In Revelation chapter 6, Christ opened 6 of the 7 seals. These seals were pieces of a substance called wax, which held a book firmly closed. As he opened those seals, severe judgements happened upon the earth.
Then, in chapter 7, there was a delay. Before Godís judgements against the world could continue, a group of 144,000 people needed to receive Godís mark. That mark was evidence that they had a right relationship with God.
Then, Christ opened the last seal. That meant that it was, at last, possible to open the book. John does not say whether Christ actually opened the book now. It may be that the book will remain closed until the events in Revelation 20:12. However, the opening of its last seal was a very sacred and serious moment. It was so important that there was then a period of complete silence in heaven. John has carefully recorded what he saw and heard in heaven. The sounds there were constant, especially near to Godís throne (royal seat). People and angels (Godís special servants) were praising God continuously, with joyful songs and prayer. So it seems extraordinary that, suddenly, there should be silence in heaven.
There are few references to silent prayer in the Bible; people usually prayed aloud. Hannah prayed silently because she was in such a desperate state (1 Samuel 1:13). However, usually the reason for silence in the Bible is to show respect, especially to God (Psalm 46:10; Zechariah 2:13).
There is much joy in heaven when evil people turn to God (Luke 15:7). However, it gives no pleasure to God when he must punish wicked people (Ezekiel 18:32). Soon, John will describe more terrible judgements that will end the power of evil forces over this world. At such a serious time, it would not be right to sing joyful songs. So heavenís inhabitants are silent in order to give respect to God.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.