Rev 8:1  "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."

Sometimes units of time are used to represent an age or a period of time.  For instance, the book of Genesis speaks of the day that God created the heavens and the earth.  However, the day that God created the heavens and the earth was actually seven days.  Several times in the Old Testament there are prophecies of a coming day that we now know to be the gospel day or age.         

Jesus spoke of his "hour" in John 2:4 "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."  This was in response to the statement that they have no wine.  Thus wine is equated to his hour and this was explained in v. 11 as follows: John 2:11 "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."  Thus his hour manifested his glory.  The following verses of scripture manifest to us just what his "hour" was: 

          1.  John 8:20 "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come."

          2.  John 7:30 "Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come."

          3.  John 12:23 "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified."

          4.  John 13:1 "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

          5.  Mark 14:35 "And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him."

          6.  Mark 14:41 "And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."

          7.  John 12:27 "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." 

From this it is readily apparent that the Lord's hour was the time of his sufferings on the cross on behalf of his people.  Since he was on the cross for six hours, his hour was literally six hours.

"There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."  The Lord has said that he will never forsake his people.  That is when they call upon him he will hear and answer them.  He will be there for them: Job 5:19 "He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee."  Yet when it came to Jesus on the cross we find there was silence in heaven for about three hours (half of six hours or half an hour).  When Jesus cried out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" it was apparent that God had forsaken him because of the sins of the elect children of God.  God's wrath was poured out on the person of Jesus and he was suffering the eternal judgment of sin on behalf of his people.  This he did in the three hours of darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour.  What an awful scene it was that God would not even allow man to look upon it, when Jesus was made to be sin for us.   

When we cry out, God hears us and answers us, but when Jesus cried out on the cross there was silence in heaven.  Darkness and separation from God are a part of God's judgment of sin: 2 Thes. 1:9 "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."  In that three hours of darkness Jesus was separated from God and forsaken for the judgment of sins.  We who are of the elect of God will never know the extent of Jesus' sufferings on our behalf.  His sufferings show His great love for us in that he was willing to suffer for us and to die for us to satisfy God's wrathful judgment of our sins.  Praise be to the Lamb of God for his great love, mercy and grace that he so willingly bestowed upon us, though the price was so great.

Rev 8:2  "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets."

The trumpets were used several ways in the scriptures:

           1.  They were used to call the people to assembly (Ex. 19:13; Lev. 23:24; Num. 10:2, 4; Jud. 6:34; Jer. 4:5; 1 Sam. 13:3; Matt. 24:31; 1 Co. 15:52).

          2.  They were used to announce the judgment of God (Ex. 19:16, 19; 20:18; Is. 58:1; Heb. 12:19).

          3.  They were used to announce the jubilee (Lev. 25:9).

          4.  They were made of silver which is associated with redemption (Num. 10:2).

          5.  They were used to direct the journeying of the camps (Num. 10:2, 5, 6).

          6.  They were used to sound an alarm to go to war (Num. 10:9; Josh. 6:4-20; Jud. 3:27; 7:16-22; Jer. 4:19; 1 Co. 14:8).

          7.  They were used to sound out a memorial (Num. 10:10; Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1).

          8.  They were used as a sign or symbol of rejoicing (2 Sam. 6:15).

          9.  They were used to announce the crowning of the king (1 Kings 1:34, 39, 41; 2 Sam. 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13; 2 Kings 11:14).

          10. They were used to announce the ark of the covenant (1 Chr. 16:6).

          11. They were used to praise God (Ps. 150:3; 98:6; 81:3).

          12. The sons of Aaron were the designated players of the trumpet (Num. 10:8).

 In striking comparison the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has the same role that the trumpets were used in the Old Testament:

           1.  The church is a called out assembly that is called to worship by the gospel. 

          2.  The gospel declares the judgment of God.  It declares his eternal judgment of sin and his timely judgments upon the behavior of his people.

          3.  The gospel declares the Jubilee greater than the Old Testament jubilee.  In the Old Testament jubilee the people were restored to their former position and ownership.  In the greater jubilee (resurrection) we will be brought into a much better position and an inheritance far greater than we ever had here on earth.

          4.  The trumpets having been made of silver were associated with redemption.  The gospel declares the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

          5.  Just as the children of Israel were directed on their journeys by the sound of the trumpet, God's people are directed by the preaching of the gospel as to how to live their lives.

          6.  The gospel is also a battle cry to declare that Jesus Christ hath gotten us the victory over sin, death, hell, Satan, and the grave.  It also tells us to fight the good fight of faith and to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

          7.  Just as the trumpets in the Old Testament sounded out a memorial on the Day of Atonement, the gospel sounds out a memorial of how Jesus Christ hath atoned for our sins.

          8.  As the trumpets were used as a sign of rejoicing, we rejoice today in the sound of the gospel and its message that Jesus has redeemed us and hath provided for our every spiritual need, and that he intercedes on our behalf.

          9.  The gospel fulfills the role of the trumpet in announcing that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of Lords and that he lives and reigns over us in his kingdom here on earth.

          10. Just as the trumpets were sounded to announce the ark of the covenant, so the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ points the Lord's people to the covenant of redemption as set forth for us in Rom. 8:28-30.

          11. The true gospel of Jesus Christ gives all the praise honor and glory for our redemption unto the Lord and his covenant work.

          12.  The sons of Aaron were appointed of God to be the priests under the Old Testament economy.  God appoints and calls whom he will today to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.   

These seven angels or messengers that stood before God were given seven trumpets (the gospel) in order to declare the whole counsel of God.  It is God's message that they were declaring, not their own.  Since seven is the bible number of completion, then these seven would represent the complete gospel ministry and the seven trumpets would represent the complete gospel message that they were to declare.  It should be remembered, however, that the entire gospel message hinges on the judgment of God both eternal and timely.  When we see the trumpets sound in Revelation the judgment of God will be manifest.

Rev 8:3-5  "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. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 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." 

This passage points us back to the Old Testament tabernacle service in which the High Priest interceded on behalf of the people.  In the Old Testament service there was a golden altar, a golden censer, a brazen altar with fire, and incense that was burned in the golden censer upon the golden altar.  Also the throne in the Old Testament tabernacle service was a mercy seat that set upon the Ark of the Covenant.  This service took place in the Most Holy Place. 

While all the priests (the sons of Aaron) had censers with which to burn incense only the High Priest was to burn incense on the golden altar: Ex. 30:7 "And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations."  This represented the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ:  

          1.  Rom. 8:34 "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

          2.  Heb. 7:25 "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Next this incense was burned with fire from off the altar.  God warned the children of Israel that they were not to burn strange fire:

          1.  Ex. 30:9 "Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon."

          2.  Lev. 10:1 "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." 

The fire that was to be used to burn incense was fire from off the brazen altar.  It was upon the brazen altar that the sacrifice was burned.  This represented the sacrificial atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is on the basis of his sacrificial atonement as the Lamb of God on the cross of Calvary that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, intercedes on behalf of his elect. 

This intercession of the High Priest came with the prayers of the saints: Luke 1:10 "And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense."  Our prayers gain acceptance with God because of Christ's sacrificial atonement and because of his intercession on our behalf. 

Thus the angel that stood at the altar having a golden censer is the Lord Jesus Christ in his High Priestly office interceding on behalf of the saints.  Here he offered up much incense upon the golden altar with the prayers of the saints.  The sacrifice on the brazen altar is frequently said to be a sweet savour unto God.  The incense that was burnt on the golden altar was sweet incense.  Thus God is pleased with the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ and he is pleased that his people pray unto him because of the intercessory work of our High Priest Jesus Christ. 

It is important to remember that the smoke of the incense comes with the prayers of the saints and ascends up before God.  Thus our prayers are fragranced with Christ's intercessory work.  It is his intercessory work that gives the sweet odour to our prayers that God receives. 

"And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth."  When a person is born of the Spirit he is sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (fire of the altar) and the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in his heart making intercessions that cannot be uttered: Rom. 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." 

"And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."  All of these things were present with the giving of the law covenant upon Mount Sinai.  Thus in the sign language of the book of Revelation, this is pointing us to the New Covenant of worship that God has made with his people: Heb. 8:8 "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."

 Rev 8:6  "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." 

The scriptures teach that God gives spiritual gifts unto men.  They teach that "he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."  They also teach that he called unto him those he called to preach and that he sent them forth to teach and to preach according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit: "and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" 

While the calling and the sending and the message are of the Lord and according to his direction, the gospel messengers (angels) are to prepare themselves to sound.  They are to "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  They are to "give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."  They are to "meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."  Furthermore, they are to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."  In addition they are to "know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."  They are to have their "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."  In making this preparation they are to remember that the Lord said, "without me ye can do nothing."  Thus it is necessary that they pray for direction from the Lord and for his empowering ability to preach the word.  The twelve had been with the Lord for three and a half years.  Paul had gone into the desert for three years.  All this time of learning was necessary for the gospel ministry to prepare themselves to sound. 

They are to be prepared in doctrine, in reproof, in exhortation.  They are to be prepared to feed the sheep.  They are to be prepared to declare the whole counsel of God.  They are to be prepared to preach in power and demonstration of Spirit.  They are to be prepared to defend and to confirm the gospel. 

A preacher that doesn't understand the covenant of redemption or the eternal and timely judgments of God or the total depravity of man is not prepared to sound the gospel trumpet.  There are multitudes that have had much training at the hands of men who know little or nothing about the above things and are therefore not prepared to preach the gospel.  They preach something, but it is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  Give me someone who has spent time with Jesus over the individual who has been to the schools of men any day.