October 4, 2023

October 4, 2023

Author: Pastor Bernard Ibrahim
October 04, 2023

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.””

Revelation 5:1-10

This passage, like all of Revelation after the first few chapters, is full of metaphors. And I find it interesting how prayer is portrayed both here and in Revelation 8. If you look at verse 8 in this passage, the same metaphor, if you see it there, the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, and they have two things they each are holding, a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Our prayers, the prayers of all the saints are likened to incense.

Now incense, as you know, is some kind of herb, wood, spices that are burned and when they're burned they smell good. They have a beautiful aroma. You can describe it as sweet. Often when we smell incense we think of a holy place and this bowl of incense is being used in a holy place. It's the throne room of God the Father and we see also God the Son. It's the prayers of the saints. That's what they're likened to, like incense in a place of worship before God, they're there in God's throne room.

So what are they likened to? The metaphor is their incense. These golden bowls, precious containers for a precious thing. And though there may be a lot of discussion or controversy, because we're not told what the harp is or who the twenty-four elders are, most commentators agree that these twenty-four elders represent us the church, the people of God, there in the throne room of God with the prayers of the saints and the harp representing musical worship; worship and prayer there in the throne room of God. And notice where they're found, they're found in the hands of these twenty-four elders. These golden bowls, or vials or vessels depending on your translation, golden bowls with incense burning and they fall down in worship when Christ appears to take the scroll and to sit down at the right hand of the Father.

Matthew Henry notes that prayer and praise, he's referring to the harp and the bowls with incense, should always go together in worship for our God. So it gives you a picture, it gives me a picture when we pray, when we give thanks in prayer, when we praise God, when we put our petitions in prayers, it is precious in the sight of God. So precious and important that it's in his throne room. Our prayers. And you have to think, out of this whole picture, the things that we do, that is what's found before the throne of God, our prayers tumbling, an amazing thought to think that God prioritizes our prayers.

I hope this encourages you. It encourages me every time I think about when we pray, what are we really doing? And what does God think of it? And here in Revelation 5 and in Revelation 8 we're given a picture of what God sees in our prayers there in his throne room, how he values our prayers. So as we come to pray, new fresh encouragement to strengthen our faith, to think highly of our prayers before the Lord and Jesus Christ in their throne room.