Revelation 15:5-8 to Revelation 16:1-3

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Rev 15:5  And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
Rev 15:6  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
Rev 15:7  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
Rev 15:8  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Introduction

In these last four verses of this chapter, we will learn the meaning of the word ‘opened’. In doing so we will find that when there is an “open heaven” there is an exponential increase in our understanding of spiritual or heavenly matters.
We will also learn that ‘clothing’ in scripture always alludes to our way of life, be it a life of obedience to God and the love and righteousness of Christ, which is that obedience, or a life of rebellion against God and His doctrines and the hatred and rebellion against the doctrines of Christ and His Father, which is that life.
We will also discover that there is a very strong connection between the four beasts which are said to be in and around the throne of God and the seven angels of this revelation of Jesus Christ.
Finally we will be reminded of the meaning of the word ‘glory’ as it relates to “the glory of God, and we will be reminded why we are told that “no man was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled”.

Rev 15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

This “tabernacle of testimony” is mentioned three times in the Old Testament in the King James Version, and it always refers to what is far more commonly called “the tabernacle of the congregation”. Here are those references:

Exo 38:21  This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest.
Num 1:50  But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.
Num 1:53  But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.

Now here is one example of the far more common phrase, “the tabernacle of the congregation”, speaking of the same tabernacle”.

Exo 27:21  In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

“Aaron and his sons” is Bible- speak for God’s elect who “have an altar whereof they that serve the tabernacle have no right to eat”.

Heb 13:10  We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

It is the stark contrast between the Levites who are the priests, the sons of Aaron, as opposed to the Levites, who are not priests, but who are commanded to “keep the charge of the tabernacle”, which demonstrates the spiritual meaning of “Many are called but few are chosen”.

Mat 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

Only the priests, the sons of Aaron are able to enter into the tabernacle to do the service “within the vail” of the tabernacle.

Num 18:1  And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
Num 18:2  And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee [ shall minister] before the tabernacle of witness.
Num 18:3  And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
Num 18:4  And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
Num 18:5  And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
Num 18:6  And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you [ they are] given [ as] a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 18:7  Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

“You and your sons” is Biblical symbolism for Christ our high priest and His elect. So when we read, ” the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened”, what we are being told is that it is now being shown to us what Christ is doing in His temple to prepare it for His residence.
It is given only to Christ’s elect “as a service of gift”, to minister within the vail” of the tabernacle. That is why these seven angels who have the seven vials, or bowls which “fill up the wrath of God”, are said to come out of the temple”:

Rev 15:6  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

The Levites who are not the sons of Aaron were never to even so much as touch “the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar”. If the priest permitted that to happen, it would cost the lives of both the Levite who was not Aaron’s son and the priest who permitted it. The fact these seven angels “come out of the temple”, tells us that these angels are symbols of those who are given the service of the priests. These seven angels are the symbols of the sons of Aaron, Christ’s elect, who alone are given the priesthood “as a service of gift… to minister before God… within the vail” of the temple.

Num 18:3  And they [ the Levites who were not the sons of Aaron] shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.]

What these verses of Num 18 tell us is that only the chosen elect of Christ are given to handle the word and doctrines of God, which are symbolized by “the vessels of the sanctuary”. The Truth in the hands of anyone else becomes a curse upon them, because they are not equipped or authorized or worthy to be the stewards of the Word of God.
Here is an example of how that works:

1Sa 5:1  And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
1Sa 5:2  When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
1Sa 5:3  And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
1Sa 5:4  And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
1Sa 5:5  Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
1Sa 5:6  But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
1Sa 5:7  And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.

As we saw in last week’s study, it is the priests and the priests only who were ever to be cleansed in the molten sea between the brazen altar and the temple. It is upon that sea, which here is called “a sea of glass mingled with fire”, that God’s elect who overcome the mark, name, number and image of the beast, stand with golden harps, singing the victorious song of Moses.

What does “clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles” mean?

As we have seen earlier, “the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”.

Rev 19:8  And to her [ Christ’s elect, His bride] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Again, it is affirmed to us that these seven angels are Christ’s own bride, who are “clothed in pure and white linen…”
What does “golden girdle” signify? It signifies Christ and those who are in Him:

Rev 1:13  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Here is what we are told of those who are Christ’s at this time:

1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

In our study of chapter 16, we will see that these seven angels identify themselves as God’s own elect, “our fellowservants, and of those who keep the sayings of this prophecy…” Because Christ’s offices are so numerous, many types and shadows and symbols are employed, both to help to hide and at the same time to reveal, all those various offices. “As He is, so are we in this world”. If Christ is girded with a golden girdle and we are “in Him”, then we too, are “girded with golden girdles”.

Rev 15:7  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

Many symbols are employed to reveal all the various offices we, as Christ’s Christ, must fulfill. Here in chapters 15-16 we are called “seven angels”. But here in verse 7 we are called “one of the four beasts”. In our study of chapter 5 we saw how these four beasts tell us that they too, are symbols of those who are “redeemed from among men and “will rule on earth”. How can “one of the four beasts” as a symbol of God’s elect be giving the seven vials to another symbol of God’s elect?
That is no more of a mystery than asking how can God’s elect, who are the temple of God, become seven angels who come out of the temple of God? That apparent mystery is explained with these words:

Joh 14:20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

“Ye in me, and I in you”. The spirit world is far more fluid than the physical world. “At that day” is this very day which we are now studying. It is “the great day of God’s wrath” (Rev 6:17), when “the mystery of God should be finished” within us. That mystery is “Christ in you the hope of glory… Ye in me and I in you”.

Rev 10:7  But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

This is not “made manifest” to just anyone. It is only “made manifest to his saints”. If Christ is in us and we are “as He is in this world”, then these “golden girdles” on these seven angels tie us inexorably to Christ, because, as we will see later, these seven angels tell us they are symbols of us (Rev 19:10 and 22:8-9). It is Christ in us giving these vials to us and pouring out the wrath of God upon the sins, false doctrines and rebellions within us.

Rev 15:8  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

We have covered this verse thoroughly as we dealt with the first four verses of this chapter. “The glory of God” is not just a bright glow. “The glory of God” is the bright light that is His fiery words and doctrines which fly in the face of everything that appeals to our flesh. The smoke from that glory is the by- product of the burning up of all “the wood, hay and stubble” that is the false doctrines and pulls of our flesh which dominate our lives “till the seven plagues of the seven angels is fulfilled” within us.
What we must see is that “no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” is specifically addressed to you and me.
We will now see how this is made to apply to us in the pouring out of these seven plagues of these seven angels within us, here in Chapter 16.

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