Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 8:1

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Heaven;   Hours;   The Topic Concordance - Seals;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Incense;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Plagues;   Revelation, the Book of;   Silence;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Plagues of Egypt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels;   Numbers;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cherubim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Incense;   Seven;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Incense;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Censer;   Revelation of John:;   Silence;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apocalypse;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The seventh seal - This is ushered in and opened only by the Lamb.

Silence in heaven - This must be a mere metaphor, silence being put here for the deep and solemn expectation of the stupendous things about to take place, which the opening of this seal had produced. When any thing prodigious or surprising is expected, all is silence, and even the breath is scarcely heard to be drawn.

Half an hour - As heaven may signify the place in which all these representations were made to St. John, the half hour may be considered as the time during which no representation was made to him, the time in which God was preparing the august exhibition which follows.

There is here, and in the following verses, a strong allusion to different parts of the temple worship; a presumption that the temple was still standing, and the regular service of God carried on. The silence here refers to this fact - while the priest went in to burn incense in the holy place, all the people continued in silent mental prayer without till the priest returned. See Luke 1:10. The angel mentioned here appears to execute the office of priest, as we shall by and by see.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And when he had opened the seventh seal - See the notes on Revelation 5:1.

There was silence in heaven - The whole scene of the vision is laid in heaven Revelation 4:1-11, and John represents things as they seem to be passing there. The meaning here is, that on the opening of this seal, instead of voices, thunderings, tempests, as perhaps was expected from the character of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12 ff), and which seemed only to have been suspended for a time Revelation 7:1 - the wrath in respect to the city, which was now suspended for a short time. Prof. Stuart also refers it to the destruction of Jerusalem, and supposes that the seven trumpets refer to seven gradations in the series of judgments that were coming upon the persecutors of the church. Mr. Daubuz regards the silence here referred to as a symbol of the liberty granted to the church in the time of Constantine; Vitringa interprets it of the peace of the millennium which is to succeed the overthrow of the beast and the false prophet; Dr. Woodhouse and Mr. Cunninghame regard it as the termination of the series of events which thee former seals denote, and the commencement of a new train of revelations; Mr. Elliott, as the suspension of the winds during the sealing of the servants of God; Mr. Lord, as the period of repose which intervened between the close of the persecution by Diocletian and Galerius, in 311, and the commencement, near the close of that year, of the civil wars by which Constantine the Great was elevated to the imperial throne.

It will be seen at once how arbitrary and unsatisfactory most of those interpretations are, and how far from harmony expositors have been as to the meaning of this symbol. The most simple and obvious interpretation is likely to be the true one; and that is, as above suggested, that it refers to silence in heaven as expressive of the fearful anticipation felt on opening the last seal that was to close the series, and to wind up the affairs of the church and the world. Nothing would be more natural than such a state of solemn awe on such an occasion; nothing would introduce the opening of the seal in a more impressive manner; nothing would more naturally express the anxiety of the church, the probable feelings of the pious on the opening of these successive seals, than the representation that incense, accompanied with their prayers, was continually offered in heaven.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

REV:8

Regarding Revelation 8:1. With the first verse of this chapter, one reaches a watershed in the interpretation of Revelation, a moment of decision, that affects the understanding of all that follows. This verse is the pivot upon which the whole interpretation turns, making the problem of its interpretation probably the most important in the whole book. Once the wrong view of Revelation 8:1 is established in the interpreter's understanding, it is impossible for the exegesis of subsequent chapters to be correct; and most of the systems of interpreting Revelation are wrong because this verse was either ignored or misunderstood. Observe the verse itself.

And when he opened the seventh seal, there followed a silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)

In these brief words, we have all that pertains to the opening of the seventh seal. The half hour of silence does not either include or introduce the seven trumpets, or anything else. Since the sixth seal brought a vision of the Second Advent and final judgment, followed by a special vision of the safety and felicity of the saints (Revelation 7), not only while they are enduring sufferings and tribulations, but also through the final judgment into heaven itself, the most natural question of the soul is, "What will it be like in heaven?" The Scriptural answer to that question is this half hour of silence. It is not revealed. There is not a word in the whole Bible that actually portrays the events following the judgment of the last day, "the day of the Lord." Even the marvelous two chapters which conclude this prophecy reveal nothing of the events that are to take place afterwards. John himself said, "It is not yet made manifest what we shall be" (1 John 3:2), a statement which is parallel with the thought here. A moment later, we shall note some of the important corollaries that derive from this interpretation; but first, we shall give the interpretation of this verse as found in the writings of others:

It is a silence of fearful apprehension.[1] The silence is transitional.[2] It introduces a new series of symbols (the trumpets).[3] It may be a breathing space in the narrative.[4] It is a dread suspense in anticipation of events to follow.[5] All heaven breathlessly awaits the final act of divine judgment.[6] It is a brilliant device for deepening the suspense.[7] It begins a new series of visions, the trumpets.[8] It represents a broken or interrupted whole.[9]

The vast majority of commentators hold views similar to those cited here; and the net result of such an interpretation is that of making the trumpets a vision of events coming subsequently and in sequence to the six seals. This we believe to be incorrect. That half hour of silence is a terminus reaching all the way to eternity and summing up all that had been revealed by the opening of the six seals, which disclosed conditions of the whole period between the two Advents of Christ. This understanding of the silence forces the conclusion that whatever else may be revealed in Revelation covers identically the same time period as that covered by the opening of the six seals. A number of scholars discerned this exceedingly important truth:

Revelation 6:11 is clearly a reference to the final judgment ... the half hour silence is the full content of the seventh seal ... the end, after the judgment, is pictured by the silence. This shuts out the possibility of the trumpets and bowls being pictures of historical events subsequent to the seals ... They present different aspects of the same time period as the seals.[10] Each new series of visions (trumpets and bowls) both recapitulates and develops the theme already stated in what has gone before.[11] It is noteworthy that both the seals and the trumpets bring us to the end (Revelation 6:17; 11:15); and this requires us to recognize some measure of recapitulation, when the narrative backs up and recovers the same ground.[12] He (John) has in mind at this point to double back and present more material.[13] The successive visions (the seals) are paralleled in the trumpets.[14] The arrangement of the trumpets is parallel to that of the seals.[15] Man cannot yet know all of God's plans (comment on the silence).[16]

Others could be cited, but these are enough to show that the interpretation advocated here is by no means unique. This view of the half hour of silence as the totality of the seventh seal stresses the importance of the seventh seal. Roberson objected that such a view, "Does not give the same significance to the seventh seal which the reader is entitled to expect";[17] but this objection is removed by the view of it as a withholding of any prophecy at all regarding the afterlife, thus making the seventh seal one of the most important and significant things in the whole prophecy. No other solution is adequate. This confirms the view of the sixth seal as a picture of the final judgment, and clears up the wonderment of many regarding no mention of the end in the seventh seal; but the end has already happened! The silence regards the time after the end, and God is silent with reference to that. Plummer also noted this:

The events narrated under the vision of the trumpets are not an exposition of the seventh seal, but a separate supplementary vision. The silence is typical of the eternal peace of heaven, the ineffable bliss of which it is impossible for mortals to comprehend, and which is, therefore, symbolized by silence.[18]

The crucial importance of Revelation 8:1 requires our study of it to be as thorough as possible. It is the key to our conviction that the prophecy of Revelation is a series of sections, each ending in the final judgment, and all of them therefore parallel and having reference to the same extended time period between the two Advents of Christ, and each of them recapitulating from different viewpoints the events regarding all the world of both believers and unbelievers, with specific references to both classes again and again.

This understanding of Revelation dates back many years with this writer, and it was delightfully exciting to discover, far later, the able defense of this view by William Hendriksen. Before glancing at Hendriksen's argument, the reason why this interpretation came about is significant. In the Old Testament Joseph interpreted the parallel dreams of Pharaoh regarding the seven fat cattle devoured by the seven lean cattle, and the seven good ears of corn consumed by the seven blasted ears which followed them; and the answer God gave to Joseph was, "The dream of Pharaoh is one" (Genesis 41:25). There are far more resemblances in the various series of visions in this prophecy than there were in Pharaoh's two strange dreams; and this fact long ago led this student to the conclusion that, in a sense, all seven of these sections in Revelation are one. A summary of Hendriksen's very extensive presentation of this view is:[19]

The book consists of seven sections, running parallel, and spanning the whole dispensation between the first and second coming of Christ.

Each ends in the judgment day.

Both the first trumpet and the first bowl affect the earth (Revelation 8:7,16:2); the second trumpet and the second bowl affect the sea; the third trumpet and the third bowl affect the rivers; the fourth in both series refers to the sun. This type of correspondence in the series is extensive, including the divisions into groups of four and three, etc.

The same themes appear in all sections: the bliss of the redeemed, the destruction of Christ's enemies, the judgment of the wicked, divine judgments upon men, trials and persecutions of the church, etc.

Even the interludes are similarly constructed.

The seven churches addressed at the beginning constitute somewhat of an overture for the whole production; and they suggest a sevenfold division of the whole prophecy.

The same promises are repeated in all sections. God shall wipe away all tears appears in Revelation 7:17, and in Revelation 21:4.SIZE>

Many other similarities and resemblances will be pointed out in the notes on the text throughout.

The acceptance of the above interpretation does not mean that no specific events in history are prophesied; for it is our conviction that many such things are included, although most of them may not be restricted to specific dates nor limited to any single fulfillment. The fulfillment of the wars and famines under the six seals, for example, has been repeated in many fulfillments throughout history, and will doubtless be fulfilled again and again in the future.

[1] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 551.

[2] Ray Summers, Worthy is the Lamb (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1961), p. 153.

[3] W. S. Thompson, Comments on Revelation (Memphis, Texas: Southern Church Publications, 1957), p. 87.

[4] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 40.

[5] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 269.

[6] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 646.

[7] Martin Kiddle, The Revelation of St. John, The Moffatt New Testament Commentary, p. 144.

[8] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 119.

[9] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 53.

[10] Douglas Ezell, Revelations on Revelation (Waco: Word Books, 1977), pp. 44-47.

[11] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 106.

[12] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 121.

[13] Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), p. 104.

[14] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 555.

[15] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1079.

[16] James William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 632.

[17] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 52.

[18] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 20, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 229.

[19] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), pp. 23,25, 26,28, and 139.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when he had opened the seventh seal,.... That is, when the Lamb had opened the seventh and last seal of the scaled book:

there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour; not in the third heaven, the seat of the divine Being, of angels and glorified saints, where are hallelujahs without intermission; but in the church, which is oftentimes signified by heaven in this book, and where now the throne of God was placed, in that form as described in Revelation 4:4, or rather in the Roman empire: nor is this silence the sum of this seal, or the only thing in it; for it includes the preparation of the seven angels to take their trumpets, though none of them were sounded during this period. This space of time some think refers to the time which elapsed, while the angel, who had incense given him to offer it with the prayers of saints, did so, and took fire off the altar with his censer, and cast it on the earth: and while the seven angels had their trumpets given them, and they were preparing to sound. Others are of opinion that this was only a pause, a breathing time for John between the former visions and seals, and the following; nothing being said or done, or anything exhibited to him during this interval; but he was at leisure to reflect on what he had seen, and to prepare for what was to come. Others understand it of the amazement of the saints at the judgments of God, which were coming upon the Christian empire, and of their quiet and silent preparations for these troubles and combats, both within and without, they were to be exercised with; see Zechariah 2:13. Others have thought that this refers to the state of the saints after the day of judgment, when there will be an entire cessation from persecution and trouble, and when the souls under the altar will have done crying for vengeance; but this will be not for half an hour only, but to all eternity; nor will angels and saints be then silent. Rather this is to be understood of that peace and rest which the church enjoyed upon Constantine's having defeated all his enemies, when he brought the church into a state of profound tranquillity and ease; and this lasted but for a little while, which is here expressed by about, or almost half an hour, as the Syriac version renders it; for in a short time the Arian heresy broke out, which introduced great troubles in the church, and at last violent persecutions. The allusion is, as in the whole of the following vision of the angel at the altar, to the offering of incense; at which time the people were removed from the temple, from between the porch and altarF12T. Tab. Yoma, fol. 44. 1. Maimon. Hilchot Tamidin, c. 3. sect. 3. , to some more distant place; and the priest was alone while he offered incense, and then prayed a short prayer, that the people might not be affrighted lest he should be deadF13Misn. Yoma, c. 5. sect. 1. : and who in the mean while were praying in a silent, manner without; see Luke 1:9; hence the Jews sayF14T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 44. 1. & Zebachim, fol. 88. 2. , that the offering of incense atones for an ill tongue, for it is a thing that is introduced בחשאי, "silently", and it atones for what is done silently, such as whisperings, backbitings, &c. and they callF15T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 18. 1. silence the best of spices, even of those of which the sweet incense was made.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

(1) He returns to the history of the seals of the book, which the Lamb opens. The seventh seal is the next sign, a precise commandment for the execution of the most severe judgment of God on this wicked world, and being understood by the seal, all things in heaven are silent, and in horror through admiration, until the command to act is given by God to the ministers of his wrath. So he moves to the third part which I spoke of before in (Revelation 6:1) which is the enacting of those evils with which God most justly determined to afflict the world.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 8:1-13. Seventh seal. Preparation for the seven trumpets. The first four and the consequent plagues.

wasGreek, “came to pass”; “began to be.”

silence in heaven about  …  half an hour — The last seal having been broken open, the book of God‘s eternal plan of redemption is opened for the Lamb to read to the blessed ones in heaven. The half hour‘s silence contrasts with the previous jubilant songs of the great multitude, taken up by the angels (Revelation 7:9-11). It is the solemn introduction to the employments and enjoyments of the eternal Sabbath-rest of the people of God, commencing with the Lamb‘s reading the book heretofore sealed up, and which we cannot know till then. In Revelation 10:4, similarly at the eve of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when the seven thunders uttered their voices, John is forbidden to write them. The seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19) winds up God‘s vast plan of providence and grace in redemption, just as the seventh seal brings it to the same consummation. So also the seventh vial, Revelation 16:17. Not that the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials, though parallel, are repetitions. They each trace the course of divine action up to the grand consummation in which they all meet, under a different aspect. Thunders, lightnings, an earthquake, and voices close the seven thunders and the seven seals alike (compare Revelation 8:5, with Revelation 11:19). Compare at the seventh vial, the voices, thunders, lightnings, and earthquake, Revelation 16:18. The half-hour silence is the brief pause GIVEN TO JOHN between the preceding vision and the following one, implying, on the one hand, the solemn introduction to the eternal sabbatism which is to follow the seventh seal; and, on the other, the silence which continued during the incense-accompanied prayers which usher in the first of the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:3-5). In the Jewish temple, musical instruments and singing resounded during the whole time of the offering of the sacrifices, which formed the first part of the service. But at the offering of incense, solemn silence was kept (“My soul waiteth upon God,” Psalm 62:1; “is silent,” Margin; Psalm 65:1, Margin), the people praying secretly all the time. The half-hour stillness implies, too, the earnest adoring expectation with which the blessed spirits and the angels await the succeeding unfolding of God‘s judgments. A short space is implied; for even an hour is so used (Revelation 17:12; Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:19).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-8.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And when he opened (και οταν ηνοιχενkai hotan ēnoixen). Here modal ανan is used with οτεhote (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but οτανhotan is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true (Mark 3:11; Revelation 4:9), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973).

There followed a silence (εγενετο σιγηegeneto sigē). Second aorist middle of γινομαιginomai “There came silence.” Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Revelation 10:4.

About the space of half an hour (ως ημιωρονhōs hēmiōron). Late and rare word (ημιhēmi half, ωραhōra hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

When ( ὅτε )

Read ὅταν , the indefinite particle with the indicative mood. For a similar construction, see Mark 11:19(correct reading). Alford observes that it occurs in the opening of this seal only, giving it an indefiniteness which does not belong to any of the rest.

There was ( ἐγένετο )

More literally, come to pass. Rev., there followed.

About ( ὡς )

A usual form of expression with John. See John 1:39; John 6:19; John 11:18.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-8.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven — Such a silence is mentioned but in this one place. It was uncommon, and highly observable: for praise is sounding in heaven day and night. In particular, immediately before this silence, all the angels, and before them the innumerable multitude, had been crying with a loud voice; and now all is still at once: there is an universal pause. Hereby the seventh seal is very remarkably distinguished from the six preceding. This silence before God shows that those who were round about him were expecting, with the deepest reverence, the great things which the Divine Majesty would farther open and order. Immediately after, the seven trumpets are heard, and a sound more august than ever. Silence is only a preparation: the grand point is, the sounding the trumpets to the praise of God.

About half an hour — To St. John, in the vision, it might seem a common half hour.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-8.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Silence in heaven; usually considered as a pause indicative of the solemnity and importance of the events which were to follow; for commentators have generally supposed that the seventh seal extends over and includes all that follows. For what reason, however, this opinion has been so generally entertained, does not appear, as there is no allusion to the seals beyond this passage, but, on the other hand, an entirely new succession of images occurs. The fact that the account of the opening of the seventh seal is placed it the commencement of a new chapter, is by no moans sufficient to show that it has any connection with what follows, since it is well understood that the divisions of chapters and verses, having been made in comparatively modern times, afford no criterion of the natural divisions of the composition. We may, perhaps, therefore consider the silence in heaven as closing this series of prophetical annunciations. And though there is great uncertainty and much diversity of views in regard to the proper interpretation of them, we may, perhaps, regard them as intended to convey to our minds a general outline of God's intended dealings with the church and the world; the first four seals representing the onset of terrible temporal calamities upon the earth,--war, slaughter, famine, and destruction; the fifth, the faith and patience of the saints, enduring sufferings and sorrows from the ungodly, which would, however, be avenged in due time; the sixth, the great day of retribution bringing destruction upon the enemies of God while his friends are protected and preserved; and the seventh, the period of quiescence and repose, following the final consummation of the divine designs.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-8.html. 1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

1.] And when (for ὅταν with indic., see reff. Notice, that it occurs in the opening of this seal only, giving it an indefiniteness which does not belong to any of the rest. The touch is so slight as not to be reproducible in another language: but it can hardly be denied that in the Writer’s mind it exists) he opened the seventh seal (what sign may we expect to follow? The other six seals have been accompanied each by its appropriate vision. Since the opening of the last one, followed as it was by the portents and terrors of the day of the Lord, there has been an episodical series of visions, setting forth the gathering in of the elect, and the innumerable multitude of the glorified Church. What incident is appropriate for the removal of this last, the only obstacle yet remaining to the entire disclosure of the secret purposes of God?) there was (there became, there came on, supervened, from a state very different, viz. the choral songs of the great multitude, re-echoed by the angelic host) silence in the heaven about (see reff. There is no ellipsis in the ὡς: the duration is contained in the ἡμίωρον) half an hour (in enquiring into the meaning of this silence, let us first see whether we have any indication by analogy in the book itself, which may guide us. In ch. Revelation 10:4, when the Apostle is about to write down the voices of the seven thunders, he is commanded to abstain, and not to write them down. And though neither the manner nor the place of that withholding exactly corresponds to this half-hour’s silence, yet it holds a place related to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, quite sufficiently near to that of this, with regard to the seventh seal, to be brought into comparison with it. It imports 1) a passing over and withholding, as far as the Apostle is concerned, of that which the seventh seal revealed: i. e. of that complete unrolling of God’s book of His eternal purposes, of the times and seasons which He holds in His own power. For this unrolling, every thing has been prepared: even to the taking off of the last seal which bound the mysterious roll. But as to what the roll itself contains, there is silence. 2) But it also imports, as Victorinus beautifully says, “semihora, initium quietis æternæ:” the beginning of that blessed sabbatical state of rest, during which the people of God shall be in full possession of those things which ear hath not heard nor eye seen. With equal truth and beauty does the same, our earliest apocalyptic expositor, proceed: “sed partem intellexit, quia interruptio eadem per ordinem repetit. Nam si esset juge silentium, hic finis narrandi fieret.” So that the vexed question, whether what follows belongs, or not, to the seventh seal, is, in fact, a question not worth seriously answering. Out of the completion of the former vision rise up a new series of visions, bearing a different character, but distinguished by the same number, indicating perfection, and shewing us that though evolved out of the completion of the former series, they do not belong to the last particular member of that series, any further than as it leads the way to them. Even more marked is this again below in ch. 11–16, where the pouring out of the seven vials can in no way be said to belong to or form part of the blowing of the seventh trumpet. It will be seen then that I believe all interpretation to be wrong, which regards the blowing of the seven trumpets as forming a portion of the vision accompanying the seventh seal in particular; and again that I place in the same category all that which regards it as taking up and going over the same ground again. In the seven seals, we had revealed, as was fitting, the opening of the great Revelation, the progress and fortunes of God’s Church and people in relation to the world, and of the world in relation to the church.

With regard to the trumpets themselves, we may observe, 1) that they repeat again the same mystic number seven, indicating that the course of events (see below) represented by this sounding is complete in itself, as was that indicated before by the breaking of the seals, and as is also that afterwards to be indicated by the pouring out of the vials: 2) that as in the case of the seals, there is a distinction made between the first four and the following three. Cf. below, Revelation 8:13. 3) that as also in the case of the seals, there is an interval, with two episodical visions, between the sixth and the seventh trumpet. Cf. ch. 10, and ch. Revelation 11:1 to Revelation 14:4) that of the trumpets, six only announce visions partaking of the common character of judgments, whereas the seventh forms, as we also saw in the case of the seventh seal, the solemn close to the rest. 5) and further, that as regards this seventh trumpet, the matters imported by it as being ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ τρίτη (ch. Revelation 11:14) are not given, but merely indicated by ἦλθενὁ καιρὸς τῶν νεκρῶν κριθῆναι, κ. τ. λ. (ch. Revelation 11:18): just as we saw that the things imported by the opening of the seventh seal were not detailed, but only indicated by the episodical visions, and by the nature of the similitude used. 6) that before the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the mystery of God is finished, as far as relates to the subject of this course of visions. This is indicated by the great Angel in ch. Revelation 10:7; and again by implication in ch. Revelation 11:15-19, both by the purport of the voices in heaven, Revelation 11:15, and by the ascriptions of praise, Revelation 11:16-18. This is the same again at the pouring out of the seventh vial, where the great voice from the throne announces γέγονεν, ch. Revelation 16:17; as we saw that it was at the opening of the seventh seal, as indicated by the silence of half an hour. Each course of visions is complete in itself: each course of visions ends in the accomplishment of that series of divine actions which it sets forth. 7) that as, when the preparation for the seven angels to sound their trumpets is evolved out of the opening of the seventh seal, the vision of the seals is solemnly closed in by ἐγένοντο βρονταὶ καὶ ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ σεισμός, so the vision of the trumpets is solemnly closed in by ἐγένοντο ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταὶ καὶ σεισμὸς καὶ χάλαζα μεγάλη. That the similar occurrence, ch. Revelation 16:18, does not close the series of the vials, seems to be owing to special circumstances belonging to the outpouring of the seventh vial: see there (ch. Revelation 16:21). 8) that as in Revelation 8:3-5, which form the close of the vision of the seals, and the opening of that of the trumpets, the offering of the prayers of the saints is the prominent feature (see notes below), so in the close of the series of the trumpets we have a prominent disclosure of the ark of the covenant of God, declaring and sealing His faithfulness to His church. Similarly again at the beginning of the series of the vials, we have the temple of the tabernacle of witness opened. Why we have not a similar appearance at the close of that series, is to be accounted for as above. 9) that, seeing that this course of visions opens and closes as last noticed, it (to say nothing at present of the following series of the vials) is to be regarded as embracing a course of judgments (for such evidently is every one of its six visions) inflicted in answer to those prayers, and forming a portion of that ἐκδίκησις invoked by the souls of the martyrs in ch. Revelation 6:10. 10) If this be so, then, as this series of visions is manifestly to be regarded as extending to the end of the whole period of time (cf. ch. Revelation 10:7, ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἀγγέλου, ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν, καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. τ. λ.), we may fairly say that it takes up the great world-wide vision of the seals at the point where it was said to the vengeance-invoking martyrs ἵνα ἀναπαύσωνται ἔτι χρόνον: and that the judgments of this series of visions occur during the time of waiting. This view is confirmed by finding that οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, upon whom the vengeance is invoked in ch. Revelation 6:10, are the objects of vengeance during this series of judgments, cf. Revelation 8:13. 11) In reference to this last remark, we may observe that no one portion especially of the earth’s inhabitants is pointed out as objects of this series of judgments, but all the ungodly, as usurpers of the kingdom of Christ. This is plain, by the expressions in the ascription of praise with which it closes, I mean, ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία κ. τ. λ. Earthly domination is cast down, and the Lord’s Kingdom is brought in. And it is also plain, from the expression used in that same ascription of praise, καὶ διαφθεῖραι τοὺς διαφθείροντας τὴν γῆν, of what character have been these ungodly—the corrupters of the earth—the tainters and wasters of the means and accessories of life. 12) Whatever be the interpretation which follows from the foregoing considerations, two canons must not be violated. a) As in the case of the seals, so it is manifest here, from ch. Revelation 11:18, ἦλθεν.… ὁ καιρὸς τῶν νεκρῶν κριθῆναι, κ. τ. λ., that the series of visions reaches forward to the time of the end, and is only terminated by the great events indicated in those words. And b) as yet, no particular city, no especial people is designated as the subject of the apocalyptic vision. All is general. The earth, the trees, the grass, the sea, the waters, the lights of heaven, mankind,—these are at present the objects in our field of view. There is as yet no θρόνος τοῦ θηρίου, as in the outpouring of the vials, ch. Revelation 16:10. The prophecy goes on becoming more specific as it advances: and it is not for us to anticipate its course, nor to localize and individualize where it is as yet general and undefined. The further details will be treated as we go on).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-8.html. 1863-1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

God

Adonai Jehovah. Isaiah 25:8.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 8:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-8.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Ver. 1. The seventh seal] The business or parts whereof are the seven trumpets, that sound a dreadful alarm against the Roman empire, ready now to be ruined for the innocent blood, and upon the instant suit of the martyrs, Revelation 6:10.

There was silence in heaven] That is, in the Church on earth, often called the kingdom of heaven. This half an hour’s silence was either for horror and admiration, or for ardent expectation, or (as some will have it) for religious awe and devotion. Christ the high priest, being now about to offer incense (those prayers of the martyrs, Revelation 6:10), there was in the Church (as used to be in the temple at such times, Luke 1:10) a deep silence. So among the Romans, the people in time of worship were enjoined favere linguis, to spare their tongues. And in the Greek Church one stood up and cried, σιγα, λαος, αφεσις, λαος, Peace, people, leave off your discourse. Among the heathen Athenians in the time of divine rites, the priests craved silence of the people in these words, ευφημειτε, σιγα, πας εστωλεως, Be whist, all ye people, good words or nothing. Male ominatis parcite verbis. (Archaeol. Attic. 55. Horat.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 8:1.— This chapter opens the second grand period of this prophesy; which begins upon the opening of the seventh seal, and is distinguished by the sounding of seven trumpets. This period of the trumpets is of much longer duration, and comprehends many more events than any of the former seals. It comprehends indeed seven periods, distinguished by the sounding of seven trumpets, and contains a prophetic description of the state of the world and church for a considerable space of time after the empire became Christian during the continuance of the empire in the successors of Constantine, ch. Revelation 8-10. It describes the great devastation of the Roman empire by the several nations which broke in upon it, and finally put an end to it: it describes a time of great calamity, a state of new trials: it shews the church what it was to expect in new dangers and opposition after it should be delivered from the persecution of the Heathen Roman Government: and when the Christian religion should have the protection of the laws, and the favour of the emperors, the church would still have great need of caution, watchfulness, patience, and constancy; and there would be still this encouragement to faithfulness and perseverance, that though the opposition in this period of time would be great, yet neither should this prevail against the cause of truth and righteousness. The Christian faith and religion should be preserved, and in the end triumph over this opposition, as it had before over the former opposition from the Heathen emperors of Rome; and thus the general design and use of the prophesy is fully answered, to direct and encourage the constancy of the Christian Church in faith and patience, whatever opposition it may meet with from the world.

There was silence in heaven Most interpreters agree that this silence in heaven for half an hour, is an allusion to the manner of the temple worship; for, while the priest offered incense in the holy place, the whole people prayed without in silence, or privately to themselves, Luke 1:10. On the day of expiation, the whole service was performed by the high-priest; to which particular service Sir Isaac Newton has observed an allusion: "The custom," says he, "on other days was to take fire from the great altar in a silver censer; but on this day of expiation, for the high-priest to take fire from the great altar in a golden censer: and when he was come down from the great altar, he took incense from one of the priests who brought it to him, and went with it to the golden altar; and while he offered the incense, the peopleprayed without in silence;—which is the silence in heaven for half an hour." It is true, on the day of expiation the high-priest did all the service himself; he used a golden censer, and took his hands full of incense; yet I doubt not but the mention of a golden censer, and much incense, refers to the glory and perfection of the heavenly worship, as well as to the peculiar service of the high-priest. But see the Note on Revelation 8:6, for my own opinion on this point.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-8.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

When he had opened, that is, when the Lamb, who opened the six foregoing seals, did open the seventh, there was silence in heaven about half an hour, by way of allusion to what was done in the temple at the time of offering incense. The end of which silence was to give St. John an opportunity to contemplate those high mysteries which he had revealed to him, and to prepare him for new visions, as silence is cried before the proclamation of great and weighty matters. When great things are to be uttered, great attention is expected, and great silence prepares for great attention.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-8.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 8:1. ὅταν. In the sense of ὅτε,(2386) as is not unusual among the Byzantines.(2387)

σιγὴ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὡς ἡ΄ίωρον. The silence in heaven, lasting about(2388) a half-hour, begins at the place where the songs of praise still resound, Revelation 7:10 sqq. The voice also of the elder who speaks immediately before the opening of the seventh seal is silent. When the Lamb took the book with the seven seals, the music of the harp and the song of praise resounded in heaven, Revelation 5:8 sqq.; also at the opening of the first six seals, it was in many ways audible;(2389) but when the last seal is opened, a profound silence ensues. The reason for this is the anxious expectation of the inhabitants of heaven, who not only after the precedency of the sixth seal must now expect the final decisive catastrophe, but, also, can infer the proximity of that catastrophe from the appearing of the seven angels, and their being furnished with trumpets. The σιγὴ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ is thus a “silent expectation and contemplation of the seven trumpets,”(2390) and, as an expression of “the stupor of the heavenly beings,” belongs to “the adornment and fitness of the dramatic scene.”(2391) Thus, essentially, Andr., Areth., Par., Vieg., Rib., Aret., Calov., Beng., Ew., De Wette, Stern, Ebrard, all of whom are one on the main point,(2392) that the σιγή does not compose the entire contents of the seventh seal, but that rather from this last seal the entire series of trumpet-visions is developed. If this is denied, as by Vitr., and recently by Hengstenb., not only is the organic connection of the visions as a whole rent,—since “the group of the seven trumpets” appears immediately beside “the group of the seven seals,”(2393) but results follow with respect to the exposition as a whole, and in its details, that are entirely inadmissible. Hengstenb. interprets the σιγὴ ἐν τ. οὐρ., as the silencing of the enemies of Christ and his Church, which corresponds with their mourning,(2394) and is regarded as caused by the punishments of the preceding six seals. And, besides, the ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, which alone is strong enough to render this mode of statement impossible, is explained away by the remark: “Heaven here comes into consideration only as a theatre (Revelation 6:1, Revelation 12:1). In reality the silence belongs to the earth”!

Vitr. seeks, in a better way, to meet the demands of the text. He refutes, first, the view according to which it is thought that in Revelation 8:1-6 the entire contents of the seventh seal are described,(2395) by the excellent remark that already, in Revelation 8:2, the angels of the trumpets enter, and that Revelation 8:2-6 contain in general a certain preparation for Revelation 8:7 sqq. But while Vitr. thus properly hesitates to sunder Revelation 8:2 sqq. from Revelation 8:7 sqq., he separates Revelation 8:1 from Revelation 8:2 sqq. by finding in Revelation 8:1 the contents of the seventh seal, i.e., the complete conclusion of the series of seal-visions, according to their prophetic significance extending until the end of the world, which, in their way, comprise the entire breadth of Apocalyptic prophecy; for from this it necessarily follows that the prophecy begins again with the first trumpet-vision, which runs parallel to the first seal-vision, etc. The σιγὴ ἐν τ. οὐρ. designates, according to Vitr., “the condition of the most recent period of the Church, in which the Church in the possession of peace, tranquillity, and an abundance of all spiritual blessings, celebrates a triumph over its enemies.” This σιγή, therefore, actually lasts a long time, although it appears to John a half-hour,(2396)—as Lange with entire consistency says, one thousand years.(2397) The connection with the trumpet-visions lies in the fact that here “the Spirit explains in what way and by what steps God led the Church into that state,” viz., as those trumpet-visions describe: “Evils intended for the punishment of the Roman Empire, the enemy of the Church of Christ, to be terminated in the total destruction of the same empire.” There are two main points characteristic of this mode of conception, which is best advocated by Vitr., in which, however, the distortion is evident; viz., the explanation of the σιγὴ ἐν τ. οὐρ., and the statement of the connection with the trumpet-visions. If it is assumed that the seventh seal brings nothing else than that σιγὴ,—although as well after the events of the first six seals, as after the interposed ch. 7, a certain fulness of significant contents is to be expected,—the question for which neither reasons are assigned, nor to which an answer is in any way given in the context itself, is raised; viz., as to what that σιγή “means,” i.e, what historical fact, what state of the world or Church, is typified by that σιγή whose allegorical meaning is presupposed. And this question arbitrarily raised can be answered only arbitrarily: the σιγή means the sabbath rest of the Church after the plagues of the first six seals,(2398) “the beginning of the eternal rest,”(2399) the thousand-years rest before the final end,(2400) or perhaps, in case the sixth seal be not regarded as extending so far, the rest of the Church under Constantine.(2401) As to what the σιγή “means,” expositors of an entirely different class have investigated also when they even with formal correctness acknowledged that not only does the seventh seal contain that σιγή, but also the seven trumpets introduce it. Here belong especially the expositors who refer ch. 8 also to the events of the Romano-Judaic war. According to Grot., the σιγὴ ( ἐν τ. οὐρ.) is the brief rest of the winds of Revelation 7:1 (which are at the four corners of the earth!). Wetst. explains more minutely: “Since all things now looked to a revolt of the Jews, a brief pause followed by the intervention of Agrippa and the priests.”(2402) Alcas.: “The remarkable forbearance of Christians who silently endured persecution from the Jews.” Against all these arbitrary explanations, we must hold fast simply to the text, which says that at the opening of the seventh seal a profound silence occurred in heaven, where the sealed book was opened,—a silence which “signifies” something earthly, as little as the speech and songs heard in heaven at the opening of the preceding seals. But thereby the knowledge is gained that such silence occurs just because of the peculiar contents of this seal. Thereby, besides, the exposition is preserved from the second offence against the context, with which not only Beda but also Ebrard, etc., are chargeable, viz., the idea of a recapitulation in the entire series of trumpet-visions. For what Beda expressly says(2403) is said essentially not only by Vitr., but also, e.g., by Ebrard, when he passes the opinion that in the trumpets, “a retrogression, as it were, is taken,” viz., by the representation “of classes and kinds of judicial punishments which belong only to the godless,(2404) and that, too, not first after or with the sixth seal, but even already before.” In exegetical principle, this exposition stands upon a line with the one of N. de Lyra, who, by the theory of recapitulation, explains that only the conflict of the Church with heretics is portrayed, after(2405) its conflict against tyrants, the heathen oppressors, is stated. Accordingly, the exposition in the trumpet-visions can recur again to the centuries of Church history, from which, on the other side, all sort of facts have already been gathered for ch. 6, in order to show the fulfilment of prophecy. The only apparent occasion which the context gives for the idea that the trumpet-visions recur again before the sixth seal—an idea which has led not only to the further statement that the individual trumpets in some way concur with the individual seals, but also to numberless and unlimited attempts to find the fulfilment of the individual trumpet-visions in historical events—lies in the fact that the final catastrophe, the extreme end, whose description is to be expected after chs. 6. and 7 in the seventh seal, does not yet, at least immediately, appear.(2406) But the expedient adopted here by many expositors to limit the contents of the seventh seal to Revelation 8:1, and to understand the σιγὴ ἐν τ. οὐρ. as the eternal rest of the perfected Church, or the eternal silencing of condemned enemies, has been proved to be mistaken. Yet that difficulty is solved by the view, attained already by Ew., Lücke, De Wette, Rinck,(2407) into the skilful, carefully designed plan of the entire book, which here, just from the fact that from the last seal a new series of visions is to proceed, describes the trial of the patience of saints who are regarded as awaiting the day of the Lord;(2408) but at the same time the expectation excited by the events of the first six seals, and increased by the entire ch. 7, as well as by the silence occurring at the opening of the seventh seal, that in this last seal the final completion is to come, in no way deceives, since the full conclusion is actually disclosed in the seventh seal, although only through a long series of visions in whose chain the trumpet-visions themselves form only the first members.(2409)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-8.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 8:1. σιγὴ, silence) Silence is opposed to a voice. The more frequent voices are in this book, for instance, ch. Revelation 7:10 and foil, verses, the more remarkable is this silence of awful expectation, preceding the clang of trumpets. D. Lange interprets it as the keeping rest [sabbatism] of a thousand years (Hermen. Einleit. pp. 30, 68, etc.), by an error (I am compelled to speak the truth), which introduces great confusion. Neither is the silence a sabbath, nor is the half-hour the millennium. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 407 and following.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-8.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 8

Revelation 8:1 The seventh seal opened.

Revelation 8:2 Seven angels receive seven trumpets.

Revelation 8:3-5 An angel presenteth the prayers of the saints with incense

on the golden altar before the throne.

Revelation 8:6-13 Four of the angels sound their trumpets, and great

plagues severally follow.

And when he; that is, the Lamb, mentioned Revelation 5:7, who took the book out of the hand of him that sat upon the throne, the book of God’s counsels, and had now revealed mysteriously to John what should come to pass (under all the pagan emperors) to the church of Christ, until the time of Constantine the Great, who, (as was said), about the year 325, had settled the Christian religion, and shut up all the idols’ temples, having conquered the apostate Licinius.

Had opened the seventh seal; he cometh now to open the seventh seal, that is, to reveal to John what should be in the succeeding time of the church to the end of the world.

There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour: but before the great evils should break out, which were to come to pass in this time, there was in the church a rest for a small time; for from the year 317, when Constantine bare the greatest sway in the empire, or 325, when he had got a full victory over Licinius, the church had a great peace for a little time, till 339, when the empire being divided, and Constantius having the eastern part, and Constans the western, (both sons of Constantine), Constanius, being an Arian, (who denied the Godhead of Christ), began again to persecute the Christians; and after him Julian, who apostatized to paganism. But after him they had a little further respite to the year 395, when Theodosius died, and the Christians’ quiet died with him. I rather choose to interpret this thus, than with those who understand the

silence in heaven, of a silence in the third heavens, in allusion to the Jewish order; who, though they sung during the time of the sacrifice, and played upon instruments of music all that time, yet kept silence while the incense was offering. For (as divers have noted) it seemeth hard to judge, that in this Revelation there should be no mention of that short truce which the church had during the reign of Constantine, and for a small time after.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-8.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

седьмую печать Эта печать приводит не только к вселенским экологическим потрясениям, но и к действию 7 труб гнева (8:1-9:21; 11:15 и послед.) и 7 чаш гнева (16:1-21). Чаши гнева выливаются после седьмой трубы, быстро следуя одна за другой; и все происходит незадолго до второго пришествия Христа (см. пояснение к 6:1)

безмолвие на небе Безмолвие – это предчувствие ужаса грозной реальности гнева, который Бог готов обрушить.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-8.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Silence in heaven-half an hour; indicating quiet for a short time, eager expectation of what was to follow, and silent aspirations to God.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-8.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

We have here, the Opening of the seventh Seal. To this succeeds the seven Angels coming forward with their seven Trumpets. An Angel is seen at the Altar of Incense. Four of the Angels in succession sound their Trumpets. Great Plagues follow.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-8.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

THE SECOND VISION CONTINUED.

The Seventh Seal is Opened.

The First Six Trumpets (Revelation 8:1 - Revelation 9:21).

‘And when he opened the seventh seal there followed a silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour.’

The seventh seal is chronologically parallel to the occurrences in the first six seals (as we have noted the sixth seal ends with the second coming and the final judgment. The seventh seal could not follow that). Its content thus occurs at the same time as the events in the first six seals, at the same time as the four horsemen are riding, (and they have ridden throughout history as ‘the beginning of travail’ - Matthew 24:7-8). It helps to explain the meaning of the apocalyptic language in seal 6. We have no reason to doubt, and every reason to believe, that it occurs while the seven churches are on earth.

Here in Revelation we are seeing present history from heaven’s point of view. Dreadful things have happened throughout history and we now discover their source. While they are the result of man’s sinfulness, they are also the result of heavenly activity (compare 2 Kings 6:17).

Each seal represents different aspects of the activities of men and of the judgments of God. They are opened one after another simply because there is no other way of opening them in a deliberate way, but what is in the seven-sealed book is an overall record of future history from the time of John onwards, seen as a whole, but leading up to the end. Thus most of what is presented occurs in parallel. The events are to a certain extent overlapping each other.

The silence in Heaven must probably be seen as one of trust and awe in the light of what comes from it. As Jeremiah says in Lamentations, ‘it is good that one should hope and wait in silence for the Lord’s deliverance’ (Lamentations 3:26, compare also Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13). God’s judgments are about to be revealed in fuller measure, and the prayers of God’s people are reaching their climax and are about to be answered. Thus Heaven waits in expectant and awestruck silence. The opening of the seventh seal results in the sounding of the seven trumpets. So the seven trumpets are contemporary with the seven seals.

The first five seals referred to man’s activity throughout history at the command of God, the latter fact reminding us that God is always in control. In the same way the first five trumpets represent the more specific direct judgments of God during the same period. History is full of God’s judgments, intended to bring men to repentance. The sixth seal and the sixth and seventh trumpets describe the consummation of the age.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-8.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The silence period (seventh seal)--8:1-6.

The disclosures of the seventh seal consist in the signals of the seven trumpets, announced in the order of events by the seven angels. The trumpets sounded the beginning of the end of Jerusalem, of the Jewish temple, of Judaism and of all that constituted the Jewish state. It signaled the end of the world of Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:14 --not the inhabited world, but the Jewish world. As the seven trumpets of Jericho, borne and blown by the seven priests, signaled the fall of the Canaanite city standing in the way of Israel's conquest (Joshua 6:13-21), so did the seven trumpets, sounded successively by the seven angels of Revelation, signal the fall of Jerusalem. They signaled the end of the once "faithful city, turned harlot" (Isaiah 1:21); "the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt where also the Lord was crucified" (Revelation 11:8; Revelation 11:13). It was the end of the apostate Jerusalem which stood in the way of the conquest of the gospel; the Jerusalem that refused the "testimony" which the martyrs under the altar of Revelation 6:9 had "held"; the word of God which the same enthroned souls of Revelation 20:4 had "witnessed." It was the Jerusalem of Galatians 4:25-26, which was "in bondage with her children." The old Jerusalem was doomed to destruction before the advance of the "Jerusalem above" of Galatians 4:26, and "heavenly Jerusalem" of Hebrews 12;23, and the "new Jerusalem" of Revelation 21:1 --the church of the new covenant, the "holy city" and "temple" of the Christ who was the Lamb of Revelation.

When the angel opened this seventh seal, before the momentous announcements were heard, a dread and awful silence was recorded.

"There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."--8: 1.

This scene was in Heaven: It was the place where all of these correlated visions were disclosed. The "silence" here was accentuated by the contrast with the "voices" in the six seals before it. It was the silence of dreadful suspense, fearful expectation, a calm before the storm.

The silence period was for the space of half an hour: It was the symbol of pause, the sign of shortness of time. A similarity exists between this silence and the cessation of singers and trumpets in the cleansing of the temple by Hezekiah when the king and all the congregation "bowed themselves and worshipped." (2 Chronicles 29:1-36) The silence here followed in immediate succession the scene of chapter 7, where all the angels, elders and beings "fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God." The similarity between the cessation of the singers and the silence of the angels was impressive. The former was a cessation of reverent worship, after the "singers sang" and the "trumpeters sounded" at the altars of Hezekiah. The latter was a silence of waiting awe, after the voices of "all the angels" in chapter 7 had ceased; it was a silence significant of what was about to occur in the final scene of the seventh seal.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-8.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The seventh seal8:1

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal of the scroll, silence fell on the heavenly scene. For "half an hour" awesome silence continued as all of those assembled around the throne waited expectantly to see what God would do next. This is probably a literal30 minutes since there are no clues in Revelation that we should interpret time references non-literally. Beale interpreted the silence as representing the final judgment but said he did not know why it lasts for about a half hour. [Note: Beale, pp447-54.] The purpose of the silence is apparently to prepare for what is about to happen by heightening expectation of God"s awesome judgments to follow (cf. Habakkuk 2:20; Habakkuk 3:3; Zephaniah 1:7-8; Zephaniah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:17-18; Zechariah 2:13). Perhaps the silence represents God listening to the prayers of the saints. [Note: Beasley-Murray, p152.] It is the lull before the storm, as a few moments of calm normally precede the most devastating destruction of a tornado or hurricane.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-8.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 8:1. The opening of the seals is resumed in almost exactly the same strain as before in chap. 6. When the seventh seal was opened there followed a silence in heaven. This silence is generally supposed to relate to the cessation either of the songs of praise spoken of in chap. 7, or of the trials of the Church, which is now to enjoy a blessed period of rest. Both interpretations are unsatisfactory: the first, because, having returned to the subject of chap. 6, we have now nothing to do with chap. 7, and because it is hardly possible to imagine that the Seer would represent the songs of the heavenly host as interrupted even for a moment; the second, because the silence took place ‘in heaven,’ and cannot represent the rest of the Church on earth. We suggest that the ‘silence’ alluded to refers only to the cessation of the ‘lightnings and voices and thunders’ of chap. Revelation 4:5. These are the accompaniments of the Almighty’s throne in that aspect of it with which St. John has especially to do (comp. chap. 6:1). They probably did not pause while the seals were opening. Now they cease; and the meaning is that there is a pause in the judgments of God before a second and higher manifestation of them takes place.

This interpretation may find support in what appears to be the meaning of the words half an hour, words which are neither to be literally understood, nor to be regarded as expressing only a short space of time without having been suggested by any definite idea in the writer’s mind. Omitting all reference to the views of others, it seems to us that three considerations may be noted; first, that the word ‘hour,’ though here part of a compound word, can hardly be separated from the ‘hour’ so often spoken of by our Lord—‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness;’ ‘The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified;’ ‘Father, save me from this hour, but for this cause came I unto this hour’ (Luke 22:53; John 12:23; John 12:27); secondly, that the idea embodied in the ‘half’ of anything is that of the thing interrupted or broken, as in three and a half the half of seven; thirdly, that St. John is frequently in the habit of marking a pause before any great step in the further development of the history which he gives is taken. We see this last trait of his mode of thought on different occasions in the Fourth Gospel, and a marked illustration of it is afforded in Revelation 20. Keeping these points in view, the silence of half an hour may well be understood to mean that the hour of judgment is interrupted or broken. In other words, judgment is not yet completed, and we must pause in order to prepare for that unfolding of it which is yet to come.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-8.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 8:1. And when he had opened the seventh seal — This seal is introductory to the trumpets contained under it, as the seventh trumpet introduces the vials which belong to it. The period, therefore, of this seal is of much longer duration, and comprehends many more events, than any of the former seals. It comprehends, indeed, seven periods, distinguished by the sounding of seven trumpets. There was silence in heaven about half an hour — This seems to have been intended, not only as an interval and pause, as it were, between the foregoing and the succeeding revelations, distinguishing in a remarkable manner the seventh seal from the six preceding; but as expressive of the solemn expectation excited on this occasion of great events about to be revealed. And the time of this silence being only half an hour, it seems, was intended to signify that the peace of the church would continue for a short season only, which was the case, namely, during the last fifteen years of Constantine’s reign, from A.D. 323 to A.D. 337. Of this silence some expositors think they find a figure in the following ceremonies of the Jews, mentioned by Philo. The incense, in the worship of God in the temple, used to be offered before the morning and after the evening sacrifice: and while the sacrifices were made, (2 Chronicles 29:25-28,) the voices, and instruments, and trumpets sounded; while the priest went into the temple to burn incense, (Luke 1:10,) all were silent, and the people prayed without in silence or to themselves. Now this was the morning of the church, and therefore the silence precedes the sounding of the trumpets.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

There was silence in heaven: which is to represent as it were a general consternation, and an expectation of dreadful events at the opening of the seventh seal, and when seven Angels stood prepared to sound seven trumpets. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-8.html. 1859.

A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

SEVENTH SEAL

(Silence.)

Revelation 8:1.

"And when He had opened the "SEVENTH SEAL," there was SILENCE IN HEAVEN ABOUT THE SPACE OF HALF AN HOUR."

We must not forget that the "SEVENTH SEAL" includes all that happens during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials," and so extends down to the ushering in of the Millennium. To illustrate, a rocket fired into the air may burst into "seven stars," and one of these stars into "seven other stars," and one of the second group of stars into a third group of "seven stars." So the "Seventh" Seal includes the "Seven Trumpets," and the "Seventh" Trumpet includes the "Seven Vials."

The "SILENCE" that followed the breaking of the "Seventh Seal" was preparatory to what was to follow during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials." This "SILENCE" was something remarkable. The Four and Twenty Elders ceased their harp-playing; the angels hushed their voices, and the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the host of Heaven were silent, and so great was the silence that all Heaven was awed by it; and to add to the noticeableness of it, John added that it lasted for "HALF AN HOUR." Now a "half an hour" is not long when engaged in some pleasant employment, but it causes a nerve breaking tension when we do not know what is going to happen, and when a life is at stake a minute, or even a few seconds, seem to be hours. The suspense of the half hour of SILENCE in Heaven was intense. But why that half hour of silence? What did it portend? It was the period of silent preparation for the awful judgments that were to burst forth in the earth under the "Trumpets" and "Vials."

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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clr/revelation-8.html.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

With his saints sealed, God is ready to deal with the wicked and the seventh seal is opened. As He prepares to act, there is a half hour of silence in heaven. This silence can describe quiet expectation and reverent awe. (Habakkuk 2:20)

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-8.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

had. Omit.

was = came to be.

silence. Greek. sige. Only here and Acts 21:40.

heaven = the heaven. See Revelation 3:12.

the space of. Omit.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Was - `began to be.'

Silence in heaven about ... half an hour. The last seal being opened, the book of God's plan of redemption is opened for the Lamb to read to the blessed ones. The half-hour's silence contrasts with the loud anthem of the great multitude, taken up by angels (Revelation 7:9-11). It is the solemn introduction to the eternal Sabbath-rest, commencing with the Lamb's reading the book, heretofore sealed, which we cannot know until then. In Revelation 10:4. similarly at the eve of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when the seven thunders uttered their voices, John is forbidden to write them. The seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19) winds up God's vast plan of providence and grace, just as the seventh seal does. So the seventh vial (Revelation 16:17). Not that the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials, though parallel, are repetitions. They each trace the divine action up to the grand consummation in which they all meet, under a different aspect. Thunders, lightnings, an earthquake, and voices, close the seven thunders and the seven seals alike (cf. Revelation 8:5 with Revelation 11:19). Compare at the seventh vial (Revelation 16:18). The half-hour silence is GIVEN TO JOHN between the preceding vision and the following one: it is, on one hand, the solemn introduction to the eternal sabbatism following the seventh seal; on the other, the silence during the incense accompanied prayers which usher in the first of the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:3-5). In the Jewish temple, musical instruments and singing resounded during the whole offering of sacrifices, which formed the first part of the service. But at the offering of incense solemn silence was kept (Psalms 62:1, "My soul waiteth upon God;" margin, 'is silent;' Psalms 65:1, margin), the people praying secretly. The half-hour stillness implies, too, the adoring expectation with which the blessed spirits and angels await the unfolding of God's judgments. A short space; for even an hour is so used (Revelation 17:12; Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:19).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

VIII.

(1) And when he had opened the seventh seal . . .—Translate, And when he opened the seventh seal there took place a silence in heaven as it were for half an hour. It is greatly to be regretted that this verse should have been prefixed to this chapter. The section of the book with which it is connected is that which goes before, not that which follows. The second verse of this eighth chapter introduces a new series of visions: the first verse gives the close of the visions which follow the opening of the seals. But what is the meaning of this verse which describes a half-hour’s silence in heaven? It is a disputed point whether the book, or roll, fastened with the seven seals (Revelation 5:1-2) is ever really unrolled to view. Some have thought that as each seal is opened a portion of the roll is displayed, unfolding the vision of the seal: others have regarded the visions as mere accompaniments of the opening of the seals, and quite distinct from the writing on the roll; those who take this view are disposed to think that the roll never is read, for that when the last seal is broken, and all are expecting to hear what is written in the book, no reading takes place, but only a silence ensues. It does not seem to me that this latter view is altogether tenable. It appears a singularly harsh interpretation to say that the contents of the roll are never disclosed. The book of God’s purposes was seen in the hand of Him who sat on the throne. The Evangelist longed to know something of its contents; vain efforts were made to open it; the Evangelist wept with disappointment; he was then comforted in his sorrow by hearing that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had conquered to open the book; but then, after all this, not a line or word of the book, it is said, is ever revealed. The servant is waiting to hear the divine word; the seer is waiting to record what is unfolded; but though the seals are opened, we are told that the words he waits for never came. St. John himself gives no hint of so disappointing a conclusion. Later on (Revelation 10:4) he is told not to record the utterances of the seven thunders, but there the concealing of the utterances is clearly commanded. Here he evidently associates the visions of the seals with the contents of the roll. It is only a spirit in bondage to foolish literalisms which will ask how the visions can be the writing in the roll. The book represents God’s purposes and principles of His government in relation to the world-history; the seals show us some typical scenes in that world-history, and if not seen on the parchment of the roll, are yet unfoldings of principles and truths in the book. But it does not follow that all that is in the roll is ever unfolded. Such portions are made manifest as the seer could hear, and as the Church of Christ needed; and thus it may well be that the half-hour’s silence is significant that all God’s purposes and revelations are not exhausted—that there is something behind which it is not well that we should know—that prophecy as well as knowledge is partial. But the stillness of this half hour, if it reminds us of what is yet untold, yet proclaims to us a time of deep, unbroken tranquility, when the cries and groans of the earth, and even the grateful doxologies of heaven are hushed into calm. It is the silence which tells us that sorrow is ended, and eloquently tells us of heart peace. It is the rest of the troubled on the breast of God. All the earth, with her strife of tongues is still; all the cries of men (Revelation 6:15), of trafficker and warrior, of struggling wise, and suffering good, are stilled; all flesh keeps silence before Him; He gives His people peace.

“O earth, so full of dreary noises!

O men with wailing in your voices!

O delved gold, the waiter’s heap!

O strife, O curse, that o’er it fall!

God strikes a silence through you all,

And giveth His beloved sleep.”

Only those who have been carried away by an over- refined philosophy or morbid sentimentalism can see anything selfish in longing, out of earth’s cares and injustices, for such a rest as this. It is surely not ignoble to pray—

“Vouchsafe us such a half-hour’s hush alone,

In compensation for our stormy years;

As heaven has paused from song, let earth from moan.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
And
5:1,9; 6:1,3,5,7,9,12
silence
Job 4:16; Psalms 37:7; 62:1; *marg: ; Habakkuk 2:20; Zechariah 2:13
Reciprocal: 2 Timothy 3:1 - perilous

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-8.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE SEVENTH SEAL

Revelation 8:1. — "And when He opened the seventh Seal there was silence in the Heaven about half an hour." The seven-sealed book, or scroll, seen in the open hand of Jehovah (5: 1, 2) has its Seals successively opened by the Lamb. Six of the seals were broken in chapter 6, and now, in the first verse of our chapter, He opens the final one, with the result that the book of God's counsels respecting the earth lies open before us. The plans, the counsels of our God regarding the vast interests of earth, as also the means and manner by which these counsels will be effected, are no longer a secret. All are disclosed. But why is the seventh Seal separated from the preceding six? Naturally one would suppose that it would have concluded chapter 6. But instead a whole chapter (Revelation 7:1-17) comes in between the sixth and seventh Seals, a parenthetic interruption breaking the orderly sequence of events. The sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) announced judgment of such an appalling character that in the universal terror which ensued the fears of men, from the king to the slave, supposed the general horror to be the great day of the wrath of the Lamb. But no, and so ere the seventh Seal is opened, which is preparatory to the infliction of yet further and severer judgments, the veil is drawn aside, and two great millennial companies from amongst Israel and the Gentiles are introduced into the scene, the result of an extensive work of grace carried on even while judgment is desolating the earth (Revelation 7:1-17).

"Silence in Heaven"{* Hengstenberg and some other expositors argue for a silence on earth, and quote in proof Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7, Zechariah 2:13; these passages speak of a silence on earth, whereas our text, which so far as we can judge has no parallel or proof text in the Old Testament, speaks of "silence in Heaven." We are satisfied that the force of the expression simply denotes a brief pause during which the course of judgment is suspended. This is confirmed by a consideration of two texts, in both of which premonitory intimations of coming judgments are stated in substantially the same words. Under the first text, Revelation 4:5, we have a course of divine inflictions down to the close of chapter 6. Then comes a pause intimating a brief cessation of judgment. Then in the second text, Revelation 8:5, a further and similar intimation of divine chastisements is announced, and these latter take effect under the Trumpets. The silence is in Heaven because the judgments proceed from it.} does not mean that the songs and hallelujahs of the redeemed are silent. The silence must be interpreted in connection with the immediate subject on hand, which is judgment. But, inasmuch as the source of these judgments on earth is the throne set in Heaven, the silence is there. The course of judgment is arrested. There is a pause both as to the announcement and execution of further chastisements. The silence is of brief duration. "Half an hour" simply denotes an exceedingly brief period during which judicial action is suspended. The breaking of the seventh Seal is followed, not by judgment, but by an ominous silence. It is a calm before a storm, like a stillness in nature preceding a tempest. How long the awful suspense lasts we are not informed, but in the meantime we are called to witness an action of an entirely different character from anything which has yet passed before us, and one which fills up the interval of the half an hour, whatever may be the precise length of time thereby indicated.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-8.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The seventh and last seal was opened but nothing took place for half an hour. In the march of events it frequently happens that a lull will come between different campaigns. That is described here as being a silence of half an hour. We recall that when the four angels in Revelation 7:1-3 were prepared to continue the action of God"s judgments against the persecutors of His people, they were told to hold the winds back until the sealing of the faithful had been completed. This half hour silence represents the lull in the judgments while the sealing was being done.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-8.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 8:1

Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Now the sealed book was fully opened by our blessed Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah; who is God blessed forever, { Romans 9:5} so that the first principal vision in this prophecy of the Revelation, is fully ended. And here begins the second principal vision thereof, that Isaiah, the seven trumpets, from Revelation 8:8-13:18. The first thing that followed the opening of the seventh seal

was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour

By heaven, here we are to understand the church of God, (compared by Christ unto heaven, Matthew 25:1; Matthew 16:18-19 in contradistinction unto the world, called earth. Revelation 8:13; Revelation 12:12) And by silence in heaven, we may understand the cessation from churches sufferings, sorrows, weeping, and crying, during the short time of peace, quiet, and rest, which was but half an hour; that Isaiah, half the time of the reign of Constantine the Great, who reigned about thirty years, whereof the former fifteen years the church of God had rest from persecution, and peace to serve and worship God, under his government: And then began the grand heresy of the Arians, whereby the churches rest, and peace was disturbed, interrupted, and troubled by Constantia, Constantine's sister, whom he greatly favored; and Constantius his son and successor became so eager in maintaning the Arian heresy, and the Arian bishops, that St. Hierom (in Chronicis), said, Omnes poene toto Orbe Ecclesiae Aria-norum consortio polluuntur; Almost all the churches in the whole world are polluted by the agreement of the Arians. Historians relate, that Paul the Patriarch of Constantinople, and Athanasius the Patriach of Alexandria, who were most eminent opposers of the Arian heresy, were both banished by the Emperor; and some historians testify, that the persecutions of orthodox bishops, ministers, and Christians, by the Arians, were as bloody and barbarous, as the Ten Pagan Persecutions.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-8.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:1. The seventh seal is opened and there is silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. It is the lull before the storm; it is the suspense of dread before the breaking out of some great and portentous event. There is a sense of something great and fearful about to happen. One holds his breath in the intensity of expectation.

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Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

7. The Seventh Seal-- Revelation 8:1 --SILENCE IN HEAVEN

"When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was SILENCE IN HEAVEN FOR ABOUT HALF AN HOUR"

The opening of the seventh seal is followed by "silence"--What does this mean?

Much of human history has been revealed in the opening of the six seals. These6 seals have revealed that before the final coming of Christ there will be evangelism, war, famine, death, persecution and the fall of earthly governments--much of history has now been revealed. BUT NOT ALL. All of God"s purposes in human history are NOT REVEALED. The seventh seal is "SILENCE IN HEAVEN."

Song of Solomon, the purposes of God are not to be fully revealed to us here on earth.

God"s final purposes are not revealed HERE but HEREAFTER. The complete understanding of the book of God"s purposes is not for us in this present life but in the life to come, "when we shall no longer see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face. No longer only know in part but then even as we are known."

"There was silence in heaven for ABOUT HALF AN HOUR"--this is not a literal "half an hour" of time.

In the earlier notes we referred to Jesus" words about "MINE HOUR" as His expression for the time of ACTION and JUDGMENT. Perhaps in John"s book of symbols HALF of anything suggests it is a symbol of A BROKEN, or INTERRUPTED PERIOD. "The silence in heaven for about half an hour suggests that the moment of God"s action and judgment is interrupted and delayed.

"THERE WAS SILENCE IN HEAVEN." It is so in the revelation of John"s book. By careful study we can learn much, but we need to be humble enough to realize that in this life we shall never be able to understand it all. Again and again we come to places and experiences where we cannot know--and there is silence! Much as John was allowed to see of God"s purposes in the opening of the sealed book there is yet a limit to the knowledge God allows us. His divine voice says "Thus far and no further." Full knowledge is not ours in this life. There is a limit, and beyond it SILENCE. The time of our Lord"s final coming is not told us. There is silence. That moment is known only to God. It is His secret--there is SILENCE.

When we read the6 signs of the opening of the6 seals of Revelation chapter6 and observe that all of these signs are around us today we are apt then to make the terrible mistake of fixing a date for the final coming of Christ. For we observe that if Christ should come today not one of the things revealed in the opening of the6 seals would remain unfulfilled. But we are warned by the seventh seal of SILENCE IN HEAVEN against fixing a date for Christ"s final coming. It is not given to men on earth to know that day or hour. That is God"s secret. Let us learn to be humble enough to leave it to God.

The sad story of William Miller illustrates the foolishness of men seeking to be wiser than John in Revelation 8:1 by speaking when God Himself is silent--by fixing the date of Christ"s final coming and of the end of history.

William Miller was50 years of age at his conversion when he began reading the Bible, he linked Revelation 6:1-17 and Revelation 8:1 with Daniel 8:14 and fixed the date of the return of Christ and of the end of the world at October22, 1843 (by counting the2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 as years).

When the22nd of October, 1843passed with no end to the world it was discovered that a mistake had been made in calculation by one year. So his followers gathered again and waited on October22, 1844. Again the world did not end. Then Hiram Edson, one of William Miller"s followers, on the next day, October23, 1844saw Christ at the altar cleansing the sanctuary in heaven. Song of Solomon, as this vision occurred on a seventh day a new denomination called "Seventh-day Adventism" was created. Their error in interpretation they said was only in the place to which Christ came. The event illustrates the foolishness of men seeking to be wiser than our God Himself who said that no man knows the hour of His return or of the end of the world. Regarding the date of Christ"s final coming and end of the world the seventh seal records--"THERE IS SILENCE IN HEAVEN." That silence in heaven of the seventh seal reminds us of Jesus" word in Matthew 24:36 "Of that day and hour knoweth no Prayer of Manasseh, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Martin Luther said that "That hour God keeps as His secret in order that we may keep EVERY hour of our life in such a way that at whatever hour our Lord returns we shall be ready."

One further point!

DOES THE SILENCE IN HEAVEN OF THE SEVENTH SEAL TELL US HUMANS OF OUR OWN SPIRITUAL NEEDS?

Even in heaven there is need of silence sometimes. What far greater need there is for periods of silence in this present life where there is so much noise and bustle and din!

We need to Create that silence in God"s presence in which we can lift up our hearts "to be still, and to know God." We need as church members to take time and effort to get away from the noise of our daily business and material affairs for quiet devotion--to read God"s Word--to obey the command of Psalm 46:10. "Be still and know that I am God." "Take time to be holy"--as our hymn reminds us.

Neither in heaven nor on earth should we allow the rush and noise of overwhelming events to fill all our thought. Times of quiet as well as times of action go to snake a balanced life. Just as the heart needs the perfect rhythm of beat--rest, beat--rest, to do its work of circulating our life"s blood--so do we need times of quiet rest. There is importance in our understanding that in the book of Revelation SILENCE makes up a significant part of life--a time to meditate, a time of quiet when we ask the profound questions about life and its meaning, when we find new insights of true wisdom. Our thoughts become superficial if we are always on the go of action.

The silence In heaven has immense overtones of wisdom which we may well follow in our own pattern of daily living here on earth.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Seventh Seal

Ch. Revelation 8:1. And when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for an half hour. That these words are to be connected with the close of ch. 6 is clear from what was formerly remarked. The more customary it has been for expositors here to surrender themselves to mere conjecture, it is the more necessary to lay a sure foundation for our exposition. And first, as certainly as all the seals contain scenes of judgment, so certainly must the silence here denote the dumb astonishment of the raging enemies of Christ and his church. It is this that the connection establishes. Another means, by which we shall get above the uncertainty of conjecture, is furnished by the fundamental passages in the Old Testament. That there must be some of this description, may be regarded at the outset as matter of undoubted certainty. For, otherwise the Seer would have spoken out more plainly. The silence must somehow have been definitely fixed as to its meaning, and for this, besides the connection, we are thrown upon the writings of the Old Testament. Now, we have actually three prophetic passages, in which silence is found in a similar connection as here. First, the proper fundamental passage, on which the two others are dependent, Habakkuk 2:20, "And the Lord is in his holy temple, be silent before him all the earth." These words form there the emphatic close of the threatened judgment on Babylon, the representative of the ungodly world. The Lord will appear from the dwelling-place of the Almighty in resistless power to exercise judgment on the impotent; deep silence reigns on earth, recently so uproarious; wickedness shuts its mouth; the raging of the people, the blasphemy of the heathen ceases at once on the day when the Lord alone is exalted. Then Zephaniah 1:7, after the representation of a frightful judgment of the Lord upon the earth: "Be silent before the Lord, for near is the day of the Lord." Finally, Zechariah 2:13, "Be silent, O all flesh before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy habitation." The announcement of a glorious manifestation of God precedes, by which he was to humble the heathen world, and especially proud Babylon, Zechariah 2:12-13, and raise his people out of the dust of abasement. So that the meaning is, then indeed shall all flesh, in itself helpless and confounded, which hitherto has raged so loud against the Lord and his church, be brought to silence.[Note: Michaelis: Est imperativus majestaticus idemque propheticus, ut Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7. Silentium efficaciter imperat, et eo ipso dum imperat futurum praedicit. Iou: Dispereant onmes impli.]From these fundamental passages we can have no doubt as to the import of the silence here. It is a silence like that of Pharaoh when he sank with his host into the Red Sea. It forms the contrast to what we read in ch. Revelation 13:5-6, "And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." Once so loud and now so silent! The word: And there was a silence, is unspeakably comforting amid the tumults of the world. The jubilee of the truth runs parallel with the silence of revolt.

In the earlier "Revelation of Jesus Christ," in regard to his coming for judgment, there is a corresponding declaration in Matthew 24:30, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall the tribes of the earth howl, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory." The howling of the ungodly world there corresponds to the silence here. Both imply absolute annihilation; and both the silence and the howling alike come into play at intervals through the whole of history, but at the end alone reach their perfection. As often as a power manifests itself in opposition to God and Christ and the church, a whole series of preparatory divine judgments begins to be developed (the six first seals), and then at last descends the fatal blow. The whole process terminates in the dead silence and dreadful howling of the creature that had presumed to revolt against its Creator and Redeemer.

The heaven here comes into notice only as the visible theatre—comp. ch. Revelation 4:1, Revelation 12:1. In reality the silence belongs to the earth.

The half hour likewise is not the time of the actual accomplishment, but the time of the symbolical representation. If this is considered, it will be seen that the half hour, in harmony with the high import of this seal, as the one that brings the final decision, is a long time. The first seals followed quickly on one another, and had probably each occupied but a single moment. The period occupied in receiving the whole Revelation was probably limited to the space of a day (comp. on ch. Revelation 1:10), as also the prophet Zechariah had imparted to him in one night the whole series of visions, which together present a complete image of the future fate of the people of God, Revelation 1:7 to Revelation 6:15. The entire cycle, too, of the prophecies in Ezekiel contained in Ezekiel 33-39 belong to a single day, which is more exactly described in Ezekiel 33:21-22.

If we have correctly made out the meaning of this verse, it follows that here there can follow no continuation, but only a new beginning. The oppression of the church by the world-power is the starting-point and the pole of the whole Revelation. But that power we see here lying shattered and broken on the ground. New scenes may possibly be disclosed, in which other aspects of the great conflict between God and the world shall be made known. Such indeed must be expected ; for here everything still wears very much of a general character, and we should lay down the book with an unsatisfactory feeling, if we found ourselves here at the close. In particular, the final catastrophe is but very imperfectly described by the thought, which is here rendered prominent—the profound silence of the lately so noisy world. All bears the impress of a prelude of a general plan, which is afterwards to be followed up by the further development—one that shall go more thoroughly into the history of that world-power, whose persecutions formed the immediate occasion of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. But the action cannot possibly be continued farther on the same scene.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-8.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Seventh seal issues no revelation, but inaugurates the seven trumpets, Revelation 8:1-6.

1.And—The cycle of the six seals being finished, the office of the seventh seal is simply to inaugurate the next seven-series—that of the trumpets.

Just so it is the office of the seventh trumpet to issue the seven-series of the vials, with all the events of which they are a central part. Again, as the purpose of the opening of the seals is revelation, so the sounding of the trumpets is proclamation. That is, the cycle of world-destiny, briefly disclosed by the seals, is, with a new round, enlarged and proclaimed by the trumpets. And thus the revealing part of the apocalypse is a double cycle, a lesser and a larger; the lesser is given in chapters vi and vii; the larger, commencing here, fills the rest of the book. The following tabulation will show this parallelism:— These two columns verify each other, demonstrating that our interpretation must be generically correct. See further in note on Revelation 12:1.

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[* It will be noted that in both columns here is the changing point. Thus far the powers of evil are triumphant. Now commence the redemption and retribution.]

Silence in heaven—The inauguration of this new seven-series opens with solemn ceremony. A dread silence, incense offering, fire casting, ominous soundings. This imposing prelude is based upon the scenes of the daily sacrifice offered at the temple, and familiar to every Jerusalemite. Morning and evening the people assembled at the temple, incense was burned on the incense altar, and then a lamb was sacrificed on the great altar. While the incense was burning, and its fragrant smoke ascending, there was profound silence, the people breathing their voiceless prayer without. Notes on Luke 1:8-10. Next, when the sacrifice was being offered, the trumpets were sounded, attended with Davidic instruments and with voices. See 2 Chronicles 29:25-28.

Accordingly, it was during the silence in this theophanic or symbol heaven (note Revelation 4:11) that the incense of Revelation 8:3-4 is burning, and the trumpeters of Revelation 8:2 appear at their stand, and the trumpets are placed in their hands. The silence is broken by the detonations of Revelation 8:5, followed by the trumpets, 6, 7. This plainly preludial character of 1-6, will, perhaps, clearly show that the passage belongs to the (so to speak) machinery of the panorama, and not to the predictive part of the work. To make it, as the ultra-historical interpreters do, represent and predict historical events, mistakes the frame for the picture.

Half an hour—About the length of time of the incense burning.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-8.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 8:1. The opening of the seventh seal is followed by half an hour’s silence in heaven: “he opened” looks back to Revelation 6:12, the absence of subject showing that 7 is a parenthesis foreign to the seal-series in its original shape. Probably this series, like each of the others, was originally a separate oracle upon the latter days. When woven by the author into his large work, they suffered a literary treatment which has interrupted but not altogether obliterated their original form and sequence. The book of destiny is now open; what follows (Revelation 8:6 f.) is the course of the future, which naturally corresponds at some points to the predictions already sketched proleptically in chap. 6. A brief interval, not of exhaustion but of expectation, of breathless suspense (a pause in the ecstasy, LXX of Daniel 4:16), ushers in a preliminary series of judicial plagues heralded by seven trumpet-blasts (Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 11:19). Half an hour ( ., cf., Win. § 5, 22 a for form) may have been an ominous period; Josephus (B. J. vi. 5, § 3) describes a portent at the siege of Jerusalem which consisted of a bright light shining at twilight for half an hour, and the collocation of silence with reverence is illustrated by the LXX version ( ) of Zechariah 12:13 and Zephaniah 1:7 f. The following trumpet-series has been woven into the frame of the work by the device of making it take the place of the climax which (after Revelation 6:17, Revelation 7:1-2) one would naturally expect to occur at this point. When the dénouement should take place, nothing happens; the judgment is adjourned.

 

 

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-8.html. 1897-1910.