Last night we finally decorated our Christmas tree (as usual, the topper is crooked).  When we finished, we did what we generally do.  We turned out all the lights except the ones on the tree and enjoyed looking at the beauty.  We talked a little bit, but we also were quiet and just looked.  It was one of those, “don’t say anything, but just enjoy and delight moments.”

What so fills you with awe and gratitude and wonder that instead of speaking, you default to quiet?

It happens to me also when I see great natural beauty — the rolling waves of the ocean, or the majesty of a mountain view, or freshly fallen snow on a winter morning.  And at times as I am reading a book or my Bible and I stumble across a thought or concept that I have not entertained before, I will close what I’m reading and bow my head and silently thank the Lord for what He’s revealed.  And other times, as I observe God’s work of transformation in individual’s lives, I am often to moved to say anything.

What produces quiet and awe in your life?

When we think about heaven, we don’t think about quiet.  We think about music and celebration and the declarations of angels at God’s throne.  And we think about the voice of God Himself filling heaven.  But we generally don’t think of quiet.  Yet there is coming a time when all of heaven will be filled with silence for 30 minutes (Revelation 8:1).

Yet it is not joy or delight that produces this silence.  This silence is produced by a sense of foreboding over the coming wrath of God.  Christ has opened the seventh seal judgment of God and the angels and inhabitants of heaven have seen its contents and it has silenced them as what is to come on earth is revealed to them.  They glimpse the coming furious wrath of God and it silences them.

On earth the prevailing opinion of Hell and God’s wrath is, “it won’t be so bad…” and “I’ll just party with my friends.”  Yet in heaven they will see the coming judgment and it will be so stunning that all the joy of heaven will be swallowed up in silence.

Then, after the first four of the trumpet judgments, which proceed from the last seal judgment, are sounded, it is further declared from heaven, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” (v. 13)

From the silence at the beginning of the chapter, to this single declaration at the end of the chapter, we are reminded that the judgment of God is a sobering reality that should humble us that He has not poured it out on those who have been redeemed by Christ, and should quicken us to offer warning to those who are still by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).