Advent with Revelation (Ch. 15)
December 12, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 15 (Third Sunday of Advent)

Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
‘Great and amazing are your deeds,
   Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
   King of the nations!
Lord, who will not fear
   and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
   All nations will come
   and worship before you,
for your judgements have been revealed.’

After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever; and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.


It is common knowledge that the song of Moses recorded in the Book of Exodus can be understood in a spiritual sense as pointing forward to the Gospel teaching on regeneration. It has a special relevance for baptismal candidates emerging from the font. The author of the Apocalypse is therefore correct in describing the hymn sung by the saints in heaven as the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. By giving it this title, he is linking together a historical event and a spiritual reality. The crossing of the sea under the leadership of Moses is seen as a foreshadowing of what Christ, the Lamb of God, does for us in the regenerating waters of Baptism. ‘Lamb of God’ is used here as a richly evocative designation for the son of God, into whose death we have been baptized. When Moses first intoned his song, he did so in honour of an event that had begun with the slaying of a lamb. God himself had ordained that on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month a lamb should be sacrificed. The slaughter of that lamb prefigured the death of Christ, the Son of God, who was destined to be slain in expiation of our sins.

In John’s vision the saints were singing: Great and wonderful are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty; just and true are your ways, O King of the ages!These may not be the exact words of the song of Moses, the servant of God, but their substance is the same. The Old Testament singers were not content with a single acclamation; they praised the Lord over and over again for his mighty deeds. Great is the Lord’s renown, they proclaimed; his right hand is glorious in its strength. And again, Who is as powerful as you, O Lord? Who can rival your illustrious holiness? The saints, therefore, are described as singing the song of Moses because they resemble Moses both in their singing and in the subject matter of their song. But while they too praise the Lord with joy and thanksgiving to the accompaniment of harps, their song consists of one short verse only. This single verse contains none the less two all-important themes: the power of God and the justice of the Eternal King. Great and wonderful are your deeds is a proclamation of God’s power. Just and true are your ways is an acknowledgement of his justice. Of the two it is surely more meritorious to confess the second than the first. If we fear and praise God as the most powerful of spirits because we witness his marvellous deeds, our confession is certainly not lacking in merit. But if we can discern the divine justice underlying these same deeds and strenuously uphold it in the face of every denial, we shall gain a far greater blessing. And the same is true even when discernment fails us: we are blessed indeed if we still bow down in loving adoration of God’s justice, worshiping him in the words the Apostle Paul teaches each one of us to say: O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, how unfathomable his designs! (Rupert of Deutz)

A song is a thing of joy and, if we think carefully about it, a thing of love. So the person who has learned to love a new life has learned to sing a new song. Therefore we need to be told the nature of this new life, for the sake of the new song. For a new person, a new song and the New Testament all belong to the same kingdom. So the new person will sing a new song and belong to the New Testament.... My children of the Catholic Church, holy seeds of heaven, you who have been born again in Christ, born from above, listen to me, or rather, through me: Sing to the Lord a new song. ‘But I do sing’, you may reply. You sing, of course you sing, I can hear you; but make sure that your life sings the same tune as your mouth. Sing with your voices, sing with your hearts, sing with your lips, sing with your lives. Sing to the Lord a new song. Do you ask what you should sing about the one whom you love? Of course you want to sing about the one you love. Do you ask what you should sing in praise of him? Listen: Sing to the Lord a new song. Are you look­ing for praises to sing? His praise is in the assembly of the saints. The singer himself is the praise contained in the song. Do you want to speak the praise of God? Be yourselves what you speak. If you live good lives, you are his praise. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

The way to the interior life as well as to the choirs of blessed spirits who sing the eternal Sanctus is Christ. His blood is the curtain through which we enter into the Holiest of Holies, the Divine Life. In baptism and in the sacrament of reconciliation, his blood cleanses us of our sins, opens our eyes to eternal light, our ears to hearing God’s word. It opens our lips to sing his praise, to pray in expiation, in petition, in thanksgiving, all of which are but varying forms of adoration, i.e., of the creature’s homage to the Almighty and All-benevolent One. (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Musical Selections

Cantabant canticum Moysi servi Dei, et canticum Agni, dicentes: Magna, et mirabilia sunt opera tua Domine Deus omnipotens: iustæ et veræ sunt viæ tuæ, Rex sæculorum.

They sang the canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb, saying: “Great and wondrous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of all ages.

Quis non timebit te Domine, et magnificabit nomen tuum? quia solus pius es: quoniam omnes gentes venient, et adorabunt in conspectu tuo, quoniam iudicia tua manifesta sunt.

Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and magnify your name? For you alone are blessed.

For all nations shall approach and adore in your sight, because your judgments are manifest.”


All nations will draw near and fall down before you because your just and holy works have been revealed.

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *

O King of all the ages
Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name
for you only are the Holy One.

All nations will draw near and fall down before you
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. (Joe Cox)

All nations will draw near and fall down before you because your just and holy works have been revealed.

 Magna et mirabilia sunt ópera tua,*

  Dómine Deus omnípotens;

iustæ et veræ sunt viæ tuæ,*

  O Rex saeculorum!

Quis non timébit te, Dómine,*

  et magnificabit nomen tuum?

Quia solus pius es,

  quóniam omnes gentes vénient et adorábunt in conspéctu tuo,*

  quóniam iudícia tua manifestáta sunt.

Mighty and wonderful are your works,

Lord God Almighty!

Righteous and true are your ways,

O King of the nations!

Who would dare refuse you honor,

or the glory due your name, O Lord?

Since you alone are holy,

all nations shall come

and worship in your presence.

Your mighty deeds are clearly seen.


O God, who see how your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever