Revelation 15:8

the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God
Although God has been within the Temple, His shekinah glory now manifests itself. Such manifestations of His presence typically attend moments of great import and significance. His glory filled the Tabernacle in the Wilderness indicating His approval and presence among the children of Israel:

Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. (Ex. Ex. 40:34-35)

His presence also filled Solomon’s Temple at its dedication:

And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place , that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. (1K. 1K. 8:10-11)

The same glory was seen by Isaiah in the heavenly Temple:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isa. Isa. 6:1-4)

See The Abiding Presence of God. no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed
Here we have perhaps one of the most mysterious and wondrous verses in all of Scripture. It surely must indicate a period of great privacy and intensity in the mind of God attending the final outpouring of His wrath. It probably indicates an unwillingness to allow for even the possibility of distraction until what has been initiated finds its completion and likely signifies the holiness of the moment, as when Moses could not enter the tabernacle when the glory fell upon it (Ex. Ex. 40:35) and the priests could not minister in Solomon’s Temple (1K. 1K. 8:11). Perhaps the idea is that of the finality of the action: Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight . . . Such as are for death, to death” (Jer. Jer. 15:1-2).

It may suggest that God will, at this point in history, seal the doors of Heaven, making it impossible for any who have not hitherto accepted Jesus as Savior to do so. In other words, from this time forth until God has executed the human race, no additional souls will be saved. This is reminiscent of the previous great judgment, for, in the age before the flood, God said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever” (Gen. Gen. 6:3). What a fearsome prospect: God closeted in His sanctuary until His wrath is satisfied, and no one able to approach Him. Sin will cause this; sin is never a light matter.1

Perhaps there is also great sadness in knowing that nothing further can be done, no more will turn (2Pe. 2Pe. 3:9). All that remains is the hand of judgment. Perhaps there is anguish on the part of the Father like that of the Son on the cross (Mtt. Mat. 27:46; Mark Mark 15:34)?

What insight we should have here of the holiness of God, and may we not be allowed to think that behind this hiding smoke the heart of God is weeping, even as the Lord Jesus wept over Jerusalem, as He acknowledged that all the efforts of His mercy has been in vain, and that the city refused all of His offers of pardon and love? And as we shall be in Heaven at that moment, yet outside of the presence of God, shall we not know that he suffers alone for the horror of the sin that separates men forever from Himself and forces Him to send them away to outer darkness forever?2

To speculate further is to go where angels fear to tread. God has covered Himself with a cloud of darkness and we do well to respect His privacy in this matter (Lam. Lam. 3:44; Rom. Rom. 11:33). Such intense judgment to come! Such grief on the part of the Creator for the creature which refuses to acknowledge Him. Yet He must judge for His very holiness and justice require it! Every person born will drink from one or the other of two cups. Either they will drink the cup of salvation:

Then He [Jesus] took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke Luke 22:17-20)

Or they will drink the cup of the wrath of God (Rev. Rev. 14:10+):

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John. John 3:36)

Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart (Heb. Heb. 3:15), for now is the day of salvation (2Cor. 2Cor. 6:2).

Notes

1 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 15:5.

2 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 287.

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