The temple was opened
"And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 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. 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. 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." (Rev. 15:5-8)
After that I looked
Now we go to an earlier point in time. The first four verses showed victory and justice after the plagues had been poured out. This new scene beginning with verse 5 shows us that it is time for the plagues to begin. The first verses dealt with the conflict between Christ and Satan. We saw the redeemed praising Christ announcing that He was just and true and that the judgments [of the plagues] were right. With that assurance of the outcome, we are ready to set the stage for this fearful time.
In chapter 4 we saw a door open in heaven, re0401b. Jesus then went into the sanctuary to perform His work of opening the seals. This work in the holy place of the sanctuary began after His ascension to heaven.
At the end of chapter 11 we saw the temple opened. This sounds like our current verse.
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. . . . And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." (Rev. 11:15, 19).
As I see this passage, the temple was opened at the sounding of the seventh angel. The voices (or noises) are the same as those at the sounding of the trumpet. They represent the pouring out of God's final wrath in the plagues which are introduced here in chapter 15. The door had been opened for Christ's ministry at the beginning of His time in the heavenly sanctuary. Now it is opened again at the close of this work. He leaves the sanctuary and the time of His intercession thus ends.
Heb. 8:1, 2 confirms that the temple at the time of the plagues is in heaven.
Focus of attention
in the temple
Part of our passage reads: "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out. . . ." Why was the temple called "tabernacle of the testimony"? We turn to the instructions given for the constructing the tabernacle (tent) in the wilderness. The first item described was the ark.
"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold. . . . And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony [stone tablets of God's law] that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." (Ex. 25:8-11, 21, 22; also beginning at Deut. 10:3).
The tabernacle of the testimony is called that because in its inner room is the ark and inside the ark is the testimony. God's law is the testimony because it testifies to any sin that may be in the lives of the people (Deut. 31:26). When we ask in Jesus' name, He presents His blood to the Father and forgives our sin so we can stand pure and clean before the law that would declare us unfit for heaven (Ps. 24:3).
How to pray
Jesus' disciples once asked Him how to pray. Here is what He told them: "Pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be recognized as holy. May your will be done on this earth as it is in heaven. Give us our daily bread today, and forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil because the kingdom and the power and the glory are forever yours. Amen.'" (Matt. 6:9-13, in modern English).
He also told them, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13). So it is well to remember that we come to the Father through Jesus and to mention this as we pray.
". . . without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that he rewards those who seek him diligently" (Heb. 11:6, in modern English) Faith is sometimes confused with strong belief. It is more. It is trusting God even when we don't understand the reasons for what may happen to us.
Otherwise, prayer is simply opening our heart to God like we would to a Friend. He cares about even the smallest things in our lives and answers in the way that is best. We may speak our words to God or, for privacy, we may say them silently in our mind, ps01914. Kneeling helps us have an attitude of reverence (respect for God). We may also pray without kneeling. Closing our eyes keeps out distractions.
Also see Matt. 10:32; Heb. 7:25; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7.
Angels, beasts, plagues, and smoke
"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. 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. 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." (Rev. 15:5-8)
Why did the angels
come out of the temple?
Because that is the source of the authority for the plagues. See on re1415.
High priest image © goodsalt.com.
This event is seen in a different set of symbols in chapter 19. re1914
Perhaps these are golden bands around their chests. The glorified Christ in chapter 1 is seen with a similar girdle, although a different Greek word is used there for "breast."
"And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. . . . And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones. . . . And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually" (Ex. 28:15, 17, 30)
The twelve stones were for the tribes of Israel. The Urim and Thummin stones were used in receiving communication from God 1sa2806. The connection may be that, the bands of gold represent all tribes, and nations as compared to the tribes of Israel. The seven angels may be seen as associated with Christ in delivering the result of the judgment.