Anyone who entered the temple (Godís house) in Jerusalem would first notice the smoke. Oil lamps burned constantly there (Leviticus 24:1-4), but most of the smoke came from the incense. Incense was the substance with a sweet smell that the priests burned.
The temple was not a public building; in fact, Godís law only permitted a few priests to enter it each day. Isaiahís experience in Isaiah chapter 6 was probably in a vision (something like a dream that God shows to a person). However, even Isaiah noticed the smoke (Isaiah 6:4).
In Revelation 15:8, John explains that the smoke means the glory (greatness) of God. Perhaps that is easier to understand when we read 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, and the earlier incident in Exodus 40:34-35. In both incidents, Godís glory filled his house, and a cloud covered it. Godís glory was so great that the priests were unable to carry out their duties. In Revelation 15:8, as in Isaiah 6:4, the cloud was of smoke.
Moses was unable to enter Godís house while the cloud of Godís glory was there (Exodus 40:35). In Revelation 15:8, nobody could enter the temple in heaven while the smoke of Godís glory remained there.
This astonishing sight of Godís glory at his temple in heaven will remain during the period of the judgements in chapter 16. This is the final series of judgements that must happen before the start of Christís rule on earth. It is also the most severe of all the judgements in the Bible. It is these judgements that will destroy the power of every evil force, system and ruler over this world.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.