If we must be prepared as a church to suffer – and even to be martyred for our faith in the face of the spirit of the antichrist – so we also ought to understand that there is more to the story. Earthly defeat does not necessarily mean eternal defeat. God’s ways are higher than ours.
John saw seven angels with seven plagues. But that vision was interrupted by a seaside chorus. Again, God’s people were singing.
John saw a magnificent kind of sea, like glass mingled with fire. And beside it was a crowd of people, those “who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name.”
These were those who conquered the conquering beast. When the beast emerged in Chapter 13, we were told “it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.” We must understand the reality of this world and the “war” in which we are involved as believers. We have an enemy bent on our destruction. The antichrist wants to destroy the works of God.
But somehow God’s people find themselves standing beside a sea of glass – a peaceful body of water that glistens with fire. And they are singing the song of Moses. We have to go all the way back to the Book of Exodus for Moses’ song, which he also sang beside the sea.
“Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians. … Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:30-31).
You can read the song of Moses in Exodus 15. Moses sang about the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, and God leading his people, and the enemies of God trembling in fear.
Then, in Revelation 15, beside this new sea of glass and fire, those who conquered the beast sang a similar song. Yes, God is great, and “all nations will come and worship you.”
This is a new exodus. It might be better to say this is the ultimate or the fulfilled exodus. God’s people pass through the water of baptism in Christ. They emerge from certain death. They are given new life. The “great and amazing” deeds of God are the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “For you alone are holy.”
Back on the far side of the sea was slavery. Here is freedom in Christ. That’s worth singing about.