The Prelude of the Plagues - the Beginning of the End
Revelation 15:3, 4
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are your works…

It seemed as if all was ended with the harvest and the vintage, of which we are told in the close of the previous chapter. What can come after the ingathering of the saints and the final judgment? And, indeed, nothing can. But what is here given in the chapters that follow is the more detailed setting forth of the Divine judgments upon the Church's three great enemies - the dragon and the two beasts; or, in other words, the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. The overthrow of Satan is, however, related last of all. Ere the Divine judgments on these enemies of the people of God begin, we have the song of the redeemed - the song, as it is termed, "of Moses the servant of God and of the Lamb." An objection may be felt by some that the saints of God should be represented, as they are here, as exulting over the awful woes which had come upon their enemies. Is such triumph over a fallen foe in harmony with the Spirit of Christ, and with the perfectly sanctified nature of the inhabitants of heaven? In reply, we may say that what is right anywhere is right everywhere; and if it were right for Israel to exult over the dead Egyptians and the utter destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts - as surely it was - then like exultation over far worse foes cannot be wrong. We are scarcely able to comprehend either Israel's or St. John's condition of mind. We have so long dwelt at ease, in the enjoyment of full liberty, none daring to make us afraid, that the intense feeling aroused by hideous murder, bloody cruelty, monstrous injustice, and relentless oppression, threatening, not one or two, but a whole people, and enacted under our own eyes, and felt in our own persons - what all this would arouse in men's minds we do not know, and can scarce imagine. One present amid the Sepoy massacres in the Indian Mutiny tells with what fresh understanding he and his fellow worshippers listened in church to the lessons which fell then to be read out of the Book of Joshua. Burning indignation against wrong can never be wrong. It was in Christ, and should be in us. Exultation, therefore, over its downfall is not only natural, but right. The coupling together of the song of Moses and of the Lamb teaches that in the first we are to find the pattern of the second. Note, therefore -

I. THE SCENE. Our thoughts are sent back to the thrilling story of Israel in Egypt. The pouring out of the vials is called by the same name - "plagues" - as were God's judgments in Egypt. And the scene of this song alludes plainly to Israel at the Red Sea. We are standing before a sea of glass, as we read in Revelation 4. But that sea now seems "mingled with fire." On its margin stand the throngs of the redeemed. That sea so lustrous, so still, so smooth, so firm, like as the Red Sea seemed in comparison with the fearful storm of the night of the Exodus. But it had been a sea of judgment to their foes. In its depths lay horse and rider, chariot and horseman, Pharaoh and his army. Fitly did the fire, mingled with this sea of glass, tell of that. And the rejoicing Israelites were the type of which the redeemed Church of Christ, safe in glory, is the antitype. This scene is another reminder, out of many more, that in the story of Israel may be read, in symbol, the story of the Christian Church. The comfort, the counsel, and the warning - for all are there - of the one are for the other also.


1. It is a song, not a speech. Sung, not said. Music, the vehicle of song, is the language of thoughts that lie too deep for words. Words are not adequate to tell of the heart's feelings. The flush of shame; the flash of the angry eye - as his, whose "eyes were as a flame of fire;" the tears of sorrow; the sigh of distress. More than words is wanted, and music is one of the many means, more expressive far than words, whereby the deeper feelings and thoughts of the heart are uttered. Music is especially animated with joy, and the fact that the heavenly company "sing." tells of their "joy of heart."

2. It is a song wherein all the glory is given to God. Moses does not say one word of himself, but bids the people "sing unto the Lord." So was it, so will it be.

3. It lingers on the terribleness of their enemies. It tells of their proud boast, their cruel intent, their formidable power. Thus the "wrath of man" praised God. And in the future review, when we think of our adversaries, the seemingly insuperable difficulties - these will be, as the like were, part of our song.

4. It tells of the enemies' complete overthrow.

5. The future consequences of this victory. Moses celebrates that. How "the dukes of Edom, the people of Palestina," will be moved with fear. And so in the song of the Lamb, "Who shall not fear," etc.? (ver. 4). The redeemed distinctly contemplate further triumphs for the Lord over those as yet not yielded to him. The "firstfruits," "the Church of the Firstborn," "the elect of God" - and it is these, and their glorious salvation, which is portrayed here - are, as their prototypes were, for the blessing of others, many others; "all the nations of the earth" are to be blessed in Christ and in his seed. And the elect are to be the instruments. And the mighty lever that shall overturn the mass of error and sin shall be God's marvellous mercy to them. Oh to be numbered amongst "the sacramental host of God's elect"! For they are -

III. THE SINGERS OF THIS SONG. They were and are such as:

1. Once were bond- men.

2. Had been in sore peril of being re-enslaved.

3. Their preservation due to the fact that they had been "kept by the power of God." It was his restraining hand had held back the waves, that but for this would have overwhelmed them.

4. They are a "blood-besprinkled band." On the lintel and doorposts of every house of Israel the blood of the Paschal lamb had been sprinkled, and so had they and theirs been saved alive. Never were they to think that it was for their own worthiness they were saved. To crush such thought the Passover sacrifice was ordained. And the singers of this song owe their all to the fact that for them Christ's blood was shed. In virtue of that they are what and where they are. Do any ask - How is this? We answer -

"I cannot tell the woe
Which thou wast pleased to bear,
O Lamb of God; but this I know -
That all my sins were there." S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty! Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations.

The Praise of the Divine Works
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