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Poole on Revelation 8:4: The Prayers of All Saints

Verse 4:[1] And (Ps. 141:2; Luke 1:10) the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

[And, etc., καὶ ἀνέβη—ταῖς προσευχαῖς, etc.] Spoken after the fashion of the Hebrews in the place of τῶν προσευχῶν, of the prayers:[2] concerning which see what things we said on Colossians 2[3] (Castalio). I think that the Latin here read τῆς προσευχῆς, of the prayer, and rightly. For in such things the Singular and Plural numbers are used interchangeably. And τοῦτ᾽ ἔστι, that is, is understood before that τῆς προσευχῆς, of the prayer: for to what that Vision tended is explained (Grotius). [Thus they translate:] And ascended the smoke of the incenses with the prayers (either, by the prayers, or, according to the prayers [Pareus], or, of the prayers [Erasmus], or, with the prayers [Beze, Piscator], as in verse 3 [Beza], or, of the supplications [Castalio]) of the Saints, etc. (Montanus, etc.); that is to say, They reached God (Menochius, thus Tirinus, Ribera): that is, Those prayers were agreeable to God, and heeded by Him (Pareus, thus Ribera, Cluverus). For this is signified by to ascend into the view of God, Acts 10:4. Compare Exodus 3:9 (Pareus). God, delighted by the consistent piety of the Christians, willed to restrain His wrath against the Jews no longer, whose cruelty against Christians had been so very great (Grotius).

The smoke of the incense, etc.: This only denotes the acceptableness of Christ’s intercession, and God’s people’s prayers, through the virtue of that intercession, unto God.

[1] Greek: καὶ ἀνέβη ὁ καπνὸς τῶν θυμιαμάτων ταῖς προσευχαῖς τῶν ἁγίων ἐκ χειρὸς τοῦ ἀγγέλου ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ. [2] That is, the smoke of the incense of the prayers. [3] See Colossians 2:14: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross…”

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