Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 15

Godís people stand on the sea of glass

Revelation 15:2

At the end of each letter in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Christ made promises to those Christians who overcome. That is, they overcome the devilís power in this world. They do not overcome by their own efforts, but because of Christís death for them (12:11). In Christ, they firmly trust.

John had explained how difficult life will be for Godís people during the rule of antichrist (Christís great enemy) - Revelation 13:16-18. However, even the worst troubles cannot separate Godís people from Godís love for them (Romans 8:35-39). So, in Revelation 15:2-4, John saw, in heaven, Godís people who had overcome those troubles. There, they sang to praise God with music.

They stood on a sea that was completely still, like glass. Perhaps that is the same sea that is in front of Godís throne (royal seat) in Revelation 4:6. However, there is now a difference in the description of that sea. Then, the sea was clear, like the precious stone called crystal. Now, the sea glows with fire.

Fire is a word-picture for several different things in the Bible. It can express Godís power, his anger (Isaiah 10:16-19), his judgements (Malachi 3:2-3) and his holy character (Isaiah 6:1-7). Revelation chapter 15 emphasises particularly Godís anger against all that is evil (15:1; 15:7). So perhaps this sea shows us that even Godís great anger is under his control. The sea burns with fire, but it is still like glass. Godís anger is great, but his people stand safely upon the sea. (The original language says that, and not that they merely stand by the sea, as in some translations).

As in Revelation 14:2, their musical instruments are harps - instruments with strings, that make a quiet and beautiful sound. John adds here that God himself provided those harps - he calls them Ďharps of Godí.

Next part: The song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3-4)

 

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© 2016, Keith Simons.