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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 8 - Verse 3

Verse 3. And another angel came. Who this angel was is not mentioned, nor have we any means of determining. Of course, a great variety of opinion has been entertained on the subject (see Poole's Synopsis)— some referring it to angels in general; others to the ministry of the church; others to Constantine; others to Michael; and many others to the Lord Jesus. All that we know is, that it was an angel who thus appeared, and there is nothing inconsistent in the supposition that any one of the angels in heaven may have been appointed to perform what is here represented. The design seems to be, to represent the prayers of the saints as ascending in the anticipation of the approaching series of wonders in the world—and there would be a beautiful propriety in representing them as offered by an angel, feeling a deep interest in the church, and ministering in behalf of the saints.

And stood at the altar. In heaven—represented as a temple, with an altar, and with the usual array of things employed in the worship of God. The altar was the appropriate place for him to stand when about to offer the prayers of the saints—for that is the place where the worshipper stood under the ancient dispensation. Compare See Barnes "Mt 5:23-24"; See Barnes "Lu 1:11".

In the latter place, an angel is represented as appearing to Zacharias "on the right side of the altar of incense."

Having a golden censer. The fire-pan, made for the purpose of carrying fire, on which to burn incense in time of worship. See it described and illustrated in Barnes on "Heb 9:4".

There seems reason to suppose that the incense that was offered in the ancient worship was designed to be emblematic of the prayers of saints, for it was the custom for worshippers to be engaged in prayer at the time the incense was offered by the priest. See Lu 1:10.

And there was given unto him much incense. See Barnes "Lu 1:9".

A large quantity was here given to him, because the occasion was one on which many prayers might be expected to be offered.

That he should offer it with the prayers. Marg., "add it to." Gr., "that he should give it with"—dwsh. The idea is plain, that, when the prayers of the saints ascended, he would also burn the incense, that it might go up at the same moment, and be emblematic of them. Compare See Barnes "Re 5:8".

 

Of all saints. Of all who are holy; of all who are the children of God. The idea seems to be, that, at this time, all the saints would unite in calling on God, and in deprecating his wrath. As the events which were about to occur were a matter of common interest to the people of God, it was to be supposed that they would unite in common supplication.

Upon the golden altar. The altar of incense. This in the tabernacle and in the temple was overlaid with gold.

Which was before the throne. This is represented as a temple-service, and the altar of incense is, with propriety, placed before his seat or throne, as it was in the tabernacle and temple. In the temple, God is represented as occupying the mercy-seat in the holy of holies, and the altar of incense is in the holy place before that. See the description of the temple in See Barnes "Mt 21:12".

 

{1} "offer" "add it to" {c} "prayers" Re 5:8 {d} "golden altar" Re 6:9

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