The Seventh Seal
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets.
Silence in heaven for half an hour . . .
Quietness and rest is the heritage of the people of God. Even in the midst of all this mayhem on earth, heaven observes a period of silence. This is the portion at the end of the age for all who abide in Christ.
But the question is: Who is abiding in Christ? The day will reveal it. For it is possible to be a believer in Jesus and yet not abide in Him. Abiding in Christ suggests an intimate connection, a hearing, a joyful, understanding obedience from the heart. It’s not a mere assent to a set of doctrines. Abiding in Christ is much more. It’s a personal, continual, and mutually refreshing, reciprocal relationship with the Lord of glory.
Then another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, rose up before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder, and rumblings, and flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
I never thought there was much to the seventh seal. Or the seventh trumpet, for that matter. We were always taught the seventh seal brings on the seventh trumpet. I never knew what all this censor and fire and thunder and lightening business was all about. But as Bill and I were talking about it today, God showed us.
After the silence, the seven angels assemble. Then an angel comes and stands before the altar and performs this work of the incense. He is offering up incense with the prayers of the saints to purify the prayers and make them more pleasing to God.
This angel is doing a particular work with a particular set of prayers. We might ask who is praying at this point. Likely not the misguided church who for the most part hasn’t been faithful to listen to or gain the ear of God thus far. These prayers are different. When they are prayed, they receive some serious attention from the angel with the censor. Who else could be praying?
How about those 144,000 newly sealed saints of God from Chapter 6? Here is what happens. The seal on the forehead opens their perceptual system. Suddenly these saints are filled with understanding, and they begin to pray. But these are not the prayers we typically hear on earth today: “Oh God, please heal aunt Sally’s bursitis.” Or “Oh, God save me from this plague,” prayers which often go no higher than the ceiling. But instead, these people are praying with insight into the heavenly mindset. They are praying prayers and catching their vision from on high.
We know this because as soon as their prayers are offered up, they release the angel with the golden censor. The prayers are already a far sight better than the aunt Sally prayers of the rest, but they still need a little something, and this angel adds it. And look what happens as a result. The angel throws thunderings and lightenings and all sorts of stuff heavenly stuff down to the earth. Their prayers may have needed some extra incense, but whatever they were praying it was enough to release the angel with the censor, and down comes power from on high, empowering the 144,000 for acts of service.
Who are these 144,000 anyway? The 144,000 are the last days’ army of saints who are sent out during the trumpet period to be God’s hands and feet on earth. Whereas most of the faithful in God’s church have been martyred in the fifth seal (think of it—not raptured but martyred) the 144,000 are actually a part of this number. They are resurrected saints elected by God from among the martyrs to minister during the trumpet period.
They’ve died, and they’ve received their resurrection bodies; they are first fruits to God in the sense that they are the first fruits of the first resurrection. Physically, they are like Jesus was when he came to earth after this death, burial and resurrection. They have new bodies, and those bodies have more power. Resurrection power. Jesus went through walls and spirit traveled in his resurrected state, as an example.
When two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, He promises to be in our midst. Well, what do you think happens when 144 thousand spiritually attuned saints start praying their hearts out? We see what happens. Their prayers release the angel to take the censor and fill it with fire of the altar. The fire of God is in agreement with the voices of the prayers, so it combines with them, making them efficacious. The thunders, lightenings and etc are the heavenly power that results from the combining of the fire and the prayers. Talk about revival. That will be earth's most intense time of revival, right there, in parallel with the tribulation!
We are to learn from this that without the fire of the altar united with the incense and our prayers, we don't have the power. That is our state today where we do not see the miraculous flowing readily in our assemblies or in our lives. We have to pray in unison with God's will. And when we are in harmony with God's will and the heavenly vision, He will send the power, just as He does here.
Thus, the significance of the seventh seal is mainly in the empowering of the 144,000 for ministry as well as a releasing of the seven trumpets to sound and judgment to fall on earth.
Personally, if we have to be present on earth during the tribulation, I want this peace, this power, this empowerment, to be my portion. What about you? Do you want to have the woman’s portion or the woman's children’s portion?
Study these things well. If you are one of the woman’s children, of those who keep the commandments and the testimony of Jesus but who do not abide in Christ you will be engulfed in the river flowing out of the dragon’s mouth (Revelation 12:17)—whereas the woman is protected from it all. And because she is protected she is able to minister to those who are suffering from this devilish river of tribulation woe.
Take care now to enter into God’s rest at the end of the age. For to even have a chance at being a part of the woman (the 144K) you must be willing to be martyred in the fifth seal. And you must be abiding in Christ before the tribulation begins. Ready yourself. These days are coming quickly!