There is a silence in the church today that is troubling. It is not a want of human made noise, because we have had plenty of that for years. The “sounding” of men and women (some good, and some not good) with their beliefs and opinions concerning the church has gone on for years telling: how to become part of the church, how to identify her, and how to protect her, etc. But this sounding (again, some good, and some not good) has not produced the great revival of souls being saved that many had hoped for.
I’m speaking of the breaking of silence that is spoken about in the book of Revelation chapter 8, verses 1 through 5.
The silence is not people being silent. But it rather is the silence when there is a lack of the earthquake of conviction upon lost souls. This is a spiritual silence that only God can break. It is as if God has been waiting for something different from the church. But what could that be?
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 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. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 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. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8:1-6)
The Daily Sacrifice of the Old Testament:
To understand how the silence is to be broken, we need to understand the spiritual pattern that is being shown to us in the scripture above. It is a pattern that matches the Old Testament morning and evening sacrifice:
The morning and evening sacrifice was a critical part of their spiritual life and success.
“And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the Lord ; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord.” ~ Numbers 28:3-6
So critical to the spiritual life of the Old Testament Israelites was this daily sacrifice, that the removal of this worship and prayer time created a wide open door to Satan to have the upper-hand against God’s people! It was one of the darkest times in their entire history. The prophet Daniel prophesied of it. And it happened during the time of the Maccabees.
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” ~ Daniel 8:11-12
The beginning of the first daily sacrificed started in the days of Moses. God first consumed this sacrifice with heaven sent fire, and then it was the responsibility of the people to keep offering a daily sacrifice and to always keep the fire burning.
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” ~ Leviticus 9:23-24
The High Priest would take coals of fire off the altar sacrifice, and he would use those same coals to offer incense on the golden altar which was before the veil in the holy place of the tabernacle (while at the same time all the people agreed in prayer in the court near the altar of sacrifice.)
“And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not” ~ Leviticus 16:12-13
“And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” ~ Exodus 30:7-8
No flesh could be included with the coals the High Priest would take inside the tabernacle. Nor could any other fire be used to offer this intercessory prayer incense, or else the priests would die (see Leviticus 10:1-2)
“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. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 10:1-2
The Spiritual Morning Sacrifice of the “Gospel Day”:
The day of Pentecost was part of the morning of the “gospel day” which we are now living in. The Gospel day began when Jesus Christ was born on Earth. The Gospel day will end, at the end of this world.
On day of Pentecost they were all completely broken of self agendas and purposes. They were waiting on God and they were in one accord (in agreement) in prayer offering themselves as a sacrifice together for God’s purpose and glory. Then Jesus, our High Priest, took the coals of their complete sacrifice and cast Holy Ghost fire into their souls! (see Acts 2:1-3)
More: This all happened at the time of the morning sacrifice!
- “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” ~Acts 2:15
- Note: The 3rd hour of the day was 9 am, or the time of the morning sacrifice.
The resulting revival that broke forth is a historical event that changed the course of the whole world. It was not a secret. Everyone knew about it because the result impacted them in some way.
The Evening Sacrifice:
The evening sacrifice in the Old Testament is also known as a time when great victories were miraculously accomplished over spiritual darkness thru God’s intervention:
Elijah at Carmel helped the people of God clear up their spiritual confusion and overcome the prophets of Baal. Elijah’s sacrifice was offered at the time of the evening sacrifice. (see 1 Kings 18:29-39)
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” ~ 1 Kings 18:36-39
Ezra and others agreed in prayer for the people to repent of the mixed marriages amongst them. God sent a revival of conviction and godly sorrow, at the time of the evening sacrifice. (see Ezra 9:4-5 & 10:1)
“Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God” ~ Ezra 9:4-5
The place between the porch and the altar is where the priests, ministers, and the people would gather to pray during the evening sacrifice.
“Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17)
Important Note: Although the morning and evening sacrifice was by the law, the gathering to pray was not by a commandment in the Law. It happened because of the people who had a common burden and purpose to do so. People were moved in their hearts to pray this sacrificial prayer by God’s Spirit, not by a commandment!
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Psalms 141:2)
So the Seventh Seal has been opened. But has the silence been broken?
Some have felt that the preaching of the gospel message of truth against hypocrisy, the sounding of the seven trumpets in the seventh seal, is that event which broke the silence. But what does the scripture and the pattern show?
What broke the silence was:
The New Testament high priest angel (Jesus Christ), standing in the office of the high priest, offered incense with the prayers of all saints who gathered as one in prayer.
“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. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” ~ Revelation 8:3-4
Then the high priest angel cast fire from altar into earth (the saints) which broke the silence by the resulting: voices, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
“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. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” ~ Revelation 8:5-6
Then 7 angels who were given the seven trumpets, (the angel-messengers, or minister’s who first prepared themselves at one common altar of sacrifice), could now prepare themselves to sound: after that the silence had been broken by the high priest, Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 8:2 the seven angels were given the trumpets. I believe that the seventh seal has been opened and understanding concerning the seventh seal message has been given and even preached about and shared. If you are given something from God, you just want to share it and tell others about it. But does that mean the silence has been broken?
Plenty of human sound, but we need the effects of the Holy Spirit’s presence, anointing, and conviction!
So what will it take to break the silence?
Like on Pentecost, we all need to be completely broken of our own ideas, purposes, and issues, and be able to agree to be offered together. (like in Revelation 8:3)
Listen to Revelation 6:9-11 to “hear the voices” of those at the altar who we need to join our sacrifice with:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)
What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for the threat of being killed before we join our prayers with them at this altar of sacrifice? The Apostles on the day of Pentecost were living under a potential threat from their own people. Perhaps we need the same inspiration today?
Did you know that Jesus gathered at that altar of sacrifice first to pray there before us? And he had a particular burden that he expressed when he prayed there. He expressed this prayer when he was in the garden, before he was going to be crucified.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” ~ John 17:20-23
It is interesting that many have titled the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John as “The High Priestly Prayer.” Do you suppose that is the prayer this angel is expressing in Revelation the 8th chapter? Could he be praying again that way even today?
Is this why the high priest angel in Revelation chapter 8 first stands at the altar? Is he praying and waiting for his prayer to be answered of having all saints to gather, and agree as one sacrifice offered to the Lord?
Is he having to search for some of us to pray with him, like he had to do with his Apostles?
“And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)
The disciples did not gather at the sacrificial altar at that time. So when it came time for Jesus to be crucified, they were not able to be identified with him in such a way, and so they fled before the enemy. Satan certainly prevailed against them at that time. So Jesus had to go to the altar of sacrifice alone, and wait until the time later when his disciples would gather there again to stay, on the day of Pentecost.
Are you ready to gather at that altar? Remember there is only one altar, and our sacrifice is to be offered together with everyone else’s. Are you able to do that? Or do you have a division that needs to be reconciled in your life?
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Are you able to sacrifice and pray at this evening time of the gospel day? Have you prepared your whole heart, soul, mind and strength to do so, or will you flee in retreat before the threat of Satan and his armies?
Are you ready for the evening sacrifice? Do you really want the spiritual silence to be broken?