Revelation 15:5
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
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(5) And after that . . .—Better, And after these things I saw, and there was opened the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony (or, witness) in the heaven. This temple is called the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony; the expression sounds cumbrous, but it is nevertheless suitable. St. Stephen spoke of “the tabernacle of witness” in the wilderness, which was made after the pattern showed in the mount (Acts 7:44). The tabernacle was well called the tabernacle of witness, for it contained the ark of the testimony with the Law of God, and was a perpetual witness of God’s presence among His people. The temple of the tabernacle then is the shrine, or inner sanctuary, of the heavenly true tabernacle, after the pattern of which the tabernacle of Moses was fashioned, which is now opened.

Revelation 15:5-7. After that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle — In which was the ark of the testimony in heaven, was opened — Namely, the most holy place, disclosing a new theatre for the coming forth of the judgments of God, now made manifest. And the seven angels came out of the temple — From the immediate presence of God, to denote that their commission was immediately from him; having the seven plagues — Already mentioned; clothed — Like the high-priest, but in a more august manner; in pure and white linen — To signify the righteousness of these judgments; and having their breasts girded — To show their readiness to execute the divine commands; with golden girdles — As emblems of their power and majesty. And one of the four living creatures — The representatives of the church; gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials — Bowls, or censers; the Greek word signifies vessels broader at the top than at the bottom; full of the wrath of God — By which it is intimated that it is in vindication of the church and true religion that these plagues are inflicted; who liveth for ever and ever — A circumstance which adds greatly to the dreadfulness of his wrath, and the value of his favour; and that he is to be regarded as the most formidable enemy, as well as the most desirable friend, to immortal beings.

15:5-8 In the judgments God executes upon antichrist and his followers, he fulfils the prophecies and promises of his word. These angels are prepared for their work, clothed with pure and white linen, their breasts girded with golden girdles, representing the holiness, and righteousness, and excellence of these dealings with men. They are ministers of Divine justice, and do every thing in a pure and holy manner. They were armed with the wrath of God against his enemies. Even the meanest creature, when armed with the anger of God, will be too hard for any man in the world. The angels received the vials from one of the four living creatures, one of the ministers of the true church, as in answer to the prayers of the ministers and people of God. Antichrist could not be destroyed without a great shock to all the world, and even the people of God would be in trouble and confusion while the great work was doing. The greatest deliverances of the church are brought about by awful and astonishing steps of Providence; and the happy state of the true church will not begin till obstinate enemies shall be destroyed, and lukewarm or formal Christians are purified. Then, whatever is against Scripture being purged away, the whole church shall be spiritual, and the whole being brought to purity, unity, and spirituality, shall be firmly established.And after that I looked - After I had seen in vision the redeemed thus referred to, celebrating the praises of God, I saw the preparation made for the execution of these purposes of judgment.

And behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony - Not the whole temple, but only that part to which this name was given. The word "tabernacle" - σκηνή skēnē - means properly a booth, hut, tent, and was the name commonly given to the tent or tabernacle that was erected in the wilderness for the service of God. See the notes on Acts 7:44. The same word came naturally to be applied to the temple that was reared for the same purpose in Jerusalem. It is called the "tabernacle of testimony," because it was a testimony or witness of the presence of God among the people - that is, it served to keep up the remembrance of him. See the notes as above on Acts 7:44, where the same Greek phrase is used as here - rendered there "tabernacle of witness." The word "temple" here - ναὸς naos - does not refer to the whole of the building called the "temple," but to the holy of holies. See the notes on Hebrews 9:3. This was regarded as the unique dwelling-place of God; and it was this sacred place, usually closed from all access, that now seemed to be opened, implying that the command to execute these purposes came directly from God himself.

In heaven - That is, that part of heaven which corresponds to the most holy place in the temple was opened; to wit, what is the unique residence of God himself.

Was opened - Was thrown open to the viewer John, so that he was permitted to look, as it were, upon the very dwelling-place of God. From his holy presence now came forth the angels to execute his purposes of judgment on that anti-Christian power which had so long corrupted religion and oppressed the world.

5. So Re 11:19; compare Re 16:17. "The tabernacle of the testimony" appropriately here comes to view, where God's faithfulness in avenging His people with judgments on their foes is about to be set forth. We need to get a glimpse within the Holy place to "understand" the secret spring and the end of God's righteous dealings.

behold—omitted by A, B, C, Syriac, and Andreas. It is supported only by Vulgate, Coptic, and Primasius, but no manuscript.

Here is a plain allusion to the Jewish tabernacle or temple, in which was the holy place, and the holy of holies; into the latter the high priest only entered. There were kept in the ark the two tables of God’s law, often called the testimonies of God. From this

tabernacle of the testimony proceeded God’s oracles, there God gave answers from the mercy-seat, and therefore in the Book of Kings it is called the oracle. The sense some put upon this is: That God here showed unto his prophet the liberty that should be, after the downfal of antichrist, to preach the gospel. But in this sense it must be an anticipation of what orderly should have come in after the pouring out of the vials: I had rather understand it of God’s being now about to give out an answer to his people’s prayers for a deliverance from the tyranny of antichrist; as the place called the oracle in the Jewish temple was opened when the high priest had been inquiring of God, to give an account of the answer he had.

And after that I looked,.... That is, after John had seen the above vision, he looked again, and saw what follows:

and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened; this does not refer to heaven itself, the antitype of the holy of holies, which is opened by the blood of Christ, by which he himself has entered, and his people have boldness to enter now by faith, and where their souls always enter upon their departure from their bodies; for of this temple cannot be said what is in Revelation 15:8 nor to the Jerusalem state, or the most glorious state of the church on earth, during the thousand years' reign; for in that there will be no temple, Revelation 21:22 much less to any material temple on earth; the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed before this vision was, and is never to be rebuilt; nor will there be any third temple, as the Jews vainly expect: but to the church of God in the spiritual reign of Christ, under the blowing of the seventh trumpet; and designs the same thing as in Revelation 11:19 and this is to be understood as what will be, not before, but after the seven angels have poured out their vials; for till they have fulfilled the seven plagues, there is no entering into the temple for smoke, Revelation 15:8 and besides, it was after these things; after John had seen the seven angels, with the seven last plagues, Revelation 15:1 that he beheld the temple opened. The church is called "the temple", in allusion to Solomon's temple, because of its builder, materials, situation, magnificence, strength, holiness, and use; See Gill on 2 Corinthians 6:16 and the tabernacle, in allusion to the tabernacle of Moses, which was before the temple, because God dwells in it, as he did in that; and because like that it is movable, and but for a while; and points at this church state, which will not always be so, but change and sink into the Laodicean state: and it is called "the tabernacle of the testimony", as that was; the testimony was the law, or the two tables of stone, so called, because they testified what was the good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God; and these being put into the ark, were a testimony of the covenant between God and the people of Israel, and were a witness against them, when they transgressed them, Deuteronomy 31:26 and over these were the mercy seat, and cherubim, as a testimony of the divine Presence; and the law being put into the ark, hence the ark was called the ark of the testimony, and that being placed in the tabernacle, that was called the tabernacle of the testimony, or of witness, Numbers 1:50 and all these were types of, and came to signify Christ, and the covenant of grace, the Gospel, and the mysteries of it: so that by the opening of the temple, &c. is meant a free exercise of the true religion, a setting up of Gospel churches according to the original plan, a keeping of the ordinances, as they were first delivered, and a more clear discovery of Gospel truths: it is the same with the open door in the Philadelphian church state, Revelation 3:8 as well as that at this time there will be a full manifestation of the judgments of God upon antichrist: the Alexandrian copy leaves out the word "behold".

{9} And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

(9) The second part of the narration (as was noted in) see Geneva (4) Re 15:2 in which first the authority of the whole argument and matter is figured by a forerunning type of a temple opened in heaven, as in Re 11:19 namely that all those things are divine and of God, that proceed from thence in this verse. Secondly, the administers or executors, come out of the Temple in Re 15:6. Thirdly, they are furnished with instruments of the judgments of God, and weapons fit for the manner of the same judgments; Re 15:7. Finally, they are confirmed by testimony of the visible glory of God, in Re 15:8. A similar testimony to which was exhibited of old in the law; Ex 40:34.

Revelation 15:5-8. After the introductory song καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα (Revelation 15:5),[3635] the seven angels which hold the seven plagues come out of the heavenly temple, and receive seven vials full of the wrath of God.

ὁ ναὸς τῆς σκηνὴς τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἐν τ. οὐρ. Cf. Revelation 11:19. It is not the holy of holies[3636] that is designated by the entire expression, but the proper temple[3637] in heaven, which is more accurately described by the addition of the gen. τὴς σκ. τ. μαρτ.,[3638] as the ναός belonging to the tabernacle of the testimony, i.e., including it,[3639]—not as existing in the σκην. τ. μαρτ.[3640]

The heavenly δόξα of the seven angels is to be seen from their adornment; one attribute, the golden girdle, they have in common even with the Lord himself.[3641] The first expression ἐνδεδ. λίθον καθαρὸν λαμπρὸν, in which, considering the manuscript authority for it, the λίθον can scarcely be a clerical error,[3642] is by no means to be so explained as to refer to Christ himself, the corner-stone[3643] or the “various adornments of virtues,”[3644] as the clothing of the angel; if, however, only a comparison with Ezekiel 28:13 (πᾶν λίθον χρῆστον ἐνδέδεσαι) give an explanation that is at all events satisfactory, a plural, nevertheless, would possibly be expected, as πᾶν λιθ. stands in Ezekiel. The idea must, then, be that each angel wears a garment set with a pure, brilliant gem. The later expositors all follow the reading λίνον, according to which the angels appear in sacerdotal garments.[3645] Hengstenb. compares this with Revelation 19:8, where, however, the expression λίνον does not occur. Ew. ii. refers properly to the fact that the καθαρόν does not appear to require the idea of a garment. But the weight of the witnesses who advocate the reading which is more difficult, and yet not to be derived from Ezekiel,[3646] is too great. א also appears by its peculiarities to betray with what difficulty the attempt was made to explain away the difficult-to-be-understood λίθον.[3647]

That one of the four beings (Revelation 4:6) gives[3648] to the angels the vials of wrath, is significant, because it has to do with plagues which pertain to all earthly creatures whose representatives those beings are.[3649] As in their song of praise in Revelation 4:7, they looked towards the end, so also the end does not come without their participation.[3650]

τοῦ ζῶντος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. The making eternity conspicuous has the same relation as already in Revelation 1:8.

καὶ ἐγεμίσθη, κ.τ.λ., Revelation 15:8. The smoke with which the temple is filled,[3651] is not the sign of the incomprehensibility of the Divine judgments,[3652] nor directly of the wrath of God;[3653] but, as the text itself explains, that the smoke is represented as proceeding from the glory and power of God (ἐκ δ. τ. θ. καὶ ἐκ τ. δυν. αὐτ.), as a sign of the majesty, actually present in the ναός, of God revealing himself immediately in his power. In the cloud of smoke there the כבוֹד יה״[3654] is enthroned, which now, as the addition Κ. ἘΚ Τ. ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς ΑὐΤ. especially emphasizes, will be manifested on the side of its omnipotence. The subject, it is true, refers to a revelation of judgment upon enemies, that is full of grace to believers; but the interpretation of the smoke fails to be in accordance with the text, if this be regarded as, on that account, either a sign of Divine wrath, or even of God’s grace working for the good of the godly.[3655] Beng. says, correctly, concerning the ΚΑΠΝ.: “The covering of Divine Majesty.”[3656]

ΚΑῚ ΟὐΔΕΙς ἘΔΎΝΑΤΟ ΕἸΣΕΛΘΕῖΝ, Κ.Τ.Λ. The description depends upon types like Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10 sq.[3657] Incorrect are all the allegorical explanations which depend upon the presumption that the heavenly ΝΑΌς represents the Church on earth.[3658] Just as incorrect, and entirely remote, Grot.: “God was not willing to give any other oracles but these.” Nothing whatever is said, also, to the purport that no one could go into the temple, in order by prayer to avert the threatening judgments.[3659] The correct explanation is derived from the words ἌΧΡΙ ΤΕΛΕΣΘ., Κ.Τ.Λ., which, upon the foundation of the general idea of the inaccessibility of God as present in his personal ΔΌΞΑ,[3660] suggests that not until satisfaction shall be rendered his holy wrath, by the full execution of all the plagues impending from God’s justice, shall access to him be possible. Until then, the immediate presence of his glory and power (Revelation 15:8 a) must consume all creatures.[3661]

[3635] See on Revelation 15:1.

[3636] Grot., etc.

[3637] Cf. Revelation 11:1.

[3638] Cf., on this designation, Acts 7:44; Exodus 29:10-11, LXX.

[3639] Ewald.

[3640] De Wette.

[3641] Cf. Revelation 1:13.

[3642] Grot.

[3643] 1 Peter 2:6.

[3644] Andr., Beda.

[3645] De Wette.

[3646] Volkm.

[3647] See Critical Notes.

[3648] Cf. Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7.

[3649] Hengstenb. But cf. also Riehm, l. c., p. 24.

[3650] Cf. also Revelation 19:4.

[3651] cf. Isaiah 6:4.

[3652] C. a Lap., etc.

[3653] Andr., Grot., Heinr., Hengstenb., Ebrard.

[3654] Exodus 40:34. LXX.: δόξα κυρίου.

[3655] Züllig, Hengstenb.

[3656] Cf. also De Wette.

[3657] De Wette, Hengstenb.

[3658] Beda: “No one can be incorporated among the members of the Church unless one who listening learns the mysteries of faith from preachers.” Coccejus: “Papal human ordinances hinder the faith of the most.” Vitr.: “In the time of the plagues … there shall be such a demonstration of the glorious and gracious presence of God in the Church, as can be compared with the symbolical demonstration of the Divine presence in the tabernacle under the old covenant.”

[3659] Ewald, Stern.

[3660] Cf. Exodus 19:21; Isaiah 6:5.

[3661] Cf. Hengstenb.; likewise also Züllig, De Wette.

Revelation 15:5. The temple in heaven is here “the tent (or tabernacle) of witness,” as it represents God’s judicial revelation and presence; its contents and the movements of which it forms the source, are evidence of God’s covenant with his people.

5. the Temple … was opened] Revelation 11:19. For the phrase “Tabernacle of the Testimony” (or “Witness”—the word is the same) cf. Acts 7:44 : see Numbers 1:50). “Was opened in Heaven” would give the sense, more accurately than the order of the A. V.

Verse 5. - And after that I looked, and, behold; and after these things 1 saw. The characteristic commencement of a new vision or portion of a vision (see on Revelation 4:1, etc.). The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. The tabernacle had its counterpart in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). In Exodus 25:16, 21 we have the reason of the title "tabernacle of the testimony" - a name which is common in the Bible (see Exodus 38:21; Numbers 1:50, 53; Numbers 9:15; Numbers 10:11). The "temple" is the ναός, the inner shrine, the holy of holies which contained the ark of the testimony, which in Revelation 11:1.9 is seen in connection with the judgments of God. Thence now proceed the angels bearing the plagues for men. Revelation 15:5Behold


The temple of the tabernacle (ὁ ναὸς τῆς σκηνῆς)

The sanctuary of the tabernacle. See on Matthew 4:5.

Of the testimony

See Acts 7:44. The tabernacle was called "the Tabernacle of the Testimony" because it contained the ark with the law of God which testifies against sin. See Exodus 25:16, Exodus 25:21; Exodus 30:36; Exodus 34:29; Exodus 38:21. Compare Revelation 11:19.

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