Symbols. What do they mean?
Sea of glass and fire. We encountered
something like this, in the same locale, in Chapter 4. There, most
commentators saw this as a character study of God:
• Glass was rare and expensive, indicating the
cost of the Cross
• The glass is transparent, indicating
• The size indicates immense distance,
symbolic of the omnipresent.
• To which we add now fire, a symbol of
Who then, stands on it? For that, we must divide in two camps: the amillennialists and historicists are unanimous: the church.
The futurists are in all directions.
• Chuck Smith, in another fit of poor editing,
says it’s just what he told us in Chapter 4 (which he didn’t): the sea
represents the believers who were raptured (the church), holding the Tribulation martyrs on their shoulders, so
• J. Vernon McGee sees this (no question
possible) as the glass on fire being the persecution
of the beast, and the ones with the harps as the Tribulation martyrs (all of them) triumphing over it.
• Talbot raises an interesting point. He agrees with McGee -- saying, after all,
it is the song of Moses. He adds, however, that the sea is a parallel in heaven
to the laver of the Temple (remember
Solomon’s bronze sea?)
• Lindsey says (without explanation) that the
ones with the harps are the 144,000;
the sea is purity and judgment, as
before (evidently he did not have the same editor Smith did).
Harps, of course, are associated with
those who reign (little David, play on) and, in chapter 5, the elders.
The Song of Moses shows us four
great points (see the parallels in the Old Testament; Exodus 15:1-8 and Deuteronomy 31:30 - 32:43,
also by Moses):
• They emphasize the great deeds of
• They tell us that God is both just and
• They exhort us to fear God (and thus have
nothing else to fear; if these are
martyrs, it is advice from those who
• Finally, they tell us that God alone is holy
-- and that all the nations shall worship Him.
A fair Sunday School lesson, that! The song is almost entirely a quotation from
the Old Testament. Some scholars see in the Old Testament songs
some prophetic points, but there is one key
summary point: this is the song of
those who have triumphed -- and there is no
note of “what I did” -- only “what God