Sunday, July 3, 2016
Trumpet Warnings Series #4 – Part 114 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
As we continue our study defining the symbolism of the seven trumpets in Revelation chapter 8, we must first define the symbolism for incense and smoke in verses 3 & 4…then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar…he was given incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne…and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
What does incense symbolize? In the days of the Israelites, incense was used as a purifying agent after a blood sacrifice for sin was offered to the Lord. Incense is sweet smelling, providing a favorable aroma to destroy the stench of death. This natural act explains the symbolism in our text, where we see the angel mingling incense with the prayers of the saints before they ascend to God.
The prayers of the saints are beseeching God to avenge the blood they have shed on the earth – martyr’s death – for the cause of Christ. Symbolically, we see the angel purifying the prayers of the saints- sacrifice of death – providing a sweet smelling fragrance as they ascend to God. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…Ps. 116:15.
The smoke – vapors – of the sweet smelling incense is a conveyance, with the assistance of the angel, enabling the prayers to encircle the throne of God. God hears the prayers of the repentant, those who seek His love and justice. Remember, after the Shulamite woman rose up to seek her beloved Solomon, she said when she saw him…who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense?…SS 3:6. The smoke (vapors) filled with perfumed incense (purification) brought her to her beloved. God is the beloved in whom we seek.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth…and there were noises, thundering, lightnings, and an earthquake…Rev. 8:5. A censer is used to burn sweet smelling incense, so why would the angel now fill it with fire and throw it down upon the earth?
God hears the prayers of His saints seeking His love and justice, provoking His wrath upon the earth to avenge the shedding of innocent blood. Fire in Heaven symbolizes His glory – glory symbolizes His presence. No sin can stand in the presence of God without burning up. When the fire – glory – is thrown to the earth, it symbolizes that His presence is revealed in His wrath upon the idolaters of the earth – those who murdered His saints who had witnessed the way of salvation to them. God’s wrath is revealed through the Trumpet Warnings.
The verse also says…and there were noises, thundering, lightnings, and an earthquake – what does this symbolize? This means there was a great uproar – rejoicing – in Heaven. Lightning symbolizes the splashing of colorful rays of light throughout the spiritual realm. Noises and thunder symbolize the tumultuous sounds exhibited by the exuberant rejoicing from the angels, and the redeemed human beings, causing a massive quaking and shaking. Earthquake symbolizes societal upheaval on the earth. Why was all of this exuberant rejoicing taking place?
The firstfruits of salvation who had finally arrived in Heaven, along with the angelic army of God who had participated in this event, are ecstatic that judgment was finally coming to the immoral idolaters of the earth – Egypt & Sodom – revealing that the time of the end of the ages was in sight. The angels had waited so long to see Jesus accomplish His work on the earth – the redemption of mankind – and the end of evil when Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire.
The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound…verse 6. What happens next? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question~~~