Revelation 8: An Appropriate Moment of Silence
by Joseph Franks
John sees a vision of Christ in heaven. He has a scroll with seven seals affixed to it. No one can remove the seals and open the scroll except for him. As Christ removes each seal, his divine power is poured out on the earth. Some of his power is constructive. He is the Conquering Christ who advances and expands the Kingdom of God. Men and women are converted and made part of his gracious and glorious family. However, most of his power-display is destructive. He is the Judge who is allowing and/or causing chaos on the earth. Men are reaping the consequences of their rebellion, and their lot in life is getting progressively worse. Such has been the case in seals two through six, but now comes the seventh seal. John presents it for us in the opening verses of chapter eight:
Revelation 8:1-5 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
Spiritual D-Day has been a matter of prayer. For quite some time, victorious saints have been interceding for suffering saints. Believers in glory have been longing for the judgment of Satan and the vindication of God’s name. They have been praying and crying out, “How long; how long?” Finally, in response to their prayers, the day of catastrophic victory is at hand. All antichrists are to be ruined. God’s longsuffering patience is finally at an end. Final judgment is at hand.
However, before the ultimate judgment is poured out, there is a moment of silence held in heaven. God’s judgments have been vicious, but this is an entirely different matter. The loud singing, playing and heralding stops. The twenty-four elders and their multitudes of worshiping friends are stilled. In heaven, there is a reverential calm before the final storm of judgment.
Following this time of silent meditation, an angel proceeds to the burning altar. It is there where the prayers of the saints have been stored. The angel then takes a censer full of fire and flings it to the earth. As it was in the days of Sodom, so it is in this day. John sees that the prayers of the saints have not been forgotten; they have been answered in God’s good time.
Friends, I think it might be best to cease our study for the day and have our own moment of silence. While we long for the destruction of Satan and the vindication of God, we need to recognize this will come at the expense of multitudes of lost rebels. God does not delight in the damnation of the wicked; neither should we. Final judgment is glorious, but it should not be gleeful.
As of today, the seventh seal has not yet been opened. God is still gathering his elect. He is still welcoming those who call on his name for salvation. Consider the end and evangelize. Today, as you are calling upon God to vanquish Satan and vindicate his name, why don’t you call your lost friends and encourage them to repent. Justice is coming tomorrow; mercy may still be found today.