Revelation Chapter 8
VERSE 3 continued, “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
THEN ANOTHER ANGEL:
This angel is Jesus —the same one who in Rev 1:13 is standing in the midst of the Seven Churches which these Seven Trumpets serve. There HE has a voice “LIKE a trumpet.” Clearly his voice also had repercussions far beyond the audiences to which he directed his message.
HAVING A GOLDEN CENSER:
This, being a golden container for coals, seems to represent the divinely-appointed experiences, the divinely-measured experiences (the censer has a specific capacity) necessary for acceptable sacrifice. Thus it shows a JUDGMENT regarding the acceptableness of the sacrifice.
CAME AND STOOD AT THE ALTAR:
Here we have several things to consider. First, we again have a connection with Rev 1:13. There Jesus is dressed as a high priest. Here in 8:3 he clearly functions in the same capacity. Secondly, Jesus is here standing AT THE ALTAR. This is the COURT altar —the place where his humanity was sacrificed and the coals (which represent the trials which accomplished that sacrifice) are available to be put in the censer.
HE WAS GIVEN MUCH INCENSE: Incense represents the perfections of Christ’s sacrifice —the thing which makes him a viable sacrifice.
THAT HE SHOULD OFFER IT WITH THE PRAYERS OF ALL THE SAINTS:
Notice that this is about ALL the saints. It represents something affecting the entire age. Jesus’ sacrifice accomplished this —the making valid of the prayers of the saints so that they could sacrifice WITH HIM. This is a sin-offering text. Those who blow the Trumpets (as representatives of ALL SEVEN STAGES OF THE CHURCH) have NO RIGHT to blow these unless their messages are justified. This incense from the coals of Jesus’ sacrifice makes their work valid. Jesus ADDS the incense to our prayers which makes them heard.
UPON THE GOLDEN ALTAR:
This is in the holy of the tabernacle —the place where the saints dwell while yet in the flesh (although their flesh is not represented in this room.) This action of incense on the golden altar is what preceded the taking of the sin-offering blood(s) into the Most Holy. This particular description is NOT, however, about Jesus’ blood, but that of the saints. When Jesus’ blood went in, HIS PRAYERS went with the incense. But here, OUR PRAYERS go with it. This verse is strong in support of the Church’s part in the sin offering.
WHICH WAS BEFORE THE THRONE: represented in the MOST HOLY of the tabernacle.
Throne symbolizes the authority of judgment. A good judgment is secured because our high priest has prepared the way with his sacrifice. (The Most Holy had no throne. John’s vision thus INTERPRETS a part of the anti-typical meaning of the Most Holy.)
A NOTE ON THE PARALLEL WITH CHAPTER FIVE:
It is difficult to miss the striking parallel of Rev 5:8 with this part of Chapter 8. The situation is SO similar and yet SO different.
In 5:8, the Lamb is pronounced worthy to open the Seals; in 8, the angels are MADE worthy to blow the Trumpets.
In 5:8, the incense is from the 24 elders; in 8 it is from Jesus.
In 5:8, the saints are probably the Old Testament faithful; in 8 it is the Gospel age saints.
But in each case, the way is OPENED so that the functions may occur —viz. Seal opening, and Trumpet blowing.
VERSE 4 “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.”
AND THE SMOKE OF THE INCENSE: The evidence of the loving and perfect sacrifice
WITH THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS:
This is WHY we pray IN HIS NAME (John 15:16 and 1 John 2:1). Without the accompanying incense being ACKNOWLEDGED by us, our prayers and sacrifices would not be holy. The “prayers of the saints” are, on the whole, for the kingdom. This is an important item to remember here. All of the ensuing trumpeting is simply a sequence of events LEADING TO THE KINGDOM.
This preface to the seven Trumpets is to show us that the Trumpets are a gradual 7-step breakdown of society SO THAT the kingdom may be established. Thus this introduction shows us several imperative elements necessary for the kingdom’s establishment:
1. Jesus’ Sacrifice (Verse 3)
2. The justification of the co-sacrifice of the Church (Verse 3)
3. The gradual breakdown of society’s thinking habits by seven successive “proclamations of liberty.” (Verses 2 & 6)
4. The ULTIMATE breakdown at the end of the age (the CULMINATION of the trumpeting as in the fall of the walls in Jericho) so that the Kingdom may be fully set up (Verse 5)
ASCENDED BEFORE GOD: To complete the sin offering eventually.
FROM THE ANGEL’S HAND:
As the High Priest, HE is the one who offers the joint-sacrifice, the matter is all in his hands. Remember (Rev 1:16 & 20) that these seven angels are in his right hand.”
We will continue on to Verses 5 and 6 in our next post.
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