The seventh seal is the Return of Christ – Revelation 8:1

The breaking of the seventh seal is minimal in the extreme. It is devoid of action:

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev 8:1)

Summary

Many commentators assume that the seventh seal includes the seven trumpets (Rev 8-11). However, another article has concluded that the sixth seal describes a point in time during Christ’s return. Since the seven trumpets describe a time when people still have an opportunity to repent, the trumpets cannot be part of the seventh seal. For a further discussion, see – Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?

For the following reasons, it is proposed here that the seventh seal is the sorrow in heaven when the multitude hiding in the mountains in the sixth seal (Rev 6:15) is put to death at Christ’s return (Rev 19:21):

1) Satan’s Objections Refuted

Book of Life

Previous articles concluded as follows:

    • The seventh seal is the last seal of the Book of Life. That book identifies the people whom God had elected to eternal life.
    • The seals of the book are Satan’s informed objections to the grace God grants those people.
    • That nobody is able to open that book (Rev 5:3) symbolizes that the heavenly beings are unable to refute Satan’s objections. In other words, they are unable to prove that God’s judgments are always perfect.
    • That Jesus breaks the seals (e.g., Rev 6:1) means that He directs events on earth to refute Satan’s objections.

Consequently, when the seventh and last seal is broken, all of Satan’s accusations have been refuted and all barriers to understanding God’s judgments are removed. Then there would be no further need to allow evil to continue to reign on this planet and God could implement His judgments through the return of Christ.

2) The Sixth Seal is His Return.

Secondly, since it has been concluded that the sixth seal describes a point in time during Christ’s return when humanity is divided into two great multitudes, the seventh seal should be the consequence there-of.

3) All main parts end with Christ’s Return.

Thirdly, Revelation consists of five main parts. Except for the first (the seven churches – Revelation 1-3), all other main parts conclude with Christ’s return:

      • Seven trumpets – Revelation 8-11 (Rev 11:15);
      • Seven wars – Revelation 12-14 (Rev 14:14);
      • Seven last plagues – Revelation 15-19 (Rev 19:11).

Therefore, the seven seals should also end with His return. For a further discussion, see – Does the Book of Revelation describe events in chronological sequence?

Conclusion

Since the seventh seal is so very brief, it must be understood relative to the context. For the reasons above, it is proposed that the silence in heaven of the seventh seal is caused by the immeasurable sorrow in the heart of God and in the hearts of His people at the destruction of billions of people at the return of Christ (Rev 19:20-21).

– END OF SUMMARY – 

The seventh seal does not include the seven trumpets.

For reasons such as the following, many commentators assume that the seventh seal includes the seven trumpets (Rev 8-11):

    • Nothing happens in the seventh seal.
    • The seven trumpets follow immediately after the seventh seal.
    • The seventh seal is the first verse of chapter 8 and everything else in that chapter describes the trumpets.

If the seventh seal includes the seven trumpets, it would mean that the seven trumpets follow chronologically AFTER the first six seals.

However, for reasons such as the following, the trumpets cannot be part of the sixth seal:

In the trumpets, the people refuse to repent but in the sixth seal, they hide in the mountains because they fear the presence of the Lord (Rev 6:16). The sixth seal, therefore, describes a later time.

While hiding, they say that “the great day of their wrath has come” (Rev 6:17). The only other place where we find the phrase “great day” in in Reve;lation 16:12-14 where it is identified as Armageddon.

During the seven last plagues, which immediately precede Christ’s return. the people still refuse to repent (Rev 16:9, 11, 21). Since, in the sixth seal, they hide in mountains “from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev 6:16), the sixth seal describes a time later than the seven last plagues; very close to the return of Christ.

The trumpets, on the other hand, warn unbelievers of the coming judgment, and, therefore, represents the time when they still have the opportunity to repent, which is before the seven last plagues. The seven trumpets, therefore, describe the time before the sixth seal ends. Therefore, the seven trumpets cannot be part of the seventh seal. For a further discussion, see the article – Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets? 

In support of this view, another article shows that the main parts of Revelation, such as the seven seals and the seven trumpets, are parallel to one another and that the events in Revelation are NOT given in strict chronological sequence.

PUT TO DEATH WHEN CHRIST RETURNS

As stated, the multitude that hides in the mountains in the sixth seal (Rev 6:15) is killed at the return of Christ. For example:

The rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Rev 19:21).

The wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles” (Rev 14:20).

THE SEVENTH SEAL IS THE RETURN OF CHRIST

For the following reasons, the seventh seal is the sorrow in heaven when this multitude is destroyed at Christ’s return:

BOOK OF LIFE IS FULLY OPEN.

The seventh seal is the last seal of the book which the Lamb received in the fifth chapter (Rev 5:7). This is the Book of Life, containing the names of the saved. As discussed in the article – How Christ resolves the crisis – the seals are Satan’s accusations. Breaking the seals means that Christ refutes Satan’s arguments and shows that God’s judgments are perfect. When the last seal is broken, all of Satan’s arguments are refuted and God’s judgments are is fully understood. At that time, there would remain no further questions about God’s judgments, and God can make an end to the reign of evil through the return of Christ. God would not allow evil to reign a second longer than necessary.

THE SIXTH SEAL HAS THE SIGNS OF CHRIST’S RETURN.

This point in already mostly covered above. The sixth seal shows the people hiding because they can now see with their physical eyes that Christ is coming, but Christ has not yet arrived. Furthermore, the interlude between the sixth and seventh seals, by describing a great multitude standing before the throne, gives the answer to the question, “who will be able to stand” on “the great day of their wrath” (Rev 6:17; 7:9)? As argued in the article on the Innumerable Multitude, this multitude is shown to us at exactly the same time as in Rev 6:17; immediately before the return of Christ. The seventh seal, therefore, must be the Return of Christ or even after His return.

OTHER SUPPORT

The following is further support for the proposal that the seventh seal is the return of Christ:

      • Other main parts of Revelation (the seven trumpets (Rev 8-11), the seven wars (Rev 12-14), and the seven plagues (Rev 15-20) end with the return of Christ. As mentioned above, the main parts of Revelation, such as the seven seals and the seven trumpets, cover the same period of time.
      • The seventh seal is the first verse of chapter 8, which begins the seven trumpets. This may imply that the seventh seal belongs to the seven trumpets. However, the chapter divisions are not inspired. They were not part of the original text. They were added many centuries later.
      • The Old Testament associates silence with God rising for judgment: He “caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still when God arose to judgment” (Ps 76:8-9; See also Zeph 1:7; Zech 2:13 and Hab 2:20).
      • In all the earlier seals, when the Lamb breaks the seals, something happens on earth. This implies that the seventh seal is also something that happens on earth.

HALF AN HOUR

This is the only place in the New Testament where the word translated “half hour” appears. “The ten horns … receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour” (Rev 17:12). Since this cannot be one literal hour, we should not interpret half an hour as literally 30 minutes. Perhaps they rule for a few years or few months. “Half an hour” would then be an even shorter period.

SORROW

Every person is a miracle of God’s creation. The unnumbered miracles of the human body result in the astounding miracle of a living, thinking human being. God is love and His people have become like God. It is proposed that the silence of the seventh seal is caused by the immeasurable sorrow in the heart of God and in the hearts of His people at the destruction of billions of people at the return of Christ. Then Heaven will fall silent. All the singing, glorifying, and praising ceases.

It is possible that the seventh seal also points to the sorrow of the final destruction of people at the end of the Millennium:

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life (in the judgment before the great white throne), he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN SEALS

OVERVIEW

REVELATION 4

REVELATION 5

REVELATION 6

    • Seal 1: The white horse is the gospel.
    • Seals 2 to 4: Bloodshed, famine and death
    • Seal 5: Who are the souls under the altar?
    • Seal 6 includes the plagues and concludes with Christ’s return.

REVELATION 7

REVELATION 8

For further reading on Revelation, I recommend Jon Paulien’s commentary. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

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