And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
John, when describing this vision, describes the manifestation of the glory and power of the Lord as smoke. This is a very telling statement. This helps us to understand that, when we see the Lord’s presence being described as a “cloud” or as “smoke” it is because His being and power is like a flame that puts forth this cloud of smoke as a manifestation of His presence.
Fire, as an instrument of light, purification, and destruction can be used as a wonderful representation of many of the Lord’s attributes…
- His holiness
- His purification
- His anger
- His enlightening
- His power
- His majesty
When we put all the above together, the Lord’s presence manifests itself as a cloud of smoke to represent HIS GREATNESS!
In many places in the Old Testament Scriptures, His presence is described as a glorious fire and/or a cloud of smoke. As we read these verses, notice in every case our Lord’s greatness is being emphasized through the use of the manifestation of the fire and clouds of smoke …
- The Lord ratifying His covenant with Abraham – Gen 15:17 KJV
“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.”
- The burning bush seen by Moses – Exo 3:2-4 KJV
“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
- Leading the Israelites through the wilderness – Exo 13:21 KJV
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:”
- On Mt Sinai with Moses – Exo 19:18 KJV, Exo 24:16 KJV
“And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
“And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”
- His presence in the Tabernacle/Temple – Exo 40:34-35 KJV, 2Ch 5:14 KJV
“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
“So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.”
- Christ, symbolized by the Majestic King Solomon – Son 3:6-7 KJV
“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.”
- Protective presence of the Lord throughout eternity – Isa 4:4-6 KJV
“When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”
- The Lord’s presence in the temple of Isaiah’s vision – Isa 6:4-5 KJV
“And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
There is no more fitting conclusion to our devotional this morning than a text that aptly applies the truth of our Lord’s presence being as fire to our each of our lives (Heb 12:28-29 KJV)…
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may SERVE GOD ACCEPTABLY WITH REVERENCE AND GODLY FEAR: For our God is a consuming fire.”
All I can say is …. Amen and Amen!
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: