Revelation Chapter 5
VERSE 8 continued, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (As explain in The Keys of Revelation)
“For generations prior to the First Advent of Christ, the twenty-four elders (that is, the books of the Old Testament), “every one of them,” both individually and collectively prophesied either directly, allegorically, typically, or symbolically of a coming Messiah to bring deliverance to mankind. Each elder or book has its own verbal message or content (voice); its own stringed instrument of musical intonation (harp); and its own emotional theme (vial of fragrance). In short, each has its own individual as well as collective role to play in the overall anthem of praise to the dear Redeemer.
What is this new refrain? It is none other than that which they are about to acclaim; namely, not only the arrival of the prophesied One, but the successful conclusion of the primary objective at his First Advent: the laying down of his life as “a ransom for all” (John 10:15–18; 1 Tim. 2:6).
The elders’ posture in Verse 8 (on their knees) is one of grateful acknowledgment and adoration of Jesus for his faithful performance in doing the Father’s will in strict conformity to the written Word—for not having disappointed them, in view of their having previously spoken (prophesied in advance) of him in such glowing terms in their predictive utterances. The four living creatures or attributes are pictured as likewise concurring with these same sentiments, for the Savior did all things in absolute obedience to the principles of divine government.
One of the prophetic pictures spoken of by the twenty-four elders is in regards to the millennial age and the Day of Judgement; it’s not quite the picture the professing church paints it to be, viz.
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth.” (Psa 96:11-13)
Thus showing that Judgement Day is not to be dreaded as is commonly taught.
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm [Jesus] have gained Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations (Compare Isa 11:9). He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity.” (Psa 98:1-9)
“Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psa 150:6)
Attention should be called to the fact that the golden bowls full of incense…are [the same as] the prayers of [the] saints.”
One might ask in what sense could the prayers of the saints be found in the Old Testament. In response, are not Christians given a comprehensive insight into the innermost thoughts of Jesus at the time of his crucifixion, and are not also some of the very words he uttered in his death agony on the Cross explicitly forecast in advance of their occurrence (Psa 22)?
Jesus’ heart attitude and his audible submission to the Father’s will—“Lo, I come . . . to do thy will”—were recorded in the Old Testament more than a thousand years before being written in the New Testament (Psa. 40:7; Heb. 10:7).
The thoughts, feelings, and prayers of the saints are also shown in the Old Testament. For example, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psa 23); “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” (Psa 119); etc. Such expressions of the obedient are indeed a sweet fragrance in the nostrils of God and are equally pleasing to the risen Lord.”
We will proceed on to Verse 9 in our next post.
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