Heaven's Glowing Coals
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Heaven's Glowing Coals (Revelation 8.1-3)

"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)✞

Silence in Heaven

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

Golden Censer

Glowing CoalsA golden censer which was a container for burning incense was brought by another angel. These could be like a catholic "thurible" or chain censer designed for swinging or also a floor model in which the incense is burned on the top as was most likely used in Jesus' day. Burning incense has the connotation of the prayers 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 is an aromatic material which releases fragrant smoke when burned. It was poured on glowing coals, and the smoke drifted upwards, and as this ascended so did the believers' prayers. The word "incense" comes from the Latin "incendere" meaning "to burn." The smoke and the prayers of the saints are spoken of together and one is obviously not representative of the other. "The incense" may be a symbolic reference to the deity who is alone worthy to receive worship and the prayers as a reminder of the faithfulness of the multitude.✞

"Heaven's Glowing Coals"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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