“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” (Rev 8:1)
“With the opening of the previous six seals, John witnessed startling events, but when the seventh seal is broken—the last and the most significant of a series because the others led up to it—
Nothing! This example of the Apostle’s patient obedience, this demonstration of loyalty—that is, his waiting in the midst of profound silence for one-half hour before the recurrence of sound and visual movement (without prior explanation or direction indicated)—to most persons would seem psychologically interminable. No doubt John sensed that the literal silence he was experiencing had some spiritual significance. It perhaps heightened and intensified, rather than dampened or diminished, his ardor or his curiosity as to the reason for this absence of sound.
Silence in Heaven
In which “heaven” does the silence occur?
(A) God’s throne or the angelic realm where ceaseless activity and works ever abound (Psa 121:4);
(B) The literal starry heaven or
(C) Earth’s atmosphere, both of which are in themselves characteristically silent;
(D) The nominal ecclesiastical heavens, which are feverishly engaged in missionary efforts (Hab 2:13,14; Isa 26:18) and are to pass away with a great noise (2 Pet 3:10); or
(E) The circumstance of consecrated believers, who are portrayed in the present life as seated in communion with Christ in a heavenly or spiritual condition (Eph 1:3; 2:6)?
The last or (E) heaven is the location of the silence.
In what sense can it be said there will be a heavenly half hour of silence in the spiritual life of the Christian here on earth below during the time period of the seventh seal?
It is replied: A marked sense of alienation, a feeling of want of instruction, a temporary lack of communication with God—all these sensations will be experienced by those individuals who prove not fortunate enough to be identified with the Very Elect (the Elijah class) as participants in the spirit (invisible) translation of the last members of the Church in the flesh.
Is there a precedent in Scripture that would illustrate this point?
Yes. Prior to his ascension to heaven in a cloud, Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait there for further instruction (a reference to receiving the Holy Spirit of light and understanding). The apostles heeded the admonition and went to the city, where they waited behind locked doors because they feared the Jews. They remained there for ten days—waiting. Then, in the due time, the Pentecostal descent of the Holy Spirit fell upon them. They heard the sound of a mighty wind, felt the house tremor, and saw tongues of fire appear on the head of each one assembled there. When this strange happening subsided, each found he could speak in some foreign tongue or dialect. The appearance of tongue-shaped flames on their heads signified that the Holy Spirit had given them this ability as a gift. Henceforth, this prior sign proved to be a symbol of their capability not only to speak various languages, but to do so with power and authority (John 14:26; 16:8; Acts 1:3–5,12–14; 2:1–4). One noteworthy point should be kept in mind: The waiting period of silence and inactivity back there was punctuated, at its conclusion, by a startling and dramatic event—a demonstration of wind, shaking, and fire.
While the ten-day waiting period of the disciples is the key to understanding Rev 8:1, another comparison should be fastened in memory. Jesus completed his sacrifice on Calvary, rose from the dead the third day, confirmed his resurrection and presence in divers manners throughout a forty-day period, and then ascended on high. All these events PRECEDED the commencement of the session of silence marked by the risen Lord’s ascent to heaven itself.
The apostles, as representatives of the “Kingdom of heaven” class, tarried in a locked room in silence . . . without getting a response. But in the angelic realm, in the courts of heaven, during this same spiritual interval of the absence of sound, a far different condition prevailed. Jesus was being honored and feted above, in that heaven. During the time of silence down here, there was jubilation up there, the cry going forth, “Worthy the Lamb!” Things down on earth were temporarily forgotten, as it were, and given secondary consideration.
No doubt the guardian angels appointed to watch over the saints on earth were assigned split shifts to enable them to participate in some portion of the celebration so that the whole host of heaven could share in the acclamation. Recognition of Jesus’ worthiness was of primary importance, and God, the Father, in His foreknowledge, had allowed a sufficiency of time—ten days—for those in the spirit realm to honor His Son with a spontaneous outburst of emotions and to see his glorification. Thus it was after this festivity in heaven, and after the formal presentation of Jesus’ redeeming merit on behalf of Justice, that the Pentecostal blessing came upon the waiting apostles.
Continued with next post.
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