555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

554. What Is to Be Understood by the Silence Mentioned in Rev. 8:1?

While the whole book of Revelation is of that literary character which may be described as mystical, dealing extensively in types and metaphors, there are occasional passages in which the writer descends to simpler language for the purpose of more clearly conveying his meaning. The half hour of silence in heaven at the breaking of the last seal is not to be reckoned by minutes and seconds, but is purely a figure of speech. It is meant to convey to the mind a long, solemn pause by way of introduction to the joys and activities of the eternal Sabbath rest of God's people, which begins with the reading of the sealed book. The preceding chapters have run through the course of Divine action, where everything unites in a solemn hush for the final act. In the ancient Jewish temple, the instrumental music and singing, which formed the first part of the service, were hushed immediately before the offering of the incense, so this pause immediately precedes the adoration of the blessed spirits and the angels and the imminent unfolding of God's judgment See similar figurative expressions in Rev. 17:12, 18:10, 19.