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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 37

Silence in Heaven

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
Silence in Heaven
Screen 1
Let’s pray:
Lord,

We have now reached the lesson about the seventh seal, and we turn to You once again, asking You to explain the meaning of Your prophetic Word.

May Your Holy Spirit be our only guide during this lesson.

In Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 4:1 Comments
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,

«Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.»
The opening of the seven seals, which Jesus made possible, reveals to us «things which must be hereafter».

Now, let’s study the seventh seal.
Revelation 5:5
Weep not. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 6:15-17 Comments
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks,

«Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?»
First, before beginning to study the seventh seal, let’s recall how the sixth seal ended.

Confronted with the glory of Jesus’ return, the unrepentant nations try to escape and to hide themselves in the rocks.

Filled with fear as they behold this spectacle, they cry, «Who shall be able to stand?»
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Picture 4 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 7:1-4 Comments
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,

«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Just after the sixth seal, Revelation chapter 7 answers the question «Who shall be able to stand?», first pointing out the one hundred and forty-four thousand, a group which we will discuss in a future lesson.
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 7:9,14 Comments
After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes (...).

«These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.»
In addition to the 144000, Revelation chapter 7 tells us that a great multitude of faithful believers will also stand at the return of Jesus.

We will come back to this group too in a future lesson.
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 8:1 Comments
And when [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. After this digression answering the question «Who shall be able to stand?», Revelation presents the seventh and last seal.

Since the sixth seal covered the same period as the letters to the churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea, the seventh seal has only to describe the last moments of this world to complete the whole picture.

Its short message is limited to this one verse, reporting a silence in heaven for about half an hour.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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This silence in heaven contrasts with the noise and confusion of the other seals:
«Power was given to him that sat [on the red horse] to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. (...)

And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (...)

The souls of them that were slain for the word of God (...) cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (...)

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men (...) said to the mountains and rocks,

“Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”» (Revelation 6:4,8-10,14-17)
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 8:1 Comments
And when [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. What does this silence in heaven mean?

A superficial analysis could suggest that such a silence marks the solemnity of the moment, as the world is going through the last hours of its history.
Habakkuk 2:20
The Lord is in His holy temple.

Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
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Picture 9 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Zephaniah 1:7,8 Comments
Hold your peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the Day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, He has bid His guests.

«And it shall come to pass in the Day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.»
Indeed, a silence precedes the punishment of those «clothed with strange apparel», those who have rejected the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness.
Zechariah 2:13
Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Psalm 76:7-9 Comments
You, even You, are to be feared: and who may stand in Your sight when once You are angry?

You did cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
By carrying on our superficial analysis, we could suggest that, at the time God proclaims His sentence, «the earth feared and was still», thus explaining the silence of the seventh seal.

But there is a flaw in this analysis: this silence takes place in heaven, not on earth...
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Psalm 50:3-5 Comments
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him.

He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.

«Gather My saints together to Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.»
In fact, the Bible tells us that, when Jesus returns to gather His faithful who have made a covenant with Him by His sacrifice, the earth will be the scene of a very noisy spectacle!

The silence will thus take place in heaven only.

Now, what causes this silence in heaven?
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Matthew 25:31 Comments
When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory. The answer is very simple: the silence in heaven is caused by the fact that there’s no one left there.

And why is heaven empty? Simply because Jesus left it, accompanied by «all the holy angels», to come and gather His people eagerly waiting for Him on the earth.
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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When He returns, Jesus will be accompanied by His armies of angels:
«And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. (...) His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.» (Revelation 19:11,13,14)

«And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds.» (Matthew 24:30,31)

«For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.» (Matthew 16:27)
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Numbers 14:34 Comments
After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years. Let’s move on to the length of the heavenly silence: the seventh seal indicates that it will last about half an hour.

What do we obtain by applying the system used in prophecy, that is, «one day = one year»?
Ezekiel 4:6
You shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days.

I have appointed you each day for a year.
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 8:1 Comments
And when [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. What does «about the space of half an hour» represent?
  • In Bible prophecy, one day represents a year.
     
  • One hour, that is, 1/24th of a day, thus represents 1/24th of a year. Since the Hebrew year contains 360 days, we obtain: 360 ÷ 24 = 15 days.
     
  • «About the space of half an hour» thus represents «about» half this period of 15 days, that is, one week.
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Matthew 24:37-39 Comments
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.

So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
This period of a literal week, that is half an hour in prophecy, can also be found in the account of the Flood, which Jesus compares to the Day of His return.

Where can we find a period of a week in the Flood account?
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Genesis 7:4,9,10 Comments
[The Lord said,] «For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.» (...)

There went in two and two to Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the Flood were on the earth.
Between the moment when Noah, his family, and the animals entered the ark, and the moment when the Flood began, one week went by.

Is this week similar to the one contained in the seventh seal?
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Genesis 7:16 Comments
And they that went in [the ark], went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded [Noah].

And the Lord shut him in.
God Himself shut the door of Noah’s ark. During the following week, although the Flood had not yet begun, it was already too late to go into the ark.

Likewise, God will soon put an end to His offer of salvation: Jesus will stop making intercession for the sinners, and will return to gather His people.

During His trip from heaven to earth (the week of the seventh seal), it will be too late to repent and accept salvation.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 22:11,12 Comments
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
At the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus calls to mind this period during which no one can be saved any more, since Jesus has ceased His intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, and is heading for the earth to gather His people waiting for Him there.
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Picture 20 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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2 Peter 3:5-7 Comments
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the Day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Let’s not wait until the week of the seventh seal to follow God, because no one knows when this period begins, when God closes the door of grace, just as He closed the door of Noah’s ark, one week before the Flood.
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Picture 21 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Genesis 2:1-3 Comments
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.
The week of the seventh seal will lead to the end of this world, just as the week of Creation marked its beginning.

Then God will create a new world, where there is no more sin, no more evil.
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Picture 22 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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2 Peter 3:7,10,13 Comments
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the Day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (...)

But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (...)

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
When the week of the seventh seal begins, may we have already chosen to follow God, to inherit the new world «wherein dwells righteousness».
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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Revelation 8:1,2 Comments
And when [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
After the seven letters to the churches and the seven seals, a third set of prophecies was immediately showed to the apostle John: the seven trumpets. This set of prophecies will be the theme of our next section.

But first, we will conclude this section, in our next lesson, with a summary of the seven seals.

Don’t miss it!
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 37
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We invite you to pray with us:
Father,

The study of the seven seals was really fascinating.

The message of the last two seals especially made us realize that time goes by very quickly, and that Jesus could come back much sooner than we think.

Please help us to make, right here and now, the firm choice to follow You until the end, so that, when You put an end to Your offer of salvation, we may be numbered among Your children.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 37 - Test The test of Lesson 37 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #16, C0000512.JPG. Screen 2: In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Second Quarter, 2001, front cover. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 3: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.111. Screen 4: «The Sealing of the Elect» from «Trinity Apocalypse» (c.1255-60), Trinity College Library, Cambridge, England. In: «Revelation - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.21. Screen 5: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 15, 1990), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Screen 6: Jean Williamson/Mick Sharp Photography, Wales. In: «Revelation» (LORIE, Peter), Simon & Schuster, Labyrinth Publishing Ltd, 1994, p.198. Screen 7: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM249.BMP. Screen 8: Comstock Photo Library, London. In: «Revelation» (LORIE, Peter), Simon & Schuster, Labyrinth Publishing Ltd, 1994, p.138. Screen 9: MEMLING, Hans. «The Last Judgment» (1466-73), Pomorskie Museum, Gdansk, Poland. In: «Revelation - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.87. Screen 10: «The Last Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead», 13th century. Musée Condé, Chantilly, France. In: «Revelation - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.99. Screen 11: PROVONSHA, Clyde N. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.333. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 12: MITOMA, Tim. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (March 1996), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.2. Screen 13: HEASLIP, William. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.197. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 14: «Hourglass and Shadow». Picture from the Web site: www.corbis.com. Image ID: CB007962. Screen 15: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #17, C0000567.JPG. Screen 16: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM012.BMP. Screen 17: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 1» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.110. Used by permission. Copyright ©1953, 1981 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 18: BERRAN, Robert. In: «My Bible Friends, volume 4» (DEGERING, Etta B.), p.78. Used by permission. Copyright ©1963, 1991 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 19: TANK, Darrel. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.40. Screen 20: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2» (WHITE, Ellen G.), p.536. Used by permission. Copyright ©1952, 1980 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 21: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «The Bible Story, volume 6» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.65. Used by permission. Copyright ©1955, 1983 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 22: Digital Stock Photograph. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (August 1999), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.8. Screen 23: «Seventh Seal: The Distribution of the Trumpets to the Seven Angels» (c.1255-60), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. In: «Revelation - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.22. Screen 24: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #16, HI053.JPG.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 37 - Test The test of Lesson 37 is waiting for you!