“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Rev. 8:1).
We now come to the seventh and final seal of the scroll. Given the dramatic nature of what happened when the first six were opened, we are expecting some sort of earth shattering explosion when the final seal is broken. But . . . nothing. Nothing but silence.
There are two possible scriptural settings that may be in view here. One is that just a few verses down, an angel is going to offer up incense, and that incense is representative of the prayers of all the saints (Rev. 8:3). These prayers are offered up on the golden altar that is before the throne. A few chapters earlier, when the fifth seal was opened, things were not silent in Heaven when the souls under that altar were crying out to the Lord to avenge their blood. Now it appears that an angel has gathered up their prayers and is presenting them as incense, and everything is quiet for that formal presentation.
This appears to match the custom of the Temple. When Zacharias is serving in the Temple, during the time that the incense was being presented, the people were waiting outside quietly, silently praying. “And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense” (Luke 1:10). “And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple” (Luke 1:21). Here an angel is presenting their prayers in the form of incense, and that presentation takes about half an hour.
Another possible allusion is to the siege of Jericho. The opening of the seventh seal here is followed by the blowing of trumpets (Rev. 8:6), which is what happened when the walls of Jericho fell. Not only so, but prior to blowing of those trumpets, the Israelites marched around that fated city in silence. And so in both instances you have silence > trumpets > conquest of God’s enemies.