I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. 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. 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.
-Revelation 15:5-7, emphasis added
This passage in Revelation 15 speaks of Jesus Christ's coming triumph. What does "the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony" in verse 5 signify? The Old Testament states seven elements of the tabernacle.
Element One--The Way to the Presence of God: This is seen in the shekinah-God's sign of His glorious presence from Eden onward. (It is mentioned 100 times in Revelation.) Every time God came, there was the glory cloud: in the burning bush when Moses saw Him; in the flaming cherubim as they kept Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden; over the completed tabernacle; over the completed temple; and leaving the temple in Ezekiel after the apostasy of Israel. That cloud is the sign of God's presence. The way into God's presence is through the tabernacle of the testimony.
Jesus is our Emmanuel, God with us: "The virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel,' which is translated, ‘God with us' " (Matthew 1:23).
Element Two--The Way of Access to God: The purpose is to not just get into His presence, for God spoke in the tabernacle. Do you remember that in the Old Testament there would be a voice over the mercy seat speaking? God was accessible to the high priest and Moses: Moses took his tent and pitched it . . . far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. . . . Everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting, which was outside the camp (Exodus 33:7).
Jesus is the image of the invisible God: No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18). Jesus declares God. When the tabernacle of the testimony is open it is a testimony of God's presence and His accessibility.
Element Three--The Way of Forgiveness with God: "And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing" (Leviticus 5:5).
Jesus is our cleansing: But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). The tabernacle is open. Do you understand what is going on? We are at the high point of the Tribulation in Revelation 15-ready for the sickle to cut the grapes down and squash them. What does God do just before He does that? He opens the tabernacle and says, "I am accessible; My presence is open; My forgiveness is available." What a God of mercy we have!
The next verse, Revelation 15:6, can be summarized in three words--Jesus is holy: 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. These angels are dressed like Old Testament priests, symbolizing the holiness of Jesus.
The final verse of this passage, Revelation 15:7, can also be summarized in just three words--Jesus is eternal: 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. Jesus is God the Son-and He is eternal.
Do you know this holy, eternal Jesus? Are you worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness?To read about the last four elements of the tabernacle, please click here.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.