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Intercession of the Saints

Revelation 5:8

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Catholic Perspective

The twenty-four elders in heaven represent the leaders of the people of God in heaven. In the New Testament, the term “saints” normally refers to Christians living on earth (Rom. 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:2, 2 Cor. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, etc.). This passage thus depicts the saints in heaven offering to God the “prayers of the saints” on earth—i.e., interceding for them.

It is reasonable, then, that we ask those in heaven to intercede for us—Revelation shows that the saints are already interceding! And it makes sense to ask the saints to pray for us since “The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16), and there are no more righteous than those who are already in heaven.

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