Revelation 15:8 MEANING

Revelation 15:8
(8) And the temple . . .--Translate, And the temple (the same word--naos--is used as in Revelation 11:1) was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his might; and no one was able to enter into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished. As in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34-35), and as at the dedication of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:10-11), the tokens of God's presence filled the temple, so it is now, but with a difference: it is smoke, not cloud, which is the symbol of God's presence. But the vision which perhaps, under all circumstances, most nearly corresponds with the present is that of Isaiah (Isaiah 6); there the prophet beheld the vision of God. His train filled the temple, and the house was filled with smoke, and a message of judgment was given to the prophet; that message declared that the sin of the people had reached a climax: they had trifled with convictions, and henceforward the words of God's servants would harden rather than awaken them. "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes," &c. (Isaiah 6:9-10), till the desolating judgments had fallen. The general drift of the present vision is similar; the days of warning are over: the plagues which now fall will fall on those who have trifled with convictions: the sanctuary which was opened as a refuge is now closed: none can enter till the plagues have descended. The time has come when the judgments of God fail to stir the conscience which has been deadened by sin; the day when the gracious influences towards repentance was felt has passed. The word that has been spoken is about to descend in judgment (John 7:48). "Who shall not pray, with an agony of earnestness, From hardness of heart and contempt of Thy word and commandment, good Lord, deliver us?" (Dr. Vaughan).

Verse 8. - And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power. The "smoke" suggests

(1) the cloud, or Shechiuah, the symbol of God's presence and glory (cf. Exodus 16:10: 24:16);

(2) the sign of God's active operation (Exodus 19:18);

(3) the token of judgment and calamity (Isaiah 14:31; Psalm 18:8; Revelation 14:11). All three significations receive their fulfilment in this place. And no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled; should be finished (Revised Version). Just as when God manifested his presence on Sinai the people were not allowed to approach, so here no one is allowed to approach the ναός, the dwelling place of God, while he is manifesting his judgments. The description is intended to convey an impression of the awful sacredness of God's presence. (For the explanation of the parts of this verse, see on previous verses.)

15:5-8 In the judgments God executes upon antichrist and his followers, he fulfils the prophecies and promises of his word. These angels are prepared for their work, clothed with pure and white linen, their breasts girded with golden girdles, representing the holiness, and righteousness, and excellence of these dealings with men. They are ministers of Divine justice, and do every thing in a pure and holy manner. They were armed with the wrath of God against his enemies. Even the meanest creature, when armed with the anger of God, will be too hard for any man in the world. The angels received the vials from one of the four living creatures, one of the ministers of the true church, as in answer to the prayers of the ministers and people of God. Antichrist could not be destroyed without a great shock to all the world, and even the people of God would be in trouble and confusion while the great work was doing. The greatest deliverances of the church are brought about by awful and astonishing steps of Providence; and the happy state of the true church will not begin till obstinate enemies shall be destroyed, and lukewarm or formal Christians are purified. Then, whatever is against Scripture being purged away, the whole church shall be spiritual, and the whole being brought to purity, unity, and spirituality, shall be firmly established.And the temple was filled with smoke,.... Not with the smoke of false doctrine and superstition; that comes out of the bottomless pit, this from God, Revelation 9:2 and besides, Gospel churches will grow purer and purer, while the seven angels are pouring out the vials: but rather this may be understood of judicial blindness and hardness of heart, upon the antichristian party, which will come upon them from God in righteous judgment; so that they will not be reformed by the plagues, and vials of wrath, nor repent of their sins; but blaspheme God, who has power over the plagues, and so shall not be able to enter into the temple: or else this may design God's powerful and gracious presence in his church, in allusion to the cloud which filled the tabernacle, so that Moses could not enter; and which filled the temple, so that the priests could not minister, Exodus 40:34 since this is said to be

from the glory of God, and from his power; whose presence is the glory in the midst of his church, and a covert, a protection and defence, to the saints, so that none can come into the temple to hurt them: see Isaiah 4:5 or rather this intends "the smoke of the anger of God", as the Ethiopic version renders it, and which is intolerable; and it may have respect not only to the wrath of God, which is insupportable, but to that great affliction which will befall the saints in those times, through the last struggle of the beast; called the earthquake, and the hour of temptation, and a time of trouble, as never the like was, and which will be shortened for the elect's sake:

and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. None of the anti-Christian party will attempt to enter in, because of their blindness and obduracy; nor can they get in to do any mischief, because the glorious and powerful presence of God is a defence against them: and this may also have some respect to the darkness of God's judgments, which will not be clearly manifest until these seven plagues are accomplished; till that time God's judgments on antichrist will remain a great deep, and be unsearchable; there will be no entering into the temple, so as fully to understand them, which is meant by going into the sanctuary of God, Psalm 73:17 and this makes the interpretation of the pouring out of these vials, in the next chapter, very difficult.

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