The Opening of the Temple
"And the temple (Naos) of God which is in heaven was
opened, and there was seen the ark of His covenant in His temple."
We have already seen that heaven is a place of grand and glorious realities, and not a place of airy nothings, as popular theology pictures it. There is a heavenly Temple, and heavenly worship, and a heavenly priesthood, on the pattern of which the earthly was modelled (See Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 9:23).
The Apocalypse is the book of unveiling and of opening. Seven great openings characterise it.
In 4:1 A Door is opened in heaven. In 6:1-9 The Seals are opened. In 9:2 The Abyss is opened. In 11:19 The Temple of God is opened. In 15:5 The Tabernacle of Testimony is opened. In 19:11 The Heaven is opened. In 20:12 The Books of judgment are opened.
The opening of the heavenly Temple discloses the Ark of the Covenant, and speaks of the covenant-keeping God redeeming His pledges of blessing to His people, and tells of judgment on His enemies. It is from this Temple that the judgments that follow proceed forth (14:15,17; 15:5; 16:17).
This tells us that those judgments have respect to the restoration of His people Israel, and of the fulfilment of all His covenant promises, concerning the Land (Genesis 15) and the throne (2 Samuel 7), which were unconditional and therefore certain and sure. The Ark of the Old Covenant was concealed; this is revealed, and it is displayed as a token of Israels salvation and of their enemies destruction. The secret of God is finished (Revelation 10:7) because the Temple is laid open, and the Ark revealed. The Ark of the Old Covenant had stood closely connected with the Tabernacle and Moses; with the Land and Joshua; with the Kingdom and David; and with the Temple and Solomon. All are united here in connection with this heavenly Ark of which the earthly Ark was only a copy and a figure.
Under this covenant is at length to be fulfilled all that was announced in the Song of Zacharias (Luke 1:68-79); but which, owing to Christs rejection, has been since in abeyance:
A: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; For He has visited and redeemed His people.
B: And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David;
C: As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Which have been since the world began:
D: That we should be saved from our enemies, And from the hand of all that hate us;
E: To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant; E: The oath which he swore to our father Abraham
D: That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.
C: And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest; For you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;
B: To give knowledge of salvation unto His people By the remission of their sins,
A: Through the tender mercy of our God; Whereby the Day-spring from on high has visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.
The words printed in thicker type show us the great subject of each member. They may be more clearly seen if presented thus:
A: 68 The visitation of God.
. .B: 69 Its subject: Salvation raised up.
. . .C: 70 Foretold: by all His Prophets.
. . . .D: 71 Its result: Destruction of Enemies.
. . . . .E: 72 Its basis: The Covenant.
. . . . .E: 73 Its basis: The Oath.
. . . .D: 74,75 Its result: Worship of Delivered Ones.
. . .C: 76 Fulfilled: The Forerunning prophet.
. .B: 77 Its object: Salvation known.
A: 78,79 The Visitation of Christ.
Thus, beautifully, has God the Holy Ghost emphasised for us what is included in His Covenant, of which the manifestation of the Ark of His Covenant, seen in His opened Temple in heaven, is at once the token and assurance. The revelation of the Ark of the Covenant is at once answered on earth by signs which betoken its meaning for the earth. That we reach a great crisis here is evident. It anticipates the end, including the judgment of the great white throne in chapter 20. Before all that it involves and includes is fulfilled, we are taken back to the foundation of the world, in order to have various matters explained to us; and we are shown how the End is connected with the Beginning, and what the great Crisis really means. E.W. Bullinger, taken from The Apocalypse or The Day of the Lord.
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