“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”Revelation 8:1 NKJV
Why would God command silence in heaven for thirty minutes?
As we saw in earlier chapters, heaven is loud with praise and worship to the Father and Son. During the sixth seal (click HERE to read), we witnessed multitudes too numerous to count–angels, people delivered from the tribulation, the four living creatures, and twelve elders–all worshiping and giving thanks to God.
Silence: What does it signify?
But now absolute silence falls throughout heaven. Perhaps it signifies the gravity of the next judgments about to descend upon the earth. Everyone waits in reverent attention to see what God will decree.
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.Revelation 8:2-5 NKJV
Did you realize our prayers have a special part to play during the seventh seal judgment? How wonderful to learn they are combined with incense, which is offered up to God from the angel’s hand upon the golden altar before the throne. What tremendous encouragement for us to keep praying and not lose heart!
Next, the angel takes the golden censer filled with fire from the altar and throws it onto the earth. Thunder, lightning, and an earthquake follow. After these things, the seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets.
The First Trumpet: The Vegetation
The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.Revelation 8:7 NKJV
The Second Trumpet: The Seas
Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.Revelation 8:8-9 NKJV
The Third Trumpet: The Waters
Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.Revelation 8:10-11 NKJV
The Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens
Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.Revelation 8:12 NKJV
What do the judgments of these first four trumpets have in common? In each one, one-third of something is struck and killed or destroyed. We can only guess why God allows two-thirds to survive. Perhaps it’s His mercy that restrains complete annihilation at this point. These catastrophes come in part to warn the wicked to repent. They may not know it yet, but God’s wrath will soon increase.
A Pause to Mourn
And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!‘Revelation 8:13 NKJV
What does WOE mean? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, it’s a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief; ruinous trouble: calamity, affliction, economic woes.
How sad that an angel declares three separate woes upon the earth’s inhabitants. These next three trumpet judgments will be extremely hard to bear.
What happens during the fifth trumpet blast? Continue with me to the next post to find out.
Dear Father, We know that Your judgments are just and true. We pray Habakkuk 3:2: “In wrath, remember mercy.” May the wicked repent and turn to Christ to be saved. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.