A Dreadful Pause
There must be a Final Judgment at the end of the world when all accounts are settled. If not, then everything is up for grabs. The tyrant who robs, kills, and destroys and the saint who gives her life for others are made equal if there is not an ultimate reckoning. The saint should be rewarded, not because she demands it, but because it is her due in Christ Jesus; and, the wicked man must be punished because he has earned such through his mistreatment of others whose blood cries out for justice. And for this final reckoning to occur, there must be someone who will judge people in righteousness, who will see that each is rewarded according to his work (20:13). This One we call God.
We have reached the place in Revelation when judgment is about to happen. The judgment which we see here is not that final judgment at the throne but those judgments God brings upon the wicked in the here and now. What we see is that during this time, men have the opportunity to repent—but will not. And that is ultimately why men are condemned on the Last Day: God’s judgments on earth are wake-up calls to sinful men to turn from their sinful ways and towards God. But men prefer their sin to God, and for this, they are rightly condemned on that Day.
When the seventh seal is opened “there [is] silence in heaven for about half an hour.” This silence heightens the senses of everyone in heaven and earth. The scroll is now completely opened. Something dreadful is about to happen. Seven angels man their trumpets. Another angel with a golden censer offers incense on the golden altar before the throne—which is the prayers of the saints. And of what do these prayers consist? “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth” (6:10)? In answer, these martyrs were given white robes and told to “rest a little longer” (6:11). Well, their rest is almost over as the remaining number of their brethren is nearing fulfillment. The angel who carries the golden censer with those tearful, saintly prayers now fills the censer with fire and casts it to the earth where thunder, rumblings, lightning, and earthquakes rage.
“Love your enemies,” our Lord said (Matthew 5:43), and he meant it. But that does not preclude expectation for vindication of the righteous and retribution for the wicked. “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).