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The Speaking Altar

Daily Reading: Revelation 16


Scripture Focus: And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!” (Revelation 16.7)

Devotional Thought: In Revelation 16.6, John heard an angel speaking. Then something unusual happened. John heard the altar speak. What? How can an altar speak? It is an inanimate object, a piece of furniture, an aid to worship. How could John hear it say anything?

The answer to that question lies in the description of the altar in heaven. Three voices are heard from the altar in Revelation: the voice of those martyred for their testimony (6.9), the voice of the saints lifted in prayer (8.3) and the voice of angels announcing the judgment of God (9.13, 14.8). The altar, then, becomes the voice of the dying saints, the living (praying) saints, and the vindicated saints. When it speaks, it speaks as the combined voice of the saints.


What does this voice say?

  • From the martyrs we are made to understand that God sees our sufferings. One day we will see them in the full light of heaven.

  • From the praying saints, we are made to understand that God hears every word that we cry out to him. These prayers are being stored up in heaven to be poured out at the proper time.

  • From the vindicated saints we are made to understand that God keeps careful records and that we will receive our reward in due time.

"Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!"

Prayer: Father, may my voice to added to that of the saints across the ages. May my prayers and my sufferings, my faith and my fears, be vindicated by your Truth and Justice. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: 19 that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, 21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise, 22 when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD. 23 He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days. 24 "O my God,"I say, "take me not away in the midst of my days-- you whose years endure throughout all generations!" 25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, 27 but you are the same, and your years have no end. 28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you. (Psalms 102:18-28)

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