v.5-8 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
This concluding passage brings us to what I consider one of the most sobering and compelling scenes in all of Revelation. As heaven prepares to deliver the final awful judgments of God upon the world, God retreats alone into His temple.
Picture the scene, dear ones.
Seven angels come forth in procession from the temple to an awaiting living creature, where each angel is given a golden bowl of plagues to deliver upon the earth. All the while, behind them the temple fills with the “smoke” of God’s glory and power as He conceals Himself inside the temple, allowing none to enter it until the plagues are delivered, and each plague has completely run its course.
So why would God choose to be alone? One would think that, now at the threshold of this world’s purging and the uprooting of the Adversary’s kingdom, a king’s reaction would be the opposite in the face of battle. That he would openly delight in the vanquishing of his enemy.
Perhaps the answer is at Golgotha. The one other place where God poured out His full wrath to achieve complete victory, yet likewise retreated until the judgment had passed. Where Jesus Christ the Son and Lamb of God, being made sin for us, hung in darkness, and in the absence of the Father cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt.27:46).
God is holy and therefore God must judge sin. Nonetheless, God is also love. Perhaps He retreats into His temple alone because He takes no pleasure in judgment, regardless how great the victory.