Saints in Scripture/Revelation
‘The saints’; the Roman Church and its misuse and abuse of this word clouds the understanding. The Greek "HAGIOS", means "separated ones", or "holy and separated ones". With this definition, it could apply to whichever group or person the Holy Spirit desires. The Roman Church’s definition is probably the most well known in the world’s population, but is in gross error regarding truth. Their criterion for ‘Sainthood’ is derived from man-made rules and ‘Bulls’, over hundreds of years from Popes etc.
The Protestant Churches are nearer to the truth, but are still in error due to their erroneous interpretations of Scripture.
The true definition is closest to what Scripture shows over the Old Testament (O.T.), and the New Testament (N.T.), and in simple form is probably best defined as those people who hear, see, know and respond to their heartfelt urge to believe and trust what God has shown them; and to act on that urge in their hearts, in faith!
Faith is the result in the person, it is in them individually and uniquely, as they are all unique individuals!
It cannot be faked, as ‘only God knows the heart’ (1Chron. 28:9, Rev. 2:23, Dan. 10:12 & 1Kings 8:39), and whether it is O.T. or N.T. the principle is the same; ‘the just shall live by faith’ (Heb.11, etc.).
In the N.T., we have the revealed privilege of seeing God the Father, revealed in Christ Jesus, Who, having returned to Heaven in Resurrection, is waiting to return to Earth to call His ‘Saints’ to Him!
In each ‘Age’, there are differing criterion on Earth which those of the above definition are subject to. Some of these (yet future) are shown from Revelation, and are extracts from Revelation’s Message; a study aid at www.revelationsmessage.co.uk
(a)And when He took the scroll, the four Zoa and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one (b)a harp, and (c)golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.
(a) As soon as the Lord takes the sealed scroll, there is an immediate reaction. The taking symbolises acceptance, (the worthiness has already been established and shown). The reaction is from very special, and eminent entities. The four Zoa and their special duties and guardianships, and the twenty four elders. The histories and duties of these beings allows them to be in the presence of the Majesty and the Lamb. Their whole being and purpose lean constantly towards the fulfilment of Jehovah Zebaoth's purpose and its mystery (Rev. 10:7). This further reinforced by the "prayers of the saints", which are, and have been prayed over many centuries, by those that sought out the purpose of God in Christ, and have come to love and yearn for its fulfilment.
(b) The Harp in Scripture is for "joy and praise", 1Chron. 25:1-6, 2Chron. 29:25, Psm. 71:22, 42:3 & 149:3; so we have here the joyful exclamation of praise to the Lamb, as it/He takes the next step in the plan of Jehovah Zebaoth!
And when He opened the 5th Seal, I saw under the alter the (a)Souls of them that had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Charles Ozanne , makes the following comments in his booklet ‘The Life and Soul of Mortal Man’.
The book of Revelation is the most Hebraic of all the New Testament books. For this reason alone, it is the last place we should expect to find a non-Hebraic use of the soul. Elsewhere in this book, the usage of the word is fully in accord with the Old Testament idiom:
Revelation 8-9; “there died a third of the sea creatures, having souls” (Compare Genesis 1:30 “to everything that creeps on the earth in which there is living soul”)
Revelation 12:11; “they loved not their souls unto death”
Revelation 16:3; “every living soul (= nephesh hayyah) died that was in the sea”
Revelation 18:13; “slaves, that is souls of men (= nephesh adam, Ezekiel 27:13)”
Revelation 18:14; “and the fruit, the desire of your soul (= awwath naphsheka, Deuteronomy 12:15, etc.)”
Revelation 20:4; “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded” (in resurrection).
The word “soul” is nowhere used of the spirits of the departed. All this goes to show that Revelation 6:9 is not to be taken literally. The martyred saints are represented as sacrificial victims, whose blood (or souls, Leviticus 17:14) has been poured out at the base of the alter (Leviticus 4:7). It is written of Christ that “He poured out His soul to death” (Isaiah 53:12). So the souls under the alter are the life-blood of the martyred saints poured out in a sacrificial death. In a manner totally uncharacteristic of Christian martyrs (cp. Acts 7:60), they cry out to God to avenge their blood on those who dwell upon the earth, and they are consoled by the gift of a white robe – a symbol of their righteousness and purity. They are here personified for our instruction. Doubtless, the closest Old Testament parallel is Genesis 4:10, where the voice of Abel’s blood is represented as crying from the ground”.
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden (a)censer; and there was given to him much incense, in order that he should offer it with the (b)prayers of all the (c)saints upon the (d)golden alter which was before the throne.
(c) "Saints"; the meaning here is not as dictated by the Roman Church, but that person who has been made "clean", "innocent", "perfect", "pure", (Str. 53). Also, (Hagios Str. 40), "sacred", "pure", "blameless", "consecrated", "most holy", "saint". Of course all the above achieved only through Christ, and the only two groups which have that status are Christ-ones (Christians) His Body; and the Overcomers of Revelation, (Rev. 6:9-11, and Luke 18:7).
The fact their prayers and ours have such importance and are so valued by the Father is because Christ alone achieved the victory over sin, in which fact we trust. Without the saving Grace of God in Christ, there can be no Christ-mindedness, (Rom. 8:29), "For whom He foreknew, He foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, the firstborn among many brethren", also (2 Cor. 2:15). "For we are to God a sweet savour of Christ". Part of the fruit therefore of the Christian is the Christ given ability to pray for the things of the Father, one of which is the yet to be "Kingdom of God on Earth". As we are "conformed", to the image of Christ, (albeit yet in the flesh), we and our prayers (when correct), are a "sweet savour", to God the Father, and also a witness to all Heavenly creation. This "sweet savour", is a form of incense, because its origin is pure (Christ), and its purpose is pure, (the Kingdom of God on Earth). To pray takes effort, and the prince of this world and his agents always resist such effort. The will of the Christian is therefore involved, which is his/her sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15).
And the (a)smoke of the incense, which came with the (b)prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
(b) "Prayers of the saints"; (see notes V.3) the clear Biblical definition of these people as given in verse 3 comments, shows that their prayer for justice and vengeance (Chp. 6:10) which is undoubtedly the prayer of all "saints", (or should be), is added to the incense. This (incense of prayer,) can only come (in truth) from those whom Christ has redeemed and the prayer is therefore by the "spirit of Christ", frankincense and myrrh.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard one voice from the four (a)horns of the (b)golden alter which is before God.
(a) The alter has 4 horns, the number 4 denotes reference to material Creation (App. 10), pertaining to Earth, "to things under the sun", and things terrestrial. Its combination (3 + 1) and (2 + 2), 3 denoting "completeness", and also "resurrection"! One denotes "unity and commencement", which was illustrated in Genesis, and will be again in the future Ages. (2 + 2), 2 denotes difference if in disagreement. However, if in agreement "testimony is conclusive", (App. 10). As it is obvious that the Father (Jehovah) and the Son (Christ) are in agreement, the one voice corresponds interestingly to the oneness of Zech. 14:9.
Coming from the incense alter, (see next comment) adds huge force to the coming events. So the Earth number 4 (horns) on the incense alter, embodied for the Jews in the past the Atonement, and in the future Resurrection and New Beginning. The fact that this alter was positioned in the Tabernacle and later the Temple "in the holy place", with the veil between it and the "most holy place", and also that incense was offered twice daily (frankincense and myrrh), (symbolic of the future death of Christ); and also that the "prayer of the saints", was intermingled with the incense (Rev. 8:4), illustrates graphically the sanctity to the Father of this whole symbol. It is a fact that the future Millennial Temple will not have an incense alter (Ezk.) It is also a fact that Christ and the Father (Jehovah) are together in the future Temple, "and their name shall be one", (Zech. 14). Since Christ's death, the veil between the holy, and most holy place has been removed, which is still the condition of this Age in which we live, and in Heaven, the golden alter is "before God"! We see from V.13, that the voice from the horns is one, which the writers think is the voice of the Father and Son in unity. We see that from the following verses that instead of Atonement, refuge and help, the horns (which also denote power)! are about to order an event!
And the Nations have been full of wrath, (b)now your wrath is come, and the time of the (c)dead to be judged, and to give the (d)recompense to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to those that fear Thy name, small and great; and to (e)destroy those that destroy the Earth".
(d) "Recompense"; this word has the flavour of "reward", which is the word used by the Interlinear. Recompense has also "compensation", in its meaning. Those listed, the "prophets", "the saints", "those that fear (revere) Thy name, small and great", covers many peoples and the categories are known in truth only by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And it was given to him to make (a)war with the (b)saints, and to (c)overcome them: (d)and power was given him over all kindred’s, and tongues and Nations.
(b) "The saints"; the Roman Church and its misuse and abuse of this word clouds the understanding. The Greek "HAGIOS", means "separated ones", or "holy and separated ones". With this definition, it could apply to whichever group or person the Holy Spirit desires. In this case, it in context undoubtedly refers to the Jews, especially those Jews who are to receive protection in the 42 months mentioned. However, there will certainly be Jews and non-Jews who are the focus of Satan/beast attacks, fitting the "Overcomers", category. Some groups of Christians feel it applies to themselves, but there are many clues in Scripture which would preclude that, one of which is in the next verse.
And all that dwell upon the Earth shall (a)worship him every one whose name is not written in the (b)book of the life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.
(a) Here is reached probably the highest point on Earth (as opposed to Heaven) for the beast/Satan who now has many of the Earth's population openly worshipping him directly, and via. his false messiah and false prophet, some believing that he is the true God.
It is quite possible that the charade of Satan is so convincing that the established religions will accept him as Messiah (in the case of the Jews), the risen Christ (in the case of Christendom), the hidden Imam (in the case of Islam), the 5th Buddha (in the case of Buddhists), and the Maitreya (in the case of the New Agers). This especially so as the beast will "hate the whore", (Rev. 17:16) and appear to destroy her, which is clearly false reighteousnes for the effect of drawing their large groups together.
The question arises, who is this entity described as "the beast"? (See 2:6 above). Chapter 2 of Daniel describes the figure in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. When the legs are reached they are described as iron (V.33), and from history are clearly military and religious Rome. The ending of the military phase of Rome started in the 4th century A.D. under Constantine. He and his very influential mother Helena, began the conversion of the Empire into a military and religious body, for many reasons, including the main one, effective control of the Empire and people. Constantine set up his own capital at Byzantium/Stambul (Istambul) which he re-named Constantinople. This alienated Rome, which by the 11th century A.D., split completely into the East and West of the original "Holy Roman Empire".
Since then the two have established separate orthodoxies, i.e. Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Church, (two legs, left and right).
The feet of the dream (Dan. 2:41) and the toes, 5 from the left leg, and 5 from the right leg; (V.42) are the subject of our present study. Verse 1 describes it as having 7 heads and 10 horns (the horns are assumed to be the toes of the "image" Dan. 2:41). Other references to it are in Dan. 7:7 "ten horns", and 7:20 "ten horns". In 7:20 and 7:24 another horn rises and subdues 3 of them, and becomes very powerful. It is that horn in its power base that "makes war with the saints", 7:21 & 7:25. In Rev. 13, the beast has 7 heads. In Dan. 7:20 the ten horns are on one head, implying that the 7 Nations have become one power (Confederation), under the most powerful horn 7:21.
The identity of the little horn is the next concern. In Dan. 8:23 we are shown that he arrives out of the divided kingdom of Alexander the Great, (8:21-22), which divided between his four Generals at the death of Alexander. We also have many Scripture references to him. I.e; in Dan. 8:23 the correct Hebrew shows that "the transgression", (against Israel) are to reach a peak, before "he", "shall stand up". This clearly points to the Tribulation imposed on the Jews by him (Satan) in the background, and almost certainly his full exposure ("standing up") will correspond with the breaking of "the Covenant", (Dan. 9:27). His highest representative on earth is commonly called “Antichrist”.
Through the Ages he has had various roles on Earth i.e. (Isa. 14:4), (Isa. 14:12), (Isa. 14:25), (Dan. 7:8), (Dan. 8:23), (Dan. 9:26), (Dan. 11:36), (Mic. 5:5), (2 Thess. 2:3), (2 Thess. 2:8), (Rev. 13:1) and (Rev. 13:18). Some of the above apply to his future role as Antichrist.
In Summary: the "little horn", Antichrist emerges from the 4th beast (Confederacy) as its leader. Initially magnanimous to Israel, there is a 3½ year period of peace for them. After the first 3½ years, he breaks the agreement with Israel and they enter persecution (Jer. 30:7), known in prophecy as "Jacob's trouble", for 3½ years. However, this is the stage of the dramatic re-entry of the Christ of Jehovah onto the world stage for the first time in Power (Dan. 2:34-35, 44 and 45), (Isa.), (Zech.) & (Ezk.) etc. Simultaneously or partly simultaneously (apparently) much is happening to the Nations of the world, which is not of Satan, but the "wrath of God" (Rev. 16:1).
(a)He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patient endurance and the faith of the saints.
(a)Here is the patience of the holy saints: they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
(a)For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink: for they are worthy”.
(a)And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great (b)wonder.
(a)Rejoice over her, thou Heaven and you saints, apostles and prophets; for God has avenged you on her.
(a) This long awaited sentence on “the woman”, much celebrated in Heaven, and clearly seen by the saints, apostles and prophets, at the time of its enactment!
(a)And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, (b)and of all that were slain upon the Earth.
(a) All who stood against her/Satan; God’s prophets, His saints were slain; (this clearly not physical Babylon, which gives credence to our view regarding world-wide spiritual Babylon)!
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine (a)linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the (a)awarded righteousness of the saints.
And he said unto me, “Write, (b)Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb”. And he said unto me, “These are the true sayings of God".
(a) As per comments in V.7(b), and also in previous comments, “the linen, clean and white”, “the awarded righteousness of the saints”, it for and to the remnant of Israel, saved by their Messiah, at the end of their sufferings under Satan’s persecution, (see Chp. 3:18, and the whole of Chps. 1 2 & 3). There are of course others who are not Jews who resist Satan, the beast etc., and who are not marked. Those are almost certainly included in the comments in Chp. 7:9-17. The preserved Jewish remnant of the persecution (Isa. 49:6), are in the writers view joined by many resurrected Jews at the beginning of the Millennial Reign.
(a)And they went up over the breadth of the land and encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city: (b)and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and destroyed them.