Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Scripture Speaks

When the Lamb broke 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 came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Revelation 8:1-5 (New American Standard)

If you are reading through the Bible in one year, you might possibly be reading the above verses today (I did). Two things strike me as I read them. First, silence in Heaven permeated everything for "about half an hour". If you read the verses before these (Revelation 7:10-11), you'll see that those who had been martyred for Christ (the Lamb) were shouting in a loud voice, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." These are a great number, too many to count, from every nation, tribe, and tongue (multi-racial - Hallelujah!)

The angels then responded (audibly), "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”And the angels were falling on their faces before the throne as they said this.

When the seventh seal was broken, however, everything became completely silent. Could it be that, perhaps, what was to come was so dreadful that it caused Heaven to stop everything to contemplate all that was to happen? If you continue in chapter 8, you will see that the coming wrath is indeed horrific.

The second thing I notice in today's passage is this: The golden censer is filled with much incense (sweet smelling perfume). The angel holding the censer added the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne. The incense, combined with the prayers, went up before God.

Again, if you go back to Revelation 6:9-10, you will read what those prayers are. They are that of those who were killed for their testimony of Christ. When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

I pray that this Christmas season we keep in mind that Jesus is more than a little baby born in a manger. He is the Lamb of God who alone is worthy to take creation back from Satan (who has had control of this world since the first sin was committed). Praise and Glory to the Lamb!

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