The Apocalypse – Chapter 8 – Part 1
Yesterday we ended Chapter 7 of the book of Revelation (or Apocalypse), today we begin with Chapter 8 – The smoke of the incense
Prayer without Words Prayer may be of many kinds But of whatever kind It is in the linking up of the soul, the heart and the mind. Listen, I am here Are you really aware Of My overwhelming presence Spend much time in prayer. Share with Me in silence no supplication need be expressed I understand, I will provide Seek My joy in rest. Remember the pain I suffered for you much was endured So you could live in confidence knowing That supply is always secured. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The Smoke of the Incense
- All the saints are to be a praying people.
- The Lord gives us a Spirit of grace which is always a Spirit of adoption and supplication, teaching us to cry, Abba, Father.
- Times of danger should be praying times, and so should times of great expectation.
- The prayers of the saints stand in need of the intercession of Christ to make them acceptable and effectual.
- No prayer recommended by Christ is ever denied an audience or acceptance.
- Prayers that are accepted in heaven produce great changes upon earth.
There was silence in heaven
‘And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. There was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
The angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound’.
Be still and know
Henry says – In these verses we have the prelude to the sounding of the trumpets. The opening of the last seal. This was to introduce a new set of prophetical events, one part linked to another (where one ends another begins). Though they may differ in nature and in time, they all make up one wise, well-connected, uniform design in the hand of God.
There was a profound silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. This may be the silence of peace when no complaints were sent up to the ear of the Lord God. Or the silence of expectation both in heaven and earth, stood silent to see what God was doing. Zech. 2:13; Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord, for He has risen up out of His holy habitation. And elsewhere, Be still, and know that I am God.
The prayers of all the saints
The trumpets were delivered to the angels who were to sound them. Still the angels are employed as the wise and willing instruments. They are furnished with all their materials and instructions from God our Saviour. As the angels of the churches are to sound the trumpet of the gospel. So the angels of heaven are to sound the trumpet of God’s Providence.
To prepare for this, another angel must first offer incense, Rev. 8:3. It is very probable that this other angel is the Lord Jesus, the high priest of the church. He is here described in His sacred office, having a golden censer and much incense. A fulness of merit in His own glorious person. This incense He was to offer up, with the prayers of all the saints, upon the golden altar of His divine nature.
Teaching us to cry ‘Abba, Father’
All the saints are a praying people. A Spirit of grace is always a Spirit of adoption and supplication, teaching us to cry, Abba, Father. Ps. 32:6; For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. Times of danger should be praying times, and so should times of great expectation. Both our fears and our hopes should urge us to prayer. Where the interest of the church is deeply concerned, the hearts of God’s people in prayer should be greatly enlarged.
The prayers of the saints themselves stand in need of the incense and intercession of Christ to make them acceptable and effectual. There is provision made by Christ for that purpose. He has His incense, His censer, and His altar.
The prayers of the saints come up before God in a cloud of incense. No prayer recommended, was ever denied audience or acceptance. These prayers that were accepted in heaven produced great changes upon earth. The same angel that in his censer offered up the prayers of the saints in the same censer took of the fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth. This presently caused strange commotions, voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
He will do great things
These were the answers God gave to the prayers of the saints. But also tokens of His anger against the world. He will do great things to avenge Himself and His people of their enemies and now, all things being prepared, the angels discharge their duty.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer: Father, I come to You. May I be like a true saint – a person of prayer. Thank You for the Spirit of grace which is a Spirit of adoption and supplication. May I cry, Abba, Father. In times of danger let there be praying times, and also in times of great expectation. Let both my fears and hopes urge me to prayer. May the hearts of all God’s people be greatly enlarged in prayer.
Thank You for the intercession of Christ to make my prayers acceptable and effectual. Thank You that Jesus taught us how to pray in Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Let Your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from every evil For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.