Summary: When the seventh seal is broken, we seen three preparations for judgment. 1. A shattering silence. 2. The instruments of judgment. 3. The signs of the coming judgment begin upon earth.
Now we come to the seventh seal. Remember that the seals are not part of the scroll. They only bind it and keep it together. So the seal judgments that we have seen and will see tonight are events that happen before the end time itself. So, thus far, we are still before the Great Tribulation.
When the seventh seal is broken, we seen three preparations for judgment.
1. A shattering silence.
2. The instruments of judgment.
3. The signs of the coming judgment begin upon earth.
READ v. 1. Here is that shattering silence. A young man told a preacher one time, “Did you know that there won’t be any women in heaven?” The preacher said he had never heard of that and asked if he had any Scripture to back it up. He said, “Yes. The Bible says that there is going to be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. If there were any women there, there couldn’t be any silence for that long!”
So the seventh seal is opened and there is silence. This was the silence of awe and of reverence before God. So when the seventh seal is opened, nothing happens. Christ stands there in silence.
READ 2 – 4. We first see 7 angels with 7 trumpets. Picture this scene:
- Picture the heavenly host surrounding the throne of God.
- Picture all the spectacular scenes, horror, and suffering that have been witnessed.
- Picture the breaking of the seventh seal and the stone silence for 30 minutes.
- Then bursting into view are 7 mighty angels taking their place before the throne of God. Picture them standing there tall and broad. The power they possess is clearly seen in their very persons.
What significance do these trumpets have? William Barclay gives us something to think about. He gives three reasons for the blowing of a trumpet.
1. It can sound the alarm. It can waken from sleep or warn of danger. And God is always sounding His warnings in the ears of men.
2. It can be the fanfare which announces the arrival of royalty. It is a fitting symbol to express the invasion of time by the King of eternity.
3. It can be the summons to battle. And God is always summoning His people to take sides in the strife of truth with falsehood, and to become soldiers of the King of kings.
So that is the first instrument of judgment, the seven trumpets.
The second instrument of judgment is the prayers of all the saints or believers. Notice that these are the prayers of all the saints. Some were in heaven and some were still on earth. We have already seen in chapter 7 how million will be killed and persecuted.
The point is that the day is coming when God is going to answer the prayers of His people. All who have rebelled against Jesus will be judged. All his followers who suffered so much at the hands of a godless society are going to have their prayers heard and answered.
READ 5. Now we see the signs of the coming judgment upon earth. The angel takes the fire from the altar and mixes it with the prayers of the suffering saints. They are mixed together to be cast upon the earth. The justice of God will strike out in wrath against the ungodly and evil of the earth.
And when this fire and prayers hits the earth, the millions still on earth will know something terrible is about to happen because there are violent thunderstorms and earthquakes. The great tribulation is now being launched.
READ 6 & 7. Now the silence is over. The prayers of the saints have been heard. The plagues here are not symbolic, they are literal. The first trumpet sounds and it begins to hail intermingled with fire and blood. We are reminded of one of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians in Exodus 9.
One-third of the earth will be destroyed. The crops and food supply for both man and animal will be destroyed. The agricultural cycle of seed formation will be interrupted and effect the ability to plant again. There will be a shortage of food. Dry, desert lands will result from the destruction of trees. One-third of the vegetation will be destroyed.
READ 8 & 9. The second trumpet sounds. Note the exact language used here. John doesn’t say a burning mountain but a great mass LIKE a burning mountain. This literal mass falls into the literal sea. The sea occupies most of the earth’s surface by the way.
One-third becomes literal blood, and one-third of all the literal living creatures in the literal sea die a literal death. No symbols here. On-third of the nations’ ships will be destroyed.