Four-fold Reference to the Altar of God:
- … ”And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” (Rev. 6:9). (Emphasis added).
- … “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,” (Rev. 9:13). (Emphasis added).
- … “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” (Rev. 11:1). (Emphasis added).
- … “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgements.” (Rev. 16:7). (Emphasis added).
Four-fold Reference to the Temple of Heaven:
- … “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:19). (Emphasis added).
- … “And another angel came out of the temple, which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” (Rev. 14:17). (Emphasis added).
- … “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” (Rev. 15:5). (Emphasis added).
- … “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” (Rev. 16:17). (Emphasis added).
Commentary: Definition of altar. A usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else.
Commentary: Definition of temple. A building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place of God.
Both the temple and altar are in heaven. Both are referenced in context to God’s sovereignty. The altar is in the temple. The souls of the Tribulation Saints being under the altar, “them that were slain for the word of God,” directly confirms the purpose of an altar. The souls of the martyred saints are so valuable to God that he has them at the altar, because of their testimony of Christ while they were alive on earth during the Tribulation. The altar of God is analogous to a safe or strong box. Things of great value are put in a safe. In the context of the altar, souls of the martyred Tribulation Saints are valuable to God and safely reside under the altar. God values the worship of his creation, which takes place at the altar in the heavenly temple. The temple and the altar within it, are two more manifested examples of where God communicates with those in the heavens. He does so likewise from his throne. Angels have access to the temple, the altar and the throne of God and as a result, they play a role in administering God’s decrees and announcements. A very interesting transition takes place in Revelation chapter 21 when John the Apostle describes the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. In verse 21:22 he specifically states, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Emphasis added). This reflects one manifestation of God’s declaration that he “makes all things new.” (Rev. 21:5). God has done away with the previous temple and altar of heaven, and replaced it with his Son’s (Jesus Christ) and God’s glory in the New Jerusalem. Rev. 21:22-23, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light therof.” (Emphasis added).
Categories: Revelation of Jesus Christ