Today’s passage begins with the Lamb (Jesus) opening the seventh seal of the scroll that we first read about in Revelation 5. The Lamb is the only one who is able to open the scroll or to look into it. Why?
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10, ESV
The opening of the seventh seal is met with silence in heaven for about half an hour. Imagine that for a moment. Think of the most suspenseful scene you’ve ever seen in a movie. Music plays in the background as your heart starts to flutter, cautiously awaiting what happens next. I can’t watch scary movies for that reason! I hate the suspense leading up to something jumping out at me on a screen.
Now imagine that suspense for thirty minutes straight! Jesus opens the seventh seal, and then a long moment of suspense ensues. We know that whatever happens next is important. So what happens?
“Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.” Revelation 8:5
This opening of the scroll sets off the beginning of the judgment of God on sin and sinners. Many of the passages following this one are focused on the coming judgment of God.
This is why it is so important that those of us who are Christians are actively sharing our faith with other people. The Bible consistently warns of coming judgment towards sinners and that those who never accept Christ as their Savior will experience a life separated from God in hell. Even those who have never heard the Gospel will experience this because “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them,” so “they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
Passages like these remind me of the need of the Gospel to go out to all the nations and fuels me for the mission of God. For those of us in Christ, it should. However, for those who have never accepted Christ, passages like these should serve as a warning of what is to come: eternal punishment and separation from God.
What is one step you can take this week to advance the Gospel to “all the nations?”
If you aren’t a Christian, what might God be telling you through this passage?
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice