THE SEVENTH SEAL
"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.
"And another angel came and stood at the altar having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
"And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." Rev. 8:1-6.
After a time the Judicial demonstrations -- the voices "saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," the thunderings and the lightnings, -- cease for the space of half an hour, very definitely indicating that the Judicial throng of the first session of the Judgment adjourns.
Following this, the seven angels are given the seven trumpets. In the meantime, the angel who stands at the altar, offers the prayers of all saints, takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and casts it into the earth. Then it is that the heaven-born fire, the "thunderings, and lightnings, and voices," with which the first session of the Judgment opened in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 4:5), descend to earth in reverse order (voices, thunderings, lightnings -- Rev. 8:5), in addition to which there is an earthquake.
Then the seven trumpets sound, one following the other. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet (not at the breaking of the seventh seal) there are "great voices," saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. 11:15.
The half-hour silence in heaven brings the voices down to earth, and at the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God is finished (Rev. 10:7). Then it is that "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord." What does it all mean? -- Just this:
As we have seen, the silence divides the two pre-millennial Judicial sessions, the one for the dead and the other for the living, and the fire from the heavenly altar, the voices, lightnings, and thunderings, descend to earth. These facts, along with a number of scriptures on the subject, besides the remainder of The Revelation, the chapters after the breaking of the seventh seal, prove that the Judgment of the living, the cleansing of the earthly temple, is something which takes place on earth, not in heaven only!
"Behold," declares the Lord, "I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple,... But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap." Mal. 3:1,
Yes, the work of the second Judicial session includes the earthly sanctuary, the church. At that time the Lord's "fire" is "in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem." Isa. 31:9.
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
"And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." Mic. 4:2-4.
"...then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....
"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matt. 25:31-34, 41.
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter...." Dan. 7:27, 28.
All these things definitely indicate the time in which "every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold," the very thing that causes the fall of "the Assyrian," the power which rules Jerusalem at the time God delivers His people (Isa. 31:7, 8).
The truth therefore is trouble-free: Between the Judgment of the dead and the Judgment of the living stands the half-hour silence, the time absorbed in bringing the first Judicial session to a close and in preparing for the second session.
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