The Lamb of God opens the seventh and final seal, and John writes that silence befell all of heaven for 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes is a long time without hearing a word or peep from anything. There are a handful of moments that I remember where I longed for some kind of word or sound to break the deafening silence. Maybe, like me, you have experienced the odd stillness and silence after the loss of the first parent/grandparent, a time of losing an unborn child, watching the space shuttle Challenger explosion with a classroom of peers, the declaration of war, 9/11, experiencing a house fire, living through a major earthquake (1989 Loma Prieta), hearing about the first mass shooting in high school (Columbine), or hearing for the first time that you have a large unknown mass in an organ.

Those moments are life-shaping and life-altering. We long for the silence to be broken by words that may bring immediate comfort and reassurance. And so, knowing that heaven is a place where there is no pain, no tears, no suffering, it must be notable that John’s vision speaks to the heavenly realm being prepared for something new to begin. Thankfully, heaven is spared from the realities that are taking place below as the final seal is opened.

For several chapters, you and I have been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride as we read John’s vision. As the seals have been opened and anticipated, we have traveled in John’s vision experiencing the hope of things as we climb to the top of the rollercoaster, to then feel the desperation and need for God as we crest at the top and see that there is more devastation and loss ahead of this world.

For you and I, we need to remember what hope we have read in Chapters 5 and 7 as we read the judgment of all that will take place here on earth in Chapter 8. Thankfully, Chapters 5 and 7 speak to hope and promise for those who have believed and walked in faith with Christ. There is nothing for believers to fear in Chapter 8. For those who know the story about Jesus dying on the cross and descending to the dead, we know about the eyewitnesses who saw darkness fall when Jesus died and the eerie silence of waiting three days to know if Jesus would accomplish the mission.  

Psalm 62:5-6 reads, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”

Questions for reflection:

  1. When home alone, do you like silence or do you have to have some noise going on?
  2. How would reading Chapter 8 be read if we didn’t have the words in Chapters 5 and 7 to recall?

Let us echo the prayer Martin Luther prayed, “O comforter of priceless worth. Send peace and unity on earth; support us in our final strife, and lead us out of death to life. Amen.”

Old Testament reading: Hosea 8-10