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Milepost 17: The Censor Judgment

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Milepost 17: The Censor Judgment

Primary References: Revelation 8:1-6

When Jesus breaks the seventh and last seal, the earth's title deed finally lays bare as Jesus claims His rightful property. A half hour of heavenly silence greets this event though both the reason for the silence and the significance of its duration has perplexed scholars for generations. Most suspect heaven is silent in dreadful anticipation of God's coming judgments. Perhaps Zechariah 2:12-13 gives an explanation:

And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

To claim His inheritance, the earth, Jesus comes out of His holy habitation, heaven, to come to earth a second time and take possession of His inheritance. Out of respect for Him, people must remain silent.

After the angels receive their trumpets, Revelation presents mysteries concerning an altar, incense, and prayers. An eighth angel holding the golden censer comes before the golden altar in heaven and receives incense to offer with the prayers of the saints. The golden altar's material shows this is not an altar intended for blood sacrifices since it is made of a precious metal, not the metal of judgment (brass), and is therefore intended for precious things, like the prayers of saints. This heavenly altar has an earthly counterpart, a somewhat obscure tabernacle altar, the golden alter in the inner sanctuary (Exodus 31:1-10).

As the inner sanctuary's golden altar perpetually burns a specific incense, heaven's golden altar perpetually carries the prayers of the saints to the throne sweetened by the angel's incense. Romans 8:26-27 shows this incense is the Holy Spirit. He makes intercession for believers, changes their groans into prayers, and then carries these prayers to heaven. He purifies and sweetens the prayers of the saints before He takes them to the throne of God. Like the burning incense, He takes the believer's prayers straight to God's throne.

The eighth angel takes some of the burning incense from the golden altar, puts it into the golden censer, and throws it to the earth. When the censer of prayers hits the earth, there are voices, thunder, lightning, and an earthquake. All, but ‘voices', are readily understandable. The Greek word, phone (Strong's G5456), translates as voices, noises, or sounds depending on its context. In a normal context, noises or sounds would probably be better translations but Revelation 10 does show the thunders speaking. Probably, it refers to any noises with sounds significantly different from thunders. This judgment reveals the second of five different earthquakes listed in Revelation. Two earthquakes occur in the seven-year tribulation, one occurs in the mid tribulation and two occur in the great tribulation. There are so many similarities between these different judgments within Revelation that they are easily confused. Sometimes further confusion is created by the presence of multiple earthquakes within a single judgment.

Why would the prayers of the saints create the judgments shown here? Perhaps it is God's vengeance and payment for the world's abuse of believers:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)

Throughout the church age, saints heaped coals of fire on their enemy's heads by not repaying transgressions in kind but with the golden censor, God repays the world for the suffering of the saints as He judges the earth on behalf of His saints.