Revelation 15:1-8 Part 6

REVELATION 15:1-8 Part 6 

1)    Then I saw another great and awesome sign in the heaven; for God’s wrath was carried out in full through seven messengers having the last seven plagues.

2)    I saw as a crystal sea mingled with fire and the ones overcoming the beast and its image and the number of its name standing on the crystal sea having God’s harps;

3)    and they sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb saying, ‘great and awesome Your works, Kurie the Almighty God; just and true Your ways, King of the ages.

4)    Who shall not fear Kurie and glorify Your Name - alone holy?  All the nations shall come and bow before You, Your righteous acts be manifest!’

5)    After this I looked, and the holy place in the tabernacle of testimony in the heaven was opened,

6)    and the seven messengers having the seven plagues came out of the holy place clothed in pure white linen and girded about the breasts with golden girdles.

7)    And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven messengers seven golden bowls being full of the wrath of God – the One Living into the ages of the ages;

8)    and the holy place was filled of smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and not one was enabled to enter into the holy place until the seven plagues of the seven messengers were finished.


That which the writer of Hebrews wrote to the Churches a couple of years before John’s Revelation arrived is precisely what John is seeing in the tabernacle itself, isn’t it?  We heard that last week.  The heavenly tabernacle, as shown to John in the sign here, isn’t the same as the reflection, or copy, that was built by Moses in the desert.

Although John’s letter continuously refers to the tabernacle in the desert and its Levitical priesthood, it’s for the purpose of revealing the awesome “changes” that occurred with the coming of the Christ – the Royal High Priest in the latter days!  God’s tabernacle in the heaven has undergone vast changes from the “pattern” that was shown to Moses on Mount Sinai.

There is no “outer room” in God’s tabernacle in the heaven, for the High Priest has already entered the Holy of Holies and ascended once, through the veil, to the Presence of Majesty on high; and He did so having taken on our flesh in the virgin birth; and He did so with the elect from the house of Jacob IN HIM!  And John sees them in the Presence of glory above the firmament in this great sign!

So, you see, the first room of the tabernacle that was built in the desert is obsolete.  No more cyclical and repetitive priesthood; no more altar of sacrifice, no more bronze laver, no more lampstand; no more table of the “Presence”; no more rituals, and no more blood! 

It’s now “better” since the Son of Man has entered the Holy of Holies once; and IN HIM the hundred and forty four thousands who He came to seek and to save from the house of Jacob.

And the new covenant is a “better” covenant, because the law of the sacrifices and ceremonies and rituals is now old and obsolete, since there is a Royal High Priest Who is the fullness of the entire sacrificial and ceremonial law!  He has kept, and is keeping, all those laws for us!  And the new covenant is a “better” covenant, for now it includes us Gentiles in all the nations.

The High Priest has taken His place at the Right of Glory (He is the strong Right Arm of God); and He did so in our flesh!  And by engrafting into His body through rebirth, we “tabernacle” in the Presence of the Lord of Hosts IN HIM!  We have access into the Presence of Almighty God, through the partition, in His Body!  He IS our new tabernacle!  And He makes continual intercession for us as our one-and-only Royal High Priest.  The new tabernacle in Christ is a “better” tabernacle than the one in the desert!

And our “tabernacle” is “with us”!  He is Immanuel – God with us.  Wherever we are, there is our new tabernacle – the body of Christ, having direct access to The Father.  There is the New Tabernacle, and the New Heavens and the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem.  And there is the Church of Jesus Christ congregating on the first day of the week remembering all He has done and celebrating His great and awesome works.

The “congregating”; the “meeting together”: the Ecclesia for worship in the new tabernacle of the Body of Christ is not to be neglected.

But what John is shown here in the text is the “firstfruit” of the resurrection of the “Son of Man”.  The hundred and forty-four thousands are the “entirety” of those who Jesus came to seek and to save; they are the “lost sheep of the house of Jacob”… the ones of promise!  And they are shown to John because it was prophesied that the offspring of the twelve tribes in the desert would testify against them in the latter days.

As John sees them, they have ascended to the Presence of Majesty on high IN CHRIST; and they harp the song that was taught to their fathers by Moses; and the song is the witness to Almighty God of Israel’s great harlotry.

And the Judge of all the earth hears the witness from His Own Word; and having heard the witness, the heat of His anger burns in the entire firmament of the heavens, turning it fiery red.

And the firstfruit harp the song of the Lamb for His mighty works of salvation… not only for the salvation of the remnant of Israel, but for the inclusion of all the nations of Gentiles, to the end of the salvation of the world to the glory of The Father.

And John sees the “opening” of the Holy of Holies in the heaven for the outpouring of the wrath of God; for the nation that He had so richly blessed as His “new paradise” not only had shed the blood of the righteous all through its history (including the Son of God Himself), but it had prostituted itself with all the idols of the surrounding nations; and now (at the time of this writing) it was the “whore” of the fourth great beast of world history!  It had already claimed the name of the first beast of history; now it had spread its legs to Rome.

The fourth beast is the “seed” of the dragon; and God would use the dragon’s own enmity and vengeance to turn the fourth beast against its prostitute (Israel) and destroy her in a final effort to destroy the seed of the woman!  And what was to occur was a devastation like none that had happened since the flood, and one of such that would never happen again; for the burning heat of God’s anger would burn to the depths of the abyss.  And all those remaining in the land (God’s heaven-and-earth paradise) would perish in a flood of its own.  Only this time they would drown in the flood of their own blood… and the “elements” of their own covenantal existence melted in the heat of the wrath of God.


The sword of God, and the burning heat of God, and the flood of God are all in the text of the prophetic Word in the older Scripture, and they’re all seen and heard by John here in the heavenly tabernacle.  All three are persistent in the written Word; and they are consistent with God’s perception of Israel’s latter days and the passing-from-existence of this heaven-and-earth land of milk and honey.  Israel is perceived from the beginning as its own cosmic existence… a special “heaven-and-earth” creation in the likeness of His Own heavenly tabernacle.

But in its latter days its mountains trembled and fled; its stars fell from the sky; its moon turned to blood; its sun was darkened; its vegetation was destroyed by armor-bearing locust-like demons from below.

This special paradise of God, established as a separate heaven-and-earth in the likeness of the original creation, was passing from existence in a way that was much like what the disintegration of the universe itself would be like.  The “elements” of its very being were disintegrating.

The flooding destruction of the world in the time of Noah was a foreshadowing; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in fire and brimstone was another.  Except neither of those were even a “match” for what God was about to do to this nation that refused to obey His covenant.

What John is now shown, beginning here at verse five and continuing, is what was written in verse one:


“Then I saw another great and awesome sign in the heaven; for God’s wrath was carried out in full through seven messengers having the last seven plagues.”


After seeing and hearing the harping of the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb, John saw that the holy place (the Holy of Holies) in the tabernacle of testimony in the heaven was opened.

Since there is no “outer” room in the heavenly tabernacle, John sees the “holy place” – the Holy of Holies.  And there is the location of the testimony, the shadow of which was the man-made Ark of the Covenant in the desert.

In the Ark of the Covenant built by Moses were the tablets of the Law of the Covenant, over which was the golden “mercy seat”, and the four great living creatures – the cherubim.

But what John sees is the Holy of Holies… the tabernacle of the testimony (the Word of God), over which are the mighty cherubim of God; and over it all is the majesty of Almighty God the Ancient of Days.

John writes that it is the tabernacle of the testimony.  It is the tabernacle of the Word of God… reflected in the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle in the desert.  And there in the text of Moses it was called the tabernacle of the testimony.  The ark held the Word of God.  It was His covenant with His special creation – Israel.

The tabernacle in the heaven therefore is called the tabernacle of the testimony, for there is the Word of God… His covenant, the testimony.  The hundred and forty-four thousands harped the testimony before the Judge of all creation; and it was the “witness” that Israel had not kept His testimony – His Word – His covenant.

John sees and hears the witness; and he sees the firmament of the creation turn fiery red from the heat of God’s anger, for He hears the Words of His Own covenant  And, now, the holy place of the testimony of God “opens”… right there in John’s sight!

The sign includes the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony for a particular purpose; and that purpose isn’t to allow entrance.  And the purpose isn’t so John can see inside (he was already inside!).  And it wasn’t for the purpose (as it was before) to pour out blessings (more about that shortly).

The purpose for the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony was to expose this harlot nation to the full and final wrath of God.  It was His testimony – His Word (written in the documents of Scripture).  His Word is eternal in the tabernacle of testimony.  His Word stands forever; and He doesn’t change.

His covenant with Israel is His Word; and it included the sanctions against Israel should she break His covenant!

That covenant also included the promise to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob that God would save Israel!  And the proof of that salvation is right here in the sign to John.  The hundred and forty-four thousands of the twelve tribes of Jacob are harping in the Presence of Almighty God, the Lord of Hosts; and they witness to Him against those remaining on the land.  They harp the testimony of God from the Song of Moses which promises the horrific sanctions should she break His covenant!

The tabernacle of the testimony (which is the Word of God) the tabernacle opens to expose the covenant nation to the testimony!  And His Word won’t return unto Him void!  It will be carried out in full!  And the tabernacle of the testimony is closed to its return until it’s carried out in full (verse eight).

The covenant nation will suffer the full exposure to the testimony – the Word of God – as the tabernacle of testimony is opened.

The elect of the twelve tribes having been “exodused” from the land (in much the same way as Israel was freed from Egypt); the final plagues now to come from the tabernacle of testimony being much the same as the plagues upon Egypt; the inundation about to come upon the land in the wrath of God being much the same as when the Egyptian armies “went down” in the flood of the Red Sea; the sin of Israel being much the same as the sin of the Canaanites when God ordered their complete destruction, this special creation of God is now exposed to the testimony!

The sign shown to John reveals the sanctions promised in God’s Word for breaking His covenant; for that testimony stands forever.  And it is now time for the full, and final, outpouring of the wrath of God prompting the opening of the tabernacle of testimony.


Now, as usual, there are a number of places in the written Word which John (and the Churches) would immediately remember upon receiving this sign.

One of those would necessarily have to be the prophecy of Isaiah at (what we now know as) chapter twenty-seven.  I’ll read just pertinent parts of it for you:



1)    Behold!  YAHVEH  will strip the land bare and make it desolate.  He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants,

2)    people and priests alike, servant and master, female servant and mistress, buyer and seller, lender and borrower, creditor and debtor.

3)    The land will be stripped completely bare and will be totally plundered, for YAHVEH has spoken this Word.

4)    The land mourns and withers; the creation wastes away and withers; the exalted people of the land waste away.

5)    The land is polluted by its inhabitants, for they have transgressed teachings overstepped decrees, and broken the everlasting covenant.

6)    Therefore a curse has consumed the land, and its inhabitants have become guilty; the land's inhabitants will be burned, and only a few survive….


16) …The treacherous act treacherously; the treacherous deal very treacherously.

17) Terror, pit, and snare [await] you who dwell on the land.

18) Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit, and whoever escapes from the pit will be caught in a snare. For the windows are opened in the heaven, and the foundations of the land are shaken.

19) The land is completely devastated; the land is split open; the land is violently shaken.

20) The land will stagger like a drunkard and sway like a hut.  The land's rebellion weighs heavily, and it falls, never to rise again.

21) On that day YAHVEH will lay a charge on the host of heaven above and on kings of the land (and those) in the land.

22) They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit.  They will be confined to a dungeon; after many days they will be punished.

23) The moon will be put to shame and the sun disgraced, because YAHVEH of Hosts reigns as king on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and He glories in the presence of His elders.


In that passage (God’s Word – His “testimony” – to Israel through the prophet Isaiah at about 700 BC), is a full, prophetic rendering of what’s shown to John here in our text.  That’s why it’s so awesome!

In it there is prophesied the opening of the heaven to expose the covenantal land to the sanctions of YAHVEH’s covenant.  God’s eternal Word, directly to Moses from the tabernacle in the heaven, promised the sanctions; and right there in chapter twenty-seven of Isaiah they are prophesied again.  The tabernacle in the heaven will be opened once again (as it was to Israel in the desert), and Israel will be fully exposed to what was told to them when Moses was there in the tabernacle.

I’m sure you heard when I read it that the language indicates a “termination” of the heaven-and-earth that God had created for Himself – just as Moses had written… the “decreation” of God’s paradise on earth – the land of milk and honey.

Our Lord had used much of the same terminology when asked by His disciples (Matthew twenty-three and twenty-four) about the “signs” of His Parousia: the “shaking of this heaven-and-earth”, the mountains fleeing, the stars falling from the heavens, the lights of the sun and the moon being extinguished, the plagues (similar to the plagues in Egypt) removing all of the blessings of YAVEH upon the land.  The language and terminology are all there in the Isaiah passage.

So too is the language about Israel’s sin against God, and the great fear, and flight from doom, and the pits and snares; for the heaven (the tabernacle of testimony), the heaven was to be opened; and Israel is to experience the full and final wrath of God.

Now.  Seven messengers dressed as emissaries directly from the throne of the King appear from the testimony – the Word of God (they are messengers of God’s Word).  And one of the cherubs at the mercy seat (the fourth one) provides each with a bowl, or chalice, filled with the wrath of God.

Seven messengers, seven final plagues, and seven bowls of wrath.  Please note that the seven messengers came forth from the testimony with the seven plagues; and they were given the seven bowls having been filled with the wrath of God.

We’ve had numerous encounters here in The Revelation with God’s numerical perception of things.  That’s always to be expected; for God’s perfections are revealed in His speech!  His Word stands forever; and not only is there “covenantal continuity” from front to back, but His language is consistent.  And it is all revelatory of His Person and His Purpose.  John says that He is the One Living into the ages of ages; and His Person is the same.  And His Purpose is the same.

And John is shown what is now about to be; and it is shown to him in three “sevens”!  The tabernacle of the testimony opens, and seven messengers emerge from the testimony (The Word).  And they have seven final plagues (the plagues come from the testimony itself, you see – The Word of God); and they are given seven bowls having been filled with wrath!  That’s three sevens.

The perfections of God’s Word are awesome to behold, aren’t they?  Qualitative and quantitative perfection.

In God’s perception the three sevens constitute perfection in finality; for it is time now for the conclusive resolution!  And the seven messengers of God’s Word arising from the testimony itself aren’t permitted to return to the tabernacle of testimony until God’s purpose is finished in full!  God’s Word will NOT return to Him void!

The plagues that the messengers have as they come forth from the testimony are, of course the plagues promised in the Word.  And they hearken back to the plagues upon Egypt.  Except now they are a perfect “seven”, and now they are “final”.

And it is the “reverse” of the “opening of the heaven” when Israel was constituted a nation special unto YAHVEH.  The opening of the heaven at that time was for the purpose of pouring out blessings upon the tribes of Jacob in the desert of Sinai.

After the plagues upon Egypt; after the baptismal flight through the sea on dry ground, the heavens were opened to provide for all of the new nation’s needs.

There is one place in the Scripture that provides us with that scenario succinctly, and it is Psalm 78.  I’ll read certain portions of that for you; and then make the connections for you as the process is completely reversed here in John’s sight.  Listen to it:


5)    He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children,

6)    that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn and arise and tell them to their children,

7)    so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments;

8)    and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God…..

10) They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to His law.

11) They forgot His works and the wonders that He had shown them.

12) In the sight of their fathers He performed wonders in the land of Egypt in the fields of Zoan.

13) He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap.

14) In the daytime He led them with a cloud, and all the night with the light of fire.

15) He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

16) He made streams come out of the rock causing waters to flow down like rivers.

17) Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

18) They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.

19) They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

20) He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed, But can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?"

21) Therefore, when YAHVEH heard, he was full of wrath; and a fire was kindled against Jacob; His anger rose against Israel

22) because they did not believe God and did not trust His saving power.

23) Yet He commanded the heavens above  and  opened the doors of the heaven

24) and rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of the heaven.

25) Man ate of the bread from the messengers; He sent them food in abundance….

27) He rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas;

28) He caused them to fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings.

29) And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved….

32) In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe….

40) How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert!

41) They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.

42) They did not remember His power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe,

43) when He performed His signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.

44) He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.

45) He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, and frogs which destroyed them.

46) He gave their crops to the destroying locust the fruit of their labor to the locust.

47) He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.

48) He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts.

49) He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying messengers.

50) He made a path for his anger; He did not spare them from death but gave their lives over to the plague.

51) He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.

52) Then He led out His people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

53) He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, on the other hand, the sea inundated their enemies.

54) And He brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which His right hand had won.


The Psalmist goes on to speak of Israel’s continued rebellion against YAHVEH and His covenant.

But in this magnificent Psalm we see the wonders and mighty deeds of YAHVEH in Zoan (the place in Egypt of Israel’s captivity).  And then come the plagues upon Egypt by a “company of destroying messengers), and God’s leading His flock into the desert where He opens the tabernacle in the heaven to give them all that they craved.  According to the Psalmist, emissaries were sent from the glory cloud/tabernacle in the heaven to bring them manna, and to send them meat right to their doorsteps!

But in our text here in the Revelation, John is shown the only other place in all of Scripture where it is said that the heavenly tabernacle is opened (prophesied in Isaiah twenty-seven)!  And everything that the Psalmist said is reversed here at the end of the age.

Now the tabernacle in the heaven is opened and the perfect seven plagues are sent upon the land of Israel, and the Gentiles are blessed with the promise of God!


It is truly an awesome sign to John; and verse eight does nothing but heighten that awesomeness (as was alluded to before).  For the fiery power and heated glory of The Lord of Hosts fills the tabernacle with smoke as a “company” of special emissaries are sent out with the Word of His power… not to pour out manna and meat, but to pour out wrath.

And none of the seven may return to the tabernacle of testimony until the full wrath of God is vented upon this harlot nation (we’ll see that in the following chapters).  It is His Word, you see… His spoken Word that is sent from an opened tabernacle of testimony!  The messengers themselves are His testimony spoken previously to Moses and the prophets.  It is His spoken Word; and His Word won’t return unto Him void.  For it will do all for which He sent it.