Note: “After the parenthetical matter of the sealing of the two companies in chapter 7, the opening of the seals is resumed. Only the 7th seal remains to be opened. The opening of the 7th seal introduces the 7 angels with the 7 trumpets. This sets the pattern for a remainder of the book of Revelation. Before the 7th of any series is introduced, a subsidiary subject is introduced to provide more light on the particular series.
The 7 trumpets bring us to the full intensity of the Great Tribulation. The 7 seals bring judgments which are the natural results of the activities of sinful man apart from God. The 6th seal brings the judgments of nature. The 7 trumpets reveal that God is judging directly and supernaturally a rebellious race. The first four series of sevens can be explained in the following manner:
(1) Seven Seals – judgment which is the result of man’s wilful activity,
(2) Seven trumpets – judgment which is the direct activity of God,
(3) Seven Personalities – judgment which is the result of Satan’s fight against God,
(4) Seven Vials (Bowls) – final judgment of the Great Tribulation which is the direct activity of God because of man’s and Satan’s rebellion.
There is a strange and strong similarity between the plagues of Egypt, in Moses’ day, and the trumpet judgments. It is both reasonable and logical to conclude that if one is literal, the other is likewise literal. These are literal plagues of the Great Tribulation. It is well to keep in mind that this is a revelation of Jesus Christ. These are not hazy and shadowy symbols which can be dissipated into thin air by some specious system of hermeneutics. When symbols are used – and they are used in this book – the key is supplied. Scripture will furnish the explanation. Revelation is the last book in the Bible, because a knowledge of the 65 books preceding it is the basic requirement for an understanding of its vivid language (2 Peter 1:20).”
(8.1) And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
1. Remembering that the entire 7th chapter of John’s Revelation is a parenthesis in his record of the unfolding of the redemption scroll, we now take up where John left us off. This is the verse that old preachers used to prove that all people who go to heaven end up being men. On what basis is this said? There is silence in heaven for a half hour. Of course, that is very prejudiced and I would never say such a thing myself, since it is usually the men in our church I cannot get to stop talking while I preach.
2. Who opens this seventh seal? Right. Christ opens the seal. Jesus is the “he” referred to in this verse. Why must it be Him Who opens the seal? Right again. Only He is worthy to break the seals and open the book, Revelation 5.1-5:
1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
3. Now, let us seriously ponder this silence in heaven. Is silence in heaven unusual? Apparently it is. Why? Because there is usually constant praise and adoration of God being offered up in heaven. So, is half an hour a long time to be silent? It sure is. It is a very long time to be silent. Ask someone to make not one sound for 30 minutes and you will how long a half hour is.
4. What could be the reason for this pause? Opinions are varied, but I think it is a dramatic pause that comes just before the unleashing of fury. Just imagine the hush that spreads all over heaven in anticipation of what will happen next.
5. I read the comment of Lehman Strauss on this verse: “Notice that the silence is in Heaven, not on earth. The Bible tells us of a coming day when all the earth (Habakkuk 2:20), and all islands (Isaiah 41:1), and all flesh (Zechariah 2:13) will be called upon to be silent before God. Presently this is not the day of silence on the earth. There are many voices and varied noises which well-nigh prevent men from hearing the Word of God, but that day when all creation remains silent before God will surely come. The silence in Heaven of which our text speaks precedes the silence on earth. In chapters five and six all of Heaven resounds with the praises of redeemed men and of angels, giving glory to the Lamb. Here there is a stillness and a silence. No voice is heard; no motion is seen. Subsequent to the silence God will speak. ‘Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure’ (Psalm 2:5). Now it is man’s turn to speak. God has spoken. ‘God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,’ and He ‘Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son’ (Hebrews 1:1,2). But the next time His voice is heard throughout all the earth, judgment will fall upon the unbelieving world of men.”
(8.2) And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
1. Wow! Now we have seven angels standing before God, who are given seven trumpets. What can we surmise from this verse? Let me read from Albert Barnes’ comments: “Professor Stuart supposes that by these angels are meant the ‘presence-angels’ which he understands to be referred to, in Re 1:4, by the ‘seven spirits which are before the throne.’ If, however, the interpretation of that passage above proposed, that it refers to the Holy Spirit, with reference to his multiplied agency and operations, be correct, then we must seek for another application of the phrase here. The only difficulty in applying it arises from the use of the article—‘the seven angels’--touv--as if they were angels already referred to; and as there has been no previous mention of ‘seven angels,’ unless it be in the phrase ‘the seven spirits which are before the throne,’ in Re 1:4, it is argued that this must have been such a reference. But this interpretation is not absolutely necessary. John might use this language either because the angels had been spoken of before; or because it would be sufficiently understood, from the common use of language, who would be referred to--as we now might speak of ‘the seven members of the cabinet of the United States?’ or ‘the thirty-one governors of the states of the Union,’ though they had not been particularly mentioned; or he might speak of them as just then disclosed to his view, and because his meaning would be sufficiently definite by the circumstances which were to follow--their agency in blowing the trumpets. It would be entirely in accordance with the usage of the article for one to say that he saw an army, and the commander-in-chief, and the four staff-officers, and the five bands of music, and the six companies of sappers and miners, etc. It is not absolutely necessary, therefore, to suppose that these angels had been before referred to. There is, indeed, in the use of the phrase ‘which stood before God,’ the idea that they are to be regarded as permanently standing there, or that that is their proper place--as if they were angels who were particularly designated to this high service, Compare Lu 1:19: ‘I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.’ If this idea is involved in the phrase, then there is a sufficient reason why the article is used, though they had not before been mentioned.”
2. To distill Barnes’ comments down to their minimum, there are some Bible scholars who think the reference to “the seven Spirits which are before his throne” refers to seven angels, the same seven angels that are mentioned here in Revelation 8.2. Barnes is of the opinion that the reference in Revelation 1.4 is to the Holy Spirit in seven of His divine attributes and that in this verse created beings are referred to. I am in agreement with him. This verse refers to seven angels.
3. That issue dealt with, what would you say about these angels who stand before God? What kind of angels would stand before God? Important angels or unimportant angels? From Luke 1.19, we know that Gabriel stands before God, and his duties in Scripture show him to be an extremely important angel in God’s hierarchy of the heavenly host. Therefore, it is likely that these seven angels are not bums. They are high ranking angels of great power and authority.
4. That they are given seven trumpets suggests that when the seven trumpet judgments arrive these angels have responsibility for overseeing the execution of those seven judgments, an angel for each of the trumpet judgments.
5. But what about the trumpets? What significance would they have? Trumpets played a very important role in the life of Israel. While they were on the march in the wilderness, and when conquering the Promised Land, trumpets were used to signal the people. Let me read two passages of Scripture to give you an idea of the importance of trumpets to the Israelites:
1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.
3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
5 When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.
6 When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.
7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.
8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.
9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.
10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
6. So, it is clear that trumpets are important and have significance in Israel’s past. What do you think the trumpets in this verse will be used to signal? Could it be that the trumpets will signal the destruction of those who resist the will of God? I think so.
 J. Vernon McGee, Reveling Through Revelation, Part I, (Pasadena, CA: Thru The Bible Books, 1979), page 65.
 Lehman Strauss, The Book Of The Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1963), page 180-181.
 Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), firstname.lastname@example.org