Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:1-5, the Seventh Seal and Silence in Heaven



A Bible study


Revelation 8:1-6

NASB
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets

1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might [a]add it to the prayers of all the [b]saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [c]with the prayers of the [d]saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel [e]took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.

[a] Lit give – [b] Or holy ones – [c] Or for – [d] V 3, note 2 – [e] Lit has taken


Thoughts

With this post I hope to continue to present expositions from Church History. Many of these excerpts are historicist and premillennial. Sadly, I will have to stop posting excerpts from modern book authors whose works are still under copyright, such as, the beautiful amillennialist commentary by William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors. The posts that I’ve finished which include Hendriksen and the historicist Oral Edmond Colins will have to be edited. 

I hope there is something here that is truly helpful to you! I’m trying to find the best things available to me.


Related passages

Habakkuk 2:20

“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
[u]Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

[u] Lit Hush before Him, all the earth

Zechariah 2:13

[a] Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

[a] Lit Hush

Zephaniah 1:7

[a] Be silent before the Lord [b]God!
For the day of the Lord is near,
For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated His guests.

[a] Lit Hush – [b] Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 8

John Gill was a premillennialist and historicist.

Verse 1
.
there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour; . . this is to be understood of that peace and rest which the church enjoyed upon Constantine’s having defeated all his enemies, when he brought the church into a state of profound tranquillity and ease; and this lasted but for a little while, which is here expressed by about, or almost half an hour, as the Syriac version renders it; for in a short time the Arian heresy broke out, which introduced great troubles in the church, and at last violent persecutions. . .”

 


A 19th Century Explanation of the 3rd Century Expositor Victorinus

Horae Apocalypticae

Appendix to Vol. IV.  Part I. A Sketch of the History of Apocalyptic Interpretation.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Good news: I found Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a download pdf file format on Puritan Downloads at a very fair price (it is four volumes). The full title is Horae Apocalypticae; or, A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Critical and Historical; Including Also An Examination of the Chief Prophecies of Daniel (1862, 4 Volume Set) by E. B. Elliott. Thank you, Lord!

The Last Prophecy - Abridged version of Edward Bishop Elliott's Horae Apocalypticae - Abridged Version 2015

Abridged version by Elliott himself – Amazon Kindle link

According to Reformed Books Online, Edward Elliott was an “historicist premillennial.” Charles Spurgeon considered Elliott’s work the standard on the subject (Wikipedia). 

Victorinus (d. A.D. 303 or 304) wrote the earliest professed and continuous Apocalyptic Commentary now extant. He died a martyr for the Faith during the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution.

Elliott on Victorinus: “In Apoc. viii. the half-hour’s silence figured the beginning of eternal rest; one half-hour only being mentioned, to signify the subject’s then breaking off. For chronological order is not followed in the Apocalypse:[78] but the Holy Spirit, when he has come to the chronological end, returns often, and repeats, by the way of supplement. . .

“Next comes the vision of the incense-offering Angel. Victorinus supposes this incense-offering to depict the prayers of saints: (specially, on Antichrist’s reign approaching, the prayer that they may not enter into temptation:) the Angel being figured, because Angels offer the prayers of the Church, as well as pour out wrath on Antichrist’s kingdom; which wrath was signified alike in the seven trumpets and seven vials, the one set of symbolizations supplying what was omitted in the other.[79]”


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th and 20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 1 

And when he opened (kai otan hnoixen). Here modal an is used with ote (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but otan is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true ( Mark 3:11 ; Revelation 4:9 ), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973). There followed a silence (egeneto sigh). Second aorist middle of ginomai. “There came silence.” Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Mark 10:4About the space of half an hour (w hmiwron). Late and rare word (hmi, half, wra, hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 8:1-6 The Seventh Seal

“Out of the Seventh Seal came the Seven Trumpets. The Double Seven is thought to emphasize the idea of Totality. Thus in the Two Sevens, chapters 6 to 11, are outlined the Struggle, and the Complete, Final, Everlasting Victory of Christ over the ‘Kingdoms of the World’ (11:15).

“‘Prayers of the Saints’ (8:3,4). God about to Answer the Cries of the Martyrs of 6:9,10. Answer, the Awful Judgments of the Seven Trumpets. It seems to indicate the Prayer has some influence with God in shaping the course of history.

“‘The Half Hour’s Silence’ and ‘Thunders, Lightnings, Earthquake’ (8:1,5), may imply Momentous Events in the making.”


 

9 thoughts on “Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:1-5, the Seventh Seal and Silence in Heaven

  1. The prayers upon the alter in this chapter. What do they represent? It states that they are prayers of all the saints. These prayers cannot be all of the prayers of all the saints, but likely are all the prayers that are unanswered, but that God intends to answer. The 30 min. of silence in heaven is likely in anticipation and preparation of this answer. We know that saints had prayed “how long Oh Lord before you will avenge… “ how many times have we prayed that or a similar prayer, that has yet to be answered, but that we know will be answered?
    The prayers that are mixed with incense from the angel are about to be answered in the trumpets and bowles to come. The silence could be in recognition of that fact.

    Liked by 1 person

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