Why Is the Seventh Seal Opened in End Times?
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- 2020 2 Oct
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. – Revelation 5:1
Throughout the book of Revelation, we see pictures of God pouring out judgment upon the earth. These judgments are not random but very specific and are related to seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. With the pronouncement of judgment, there seems to be an increase in intensity and severity.
This article will explore the seven seals—more specifically, the seventh seal—while considering the question: why is the seventh seal opened in end times?
The goal is to help you understand more about these seals, and to encourage you, because truly our day of redemption is drawing nigh. A quick caveat: when it comes to Bible prophecy, you will often find many different thoughts and opinions. We all seem to agree on how it all ends, but there tends to be some disagreement on how we arrive there. With that in mind, let’s begin our look into the seven seals.
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What Are the Seven Seals?
In Revelation 5 John describes a scroll with writing on both sides that is sealed with seven seals. The problem as John described it was that there was no one worthy to break the seals and open the scroll.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:1-5
As you can see, this situation was only temporary because Jesus, the Lamb of God, would be worthy to take the scroll and break the seals.
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:9-10
When each seal is broken, a new judgment is poured out on the earth. Many scholars believe that the opening of the first seal represents the beginning of the tribulation. You can read in detail each of the judgments in Revelation 6. What you will discover, however, is that while there are seven seals, initially only the first six seals are opened.
There is a space of time between the opening of the sixth seal and the opening of the seventh seal.
What Is Different about the Seventh Seal?
Before the seventh seal is opened, 144,000 are marked with the seal of God. These 144,000 will be witnesses for Jesus during this period of The Great Tribulation. After they are marked we see in heaven a great crowd around the throne offering thunderous praises.
It is after this that the seventh seal is opened. When this seal is opened, there is an unusual silence in heaven which lasts for about 30 minutes.
Many people think heaven is a quiet serene place where angels are flying around playing music softly on harps. However, Revelation paints a picture of a heaven that is filled with the sounds of worship and praise flowing continually around the throne of God. I believe that this is one of the reasons why this silence is so stark and noticeable.
However, it’s only after the seventh seal is opened that we can begin to answer the question:
Why Is the Seventh Seal Opened in End Times?
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. – Revelation 8:1-2
While the seventh seal opens with silence, it proceeds to introduce the seven trumpets. As the previous six seals were opened, a very specific judgment ensued. However, when the seventh seal is opened, there is not one specific judgment attached to it. What you see is the introduction of seven angels; and they are given seven trumpets, which are in essence seven more judgments.
In Scripture, seven is the number of completion, and trumpets were often used to make pronouncements—which is what these angels are doing. This seventh seal completes the seal judgments and it shifts to the beginning of the trumpet judgments. These trumpet judgments move the world closer to the end of the age...ultimately leading to the seven bowls of God’s wrath. This is God’s final judgment on the earth before Christ returns.
Because there is not one specific judgment attached (but several) you can see the seventh seal as an opening or doorway. In essence, the seventh seal opens the end times and leads into the true end of the age.
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Possible Connection between Daniel and the Seals in Revelation
In Daniel 12 there is a potential correlation which can be another answer to why the seventh seal is opened in the end times. Consider these verses:
At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. – Daniel 12:1-4 (emphasis added)
As you recall from earlier, the scroll was sealed with seven seals and had writing on both sides. Scholars would say that a scroll with writing on both sides represents a complete message. If you apply that thought to our passage, then this scroll could have written on it a complete judgment. What is interesting when comparing the Daniel scroll with the Revelation scroll and seals is that the words are sealed until the time of the end. If the scroll in Daniel 12 is the same scroll in Revelation 5, then it can answer the question: why is the seventh seal opened in end times?
The opening of the scroll is a declaration that the time of the end (or, the last of the last days) are here.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are many different viewpoints on when this timeframe of the seven seals actually takes place. In my opinion, this is a period that has not yet happened because it will take place during the great tribulation. However, as it is with bible prophecy and end times events, there are a range of opinions and opportunity for healthy discussion.
Should You be Worried about This?
The short answer is no. Regardless of your views of end times prophecy, either one of two things will happen. Personally, I believe the church will be raptured prior to the beginning of this tribulation period. However, if that is not the case, or you have a different viewpoint, you still don’t have to worry. Because in either situation, God will watch over you and keep you both in your living and even in your dying.
Prophecy is a very interesting topic to study because everyone wants to anticipate what's going to happen. However, as important as it is to know what's going to happen, the result of knowing should translate into what you are doing about it. Consider these two Scripture passages:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. – Matthew 24:44-46
We should be encouraging each other with the hope of the return of our Savior and, most importantly, doing what he expects when he returns.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.
This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!