The Golden Censer

“Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.”

Revelation 8:3

This angel is the Son of God, the Lamb slain, the High Priest of the people of God, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is the same angel in chapter seven who calls out to the four angels to not harm the earth. His concern is for His people and is interceding is for them in heaven.

The angel stands before the LORD God beside the altar of incense with the golden censer in His hand. He stands there for He is the sacrifice on the altar since He died for the sins of His people and now ever lives to make intercession for them. The censer is full of the prayers of God’s people and is added to by the prayers of the great High Priest, given to Him as an acceptable offering of incense before the Holy God. His prayers cover the imperfection of the prayers of the Christians and make them acceptable to God.

“Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.”

Hebrews 7:25

Jesus is the High Priest, the sacrifice for sin and the one mediator between God and men, because of who He is. He carries the golden censer because of the suffering of death that He willing suffered for His people, His Christians. He carries the incense to the altar as a sweet smelling sacrifice of praise and to intercede for His people. As the High Priest attended the incense before the altar now so does Jesus the High Priest of His people, in heaven. The incense is sweet and fragrant before the Lord, and is offered as prayers for His people who are still on earth. He can do this because He is the suffering Saviour, who has paid the dreadful price of sin and now has bought His people through His own shed blood. The censer is also full of the prayers of the people of God, for the prayers of people made righteous are ever before the Lord and are a sweet smelling savour to Him.

“The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.”

James 5:16

The book of Revelation was written for the comfort of the people of God and we can be strengthened to know that our prayers are heard in heaven and are powerful and effective, for we are covered by the atonement and the blood of Christ which cleanses us for all sin. Our prayers are carried by Christ and are accepted to God because of Him. He is the only High Priest and will mediate for us in heaven all our lives until we reach that blessed place. He makes us kings and priests to God and lifts us out of our ignominy and lifts us to heights of love and devotion so we are taken up with him and serve Him only.

“Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 

Revelation 1:4-6