Revelation 15:3
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
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(3) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.—They join their voices to the music of their harps. The song of Moses was a pæan of victory over Pharaoh and his hosts (Exodus 14:26-31; Exodus 15:1-21). Israel stood on the margin of the Red Sea and saw the tokens of the overthrow of the great world-power of that day; so these saints stand by the border of the fire-blent sea of glass, and sing the song of triumph over the doom of the great world-powers of every age. The cases are parallel, the songs are alike; and it would not be out of place were the words of that other song of Moses, the man of God, to be heard from those who are made glad according to the days of their affliction, and who are clothed with the beauty of the Lord their God (Psalm 90:1; Psalm 90:15; Psalm 90:17). They also sing the song of the Lamb. The Apocalypse is full of Christ; the Lamb is the axis on which the world of its scenery moves; He is the key of earth’s history; the victory of the saints is in Him (Revelation 12:11); their song of triumph is of Him who put a new song in their mouth and in whom all things are reconciled (Ephesians 1:10; Philippians 2:10-11).

(3, 4) Great and marvellous are thy works. . . .—The song is better thus translated:—

“Great and marvellous are Thy works,

Lord God Almighty.

Just and true are Thy ways,

Thou King of the nations.

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?

Because Thou only art holy:

Because all the nations shall come and worship

in Thy presence:

Because Thy judgments were manifested.”

The works are called “great;” the “ways” are called just and true. It is not mere marvel which calls forth the song of praise, but righteousness, truth, and holiness. The Almighty is the righteous ruler. The English version has “King of saints;” the reading should be “King of the nations” or else, perhaps, “King of the ages” The latter reading harmonises well with the immediate context and with the other passages, which link the thought of “the ages” with the “righteous dealings” of God. “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth” (Psalm 119:142; comp. also Psalm 119:144, Psa_119:151-152, Psa_119:160). But the former is to be preferred; it is appropriate in a song which celebrates a victory over those who vaunted themselves as the princes of this world, and which proclaims the submission of the nations to God; and it seems to have been transplanted here from Jeremiah (Jeremiah 10:7): “Who would not fear thee, thou King of the nations?” The song celebrates the noble acts of the Lord; it declares them to be great; but it is not their greatness, it is their righteousness and faithfulness which calls forth the grateful praise. The long days of oppression, and the seeming silence of the Almighty, when the prayer and cry “How long?” has risen from perplexed and suffering saints, have brought the temptation of the psalmist: “I have cleansed my heart in vain” (Psalm 73:3-13). But now the righteous acts of the Lord are manifested; now it is acknowledged that “verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth” (Psalm 58:11). Though clouds and darkness have sometimes been round about Him, it is now beyond doubt that “righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne” (Psalm 97:2).

15:1-4 Seven angels appeared in heaven; prepared to finish the destruction of antichrist. As the measure of Babylon's sins was filled up, it finds the full measure of Divine wrath. While believers stand in this world, in times of trouble, as upon a sea of glass mingled with fire, they may look forward to their final deliverance, while new mercies call forth new hymns of praise. The more we know of God's wonderful works, the more we shall praise his greatness as the Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all worlds; but his title of Emmanuel, the King of saints, will make him dear to us. Who that considers the power of God's wrath, the value of his favour, or the glory of his holiness, would refuse to fear and honour him alone? His praise is above heaven and earth.And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God - A song of thanksgiving and praise, such as Moses taught the Hebrew people to sing after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. See Exodus 15. The meaning here is, not that they would sing that identical song, but that, as Moses taught the people to celebrate their deliverance with an appropriate hymn of praise, the redeemed would celebrate their delivery and redemption in a similar manner. There is an obvious propriety here in referring to the "song of Moses," because the circumstances are very similar; the occasion of the redemption from that formidable anti-Christian power here referred to, had a strong resemblance to the rescue from Egyptian bondage.

And the song of the Lamb - The hymn which is sung in honor of the Lamb, as their great deliverer. Compare the notes on Revelation 5:9-10, Revelation 5:12-13.

Saying, Great and marvelous are thy works - See the notes on Revelation 15:1. The meaning is, that great power was evinced in redeeming them; and that the interposition of the divine goodness in doing it was marvelous, or was such as to excite wonder and admiration.

Lord God Almighty - This would seem to mean the same thing as the expression so common in the Old Testament, "Yahweh, God of hosts." The union of these appellations give solemnity and impressiveness to the ascription of praise, for it brings into view the fact, that he whose praise is celebrated is Lord - Yahweh - -the uncreated and eternal One; that he is God the creator, upholder, and sovereign of all things; and that he is Almighty - having all power in all worlds. All these names and attributes are suggested when we think of redemption; for all the perfections of a glorious God are suggested in the redemption of the soul from death. It is the Lord the Ruler of all worlds; it is God - the Maker of the race, and the Father of the race, who performs the work of redemption; and it is a work which could be accomplished only by one who is Almighty.

Just and true - The attributes of justice and truth are brought prominently into view also in the redemption of man. The fact that God is just, and that in all this work he has been careful to maintain his justice Romans 3:26; and the fact that he is true to himself, true to the creation, true to the fulfillment of all his promises, are prominent in this work, and it is proper that these attributes should be celebrated in the songs of praise in heaven.

Are thy ways - Thy ways or dealings with us, and with the enemies of the church. That is, all the acts or "ways" of God in the redemption of his people had been characterized by justice and truth.

Thou King of saints - King of those who are holy; of all who are redeemed and sanctified. The more approved reading here, however, is "King of nations" - ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ἐθνῶν ho basileus tōn ethnōn - instead of "King of saints" - τὼν ἁγιῶν tōn hagiōn. So it is read in the critical editions of Griesbach, Tittmann, and Hahn. The sense is not materially affected by the difference in the reading.

3. song of Moses … and … the Lamb—The New Testament song of the Lamb (that is, the song which the Lamb shall lead, as being "the Captain of our salvation," just as Moses was leader of the Israelites, the song in which those who conquer through Him [Ro 8:37] shall join, Re 12:11) is the antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea (Ex 15:1-21). The Churches of the Old and New Testament are essentially one in their conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as they are in the twenty-four elders. Similarly, Isa 12:1-6 foretells the song of the redeemed (Israel foremost) after the second antitypical exodus and deliverance at the Egyptian Sea. The passage through the Red Sea under the pillar of cloud was Israel's baptism, to which the believer's baptism in trials corresponds. The elect after their trials (especially those arising from the beast) shall be taken up before the vials of wrath be poured on the beast and his kingdom. So Noah and his family were taken out of the doomed world before the deluge; Lot was taken 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 was 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 in the air," and then shall with fire destroy the enemy. The Lamb leads the song in honor of the Father amidst the great congregation. This is the "new song" mentioned in Re 14:3. The singing victors are the 144,000 of Israel, "the first-fruits," and the general "harvest" of the Gentiles.

servant of God—(Ex 14:31; Nu 12:7; Jos 22:5). The Lamb is more: He is the SON.

Great and marvellous are thy works, &c.—part of Moses' last song (De 32:3, 4). The vindication of the justice of God that so He may be glorified is the grand end of God's dealings. Hence His servants again and again dwell upon this in their praises (Re 16:7; 19:2; Pr 16:4; Jer 10:10; Da 4:37). Especially at the judgment (Ps 50:1-6; 145:17).

saints—There is no manuscript authority for this. A, B, Coptic, and Cyprian read, "of the NATIONS." C reads "of the ages," and so Vulgate and Syriac. The point at issue in the Lord's controversy with the earth is, whether He, or Satan's minion, the beast, is "the King of the nations"; here at the eve of the judgments descending on the kingdom of the beast, the transfigured saints hail Him as "the King of the nations" (Eze 21:27).

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God; the song which Moses sang upon God’s delivery of the Israelites from the danger of Pharaoh, which we have, Exodus 15:1-27; not that they sang those words, but to the same sense.

And the song of the Lamb; a song to the honour of Christ, to the same sense that Moses sang, and upon a much like occasion.

Saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; admiring the greatness and marvellousness of what God had done in their deliverance, and giving him the glory of his Almighty power.

Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints; acknowledging, that all the acts of his providence were both just, God in them giving to every one their due, and true, God by them but justifying his promises and threatenings. These words are taken out of Psalm 145:17.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God,.... Not that in Deuteronomy 32:1 but that in Exodus 15:1 and the sense is, either that they observed the law of Moses, which he as a servant in the Lord's house faithfully delivered, and kept it distinct from the Gospel, and did not blend them together, as in the times before; or rather, that they sung a song like that of Moses, and on a like occasion. Pharaoh was the very picture of the pope of Rome; his oppression and cruel usage of the Israelites represent the tyranny and cruelty of the Romish antichrist; and the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, and the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red sea, which occasioned the song of Moses, were an emblem of God's bringing his people out of antichristian bondage, and of the ruin of antichrist, upon which this song is sung; and Rome, in this book, is called Egypt, Revelation 11:8. The Jews have a notion, that the very song of Moses itself will be sung in the world to come, in the days of the Messiah; for they say, there are in it the times of the Messiah, and of Gog and Magog, and of the resurrection of the dead, and the world to come (l). And this song was sung by the Levites in the daily service (m).

And the song of the Lamb; the Lamb of God, who was slain for the sins of men; the same song of which mention is made, Revelation 5:9 the song of redeeming love, a song of praise for the blessings of grace which come through him, and of deliverance by him:

saying, great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; Christ is in this song addressed as a divine person, as Lord of all, God over all, blessed for ever, the Almighty God, as his works declare him to be; his works of creation, providence, and redemption, which are all great and marvellous, particularly the accomplishment of the glorious things spoken of his church, and the destruction of his enemies, which are here designed:

just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints: made so by his Father, and acknowledged by all his people, and especially at this time, when his kingdom will more visibly and gloriously appear: the Alexandrian copy, one of Stephens's, the Complutensian edition, and Arabic version, read, King of nations, as in Jeremiah 10:7 from whence this, and the beginning of the next verse, seem to be taken; the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "King of ages", an everlasting King, as in Jeremiah 10:10 but the generality of copies read as we have it: and the ways of this King are just and true; his purposes, decrees, and counsels of old, are faithfulness and truth; all his proceedings towards his own people, his subjects, are mercy and truth; his precepts and ordinances, his worship and service, are just and true, in opposition to every false way; and all his judgments upon his enemies, which are intended, are just, being what their sins deserved, and are true, being agreeably to his word and threatenings.

(l) Zohar in Exod. fol. 23. 2. & 24. 3, 4. & 25. 2. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 91. 2.((m) Maimon. Tamidim, c. 6. sect. 9.

And they sing {7} the song of Moses the {a} servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, {8} Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy {b} ways, thou King of saints.

(7) That song of triumph, which is Ex 15:2.

(a) So is Moses called for honour's sake, as it is set forth in De 34:10.

(8) This song has two parts: one a confession, both particular, in this verse, and general, in the beginning of the next verse Re 15:4, another, a narration of causes belonging to the confession, of which one kind is eternal in itself, and most present to the godly, in that God is both holy and alone God: another kind is future and to come, in that the elect taken out of the Gentiles (that is, out of the wicked ones and unbelieving: as in Re 11:2 were to be brought to the same state of happiness, by the magnificence of the judgment of God, in Re 15:4.

(b) Thy doings.

Revelation 15:3. As in Exodus 14-15. Moses leads Israel in a song of praise to God over the dead Egyptians, so, after Rome’s downfall (Revelation 14:8 f., Revelation 15:2) the faithful are led by their captain (Revelation 12:11, Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:4, cf. Hebrews 2:12), in a chant of triumph and gratitude. (Note the lack of any reference to their own sufferings. Their interest is in the great work of God.) For messiah as a second Moses in Jewish tradition, cf. Gfrörer, ii. 328 f. The song on the Red Sea had already been adapted to the worship of the Therapeutae (Philo, de uit. contempl. § xi.)—τὴν ᾠδὴν τ. . There is a continuity in redemption, which unites the first deliverance to the final. True to his cardinal idea of the identity of God’s people (Christians being the real Israel, cf. on Revelation 1:6), the prophet hails Jesus as the Christian Moses who, at the cost of his life, is commissioned by God to deliver the new Israel from their bondage to an earthly monarchy. The lyric with its Hebrew parallelisms is a Vorspiel of the succeeding judgments; it resembles (cf. E.Bi. 4954) the benediction after the Shema of Judaism (“a new song did they sing to Thy name, they that were delivered, by the seashore; together did all praise and own Thee as King, saying, ‘Yahveh shall reign world without end’ ”), and is almost entirely composed of O.T. phrases. Adoration is its theme, stirred by the sense of God’s justice. Similarly the famous hymn to Shamash, the Assyrian god of justice, which represents one of the highest reaches in ancient religious literature (Jastrow, pp. 300, 301): “Eternally just in the heavens are thou, / Of faithful judgment towards all the world art thou.” Most editors take the phrase καὶ τὴν ᾠδ. τ. . as a gloss; but if the song has nothing to do with the Lamb, it is as silent on Moses. Since the whole section comes from the pen of the general author, and since the collocation of the two ᾠδαί (equivalent of course to a single hymn) is awkward mainly in appearance, while the omission of the Lamb’s Song would leave the section incomplete, it seems better to regard it as original rather than as a scribe’s addition like Revelation 14:10, etc. As in Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:3, the Lamb is among his followers, yet not of them.

3. the song of Moses] Exodus 15—the song of God’s redeemed people, delivered from their enemies, and confident of coming, but not come yet, “unto the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord their God doth give unto them.” There is probably no allusion to their coming from the “Red Sea” of martyrdom: that is a pretty conceit, but below the dignity of prophecy.

the servant of God] Exodus 14:31 is particularly referred to; but also in Numbers 12:7; Joshua 1:1-2; Joshua 1:7; Joshua 1:13; Joshua 1:15; Joshua 22:5; Psalm 105:26 “the servant of the Lord” is used as a special honourable title of Moses: cf. Hebrews 3:5.

the song of the Lamb] For the Lamb has redeemed them, as Moses redeemed Israel. “The song of the Lamb” is not a different song from “the song of Moses,” but the same interpreted in a higher sense: well illustrated by the Christian use of Psalms 114, and the other Passover Psalms, in our Easter services.

Great and marvellous &c.] There may be references to Psalm 111:2; Psalm 139:14; Psalm 145:17 : but this psalm rather continues the spirit of those than combines their words. It is noticeable that this song, alone of those occurring in this book, has the parallelism or quasi-metrical structure of Hebrew poetry.

of saints] Read, of the nations or of the ages; the best editors are divided in their preference for one of these readings, but both are better attested than that of the received text. See Jeremiah 10:7, which no doubt is quoted, in these words and the clause following, and perhaps decides the balance of probability in favour of “nations.”

Revelation 15:3. [174] Ὁ ΒΑΣΙΛΕῪς ΤῶΝ ἘΘΝῶΝ, King of nations) An august and befitting title: comp. Revelation 15:4, and Jeremiah 10:7; and yet it has been variously changed by the copyists.[175]

[174] τὴν ᾠδὴν τοῦ ἀρνίου, the song of the Lamb) The Lamb sings that song in honour of His Father in the great congregation; Psalm 22:23-26.—V. g.

[175] C Vulg. Syr. read τῶν αἰώνων. ABh Memph. Cypr. read τῶν ἐθνῶν: so Lachm. and Tisch. But Rec. Text, without good authority, τῶν ἁγίων.—E.

Verse 3. - And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. Most probably the song of deliverance after the passage of the Red Sea (Exodus 15.), to which this bears a general resemblance. Moses is called the "servant of God" in Exodus 14:31 and elsewhere. The song of Moses is also the song of the Lamb; the Old Testament and the New Testament Churches are one. Saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty (cf. Exodus 15:7, "And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them;" also Psalm 111:2; Psalm 139:14). This song, like that in Revelation 4:8, is addressed to the "Lord God Almighty." Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. The reading of the Textus Receptus, ἁγίων, "of saints," is certainly incorrect. It does not appear in any Greek manuscripts, but was inserted by Erasmus to represent the sanctorum of his Vulgate, which word, however, is itself a corruption of saeculorum, the true Vulgate reading representing αἰώνων. Ἐθνῶν, "of nations," is read in א, A, B, P, 1, 7, 8, 14. etc., An-dress, Primasius; while αἰώνον, "of ages," is the reading of א, C, 95, Vulgate, etc. It has been conjectured that ΑΙΘΝΩΝ (by itacism for ἐθνῶν) has been confused with ΑΙΩΝΩΝ. a parallel to the reading, " King of nations" is found in Jeremiah 10:7, Hebrew text and Theodotion, but not LXX.: "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?" which is very like the succeeding clause in ver. 5, especially in connection with the "nations" there mentioned. The title "King of the ages," or "eternal King," is applied to God in 1 Timothy 1:17, and in the Book of Tobit twice (13:6 and 10), but seems unknown to the Old Testament. Revelation 15:3The song of Moses

See Exodus 15. Compare Deuteronomy 32; to which some refer this allusion.

The servant of God

See Exodus 14:31; Numbers 12:7; Psalm 105:26; Hebrews 3:5.

The song of the Lamb

There are not two distinct songs. The song of Moses is the song of the Lamb. The Old and the New Testament churches are one.

Great and marvellous are Thy works

Psalm 111:2; Psalm 139:14; 1 Chronicles 16:9.

Just and true are Thy ways

Rev., righteous for just. See Deuteronomy 32:4.

King of saints (βασιλεὺς τῶν ἁγίων)

The readings differ. Some read for saints, ἐθνῶν of the nations; others αἰώνων of the ages. So Rev. Compare Jeremiah 10:7.

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