“A Great Storm Approaches” Part 26
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half
an hour.” (Rev 8:1)
“With the opening of the previous six seals, John witnessed startling events, but when the seventh seal is
broken—the last and the most significant of a series because the others led up to it—what happens?
Nothing! This example of the Apostle’s patient obedience, this demonstration of loyalty—that is, his
waiting in the midst of profound silence for one-half hour before the recurrence of sound and visual
movement (without prior explanation or direction indicated)—to most persons would seem psychologically
interminable. No doubt John sensed that the literal silence he was experiencing had some spiritual
significance. It perhaps heightened and intensified, rather than dampened or diminished, his ardor or his
curiosity as to the reason for this absence of sound.
Silence in Heaven
In which “heaven” does the silence occur? Is it (a) God’s throne or the angelic realm where ceaseless
activity and works ever abound (Psa 121:4); (b) the literal starry heaven or (c) earth’s atmosphere,
both of which are in themselves characteristically silent; (d) the nominal ecclesiastical heavens, which are
feverishly engaged in missionary efforts (Hab 2:13,14; Isa 26:18) and are to pass away with a great
noise (2 Pet 3:10); or (e) the circumstance of consecrated believers, who are portrayed in the present
life as seated in communion with Christ in a heavenly or spiritual condition (Eph 1:3; 2:6)?
The last or (e) heaven is the location of the silence.
In what sense can it be said there will be a heavenly half hour of silence in the spiritual life of
the Christian here on earth below during the time period of the seventh seal?
It is replied: A marked sense of alienation, a feeling of want of instruction, a temporary lack of
communication with God—all these sensations will be experienced by those individuals who prove not
fortunate enough to be identified with the Very Elect as participants in the spirit (invisible) rapture of the
last members of the Church in the flesh.
Is there a precedent in Scripture that would illustrate this point? Yes. Prior to his ascension to
heaven in a cloud, Jesus told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait there for further instruction (a
reference to receiving the Holy Spirit of light and understanding). The apostles heeded the admonition
and went to the city, where they waited behind locked doors because they feared the Jews. They
remained there for ten days—waiting. Then, in the due time, the Pentecostal descent of the Holy Spirit fell
upon them. They heard the sound of a mighty wind, felt the house tremor, and saw tongues of fire
appear on the head of each one assembled there. When this strange happening subsided, each found he
could speak in some foreign tongue or dialect. The appearance of tongue-shaped flames on their heads
signified that the Holy Spirit had given them this ability as a gift. Henceforth, this prior sign proved to be a
symbol of their capability not only to speak various languages, but to do so with power and authority
(John 14:26; 16:8; Acts 1:3–5,12–14; 2:1–4). One noteworthy point should be kept in mind:
The waiting period of silence and inactivity back there was punctuated, at its conclusion, by a
startling and dramatic event—a demonstration of wind, shaking, and fire.
While the ten-day waiting period of the disciples is the key to understanding Verse 1, another comparison
should be fastened in memory. Jesus completed his sacrifice on Calvary, rose from the dead the third day,
confirmed his resurrection and presence in divers manners throughout a forty-day period, and then
ascended on high. All these events preceded the commencement of the session of silence marked
by the risen Lord’s ascent to heaven itself.
The apostles, as representatives of the “Kingdom of heaven” class, tarried in a locked room in silence . .
. without getting a response. But in the angelic realm, in the courts of heaven, during this same spiritual
interval of the absence of sound, a far different condition prevailed. Jesus was being honored and feted
above, in that heaven. During the time of silence down here, there was jubilation up there, the cry going
forth, “Worthy the Lamb!” Things down on earth were temporarily forgotten, as it were, and given
No doubt the guardian angels appointed to watch over the saints on earth were assigned split shifts to
enable them to participate in some portion of the celebration so that the whole host of heaven could share
in the acclamation. Recognition of Jesus’ worthiness was of primary importance, and God, the Father, in
His foreknowledge, had allowed a sufficiency of time—ten days—for those in the spirit realm to honor His
Son with a spontaneous outburst of emotions and to see his glorification. Thus it was after this festivity
in heaven, and after the formal presentation of Jesus’ redeeming merit on behalf of Justice, that the
Pentecostal blessing came upon the waiting apostles.
Adequate consideration having been given to the last events of the Lord’s life at the First Advent, and to
the experience of the apostles at that time—these being a basis for understanding the future period of
silence referred to in the Apocalypse, the silence that will occur at this end of the age—attention will now
be focused on concluding events yet to come.
The lesson is that down here at the end of the Gospel Age, between the completion of the sacrifice of the
last members of the elect body of The Christ and the future Time of Trouble, there will be a jubilation
period in heaven above concurrent with a momentary void in the lives of those remaining below. Thus the
seventh-seal silence refers to a situation somewhat similar to the closing events of the First Advent. The
comparison is to the departure of the last members of the Little Flock beyond the veil of flesh
while the secondary or Great Company class is left behind to await renewed strength and
further investiture of the Holy Spirit.
When The Christ is complete, the half hour of silence will occur, preceding the earthquake. In
other words, the silence will take place between the completion of the sacrifice and the Time of Trouble
(the full outbreak of the Great Storm). It will accentuate the earthquake, and the earthquake will
punctuate the silence. During this interim period, the Church will be formally presented to the
Father and given their reward. After their grand entrance (2 Pet 1:11), God has a time
scheduled—the exact length of which is unknown (perhaps six months more or less) —that will
be a waiting period for the Great Company class.
Very likely, the expression “about the space of half an hour” is meant to be commensurate with
the last half of the future “hour” of power of the beast in Revelation 17:12.
The Great Company will wait down here during the silence, realizing they have missed out on the
high calling, sensing an experience of withdrawal and alienation, and wondering where they
stand with the Lord. The Bride will have made herself ready (Rev 19:7), and the Great Company will be
deeply disappointed and chagrined at first, for but ever so brief a moment of time, that they were not
chosen by the Lord. They will realize they have not been as faithful to their vows of consecration as they
could have been. As a result, they will begin an introspection and examination of their lives and say, “I
know the Lord has not been pleased with me to the extent of choosing me as his Bride, but I
love the Lord, not the world, and now I need his forgiveness.” Accordingly, this class will cry unto
the Lord for help. Thus the period of silence will be beneficial in that it will awaken the Great Company to
their shortcomings and a realization of their need for more of the Holy Spirit.”
(“The Keys of Revelation”, Pages 201-205)
Continued with next post.
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