Saturday, June 06, 2015


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

I have known many women, who by the ninth month of their pregnancy, are yearning to have a baby.  There is no recollection, however, of any of them saying, “I can’t wait to experience labor pains!”  You can’t have one without the other—the wait that seems interminable and then the period of pain that feels immeasurable, when the baby begins his or her journey from the birth canal.  The joy of holding that newborn drives away the memory of the labor—new life emerging from when a mother feels as close to death as she can without dying herself.  That is what Jesus says the end of the age will bring.  In Matthew 24, our Lord calls the horrors that convulse the planet, “the beginning of sorrows,” which literally means, “labor pains.”  The signs mentioned—earthquakes, wars, famines, and the like—have all been present in this period of earth’s “pregnancy,” just as a woman has certain discomfort during the whole pregnancy—morning sickness, back pain, and such—sometimes more, sometimes less.  Yet, when it comes time for the baby’s arrival there is a dramatic intensifying of those pains in wave upon wave.  Just so, that final seven years, and in particular the last three and one half years, bring earth’s contractions leading for the delivery of a new world order in which righteousness dwells!

Before that last push—there is a hush in heaven (Rev.8:1-6).  This is the calm before the storm.  It is like the stillness of a hot, humid summer night that hangs heavy over all—when suddenly a wind stirs, lightning flashes, and a thunderclap signals a breaking storm.  Just so, this silence in heaven is a prelude to the storm of judgment.  Six seals of the scroll—the title deed to the universe—have been opened by the Lamb of God (Rev.6).  With the breaking of each seal, a terrible judgment has broken on the Christ-rejecting world.  After an interlude of sealing 144,000 Jews and saving a multitude of Gentiles (Rev.7), the next chapter brings the opening of the seventh seal, and a holy hush in heaven.  That is a place always filled with praise, streets echoing with singing saints and joyful greetings, but not now.  The Judge has come into the courtroom.  All gathered there are silent.  The condemned awaits the pronouncing of the sentence.  Quiet reigns—the pause is pregnant with meaning.

Then the gavel falls (Rev.8:7-13)!  Beneath the seventh seal, there are seven trumpets that will sound, and each trumpet blast brings a judgment.  Four of those trumpet judgments are described in this chapter.  Trumpet one sounds—hail and fire destroy one third of earth’s vegetation (v.7).  Trumpet two sounds—what may well be an asteroid strikes the sea with the force of a nuclear explosion and tidal waves decimate the ships and the shoreline (v.8-9).  The third trumpet sounds—a comet with poisonous gas or a meteor with radioactive matter disintegrates on entering the atmosphere, poisoning a third of the fresh water (v.10-11).  The fourth trumpet sounds—smoke from the fires and dust from the impacts upon earth fill the skies with a third of the light is dimmed by the cloud.

You do not want to hear those trumpets of doom.  You want to hear the trumpet of deliverance (1 Thess.4:16-17)!  Give your life to Jesus; flee to Him for salvation!

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