THIS IS NOT A BIBLE STUDY IN THE “ESCHATOLOGY” OF THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS!
ESCHATOLOGY, if you need a reminder or you just don’t know, is defined by Dictionary.com as,
“Any system of doctrines concerning last or final matters,
as death, then judgement, the future state.”
‘I was on the island of Patmos due to persecution’ writes John ‘but I was in the Spirit’ ~ Revelation 1:10.
In the Greek language, Egenomen en pneumatio’, literally translated– ‘I came in the Spirit’, not… “I was sitting in Church one morning, when I suddenly found myself in the Spirit–but ‘I came to be in the Spirit. I actively pressed in.’
How did John press in? He prayed!
The Book Of Revelation is a Mixture of Vision and Prayer.
I have been reading in the mornings of late in the Book of revelation. I came to Chapter 8 this morning and read intently on John’s vision of The Seven Trumpet Judgments. Eschatology has always been interesting to me in the past, thus, I have several notations written in my Bible’s margins including Scripture references [I write a lot in my Bible as reminders later].
But this time reading through the chapter, I kept returning to Revelation 8:1-3. That was my clue from Holy Spirit to concentrate my detective work, not on the corresponding judgements to be revealed but on the SILENCE before–for about a half an hour.
Why is there SILENCE, and for half of an hour?
The entire Book of Revelation is a mixture of vision and prayer. John deals with this issue with power, picturesque and in a practical way. He reminded his persecuted people to PRAY.
WHEN HE [the Lamb] broke open the seventh seal,
there was silence for about half an hour in heaven.” ~ Revelation 8:1 ~
In The Early Church…
When the early church prayed, they actually believed that God was listening. And when Jesus had opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Reading Commentator after Commentator…
In reading various commentaries regarding Revelation 8:1, many will tell you the “silence in Heaven” is a mystery! BUT in my detective investigation of God’s Word, I find that the text indicates, as the prayers of the saints rise before Him–it’s like God saying ‘HUSH’ ; to the creatures who cry Holy, Holy, Holy He says ‘HUSH’; to the twenty-four elders who praise Him continually, He says ‘HUSH’; to the thousands of angels who serve Him perpetually, He says, ‘HUSH’–rendering heaven completely silent.
It’s as though God is saying, “At this moment in time, nothing else has My attention but the PRAYERS being offered to Me. I don’t want to miss a single word.” Does that thought sound a little too dramatic for your liking?
A Cacophony of Noise that Surrounds Us.
Because of the harsh sounds in our everyday world, we don’t hear each other very well. We talk a lot but we don’t listen effectively; we converse, but we don’t understand. There is one exception on which I can give a personal testimony when my wife and I were dating 48 years ago.
Uncle Susie’s was a 24/7 restaurant in San Diego, California back in the 60’s. When Dianne and I were dating, after a movie would drop by the family friendly restaurant for a late night treat. Looking back on those times and events now, I wonder how two people can sit in a crowded, noisy restaurant and converse as though there’s no one else around. I recognize today, it was because that the ‘two people’ were totally in love!
Like A ‘Laser Light’.
That’s the idea here in Revelation 8, verse one: ‘I’m passionately in love with the child speaking to Me,’ says God, ‘I don’t want to miss a word he’s/she’s saying.’ So like a laser light, fixing His full attention on the person’s offering, the simplest of prayers, God listens.
PRAYERS MIXED WITH INCENSE (Revelation 8:3):
“And another angel came and stood over the altar. He had a golden censer, and he was given very much incense (fragrant spices and gums which exhale perfume when burned), that he might mingle (mix) it with the prayers of all the people of God (the saints) upon the golden altar before the throne.” ~ Amplified Bible.
The PRAYER which causes silence throughout all of heaven… is mixed with much incense.
Throughout Scripture, INCENSE speaks of intercession. Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, lives to make intercession on our behalf. In other words, the incense of Jesus’ intercession for the saints sweetens our prayers.
My prayers can ‘stink’.
My prayers can stink because they’re tainted, contaminated by my flesh. If I ask for something in prayer that I think is good, but Jesus knowing my heart knows my request would have disastrous results says, ‘Father, this is how Mel is praying, but what he really means is …’ Knowing our heart, Jesus perfumes our sometimes clumsy prayers through His intercessory ministry.
“Interesting Study,” you might be thinking at this point.
You might be saying right now, “But I’ve been SAVED for a while now. Oh, I’m not saying God doesn’t listen to prayer generally–just that He doesn’t hear MY prayers specifically.”
–‘My marriage was on the rocks,’ or…
–‘My wife had cancer,’ or…
–‘My business was going bankrupt, so I prayed and prayed and prayed–and nothing happened!’
–‘What you’ve said up to now might be fine theoretically, but it doesn’t play that way for me!’
If you feel that way, you’re not alone. Turn to the Gospel of Luke:
“In the days when Herod was king of Judea there was certain priest whose name was Zachariah, of the daily service (the division) of Abia; and his wife was also a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they both were righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, for Elizabeth was barren; and both were far advanced in age” (Luke 1:5-7 AMP).
Because barrenness was considered a curse, Zachariah and Elizabeth were considered sinful in the eyes of the community. Although God deemed them “righteous”, others believed there was a defect in their ‘religiosity’. This being the case, perhaps the married couple lived out their lives brokenhearted, wondering what was wrong.
‘But there’s more! LUKE 1:11-13:
“And there appeared to him (Zachariah) an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear took possession of him. But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable].” (AMP)
‘What a prayer?’
Zachariah must have asked at this point. ‘Prayer for a son? I stopped praying for a son thirty years ago!’
Do you understand the implication?
This verse tells us God remembers even the prayers we forget. ‘Give us a son’ they both prayed. They heard nothing day after week, after month after year. All because God wanted to give them more than just a son.
His plan was to give them the Herald for His own Son (Matthew 11:11).
GOD’S ‘TO DO’ BOX!
As I was studying and meditating on God’s Word for this particular blog, I slowly began to understand that my prayers, my petitions remain in the Lord’s ‘To Do’ box. Even though I may have given up hope on God’s answer years ago.
Mixed with Sweet Incense.
Along with prayers mingled with perfumed incensed of Jesus’ interceding on our behalf; they simmer on the altar until God answers them, in a way we would have dared to dream (Ephesians 3:20).
God doesn’t PROCRASTINATE.
Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘I’ve got to stop procrastinating and I will begin the next week in the effort. I promise!’
God doesn’t procrastinate when we offer up our prayers to Him. The delay in answered prayer isn’t forgetfulness on our Father’s part but to His desire to exceed even in our wildest imagination. As David says in the Psalms, “SELAH” [pause, and calmly think of that]!~ Psalm 4:1.
‘Shhh,’ says God.
‘My child is praying!’ And at the right time–maybe today, maybe next week, maybe ten years down the road, maybe a half a century later–the answer will rock our world!