Silent Before the Judge

And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 8:1

Speculation abounds concerning the “half an hour” of silence before the trumpets begin to sound judgment and woe upon the “earth dwellers” in chapters 8 and following. But, the Bible is not silent on the issue. Consider the significance of the following passages and then see if you can relate them to what God has in store for a world that rejects Christ and troubles His people:

he wicked go down to silence.

Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon Thee; Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol. Psalms 31:17

Babylon’s judgment brought her to silence.

“Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans. For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate. “Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover the leg, cross the rivers. “Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man.” Our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel. “Sit silently, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; For you will no more be called The queen of kingdoms. Isaiah 47:1 – 5

Israel, ripe for judgment, is cast forth in the silence of death.

Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, there was a basket of summer fruit. And He said, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer. “The songs of the palace will turn to wailing in that day,” declares the Lord GOD. “Many will be the corpses; in every place they will cast them forth in silence.” Amos 8:1 – 3

Be silent before the day of the Lord.

Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. Zephaniah 1:7

The Lord of Revelation is in His Temple

“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

The Lord will judge the earth from His Temple

“Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.” Zechariah 2:13

God is in His Temple, ready to unleash terrible judgments and the heavenly host is silent in the presence of His wrath. No one dares utter a sound; not one objection or motion is introduced before the Judge. Only silent anticipation of the horror and destruction which is about to be hurled upon the earth, in response to the prayers of the martyrs:

And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also. Revelation 6:9 – 11

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous said:

    I feel you would love to read “Thomas Ice (Bloopers” and “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” on search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Lord bless.

    April 22, 2006
    Reply
  2. Brian Cooper said:

    -Bo

    Greetings. I am considering starting my own blog on Revelation and did a “revelation” blog search and that is how i found your site. You have a great site up here. I hope you don’t mind but i took a few notes on your format. I like the rules established on the sides =)
    So do you like Mounce’s interpretation? I tend to fall heavily on the historical view and find Mounce’s commentary rich with 1st and 2nd century history. I was surprised that you use the commentary because it seems like your a dispensationalist, but that’s hard to get when skimming and scanning a blog. Have you ever read Josephus: Jewish Wars or any of the Dead Sea Scrolls? They are rich with apocalyptic thinking and help give us a picture of the early church mindset. I’m a master’s student here at Azusa Pacific in So.Cal. and am concentrating on apocalyptic literature and early church history and its effects on Revelation.
    Anyway, keep it up. Man, your small group must really appreciate your work because I can tell just by glancing at this site that you’ve spent quite a bit of time compiling all this info.

    Shalom

    April 30, 2006
    Reply
  3. Bo Salisbury said:

    Hi Brian:

    Thanks for dropping in…

    Greetings. I am considering starting my own blog on Revelation and did a “revelation” blog search and that is how i found your site. You have a great site up here. I hope you don’t mind but i took a few notes on your format. I like the rules established on the sides =)

    I say, “the more the merrier.” I would love to interact with another RevBlog! As you may have noticed in reading the latest posts, the blog has not generated much discussion. We do, however, vigorously discuss these things on Tuesday evenings 🙂 I remain undeterred and promise to post, as time allows.

    So do you like Mounce’s interpretation? I tend to fall heavily on the historical view and find Mounce’s commentary rich with 1st and 2nd century history.

    In a nutshell, I love Mounce’s commentary. It’s my favorite “medium size.” Of the “supersize” commentaries, it’s hands down Greg Beale over Aune and Thomas. My prefered smaller work is Alan Johnson with George Ladd pulling in a close second. Johnson, in my view, is “Mounce-Lite.” They seem to follow the same historic pre-mil approach, but the aim and scope of Johnson’s seems to be geared to the student or informed Bible reader — Mounce would suit an undergrad or pastor, don’t you think?

    I was surprised that you use the commentary because it seems like your a dispensationalist, but that’s hard to get when skimming and scanning a blog.

    Actually, I have a view which I hold loosely. It may be a blessing or a curse, but I can see the strengths in the major views and, so far, have avoided getting uptight over the differences. This is a new phenomena for me, as I tend to be pretty stubborn on other issues of theology. I am a futurist, but decidedly not dispensational (at least, not in the classical sense). I would probably slot right in there with Mounce and I know that I have an affinity for Ladd’s view of the Kingdom, the “last things,” and the “already/not yet” tension in eschatology. I have found much value in all the commentaries I’m using, including the polar opposites Walvoord’s The Revelation of Jesus Christ and David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance. Beale is far and away my favorite. He is an amillennialist, but an idealist and rich in the use of the OT, especially Daniel, in the Revelation. At this point in time, I’m a preterist on the 70 weeks of Daniel and most of the Olivet Discourse (I think I’m in D.A. Carson’s neighborhood, but not positive). Hope this helps to identify where I’m at, but my posts will not reflect my position much of the time. They are aimed at discussion, which I have sadly failed at so far 🙁

    Have you ever read Josephus: Jewish Wars or any of the Dead Sea Scrolls? They are rich with apocalyptic thinking and help give us a picture of the early church mindset.

    I am not conversant in Josephus or the Dead Sea scrolls, although I’ve read a bit (I’m a former Mormon, so they come in handy in answering their claims). Mounce and Ladd cover apocalyptic pretty well, but I’ve seen them disputed more in the recent literature (in my limited experience). It seems with Beale and Bauckham on the academic side and guys like Hank Hanegraff on the popular side, the empphsis now is on John’s use of the OT. But, in my relatively short time studying the Revelation, I see it as a real culmination and confluence of so much. I think it’s obviously apocalyptic in style and form. Then again, it’s totally grounded in repetition of common OT prophetic themes. Beale brings that out in such a way that I’m always slapping my forehead and exclaiming “Duh!” What I’m trying to say is this: I think it’s an incredibly complex, layered and multifaceted revelation… I think it’s “all of the above.” It brings together the entire sweep of God’s redemptive history…

    I’m a master’s student here at Azusa Pacific in So.Cal. and am concentrating on apocalyptic literature and early church history and its effects on Revelation.

    Now, I’m embarrassed… you actually know this stuff and it’s the amateur hour with me. That’s okay, I suppose. Please feel free to drop by and help us out in understanding the Revelation of Jesus Christ! We need all we can get.

    Bo

    April 30, 2006
    Reply
  4. Brian Cooper said:

    Bo-

    I hear ya on not settling into one major view. Sometimes I think I would fall into preterism but then I disagree with some of their interpretations. The problem with falling into a major view is that you tend to look at the texts with the presuppositions that come with that group. That’s why i hold the general view of “historical”. My first objective is to try to understand the text in the original context of the 1st century audience and then I look to see how it can apply to us today or to our future. So, i’m right there with you in that boat.

    I also lead a small group on Thursday night and we also are covering revelation. We are going chapter by chapter with an exegetical approach. We just finished chapter 6 at the beginning of the tribulation and are getting ready to tackle the 144,000. So, you have a new reader 🙂 It would be great to dialogue with each other and share notes. If your interested, I’d love to email you a few handouts that I made of 1st century documents that record some the tribulation and persecution of the 1st century church. You have probably already run across some stuff in the commentaries. I know Mounce threw out Polycarp’s story. It’s always nice to have first hand material so you don’t always have to take someone’s word for it. That’s why I’ve spent so much time in the original materials. Let me know if your interested. I’ll keep checking back. Keep up the hard work!

    April 30, 2006
    Reply
  5. Bo Salisbury said:

    Yes, I would love anything you have. We, too, have handouts and it’s funny you mention it… I handed out the martyrdom of Polycarp when we covered the seven churches.

    Our group is mainly dispensational pre-trib or historic pre-mil with a smattering of amillennialists. No post-millenniallists now, but who knows down the road.

    Like your group we have chosen an emphasis and so in concluding each chapter we ask the question, “what will be my response as a disciple of Jesus?”

    I’ve got a large binder, which is becoming “Bo’s Commentary.” My pal Pat Brennan and I hope to fill out and go online with after we finish… I think we have some fresh ideas for presenting all the materials, but the details are super-secret right now 😉

    May 1, 2006
    Reply
  6. Brian Cooper said:

    If you go to my site, you’ll find my email address under my profile. if you want to email me and give me your email address that would be the most confidential way. If you don’t mind posting on here I can just check back and I’ll email you those sheets.

    May 3, 2006
    Reply
  7. Toby Roan said:

    Hello, Bo.

    Just came across your blog through your profile. Anybody that lists “The Searchers,” T Bone Burnett & CS Lewis among their favorite stuff HAS to be a cool guy. Looking forward to digging deeper in your site.

    May 19, 2006
    Reply
  8. Toby Roan said:

    Bo–

    Have really enjoyed going through your stuff. Got a question. I’m putting together an off-shoot of my Bible study group to go through “Mere Christianity.” Sort of a cross between a Bible study and book club. Some of these guys have read it countless times (me), some once, others never. Have you seen or know of a good study guide for the book? Feel like I could wing it, but would like to carry along some back-up just in case. Thanks–Toby (You can email me aside from your blog if you’d like: toby@tobyroan.com)

    May 24, 2006
    Reply
  9. Bo Salisbury said:

    Hey Toby:

    “Anybody that lists “The Searchers,” T Bone Burnett & CS Lewis among their favorite stuff HAS to be a cool guy.”

    Try telling that to my kids. Okay, we did go to see Coldplay together and I love Beck, so even if I’m not certifiably cool, I may at least be considered tepid.

    Dude: A Mere Christianity study group sounds like a blast. I looked online and there are some that others have cobbled together. I didn’t see any published anywhere, so your best bet may be to grab a few of the online guides and come up with your own.

    What think ye?

    May 24, 2006
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.