Revelation 8:1-6 / Silence in Heaven

Posted on July 12, 2015

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This is the twenty-second in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of July 12, 2015. This message takes us into the second half of the tribulation, and details the calm before the seventh seal judgments are loosed. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

SERMON AUDIO:

Rev 8:1-6

SERMON NOTES:

v.1:

The judgments we’ve seen up to this point are mild compared to this seventh seal. The first six were just a prelude. 

The seventh seal is very important. The opening causes 30 minutes of silence. It also contains the 7 trumpet judgments and the 7 bowl judgments.
During this time, the praises that we’ve seen up till this point stop. This is a silence of awe and anticipation of the severe judgments which God is about to unleash. 

Some people see in this time of silence a Sabbath type of pause or rest. This pause occurring at the seventh seal, and the Sabbath rest occurs on the seventh day. Whether or not this is the intended symbolism may not be certain, but with God, everything has a purpose, and nothing is coincidence.

Having said that, we will see a strong similarity between the plagues of Egypt and the trumpet judgments. It stands to reason that if one is literal, the other is, as well. In fact, we have and will take a pretty literal view of the book of revelation. There seems no good reason that it should be treated differently than any other book of the Bible.

We must remember that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. These are not some hazy, indistinct symbols that can be dispelled by some vague method of interpretation.

  • 2 Peter 1:20

As in all of Scripture, when symbols are used, the key is given. Hence, we will take a far more literal approach to this book than many other expositors take. It will simply be treated like we treat the rest of Scripture.

In fact, this is the last book of the Bible, and a knowledge of the other 65 books is necessary for its understanding. How we treat those other 65 books, is our guide to how we treat Revelation. 

v.2:
The trumpets are more destructive than the seals, and less destructive than the bowls. These all occur during the last three and a half years of the tribulation. There is no definite time given, as to how long each judgment will last. . . except for the fifth trumpet, which will last 5 months

The first four trumpets announce the destruction of Earth’s ecology. The final three trumpets involve demonic devastation of Earth’s inhabitants.

vv.3-4:
Along with the trumpets, comes a censer, an altar and incense.

The censer was used to transport the fiery coals from the brazen altar to the altar of incense. The coals would ignite the incense, symbolizing the prayers of the people.

  • Revelation 5:8
  • Luke 1:8-10

It is here that we realize one huge reason for the silence in Heaven. It is to give way to the prayers of the saints. When we pray, we have God’s undivided attention, and they rise up as incense.

  • Psalm 141:2

This sweet smelling fragrance is reminiscent of the sacrifice of Christ.

  • Ephesians 5:2

It should be a humbling thing to realize that the sweet smell of the prayers of the saints, is reminiscent of Jesus’ sacrifice. Our prayers are near to God, and He will vindicate those saints who have been wronged.

  • Luke 18:7-8

God is now answering the prayers of the persecuted saints, which we saw in chapter 6. We can rest assured that we have God’s attention, and that our prayers are heard.

v.5:

  • The same coals that ignited the prayers for vindication, are now used as the beginning of that vindication.
  • The same coals that ignited the prayers of these saints, will ignite the fiery wrath of God.

The thundering, lightning, and earthquakes are but the beginning of these judgments.
v.6:
Everything is now in place, and the angels stand ready to announce the final judgments. Following these judgments will be the return of Christ.

These warnings should urge us to be sure that our faith is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. And they should urge us to do everything possible to be sure that others have also placed their faith in Christ.

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