Seventh Seal: Prayer Movement Strengthened By Angels

THE SEVENTH SEAL (REV. 8:1-6)

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the Throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Rev. 8:1-6)

The seventh seal judgment on the Antichrist is the strengthening of the prayer movement by angels, who offer heavenly incense as directed by the Spirit (v. 3-4) that results in fire being cast to the earth (v. 5). It is followed by seven angels preparing to sound their trumpets (Rev. 8:6).

The five specific aspects of the seventh seal include: (1) seven angels are given trumpets; (2) an angel is given heavenly incense to strengthen the prayers of the saints; (3) fire is cast to the earth;
(4) cosmic disturbances occur in the sky; and (5) an earthquake occurs on earth.

Premise: the power of our prayers ultimately comes from the generosity of God’s heart in desiring to answer them; the work of Jesus on the cross, which makes them acceptable; and the ministry of the Spirit on earth and in heaven throughout the entire process of our praying.

Our access in prayer to the Father is given to us by the cross, the name of Jesus, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who apparently uses angels. Saints have a superior status to angels.

Heavenly incense: I see the heavenly incense as consisting of the intercession of Jesus and the Spirit with “much” incense offered by the angel. Together they strengthen the prayer movement. The fifth seal focuses on the prayer movement being strengthened by the prayers of the martyrs.

The prayers of the saints are imperfect because of human weakness. Even so, what best helps our prayers are the intercessory prayers of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, arising as heavenly incense.

Christ … at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Rom. 8:34) Since He [Jesus] always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25)
The Spirit helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for … but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom. 8:26) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17)

I will pour on the house of David … the Spirit of grace and supplication. (Zech. 12:10)

THE SEVEN ANGELS COMMISSIONED WITH TRUMPET JUDGMENTS

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets … 6 The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Rev. 8:1-2, 6)

Silence in heaven: when the seven angels are given trumpets, there will be silence in heaven. There will be a dreadful yet glorious silence in heaven coming from the awful anticipation of the release of God’s judgments due to seeing the seven angels. The certainty of the impending judgment causes all to be speechless. There is no adequate response for what will come.

As silence fills heaven, so it will cover the earth as Jesus begins to release His final judgments.

The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him. (Hab. 2:20)

Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation! (Zech. 2:13) Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand. (Zeph. 1:7) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. (Ps. 46:10)

Sound is associated with the seal judgments. The first four are released by a voice like thunder. The fifth seal describes the intercessory cry from beneath the altar. In the sixth seal, the kings cry out. Here, the terrifying silence of the seventh seal is in great contrast with the other six seals.

About half an hour: It took a priest about 30 minutes to offer incense in the temple (Lev. 16:13).

The custom of the priesthood … to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 The multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. (Lk 1:9-10)

THE FULLNESS OF THE POWER OF INTERCESSION

Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. (Rev. 8:3-4)

Another angel: an eighth angel is described as being given much incense. John sees the dramatic approach of an angel with a golden censer coming to the altar and standing there. Where did the angel come from and how long did he stand at the altar?

When incense is poured out on burning coals, it produces smoke that has a sweet odor. Incense was added to the burning sacrifice by the priest in the Old Testament.

He shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense … and bring it inside the veil. 13 And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat. (Lev. 16:12-13)

A coal from the heavenly altar was used by a seraph (angel) in the cleansing of Isaiah’s lips.

One of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken … from the altar … 7 said: “This has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away…” (Isa. 6:6-7)

David spoke of his prayers as coming before God as incense.

Let my prayer be set before You as incense. (Ps. 141:2)

Given much incense: this angel cannot provide this incense, but it is given to him by God. Heavenly incense is connected with the prayers of saints in Revelation 5:8 showing us the importance of their “holy synergism.” The role of angels in prayer is unknown.

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev. 5:8)

The angel’s hand: the smoke of the incense went up with the prayers from the angel’s hand to show the angel formally presenting them to God. The angelic involvement in this process signifies that God is pleased with these prayers against the Antichrist’s reprobate kingdom.

The angel offering the collective prayers of all the saints in God’s court is the official recognition that God approves of the prayers stored up in the golden bowl (Rev. 5:8; 6:10).

John, like Daniel, saw God’s courtroom in His temple where judgment decrees are issued.

His throne was a fiery flame … 10 ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:9-10)

Gather yourselves together … 2 before the decree is issued … before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you … 3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth. (Zeph. 2:1-3)

FIRE CAST TO THE EARTH

The angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth (Rev. 8:5)

Other angels are involved in the altar ministry of prayer and the release of fire. The most powerful force in history is the prayers of the saints in unity with God to release fire on the earth.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire. (Rev. 14:18)

The end-of-the-age conflict will be answered by fire. Elijah said that the God who answers by fire is the true God (1 Kgs. 18:24). Even the False Prophet will call fire down from heaven. David wrote of God sending fire from His heavenly temple to kill his enemies in answer to his prayers (Ps. 18:6-14).

He [False Prophet] makes fire come down from heaven … in the sight of men. (Rev. 13:13)

Revelation 8:3-5 describes activity similar to what Ezekiel saw (Ezek. 10). He saw an angel take coals of fire from the same heavenly altar to scatter over Jerusalem. This occurred after an angel sealed the righteous in Jerusalem to protect them from judgment in Ezekiel 9:6 (Rev. 7:1-4.
Then He spoke to the man [angel] clothed with linen, and said, “Fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” (Ezek 10:2)

FIRE RELEASED BY THE PRAYER OF THE END-TIME SAINTS

Fire will be called down by the prayers of the saints through a bridal paradigm, not through an angry paradigm that prays for fire in a fleshly way. Sixty years earlier, as a young man, Jesus refused John’s fleshly prayer for fire to fall on a city.
They entered a village of the Samaritans … 53 But they did not receive Him … 54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. (Lk. 9:52-55)

The answer to praying for judgment with a wrong spirit is to become lovesick in our preoccupation with Jesus (bridal paradigm). We pray for revival and judgment with a different spirit when it has nothing to do with our ministry but is for His glory and for justice.

GOD’S JUDGMENTS ARE RELEASED BY THE SAINTS

God’s judgments are not released on the saints, but by the saints. The end-time prayer movement under Jesus’ leadership will release His judgments through prayer, as seen in the book of Revelation (Rev. 5:8; 6:10; 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7; 19:2; 22:17).
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth … 7 To execute vengeance on the nations … 9 To execute on them the written judgment—this honor have all His saints. (Ps. 149:6-9)

As Moses released the plagues on Egypt through prayer and as the apostles released God’s power through prayer in Acts, so the tribulation judgments will be released by the Praying Church. The miracles of Exodus and Acts will be combined and multiplied on a global level.
As in the days when you came out of … Egypt, I will show them wonders. (Mic. 7:15)

COSMIC DISTURBANCES INCLUDING AN EARTHQUAKE

There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. (Rev. 8:5)

The seventh seal picks up where the sixth seal left off. It continues with similar cosmic disturbances, as seen in Revelation 6:12-17. The fire is followed by “noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.” After the silence of Revelation 8:1, the next sounds heard are noises and peals of thunder. These manifestations are seen in Revelation (4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18-21) along with Exodus 19:16, 18; Psalm 18:7-13; 77:18-19; and Isaiah 29:6. The earthquake sequence during the tribulation is seen in Revelation 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; and 16:18, along with Matthew 24:7; Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:19; and Zechariah 14:5, 10.




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1 comment

  1. Dan Sherwood says:

    I believe the John is telling us that the time frame of (about a half hour) is a heavenly time frame, meaning that if a day in heaven is equal to 1000 years on earth that time frame becomes 21 years. This is significant because the 144,00 that had just been Sealed need that time (between the Seal and Trumpet judgements) to witness to the last of the lost that will come to a saving knowledge of Christ before the Great tribulation. Remember, Rev. 3:10 those who are true believers will be spared the woes of the great tribulation (those woes come with the Trumpets). 2 Peter 3:8-9 ” But do not forget this one thing dear friends, With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
    This 21 year period also gives enough time for the remaining 3/4 of the population of the earth to get back on their feet from all the destruction caused by the sixth seal being broken. This also provides the setting for the anti-christ to step up and take charge of what is left of the world.