Sunday service, Erlo Stegen, 12 Mar 2017
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. note
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. note
6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
If the Bible hadn’t depicted to us what transpires in heaven, people might have thought that when they die they simply enter the grave. So when you stand before God one day you won’t be able to say, “I didn’t know.” There won’t be equality in hell. The educated ones will have a much greater hell than the ignorant. When you cough or are ill let it remind you of your final day. This text pulls away the curtains and gives us insight into heaven.
It says that when He broke the final seal there was silence in heaven for half an hour. The whole hosts of heaven were silent. No one moved for half an hour. No one spoke a word in heaven, everyone was dead quiet. Why? Because the seventh and last seal was opened. It was the Lamb Who opened the seventh seal. He was the One Who took the scroll out of the Father’s hand. He is the Heir to the universe.
It’s an interesting turn of events. Mankind often complain about the silence of God. Even as we read in the psalms, “may our God come and not be silent” (Ps 50:3).
But here the tables are turned. God is about to speak.
We don’t know what the angels in heaven thought. They looked and waited expectantly, to see what would happen now that the seventh seal was opened and God’s wrath was to be poured out. Just think, no one had to tell the next one to be quiet. Each one knew by themselves to be quiet.
Do you have those moments where you are silent before God? It’s very important. We’re so much in a hurry and have so many things to do.
We read in Zech 2:13, “Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling”.
Blessed are those who have times of silence before God.
We must be obedient to what the Lord Jesus taught us, to go alone in a room, lock the door and pray to our Father in heaven and He has promised that He will reward us openly (Matt 6:6).
Why were they quiet in heaven? They expectedly waited upon God , as we read in Ps 61 and 62, for example Ps 62:1, “Truly my soul waits upon God: from him comes my salvation.”
Do you know such moments?
The person who doesn’t quiet his soul before the Lord doesn’t know what it means to hear the voice of God. There are some who have no hope or expectations. They live in hopelessness. Grasp hold of this word from Zechariah. There are times when you put everything aside and sit at the Lord’s feet like Mary. Not like Martha who was busy with many things.
Everything on earth is arranged in heaven. The Lord Jesus said that what you bind on earth has already been bound in heaven (Matt 18:18).
There is no greater fool than the one who doesn’t know God.
Are your prayers upon the censer on the altar of God? These prayers are collected together and found there. They are special to God. Are they special to you? If the prayers of the saints are so pleasing to God, what a poor saint you are if you don’t have a prayer life. Revived people pray and those prayers are upon the altar of God.
It’s as if heaven is spellbound by the prayers of the saints. Note that it’s the prayers of the saints. God’s saints are His Holy ones. The ones washed, cleansed and sanctified. Holiness means to be set apart. If there’s still jealousy, anger or irritability in your life, they must be done away with.
God sovereignly dictates what happens on earth. It’s wonderful to have a relationship with the One Who controls all affairs on earth. He even counts our very hairs and not one falls to the earth without His knowledge! (Luke 12:7)
God says let all flesh be quiet before Me. Know what it means to have these quiet times before God and see God at work.
We read in Ps 66:18, “if I regard evil in my heart God will not hear”. While there is evil in your heart you can pray and God won’t hear.
Remember Jacob who sent all his family and property across the Brook so that he could meet with God. And he wrestled with God until God asked him to let Him go but he answered that he won’t let God go unless God blessed him. God asked him for his name and he answered Jacob, which means “the deceiver”. In admitting his name he was admitting his character, a deceiver. God then changed his name to Israel, which means a prince, since he wrestled with man and God and overcame.
There are times when you must be alone with God.
Are you sanctified? Or have you allowed sin in your life?
Let’s not be fools before God. May we grasp what it’s all about, that our prayers might be a sweet savor to God.
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