Revelation 15:3

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

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! Revelation 15:3

John just noted those “who have victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name.” He also noted that they had harps of God. Of them, he now says, “They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God.” The term “servant of God” is fittingly applied to Moses, having been called the Lord’s servant several times in the Old Testament (see Exodus 14:31, Numbers 12:7, and Psalm 105:26). He is referred to in this manner in Hebrews 3:5 as well.

Of this, Ruckman says, “Here is another verse that proves that no Christian goes through the Tribulation. The people in verse 2 [sic] sing ‘the song of Moses’ (the Mosaic Law) and ‘the song of the Lamb’ (Jesus Christ dying for sinners – John 1:29). That’s works and faith … No Christian has any business singing ‘the Song of Moses” at all.”

While it is true that pre-tribulation Christian believers will not go through the tribulation (in part or in whole), the logic Ruckman uses is faulty. Citing the Song of Moses is not a works-based statement. Rather, it is a note of fulfilled prophecy.

There are two songs of Moses recorded in the Old Testament. The first is in Exodus 15 when the children of Israel were led out of bondage and through the Red Sea to safety. The great world power that had hold over Israel was crushed and defeated by the Lord. The second is recorded in Deuteronomy 31 and 32. It details the history of the people of Israel from the time they enter the Promised Land through to the end of the ages. Which Song of Moses is being referred to? Actually, both fit the mold of what is said. However, it is surely the latter song that is first and foremost being considered.

The people in this verse are “those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name.” In the final verse of the song recorded in Deuteronomy 31, we read these words –

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” Deuteronomy 32:43

To ensure we don’t make the error Ruckman has made, Paul even cites this verse, speaking of believers in the church age, in Romans 15:10. Moses prophesied of a time when the Gentiles would rejoice along with the people of Israel. That time came when Christ fulfilled and set aside the Mosaic Covenant, and established the New Covenant in His blood.

Further, the words of Deuteronomy 32 refer to avenging “the blood of His servants.” This is exactly what is being pictured as these martyrs stand on the glassy sea. Thus, both Jews and Gentiles can sing the Song of Moses (Rejoice, O Gentiles with His people), “and the song of the Lamb” (You are worthy to take the scroll…) as is recorded in Revelation 5:9, 10.

Of the words “the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb,” Vincent’s Word Studies says, “There are not two distinct songs. The song of Moses is the song of the Lamb.” This is true in the sense that all of the words of Moses ultimately refer to the work of God in Christ. Thus, songs such as are found in Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 32, and Revelation 5 all build upon the same theme – the greatness of the Lord God.

Of this song, these people on the glassy sea are “saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works.’” It is a note of great exultation and awed wonder at the workings of God in Christ. This is not merely a praise to God for what He has created, but what He has done within the created order. It speaks of the redemptive process that began at the fall of man and which continues through the tribulation period itself. The words follow after other such praises recorded in the Old Testament, such as Psalm 111:2, Psalm 139:14, and 1 Chronicles 16:9. These praises are to the “Lord God Almighty!”

The Greek reads Kyrie ho Theos ho Pantokratōr – “Lord the God the Almighty.” The word Pantokratōr, or “Almighty,” was used in Revelation 1:8 when referring to Jesus. It was used again in verse 4:8 where it was clearly referring to Jesus again. And then again, in verse 11:17, it is used when referring to Jesus. Each of these uses can clearly be identified as referring to Jesus from the surrounding context. The same is true here. It is God, working in Christ, that is on display in this song now being set forth before us. John continues with, “Just and true are Your ways.”

This is a note of God’s dealings with humanity. Though these are a part of the very nature of God, there is no need for justice and truth to be spoken of in relation to the creation apart from man. Only man is cognizant of the intimate relationship that should exist between him and his Creator. Of His just nature, the words are reflective of Romans 3 –

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

Of His truthful nature, the words are reflective of Romans 2 –

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.” Romans 2:1, 2

In God, there is only justice and truth. With this stated, the verse finishes with, “O King of the saints!” In these words, there is a variation in manuscripts. Some say “saints” while others say “nations.” This may be a citation from Jeremiah 10:7. If so, then “nations” is the preferred reading. That will be seen in the analysis of the coming verse.

In the end, both are true at the end of the tribulation. At this time, Christ is the King of the saints, having called a people to Himself in holiness. When the tribulation period ends (which is presupposed by this song), Christ will rule over all nations. This is clearly seen in the 2nd Psalm, but it is also explicitly stated in Isaiah 2 (and as is repeated in Micah 4) –

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“’Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:2, 3

Life application: Ultimately, God is the One who delivers His people, but he used Moses to lead the people of Israel, and He came in the Person of Jesus to redeem all of the people of the world – becoming our sacrificial Lamb in order to redeem us from the power of sin and death. The tribulation saints will be a mixture of both Jew and Gentile. Together, they will sing a song of both Moses and the Lamb with the praise being directed to the Lord God Almighty.

In the Old Testament, the “Almighty” is El Shaddai who first appeared to Abraham. He is the God of power and protection. The people sing of his just and true ways because it is He who has both the right and the authority to judge the world in righteousness. As the King of the saints, He is the One who rules over His redeemed. Paul says that in order to be saved one must “call on the name of the Lord.” This act acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord over all things, and thus our Sovereign, our King.

If you are struggling with the deity of Jesus Christ, all you need to do is to compare terminology throughout the Bible, which describes God and which also describes Jesus. The Bible consistently bestows upon Jesus the same terminology that is given to God (or the Lord, meaning YHVH, of the Old Testament). There can be no mistaking who Jesus reveals and who He is. Have faith and don’t be misdirected by those who haven’t taken the time or effort to determine the truth of the second member of the Trinity. He is the God/Man. He is JESUS!

Surely, You are great and glorious O God! From You comes all power, honor, glory, and majesty. To You we look for our protection and provision. We also come to You in gratitude for every good blessing that flows from Your open hand of grace. Yes! Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God Almighty. Hallelujah and Amen.