1....THE SILENT PAUSE
In chapter 6 we have the first 6 seal judgments. In chapter 7 we have a pause in the judgments, we see God's mercy in the midst of judgment. We discover that the tribulation period is not only a time of awful judgment but that it is also a time of salvation. We see a great number of Jews being saved, we see a 144,000 Jewish men being saved and sealed in their foreheads to preserve their lives as they preach the gospel throughout the remainder of the tribulation period. We also saw a great number of gentiles saved and martyred. There were also a number from every tribe and nation who are saved and survive the tribulation to go into the kingdom in their natural bodies to repopulate the kingdom. Now in chapter 8 there is a return to judgment as the more severe judgments of the last half of the tribulation period rain down on a rebellious world.
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was a silence in heaven about the space of half an hour". We read about a hush that comes over heaven. All of heaven to pauses, those in heaven catch a glimpse of what is to come in the way judgment. They see the awesome judgments that are about to fall in rapid succession, the scene that they see previewed is so awesome that all of heaven is stunned as they contemplate what is about to happen.
Chapter 7 was a transition from judgment to grace. Chapter 8 is a transition from grace back to judgment. We read in Ezekiel 18:32, "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore, turn yourselves, and live". Though God does not delight to take the lives of men and women in judgment, he is left with no alternative but to judge those who continue to rebel.
There two great truthes that stand over time and eternity as two infinite mountains. 1- God's love. 2- God's justice. Men cannot comprehend how much God loves man and men cannot comprehend how much God hates sin. God's love can never be extended to unrepentant sinners, an eternal hell gives some insight about how much God hates sin. The cross of calvary gives some insight into the depths of Gods' love. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life". John 5:24 ....."But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up". 2 Peter 3:10.
Heaven sees the coming judgment as it is! The angels, the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders(The Church), everyone in heaven sees what is about to happen. The jubilation of revelation 7 now turns to silent horror as they realize price of rebellion that will have to be paid.
The theme of the book of Revelation is the climax of the theme of the whole bible, Judgment or Mercy, the choice is man's. My friend, it is a choice you will make, to refuse to repent and turn in faith to Christ is to refuse the mercy of God and to choose the judgment of God.
Next week in verse two we will consider "THE SOLEMN PREPARATION".