The Seventh Seal
The Seventh Seal contains the seven Trumpets and the seven Bowls are part of the seventh Trumpet. In Revelation 5:1 John saw a book (scroll) which God was holding. In it contained the Seven Seals. This scroll is the “Title Deed to the earth.” (MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999], 164)
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“The seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven personalities, and the seven vials or bowls of wrath all concern the same period, but from a different angle.” (McGee. Thru the Bible: Volume V: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 958)
- In the seven seals we see the judgment which is the result of man’s willful activity.
- In the seven trumpets, to which we are coming in this chapter, we see the judgment which is the direct activity of God.
- When we come to the seven personalities, we will see the judgment which is the result of Satan’s fight against God.
- Satan will be brought out in the open at that time.
- In the seven bowls of wrath, we will see the final judgement of the Great Tribulation, which is the direct activity of God because of man’s and Satan’s rebellion—God will judge both, by way. (McGee, 958)
Opening Seventh Seal
The Lamb [Jesus] opened the seventh seal
Then there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour
After all the worship and praise there was silence
The first verse I think of is Psalm 46:10 and I like the KJV for this verse:
Be still, and know that I am God
In this case judgment is about to begin and those in heaven anxiously wait for it to happen. (MacArthur, 237)
“Men are not lost because they are sinners; they are lost because they have rejected Jesus who died for them.” (McGee, 959)
And those who reject Jesus will be judged!
2. I saw the seven angels which stood before God
These angels are called the “presence angels.” (MacArthur, 238)
And to them were given seven trumpets.
“In the Old Testament trumpets were used:
- Summon the congregation of Israel Numbers 10:2
- Sound the alarm in time of war Numbers 10:9 2 Chronicles 13:12 Ezekiel 33:3
- Religious feasts Numbers 10:10 Psalm 81:3
- Announce news 1 Samuel 13:3
- Acclaim new kings 1 Kings 1:34, 39
- In worship 1 Chronicles 16:6,42 2 Chronicles 5:12-13
- Zephaniah 1:14-16 associates trumpets with the Day of the Lord.
- Announce the Rapture 1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Thessalonians 4:16
- This chapter associates them with the judgments of that Day Revelation 8:6-13 (MacArthur, 239)
The trumpet was a “metal instrument of the first century (a long tube with a mouthpiece and a flared end) usually connected with warfare (1 Corinthians 14:8)”. Easley. Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 142)
3. Another angel came and stood at the altar
See Exodus 30 (specifically verse 3) for a description of the earthly altar.
Here the altar is the heavenly counterpart to the earthly altar. (MacArthur, 240)
Holding a golden censer
“A ‘censer’ is a bowl or firepan designed for holding live coals and incense.” (Easley, 142)
“Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist,” was burning incense in the Holy of Holies when an angel (Gabriel Luke 1) appeared and told him he would have a son. (MacArthur, 240)
The burning of incense symbolized prayers ascending to God. (MacArthur, 240)
That he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
“Now the prayers of all the saints are added to the cries of the martyrs at this golden altar which was before the throne of God.” [NIV] (Easley, 142)
4. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints,
“The effectiveness of incense is measured by its smoke.” (Easley, 143)
Ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
God “is in agreement with the cries of the saints as they come into His presence, from which the seven trumpet judgments will be released”. (MacArthur, 241)
5. The silence is over!
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar
“The people of the earth, having rejected the death of Christ for the judgment of their sins, must now bear the judgment for their own sins. The Great Tribulation is going to get under way.” (McGee, 962)
The angel filled the censer with fire from the altar!
Cast it to the earth
God’s judgment is beginning.
God is answering the prayers of the saints. James 5:16
And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
It will not take long for the effects to hit the earth.
Also, it happened on earth when the Israelites were near Mount Sinai where “God revealed himself to Moses and the people.” (Easley, 143) Exodus 19:16-19
McGee gave us the following to explain the thunder, sounds, lightning, and an earthquake.
“’Thunders’ denotes the approach of the coming storm of God’s judgment.”
“’Voices’ (sounds – KJV) reveals that this is the intelligent direction of God and not the purposeless working of natural forces. God is in charge.”
“’Lightnings’ follow the thunder.”
“The ‘earthquake’ is the earth’s response to the severe pressure which will be placed upon it during the judgment of the Great Tribulation Period.” (962)
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Quotations from Easley are taken from:
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983