John’s vision of God’s throne room continues as the seventh seal is removed from the scroll by the Lamb:
“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” (Rev 8:1-4).
When the seventh seal is removed and the judgment can be seen in writing, everyone in the throne room – the angels and the redeemed – is overcome with a deafening silence for thirty minutes.
This is a surprise picture of perfect unity with God, in obedience to an earlier command: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). As the world around us grows louder and more chaotic every day, perhaps we should consider worship services that utilize silent prayer for thirty minutes, awed by the presence of God?
In Johns’ vision, after this period of total quiet, the seven angels who stand before God are each given a trumpet. Before each trumpet is blown, an eighth angel stands at the altar with a golden censer, which was well known to the Old Testament worshipers in the Tabernacle of Moses. Incense was burned in the censer, and the aroma and the smoke rose up to God for his pleasure. This time in heaven, however, it was quite different:
“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” (Rev 8:5).
Clearly, this captures the disunity of humanity from God. Is God’s judgment now at hand? Or is what we are enduring right now a warning of worse things to come?
Prayers of the saints, fire from the altar of God thrown on the earth, peals of thunder, flashes of lightning amid unusual tornadoes with flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. Is it possible that “climate change” is actually the judgment of God, with the droughts, 100 MPH winds, and the winter blizzards (all of which happened in the past two weeks?
Are the Colorado wildfires thrown down from heaven, at least figuratively? Are all those believers who have died in the past two years from a man-made virus now watching from the throne room of God along with Jesus? Could our present misery be the beginning of the Great Tribulation? Are the leaders of rogue countries actually the rebelling angels thrown down from heaven in their rebellion against God? We cannot say for certain.
Ponder this as we move forward to the seven trumpets. Rather than change the entire financial system of world commerce, should we perhaps fall to our knees now in repentance, before it is too late?
Most people know me more as the “cockeyed optimist, not the purveyor of doom. But the parallels between Revelation and Reality are intriguing. Give thanks to our Lord Jesus, the Lamb, who will ultimately save us from whatever is coming and welcome us to his ultimate rule when he returns!