Recently, two devastating earthquakes hit our hemisphere. One struck Haiti, the other Chile. Both were horrible and hundreds of thousands of people died. Many churches, ours included, sent teams and finances to help the survivors. Israel was the first nation to set up a portable hospital and sent more than 250 doctors to care for the wounded. I was deeply saddened when I saw the photos of collapsed buildings and the multitudes of displaced people. I am aware, however, that this and worse scenes will be repeated in the near future. The book of Revelation tells of terrible traumas on the horizon. At that time, God’s people will rise to help the suffering on a supernatural scale. The pain of those days will lead many to repentance and the greatest revivals of all time will follow. You may not be aware of it, but God is preparing His people to gather the harvest of the earth.
Earthquakes are in the Bible. Sometimes they come as warnings and sometimes as judgments. Only God can say which ones are judgments. He has told us that the earthquakes that happen in the great tribulation are judgments. The devastations at that time, however, are also redemptive. That is why the tribulation takes 7 years rather than one single judgment in a moment of time. From the earthquake rubble, billions will cry out to God for salvation and will be welcomed by Him, into His family and into eternity.
Earthquakes can be spiritual shakings as well. We need spiritual earthquakes to shake our world, our families and our own lives. John the Baptist was sent to shake things up. He brought the high places down, lifted the low places up and made the crooked paths straight. His ground-changing earthquakes were sent to open hearts so that people might come to Jesus.
Do you have a child, a family, a church or a community in need of a spiritual earthquake? Something else must come first. This kind of earthquake follows a gentle wisp of smoke; it comes from incense. Biblical incense is gentile, faithful, consistent prayer that rises to God from His people; but it produces earthquakes.
Revelation 8 describes the altar of incense in heaven. When Jesus breaks the 7th seal from the scroll, the end-time purposes of God are released. Suddenly, all eyes are cast upon the altar of incense. Silence fills the heavens for half an hour as God gives honor to the prayers of His people. All heaven-birthed prayer that has not yet been answered has been collected and saved on the altar of incense. Some of those prayers belong to our parents and grandparents. Those prayers have been waiting for a long time to fit into God’s plan. After the half hour of silence, the angel of the altar gathers up the fiery prayers and hurls them to the earth. Then there is lightning and earthquakes. The results are monumental; the devil and wickedness is defeated, multitudes are born again and God’s people are rescued and blessed beyond belief.
Zechariah the priest lived in Jesus’ time. He and his
wife, Elizabeth, were Levites. Like many of God’s people, they were upright and responsible. Luke 1 tells us that it was Zechariah’s group that was assigned to serve in the temple and the lot fell on him to light the altar of prayer incense.
The Levites lit the incense in the morning, at three in the afternoon, and at twilight. Those were the times of prayer, and at those times people would gather outside, in the courtyard, to pray. Although it was many years later, we read in Acts 3 that Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer. They followed this temple pattern.
Zechariah and Elizabeth continued to lift one specific prayer to the Lord. They were seniors, but had no children, so they continued to pray for one. God has plans for every family. Soon, He answered their prayers and John the Baptist was born. Great people have been born from parents who could not have children. Isaac, Samuel and John are some of them.
John prepared the way of the Lord; then, he was executed at age 30. By the time he died, his parents were already gone and he had no siblings. If you are God’s child, then God has a plan for your family. It is a plan that fits His eternal purpose.
The altar of incense was situated right against the Holy of Holies curtain. It (the altar of incense) is the piece of furniture that is closest to the ark of the covenant and closest to the presence of God. Like the tabernacle and temple, all furnishings were made after God’s pattern in heaven. God told Moses to make them exactly as commanded, according to the heavenly design.
Revelation tells us that God’s throne is in heaven’s throne room. God’s throne corresponds to the ark of the covenant and is positioned where the ark was in the earthly temple. Today, in front of God’s throne in heaven, stands the original altar of incense. On it are your prayers and between the throne and the altar stands Jesus, your High Priest.
In the Old Covenant temple, there were two altars. One for sacrificing animals, and the other for incense. It has been said that the smoke from both was unaffected by the wind. Both whispers of smoke rose to heaven undisturbed. Today, the incense from your prayers go straight up as well. The troubles of the world around us cannot blow them off course.
An altar is mentioned 9 times in the book of Revelation and each one is the altar of prayer incense. The animal altar no longer exists for Christ is our sacrifice and his sacrificial altar was the cross on Mount Calvary.
Incense used for the temple was made of 4 spices. Like the four faces of the cherubim they represent godly character and anointing. From hearts of godly character and Holy Spirit anointing comes special prayers that produce earthquakes.
As Zechariah (Luke 1) was lighting incense in the temple, Gabriel the angel, appeared. He told him, his prayers were answered; he would have a son. Zechariah questioned him so Gabriel made him mute until his son John was born and named.
Zechariah prayed faithfully, and from him came an extraordinary son. Zechariah fathered John, the man with the Elijah anointing. For 400 years there were no open prophecies, but a spiritual shaking came and God chose a man of faithful prayer to start the process.
More earthquakes will soon arrive. They will prepare the way for the second coming of Christ. The lot has now fallen on you to light the incense. Begin with the morning and the evening prayer sacrifice. It is time for incense and earthquakes.
Be like David who said,
“May my prayer be set before you like incense, may the lifting of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Ps. 141:2 AΩ