Reading through the 15th chapter of the book of Revelation one morning in the late ’90s in the living room of my home in Minneapolis, I was struck by verses 3 and 4 which comprise The Song of Moses and The Lamb. Almost instantly the Holy Spirit dropped a chord progression and melody into my heart, so I moved over to my wife’s piano and immediately wrote the music and melody/lyrics — verse, chorus, bridge — to “MIGHTY Your Deeds.”
In 1998 I made a simple Tascam 8-track analogue recording of this piece, which I still have. Fourteen years later I used Finale Print Music to produce the formal printed score for piano and voice; and in 2020 I wrote the orchestrated introduction and outro for the song. I began my digital recording and production process in my Orlando home studio in the Fall of 2020 — completing those euphonic efforts in March 2021.
Even now when I close my eyes and listen to “MIGHTY...”, I feel transported into the throne room of heaven itself. I did my best to create a mighty, evolving, revolving mysterious sound which resolves into glorious beauty, orderly precision and magnificent harmony — indicative of a Holy and righteous God of mighty and majestic deeds Who will not tolerate sin but Who has provided a solution to sin in the atoning death of His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.
Roger Paul Peterson ◊ Orlando, Florida ◊ March 2021
While I’ve taken some poetic liberty for musical fit, here is the literal English translation of the Nestle Greek text of Revelation 15:3-4 penned about 1,925 years ago by the Apostle John (aka John the Elder) for what the original text calls ‘The Song of Moses the Slave of God and The Song of the Lamb’, with my non-Greek, non-John personal poetic author insertions in [brackets] and explanations in (parenthesis):
vs.3b Great and wonderful the works of thee, [O] Lord God the Almighty;
vs.3c righteous and true the ways of thee, the king of the nations;
vs.4a who will not fear, [O] Lord, and will glorify the name of thee?
[who can fail to love you O God and give you honor unashamed?] (my composer’s poetic insertion based on Deuteronomy 6:5 & Matthew 22:36–38, et al.; and 1 Timothy 1:17, 2 Timothy 2:15 & Jude 1:25, et al.)
vs.4b because [thou] only [art] holy,
[You, you alone judge rightly] (my composer’s poetic re-ordering of vs.4d inserted here)
vs.4c because all the nations will come and will worship before thee, [for you are God!]
vs.4d because the ordinances of thee were made manifest [because you have shown that you judge with fairness (Contemporary English Version translation of vs.4d)]
√ CREATION OF THE COSMOS
God’s mighty deeds began in Genesis chapter one with the creation of the earth and the entire cosmos — the highly complex, yet orderly system of the universe (everything in existence, from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy). Even science tells us the universe has been expanding since creation — what they call the Big Bang — and may be infinite in it’s scope. What an awesome, mighty, still-going-on deed of God!
photo thanks to esa.int
√ CREATION OF MANKIND
One of the mightiest deeds of God was creation of living, breathing human beings. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground’” (Genesis 1:27-28).
Sistine Chapel ceiling photo thanks to Calvin Craig on Unsplash
√ PARTING OF THE RED SEA
The mind-boggling, massive parting of the Red Sea is probably one of the best-known mighty deeds of God in the Old Testament. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground’” (Exodus 14:15-16 NIV).
The Israelites, trapped between the sea and the approaching Egyptian army, are then miraculously delivered as God literally blows open a path through the waters, rescuing them while drowning Pharaoh’s entire army.
Moses parting the Red Sea photo thanks to emaze.com
√ PARTING OF THE JORDAN RIVER ◊ SUN AND MOON STAND STILL
Moses had died (Exodus 34:1-12), with Joshua now in charge of leading the Israelites into the promised land — and another large body of water to cross. “Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you [the enemies] … as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord — the Lord of all the earth — set foot in the Jordan [River], its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.’ … Now the Jordan is at flood stage [at this time of year]. Yet as soon as the priests’ … feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away … so the [whole nation] crossed over … on dry ground” (Joshua 3:9-17 NIV).
Shortly afterward, in a battle against the Amorites on October 30, 1207 BC, the Israelites required more daylight time to remain victorious. “Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel, ‘O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies … The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day” (Joshua 10:12-13 NIV).
photo thanks to Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
√ TEN MIGHTY DEEDS OF RESURRECTION
Resurrection from the dead is clearly a mighty deed which can only happen by the breath and hand of our living God! While the most famous is that of Jesus Christ the Son, God the Father demonstrates his mighty, life-giving power to bring dead people back to life in these 10 Biblical accounts:
photo thanks to BibleAtLibrary / Getty Images from learnreligions.com
√ PSALM 77
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Our Father in heaven — the Lord God Almighty, the GREAT I AM, the One Who Was, the One Who Is and the One Who Is To Come — has performed powerful, miraculous, mighty deeds throughout the entire Old Testament and New Testament (throughout all of time) and continues doing so today.
In 1979, God performed a mighty deed on my behalf, and on behalf of the other 88 people on board TWA Flight 841 which fell more than 35,000 feet out of the sky before a miraculous recovery (about two seconds before impact). I give my first hand account below.
photo thanks line.17qq.com
√ MY FIRST HAND ACCOUNT
On my way home from Israel the evening of April 4, 1979 (visiting my parents and younger siblings), I sat in window seat 21A — the smoking section back then — of TWA flight #841 from New York to Minneapolis, one of 82 passengers and seven crew members. We were cruising at 39,000 feet on a rather smooth flight; seat belt signs had been turned off. Flight attendants had cleared the evening meal. At about 9:30 that evening while in the vicinity over Saginaw, Michigan, the plane, a 14-year old Boeing 727-100, barrel-rolled one and a half times (a wing over wing right-hand roll).
Midway through the second roll (in the belly-up position), our airplane nosed down 60 degrees and began accelerating toward the earth at an average decent of about 45,000 feet per minute (the decent rate in the final moments apparently reached 76,000 feet per minute). At speeds believed to exceed 650 miles per hour, the aircraft broke the sound barrier — the first time in history a commercial airliner (other than the Concorde) had done so. Nothing the three-man cockpit crew frantically tried to do was working; they simply couldn’t slow us down or get the nose up to regain our tri-jet’s flight characteristics. In a last-ditch effort, Captain Hoot Gibson noticed First Officer Scott Kennedy’s left hand on the landing gear lever and shouted something like, “yes, drop the gear!” to see whether that action would create enough drag to help slow down our still-diving, accelerating plane. Somewhere around 5,000 feet above ground, the welcomed rush of turbulence and drag created by the opening gear finally allowed the airplane’s elevator to push the tail down, pitching the nose up. Flight recording instruments later revealed we pulled 5.5 g’s (gravity forces) coming out of the dive. One report claimed we were just two seconds away from impact. Except for the grace, mercies and another mighty deed of Almighty God that night, it would have been an imbedding explosion, a fiery, life-instantly-ending-as-I-knew-it crash.
All 89 of us had just survived the longest recorded dive by a commercial jetliner in history in which the plane didn’t hit the ground. But it wasn’t over yet. Twenty pensive minutes later we were circling the Detroit airport. Other airplane traffic had already been cleared. Only the fire trucks and ambulances sat waiting for us, the eerie blood-colored glow of their heart-thumping emergency lights beckoning us to the grave yet one more time that night. “Upon impact…” were the very words a crew member used to begin training us for our emergency ‘landing’ in Detroit (how does ‘impact’ correlate to a ‘landing’?).
The number seven slat had torn off at some point during our ordeal. Now the airplane (without that slat) was trying to roll to the left. To keep us from a left-hand roll on his runway approach, Captain Gibson strained hard with full right aileron and rudder, and with full right trim. To maintain the airplane’s lift in those same final few seconds (without the use of flaps), he touched down at a ground speed 40% faster than normal — on landing gear only the cockpit and ground crews were not convinced would hold.
I have never seen death in another living person’s face before. But in those final few moments of preparation for our emergency landing, I saw death in the face and eyes of one of the flight attendants who — still on the clock (a paycheck I’m sure she thought she’d never collect) — went through her cabin duties, handing out blankets and pillows to each passenger to ‘soften’ the blow of the forthcoming impact. She was lifeless, emotionless as she mechanically performed the duties required in TWA’s emergency manual she thought she’d never really have to use. We had to get rid of our shoes, pull pens and sharp objects from our pockets (preparation to use the evacuation slides). We even had to get rid of neck ties.
Then on final approach the closing instructions came to us something like this: “Clasp your hands behind your head, and put your head down, now…”, and in the brief seconds it took me to comply, I ‘saw’ the events of my life, the hopes and dreams I still had, and the family I loved and didn’t want to leave — it all swept through me in the blink of an eye. Inside my soul and spirit I bid good-bye to the light of my earthly life and pleaded simply with God not to have to fight my way through flaming jet fuel and its monstrous, hellish effects. In the awesome eternity of that brief moment, I felt the actual spiritual presence of God’s arms wrapping themselves around me. His inaudible voice instantly placed a crystal clear understanding in the ears of my heart that simply said, “You will be alright.” I knew then for certain (with resolute, absolute certainty) that I would either immediately be with God in heaven — or that I would walk away from the plane unharmed. God didn’t reveal which one, but instead allowed me to taste the sweet victory, the savory “peace of God, which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Such peace cannot be manufactured when facing your own death. It comes only from God. It comes only from trusting Him totally.
Three years later, CBS Television got ahold of all the cockpit crew, all but one of the cabin crew, and 39 of the of the 82 passengers. They spent untold hours interviewing each one of us. After they scripted the entire event from the passengers’ and crew members’ first-hand accounts, and from other official accounts, they flew us all to Hollywood, California. A limousine driver met my incoming flight, and took me to the studios where all the airplane cutaway shots and luggage counter check-in shots were filmed. We each got our scripts and we each portrayed our actual selves as CBS filmed their one-hour Peabody Award-winning investigative documentary, The Plane That Fell From the Sky.
Most of those three days of filming were spent sitting around the studio waiting for our few minutes in front of the lights. That gave us ample time to personally talk with fellow passengers and our heroic flight crew. Although it had been nearly four years since our 35,000-foot drop out of the sky, each of us instantly bonded to one another. None of us had to explain how we felt during that nosedive and emergency landing in Detroit. For those of us who did explain, we had attentive ears, fully focused; and we understood each other completely, intuitively. We’d been there together. We had survived together. We were like lost friends finally getting back for a reunion — even though most of us hadn’t spent any time whatsoever getting to know each other since that ominous April evening (which God turned into my second salvation).
For a more detail account of our death-defying flight, read Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption by my friend, Emilio Corsetti III.
Emilio, a professional commercial pilot, along with a retired aeronautical engineer, sifted through a staggering mountain of research and all the available documentation to finally piece together the evidence pointing to a probable cause not considered by the original investigators.
Along the way, there is a twenty-million-dollar libel suit filed by the captain against Boeing and the NTSB, a civil trial where the entire investigation is reexamined in front of a jury, and a conflict between the credibility of a flight crew against the integrity of the most popular aircraft in the world.
I appear several times within Scapegoat. Emilio also shot this 2-minute video, A Passenger’s Perspective, when he was doing his research. In this video, I advocate for complete vindication of our entire heroic flight crew — Captain Hoot Gibson, First Officer Scott Kennedy and Flight Engineer Gary Banks.
You can also learn more information about TWA Flight 841 on Emilio's website; Emilio devotes 12 very informative, outstanding website pages to this incredible incident (which I view as a mighty deed of God!).
Roger Paul Peterson
Copyright © 2020, 2021 Roger Paul Peterson, dba RogerPetersonMusic — Orlando Florida USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Homepage headline adapted from J.S. Bach. Featured photo shots of Roger Peterson & Keyboards thanks to Matthew Peterson and Bruce Wilson Photography.
Cornerstone Family Church Worship Band photo thanks to Beth Minks. Album cover photos thanks to Denny Müller, Joe Beda, Jan-Willem van Braak, John Salvino, Franck V on Unsplash; and Bruce Wilson Photography. Upright player piano thanks to Bob Beauchamp (Chime&Time). Columbus photo thanks to history.com
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