Revelation 8:1-13 Part 2


1)    And when He loosed the seventh seal, silence was in the heaven for half an hour.

2)    Then I did see seven messengers which had stood before God; and seven trumpets were given to them.

3)    Then another Messenger did come, and He was poised before the altar having the golden censer.  And much incense was given to Him in order that He would present the prayers of all the holy ones before the golden altar in front of the throne.

4)    And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the holy ones arose before God out of the hand of the Messenger.

5)    Then the Messenger took the censer and filled it from the fire of the altar of whole burnt offering and poured into the land.  And there were thunders and sounds and lightnings and shaking.

6)    And the seven messengers having the seven trumpets prepared themselves that they might trumpet.

7)    And the first trumpeted.  And hail was, and fire having been mixed in blood and poured into the earth, and the third of the land burned up, and the third of the trees burned up, and all tender herbage burned up.

8)    Then the second messenger trumpeted.  As it were a great mountain was cast burning into the sea, and the third of the sea was blood,

9)    and the third of the creatures having life in the sea died, and the third of the vessels were utterly destroyed.

10) Then the third messenger trumpeted.  And a great star fell out of the heaven as a torch being burned and fell on the third of the rivers and on the fountains of water,

11) and the name of the star is called ‘the wormwood’, and the third of the waters was made into wormwood, and many men did die from the waters for they had been rendered bitter.

12) Then the fourth messenger trumpeted.  And the third of the sun was stricken, and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars so that the third of them would be darkened; and the third of the day would not be brought to light, nor the night.

13) Then I saw and heard one eagle winging its way in mid-heaven exclaiming in a powerful voice, ‘ouai’, ‘ouai’, ‘ouai those living on the land, from the remaining soundings of the trumpets from the three messengers about to trumpet!’


The Lamb of God has loosed the seventh, and last, seal of the scroll that had been sealed until the end.  And there is immediately a created silence for a half time, filling up the prophecy revealed to Daniel.

 And then as John watches and hears all that God has decreed in the heaven, he sees seven angelic messengers as they are each given trumpets.  Last week we were made aware of the fact that those trumpets are the very voice of God as He speaks His decree concerning the end.  And these seven messengers are about to “sound” His voice.  As with Jericho, so with Jerusalem.

Then, immediately after the messengers are given the seven trumpets, another Messenger is seen poised before the golden altar that has the “censer” on it.  And this is where it gets even more interesting than it already is, because there are two different Greek words translated “another” in English.

Now, you know how I dislike examples and illustrations of theological issues, and how the Scripture is already the Revelation of God in His Own language, and that illustrations and examples serve to dilute the Revelation and reduce it to the lowest common denominator, and having diluted it and reduced it, it then bears little resemblance to what God said.  And therefore the effort to make things clearer only serves to separate the hearer from the Word!  You see, Holy Spirit enlightens through the Word, and not through man’s efforts to simplify it!  It’s already what God requires man to hear.  And preaching it is what preachers are for, “for how will they hear without a preacher?”  (Paul said that, by the way.)

But I’m going to take the liberty here to give you an illustration – not of a matter of theological or spiritual import, but one having to do with the difference between two Greek words!

So, suppose there was a farmer who had a nice place in the country, with orchards and pastures and cattle and horses.  And in his yard he had a flock of chickens which generally stayed close together for protection.  But there was another that wandered off by itself.  In this illustration the one that wandered off alone is “another”, but it is a chicken.  It is another of the same kind.

Now, let’s change the illustration a bit.  Our farmer has a flock of chickens in his yard, and they generally stay close together for protection.  But there is another in the yard and, as the illustration goes, it is a great big German Shepherd which is trained to protect the chickens from the fox!  It is another in the yard, but it is another of a different kind!

In English the word “another” looks the same, it is spelled the same, and it is pronounced the same.  The context rules how it’s understood.  Not so in Greek.  The Greek words don’t look the same, they aren’t spelled the same, and they don’t sound the same, and they rule the context – not the other way around.

With the English word, the context rules.  With the Greek words, they rule the context!

And in verse three of the text, if you allow the English word “another” to be ruled by the context then, unless you were an astute student of Biblical Theology, you might be led to a false conclusion about what God has revealed here!

The Greek word used here rules this context (along with the Biblical Theology, of course – which we will surely see), because what John sees and writes is of “another” angelic Messenger – one of a different kind!  He is different from the “seven” who have been given the trumpets.

He is not their “kind”; He is “one of a kind”… the only One.

And as I said, the Biblical Theology will confirm that to be the case as we begin verse three with the altar and the golden censer.

Now, before I read certain passages from the older Scripture for you (which I will intersperse with comments), I need to refresh your memories once again regarding the structure of the tabernacle.  We’ve noted before that should the tabernacle complex be turned up on end, then it would better resemble God’s judgment seat/throne room (at the top) over all the heavens and the earth.

So, with that in mind, as John looks on, here in the Revelation, there is One above the firmament, above the Mercy Seat with its cherubim.  And below that “Holy of Holies” there is a golden censer and a lake of fiery coals.  And all the myriads of creatures forming a great glory cloud below, executing all His decree.

Now, as Moses was given all the specific instructions by God at Sinai, God’s newly created “heaven and earth” – Israel, was to look like that!  It was to be a cosmic entity, in and of itself, made in infinite detail to resemble the glory cloud of the Lord of Hosts, with His Holy of Holies above it all!

All of the sacrificial and ceremonial system required of the cloud of Israel’s people around (below) the tabernacle complex was to point the way to access the Presence of God, that access being the ONE covenantally decreed Sacrifice of the Son of God.

The altar of whole burnt offering, inside the complex (but not inside the tabernacle proper) had perpetual fiery coals, never to be extinguished, made to resemble the lake of fiery coals beneath the mercy seat in the heaven.  That fire was lit directly from the fire beneath the throne, and it was the location to which all of Israel brought its whole burnt offerings.  And that fire was never to be extinguished.  It was a perpetual fire (just as that in the heaven, below the judgment seat, is perpetual).

Administering the entire sacrificial system was the Aaronic and (subsequently) Levitical priesthood which received the tithes of the people, for they, as a tribe, would receive no part of the promised land.  The tithe was their promise.

The head of the priestly tribe would enter the Holy Place daily to administer the commands of God; and only once annually in the Holy of Holies (the location of the Ark of the Covenant – the Mercy Seat – the Seat of Judgment).

Inside the Holy Place of the tabernacle God commanded several pieces of furniture to be built, holding items resembling those which appear in the heaven.  And one of those items was the golden censer, placed directly in front of the veil in the tabernacle which separates the Holy Place from Holy of Holies and the Mercy Seat.

I’m going to start reading now from Exodus chapter thirty.  And I’ll make some comments as we go.  So listen carefully to every word:


1)    And you shall make an altar to burn incense upon: of acacia wood you shall make it.

2)    A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be; and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of one piece with it.

3)    And you shall overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and you shall make unto it a crown of gold round about.

4)    And two golden rings you shall make for it under the crown thereof; upon the two ribs thereof, upon the two sides of it you shall make them; and they shall be for places for staves wherewith to bear it.

5)    And you shall make the staves of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

6)    And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the testimony, before the mercy-seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you.

7)    And Aaron shall burn thereon incense of sweet spices.  Every morning, when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn it.

8)    And when Aaron trims the lamps at even, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Yahveh throughout your generations.

9)    You shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-offering, nor meal-offering; and ye shall pour no drink-offering thereon.

10) And Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of it once in the year; with the blood of the sin-offering of atonement once in the year shall he make atonement for it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto Yahveh.


Just a couple of important points here (no full exposition, of course).  There are two altars in the tabernacle, both of which are places of sacrifice.  The outside altar of whole burnt offering is the propitiatory location, where the Christ is foreshadowed in the shedding of blood.  In order to be admitted into the tabernacle proper, there must be shedding of blood at the altar of whole burnt offering.

The altar that is right in front of the veil of the Holy of Holies is the place “most holy” before God, for those for whom the blood is shed offer prayer as a holy sacrifice; and their prayer is a sweet-smelling sacrifice in the nostrils of a holy God. 

The blood from the outside altar of whole burnt offering that was placed on the horns of this altar once a year by the high priest is indicative of the requirement of the shed blood of Christ before ANY prayer is heard at the judgment seat of God.  God will NOT hear any prayer that is disconnected from the blood sacrifice of His Son.  That’s why we pray “in the Name of Jesus”.  Any prayer not “atoned” by the blood of the Christ is an idolatrous prayer; and it is not a sweet-smelling sacrifice in the nostrils of God; and it is not heard.

And the exact mixture of spices and incense required by God to be burned at this “most holy” altar, is a “one and only” compound, used only for this one purpose (we’ll say more about that shortly), and it is a specific application of the first and second Commandments, that only this God is to be worshipped; and that this God will be worshipped.  And He will be worshipped only as He has commanded that He be worshipped.  Therefore even our prayer must be according to His Word.  Anything other than what He requires is “strange fire”.  Anything other is not the perpetual fire from the altar of whole burnt offering; anything other is not by the blood of the Lamb of God; and anything other is not the mixture of spices and incense that He specifically requires to be offered.

Let’s go on reading now in Exodus thirty:


11) And Yahveh spoke unto Moses, saying,

12) When you take the sum of the children of Israel, according to those that are numbered of them, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Yahveh, when you number them; that there be no plague among them, when you number them.

13) This they shall give, every one that passes over unto them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary; (the shekel is twenty gerahs;) half a shekel for an offering to Yahveh.

14) Every one that passes over unto them that are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering of Yahveh.

15) The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of Yahveh, to make atonement for your souls.

16) And you shall take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting; that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before Yahveh, to make atonement for your souls.


I have just one comment about this portion of chapter thirty before we continue.  At the census, every man twenty and above was to pay a memorial “ransom” for the construction and service of the tabernacle in the amount of half a shekel (according to the tabernacle amount of gold).  In this ransom there was a share in the tabernacle of God for every family in Israel.  All the sin of Israel was “atoned” in its share of the tabernacle, and there would be a “plague” in all of Israel should there be those who had no share in God’s holy place.  And in the payment of the half shekel, all of Israel was to be put in remembrance of the fact that the building and service of the tabernacle of God was accomplished with their atonement money.  And of course that “atonement” is foreshadowed at the altar of whole burnt offering and at the altar of incense.

And of course we all know that, at the sacrifice of the Son of God, the atonement money for the temple, previously required of all of Israel, was no longer necessary, for our Lord paid the price – the whole price – the ransom for all of those associated with His new temple; and the old one would then soon be destroyed – having become obsolete.

Let’s continue now in Exodus thirty:


17) And Yahveh spoke unto Moses, saying,

18) You shall also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, whereat to wash. And you shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water therein.

19) And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:

20) when they go into the tabernacle of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they not die; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire unto Yahveh.

21) So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.


Just a few comments here, because this is a particularly interesting piece of the furnishing at the tabernacle complex.  And it has great importance as one proceeds from the altar of whole burnt offering to the altar of incense and access to the Holy of Holies.

Placed between the altar of whole burnt offering and the entrance into the Holy Place wherein lies the altar with the incense censer, there is a specific correspondence between the brass (or brazen) laver and that which is seen in the heaven.

 You remember, back in chapter four and verse six of the Revelation, that John saw, as it were, a “sea of glass”.  And Moses and the elders of Israel (Exodus twenty-four) sacrificed at the foot of Mt. Sinai before Moses went up and entered the glory cloud.  And once in the glory cloud atop Sinai, Moses saw the Throne of Yahveh over the mercy seat and the cherubim.  And underneath was (and this is the way Moses wrote it) “something like a pavement made of sapphire”.

In chapter one of his prophecy, Ezekiel is provided a view of the throne of God inside the glory cloud.  And having seen the awesome creatures in the heaven, he comments about the “fearful crystal expanse” over their heads and under the throne.

Later on, after the temple is built on the dome of the rock, this item of furniture is called “the brazen sea” (1 Kings 7:23).

We’ll come across this laver again later on in the Revelation as John writes about seeing this expanse – the firmament – turn “fiery red”, for he says that the crystal sea is “mixed with blood”.

So the laver here in Exodus thirty corresponds to, and looks like, the expanse of the firmament under which exists the entirety of God’s creation; and Triune God reigns on His throne “above and outside” of all that He has made.  There is (what looks like) a “brazen sea” between His creation and His Holy Place.  He, you see, is not contained in that which He has created.

The sacrifice having been made at the altar of whole burnt offering, Aaron the priest is now able to “pass through” the laver (the firmament – having been washed in it) into the Presence and offer the prayers of the people (the incense in the censer), that altar having the blood of the whole burnt offering on its horns.

And please remember that there is no approach to the Lord of Hosts except in the specific way that He has mandated.

Let’s proceed now in Exodus thirty:


22) Moreover Yahveh spoke unto Moses, saying,

23) Take also unto you the chief spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty,

24) and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil.

25) And you shall make it a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil.

26) And you shall anoint therewith the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony,

27) and the table and all the vessels thereof, and the candlestick and the vessels thereof, and the altar of incense,

28) and the altar of burnt-offering with all the vessels thereof, and the laver and the base thereof.

29) And you shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever touches them shall be holy.

30) And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.

31) And you shall speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.

32) Upon the flesh of man shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any like it, according to the composition thereof: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.

33) Whosoever compounds any like it, or whosoever puts any of it upon a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.

34) And Yahveh said unto Moses, Take unto you sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight;

35) and you shall make of it incense, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy:

36) and you shall beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you: it shall be unto you most holy.

37) And the incense which you shall make, according to the composition thereof you shall not make for yourselves: it shall be unto you holy for Yahveh.

38) Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereof, he shall be cut off from his people.


There were two “compounded” materials required of Israel by God, neither of which was to be compounded or used any other time or for any other reason other than that which He commanded.

The first was the holy anointing compound by which the tabernacle was anointed, and by which Aaron the high priest was anointed.  As you may remember, signifying the baptism of Holy Spirit, the oil of anointing was poured out upon Aaron.  And he was covered in it from his head….  And it poured from his head – all the way to the fringes of his priestly garment.

So the high priest and the tabernacle were covered in the anointing.  And the absolute connection has to be made to the understanding of everyone that our Lord Jesus Christ (the word “Christ”, by the way, means “Anointed One”) Jesus Christ, having been anointed High Priest of His Church, poured out His anointing on the new tabernacle of the Spirit – the Church.  That baptism of the Spirit – the holy anointing of the Spirit – was poured out from the “Head” all over the new tabernacle, His body. And it happened at Pentecost.

The second of the two exclusive compounds that God required Israel to make was that of a mixture of sweet smelling spices and incense.  And anyone who made this compound for any other reason than for burning in the censer on the altar of incense was to be cut off.

Only the high priest, having been anointed in holy oil, and having shed blood at the altar of whole burnt offering, and having passed through the brazen sea, and having placed the blood of the sacrifice on the horns of the altar of incense, (only the high priest) was allowed to offer up the prayers of God’s people before God at the incense altar.

All of these things are “most holy” before God, for they are man-made “replicas” of that which is in the heaven and “correspond” to God’s judgment seat in the glory cloud.  He has required Israel to “duplicate” that which Moses saw in the glory cloud at Sinai – to duplicate the Throne-room/Judgment Seat of Almighty God in His earthly “heaven and earth” – Israel.  And once the tabernacle was completed, God loved it and occupied it… for it was in the likeness of that which is in the heaven.

And, all of these things are “most holy” before God, for they all foreshadow the “greater Moses” – the Prophet, and the “greater Aaron” – the Priest, and the “greater David” – the King.  God loves it because it all foreshadows and prophesies the work of God the Son.

And now the apostle John sees for himself all of that that was foreshadowed in the ceremonial and sacrificial system and the tabernacle.  He’s looking at it all, and he hears what’s going on, and he writes it all down and sends it to the Churches for their comfort and anticipation.

And he has seen the risen and resurrected and ascended and crowned Jesus Christ in His many different kinds of appearances as He accomplishes His work.

He is God the Son; and His work isn’t done.  He has been crucified and He has arisen; but His work isn’t done.  He has been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth; and His work isn’t yet done.  He has received His glory which He had previously; and His work isn’t done.  He has been crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and His work isn’t done.  And He “appears” differently according to His work.

John sees Him in all His glory at Patmos (that’s the appearance of the Ancient of Days, and with the sword proceeding from His mouth). 

Having been taken up into the heaven, John sees Him in His appearance as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the creation, now with seven horns and seven eyes.

John also sees Him as the white-robed rider on the white horse, having the “bow” from over the throne, and having been given a crown, and riding out overcoming and to overcome!

He was also seen as “one like a man” over the seat of judgment; and as a great “stone” – a “rock” to which is attached the entire creation… for without Him nothing was made that was made; and all things consist in Him.

And then John saw Him as He filled up the prophecy of Daniel, as “One As God” stands up for His people and commands the legions of created beings in the heaven to “mark” and “seal” His elect people of Israel so that they not suffer the wrath of the Lamb in the abomination of desolation to come quickly.

That name… “One As God” is the translation of the Name Micha-El – Michael.  Our Lord Jesus Christ appears, as Daniel was told He would, as Archangel Michael as He arises out of Dayspring as the Light of the World to protect and rescue His people.

As He Himself said He would, He came to save the lost sheep of the House of Jacob – Israel.  And that’s exactly what He did. All of His elect people were rescued from Israel before the “end”.

Many were subsequently persecuted and killed by judaizers and Romanists, but they did not suffer the wrath of God upon Israel (Jesus had already done that for them).  And the prayers of these martyrs are heard by John as their blood cries out from under the altar for God to avenge their blood.

And now, in our text (verse three) One arrives… a Messenger of “another kind” arrives at that “most holy” table of incense before the Holy of Holies.

Only the High Priest is allowed before the seat of judgment.  Only the High Priest is anointed with the most holy oil of anointing. Only the High Priest has the special compound in His very hand to burn in the golden censer.

And there’s only One Mediator – One Who has entered one time through the veil into the Holy of Holies in the heaven to make atonement for the sin of His people… only One.  And there’s only One Whose blood is on the horns of the “most holy” altar of incense.

This Messenger of another kind is Jesus the Christ in His continuing appearance as Archangel Micha-El (One as God).  He is continuing to stand up for His people (as Daniel was told He would).  As Commander of the created host of heaven in their behalf, He has preserved them, marked them, sealed them and rescued them.  And now He offers up their prayers as their Mediator before the seat of judgment for the avenging of their blood.  No “created” messenger would ever be allowed to serve at the altar and mediate for mankind.

We’ll take up the remainder of this verse, and beyond, next time.  But what we will see next, in response to the Mediator’s offering before the throne, is the heat of the avenging wrath of Almighty God being poured out as the trumpeters begin sounding His voice.

This is all the filling up of the prophetic Word, as you can readily see.  And our Lord told His disciples about it in the Olivet Discourse, when He said that it would all come upon “this generation”.

And John writes it at the beginning of chapter one of this letter, when He says:


“Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John,

who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.

Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.”


And that’s exactly how this letter ends, doesn’t it?  For John writes what Jesus says: `Yes, I come quickly!'  Then John adds (to close the book): “Amen! Yes, be coming, Lord Jesus!”

Before I quit, I have to read for you from the “lamenting” prophet.  Jeremiah had been shown the “full end” of Israel.  And since God had shown him the decreation of His “heaven and earth” likeness of that which is in the heaven, Jeremiah laments.  Listen to it:


1)    How Yahveh in His anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud!  He has cast down from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel; He has not remembered His footstool in the day of His anger.

2)    The Lord has swallowed up without mercy all the habitations of Jacob; in His wrath He has broken down the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought down to the ground in dishonor the kingdom and its rulers.

3)    He has cut down in fierce anger all the might of Israel; He has withdrawn from them His right hand in the presence of the enemy; He has burned like a flaming fire in Jacob, consuming all around.

4)    He has bent His bow like an enemy, with His right hand set like a foe; and He has killed all who were delightful in our eyes in the tent of the daughter of Zion; He has poured out His fury like fire.

5)    The Lord has become as an enemy; He has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all its palaces; He has laid in ruins its strongholds, and He has multiplied in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.