|.1 ¶ And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.|| Seventh
seal Opening this final seal completes the responses to the accusations
of Satan against the righteous. All are all answered by judgment. In chapter
5 we saw Satan as the strong angel who asked who is worthy?
Silence This time is just before the return of Christ. Our clue for understanding comes from the seven days of soul searching in the ark before the earth was destroyed by the flood. See the page which examines this and similar times of silence elsewhere in the Bible.
Half an hour We can calculate this as about one week in literal time which points to Noah's experience as the source of imagery note 1b and hence to understanding more about this brief time.
|2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.||Seven angels before God The trumpets sounded warnings. Because the silence is a brief time of soul searching at the coming of Jesus, the appearance of the trumpet angels comes earlier. We examine the time relationships of the trumpet calls below.|
|.3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.||
angel Christ our mediator
Much incense This pictures a time of serious trial and preparation for the people of God ps14102.
| 4 And the smoke of the
incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before
God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
- Smoke ... incense The golden altar was also
called the altar of incense. The smoke arising represent the prayers that
go up to God ro0834,
5 - Earth ... voices The time of trouble associated with the coming of Christ da1201.
|.6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.||Angels ... prepared ...to sound How could the warnings of the trumpet angels come after the wrath they warn about? The verses are not in chronological sequence. See on re0802d, re0120. For the timing of the messages, see on v2 below.|
As with other scenes
in the apocalypse, the symbols draw on a number of stories or situations
familiar to readers of the Bible and usually from the Old Testament. Blowing
the trumpets at the fall of Jericho is apparently the principle event for
the blowing of the trumpets
Others are the trumpet calls of Joel and of Gideon. As you read the Jericho
story, think of the connections.
| And it came to pass,
when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and,
behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his
hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or
for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the
LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship,
and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain
of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot;
for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass [surround] the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
. . . And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent." (Joshua 5:13 - 6:5; 6:16, 17)
Now let's return to the seven
angels of Revelation who sound their trumpets. Throughout the time of the
Christian church, voices have warned of apostasy and are represented by
the six daily tours around Jericho. Now, at the end, we may expect to live
out the scene of the seventh day when all seven trumpets blow. The six
trumpet calls warn against apostasy in all its forms and offer instead
peace in God before the seven last plagues are poured out and the walls
We experience increased hazard to life from disease and war, more natural disasters with more serious losses; increasing hatred from highway, to sports field, to home; and anger and corruption which causes political structures to crumble and worsening relations between nations. Although we have seen major evil in history, the world as a whole is simply going farther than ever down the path of evil and rebellion against the great God of love. We may draw several lessons from the story of Jericho.
Christ is in control. The battle is the Lord's.
Seven priests, each with a trumpet sounded their trumpets each day during the march around the city. No one spoke.
On the seventh day, those designated marched around the city seven times as the trumpets were blown. Then the people shouted and the walls came down and the city was taken. The final warning to humanity is called the loud cry re1801.
A remnant was saved from the city.
Later we will see the seventh
trumpet call as the seven last plagues.
Time relationships of the trumpet calls
The sequential nature of the first four trumpet calls is seen in our identification of the particular apostasies they warn against r08T. The transition between the first four and the three last ones (the woes) in 8:13 indicates sequence as does the transition between the fifth and sixth in 9:12. The seventh shows finality. By comparison I see the seal openings as sequential only within the first four and the last three re0601c.