October 11, 2015 by Carly Smyly
“When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven
for about half an hour.”
The seventh seal is open, and final judgment on creation begins. With each sound of the trumpet terror, disaster, and demolition increase.
What was this silence?
Was it silence of grief? Of fear? Of disappointment?
Was it silence of awe? Of power? Of contemplation?
Earlier in Revelation, verse after verse describes unending worship, song, and praise around the throne of heaven. Joy and celebration characterize this dwelling place of our King and Savior.
It’s easy and comfortable to think of Heaven as all of a place of celebration and joy. But in this revelation of judgment to John, there are 30 minutes of silence in Heaven just before the final judgment of earth – the final punishment to a disobedient creation.
I have not spent nearly enough time studying Revelation and apocalyptic theology to comment further or tell you all the implications of this. But what this chapter causes me to reflect upon is the fallenness in which we exist and the grace that God extends despite our disobedience day after day.
Genesis 3 happened whether we like it or not. It was then the first act of disobedience happened and sin entered the world. The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Earth are now two. God made a covenant with mankind (through Abraham) to bless and make a great nation of people who are known has God’s people (Israel – the Jews).
Long story short – the people couldn’t hold up their end of the covenant. This was not a surprise to God. He knew he’d have to hold up their end for them. He knew forgiveness, grace, and second chances would be characteristic of his relationship with his people.
God’s plan is one of grace and mercy, of forgiveness and love, of second chances and eternal life. But we have a choice to make. Our choice is whether or not to receive these gifts from him by saying “Yes!” to Jesus and cultivating a relationship with him.
Fallenness (sin) is part of the human experience. No matter how ‘good’ one is, there are at least thoughts of maliciousness, selfishness, anger, etc. that enter their mind. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says even a thought of anger is as sinful as murder.
No one can live up to the perfection that is Jesus. But his grace and forgiveness, his perfection fills the cracks of our brokenness and allows us to be a channel through which the Kingdom of Heaven returns to Earth. His command for us to obey is to love God with all that we are and to love others as we love ourselves. It’s a command that is heavy, yet much lighter than the burden of sin.
Where is Jesus leading you to bring his Kingdom?
Who has God brought into your life that needs his love?
How are you bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth through your words, actions, and thoughts?
Lord, my sin is a burden you never meant me to carry. You gave me Jesus to carry it and replace the burden of sin with his burden of love. While still heavy, it’s much easier and much lighter than my own. Abba, thank you. May I be increasingly aware of this burden. May I be evermore grateful to carry your love, rather than the condemnation and inadequacies of my sin and brokenness this world constantly reminds me of.