The Voice of the Victors
Another Sign in heaven
Here he stresses the majesty of God who is over the whole historical process.
This sign is described as great and marvellous, which marks it as outstanding.
these adjectives are used of God’s own works
From the meaning ‘blow’ or ‘stroke’ it comes to be used of misfortunes generally. But there is an air of finality about this description. These plagues are the last earth will know. In them God’s wrath (see note on 14:10) is completed (etelesthē = reaches its telos, its end or aim).
“I saw something like a sea of glass”
it seems to be a metaphor for God’s holiness, which kept sinful mankind from approaching Him. One day this barrier will be removed
There have been numerous theories: (1) it is the reflected setting sun on human history; (2) it represents fire which stands for God’s judgment; (3) it is the blood of the martyrs; or (4) it is connected to the victory at the Red Sea and the Song of Moses since the OT background of chapters 15 and 16 is the plagues of the Exodus (cf. Exod. 7–12; 15).
Those who have Victory
Nothing evil can triumph over God’s people.
“standing on the sea of glass”
This metaphor speaks of those overcomers being close to God. The “sea” in Revelation stands for a separation between a holy God and sinful creation.
“And they sang the song of Moses … and the song of the Lamb”
This shows the unity of the old covenant and the new covenant in this song of redemption.
The Song of Moses
Happenings in the Tabernacle
“the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened”
In 4:1 a door in heaven was opened for John; in 11:19 the Ark of the Covenant appeared in the temple for believers to see. Now the entire heavenly tabernacle appears
This symbolizes the second, ultimate exodus from bondage (bondage to sin).
When this sanctuary was opened there came out the seven angels who had the seven plagues. These plagues thus come with the fullest divine sanction, for they are brought by angels who have come from the very presence of God.
They are clothed in clean shining linen
These are obviously very powerful angels representing God.
“seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God”
These shallow golden bowls are mentioned in 5:8, where they contain the prayers of the saints. There is a connection throughout Revelation to the prayers of His persecuted children and the wrath of God on unbelievers
And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God
This was a common OT description of the presence of God (cf. Exod. 19:18; 40:34; 1 Kgs. 8:10–11; Isa. 6:4).
Shekinah cloud of glory
represented God’s presence to Israel during the Exodus
“no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished” This possibly means that there was no stopping God’s wrath once it had begun.