Verse 5, “After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of testimony …” – this sanctuary has appeared in chapter 11:19, now we see the ‘tent of the testimony’ that goes back to the tabernacle. We see it many times in the Old Testament, and one allusion in the New Testament (i.e. Acts 7:44). Some say that is the ‘spiritual tent of worship’ mentioned in Hebrews 9:23, it “was thrown open in heaven,…” – showing access to the very throne of God, and out of the central front of the shrine come these “…seven angels bringing the seven plagues…” – (last judgment bowls}. Notice as it says, “They were clothed in clean, brilliant linen and had belts of gold around their breasts.” – this goes back to Exodus 28:4, it’s a symbol for the high priest, but there’s a manuscript variation that instead of clothes, some take it to mean a ” precious stone” (cf. American Standard translation). Some see an allusion here to Ezekiel 28:13 that satan was clothed in gemstones, and so maybe it is allusion to the word ‘stone’. But ‘linen’ seems to fit the context best. And the ‘gold belts around their breasts’ is much like Daniel 10:5 for the angel, but also like Christ in Rev. 1:13. “Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven bowls of gold, full of the wrath of God…” – now these 7 bowls are very low shallow golden bowls used in the temple. We see them back in chapter 5:8 where they had the ‘prayers of the saints’. “…who lives forever and ever,” – that is the root meaning of the term Yahweh which means the ‘Everliving only living God’. “and the sanctuary was filled with smoke…” – you might want to see Exodus 19:18; 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-11; and Isa. 6:4. Some say it’s a symbold of God’s holiness like the ‘Shekinah cloud’, others see it as the presence of the prayers of the saints put on the incense altar that causes the smoke, i’m not sure which it is. And then it says, “…from the glory and power of God, and no one could go into the sanctuary…” – that sounds much like Exodus 40:34-35, and i think the meaning is when God’s final judgment begins, there can be no intercession. The judgments must come to pass. The main point is the inevitability of the plagues. When the ‘Day of the Lord’ has come, nothing can stop final judgment.
(TO BE CONTINUED)