Journal Rev 8 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Then I saw the seven angels (who stand before God), and seven trumpets were given to them.
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense (with the prayers of the saints) rose before God from the hand of the angel.
Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lighting, and an earthquake.
Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them…” Rev 8:1-6
Observation: The Lamb. Seven angels; seven trumpets; seven effects coming from blowing the trumpets.
What to make of this?
Analysis: John had an uncanny eye for detail. Probably Holy Spirit boosted, but still….
For instance, the Lamb opened the seventh seal and silence dropped over heaven for about 30 minutes. Silence… and 30 minutes. No shuffling of feet, no whispers to the person next to me, no clearing of the throat, no rustling of pages to see if there was biblical precedent somewhere in the Bible to relate with, no wondering if I can sneak out for a quick bio-break before it starts up again… Silence.
I cannot be silent for that long unless I am asleep….and then my body makes noises I can’t control anyway.
I don’t think this is something about my lack of self-control I am to glean out of this. Avoiding the numerology and trying to extrapolate the significance of the angels, trumpets, and whatever the effects of the trumpets are, that they are only affecting 33% of the earth (leaving 66% unaffected—is that important? Generally speaking: would Man think it was OK if 2/3rds of the Earth were left alone?), what can I take from this Chapter?
A couple of things:
- These folks are INTENSE! They are rapt with attention towards the Lamb. John’s detail about silence for 30 minutes insinuates the audience was not bored, fidgety, or the like—not like me. Like Ancient Astronaut theorists, I must wonder why I am not similarly intense? Is it because I have settled for comfort and ease with my Christianity and am not kindling my heart into flame for my first Love?
- What portion of the censer are my prayers? A pinch or a handful? For me, a survey of my heart says…. Microscopic, if at all. I could read that the angel had to put a healthy handful of incense to add to the prayers of the saints so there would be an aroma—prayers by themselves wasn’t enough. (I am probably stretching here…)
I must be frank with myself: Reading Chapter 8, I can get pulled into all sorts of speculations of numbers, trumpets, angels (who was the 8th angel?), and the like. But that is not making me a better follower of Christ right now (that I am aware of, anyway).
All this year, I have been stricken with the thought of being ferocious for Jesus, to focus on Him more, walking worthy of the Gospel, to have His Word light up my heart so that it flows naturally and reflexively, etc.
It still captivates me….
Prayer: Spirit, you nudge me o’ so gently and open up my eyes that I may see your sweet salvation where I was blind. Thank you for the tap, tap, tap, of your hammer to form me into the image of the Son. I couldn’t be more grateful for your intimate attention in my life.
Light me up, O God! Cause revival.