This is the continuation of my series reviewing Revelations as part of my reading of The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. In my last installment, we were finished with the events of the Sixth Seal, and the sealing of the 144,000.
Now we move into Chapter 8, which sees the opening of the Seventh Seal. This chapter of Revelations begins:
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.The Silence:
Brandt notes, in his book, notes: "Unlike the previous six seals, each opening with grand and sometimes noisy panoramic views of earth history, the seventh seal opens in silence. The setting is not on earth, but in heaven, for all things on earth are in commotion." Brandt describes the silence as the "calm before the storm when the winds will be released with great ferocity upon the inhabitants of the world."
According to Brandt's reading of the scriptures, the silence is partly due to the grief of the Lord and the angels at the gross wickedness on the earth, and the impending fate of mortals below. But, "[i]n an expression of divine mercy and long-suffering, the Lord prepares seven final warning trumpets to sound a forceful call to the children of men to repent or suffer destruction."
The length of time represented by the "half hour" is probably not per our reckoning. The scriptures indicate that one day to the Lord is 1000 years of earthly time. (2 Peter 3:8). Thus, using this time frame, the "half hour" in Heaven will be equal to an elapsed time of approximately 21 years on Earth. Brandt indicates that John used the Greek word hos, which places the time as an approximation, and not an exact accounting. Nevertheless, if the Seventh Thousand year period began around the turn of the century, it would indicate, per Brandt, that "[t]he pending events are to begin in the third decade of this century or the early 2020s." For my own reasons, I suspect that it may be somewhat later, perhaps in the late 2020s or early 2030s.
In any event, as Brandt describes:
The silence will end with the blast of the final warning trumpets announcing that His coming is soon at hand. The servants of God on earth have been sealed and prepared, the day of mercy is fast closing. God readies seven trumpets to sound.The Meaning of the Trumpets:
The basic purpose of the trumpets is to sound a final warning to the inhabitants of the Earth to repent and turn to the Lord. Justice requires the Lord to provide this final warning. As the prophet Ezekiel explained:
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.(Ezek. 33:4-5). For instance, prior to Joshua taking the city of Jericho, his troops circled the city seven times, with the priests sounding their trumpets. On the final day, the priests sounded their trumpets seven times (signifying the completion of the warning to the inhabitants), upon which the city walls fell and the Israelite armies overran the city and destroyed its populous. (See Josh. 6). Brandt also points out that trumpets were used to announce the beginning of an event or royal arrival, or to call gather the people and to prepare for war. (See, e.g., Num 10:9-10). Thus, to the wicked, the trumpets will be a last warning of impending doom. The righteous, the trumpets should be viewed as an announcement of the imminent arrival of the Lord in his Second Coming; and, to the Church members particularly, it will also be a call to gather together in Zion.
Modern revelations provides additional insights:
Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?
A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.(D&C 77:12). Thus, we see that the sounding of the trumpets marks both an ending and a new beginning.
While John focuses on the judgments on the wicked, there are a second set of trumpets that will mark such events as the Saints being caught up to Heaven, the resurrection of the righteous, and so on. (See D&C 88:95-107). Brandt suggests that, because these trumps will also follow a half hour of silence in Heaven, that they are simultaneous or co-extensive to the seven trumpets in the Revelation.