Wednesday, 31 March 2021
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. Revelation 14:2
Chapter 14 reintroduced the one hundred and forty-four thousand first seen in Chapter 7. They are seen together with the Lamb on Mount Zion. With that scene before John, he next says, “And I heard a voice from heaven.” A single voice from heaven is heard. Therefore, this is not the multitude recorded in verses 7:9-11. Nor is it the “loud voices” recoded in verse 11:15. Rather, One is speaking forth who has “the voice of many waters.”
It is the voice of the Lord Jesus as was seen in Revelation 1:15 –
“His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.”
The voice of many waters was described in detail in verse 1:15, but simply stated, it gives the sense of the roaring of the sea, crashing and terrifying. It is one voice, but it is as if a multitude of voices, all with varying wavelengths, is speaking at one time. This is John’s way of describing the thundering resonance of the Lord’s awesome and glorious voice. John then says it is also “like the voice of loud thunder.”
This may be compared to the voice of the first of four beasts that call forth in verse 6:1, the voice of the Lion –
“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’”
The lion’s voice is one of kingly authority. This is exactly what one would expect as the Lamb stands on Mount Zion, the place of the King of Israel –
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:6
The symbolism of Revelation 5 is called to mind here where both the Lion (5:5) and the Lamb (5:6) were seen. Each revealed a different aspect of the work of Christ. It is so here as well. He is both the Redeemer of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, and He is their King. John next speaks of these redeemed Jews, saying, “And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.”
The Greek more closely reads “voice” instead of “sound.” It is most probably both the playing of harps and singing that accompanies the playing of them. As noted in verse 5:8, this would be a lute or a guitar (the Greek word kithara is the root of guitar).
It will be understood from the coming verse that these harpists are the one hundred and forty-four thousand.
Life application: The 66th Psalm shows us one intent of music when used in worship –
“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
4 All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah Psalm 66:1-4
In the New Testament, Paul says –
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16, 17
Music and singing are ways of exalting God. They are used to both bring Him the honor and glory He is due. It is a means of aligning our minds with proper thinking in regard to His wonderful works. At the same time, they are for building others up to the attainment of that same attitude. Let us be sure to follow this pattern and sing out to the Lord of His great and wonderful works. Especially in the cross and resurrection. Let us thank God in song for JESUS!
Oh God, we will sing praises to You, our Redeemer and King. With every bit of our fiber, may we remember to praise and exalt You for what You have done. Praise You, Lord, for Your mighty deeds among the children of men. Hallelujah to the Lamb who has redeemed us to God! Amen.