And the temple was filled with smoke
Not with the smoke of false doctrine and superstition; that comes out of the bottomless pit, this from God, ( Revelation 9:2 ) and besides, Gospel churches will grow purer and purer, while the seven angels are pouring out the vials: but rather this may be understood of judicial blindness and hardness of heart, upon the antichristian party, which will come upon them from God in righteous judgment; so that they will not be reformed by the plagues, and vials of wrath, nor repent of their sins; but blaspheme God, who has power over the plagues, and so shall not be able to enter into the temple: or else this may design God's powerful and gracious presence in his church, in allusion to the cloud which filled the tabernacle, so that Moses could not enter; and which filled the temple, so that the priests could not minister, ( Exodus 40:34 Exodus 40:35 ) ( 1 Kings 8:10 1 Kings 8:11 ) since this is said to be
from the glory of God, and from his power;
whose presence is the glory in the midst of his church, and a covert, a protection and defence, to the saints, so that none can come into the temple to hurt them: see ( Isaiah 4:5 Isaiah 4:6 ) or rather this intends "the smoke of the anger of God", as the Ethiopic version renders it, and which is intolerable; and it may have respect not only to the wrath of God, which is insupportable, but to that great affliction which will befall the saints in those times, through the last struggle of the beast; called the earthquake, and the hour of temptation, and a time of trouble, as never the like was, and which will be shortened for the elect's sake:
and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues
of the seven angels were fulfilled.
None of the anti-Christian party will attempt to enter in, because of their blindness and obduracy; nor can they get in to do any mischief, because the glorious and powerful presence of God is a defence against them: and this may also have some respect to the darkness of God's judgments, which will not be clearly manifest until these seven plagues are accomplished; till that time God's judgments on antichrist will remain a great deep, and be unsearchable; there will be no entering into the temple, so as fully to understand them, which is meant by going into the sanctuary of God, ( Psalms 73:17 ) and this makes the interpretation of the pouring out of these vials, in the next chapter, very difficult.