This past week I was listening to a book when the author brought up the verse in Revelation 8 that talks about silence in heaven for the space of half an hour and expressed a couple things that made me immediately go and review these scriptures. The book of Revelation (a singular revelation, not revelations) was written while John was on the Isle of Patmos. It describes events to take place in the last days describing the signs of the times prior to Christ’s return, the tribulations to occur, and the deliverance of the Lord’s people through those events, and the establishment of the millennial rule of Christ. To be clear, I’m no authority on these things and am just sharing some things I find interesting to invite further study on your part.
Here is the verse:
Revelation 8:1 “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”
The purpose of prophecy is to give us waypoint markers, but we don’t always know what these things mean or when they will happen until we experience them. The prophet Nephi taught this regarding the prophecies of Isaiah (who also wrote about things similar to John).
2 Nephi 25:7 But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know that no man can err; nevertheless, in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.
This is intentional on the part of the Lord and his prophets. Things are obfuscated so that only those who search, seek, and knock, have things opened to them in advance, but as Nephi wrote, in the days of the fulfillment of these things, everyone will know as they happen that they are being fulfilled.
Assuming the earth’s timeline matches up as the scriptures seem to indicate with each of the seven seals mentioned opening at the start of each 1,000 years (and it’s not the purpose of this article to prove that out), this seventh seal would have opened around the year 2000 (give or take a little for potential calendar differences which have been debated).
We know from 2 Peter 3:8 that with the Lord, one of his days is as a thousand of our days on earth.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
So if a day to the Lord equals 1,000 years to us, dividing 1,000 by 24 hours in a day, would be approximately 42 earth years in one hour of the Lord’s time, or 21 years for a half-hour (more precisely, 21,002 stardates for you Trekkers…). This would put the verse in Revelation 8:1 in the time frame of 2021, but also note that the verse uses the word “about” so it’s a rough estimation and not meant to be exactly on the half hour. About could be viewed as plus or minus a few years, particularly if the calendar is off, but lets just realize, we’re very, very close.
I then went to Strong’s concordance in the Blue Letter Bible site and looked at this verse in the Greek which you can do from any verse in Scripture Notes by clicking the links button by the verse.
The word for half-hour is hēmiōrion (Pron. ha-me-o’-re-on) and literally means half an hour. This is the only occurrence of the word in the New Testament.
The word for silence is sigē (Pron. se-gay) and means silence, but in the sense of “to hush.” The only other time this word is used in the New Testament is in Acts 21:40 where Paul hushes a crowd so he can speak to them. He’s trying to have everyone be still so they can hear his words, which reminds me of this verse:
Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
I can’t help but see that this 21 years isn’t that heaven is silent and unspeaking, but that God is trying to get us to be quiet to he can speak. Man isn’t very good at listening to God, so perhaps what follows the opportunity for silence (repentance) is meant to be the “let me speak a little louder and see if you’ll listen now” stage of events. What follows this verse are the beginning of 3 woes. The first woe are 5 angels sounding their trumpets that bring devastation to the earth. The second woe is tied to the 6th angel, and the third woe to the 7th. I will not go into those in this article.
Doing a search for “silence” in the scriptures yields a few dozen results, a number of which are relevant to this topic of people being silent as the Lord is revealed:
Isaiah 41:1. Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
Habakkuk. 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Zechariah 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
But more particularly clear are a couple verses in modern day revelation in the Doctrine & Covenants.
D&C 38:11 For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven-
12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.
Remember, immediately after the silence the 7 angels of destruction are waiting to blow their trumpets and activate the woes upon the earth. The enemy is combined is another way of saying the self-selection process has occurred where some have embraced and upheld secret “combin[e]”-ations and joined themselves to the tares that will be burned. They have no promise of protection.
In an April 1993 General Conference address, Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated:
“Yes, ‘the enemy is combined,’ but when we are combined with the Lord’s ‘chariots of fire,’ then ‘they that be with us are more than they that be with them’! (2 Kings. 6:16-17) Furthermore, the divine promise is that no weapon formed against the Lord’s work shall finally prosper; this ‘is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.’ (Isa. 54:17; D&C 71:9.) I so assure; I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!”
We also have this statement by Wilford Woodruff.
God has held the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now, that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things.
Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we’ll have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and in safety. Read the scriptures and the revelations. They will tell you about all these things. Great changes are at our doors. The next twenty years will see mighty changes among the nations of the earth. You will live to see these things, whether I do or not. “Wilford Woodruff, Collected Discourses 1888 – 1898, speech given June 24, 1894.
This prophecy was fulfilled and is merely an indication of the judgments of God having already commenced, not that these are THE 7 angels referenced in Revelation 8 and beyond.
Another scripture that is more heavily tied into Revelation 8:1 is:
D&C 88:95 And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;
The word immediately here is an indication that things will happen rapidly and not be drawn out and delayed, because if they were drawn out, the Lord informed us:
Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Immediately is on the Lord’s timetable, not man’s understanding of the word that it will happen as soon as the half-hour is complete.
So assuming these things are right on the verge of happening, is it any wonder that President Nelson has asked us to become much more practiced at getting personal revelation? The greatest deceptions in the history of the world are about to unfold, even greater than the deceptions of the magicians of Egypt in Moses’ day. Then the greatest plagues will occur, as they did in Moses’ day. Then the greatest exodus of deliverance will occur as the Lord gathers Israel out of every nation just as he did in Moses’ day. But instead of a single Moses, just prior to this event of the silence in heaven being completed and the woes coming forth, the Lord calls 144,000 servants in Revelation 7 to participate in this great gathering.
Rev. 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
In modern day revelation we get this added insight to this calling.
D&C 77:11 Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel-twelve thousand out of every tribe? A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.
What’s interesting to me is the possibility that the verses at the end of Revelation 7 may be a reference to the mortal status and privileges of these individuals and their work to bring people to the Church of the Firstborn.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
It’s possible that this is an indication that these people and those they rescue who go through the great tribulations poured out after the half-hour of silence, become sanctified and enter into the Church of the Firstborn in heaven by being translated where the light of Christ provides all the life sustaining energy you need. Therefore they do not hunger and thirst or are affected by mortal ailments and circumstances. God takes away their sorrows such that they only sorrow for the sins of the world (as other translated beings have been promised – 3 Nephi 28:9, 38; 4 Nephi 1:44).
While this interpretation by me is purely speculative, we do know that for us to receive the city of Enoch back to earth to join with the New Jerusalem, Zion must be established and we be like them, which is a translated status.
Moses 7:63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
This is the greatest time in the history of the world and it is our joy and privilege to be here for these remarkable events, to witness the tribulation and come through it to enter the great millennial reign of Christ the King.
(Featured image by avdeev3000 @ 123rf.com)
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