|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 purity
|• The size indicates
immense distance, symbolic of the omnipresent.
|• To which we add now
fire, a symbol of judgment.
|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. For example:
|• 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 to speak.
|• 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
|• 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 God.
|• They tell us that
God is both just and faithful (true).
|• They exhort us to
fear God (and thus have nothing else to fear;
if these are martyrs, it is advice from those who know).
|• 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 did.”