Greetings! Welcome back to our study of Revelation chapter 7. In our last post, we talked about the sealing of the 144,000 servants of God. We talked about who they are and what it meant to be sealed with God’s seal. In this post, we’re going to talk about the identity of the four angels whose assignment it is to hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees.
Revelation Chapters 6 and 7
Fourth in a Five-Part Series
By Karen Thompson
The Identity of the Four Angels Assigned to Hurt the Earth, the Sea, and the Trees
Now let’s answer our last questions about the four angels. Who are the angels who were holding back the four winds from blowing on the earth preventing them from their assignment to hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees? If they can’t fulfill their assignment while the servants are being sealed, when do they complete their assignment? And last, what is happening during the period of time when the servants of God are being sealed?
The identity of the four angels that were told to hold off from fulfilling their assignment to hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees are the first four angels of the trumpet judgments. In Revelation chapter eight, John tells us about the destruction that takes place to the earth, the sea, and the trees as a result of the four angels sounding their trumpets. The four angels must hold back the winds of destruction from blowing on the earth so nothing would interfere with the 144,000 being sealed.
Silence in Heaven
This leads us to the last question: Do we know what is happening during the time when the 144,000 servants are being sealed? To answer that question, we must skip ahead to when the seventh seal is opened. The seventh seal is unusual; it’s unlike all the other seals and the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments. Revelation 8:1 says, “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” That’s it. One-half hour of silence in heaven. That’s unusual because all the activity carried out in the seals, the trumpet judgments, and the bowl judgments have to do with earthly destruction and highly unpleasant things. The seventh seal with its one-half hour of silence stands out as uniquely different. It’s the only time in heaven when some kind of judgment is not being carried out. However, the one-half hour of silence doesn’t mean no one is speaking. The silence in heaven is due to inactivity. The “war machine” of heaven is suspended. That’s why heaven is silent.
The half-hour of silence is symbolic of the first half of Daniel’s 70th week, a time of peace for three and one-half years. It begins when Antichrist enters the “covenant with many.” The covenant will bring about peace among Middle Eastern nations. But the peace will come to an end when Antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle of the seven years and invades Jerusalem. Antichrist’s invasion of Jerusalem will bring to an end heaven’s silence; the invasion will trigger the four angels finally administering their trumpet judgments.
It is during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week that the 144,000 servants become born again and are sealed of God. They won’t all become born again at the same time. It will happen gradually throughout the three and one-half years. Each time one of the 144,000 gets born again, the angel will seal him with the seal of God. This time of peace is essential so that the Gospel goes forth uninhibited by destruction due to war and mayhem. And it is the four angels who are holding back the winds of destruction from blowing on the earth to ensure the first three and one-half years are a time of peace. And this time of peace is why all of heaven is silent for the space of one-half hour, when the business of God’s wrath being poured out is put on hold. We learn more about all this in the next chapters.
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