*Below is Pastor Andrew’s preaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
Review: 6 Previous Seals:
(Seals1-4) 4 Horsemen
(Seal 5) Prayer of the Saints from the Alter of God
(Seal 6) Cataclysmic destruction upon the earth
Brief excursus to describe the protection of the Saints by the hand of God for all generation, til they arrive before the throne in Worship
Today’s text will bring us to the end of the seals and transition into the trumpet judgement, thus closing out the first parallel of judgement found in the book of rev.
What is amazing about the text before us today is that while it is a short passage making up but 5 verses there is much that can be unpacked form this text. It is one that leaves us pondering the greatness of God and the reality that we serve a God who hears and acts.
God is not absent.
And as we open this text coming from all the wonder a beauty of the previous two chapters where the seals are being opened and these magnificient displays of God are shown and His hand is at work brings men and women to salvation shaking the very cosmos by his work of judgement
We are then quick drawn from Song to Silence:
I. Silence in Heaven (1)
Revelation 8:1 ESV
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Following the events of the previous 6 seals we come to the conclusion of the first cycle of seven with silence breaking out in heaven.
-The silence is an interesting point to conclude with in the grand scheme of things: for some this may even seem anti-climatic:
The heavens and earth ravaged by the wrath of of His saints crying out for his justice, the glorious song that concludes chapter 7 and then into all the commotion comes nothing…..
Some have seen this as the needed silence so that God could hear the prayers of the saints.
Others have argued that the silence for 30 minutes was actually so the final judgments of the book could happen.
However goin back into the OT PROPHETS silence is seen as the overwhelming call for all people who have seen the awesome power of the Lord:
Zephaniah 1:7 ESV
Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.
Habakkuk 2:20 ESV
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
Zechariah 2:13 ESV
Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
There is a sense of overwhelming awe and majestic wonder at the majesty of God on Display that it leaves everyone silent. When the day of the Lord breaks forth it produces silence and in the silence we are struck.
The best biblical image that comes to mind of being overwhelmed by the silence was Elijah in 1 Kings:
1 Kings 19:10–13 ESV
He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
-The storms and majestic power were not what broke Him, it was the silence
-God voice and majesty seen in the silence
-Lets stop and let that sink in. for many of us silence is not an enjoyable experience:
-”Can you just sit in silence”
In our day and age silence can be painful
the half hour has been debated for generations without any success of knowledge as to its meaning. There are no direct biblical correlation to the time. (the judgements against Babylon later in the text will be about an hour 18:19)
From the Silence we are then given over to the seven Angels receiving 7 trumpets
II. Preparation for Judgement (2)
Revelation 8:2 ESV
Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
(Intentional interlocking transition)-discuss
7 Angels: options: Angels of the seven churches or the & Arch Angels of the jewish apocalyptic literature. (Biblically we see Angels as the executors of God’s Judgments)
-The Lord has heard the prayers of the Saints and is acting
For the Lord acts:
III. The Lord Acts (3-5)
Revelation 8:3–5 ESV
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
Prayers and sacrifice:
Leviticus 16:12–13 ESV
And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.
The Lord Hears their prayers:
The Lord acts on their prayers as he said he would
The Lords Judgement displayed:
A retelling in some ways of Exodus and mount Sinai
Exodus 19:16 ESV
On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.
Psalm 18:7–13 ESV
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
2nd telling of God’s Judgments: (2 more after this in parallel cycles)
Revelation 4:5 ESV
From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,
Revelation 11:19 ESV
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
Revelation 16:18–21 ESV
And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
Our lives are meant to reflect the knowledge of the coming judgment of God. It’s reality spurs us to love him and live out the faith:
Matthew 25:31–46 ESV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
2 Peter 3:10–12 ESV
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!