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        8 When the lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 leaders bowed in front of him. Each held a harp and a gold bowl full of  incense, the prayers of God's holy people.
 
    When the lamb had taken the SCROLL, the four living creatures and the 24 LEADERS

The first hymn is sung by these 28 .... later hymns are sung by all creation.

    BOWED in front of him. Each held

This shows equivalence between the LAMB and diety. The 24 elders representing believers along with the 4 mightest heavenly creatures/angels give due homage.

The inheritance is about to be fulfilled. This implies the 28 must have some idea of the awesome contents of the book and seals.

     * a HARP, and

God loves beautiful music. It was part of temple worship, Ezra 3:10-11 . The harps are part of the music before the Lamb on Mount Zion, Revelation 14:2. The victorious ones in Revelation 15:2 are holding harps of God.

     * a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of God's holy people.

We see these prayers of God's holy people again at the breaking of the seventh seal and at the preparation for the blowing of the seven trumpets, Revelation 8:3-4 . These prayers may also be the "avengence prayers" of the martyrs, Revelation 6:1.
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