Rev 8:3 The Prayers of All the Saints 8/7/2005 ßà
#1. Silence in Heaven (Rev 8:1-6)
#2. The Content of the Prayers (Rev 8:3-4, Rom 5:19, 8:26-27, Eph 5:30, 1:4, Rev 6:10, 22:20)
Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 13:8 (2X).
We have seen in chapter 6 that the Lord Jesus opened the sixth seal,
which showed us a vision of earthly upheavals just before the return of the
Lord Jesus Christ as the Judge of all the earth. Then, in chapter 7, God showed
us two visions. Stepping back in time God showed us one vision of the saints on
the earth as represented by the 144,000 servants of God on this earth. And
stepping forward in time God showed us the second vision of the great
multitude, which no man could number, representing all the saints when they
have arrived in the new creation. Simultaneously we also realize that these two
visions were an interlude. And so, when we look at chapter 8, we see
that this actually is a continuation of chapter 6. We must connect the 8th
chapter to the last part of chapter 6. Christ is about to come at the opening
of the 7th seal. But the 7th seal will be magnified by
the blowing of the 7 trumpets. And the 7th trumpet will be magnified
by the outpouring of the 7 vials of the wrath of God. And then shall Christ
appear, and the end of time will be upon us. All the events that will be thrust
upon us at the opening of the 7 seals, and the blowing of the 7 trumpets, and
the pouring of the 7 vials, are events that are let loose by the Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the 2nd Person of the Triune Godhead
who lowered Himself to be the Kinsman Redeemer, but who will now come as the
most righteous Judge of all the earth. And it all started with the Lamb taking
the Book out of the hand of Him that sitteth upon the throne and opening the
seals thereof. These events are not prophecies. This Book was not the Bible.
This was not a copy of a Book containing prophecies. This was a Book that
symbolically was the decree of God for all creation. This decree was
written by God before the foundation of the world, and no one had yet opened
it. Only Christ was privileged to open that Book, because we read in Rev
13:8 that He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”
(2X). He earned that privilege from all that He willingly endured. And so, it
was Christ who let the first horseman loose, who represents the progress
#1. Silence in Heaven (Rev 8:1-6)
Re 8:1 ¶ And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Re 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Re 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and 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.
Re 8:5 And 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.
Re 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
This passage speaks of the opening of the 7th seal. It calls us to heaven to see what takes place there. There we find an altar, and trumpets given to angels, and incense, and smoke, and a golden censer, and fire. And when the fire is thrown upon the earth it produces voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and an earthquake. These are all things that belong to this universe. Except for the angels, these are all things that are made from the same 92 elements that this universe is made of. Based on the spectrum of the light that comes to our eyes from the stars in our galaxy, as well as from far away galaxies, all the material in the universe that we can see is made of the same 92 atoms that we have learned to know on this earth. But in the life after this we are not going to have glorified bodies made from this earthly material, because we know from the Bible that the earthly laws of physics are not going to be applicable in the new creation. Presently heaven is a spiritual realm, and thus there are no physical entities in heaven such as an altar, or a golden censer. There will be no literal gold in heaven, because gold belongs in this universe. And thus it needs no further proof that this passage is entirely symbolic in character. But what is the focus of this passage. The central theme of this passage is “The Prayers of All the Saints”, as we find it in verse 3. Therefore the title of this sermon is “The Prayers of All the Saints” (2X), and God emphasizes that it is of All the saints. Let us start at the beginning of this passage. There was silence in heaven for about half an hour. What could this mean? We do not have to speculate about it, because we must let the context determine what is meant by this silence in heaven of about half an hour. John saw that there are seven angels standing before the throne of God and they received seven trumpets. But they do not blow these trumpets immediately. They reverently keep silence until something else has been finished. Then another angel comes and approaches the golden altar which stands before the throne of God. He carries a golden censer in his hand, but as yet the golden censer is empty. Then he receives much incense in that censer, and he is commissioned to add the incense to the prayers of all the saints. And then kindling the incense with the fire from the altar he causes the smoke of the incense with the prayers of all the saints to ascend to Him who sitteth upon the throne. He that sitteth upon the throne is pleased with this display of worship in spirit and in truth. After having done that the angel, having caused the perfume of the incense to rise to Him who sitteth upon the throne, uses the same censer to take fire from the same altar and casts it upon the earth, as if this is God’s answer to the prayers of all the saints. And that answer of God is clothed in voices and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake, while at the same time the seven angels prepare themselves to blow their trumpets. This is the scene that is portrayed here in this passage of verses 1-6. And thus, what can we conclude regarding the prayers of All the saints? We can conclude that the half hour of silence in heaven stands in immediate connection to the prayers of All the saints. It simply means that this is the silence of reverence for the prayers of the saints. It is the hour of prayer in heaven. It is a solemn occasion for these are the prayers of the adopted sons of God. And then we see
Rev 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
These angel stand by reverently while the prayers of the saints are being
offered, and they wait with executing their commission until the prayers of All
the saints have been offered. These angels are described as the seven angels
that stand before God. They are not angels who now came before God, but they are the seven angels who always
stand before the throne of God. This is not uncommon for we read in Luke
1:19, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to
speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings”. And thus we see that
Gabriel is one of those angels that always stand in the presence of God. Moreover,
they are seven in number, which shows that they have to do with the Covenant of
Grace, and with the
1Co 15:51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
That will be the end of time. When the end of this earth’s existence has come, when the cup of His indignation is full, God will gather the remainder of His saints by an event that is called the Rapture. The Lord Jesus Christ shall then descend with a shout and with the trumpet of God, to announce His victory loud and clear, and He will come with all His saints to judge those on the earth. We read in:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
And so shall we ever be with the Lord. No more standing before the
judgment throne, and no more fear that some of our sins shall be found out. All
sins have been paid and all have been forgiven. And therefore, when we think of
the sounding of the trumpet, in general it is an activity in the
#2. The Content of the Prayers (Rev 8:3-4, Rom 5:19, 8:26-27, Eph 5:30, 1:4, Rev 6:10, 22:20)
Rev 8:3-4, And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and 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.
Who are these saints? Saints are converted sinners. Saints are all
those who have been “Born Again”, and they may be in heaven or they may be on
earth. When the people of God on earth die, their body goes into the grave, but
their soul immediately goes to live and reign with Christ in heaven. All the
people of God are called saints, because they are members of the Body of
Christ. We are of Christ, and we are in
Him. First of all in a legal sense of the word we are in Him as He is our spiritual
Head. God says in Rom 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”.
Adam was our representative in the flesh. And therefore Adam’s sin brought
condemnation to all men. But for those who have become saved, Christ is our
representative in the Spirit. Christ’s obedience all the way to the death on
the cross, brought spiritual life to all those whose sins were laden on Christ,
because we were in Him. All
our sins have been forgiven since these were the sins that Christ paid on the
cross. And thus we are saints in the most perfect sense of the word. If God has
forgiven us our sins, who can lay anything to our charge? Secondly we
are in Christ in the organic
sense of the word, which means we are ingrafted into Him. We are living members
of His body. God says in Eph 5:30, “For we are members of his body,
of his flesh, and of his bones”. The life that is in Him is also in us.
There is one body, with one Head, and with one and the same Spirit of life.
That one body is the body of the eternal church that is made up of all those
who truly have been saved. All believers are members of that body. All that are
regenerated by the Spirit of God, which are the same as all whose sins have
been atoned for at the cross, are members of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of that body Christ is the head, and the Spirit given to Him is the life of
that body. That Spirit dwells in Christ as the Head, and in the saints as
members of His body. That Spirit causes faith, hope and love to appear in the
life of the saints, and causes all their life to be one in Christ. By that
Spirit of Christ we are controlled. By that Spirit of Christ we are also sanctified
and walk in newness of life. And thus when we speak of the saints we speak of
those who are legally in Christ and who are organically in
Christ. Thirdly, from Eph 1:4 we understand that it has pleased
God to place us in Christ before the foundation of the world. We read in Eph
1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”. This
decree of God is not based on foreseen faith, for a dead man cannot have faith,
but it is entirely based on the good pleasure of God’s will. These then are the
saints. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom
8:26 (2X). And what would then be the content of the prayers of these
saints? Not every prayer of the saints is going to be granted as it is
requested. You see, here upon earth most of our prayers are very imperfect. We
do not always pray as members of Christ’s body. Our requests are often sinful.
But those are not the prayers that are to be considered here in Rev 8:3-4. The
prayers that are in focus here in this passage are prayers which are surely
heard. God says in Rom 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our
infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”.
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the
Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will
of God”. Since we do not pray, or cannot pray, as we ought to, the Spirit
of Christ who dwells within us prays for us with groanings that cannot be
uttered. That Spirit also knows the deepest longings of all the members of the
Body of Christ. And it is of these prayers of the saints, as they rise from our
hearts, controlled by the Spirit of Christ who is in us, that the text here in
Rev 8 speaks of. And thus it is no great mystery what the saints pray for. What
is our highest purpose? It is the perfect fellowship with the God of our
salvation, the God who has shown Himself to us as the Sovereign Lord of heaven
and earth, and it is our greatest desire that He may be glorified in all that
we do and in all that comes to pass on this earth. And since this God of the
Bible cannot be glorified unless the
Rev 8:4, And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
In other words, the angel offers the prayers of the saints in such
a way that it is well pleasing and acceptable to Him who sitteth upon the
throne. Many questions are often raised about, Who is this that offers the
prayers of All the saints unto God? Is this an angel or is it Christ? What
altar is this? Is it the altar of incense or is it the altar of burnt offering?
Actually, all these detailed explanations are not necessary. The main idea
is that prayers are upon the altar before God, and that incense is added to the
prayers, thus symbolizing that the prayers now rise to God Almighty. The angel
is probably not Christ, since he receives the incense; it is given to him. The
main theme is this: In heaven the prayers of the saints are made acceptable
unto God, so that they rise before Him and are well pleasing in His sight, even
as the vapor of the incense is sweet and well pleasing in His nose. This is
the symbolism. What is the reality corresponding to this symbolism? Keep
in mind that the Lamb has received the Book with the seven seals. This Book
represents the decree of God Almighty as a living force, completing the Kingdom
which He has given to Christ. Therefore, as Christ opens seal after seal, He
thereby completes and perfects the Kingdom of heaven. All these seals became
forces, living forces in the history of the world which would ultimately
lead to the perfecting of the
Are these prayers answered? They certainly are! The answer is given in Rev 8:5,
Rev 8:5 And 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.
The central idea is this: The saints who are praying for the
For example, if
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall
be comforted in
Isa 66:15-16 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
We should not fear when the Lord comes with great calamities, for “the hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants”. His fire is directed at all the unsaved in this world. But if you should feel that your prayers are not answered, then you know that there is something wrong with your spiritual life. The prayers of all the saints are certainly answered. Bring your prayers therefore in harmony with the revealed will of God. And let your prayers be in the true sense of the word: “Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.