The Revelation of John; Chapter 8 – The seventh seal is opened

18 Jun

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II

Chapter Eight: Verses 1-5

 Now we come to the Seventh seal, which is the last days, or the time that we are currently in. Before I continue I would like to clarify something. When speaking of previous seals I have referred to literal thousand year time blocks. I do not believe this to actually be the case, but to be an approximation. So, the sixth seal was opened sometime around the year 1000 BC, not necessarily exactly in that year. The same is true of the other seals, and especially the seventh. I believe the seventh seal started with World War I. I do not believe it was before this time, because the restoration of the gospel was to occur in the sixth seal (see chapter 7 of revelation).

So, with this in mind, let us look at the beginning of the seventh seal.

 

Verses 1-2

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

 

What are these trumpets? We are told in Doctrine and Covenants 77: 12 that “…as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it…even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man…and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are…the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.”

Once again this gives us very little actual details. Suffice it to say that the trumpets are used to symbolize the various events and catastrophes that at to beset the Earth during the seventh seal (or our day). Each trumpet heralds the beginning of a new tribulation. These tribulations are the work of the Lord to cleanse the Earth and prepare it for the coming and the reign of Christ in Glory. The Earth must be cleansed before God can dwell here. The real question to ask is, will these events happen one after the other, or will they happen at the same time.

 

After seeing the seven Angels, John sees another angel with a censor in which incense is burned. This alludes back to Revelation 5: 8, where the four beasts and the 24 elders held vials of incense while worshiping God. Just as in that verse, the incense here represents the prayers of the faithful (tying back to the alter of incense in the tabernacle).

What it means when the angel takes fire from the alter and casts it to the earth I am not sure about. However, it does say that this causes “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” This is spoken of in D&C 88: 89-90

“For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.”

Notice that this comes after the testimony of the elders of the church (see verse 85) and thus comes after the sixth seal. We saw in chapter seven that the end of the sixth seal will see the beginning of the great signs of the times, but here we are told that after the restoration, when the elders of the church will spread the testimony of Christ in the world, things will get worse. The opening of the seventh seal marks the great time of tribulation that the earth will pass through immediately before the return of Christ.

The rest of this chapter speaks of the events that attend the blowing of the first four trumpets. I will place that in a separate post so that neither one is too long. At this point we have simply been told that the greatest calamities are about to begin. In the next post we will see what some of those calamities will be.

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