Victory In Jesus

Rev 15:1-8

The scene is in heaven. Before John tells of the seven angels with the seven bowls of wrath, he has a picture of those who came through martyrdom for Christ. They are standing beside the sea which looked as if it was of glass. We have already seen this sea in Rev.4:6. We are shortly to hear of the song of Moses. This is the song which Moses sang when the children of Israel had come triumphantly through the dangers of the crossing of the Red Sea. Even so, as H. B. Swete puts it, the martyrs have come safely through the sea of martyrdom and have arrived at the shore of heaven. It is said that the martyrs have emerged victorious from their contest with the forces of Antichrist. There is something very significant here. The martyrs died the most savage deaths and yet they are said to have emerged victorious. It was the very fact that they had died that made them victors; if they had remained alive by being false to their faith, they would have been the defeated. Again and again the records of the early church describe a day of martyrdom as a day of victory. In the record of the martyrdom of Saint Perpetua we read: "The day of their victory dawned, and they walked from prison to the amphitheatre as if they were walking to heaven, happy and serene in countenance." Jesus said: "Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt.16:25). The real victory is not prudently to preserve life but to face the worst that evil can do and if need be to be faithful to death. # But the martyrs have their own song. Two things stand out about it. The Revelation of John; William Barclay; Westminster Press; Copyright (C) 1976

Students of prophecy are not agreed on the chronological arrangement of the seals, trumpets, and vials. Many students believe that these three sets of judgments follow after each other: the seventh seal leads into the trumpets, and the seventh trumpet leads into the vials, like three parts of a telescope. But if this is so, then the seven trumpets and seven vials are actually contained in the seventh seal. This might suggest that the seven seals are actually opened throughout the entire seven years of tribulation, with the trumpets and vials coming in quick succession at the end. In his excellent commentary on Revelation, William R. Newell contends that the first six seals will be broken during the first three and one-half years, and that the seventh seal (which includes the trumpets and vials) covers the last three and one-half years. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament; Warren W Wiersbe

1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

Here we have the last and final judgments of the Tribulation, but they will also perfectly accomplish God's righteous purposes through this seven-year period.

(1) As the time of Jacob's trouble. The Tribulation is first of all God's discipline on the Jews for their willful rejection of Christ as their Messiah and for their stubbornness. It will purge out the rebels and cause the rest to turn to Christ (cf. Ezek. 20:33-44; Zech. 14:9-10).

(2) The Tribulation will bring God's judgment on the Gentiles for anti-Semitism. It will be a strong source of motivation for men to repent and turn to faith in Christ, and judge the rest for their unbelief and rebellion.

(3) As to Satan the Tribulation is to demonstrate the true character and program of Satan as the source of sin, misery, war and murder.

(4) It will demonstrate to mankind as a whole (Jew and Gentile) the true rebellion and spiritually corrupt nature of man and the depths to which he will go when given the chance. Remember, at this time the restraint of the Holy Spirit who is at work today through the church, the body of Christ, will have been completely removed. The Tribulation, without this special restraint, will be a time of unprecedented lawlessness and unrighteousness, which will demonstrate the failure of man and how desperately he needs the Lord Jesus Christ.

(5) As to God and Christ it will demonstrate their absolute holiness, grace, faithfulness to their promises, and that God is still on the throne and He is just in his decisions against Satan and unbelieving man.

So these last seven plagues will complete these purposes as well as bring an end to the judgments (16:9-11, 13-14, 21). Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

2 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.

We have met these saints before; they are the believers of the tribulation period who refused to bow their knees to the Beast and, as a result, lost their lives for the sake of Christ (12:11; 13:7-10). John sees them as victors, standing by the heavenly sea. We think immediately of Israel in Ex. 15, where God had delivered the people victoriously from the bondage of Egypt. Please note that the "sea of glass" now has fire mingled in it; in 4:6, this crystal sea was clear. The fire reminds us that the wrath of God is now about to be revealed (Heb. 12:29). Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament; Warren W Wiersbe

These saints were slain for their faith, yet John says that they "have the victory" over the Beast! They would not wear his mark or worship his image, and so lost their lives; but in losing their lives for Christ's sake, they found them again! Even if the Christian dies in his witness, he is the victor, not the loser. Here again we see these saints singing by the heavenly sea; in 20:4, we see their dead bodies raised so that the company might reign with Christ during the Millennium. If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament; Warren W Wiersbe

Had gotten the victory over the beast (íéê§íôáò dê ôï™ èçñßïõ) The expression is peculiar. Lit., conquered out of The construction is unique in the New Testament. The phrase signifies, not as A.V., victory over, but coming triumphant out of (dê). So Rev., that come victorious from the beast. Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament: Vincent, Marvin R.

Because of the reference to the beast and his work which sets the context, these are clearly the martyred dead of the Tribulation. They are described as "those who had been victorious over the beast …" The word for victorious is nikaw and means "to be a victor, conquer, to prevail." Biblically, the means of conquering is faith in Jesus Christ and the Word, but this is always a victory based on the victory accomplished by the Savior's death for us through the cross and His resurrection (John 16:33). Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

Nikaw, however, is used here with the preposition ek three times, one for each of the areas of victory--the beast, his image, and his mark. Ek means "out of, from, away from." It is used to introduce the person, place, or thing from which a separation takes place. Here, nikaw carries the idea of deliverance. Because of their victory in Christ, they were delivered from the beast, from his image, and from his mark. The three-fold repetition emphasizes the element of victory and deliverance. These believers will find themselves living in the sphere of the beast's power and under great pressure to worship him, his image, and to wear his mark even to the point of death for refusing to do so. By faith they will refuse and will come out victorious from it all. Death is not a defeat but a glorious victory (1 Cor. 15:54-57). This is to be contrasted with church age believers in which Tribulation saints come out victorious from the Tribulation pressure, church age saints are kept out and never enter (tereo ek) (see the study in chapter 3:10). Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

[Sea of glass]-- answering to the molten sea or great brasen laver between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, for purifying the priests: typifying the baptism with water and the Spirit of all made kings and priests unto God. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; PC Study Bible Ed.

[Mingled with fire]-- answering to the baptism with fire, i. e., fiery trial <Matt. 20:23>, as well as with the Holy Spirit, which Christ's people undergo to purify them, as gold loses its dross in the furnace. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; PC Study Bible Ed.

As the sea typifies the troubled state out of which the beast arose, and is to be no more in the blessed world <Rev. 21:1>, so the victorious saints stand on it, under their feet (as the woman had the moon, <Rev. 12:1>, note); now no longer treacherous, wherein the feet sink, but solid like glass, as it was under the feet of Christ, whose triumph the saints now share. Firm footing amidst apparent instability is represented. They stand, not merely as victorious Israel at the Red Sea, and as John upon [epi (grk 1909) with accusative] the sand of the shore <Rev. 13:1>, but upon the sea itself, now firm, and reflecting their glory as glass: past conduct shedding the brighter luster on their present triumph. The happiness is heightened by retrospect of danger through which they have passed. So Rev. 7:14-15 Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; PC Study Bible Ed.

3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

JFB teach that these who are on the sea have been raptured just before the seven last vials of God's wrath are poured out on the earth.

So Noah and his family were taken out of the doomed world before the deluge; Lot out of Sodom before its destruction; the Christians escaped by a special interposition of Providence to Pella, before the destruction of Jerusalem. As the pillar of cloud and fire interposed between Israel and the Egyptian foe, so that Israel safely landed on the opposite shore before the Egyptians were destroyed, so the Lord, coming with clouds and in flaming fire, shall first catch up His elect people "in the clouds to meet Him an the air," then shall with fire destroy the enemy. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; PC Study Bible Ed.

The Saints Who Were Martyred Their song is very peculiar. The song of Moses is triumph over the power of evil by God's judgments. The song of the Lamb is the exaltation of the rejected Messiah, of the suffering One, like whom they had suffered; for it is the slain remnant amidst unfaithful and apostate Israel whom we find here. The song celebrates God and the Lamb, but by victorious sufferers who belong to heaven. What they celebrate are the works of Jehovah Elohim Shaddai (the God of the Old Testament), but who has manifested Himself in judgment, known by His works that are public for the people. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible -- John Nelson Darby

The Song of Moses emphasizes the power and faithfulness of God both in Exodus 15 and Deuteronomy 32. The Song of the Little Lamb emphasizes the redemptive work and plan of God in Christ. Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

God is a holy God and one of the great purposes of the Tribulation will be to demonstrate this and to prove Satan's age-old lies are just exactly that, lies. God is a God of love and of holiness and He must condemn the sinner who rejects His plan of salvation in Christ. Furthermore, He is perfectly just and righteous in rejecting the sinner who rejects His love and grace. The complete lawlessness of the Tribulation era will demonstrate this. The two age-old lies of Satan are: (a) If God is truly love, He would not send His creatures to hell, and (b) God would be unjust to do so. Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

It is almost entirely composed of quotations from the Old Testament. We set down first the words in the song and below them the Old Testament passages of which they remind us.

Great and wonderful are your works.

O Lord, how great are thy works! (Ps.92:5); The works of the Lord are great (Ps.111:2); he has done marvellous (wonderful) things (Ps.98:1); Wonderful are thy works (Ps.139:14).

Just and true are your ways.

The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings (Ps.145:17).

Who shall not fear and glorify your name, O Lord

All the nations thou hast made shall come and bow down before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name (Ps.86:9).

You alone are holy.

There is none holy like the Lord (1Sam.2:2); Let them praise thy great and terrible name! Holy is he! (Ps.99:3); Holy and terrible is his name (Ps.111:9).

All the nations will come and worship before you.

All the nations thou hast made shall come and bow down before thee, O Lord (Ps.86:9).

Your righteous judgments are made manifest.

The Lord has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations (Ps.98:2). A passage like this lets us see how steeped in the Old Testament John was. The Revelation of John; William Barclay; Westminster Press; Copyright (C) 1976

Therefore it is also termed the sons of the Lamb. It consists of six parts, which answer each other:-

1.Great and wonderful are thy 2.For thou only art gracious.

works, Lord God Almighty.

3.Just and true are thy ways, O 4.For all the nations shall come

King of the nations. and worship before thee.

5.Who would not fear thee, O 6.For thy judgments are made

Lord, and glorify thy name? manifest.

Wesley's Notes on the Bible; John Wesley

There is another thing which must strike anyone about the song of the triumphant martyrs. There is not one single word in it about their own achievement; from beginning to end the song is a lyric outburst on the greatness of God. Heaven is a place where men forget themselves and remember only God. As R. H. Charles finely puts it: "In the perfect vision of God self is wholly forgotten." H. B. Swete puts it this way: "In the presence of God the martyrs forget themselves; their thoughts are absorbed by the new wonders that surround them; the glory of God and the mighty scheme of things in which their own sufferings form an infinitesimal part are opening before them; they begin to see the great issue of the world-drama, and we hear the doxology with which they greet their first unclouded vision of God and his works." The Revelation of John; William Barclay; Westminster Press; Copyright (C) 1976

4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."

[Who shall not]-- `Who is there but must fear thee? ' Compare Moses' song, Exo. 15:14-16, on the fear which God's judgments strike into the foe. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary; PC Study Bible Ed.

Exod 15:14-15

14 "The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia.

15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. (NKJ)

5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

Note the following points regarding the Ark of the Covenant.

(1) The ark stood for the divine presence of God. It is here the glory of God's presence hovered over the mercy seat of the ark and from whence God would commune with Israel (Ex. 25:17-22; 30:6; Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89; 2 Kgs. 19:15; Ps. 80:1).

(2) By its contents, the ark stood for God's faithfulness. It contained: (a) the law or the tables of stone, which represented the whole law and guided the people as a way of life and pointed them to Messiah; (b) Aaron's rod that budded, which portrayed resurrection and God's choice of leaders; (c) the pot of manna, which portrayed the person of Christ and God's daily provision, but it also taught them happiness comes only from the Lord and not the details of life (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).

(3) The ark stood for God's holiness, grace, and love through the tables of stone within, the cherubim above and on either side of the top of the ark, and by the mercy seat, which formed a lid for the ark. But how? The tables of stone declared the perfect holiness of God and demonstrated the sinfulness of man since no man is able to keep the law. The law declared man a sinner and cut off from God. The sprinkling of blood by the high priest on the mercy seat (under or in front of the cherubim) showed that God's holiness could only be satisfied by the shedding of blood. This foreshadowed the person and work of Christ on the cross as did the whole ritual of the tabernacle, priesthood, and the sacrifices (cf. Acts 7:44; Ex. 32:15; 38:21; Numb. 1:50, 53; 17:7-10; Ex. 16:33; Heb. 9:1-5).

Studies in Revelation; J. Hampton Keathley III

Once again, the temple of heaven is opened; see 11:19. The earthly temple has been taken over by the Beast (13:13ff; 2 Thes. 2:3-4), but the Beast cannot touch the heavenly temple. All he can do is blaspheme it (13:6). The opening of the temple is another reminder that God will keep His covenant with His people, Israel. Many of the believing Jews have fled to Edom, Moab, and Ammon, where God will protect them. Others will die for their faith, along with many Gentiles. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament; Warren W Wiersbe

6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.

8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. (NKJ)

[The temple was filled with smoke] So was the tabernacle when consecrated by Moses, <Exo. 40:34-35>, and the temple when consecrated by Solomon, l Kings <8:10-11>; <2 Chr. 5:14>. See <Isa. 6:4>. This account seems at least partly copied from those above. Adam Clarke Commentary on the Whole Bible; Adam Clark

When the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies, and the ordinary priest into the Holy Place, they always carried with them a great deal of smoking incense, which filled those places with smoke and darkness, which prevented them from considering too attentively the parts and ornaments of those holy places, and thus served to produce an air of majesty in the temple, which none dared to approach without the deepest reverence. To this Calmet thinks the allusion may be here. Adam Clarke Commentary on the Whole Bible; Adam Clark

 

Victory In Jesus

Rev 15:1-8

Rev 15:1-8

1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

2 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.

3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."

5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.

8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed. (NKJ)

The passage this morning is a preliminary passage that leads us to the seven last plagues that God is to bring on this world. These seven last plagues are said to be the finishing of the wrath of God. But as John is waiting to write this final chapter of man's rebellion against God he is given another heavenly vision.

Whereas the vision of chapter 14 dealt mainly with the earth, 144,000 on Mount Zion at the end of the tribulation period, the final destruction of the enemies of God and the harvesting of the earth; now in chapter 15 we have moved back to heaven. Here John sees the movements behind the scenes of earthly activity.

In this vision he sees the glorified tribulation saints standing on the Crystal Sea that now seems mingled with fire. He hears them sing a song of praise to God and to the Lamb. It is a song of victory. Not the type of victory that we often think of. In our minds victory means release, it means not loosing. But these have gotten the victory through this terrible time although they have not come through alive, so to speak.

Christians need to redefine our idea of victory. Victory may not mean that we have subdued those against us, it might mean that we have been faithful, even to death.

  1. These have gotten victory over
    1. The beast
    2. His image
    3. His mark
    4. His name
    5. It is interesting that they tell us that the word "over" here is better translated 'from".
    6. The idea is that when these saints came through the trials triumphant.
    7. This means that they did not deny their Lord, regardless of the cost.
  2. They stand on the sea mingled with fire
    1. This is represented earlier in Rev 4:6 as the sea, crystal clear.
    2. There and here it stands for the brazen laver or sea of the tabernacle and the temple.
      1. In these cases it represents cleansing and is often associated with baptism.
      2. It was used to keep the priest clean and presentable to God.
      3. If we understand the altar of sacrifice as representing our salvation, then the next thing as we move toward the tabernacle is the brazen laver or sea.
      4. Many have supposed that in this position it represents baptism.
      5. Not that baptism cleanses us from sin, for that can only take place by the shedding of the blood of the Sinless One on our behalf.
      6. But it represents the cleansing that we have in Jesus Christ.
    3. Another reason that some think the brazen laver represents baptism is because here it is mingled with fire.
      1. Being mingled with fire has various interpretations.
      2. The one that I am most likely to believe is that the fire represents trials or afflictions.
        1. 1 Pet 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (NKJ)
        2. 1 Pet 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; (NKJ)
      3. Although fire is most often associated with judgment, it is also associated with trials as we see in the preceding verses.
      4. There is also a reference to baptism and fire together as it refers to Jesus Christ.
        1. Matt 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (NKJ)
        2. Again there are various interpretations but I think that it has reference to trials.
        3. Another place where Jesus used this type of language is in Matt 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."
        4. Here Jesus was telling them that he was going to suffer. That was the baptism that He referred to.
        5. This is seen by referring to Luke 12:50 "But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!
        6. Here there is no doubt that the baptism that Jesus is talking about is yet future and that it was the time of His sufferings.
    4. This is the reason why I think that this means that these who stand here are essentially the same as those of Revelation 7:9-17.
    5. What is difficult for us to understand in America is that if these have been martyred for their faith, how can they be considered victors?
  3. But they sing the song of victory.
    1. They sing the song of the Lamb and the song of Moses which are really the same song.
      1. There are two songs that this might refer to, the first is in Exodus 15 where after they cross the Red Sea and have the victory over Pharaoh and his army.
      2. The second is in Deut. 32 where for 43 verses Moses glorifies God for his wondrous works.
      3. Essentially this song does the same thing, in that it glorifies God for His greatness.
    2. They do not sing because like Moses they were delivered from the hands of their enemies.
      1. Instead, it seems that these have met a torturous death.
      2. Their victory was not that they were delivered but that they remained faithful through the trials.
      3. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; who weather or not God would deliver them, they were going to be faithful even till death.
      4. God hasn't promised to keep us from the trials, but He has promised to be with us through them.
    3. These were victorious because no matter what they remained faithful.
      1. When we understand that for the Christian, Satan's intentions are to get us to fail.
      2. He wants us to sin more than anything else.
      3. He works all his wiles to get us to make shipwreck of our lives.
      4. But these in this chapter, although they have faced the most sever time of testing that the world has ever known, yet they have come through as over comers.

Are you an over comer?

 
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com