Revelation 15:2 MEANING

Revelation 15:2
(2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire.--The wild beast rose out of the sea (Revelation 13:1); the evil-hearted woman sits upon many waters (Revelation 17:1); they draw strength from the wild, and ungoverned, and short-sighted impulses of human passion; in opposition to this near the throne of God is the calm and translucent sea of God's counsels of righteousness and love, now clear as crystal, now ruddy with the fire of righteous indignation, the expression of His eternal will against sin. Such is the appearance of this glass-like sea now that the angels of the plagues are going forth.

But the seer saw more than this fire-flushed sea. He saw also those that are victorious over the wild beast. These he describes (such is the literal translation) as those who conquer out of the wild beast, &c.; they come off conquerors out of the struggle, and they escape from the temptation to worship his image and wear the badge of his service: they "escape victorious from" his image and from his mark. When he sees these, they are standing upon (i.e., on the shore of) the sea of glass, holding harps of God. We have had the harps mentioned previously (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2); it is appropriate. The life which has been a discord to the world rises into true music before God; those who will make their life a melody must take it first as a conflict. The harps they hold are called harps of God, not merely because they are dedicated to Him. but because they are truly God's. All the most glorious and noble things in nature were named God's: the lofty trees were "trees of God "; the high-piled mountains were "mountains of God "; so also the harps which strike forth the richest music are "harps of God." Nor is this a mere phrase to be considered as equivalent to very great or very glorious; great and glorious the trees, hills, and harps are, but only a prosaic or a profane mind can be satisfied with such a naked equivalent. The godly saw the hand of God in these things; and St. John knows that the noblest melody in the ears of God is the noble life of faith, suffering, and love. The power of such a life is in God, not in itself (John 15:5; Galatians 2:20), and the music of such a life is music which God makes (2 Corinthians 4:7-10), drawing the sweetest tones from the strings which are smitten with pain and sorrow; and as its life's music is God-taught, so does its song of triumph sound from a harp not its own, but God's. If our power to sing in trial here a song worthy of God is only found in God, so will the songs of heaven be sweet only in Him, for those who dwell there shall be all taught of Him.

Verse 2. - And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire. "And I saw" indicates a new phase of the vision (cf. Revelation 14:6, 14, etc.). The sea was like glass, either because of its pure transparent appearance, or on account of its consistency; the saints being subsequently described as standing on it. (For a full discussion of the meaning, see on Revelation 4:6.) The sea, the elders, and the triumphal hymns of praise are all characteristic of the vision in Revelation 4. Mingled with fire. In Revelation 4. it was described as "like unto crystal." The fire is an emblem of purity; the same idea is also conveyed by the "crystal." Fire is also a symbol of judgment, which is the theme of the song of the saints (ver. 4). And them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God; and them that come victorious from the beast and from his image, and from the number, etc. Omit "and over his mark," according to all the best authorities. Standing by (or, on), having harps. (On "the beast" and "his image," etc., see on Revelation 13.) These victorious ones stand by (such, probably, is the force of ἐπί) the sea (see above and on Revelation 4:6). The "harps" are characteristic of the heavenly melodies (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2). This multitude has been before described in Revelation 7:9. From his image; that is, from the temptation to worship the image.

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 I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mingled with fire,.... Not baptism, but rather the blood of Christ, which may be compared to a sea, for its abundant virtue and efficacy in cleansing from all sin; and to a sea "of glass", since in it are clearly seen free justification, full pardon, peace and reconciliation; and may be said to be "mingled with fire", being attended in the application of it with the Spirit of God, whose gifts and graces are sometimes signified by fire: and so, according to others, this sea may represent the pure church of God, as washed in the blood of the Lamb; compared to a sea for the multitude of which it consists, and to a sea of glass, because of the transparency and clearness of its principles and practices, and may be said to be mingled with the fire of love and zeal: most interpreters understand it of the world, which is like a sea for the multitude of its inhabitants; and sometimes to a troubled one, because of the restlessness and disquietude of the wicked in it; but here it is like a sea of glass, for the quiet, and peace, and rest it shall be in at this time; though it is commonly said to be like such a sea, partly because all things are manifest, and open to an omniscient God; and partly because of its outward splendour, and the brittleness, frailty, and transitoriness of it; and to be mixed with fire, either because of the light of the Gospel, and the operation of the Spirit in the hearts of some that are in it, or because of the afflictions and persecutions the saints in it; though it seems best of all to understand it of the Gospel, as in See Gill on Revelation 4:6; and which may be said to be mingled with fire, either because of the powerful and clear demonstration of the Spirit that attends it to the minds of many, or that heat of persecution which is raised by it; see Luke 12:49 or rather it denotes the purity of the Gospel in those times, its general spread, and the great zeal and fervour of the professors of it, since persecution will now be at an end.

And them that had gotten the victory over the beast; over antichrist, signified the beast, that rose up out of the sea, and out of the earth, Revelation 13:1 and which are the same, and were but one, though in different forms, as from hence appears: the beast first overcame the saints, by slaying of them; and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, by preaching and professing the Gospel, by their close and constant adherence to it, and by dying for it:

and over his image; caused by him to be made to the first beast; and is no other than the Popish religion, which bears a resemblance to Paganism; and which the saints may be said to get the victory over, by standing out against it, opposing and refuting it, not giving into it, but bearing their testimony against it:

and over his mark; refusing to receive it either in their forehead, or in their right hand; that is, either to swear allegiance to him, or profess his religion. This clause is wanting in the Alexandrian copy, Vulgate Latin, Syriac. Arabic, and Ethiopic versions:

and over the number his name; that is, they would not own his supremacy and authority, nor embrace his doctrines, nor obey his orders, nor be reckoned his followers in any form or shape; see Revelation 13:15. These conquerors John saw

stand on the sea of glass; which, if applied to the blood of Christ, shows that these confessors were purified by it, and were more than conquerors through it; that they were come out of great tribulation, and had washed their garments, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and were just come up from the washing, and stood upon, or rather by, or "near the sea", as the Arabic version renders it, in allusion to the priests at the molten sea, in the temple: but if the world is meant by the sea, their standing upon it designs their victory and triumph over it by faith, their having it under their feet, and their contempt of it; but rather, since the Gospel is intended, it may denote their solid standing upon the doctrines of it, the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and their steadfast continuance in them, and faithful abiding by them, whereby they got the victory over antichrist:

having the harps of God: their hearts in an excellent frame, tuned and disposed by God, to sing his praise, and set forth his glory; having them filled with spiritual joy and gladness, and with great thankfulness, on account of their victory, the happy state of Christ's church, and the destruction of its enemies: the allusion is to the people of Israel, Moses and the men, and Miriam and the women with timbrels and dances standing on the sea shore, when the Egyptians were destroyed, singing the praises of God; as is still more manifest from the following verse.

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