Sunday, September 9, 2012

When heaven becomes silent

Heaven is full of holy noise. There are songs, and harps, and mighty choruses, angels shouting, peals and thunders, and praises so loud the temple pillars shake.

"Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?”" (Revelation 5:1-2).

"Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:" (Revelation 5:11-12).

"And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke." (Isaiah 6:3-4).

"And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army." (Ezekiel 1:24).

It must be amazing! None of the noise will cacophonous, but will be perfect.

Which is why, in Revelation 8, the silence is so devastating. When Jesus breaks the 7th seal...well you read it:

"When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)

There are many conflicting interpretations as to what this means. The time period, "half an hour" is from a Greek word correctly translated half an hour, but it is the only use in the entire New Testament. In any case, it seems that the time of silence will be short, but powerful. If it is enough to stop the praises and choruses and noises otherwise heard in heaven, it must be a powerful silence!

Why the silence? Again, many interpretations. Yet they all agree that the silence is to honor the moment, acknowledging the suspense of what is coming, that the judgments are so severe, and the holiness and righteousness of Jesus to render them. If you read Revelation 8, and it is short chapter, what comes next are angels sounding the trumpets, fulfilling Jesus's judgments. A third of the grass is struck, a third of the seas are struck, and a third of the rivers are struck. Then there is an angel shouting--

“Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Revelation 8:13)

And those trumpets release the demon-locusts and then the most evil angels who'd been bound at the River Euphrates prepared for this very day and hour, to kill a third of mankind.

Woe indeed!

Some commenters say that heaven's population becomes silent at the suspense only because they do not know what is about to happen. But the church is there, and the Tribulation martyrs of Revelation 5 are there and we've read the bible so we know the judgments.

I'll throw out another possibility, my own opinion. Judgments are falling, due to sin. In the Seal judgments of Revelation 6, the chapter ends with the the 6th seal being opened, and the population of earth shouting that it is 'the wrath of the Lamb, and who can stand, the great day has come.' (Revelation 6:16-17 paraphrase). So they know by now that these are not just coincidental events, like the people claim today. They know it is not Mother Nature, or Global Warming, but that it is the Day of Judgment and wrath from God. The difference between the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet judgments, is that by the 6th Seal they KNOW it is God and nothing else.

In Revelation 7 the scene shifts away from judgment. In the first half of Revelation 7 we are told that 144,000 are sealed, and they go forth proclaiming Jesus to the world. In the second half of Revelation 7, the martyrs are in heaven and singing. By the end of Revelation 7 the seventh seal has not been opened yet.

Revelation 8 begins with that last seal opened and that is when there is silence. The difference between the Seal Judgments past and the Trumpet Judgments about to come is that by now the people who dwell on the earth know it is judgment time from God. They know.

Revelation 8 ends with four of the seven trumpets having been blown, and the angel shouting woe because the next three are about to be blown and the three judgments accompanying them are terrible.

So the heavenly population is stunned into silence for the reasons mentioned above: suspense and awe at the severity of what is to come. But I also think it is a holy fear. The remaining trumpets are blown and the horrors of hell on earth are indescribable....

...And yet they do not repent.

THAT is what I think stuns them into silence.

"The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts." (Revelation 9:20-21).

The earth's people know it is Jesus judging them, and yet they do not repent. They continue sinning!!

I'm stunned on earth now at those who do not repent, and I can't imagine how I would feel standing in the presence of Holy Jesus and knowing the earth's people do not repent even when woes are piled on them and they know it is Jesus. I'd be stunned into silence at the situation. Anyway it is just my own thought. But the silence in heaven at that moment, for whatever reason it happens, is monumental to contemplate especially when compared to the previous verses we are blessed to read of the heavenly noise!

The movie starring Richard Harris, The Apocalypse of John, has in this excerpt toward the end of the 4 minutes, the scene when Jesus breaks open the seal and heaven is silent. No exultation, no praise, no thunder, no harps, no hallelujahs. Just silence and awe.

1 comment:

  1. I think the answer to your question (why won't people repent even when the wrath of God is upon them) can be observed in Psalm 10 v 4. Then further backed by Proverbs 16:18. PRIDE, is the very essence of refusing to recognize God and His truths. I can can do it, I know the way, I can be greater (what Satan said) than the Most High. Proverbs explains very plainly that approach goes before destruction. Rebellion and pride go hand in hand and would explain partially why even faced with the prospect of physical and spiritual destruction a person would deny Christ. Pride can become so entrenched in our lives we will develop a hardened heart incapable of repentance. Some of those who claim to have secret knowledge of God's principals and receive special prophetic guidance sound pretty prideful....Hopefully those who recognize the mis-alignment to God's Word pray for the lost. Then if possible in love question the individual specifically to show them in God's word the confirmation of what they're saying. Even some of the disciples got full of themselves and Jesus gently corrected them by calling a child to Himself saying, "You must become like one of these"

    May God continue to instruct us in His ways with grace, mercy, compassion, and paitence.

    ReplyDelete

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