“When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour.” – Revelation 8:1 (NLT)
God may be silent, but He is never absent. The scroll represents God’s plan for the rest of Revelation. The seven seals demonstrate how this plan is complete and perfect. Jesus breaks the last seal, opens the scroll, and begins judgment.
Preceding the intense scene of judgment is silence—not a word in heaven for thirty minutes. Why? Silence starkly contrasts the jarring scene of war that follows, but something else is also happening. God is listening to the prayers of His people. At the beginning of Revelation 8, gold bowls with incense represent the prayers of God’s children. In a beautiful description, the smoke of these prayers ascends to God as heaven is silent.
Heaven is listening. God is listening. He’s not absent but rather very present. And it’s these prayers that become the catalyst for judgment. So what does this text mean for you today? First, God always hears you. Second, your prayers have power. They work! But future events must happen in God’s timing. You cannot know the future, but you can know God is there. Prayer will help you get there.
We’ll discuss more on Sunday, but Revelation 9 describes what happens when spiritual and human warfare collides. The spiritual, unseen world becomes seen and invades the physical world. This chapter has many interpretations, but I believe John is describing the fusion of modern warfare with spiritual warfare.