Luke 21:1-6, "Jesus looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury has cast in all the living that she had. And as some spoke of the Temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones [some 40 feet long] and gifts, He said, As for these things which you behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down".
As Jesus was still in the Temple at the time of this discourse, it marks the climax of His public ministry. He criticized the comfortable piety of the rich, contrasting their motive and objective with that of this poor widow. The moral is that it is not how much one gives materially, but how much one gives of oneself. The widow gave all that she had to God, thereby expressing her faith in Him to provide for her needs. The rich gave only from their excess, expressing no commitment at all but she gave all of her livelihood . . . and her heart.
In response to this allusion to its material grandeur which had become a stumbling stone and an idol to false piety, Jesus pronounced judgment on that Temple, He being the anointed and true Temple of God.
The ransom of souls required every male Israelite able to bear arms to be numbered annually and to pay tribute of one half shekel toward the continual sacrifice and other expenses associated with the Temple in Jerusalem. Many people contributed far more than the half shekel. Patriotism and religion swelled their gifts which far exceeded their legal dues. So many were the givers, and so large the gifts, and the richest contributions came from the crowded Jewish settlements in Mesopotamia and Babylon where special treasuries for their transportation to Jerusalem had been built, that they came by armed escort led by the most honourable of their citizens.
In the Temple their monies were emptied into three large chests which were opened with certain formalities at each of the three great feasts.
Great importance was attached to this payment as all Israel should appear represented in the purchase of the daily public sacrifices. So when the three chests were emptied, they took expressly from one "for the land of Israel," from another, "for Israelites resident in neighbouring lands," and from a third "for Israelites in distant lands".
The Temple dues were to meet the expenses of animals, meal, oil, wine and incense, plus the wages of a large staff responsible for a multitude of Temple duties, from examining into the Levitical fitness of offerings, to making the curtains. And after all this there was sufficient to pay for repairs to the city walls, roads, public buildings, etc., about Jerusalem and to accumulate tremendous wealth in the sanctuary. The wealth and splendour of the Temple was reflected in its services.
Next to the sacrificial rite was the hymnody of the sanctuary. Thus when the twenty-four elders representing the chiefs of the twenty-four courses of the priesthood, and afterward the 144,000 representing redeemed Israel in its fullness, sing "the new song"—the former in heaven, the latter on Mount Zion—they appear as "harpers, harping with their harps." The harpers and their new song are a key to understanding and placing the "present truth"—what Jesus is doing now.
Revelation 5:8-6:1, "And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the Book, and to open its Seals: for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation [speaking of the Gentile Bride]; and have made us kings and priests to our God: and we shall reign on the earth".
"And I saw and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders [the redeemed Bride foreknown of God]: and their number was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
"And I heard every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him that lives forever and ever. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the Seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, Come!"
Revelation 5:8 is set at the conclusion of intercession. The Lamb stood by the altar of sacrifice to make intercessions for the redemption of the Church Age saints on account of their ignorance of the faith while God held the sealed Book in His hand. The sacrifice is complete, their offering of PART-Word has been received, and intercession is finished. The elders have their revelation (prayers) in golden vials to present to the Lamb to offer up before God with the revelation of the Seven Sealed Book, which calls and perfects His end-time Bride. For without us, they cannot be glorified. There is no more blood on the Mercy Seat, the Lamb has advanced and claimed the Book. He is worthy. When He took the Book, redemption was over. The elders have reason to rejoice with the harp and "a new song," because Gentile days are numbered and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb is at hand.
The harpers harped and the music began in the Temple service just as the joyous drink offering was poured over the ashes. Wine represents the joy of faith, or revelation; it was "strong wine poured out unto the Lord" (Numbers 28:7). The worshiper had seen the lamb slain as atonement for his own guilt, and the meal offering presented as a type of his total dedication to the Lord. Properly speaking, the drink offering was not a part of any sacrifice; though it was never offered by itself alone but poured out willingly over the ashes of the sacrifice, and the memorial of the meal offering, expressing the worshipers' concurrence in all that he saw done at the altar. Yes, the Church Age saints were at-one by virtue of Christ's intercession and the Bride is in oneness by virtue of her revelation of the Seven Thunders.
The Lamb departed from the brazen altar, advanced to the Holy of Holies, took the scroll of Redemption from Jehovah, and sat down on the Judgment Seat to reveal its contents, which indict the world and call His Bride. If we had time we could follow this through the Bible in the unveiling of the Seven Seals in Revelation 6:1-17 and 8:1, the offering up of the Bride of all Ages by the incense of the Seventh Seal—perfecting that which was in part; judgment being cast onto the earth, then the unfolding of Israel's Seven Trumpets of Revelation 8:2, 6 9:21 and 11:14-17. Visualize the scriptures, remembering Revelation 7; 8:3-5; 10 11:13 and 12 18 are in parenthesis as a soliloquy in a play, for they describe events that are revealed after the close of the Church Ages. Now close your eyes and focus your mind on the layout of the Temple as I describe the order of the evening service.
The sacrifice was offered and the meal offering was brought. Oil and salt were added and it was laid on the fire. Next, the High Priest's daily meal offering consisting of twelve cakes broken in halves was presented for Israel—twelve half-cakes in the morning, twelve in the evening. Finally, the appropriate drink-offering was poured out upon the foundation of the altar where we see the Hebrew "souls under the altar" in Revelation 6:9-10. The incense was burned, not, as in the morning, before, but after the pieces of the sacrifice had been laid on the fire of the altar in the form of the lamb, typing the finished mystery of God, or Fullness of the Word by the revelation of the Seven Seals. This knowledge enables us to place the setting of Revelation 5:8-9 and 8:1-5 as the antitype of the evening service.
It was at this point that the Temple music began. It was the duty of the priests who stood on the right and the left of the marble table on which the fat of the sacrifice was laid, at the proper time to blow the blasts on their silver trumpets. On a signal, cymbals were struck. Immediately, the choir of Levites, accompanied by instrumental music, began the Psalm of the day, which was always sung in three sections. At the close of each, priests blew three blasts from their silver trumpets, and the people bowed and silently worshipped.
But "when He had opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour" (Revelation 8:1).
In this most solemn period, throughout the vast Temple buildings, deep silence rested on the worshiping multitude, while within the sanctuary itself, the priest was alone. He laid the incense on the golden altar, and the cloud of odours rose up before the Lord, which serves as the image of heavenly things in Revelation 8.
In Luke 1:8-11, Zacharias ministered, "the people praying without at the time of incense." Incense is symbolic of prayer, and prayer is an appeal through revelation. Psalm 141:2, "Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." So the acceptance given to the burnt offering, representing faith in Jesus Christ, is the basis and measure of the acceptance of our prayers. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
When the morning and evening sacrifices were placed on the brazen altar, fresh incense was poured on the censer on the altar of incense at the time of the trimming of the lamps—both morning and evening. And it was at the time of the evening sacrifice, when the Seven Seals are revealed, that the Shout of the Message of the seventh angel aroused the wise and the foolish virgin to trim their lamps, which symbolize their revelation (Matthew 25:6-7). Zechariah foretold "that at evening time it shall be Light." Jesus said His parousia would restore to the West the Light that illumined the apostolic saints in the East (Matthew 24:29). That is, at the sun-setting or evening time.
It was at the time of the evening oblation that Daniel received his revelation from God concerning the future of His people and their holy city (Daniel 9:21). It was at this time that God answered the prayers of Elijah in the Mount Carmel showdown with the priests of Baal (I Kings 18:36-38); and brought judgment upon King Uzziah when he usurped the office of the priests in offering incense before the Lord (II Chronicles 26:17-19).
Paul said, "I am, by the grace of God, the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:16). That was in the morning time of the Church. Paul's revelation was restored in the end-time through the ministry of Brother Branham in order that the offering up of the evening time Bride might also be acceptable to God (Malachi 4:5-6; Revelation 10:7). What sanctifies the saints is the revelation of Jesus Christ unveiled in the Seven Seals (Hebrews 11:39-40).
Revelation 8:3, "And another Angel came and stood at the Sacrifice Altar, having a Golden Censer; and there was given unto Him much incense, that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the Golden Altar which was before the Throne".
The difference between the Golden Altar in Revelation 8:3 and that in the Temple is the absence of the veil that once separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Seeing it has been rent in two, we now have boldness to enter the Presence. The Altar of Incense was of acacia wood and gold—so closely joined as to form an inseparable union, typing Deity and humanity united in Jesus Christ, the first God-man, and the invisible union between the Bride and Christ. Acacia was the most common tree of the wilderness, a stunted and shaggy thorn-bush, close grained and not readily attacked by insects, as Jesus Christ lived by every Word and did not succumb to sin's attack. The Altar was foursquare, thus pointing in every direction. Jesus Christ as the Brazen Altar is the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. And as the true Incense Altar, the High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for all who come to God by Him.
As there was no window or ventilation in the Holy Place, the position of the altar, close to the veil, enabled the incense to find its way into the Place of the Presence in the Most Holy Place, permeating it with its beautiful fragrance. It had to do with both places as Jesus links heaven with earth in His relation between God and Man. "No man has ever ascended to heaven, but there is One who came down from heaven, even the Son of Man whose Home is in heaven" (John 3:13). And "no man comes to the Father but by the Son" (John 14:6).
In Hebrews 9:1-5 there is no mention of the incense altar because this chapter deals chiefly with the Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest carried the coals in the golden censer, not to the altar of incense as usual, but right into the Holy of Holies where the censer took the place of the altar of incense. This is why in this chapter it is counted among the furniture of the Holy of Holies rather than to that of the Holy Place to which at all other times it belonged. Thus we see that the service of Revelation 8:1-5 is not the Day of Atonement.
Revelation 8:2-5, "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets." Brother Branham taught that these seven trumpeting angels were heavenly beings sent from the Presence of God (Psalms 104:4; Acts 5:19; 8:23; 12: 7; Hebrews 1:7; An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, p. 323:3).
"And another Angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto Him much incense [of the revelation of the Seven Seals], that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints [for we are one Body] upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel's hand." This is the Angel of the Covenant who "received the revelation God gave Him, to show to His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it in symbols of the earthly Temple by His angel [William Branham] to His servant John [who signifies you and me as members of Christ's end-time Bride to whom Brother Branham's Message is directed]" (Revelation 1:1).
Christ's Body lay on the sacrifice altar in the heavenly temple and His Blood sprinkled the Mercy Seat as a memorial while He interceded for the ignorance of the Church Age or PART-Word saints. When the last name was born-again in Laodicea Christ's mediation was fulfilled and redemption was over. Revelation 4 was fulfilled, and without Blood the Mercy Seat was now a Judgment Seat. The Lamb advanced from the Altar of Sacrifice as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, claimed the Book of Life which is the Title Deed to all He had redeemed, and fulfilled Revelation 5.
The end-time Bride and the 144,000 elect Israelites were fully redeemed in Christ on Calvary being foreknown respectively as receiving the fullness of the Word through the revelation of the Seven Seals delivered by the Prophet William Branham, or the Seven Trumpet mysteries that will be delivered by the two Hebrew Prophets of Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11. Here Christ is offering the whole Church up to God, incensing the prayers or revelation of all saints with the revelation of the fullness of the mysteries of the Seven Thunders.
In the Bible, garments (Psalms 45:9), beds (Proverbs 7:17), the Groom (Songs 3:6), and guests of honour (Luke 7:46) were all perfumed with incense as a sign of honour and dedication. In Israelite worship it usually accompanied sacrifices as a device to take away any suggestion of carnality, and was the prerogative of the priest (Numbers 16:6-7; II Chronicles 26:16-18). A combination of incense with the prayers (or revelation) indicates Divine acceptance.
This "vast quantity of incense" is the "huge portion of Heaven . . . [prophesied by Danny Henry which] . . . in itself is what will give and make come to pass the tremendous victory in the love Divine" (Paradox, p. 41:300-311). This incense of THUS SAITH THE LORD offered with the prayers or revelation indicates all of the saints have "come in the unity of the faith, to the stature of the fullness of Christ".
Revelation 8:5, "And the Angel took the Censer, and filled it with fire of the Altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." The Censer is used for judgment reminiscent of Genesis 19:24 and Ezekiel 10:2. Gentile days are over. Judgment is cast down to earth, and that earthquake will be the sinking of Los Angeles, the manifestation of the Sixth Seal and the Seventh Trumpet calling the first resurrection (I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 6:12-17; 11:15-19).
Revelation 11:15-19, "The Seventh Trumpet angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world has become our Lord's and His Christ's; and He shall reign forever and ever. And the twenty-four elders who sit before God fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying, We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is to come; because You have taken Your great power, and have reigned."
"And the nations were angry, and Your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Your name, small and great; [in the resurrection and 'Bema' judgment at the Wedding Supper] and should destroy them that destroy the earth. And the Temple of God in heaven was seen to be open because there was no veil and the ark of His testament was seen in His Temple [signifying God's favour toward Israel]: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake [sinking Los Angeles], and great hail [which will be the judgment of Rome]".
The Roman Beast will slay the elect Israelites but their martyrdom will seal them into the Presence of God, as the laver wherein they are washed by fiery tribulation stands before His throne (Revelation 4:6). Revelation 15:2-4, "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with Fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the Beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God [tuned solely for His praise]. And they sing the Song of Moses the servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before You; for Your judgments are revealed".
The 144,000 acknowledge God's justice in chastising Israel over the past 2,000 years, leading to the revelation that the veil in the Temple is no more. They recognize Christ enthroned and His justice through the years in the punishment of the false church in each Age is about to be revealed, distinguishing the Bride Church. "And the Temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the Temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled" (Revelation 15:8). When the Tabernacle and Temple were dedicated the Cloud or Shekinah manifested signifying God's Presence in grace (Exodus 40:34-36; I Kings 8:10-11). Here, however, the Temple is filled with the smoke of Judgment in association with the bowls or Vials of God's wrath against the false church (Revelation 15:7; Exodus 19:18; Isaiah 6:1-4).
"And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, unprecedented in magnitude since men were upon the earth" (Revelation 16:18). God's judgment on the false church is such that no man could be resurrected until the last Trump sounds with the sinking of Los Angeles, the Seventh Vial is poured out, grace ended, satisfaction rendered His holy wrath and the smoke abated.
Revelation 15:5-6, "And after that I looked, and, behold, the Temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the Temple, having the seven plagues. . ." Revelation 11:19, "And the Temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the ark of His Testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail".
The reference to harpers in Revelation 15:2 is not to the ordinary, but to the sabbath services in the Temple. We must remember that whereas Revelation 5:8 was set in March of 1963, when the Laodicean Church Age ended, and Christ came forward from intercession to claim and open the Sealed Book. Revelation 15:2 is to be fulfilled in the second half of Daniel's Seventieth Week—more than three and a half years after the translation of the Church as illustrated below. Here, the harpers are "they that had gotten the victory over the beast" and stand victorious on the sea of glass and sing "the song of Moses, the servant of God." They are the 144,000 elect Israelites who have entered their sabbath by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, sealing their testimony with their own lives, and will shortly enter the Millennium.
After their deliverance out of Egypt and escape through the Red Sea, the people of Israel stood on the shore, and seeing their enemies overwhelmed by the waters, sung the triumphant song of Moses. Here, having passed through the fiery trials of the tribulation and gotten the victory, Israel stands on the crystal clear sea of the brazen laver acknowledging the wonderful greatness of Christ's works and revering His justice and power against His enemies. They are also about to catch the revelation of the Seven Vials through history to that time.
Moses brought Israel a natural deliverance; the Lamb brought them full redemption. The two songs in their unity as one song, speak of the whole redemption as mediated by Moses and Christ in the harmony of the Old and New Testaments—type and antitype (Hebrews 10:1).
On the sabbath, besides the Psalm for the day at the ordinary sacrifice (Psalm 92), they sang at the additional sabbatic sacrifice (Numbers 28:9-10), in the morning, the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, and in the evening, that in Exodus 15. The 144,000 celebrate their true sabbath of rest by singing "the song of Moses and of the Lamb".
(The order of Psalms in the daily service in the Temple is as follows: Day ONE Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein, etc.," Day TWO Psalm 48, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. etc.," Day THREE Psalm 82, "God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. etc.," Day FOUR Psalm 94, "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs; O God, to whom vengeance belongs, show Yourself. etc.," Day FIVE Psalm 81, "Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. etc.," Day SIX Psalm 93, "The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith He has girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. etc.," And day SEVEN, the sabbath, Psalm 92, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Your Name, O most High: etc.," because the sabbath is emblematic of the Millennium at the end of the 6,000 years dispensation).
Three trumpet blasts sounded seven times on ordinary days—a short sound, an alarm, and again a sharp short sound. Symbolizing the proclamation of the kingdom of God, Divine Providence, and the Final Judgment. (We might say, Passover and Unleavened Bread for Jesus was anointed to "proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" and Calvary made the entrance to the Kingdom. By Divine Providence His elect receive the Atonement and Grace in a new birth under the antitype of the Pentecostal Feast, and at the fulfilment of the Feast of Trumpets comes "the day of vengeance of our God" and a final disposition of judgment).
Three trumpet blasts sounded seven times on ordinary days:
The first: Three at the opening of the gate of Nicanor. (Proclamation of the kingdom of God).
The second, third and fourth—nine blasts at the daily Whole Offering: when the drink offering was poured out, the Levites sung the Psalm of the day in three sections. After each section there was a pause, when the priests blew three blasts, and the people worshipped. (Divine Providence).
The fifth, sixth and seventh—nine more: The practice of the morning sacrifice was repeated for the evening sacrifice. (Final Judgment).
On the eve of sabbath, six more blasts. Three to cause the people to cease from work and three to mark the break between sacred and profane.
On Sabbaths, when besides the ordinary, an additional sacrifice was brought, and the 'song of Moses' sung, (not in its entirety, but divided in six parts, one for every sabbath)—the priests sounded their trumpets three additional times in the pauses of the sabbath Psalm (i.e. 10 x 3 blasts in all).
The Seven Seals reveal hidden mysteries to the true Bride of Christ, the Seven Trumpets announce Messiah to Israel, and the Seven Bowls or Vials distinguish and separate the foolish virgins from those who are faithless reprobates. Last horseman leads the carnal non-elect to the great tribulation, natural and spiritual death (Revelation 6:8). The first four and the Sixth Trumpet brought chastisement upon the third part of earth, the Israelites. The Fifth Trumpet is to Gentiles who have not received the revelation of the Word for their day as well as to Israelites and their impersonators who are blinded whilst the Seventh Trumpet will pour out the wrath of God's judgment upon all the non-elect. Like the Trumpets, the Seven Bowls have been poured out following each of the Gospel Trumpets. bb960501.htm
e-mail to: ags@