Revelation 8:4 MEANING

Revelation 8:4
(4) And the smoke of . . .--Better, And there went up the smoke of the incense for (or to, i.e., designed for, and to give fragrance to) the prayers of the saints, out of the hand of the angel, before God. The emblem of the rising column of smoke, in which incense and prayer now mingled, is the token that the prayers of the saints, now rendered acceptable, and no longer premature, are about to be answered. These prayers of God's people, weak and imperfect as they are, are yet invincible weapons in the hands of Christ's soldiers, and will be found mightier than any carnal weapons. As Jericho fell without Israel needing to strike a blow, so now the Israel of God will be seen to be omnipotent through true and faithful prayer. The charter of the Church's power is in the words of Christ: "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). The judgments that follow are not indeed specifically prayed for by the Church of Christ, but they are the results of their prayers, and prove the might of all prayer.

Verse 4. - And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand; and the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints went up, etc. (Revised Version). The prayers, accompanied by the incense, and typically purified by it, are received by God. He hears the prayers; and the judgments against the wicked, which follow in the trumpet visions, constitute the answer to them. This makes more probable the view that the following visions are judgments against the world, and not (like the seals) trials to the Church.

8:1-6 The seventh seal is opened. There was profound silence in heaven for a space; all was quiet in the church, for whenever the church on earth cries through oppression, that cry reaches up to heaven; or it is a silence of expectation. Trumpets were given to the angels, who were to sound them. The Lord Jesus is the High Priest of the church, having a golden censer, and much incense, fulness of merit in his own glorious person. Would that men studied to know the fulness that is in Christ, and endeavoured to be acquainted with his excellency. Would that they were truly persuaded that Christ has such an office as that of Intercessor, which he now performs with deep sympathy. No prayers, thus recommended, was ever denied hearing and acceptance. These prayers, thus accepted in heaven, produced great changes upon earth. The Christian worship and religion, pure and heavenly in its origin and nature, when sent down to earth and conflicting with the passions and worldly projects of sinful men, produced remarkable tumults, here set forth in prophetical language, as our Lord himself declared, Lu 12:49.And the smoke of the incense,.... For the incense being put, as it was used to be, upon burning coals of fire, caused a smoke to arise like a cloud, Leviticus 16:13; so that the whole house, or temple, was filled with it (d):

which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God out of the angel's hand; alluding to the incense the priest took in his hand, and cast upon the burning coals; and shows how that by the smoke of the incense, or the virtue of Christ's mediation, the imperfections of the prayers of the saints are covered; and how they are it perfumed and made acceptable to God; and so are said to ascend up before him, and to be regarded by him, as the prayers of Cornelius were, Acts 10:4; now all this is expressive of the wonderful affection of Christ for his church and people, and care of them; that before the angels sound their trumpets, and bring on wars and desolations into the empire, Christ is represented as interceding for them, and presenting their prayers both for deliverance for themselves, and vengeance on their enemies.

(d) Misn. Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1.

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