Heaven's Glowing Coal
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Heaven's Glowing Coal
(Revelation 8.1-3)
Page 139

"When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them." Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God's people, on the golden altar in front of the throne." (Revelation 8.1-3)


Burning SunThis passage began with an intensely dramatic "silence in heaven" for about half an hour, before the woes that were to follow. This time of suspense must have been a shattering silence for John of Patmos after the trumpets, the singing and earthquakes of the previous minutes. Then followed the first of four trumpet blasts, each of which heralded a catastrophe.

Golden Censer

Glowing CoalsA golden censer which was a container for burning incense was brought by another angel. This censer could have been a floor model in which the incense was burned on the horned top like those used in Jesus' day. Today, we might think of a catholic "thurible" or chain censer designed for swinging. The Romans burned incense on stone incense altars at the entrance of sacred buildings. Burning incense has the connotation of prayer rising to the heavens. The censer is brought to the altar filled with the glowing coals as was used in the Temple worship in Heaven. Incense was an aromatic material which released fragrant smoke when burned. It was poured on glowing coals as a liquid or placed as granules, and the smoke drifted upwards, and as this ascended so did the believers' prayers, it was believed. We noted that the incense is quite separate from the prayers and the one is not representative of the other. The word "incense" came from the Latin "incendere" meaning "to burn." The smoke and the prayers of the saints were spoken of together and one was obviously not representative of the other. "The incense" may have been a reminder of the faithfulness of the Lord God Almighty who alone is worthy to receive worship and prayer.

"Heaven's Glowing Coal"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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