Revelation 15 begins with a scene from heaven. Christians martyred by the beast now sing victoriously in heaven. They praise God for His marvelous works and mighty power. The song is similar to the praise of the Israelites in the Old Testament story of the Exodus. In Exodus 15, Moses and the Israelites sing to God as they are delivered from Pharaoh’s approaching army. God splits the Red Sea. His people walk through unharmed. Shortly after
they approach the shore, the waters collapse and drown the enemy behind them.
Now, let’s return to Revelation 15, where people from all nations gather in heaven and sing a song similar to Moses and the Israelites. God delivered them from this world’s harm to heaven’s glory. John, the author of Revelation, then sees the tabernacle in heaven. Why the tabernacle? In the book of Exodus, chapters 25 through 40 are devoted to the tabernacle. This section is highly descriptive, detailed, and perhaps a little boring to read. In fact, Scripture devotes more words to describing the tabernacle than any other single object in the Bible! Why?
In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was how God lived among the people. It represented His presence. What about the New Testament? We learn the tabernacle is a picture of Christ. “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.” – Hebrews 9:11 (NLT)
Jesus is the better Tabernacle and the way anyone can get to God. The Old Testament tabernacle (which was first a tent, then later a temple) points to the New Testament Tabernacle, Jesus. The tabernacle in Revelation 15 reminds us, we always want to be where God is. God revealed His holiness on Mt. Sinai in fire and smoke. When the ark of the covenant was placed in the tabernacle, God’s presence was symbolized with smoke. In Solomon’s temple, the glory of the Lord filled it with a cloud of smoke. In Revelation 15, smoke fills the temple until the wrath of God is poured out. The smoke in the tabernacle points to the presence of God.
As Revelation 15 ends and Revelation 16 begins, God directs seven angels to pour out seven bowls of His wrath. This series of judgments lead to the final and cataclysmic battle of Armageddon. The forces of evil gather at Armageddon, near Megiddo, an ancient city in Israel where many famous battles occurred. Armageddon will be a global war. What happens? On Sunday, we’ll cover this final battle. Onward!