I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. 2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb. (Revelation 15:1-3 NIV)
Sometimes we think of the book of Revelation as a book of darkness, gloom, and terror, except for a small passage about heaven at the end. However, this is simply not true. The majesty, power, and wisdom of God, the sacrificial love of the lamb, and the thankfulness of His saints are depicted frequently throughout the book. There are probably many Christians who do not get a full feel for the book of Revelation because they skip directly to the “exciting” judgment passages. Some of them probably don’t even realize that the book of Revelation is full of joyfulness, songs, and praise throughout. According to my count, Revelation 15 contains the 8th out of 9 worship poem/song of the book of Revelation. The other songs are found in 4:8, 5:11, 5:9-10, 5:12. 5:13, 7:12, 11:17-18, 16:5-6.
We see here in this passage that the ones doing the singing are “those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name.” Quite simply, it means that they refused to take the mark of the Beast and worship him, even though they were under the threat of death. The faithfulness of these saints qualify them to be prominent worshipers of God in heaven. They play beautiful music, much better than anything ever heard on Earth, on “harps given them by God.” They sing worship songs to God, both old and new. They sing the old songs (like the song of Moses, see Exodus 15) because songs that praise the One True Creator of the universe never become obsolete: they remain eternally true. But they also sing new songs (see Revelation 14:3) because there is no limit of new ways in which God can be praised for His eternal attributes. Thus true, genuine worship of God contains the ancient truths of Old, but also has a perpetual freshness and vigor to it, since our God never diminishes in power or glory.