1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour
Before we consider the seventh seal we need to briefly reflect on Revelation chapter Seven. In between John's record of the first six seals and the seventh seal we have a chapter that pictures four angels holding back the winds on earth until the servants of God are sealed in their forehead. John then beholds a wondrous heavenly scene where an innumerable host is gathered before the throne of God and the lamb of God and is giving praise to the Father and the Son. An elder asks John the question:
Revelation7:13: "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?"
John doesn't know who they are and asks the elder who they are. The elder's reply is reassuring to John. After recording the fate of those that were not ready for the coming of Christ in the sixth seal his faith was tested. Will there be anyone saved in the end time? The sixth seal was a distressing one to write about. Christ needed to show John and all those that would read his book that there will be a special group of people, sealed with the truth and faithful to the end who will be victorious:
Revelation 7:14 "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
The vision of glory and honour and worship to the Father and the Son gave John courage to keep going. Truly this revelation from Jesus Christ was a blessing to him and would be an encouragement to all those who would read the prophetic insights given to him by Christ himself and through his chosen angels.
When the seventh seal is opened it is noted by John that their is silence in heaven for about half an hour. Why would there be silence? We have just reviewed what is described in Chapter seven and silence was not a feature highlighted in the activities taking place before the throne of God.
Silence in heaven has taken place before. Ellen White records Christ's battle in Gethsemane before he submits totally to saving the human race:
Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: “If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” DA 690.3
Having made the decision, He fell dying to the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men? The Saviour trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him. DA 693.1
But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour's agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin. DA 693.2
Silence in heaven was a reality as the Father and his angels viewed the battle taking place and it grieved the angels to see the Father withdraw his presence from his son.
After the seventh vial is poured out upon the earth we see what is taking place in heaven:
1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
No silence in heaven at that point in time. Rather rapturous praise for the victory.
Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Christ's church on earth described as his wife is given the fine linen of Christ's righteousness. His church are awaiting his return. He must go and receive them unto himself (John 14:3)
1 A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
Psalms 50:3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
Jesus Christ departs from heaven and with the angelic armies makes his way to earth. The silence in heaven is real. With intense interest the Father and his remaining companions in heaven watch Christ approach planet earth, similar to when the whole of heaven beheld Christ's suffering in Gethsemane and were silent.
Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man's hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a “Man of Sorrows,” to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. “Faithful and True,” “in righteousness He doth judge and make war.” And “the armies which were in heaven” (Revelation 19:11, 14) follow Him. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—“ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light.” Habakkuk 3:3, 4. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. “And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16. GC 640.3
The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.” Psalm 50:3, 4. GC 641.2
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. GC 642.1
Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: “Your conflict is ended.” “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” GC 646.1
Now is fulfilled the Saviour's prayer for His disciples: “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” “Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.” “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.” Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin's discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine! GC 646.2
When the glorious and victorious company of Jesus Christ, the angels and those redeemed from the earth arrive in heaven the noise of praise, thanksgiving and shouts of victory will break the silence foreveremore.
We have to address the time aspect specifically mentioned by John in relation to the seventh seal.
Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour
Half an hour is the time referred to by John. The reference to hour in Revelation occurs ten times. But half an hour only in the seventh seal.
Reference to one hour is specifically reserved for Babylon's reign with the ten kings:
Revelation 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Satan arises from the bottomless pit in the fifth trumpet. The majority of the world is persuaded by his deceptive appearance as Jesus Christ. Satan has come to set up his kingdom on earth and specifically invites selected earthly powers to reign under him in this new world government.
Spiritual Babylon has been an active power for centuries. The whore riding the beast represents an impure church system:
Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Throughout the Dark Ages up till the late 1700's the Papacy persecuted and martyred the saints and is aptly described in scripture as 'drunken with the blood of the saints'. On her forehead she bears the name BABYLON THE GREAT.
When Satan parading as Christ on earth is welcomed with open arms by the Catholic church/Papacy and Protestant churches in agreeance with her doctrine also declare the same allegiance, the 'one hour' or short period of literal time where the ten Kings receive power with the beast will take place.
Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
Satah personating Christ convinces the world that they should worship and obey the first beast who now has a head that has been healed.
Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
The satanic persuasion employs ten 'kings' or world leaders to join him in fighting against the enemy
Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The sixth trumpet war will end. Satan working with the ten kings has set up a death decree for those who will not receive his mark.
Daniel 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
Revelation 11 refers to events taking place after God's witnesses are slain:
Revelation 11: 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Just like Babylon of old before the invaders Media Persia completely took control the one world government of spiritual Babylon after destroying those that 'tormented' them with truth are making merry, rejoicing and even sending gifts to one another. Babylon of old were partying and:
Daniel 5: 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Little did they know their spiritual probation was about to close.
Daniel 5:26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
The seventh trumpet sounds and the seven vials of God's wrath are to be poured out.
Probation has closed prior to the sound of the seventh trumpet. God's mercy is now replaced with wrath. He has long borne with humanity striving to reach those that would listen and hear the marvellous story of how he gave his only son to save them from sin. His son Jesus Christ was sacrificed for them. His blood was shed for every one who would believe and accept the gift of eternal life freely offered to all.
As the vials are poured out on the earth and its inhabitants God is the protector of his people:
Jeremiah 30:6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
As the intensity of each vial increases so does the suffering of the wicked.
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
In the sixth vial demonic spirits are pivotal in persuading the kings of the earth to make war and enter into the battle of their lives to destroy Jesus Christ who has been sighted by their space telescopes as heading to earth. The demonic spirits persuade the ten kings that this is in reality Satan coming with his horde of angel defectors. The one hour of power that the kings have been given with the beast is soon to end.
The earthly events taking place during the vials are devastating. In the 'half hour' of silence in heaven as Jesus Christ and his heavenly host travel through space to earth preparations are being made on earth to destroy them incited by Satan who they have accepted as the true Christ. In the seventh vial the demise of spiritual Babylon takes place:
Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth
The whore or Babylon the great as is recorded on her forehead (Revelation 17:5) is destroyed - she is broken into three parts. The Papacy is burnt with fire by the ten kings who have realised too late that they have been deceived. The world is in chaos politically, physically and spiritually. Spiritualism or satanic agencies who have strived to create a new world order with Satan as their leader are about to be overcome by the Creator of the world - Jesus Christ coming in the clouds of heaven. The churches and their members who followed the lead of the Papacy by sanctioning worship on Sunday and also worshipping a trinity God only now see the fruits of their works.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Those who have been truthful to God and sealed with his holy spirit of truth have been protected throughout the seven trumpets and vials.
I saw that the priests who are leading on their flock to death, are soon to be arrested in their dreadful career. The plagues of God are coming, and after one or two has fallen, and they are tormented with the plagues, it is not enough; for all this, his hand is stretched out still, and will not be brought to himself again, until his purposes are fully accomplished, and they will be led to worship at the saints’ feet, and acknowledge that God has loved them, because they held fast the truth, and kept God's commandments. And his hand is stretched out still in wrath and justice, and he will not rest from his anger, until the hireling priests and all the unrighteous are destroyed from the earth. ExV54 44.3
The enemies of God's law, from the ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty. Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath, and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God. Religious teachers have led souls to perdition while professing to guide them to the gates of Paradise. Not until the day of final accounts will it be known how great is the responsibility of men in holy office, and how terrible are the results of their unfaithfulness. Only in eternity can we rightly estimate the loss of a single soul. Fearful will be the doom of him to whom God shall say, Depart, thou wicked servant. GC88 640.1
Too late the realisation dawns that the truth of God's holy word is worth standing for.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The real meaning of this verse is realised too late by those who knew the truth but were not prepared to stand for it.
The Philadelphian church in Revelation :
*"hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8)
*"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation" ( Revelation 3:10)
God's servants, the Philadelphians have kept God's word, they have not denied his name. They have patience given by God to them through his Holy Spirit and by keeping his word patiently their souls are kept safe.
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
The half hour silence in heaven is soon to cease. Jesus Christ rescues his precious redeemed and raises the righteous dead. Accompanying their Saviour and the heavenly host to the gates of heaven the glorious praise of the delivered saints will soon resound in heaven itself.