"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
 
Rev 22:7

 
search
 
Visit us on
Facebook:

« back  Intro   Chapter   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22  next »
                                                                                                                      <---Coming Soon--->
                                                                                                                   Unless Jesus Does First





glory of God in a pillar of fire



Revelation 15:1-8

Revelation 15 - Quick Links

  • Saints on the Sea of Glass
    Revelation 15:1-4

  • Temple in Heaven Opened
    Revelation 15:5-8


  • Revelation 15:1-4


    Revelation 15:1 - Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

    In this chapter we return to the narrative of the Tribulation judgments. We left the narrative of the Trumpet judgments in Revelation 9 to cover background information in two interludes covered in chapters 10-14. Chapter 15 is a prelude to the last round of Tribulation judgments which we will cover in Revelation 16. John tells us that these last seven judgments, or plagues complete the wrath of God:

    3 perspectives on the last half of the Tribulation

    As discussed in the study "Prophetic Patterns in Numbers," the number "7" means perfection and the number "3" means complete, which explains why God's final wrath is the third installment of seven judgments after the seven Seal and seven Trumpet judgments - in other words, these multiples of "3" and "7" show perfect completion in God's final wrath on the earth. Recall from Revelation 10:7 that these last seven plagues comprise the third woe or the seventh Trumpet judgment, afterwards of which the Lord will return to judge and rule the earth:

    Judgments and Woes
    Revelation 10:5-7 - The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
    Revelation 11:15-18 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth."

    The angels preparing to administer these plagues appear as "another" sign in the celestial heaven. The last time we saw signs in heaven was in Revelation 12:

    Revelation 12:1-3 - Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. Another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.

    As discussed in Revelation 12:1-3, these signs appear in the constellations Virgo and Draco as part of the redemptive story of Christ in the Mazzaroth (Job 38:31-33), or the Zodiac. The Zodiac and other constellations, along with the sun, moon, and other luminaries declare the glory of God because they "reveal knowledge" as they follow their paths, or lines across the celestial sphere:

    zodiac
      Source: Wikipedia
    Psalms 19:1-6 - To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

    This knowledge is not uttered in speech or language, but in signs. The Bible explains what these signs mean. As discussed in Revelation 12:1-3, the constellation Virgo is a woman and represents Israel, and the constellation Draco is a dragon and represents Satan. So if these signs appear in the stars of the celestial heaven, then we should expect that the sign of the seven angels would also appear among them as a constellation. Unfortunately, since astrology has perverted a lot of knowledge of the constellations, it is not clear in this case which constellation might represent these seven angels. But one constellation does stand out as a good possibility - the seven-star cluster of Pleiades. The Pleiades is one of the few constellations mentioned by name in Scripture:

    Job 9:4-10 - God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? He removes the mountains, and they do not know when He overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea; He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; He does great things past finding out, yes, wonders without number.
    Job 38:31-33 - "Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?"
    Amos 5:7-8 - "You who turn justice to wormwood, and lay righteousness to rest in the earth!" He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the LORD is His name.
    Taurus and the cluster of the Pleiades
      Source: Stellarium

    In all three passages that mention the Pleiades, God describes His power over His creation, including the constellations. God also describes Himself as righteous and just, and that He judges the world through His creation. The Pleiades is located in the constellation Taurus, the wild ox, as shown to the right. Recall from Revelation 12:1, the constellation Taurus represents the Lord's judgment, so it makes sense that the Lord is like a wild ox when He judges nations, destroy His enemies, and saves His people:

    Numbers 24:8 - "God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows."

    Since the Pleiades is found in a constellation that represents God's judgment, then it makes sense that it would also be tied to judgment. Interestingly, the literal rendering of the Pleiades in Scripture is "cluster of stars" (Job 9:4-10, 38:31-33, Amos 5:7-8). Elsewhere is Scripture, a cluster of something is found with regard to the fruit of the vine:

    Genesis 40:9-10 - Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, "Behold, in my dream a vine was before me, and in the vine were three branches; it was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes."
    Numbers 13:23-24 - Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there.
    2 Samuel 16:1 - When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine.
    Song of Solomon 1:14, 7:7-8 - My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms in the vineyards of En Gedi.... This stature of yours is like a palm tree, and your breasts like its clusters. I said, "I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches." Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples....

    Metaphorically in Scripture, "clusters of grapes" refer to God's judgment for iniquity:

    Deuteronomy 32:32-36 - For their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of serpents, and the cruel venom of cobras. 'Is this not laid up in store with Me, sealed up among My treasures? Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.' "For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, bond or free."
    Isaiah 65:6-8 - "Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay - even repay into their bosom - your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together," Says the LORD, "Who have burned incense on the mountains and blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom." Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, 'Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,' So will I do for My servants' sake, that I may not destroy them all."
    Micah 7:1, 9 - Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, like those who glean vintage grapes; there is no cluster to eat of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires..... I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.

    As discussed in Revelation 14:18, the "vine of the earth" represents the nations of the earth, and its grapes represent the enemies of God - God will trample them likes grapes in a winepress when He returns at the end of the Tribulation to judge the world:

    Revelation 14:18-20 - And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

    It is interesting to note that the Romans, who ruled over Israel when John penned the Revelation, viewed the cluster of Pleiades as a bunch of grapes (Sources: 1 2 3). And when connecting the dots of the constellation, the Pleiades is often depicted to look like a miniature version of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper constellations:

    The Pleiades
    Source: Wikipedia

    Though the evidence is circumstantial that the cluster of Pleiades is the "great and marvelous" sign in the celestial heaven that represents the seven angels who pour out the wrath of God, it is fascinating that secular sources have depicted this constellation as a cluster of grapes and a dipper, both of which are pictures of God in His wrath, either trampling His enemies like grapes in a winepress, or through seven angels who pour out His wrath from bowls, or vial-like containers similar to a dipper.

    We will see the phrase "great and marvelous" again in a few sections, where a group of saints sing praise to God about His works, which are the works of His creation (Hebrews 4:4).

    Revelation 15:3-4 - They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."

    When David described how God forms a human body, he called His works of creation "marvelous":

    Psalms 139:14-15 - I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

    Job also spoke of the "great and marvelous" things God does within His creation, including deliverance:

    Job 5:8-15 - "But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause - Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. He gives rain on the earth, and sends waters on the fields. He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noontime as in the night. But He saves the needy from the sword, from the mouth of the mighty, and from their hand."
    Job 37:5-14 - God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, 'fall on the earth'; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work. The beasts go into dens, and remain in their lairs. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy. "Listen to this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God."

    It makes sense that the saints sing about the "great and marvelous" sign that just appeared in the celestial heaven because the constellations are part of God's work of creation, but as we will see in a few sections, the song they sing is a song of deliverance too. The group of saints who sing this song appear in the next section.


    Revelation 15:2 - And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

    The saints who sing about the "great and marvelous" works of God stand on the "sea of glass," which is before the throne of God in Heaven, as we saw in Revelation 4:6:

    Revelation 4:2-6 - Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

    The "Sea" in the earthly tabernacle was bronze. The purpose of the earthly "Sea" was for the priests to ritually wash before making offerings:

    2 Chronicles 4:1-6 - Moreover he made a bronze altar: twenty cubits was its length, twenty cubits its width, and ten cubits its height. Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three thousand baths. He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.

    Recall from Revelation 1:15, that bronze signifies purification and strength. Bronze is also used to depict judgment and restitution throughout Scripture. But in Heaven the "sea" will be clear as crystal (Revelation 4:6), as there will no longer be a need for purification, or restitution, because Jesus paid the price on the cross. He washes us through the Holy Spirit and His Word:

    Ephesians 5:25-27 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
    Titus 3:4-5 - But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

    John saw the "sea" in Heaven before the throne, but Ezekiel was below the throne when he saw the heavenly "sea." From his perspective, Ezekiel compared the sea to the firmament or sky, but with a crystal color:

    Ezekiel 1:22, 26 - The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads.... And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.

    As an interesting aside, the phenomenon of the "Aurora Borealis," also known as the "Northern Lights" can look like "crystal" being "mingled with fire" in the earthly firmament. Perhaps this is the phenomenon John and Ezekiel thought of when trying to describe the heavenly "sea":

    Likeness of the firmament
    Picture Sources: 1 2 3 4

    John describes the crystal sea as being like "glass," which portrays a sign of calmness and stability, but he also describes the "sea of glass" as being mingled with fire, like the fire mixed with hail and blood in the following passages:

    Exodus 9:24 - So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
    Revelation 8:7 - The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

    The "mingled fire" appearance goes back to the jasper and sardius stone in Revelation 4:3, which are clear and blood-red in color, and represent Jesus, the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:6). The saints who die in the Tribulation will stand on the "sea of glass" which is "before the throne," and wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, similar to the ritual washing of the priests in the earthly temple mentioned earlier:

    Revelation 7:9-10, 14 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" ...And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

    Take note that the crystal sea was not mingled with blood in Revelation 4:6 because the Tribulation had not officially started, and the Sea is empty of saints until they arrive in Heaven after they die for not worshiping the beast, his image, or his mark, or the number of his name during the Tribulation:

    Revelation 13:14-17 - And he deceives those who dwell on the earth - by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    But John says these martyred saints have "victory" over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name. The Greek word for "victory" means to "triumph" or to "overcome." Therefore, the Tribulation saints are "overcomers." As discussed in Revelation 2-3, an "overcomer" is defined as those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God:

    1 John 5:2-5 - By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    Recall from Revelation 14, John contrasts the beast worshippers with the saints who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus:

    Revelation 14:11-13 - And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' ""Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

    Those who worship the beast and his image, and take the mark of his name will suffer eternal torment. In contrast, "the patience of the saints" will come through the testing of their faith, even to the death, as discussed in Revelation 13:10. The beast will overcome the Tribulation saints by taking their physical lives, but they will enter eternal life and God's rest because of their victory over the beast, his image and the mark of his name through Christ, who has power over death:

    1 Corinthians 15:54-57 - So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Revelation 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

    The Tribulation saints have "harps of God." Recall from Revelation 5:8, harps in the Bible were widely used in worship and in a few instances when men prophesied (1 Samuel 10:5, 1 Chronicles 25:3). David had the power to drive away distressing spirits from Saul when he played his harp (1 Samuel 16:16, 23). It is clear from these examples that music transcends from the physical realm into the spiritual realm. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders also have harps in Heaven:

    Revelation 5:8 - Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

    Recall that the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures represent the Church and Israel (Revelation 4:4, 7). In addition to the Tribulation saints, all three groups are priests before the Lord (Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:4-9, Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6). As discussed in Revelation 4:4, the musically talented Levites served in the temple. These priests prophesied and worshiped through music like the elders and living creatures (1 Chronicles 25). As we will see in the next section, these musically inclined Tribulation saints will also praise the Lord in song like the rest of the saints.


    Revelation 15:3-4 - They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."

    The Tribulation saints, with the "harps of God" in hand (Revelation 15:2), sing praise to the Lord. They sing the "song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." John calls Moses the "servant of God," because God gave the Law to Israel through him (1 Chronicles 6:49, 2 Chronicles 24:9, Nehemiah 10:29, Daniel 9:11), and Moses was God's intermediary to Aaron his prophet, who spoke to Pharaoh:

    Exodus 7:1-2 - So the LORD said to Moses: "See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land."

    Like Moses, Jesus also had a prophet, John the Baptist, who exclaimed that the Lord was the "Lamb of God":

    John 1:29-36 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water." And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"

    The four living creatures, represented by Israel, and the twenty-four elders, represented by the church (Revelation 4:4, 7), also have harps and sing a song of praise to the Lamb of God, which is the "song of the Lamb" about redemption. The Tribulation saints also sing this song, but it is also called the "song of Moses," which is a song about deliverance. Clearly the saints sing their song to praise God for delivering them from the beast and for their redemption by the blood of the Lamb.

    As discussed in Revelation 14:6-7, there are two songs of Moses, and both have the theme of deliverance, but we do not know which one John is speaking of. That said, the song in Deuteronomy speaks of the last days (Deuteronomy 31:29-30) and of the time the Lord will come in judgment against his enemies to avenge his servants, both Jew and Gentile (Deuteronomy 32:41-43), so this song might be more fitting to sing during the Tribulation. However, there are some interesting parallels between the other song of Moses in Exodus 15 and the song the Tribulation saints sing:

      Commentator John Phillips compares and contrasts the two songs: "The song of Moses was sung at the Red Sea, the song of the Lamb is sung at the crystal sea; the song of Moses was a song of triumph over Egypt, the song of the Lamb is a song of triumph over Babylon; the song of Moses told how God brought His people out, the song of the Lamb tells how God brings His people in; the song of Moses was the first song in Scripture, the song of the Lamb is the last. The song of Moses commemorated the execution of the foe, the expectation of the saints, and the exaltation of the Lord; the song of the Lamb deals with the same three themes." (Exploring Revelation, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux, 1991], 187)

    Either way, both songs include the four parts of the "everlasting gospel," as does the song of the Lamb, as discussed in Revelation 14:6-7 and shown in the table below:


    Everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14)

    Preached to the world by an angel
    (King of Kings)

    "...to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people..."
    (Messiah/Savior)

    "Fear God..."
    (Divine/Creator)

    "...and give glory to Him... and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water..."
    (Kinsmen Redeemer
    & Avenger)


    "...for the hour of His judgment has come..."
    Song of the Lamb (Revelation 5)

    Sung by the Old Testament and Church Age saints and angels
    Revelation 5:9 - "...out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." Revelation 5:9 - "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain..." Revelation 5:12-13 - "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! ...Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Revelation 5:9 - "...and have redeemed us to God by Your blood"
    Song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15)

    Sung by the Tribulation martyrs
    Revelation 15:4 - "For all nations shall come and worship before You" Revelation 15:4 - "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy." Revelation 15:3 - "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!" Revelation 15:3-4 - "Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! ...For Your judgments have been manifested."
    1st Song
    of Moses
    (Exodus 15)


    Sung by the Israelites
    Exodus 15:17-18 - You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established. "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." Exodus 15:2, 11, 16 - The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him.... "Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? ...Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over whom You have purchased. Exodus 15:8 - And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea. Exodus 15:7, 13 - And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; it consumed them like stubble..... You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.
    2nd Song
    of Moses
    (Deuteronomy 32)


    Sung by the Israelites
    Deuteronomy 32:8-9 - When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. Deuteronomy 32:15-17 - "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear." Deuteronomy 32:1-3 - "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. Deuteronomy 32:35-36, 43 - Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.' "For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, bond or free.... "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people."

    The "everlasting gospel" in Revelation 14:6-7 includes four themes that describe who Christ is:


    Everlasting Gospel Theme Role of Christ
    "...to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people..." The Lord will rule over all people groups as King of kings, and the audience for the gospel message is all humanity King of Kings
    "Fear God..." The Lord is the Messiah, Savior, High Priest, and Prince of Peace who reconciles men to God Messiah/Savior
    "...and give glory to Him... and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water..." The Lord is Creator and the Mighty God worthy of all worship and praise Divine/Creator
    "...for the hour of His judgment has come..." The Lord is the Kinsmen Redeemer and Avenger of His saints as the righteous Judge Kinsmen Redeemer/Avenger

    These four themes are found in the song the Tribulation saints sing. They open in praise singing: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!" This speaks of Jesus as the divine Creator. The word "almighty" means that He exercises dominion and has sovereignty over His creation, as discussed in Revelation 11:17. Next, the Tribulation saints sing: "Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!" This speaks of Jesus as the avenger of His saints and the righteous and true Judge of the world.

    Then, the Tribulation saints sing: "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy." This speaks of Jesus as the Messiah, our Savior. While most of the different parts of the "everlasting gospel" are self-explanatory to the roles of Christ, it is not clear here what the "fear of God" has to do with salvation. The following verses show the connection between the "fear of God" and salvation:

    Psalms 27:1 - A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
    Psalms 85:9 - Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.
    Isaiah 33:6 - Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.
    Acts 13:26 - "Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent."

    The Tribulation saints continue singing: "For all nations shall come and worship before You," which speaks of Jesus as the "King of kings" who will rule over all nations during the Millennium, and they will come to worship Him in Jerusalem (Psalms 22:27-29, 72:8-11, 86:9-10, Isaiah 66:23, Zephaniah 2:11, Zechariah 14:9-21, Philippians 2:9-11).

    The Tribulation saints end their song with: "Your judgments have been manifested." This again speaks of Jesus as the righteous Judge. As discussed in Revelation 1:9, the manifest evidence of the "righteous judgment of God" shows the Lord's direction in each believer's life and evidence to the world that they are a true Christian. "Righteous judgment" comes by trial or tribulation, which builds character, or chastening and corrects sin. Consequently, God will not judge or condemn a believer with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). But for the unbeliever, God's judgment will manifest in vengeance when He returns to judge the world:

    2 Thessalonians 1:3-8 - We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In short, "the song of Moses" and "of the Lamb" is a song about the "everlasting gospel," which describes who Jesus is and incorporates the universal salvation message for all dispensations.


    Revelation 15:5-8


    Revelation 15:5 - After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

    After John sees the Tribulation saints standing on the sea of glass singing praises to the Lord, he looks to see the heavenly temple opened. John describes the heavenly temple as the "tabernacle of the testimony." The earthly temple was known as the "tabernacle of witness," or the "tabernacle of meeting" before the "ark of the Testimony." The "ark of the Testimony" was the "ark of the covenant," which held the stone tablets that bore the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses:

    Exodus 31:18 - And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

    The "tabernacle of witness," or "tabernacle of meeting" was where God met with the people and they came to worship and minster to Him. The "pillar of cloud" also acted as a witness, in that it was physical evidence of God's presence to the Israelites:

    Exodus 33:7-9 - Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.

    This earthly tabernacle looked forward to eternity when God Himself is the temple dwelling with His people:

    Revelation 21:3, 22 - And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God...." But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

    The earthly tabernacle is also a pattern of the heavenly tabernacle:

    Acts 7:44-50 - "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built Him a house. "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: 'Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? Says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?"
    Hebrews 8:1-5 - Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

    As we will see in the next section, the temple opens and the seven angels come out with the seven last plagues of the wrath of God - these are the Bowl judgments poured out after the seventh Trumpet judgment. Recall that the "coronation of the King" also occurs after the seventh Trumpet judgment, which announces that Jesus is about to come and set up His Kingdom on Earth. In both scenes, the temple of God is opened:

    Revelation 11:15-19 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth." Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

    The scenes are the same, but the perspectives are different. Putting both perspectives together, we see that not only is the temple open, but the "ark of the covenant" is in the place of the Most Holy. John calls the opened heavenly tabernacle the "tabernacle of the Testimony," reinforcing that the "ark of the covenant" is there. Also, the Greek word "noas" translated "temple" is literally a sanctuary, or divine dwelling place, meaning the place where God's manifestation dwells, which is on the "mercy seat" in the ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place. In other words, the temple isn't just open, the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies is also open between the seventh Trumpet and the Bowl judgments. The High Priest opened the earthly tabernacle only once a year:

    Leviticus 16:29-34 - "This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year." And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

    The atoning work the high priest carried out on the Feast of Atonement in the earthly tabernacle merely acted as a temporary covering, looking forward to the time that Christ would atone for sins once and for all:

    Hebrews 9:7-14 - But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience - concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    The Ten Commandments established the basis for the old covenant of the Law, and acted as a testament, or a witness, against Israel's transgressions and rebellion against God:

    Hebrews 9:15-17 - And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

    But Jesus was the testator of the old covenant, and after His death He made a new covenant and a new testament, where God writes His Law on the hearts of His people:

    Hebrews 8:7-13 - For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    When the Lord returns, He will not judge the world based on the testimony of the Ten Commandments given to Israel, because He "wiped out the handwriting of requirements" in the Law and "nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). Instead, the Lord will judge the world based on the "everlasting covenant" He made with all flesh on the earth:

    Genesis 9:16-17 - "The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."
    Isaiah 24:5-6 - The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.

    This everlasting covenant, defiled by the inhabitants of the earth, is also known as the "natural law" that God placed in nature to help guide the conscience, which acts as a law for those not under the Mosaic Law:

    Romans 2:12-16 - For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

    So we see that the "Testimony" in the earthly tabernacle are the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, but the "Testimony" in the heavenly tabernacle is the "everlasting covenant," and God will judge the world for breaking this covenant.

    Incidentally, if the "coronation of the King" fulfills the Feast of Trumpets, as discussed in Revelation 11:10, then the opening of the temple and the pouring out of God's final wrath most certainly will fulfill the Feast of Atonement. In fact, when Jesus returns after the Bowl judgments to judge the nations, we find the Jewish remnant with their "souls afflicted" looking to Christ "whom they pierced" and who entered the Most Holy Place after His death so that He can come to them with "grace and supplication" - a perfect picture of atonement:

    Zechariah 12:8-10 - In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."

    Revelation 15:6 - And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

    The seven angels with the seven plagues appeared to John as a "great and marvelous" sign earlier in Revelation 15:1. When the angels come out of the temple they prepare to pour out God's final wrath on the earth:

    Revelation 16:1 - Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."

    As mentioned in Revelation 15:1, the seven plagues poured out by these seven angels are the third installment of seven judgments in the Tribulation. These multiples of "3" and "7" show perfect completion in God's final wrath on the earth. God promised Israel He would multiply judgment by seven if they continued to disobey Him, and His perfect pattern of seven will continue in the Tribulation judgments on a rebellious world:

    Leviticus 26:21 - Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.

    The seven angels with the seven plagues wear garments that are "pure bright linen." The literal rendering of the Greek describes the angel's linen garments as pure and "shining," which is the same word used to describe the garments of the angel who appeared to Cornelius:

    Acts 10:30-31 - So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.'"

    The linen is pure because the angels are holy. The Greek word John uses which is translated as "pure" is also translated as "clean" in the verse below. Like the angels, the saints also wear pure, or "clean" linen because Jesus cleanses them from their sin and sets them apart as holy to do righteous acts:

    Revelation 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
    Ephesians 5:25-27 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

    The angels also wear a golden band, or sash across their chest. As discussed in Revelation 1:13, a garment, or robe, and a band, or sash, are part of the apparel of the high priest:

    Exodus 28:4 - And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.

    The band, or sash may symbolize dependence on the Lord:

    Jeremiah 13:11 - 'For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,' says the LORD, 'that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.'

    The girded band is gold. Gold can represent holiness and purity, because it retains all of its qualities when tested in fire:

    Job 23:10 - But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

    The angels wear the same attire as Jesus, the high priest of the heavenly tabernacle, which shows they minister to the Lord in the heavenly tabernacle:

    Revelation 1:13-15 - ...and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters....
    Daniel 10:5-6 - I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

    Revelation 15:7 - Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.

    The seven angels who come out of the heavenly temple are thought to have a higher rank compared to other angels because they have access to the holiest place in Heaven - God's throne, which is in the heavenly temple (Psalms 1:4). However, one of the four living creatures from around the throne is in charge of giving the seven angels the bowls of God's wrath directly from the throne where they serve the Lord:

    Revelation 4:6-8 - Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"

    The four living creatures are not only around the throne, but in the midst of the throne, which shows they are in closer proximity to the Lord's presence compared to others in Heaven. In addition to delegating judgment to other angels, the four living creatures, or the seraphim, are able to purge sin with coals from the heavenly altar:

    Isaiah 6:1-7 - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts." Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged."

    The cherubim are living creatures similar to the seraphim. The cherubim are keepers of the coals below the heavenly altar and they covered the mercy seat of the ark of the Testimony in the earthly tabernacle:

    Ezekiel 10:1-2 - And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, "Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city." And he went in as I watched.
    Exodus 25:18-22 - And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

    As discussed in Revelation 4:8, the wings of the golden cherubim, which overshadowed the "ark of the Testimony" on Earth, suggest guardianship:

    1 Kings 8:6-7 - Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles.

    The following passage about Satan supports a cherub being a guardian, or one "who covers":

    Ezekiel 28:13-14 - You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.

    Based on proximity of the seraphim close to the throne of God, and having covering wings similar to the cherubim, they are likely guardians as well. If that is true, the seraphim are guardians around the throne of God, based on John's account, and the cherubim are guardians on Earth below the throne, based on Ezekiel's account:

    Ezekiel 10:1 - And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne.

    Currently, angels are above humans in the heavenly hierarchy, as even Jesus was a "little lower than the angels" when He became a man (Hebrews 2:9). But when the Lord redeems the saints they will rise above the angels and become ministering spirits to the saints and the saints will judge them:

    Hebrews 1:13-14 - But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, till I you're Your enemies Your footstool "? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
    1 Corinthians 6:2-3 - Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

    Recall from Revelation 4:8, the four living creatures represent Israel and the twenty-four elders represent the church, and they are both close in proximity to the Lord on His throne, so it makes sense that these representative angelic creatures have a higher rank with the authority to delegate judgment from the Lord. That said, there are different ranks among conventional angels as well. For example, Michael is a "chief prince," or an archangel (Daniel 10:13, Jude 1:9), which means he is a general over other angels. He is also commissioned to watch over Israel:

    Revelation 12:6-8 - Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
    Daniel 12:1 - "At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book."

    Proximity to the throne appears to denote rank in the angelic hierarchy - not necessarily one angel delegating activities to other angels. Take for instance, the angel that tells the Son of Man, who is Christ, it is time to reap the harvest. Clearly the angel is not higher than Christ, but these angels are still commissioned to announce these times of judgment no matter who is meting out the judgment:

    Revelation 14:14-19 - Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

    The living creatures give the seven angels golden bowls full of plagues, which are the wrath of God. The Greek word indicates they are shallow flat bowls, or deep saucers, which suggests the bowls' contents are easy to pour out. In the earthly tabernacle, the priests burned incense in worship to the Lord, and they also used golden bowls (1 Chronicles 23:13, Exodus 25:29). All four living creatures and the twenty-four elders were responsible for the golden bowls full of incense in the heavenly tabernacle:

    Revelation 5:8 - Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

    John tells us the golden bowls are full of incense, which represent the "prayers of the saints." The following passage suggests that the prayers of incense are prayers for justice and judgment on the wicked:

    Psalms 141:1-5 - A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.

    Recall that before the Trumpet judgments, an angel offers the "smoke" of the incense along with the prayers of the saints:

    Revelation 8:2-6 - And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

    Imagine how much worse the judgments will be when the angels pour the incense itself from the golden bowls - it will be the full measure of vengeance promised by the eternal God who lives "forever and ever." Note this promise would be finished in the seventh Trumpet judgment, which consists of the Bowl judgments, as discussed in Revelation 15:1:

    Revelation 10:5-7 - The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
    Deuteronomy 32:39-43 - 'Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. For I raise My hand to heaven, and say, "As I live forever, if I whet My glittering sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the heads of the leaders of the enemy."' "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people."

    The Bowl judgments will be the Lord's retribution on those who harmed His saints (Revelation 6:9-11). His enemies will drink blood for shedding the blood of His saints and He will destroy the Babylonian system - both the religious system and system of commerce - of the Beast who leads the slaughter:

    Revelation 16:6 - "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due."
    Revelation 18:20-21 - "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!" Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore."
    Revelation 19:2 - "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."
    Revelation 14:8-10 - And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb."

    Revelation 15:8 - The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

    After the seven angels receive the golden bowls filled with the wrath of God purposed for vengeance on His saints, the temple fills with smoke. The smoke is from the "glory of God and from His power." Jesus is the "brightness of His glory" and His power is in His Word, with which He will strike the nations when He returns to tread the winepress of the wrath of God after the Bowl judgments:

    Hebrews 1:1-14 - God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
    Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Revelation 19:15 - Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

    When the Lord returns to avenge His saints, the brightness of His glory manifests as a flaming, consuming fire:

    2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 - ...since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

    Where there is fire, there is smoke. The smoke from the glory of God fills the temple and pushes everyone else out. No one will be able to enter the heavenly temple until the seven angels pour out the golden bowls containing the full extent of God's wrath.

    The physical brightness of God's glory, also known as the "Shechinah glory" is the physical manifestation of the glory of the Lord, which looked like a bright cloud and smoke to those who saw it. This manifestation of the Lord was visible during the Exodus and led the Israelites through the wilderness:

    Exodus 16:10 - Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
    Exodus 19:18 - Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
    Mount Sinai
    Exodus 24:17 - The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
    Exodus 40:34-38 - Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

    Moses couldn't behold the full glory of God and Ezekiel fell down on his face when he saw the likeness of the glory of the Lord, so it is probable the Israelites could not gaze at the glory of God that led them through the wilderness if it was bright like the sun:

    Exodus 33:17-23 - So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
    Ezekiel 1:27 - Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
    Ezekiel 44:4 - Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell on my face.

    God filled Solomon's temple with His glory. The people recognized that the physical manifestation of God was in their presence and the smoke prevented the priests from ministering in the temple:

    1 Kings 8:10-13 - And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon spoke: "The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever."
    2 Chronicles 5:11, 13-14 - And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions)... that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
    2 Chronicles 7:1-3 - When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: "For He is good, for His mercy endures forever."

    Israel was in God's favor when He filled the earthly temple with smoke, but when He filled the heavenly tabernacle with smoke, He was not in favor with Israel and commissioned Isaiah to warn them that judgment was coming:

    Isaiah 6:1-4 - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
    Isaiah 6:8-12 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed." Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land."

    Ezekiel also saw God fill the earthly temple with His glory when He judged Israel:

    Ezekiel 9:3-5 - Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity."
    Ezekiel 10:1-4 - And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, "Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city." And he went in as I watched. Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD's glory.

    Ezekiel lives through this judgment, but God showed him a time in the future when the glory of God will once again fill an earthly temple with favor toward Israel:

    Ezekiel 43:4-9 - And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever."

    As discussed in Revelation 11:1, Israel will build a temple in the Tribulation, and despite the fact the antichrist will desecrate it, God will still use it to draw Israel back to Himself - they will become ashamed of their iniquities when they consider the design of the temple and follow the ordinances and laws associated with the temple:

    Ezekiel 43:10-11 - "Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them."

    Unfortunately, it is going to take more than the design of the temple to bring Israel corporately back to God, as He will bring them through the Tribulation to purge the rebels among them, including Gentiles who reject Him:

    Ezekiel 20:33-38 - "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord GOD. "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD."
    Zechariah 13:8-9 - And it shall come to pass in all the land," says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
    Isaiah 1:24-28 - Therefore the Lord says, The LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, "Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies. I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy. I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city." Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness. The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

    But when Israel looks back on the pattern of the temple in the Millennium with clarity, they will see that the activities of the earthly temple pointed to the time when God judged Israel and the world from His heavenly tabernacle through His ministering spirits in the Tribulation. The table below shows the temple patterns fulfilled in the Tribulation judgments. Some of these parallels were noted in Revelation 8:3:

    Earthly TempleHeavenly Temple
    Ark of the CovenantTabernacle of the Testimony on the throne of God (Revelation 15:5)
    Altar of Incense Altar of Incense where angel offers prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3)
    CensorCensor filled with burning incense offered with prayers of the saints which initiates Trumpet judgments (Revelation 8:3)
    BowlsOne of the four living creatures gives seven angels bowls filled with God's wrath (Revelation 15:7)
    Smoke from the glory of God filled the temple Smoke fills the temple (Revelation 15:8)
    7-Branched Menorah7 Spirits of God (Revelation 4:5)
    Sea of Bronze and Altar of Burnt OfferingsSea of Glass mingled with fire (Revelation 15:2)

    In closing, the pattern of the earthly temple and the patterns in the feasts of the Lord go beyond the events they foreshadow - they all point to Christ, who is the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle and Mediator of a better covenant and have redeemed us to God:

    Hebrews 8:1-6 - Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
    «  Revelation 14:1-5   Revelation 15   Revelation 16:1-11   »
    « back  Intro   Chapter   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22  next »
                                                                                                                          <---Coming Soon--->
                                                                                                                       Unless Jesus Does First

    Revelation Flow Chart:

    Revelation Flow Chart

    Copyright © Amy Van Gerpen and trackingbibleprophecy.com. All Rights Reserved.
     
    Home   About Me   Links   Contact Me   Search   Disclaimer   Sitemap