Thank you Lord for the completed work of the cross and for the promise and hope you give us to glorify you and enjoy you forever. Speed the day! Amen