Exodus 15:1-20, 21
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying, I will sing to the LORD…
We cannot fail to connect in our thoughts the circumstances of this magnificent triumph-celebration with that other scene, described in the Apocalypse, where they who have "gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number of his name, stand on - i.e., on the margin of - the sea of glass, having the harps of God," and "sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Revelation 15:2). We do not enter into any elaborate explication of the Apocalyptic symbols. The beast and his followers obviously represent the Antichristian foes of the Church - the worldly secular powers that resist, oppose, and persecute the true servants of Christ. God's judgment on these hostile world-powers, already summarily depicted in Exodus 14:19, 20, is to be afterwards more fully described under the imagery of the seven last plagues. This vision of the multitudes on the sea of glass is anticipative, and represents the celebration by the Church of her own deliverance, and of the completion of judgment upon her enemies. The "sea of glass" has obvious reference to the Red Sea, made to roll back, and stand up like a sea of crystal (ver. 8), yet illuminated and filled with lurid radiance, by the fiery glow of the pillar which shone on Israel. The "sea" is the symbol (in this instance) of deliverance achieved, of victory won, of enemies judged and overwhelmed - the fire in the crystal pointing to the burning wrath which consumed them. But what we have immediately to do with is the fact that the saved multitudes sing the "song of Moses, and of the Lamb." This plainly does not mean that they sing two songs; nor yet that the song which they sing is the song recorded here; for the terms of what they sing are subsequently given (Revelation 15:3, 4). The meaning is that the Church, having experienced a deliverance similar to that experienced by Israel at the Red Sea, but as much greater than that old deliverance, as Christ is greater than Moses, and his salvtion greater than the salvation from Egypt, - the old song is re-cast, and its terms re-adapted, to express both victories at once, the lower and the higher. The old is taken up into the new and is celebrated along with it. No victory of God for his Church will ever pass out of remembrance. Each will be the theme of grateful celebration to all eternity. But type must merge in antitype, and be celebrated with it in a single strain. The song of the redeemed over the defeat of the Antichristian powers at the end - over the defeat of all their enemies - is the true counterpart of this song of Moses, and the one (the latter) remains for ever the background of the other (the former), and is blended with it in the united celebration. Glancing at the two songs, this in Exodus, and that in the Revelation, we note -
1. That the scope of both is the same - the defeat of hostile, pursuing, persecuting powers. And as the defeat of Pharaoh was the natural sequel to the exodus, and confirmed to Israel that redemption then achieved, so will the defeat of Christ's enemies in the end appear as the appropriate sequel to his work upon the Cross, and will complete the deliverance of his Church from those that trouble her (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
2. That the attributes of God extolled in both are the same. This of necessity, for the work being similar, so must be the attributes revealed in it - holiness, power, unchallengeable supremacy, justice and truth, which here include mercy. "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty," etc. (Revelation 15:3). The effects produced on the nations by this display of God's attributes are also similar - "who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name... for all nations shall come and worship before thee." A higher result this, however, than in the case of the type.
3. The singers in both cases are the same - those viz. who have experienced the deliverance which they celebrate. Would we join them? We, too, must be in Christ, and partakers with those who, in the strength which he gives, are overcoming the world (1 John 4:4). - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.