Revelation 8:1: When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour...

Why silence in heaven for half hour? And why 1/2 hour? Is the timing is important? Thanks...


The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpet judgments of God. The judgments that lead up to the close of the tribulation are so severe that a solemn silence falls upon all of heaven. For heaven to fall silent, to cease the constant praises of God, is dramatic indeed. Silence is a powerful instrument and suggests a need to stop, think and reflect upon what is about to transpire.

Seven angels are then handed seven trumpets ready to sound (verse 2). An eighth angel takes a censer and burns “much incense” in it, representing the prayers of God’s people (verses 3–4). The angel then fills the censer, “with fire from the altar” then hurls it on the earth, followed by “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (verse 5).

My NLT Study Bible makes this comment about Revelation 8:1 in the notes:

“The opening of the seventh seal concludes the first act and dramatically initiates silence, which suggests the mystery of God in his dealings with the world (see Revelation 10:4; 1 Kings 19:11-12). Perhaps the mysterious silence here is analogous to God’s rest on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2:1-3). This brief hush precedes the unfolding of the second act of divine judgment when God will answer the prayers of his people.”

My ESV Study Bible says this:

“The silence in heaven that ensues when the Lamb breaks the seventh seal further sustains the suspense... The brief period of silence – about half an hour – displaces ceaseless praises by living creatures, elders, angels, and the church triumphant. Silence is appropriate in anticipation of the Lord’s coming judgment (Zephaniah 1:7-10; Zechariah 2:13).”

“About half an hour” may not have any significance, given the astonishing events the Apostle John saw. The element of time, linear and familiar to humans, may be inadequate to express properly what was being revealed in heaven. It is possible that in the revelation only a short period of time elapsed while the angels prepared themselves for what was to come. Whatever the reason for the silence, and its duration, it precedes earth-shattering events, and that should be sufficient to warn us of the terrible nature of the events that accompany the seven trumpets.

  • A severe tribulation to whom ever concerned earth or heaven would render the all merciful God merciless for the moments that the tribulation is rendered. That is not praiseworthy even if it is God. In your hearts you would feel that. However severe the crimes are, when ever the punishment is rendered all the hatred towards the crime subsides to be taken over by that innate feeling of empathy. Heaven has more of it than Hell and hence the silence I would presume. Now, what really gives that feeling to you even if you are an angel in heaven?That seems to be something beyond doesn’t it? – Gopal Anantharaman Dec 4 '18 at 17:01
  • Forgive me, but I don't understand what you mean by the all merciful God being rendered merciless. Along with God's mercy comes justice. I like your idea of heaven being rendered silent because of empathy for what is to come. Neither God, nor the Lamb, nor the angels would ever take delight in what is about to transpire. But God can never allow sin and rebellion against Him to go unpunished. Would you agree? Nonetheless, who are we to argue against God's sovereign right to dispense justice? If I've misunderstood your comments, please clarify. – Lesley Dec 4 '18 at 17:19
  • No sir, you have not. The problem comes when we come to terms with what justice really means - breaking of laws. Laws and the constitution or it's equivalent and the makers of the Law are subject to change and shortcomings. Hence it needs to be periodically revised based on new facts and entities.For e.g we have now laws covering behavior in Space Mining for e.g. Similarly, – Gopal Anantharaman Dec 4 '18 at 17:41
  • That’s very interesting. It had not crossed my mind to consider the execution of justice beyond the boundaries of planet Earth. Yes, lawbreakers have to be brought to justice. Oh, and I’m a madam, not a sir (Lesley is the feminine version of the masculine Scottish place name Leslie). However, we must not get off-topic! – Lesley Dec 4 '18 at 17:52
  • No Ma'am, you have not.The problem comes when we come to terms with what justice really means - breaking of laws and dispensing of appropriate punishment.Laws and the constitution or it's equivalent and the makers of the Law are subject to change and shortcomings - even if it is God designed. Because of the existence of free will.There is no limit on what new things or actions that we would introduce to the system as a whole that may break older laws or laws of other realms such as heaven or hell as such! A trial is necessary.Who then are the lawyers, and the judge and what is the root cause? – Gopal Anantharaman Dec 4 '18 at 17:56

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