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Then the temple of GOD

in heaven

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was opened

and His ark of the covenant

was visible

in His temple,

and there were

flashes of lightning,

voices and

thunder and an earthquake and great hail.

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Then true access to THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS, meaning real access, not a man-made copy, was made available to all, even the important things God has shown us about himself and told us to remember and handle carefully were opened up for all to appreciate as we strive to draw closer to Him; this was so important that it was accompanied by demonstrations of God’s power in nature, revelations of who God is, and

various reminders of God’s ability to judge and demonstrations of His power which cause fear.



Heaven as a symbol can mean a couple of things, but here is a meaning that may be new to us—the contrast between the real and a copy of the real. Moses was told to make the Tabernacle after the pattern of what is in heaven; heaven is the real thing; the earthly tabernacle was just a copy. The Epistle to the Hebrews develops that concept more fully. Here, in Revelation 11, the idea of heaven being the real thing while what is on earth is just a copy seems to fit the context better than anything else. In this passage it is referring to access to God; in heaven we will be in his presence in a new and unhindered way. On earth we do have true fellowship with God, but it does not come easily and we suffer from many distractions.


These three, “thunder, an earthquake and great hail,” go together to communicate the same thing. They are separate images which are brought together for one purpose. Why would greater access to God be accompanied by demonstrations of power which cause fear? In answer I would point our attention to Acts 5:13-14 which indicates that there was great fear among the people due to the incident with Ananias and Sapphira, and yet many believed and were added to their number. I take from this that there was a healthy balance, many wanted to join the followers of Jesus but were given pause to consider seriously before doing so because they knew they could not play games with God. I see the same thing expressed here in Revelation; greater accessibility to God does not diminish the seriousness which God requires. Access to God is a good thing, but humans must approach it correctly or we will suffer severe consequences. A few examples of those who do not utilize that open access correctly would be those who play the “churchianity” game, thinking that going to a building once a week somehow changes them on the inside, or religious leaders who exploit the spiritual hunger of the masses to amass for themselves earthly riches, or fame or even a sense of personal accomplishment. The point here has two prongs, one is that God is amazing in the access He allows, the other is that He does not put up with people playing games with Him.