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 judgments have been revealed."
Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation. (R./)
The Lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel. (R./)
Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy
at the presence of the Lord. (R./)
For the Lord comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness. (R./)
Jesus said to his disciples: "Before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.
"By your endurance you will gain your souls." It is one of those floating phrases that can apply to many situations. It is echoed earlier in Luke in different context, where the seed bore fruit "through endurance." (Lk 8:15). The tem endurance (hypomoné ) is today expressed by "hanging in there" and denotes perseverance, consistency, dependability. In hard times we must show loyalty to God by endurance. We are helped in this, for Jesus promises "I will give you a wisdom which none of your opponents can contradict." During hard times his love and fidelity will sustain us, so that our efforts can bear good fruit.
Those who endure will, says Revelation, join in the victorious song of the people who crossed the Red Sea. Like those who followed Moses over sea and desert, we too may find it hard going at times. The Lord inspires us to push onward and persevere. "Mighty and wonderful are your works ... Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations!"
The quality of "endurance" that helps us onward towards the promised land, is finely expressed by the Latin translation of Saint Jerome: in patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras, "By your patience you will possess your souls."