Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for September 10th

The Prayers of God's People

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. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God's people, went up before God from the angel's hand. 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.

Rev 8:3-5

Many teachers identify this angel as Jesus himself. In the Old Testament, while Israel is marching through the wilderness, they are led by a great angel called the Angel of Yahweh. Most Bible scholars feel that it was an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ, leading his people through the wilderness. Since Israel is in the forefront in this book of Revelation, it would make sense that the Angel of the Lord appears again in connection with that nation.

The New Testament also teaches us that Jesus is a great High Priest for his people. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is now a High Priest who makes intercession for the saints (Hebrews 3:1). This is clearly what this angel-priest is doing here. He takes fire from the brazen altar, adds to it incense, along with the prayers of the saints, and offers them on the golden altar of incense before God. It is a wonderful portrayal that tells us much about the function of prayer.

Do you ever feel that your prayers are not even heard? According to this, the prayers of saints, especially intercessory prayers, are like fragrance in the nostrils of God. They delight him. He smells in them a remembrance of the character of Jesus, the One who gave himself for others. As these prayers are mingled with the incense provided by the great angel himself, they delight God. But more than that, they move God to action. If burning incense is symbolic of the prayers of saints who are imploring God to act, then returning that fire to earth is a symbol of answered prayer. In other words, we have now come to the time when God will answer the prayers of his people. What is the result? We read that there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. These sights and sounds mark the close of this present age and the opening of God's kingdom upon earth.

There is one prayer that the people of God in all ages have prayed that has never yet been answered. This prayer has been prayed by the saints of God since the dawn of the race. It is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). That prayer has never yet been answered; we have not seen God's kingdom visibly on earth. Invisibly it is present in the church and is seen in the rule of God over the affairs of men, but visibly the prayer has never been answered. But when we come to the end of these three series of judgments, we will find that the prayers of men are at last to be fulfilled.

Father, I long for the day when that great prayer of the saints will be answered, Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Life Application

Do you pray with the confidence that your prayers not only delight God but move him to action?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Angels of Doom

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