Revelation Censer Angel
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37. Revelation Censer Angel
Revelation 8.5-9

"Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth burned up, a third of the trees burned up, and all the green grass burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the sea's living creatures died, and a third of the ships destroyed." (Revelation 8.5-9)✞

Altar Coals

Angels RepresentationAngels are spiritual beings from before the Universe's Creation who act as messengers, ministers, and guardians to Almighty God. This Revelation angel takes the censer, which was an incense burner for burning solid incense. The angel filled the censer with coals from the altar and dashed it on the ground. The Jerusalem Temple's altar is described in Leviticus 6.12-13, "The altar fire must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fellowship offerings' fat. The altar fire must be kept burning continuously; it must not go out." "Three separate wood piles are on top of it. The largest of these burns all the sacrifice portions. The second fire provides the incense altar coals within the sanctuary. The third is the "perpetual fire," which constantly burns on the altar." The incense altar does not receive any sacrifice, and they take no coals from it. The incense altar exists solely to fulfill the commandment that there be a permanent fire burning in the Temple. The Persians called it "Orismada" or continual holy fire, and in public ceremonies, they would carry it solemnly before kings. There is no commandment regarding the wood type used on the altar except that the Rabbis forbade olive wood and grapevine wood, as these do not burn well and need to be conserved because of their commercial value.

Peals of Thunder

Lightning BoltsThe fire casting on the earth introduces the "peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake," which are the curtain-raiser to more terrors. This word picture is similar to the Ezekiel 10.2 vision, "The Lord said to the linen clothed man, 'Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.' As I watched, he went in." In Revelation, a linen clothed man, who may have been the same censor angel, takes coals from between the cherubim or winged angelic beings and scatters them over the city. Fire and burning coals are associated with the Isaiah 6.6 vision, "Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar." The prophet's lips are touched with the fire's burning ember so that he might speak for God.

Angels Presence

Angel Wood CarvingThe Revelation censer angel brings coals to represent new woes. "The saints' prayers return to the earth in wrath," writes the Biblical scholar H. B. Swete (1835-1917). John of Patmos' idea is that the saints cry out to this angel for vengeance upon those who have tortured and killed them. "The seven angels" are known as "the presence angels" and are sometimes thought to be the seven archangels' names, the senior angels. According to Enoch and Tobit 12.15, the seven archangels' traditional names are "Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel and Remiel." Apart from their traditional names, we know little about them except for Gabriel and Michael's appearance in the New Testament. There are seven, a symbolically complete number, mentioned in these old texts. These"presence angels" enjoy the unique honor of being close to God himself. In an Asian court, only the most favored courtiers have the right to remain in the king's presence. To be a courtier was a special honor. To be in the king's presence mean exclusive rewards and immediate readiness for the king to dispatch you on an errand or service elsewhere. We, too, should aspire to be "presence angels" on earth, ready to go without a moment's hesitation at our Lord's command!

Angel Trumpet Blasts

TrumpetsThunder, lightning, and earthquakes accompany the Revelation's angel's seventh trumpet blasts. Great things are about to happen in heaven. In Old Testament and the New Testament visions, seven angel trumpets blown one at a time are signs of God's intervention in history. The trumpets are in Greek "salpingosor" or "salpinx," a straight, narrow bronze tube with a mouthpiece and a bell. They do not resemble modern trumpets. The player produces the horn's buzzing sound by blowing air through partly closed lips. The "Angel trumpet blast" was like a smoke alarm that awakens us from sleep or warns us of danger. "God's trumpet" will sound when Christ returns. 1 Thessalonians 4.16 tells us, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the archangel's voice and the God's trumpet call, and the dead in Christ will rise first." In Matthew 24.31, we also read, "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." God finally gathers in the elect. These trumpet' images remind us of Mount Sinai's scene when Moses gives God's Law to the people. We read in Exodus 19.16, "On the third day's morning there was thunder and lightning, with a thick mountain cloud over, and a loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled." The law is given to Moses and then to the people accompanied by a great trumpet blast peal of thunder, lightning, and a thick mountain cloud.

Day of the Lord

AngelsThe angel trumpets may have been like Moses' silver trumpets in Numbers 10.2, "Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out." The ancient Hebrews' traditional sacred horns are "shofars" made out of a ram's horn. Trumpets also became a permanent part of the "Day of the Lord" apparatus. On that day, the great trumpet will summon back exiles from every land. As we read in Isaiah 27.13, "and on that day, a great trumpet will sound. Those perishing in Assyria and those exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on Jerusalem's holy mountain." Seven trumpets sound on the Day of the Lord in Zion, and the holy mountain's alarm. Joel 2.1 gives us the last days' picture in these Old Testament visions, "Blow Zion's trumpet; sound my holy hill alarm. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Lord's day is coming. It is close at hand." Saint Paul also speaks about the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52 "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in an eye's twinkling, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will rise imperishable, and we will be changed."

Coming Judgements

SeaIn Revelation, each of the first and second angels' trumpet blast alarms sounds out upon the earth as coming judgment signals. The trumpet sound always denotes military strength. It is, therefore, an instrument to signal directions in battle, to advance or retreat. God still sounds his warnings to human ears. It may be like the trumpet fanfare, which announces the royalty's arrival. An angel trumpet blast is a fitting symbol to express the King of Eternity's coming. In Revelation 8, all kinds of devastations take place and destroy a third of ships. A trumpet blast alarm could also be a battle summons. God is always summoning us to take truth's side and become the King of Kings' soldiers. "The trumpet" marks God's active involvement in punishing the world's evil. Trumpets produce repentance and faith. Here, we have a picture of nature's elemental forces hurled in judgment against the world.

Earth, Sea, and Rivers

Trumpet BlastSeven trumpets sound, one at a time, to cue apocalyptic events seen by John of Patmos in his vision of Christ Jesus. John of Patmos describes the detailed events that follow. At each angel trumpet blast, an attack happens in a different part of the world. The following destruction is not total, for this is only the prelude to the end. The destruction blast falls on the earth, then the sea, then the freshwater rivers and springs, and later the heavens. Every part of the created universe feels destruction's tide.✞

Blood Rain

Online BibleThe first angel pours out blood rain of hail and fire mixed with blood on the earth. Similar well-documented occurrences have happened elsewhere. As we so often see, John of Patmos' visions are understood by him in the light of his own life experiences. John may recall the blood rain from actual events he had seen or heard about in that part of the ancient Near Eastern world. Blood rain describes "hail and fire mixed with blood." More than once, some Southern Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, or Morocco have reported it. More recently, in 2014, a mild red blood rain descended like a thick smog engulfing parts of England, notably Liverpool. Many people suffered from breathing problems as a result.

Red Sahara Sand

DesertThere is also a record of blood-red rain in Italy in 1901. The reports say that "fine red sand was blown from the Sahara Desert caught up into the upper air, then when the rain came, the fine red sand particles descended with the rain and looked just like blood." These high air currents carry sand from the Sahara across Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, and even Canada and the United States. The additional elements of hail and fire mixed with blood appear to be part of Revelation's supernatural origin which we have no immediate explanation.

Plagues Egypt

Ten Plagues of EgyptOnly once before, during Egypt's ten plagues in the seventh hail plague, do we encounter a similar calamity caused by frozen rain. Exodus 9.23-26 tells the story, "When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on Egypt's land, hail fell, and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt, the hail struck everything in the fields - both people and animals. It beat down everything growing and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was Goshen's land, where the Israelites were."

"Revelation Censer Angel"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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