The Seventh Seal—The Calm Before the Storm
“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” -Revelation 8:1
Khalid, Krista, Chad, and Kevin had all moved into the church with Isaiah, Malachi, and their family. Isaiah’s wife, Ruth, was a plain woman in appearance, blessed with long, lovely dark hair, and unsurpassed beauty on the inside. Their two older sons, Jacob, 17 and Eli, 19 were both handsome and extremely intelligent in the things of God.
Malachi’s wife had died seven years ago while giving birth to their son, who also died during childbirth. Grieving her death was something he’d been enduring all over again since he’d found Christ; in the past, Malachi had taken great comfort in believing she was in heaven, though now he knew differently, for they did not believe in Jesus as their Savior at her passing.
After the great earthquake, no one had much of a home left. Kevin’s house was without a roof, and the entire frame collapsed inward like a fallen card house that had been bumped. Lorna, Mike, Jake, and Dale had moved in as well; their house only needed a new roof, but they felt safer in the church with everyone else. The whole group was aware that the next list of tragic events would be much worse than the opening of the seals; for the trumpet judgments were more severe than anyone could fathom as God poured out His wrath upon all of the earth.
The majority of the rubble had been cleared out throughout Bethesda, and with it people’s confidence in repairing and rebuilding what had been lost. Reconstructing the mass destruction was both tiresome and tedious; but there really weren’t any other options in the matter. The victims didn’t have any choice but to spend money they just did not have, and insurance companies were taking advantage of the situation by raising their rates.
The day had begun with clouds and high winds; when suddenly, without a single warning, the breeze ceased and it became peculiarly calm and still. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the peacefulness was a quite uncanny one at that.
Khalid, Krista, and the group had all decided to have a cookout behind the church since the weather was nice and the wind had died down. Kevin fired up the grill and waited patiently for the rack to get nice and hot; he had deemed himself master chef of the BBQ and had prepared the steaks in a marinade of cola, which he claimed enhanced the flavor and made the steaks extra tender. When anyone questioned it, he would explain that an old friend of his was a chef in a well-to-do restaurant and had taught him some of the tricks of the trade.
Lorna noticed and immediately commented with great disdain, “Ewww! Isn’t that going to taste weird? I’ve never heard of soaking steaks in cola!”
Kevin smiled, “You’ll be amazed! Once they’re done, you won’t taste it at all; you’ll only taste succulent, juicy steak flavor cooked fresh on the grill!”
Lorna had made her own homemade potato salad with more mustard than mayonnaise, celery, sweet pickle relish, green onion, eggs, salt, pepper, and a touch of paprika. She had a Tupperware container full of crumbled bacon to sprinkle over it. No one had ever tried it this way, but they were willing to see what it tasted like.
Jake made his famous baked beans layered with thickly cut onion rings and bacon. On the top was a layer of onion and bacon, slightly browned. Krista and Khalid normally didn’t eat foods like these; they stared in horror at all of the onion, bacon, beans, and mayonnaise thinking they should have bought a large bottle of anti-gas medicine for everyone. Jake laughed at the comment and suggested they could have a good old fashioned, down on the farm contest before bed! Khalid and Krista privately opted to only have a few bites of everything so as not to be rude, and mostly fill up on their steaks!
Khalid commented with a smile, “I do not believe I can take part in your fun-filled country contest, Jake—I have to stand before the church tomorrow and minister; this would not be a good thing! Besides, we do not want to initiate another tragic earthquake!” They all laughed.
All of the people they had rescued after the earthquake, including those stranded at the church, had since been able to take care of their living situations. Some of them went to stay with relatives, and others had their homes repaired. Those whose homes were unfixable managed to find an apartment for rent.
Chad had his portable CD player and they were listening to mercyme, Casting Crowns, Mathew West, and a few other favorite Christian artists; Steph had loaned him at least 15 CD’s for the cookout. She and her mom would be arriving a little late because they had some things that needed done first. The earthquake had hardly affected their neighborhood, so they offered Lorna and the gang a place to stay; although they kindly declined because they were convinced God’s house was the best place for them as things became uglier.
Kevin commented, “I can’t believe how calm it’s been for the last twenty minutes or so—all of that crazy wind and those dark clouds, I was positive it was going to storm all day. Now, all of a sudden it’s almost eerily silent.”
The Grand Slam
The four living creatures waited impatiently, on the edge of their seats with great fear and anticipation. The creature that resembled a lion looked at the one with a face like a man, and said to him, “You know this is the one!”
The creature with a face like a man responded, “Yes, I’m afraid it is! It is the final seal which begins the mighty and terrible trumpet judgments of God!”
Jesus held the scroll carefully within His hands, intently glancing around the room at everyone first. He cleared His throat and then gallantly commanded, “Call in the seven angels!”
The creature resembling a calf quietly said to the one who looked like an eagle, “You know on earth, everything is strangely silent at this hour, don’t you?”
The eagle creature, astonished, nodded in agreement.
The floor was like a sea of glass, nothing beneath but azure sky and puffy white clouds. The twenty-four elders were silent, not saying a word as they fixed their eyes on Jesus Christ waiting for the decree.
Slowly and cautiously, Jesus peeled back the edges of the seal as He glanced down at the words written therein. Suddenly, His countenance took on a look of great sadness and distress. With a tear in His eye, He held the judgment up for all to see. The four creatures bowed their heads, and the 24 elders covered their mouths—it was so terrible no one could even utter so much as a single word for a full thirty minutes!
Afterward, the seven courageous angels finally arrived, gathering around the throne of God with their heads bowed and their hands folded at their lips as if in prayer. Jesus looked over at God and heaved a sigh before rising from His seat, carrying with Him seven trumpets, placing one in each of the angel’s hands. Suddenly, the door opened with a loud roar like thunder, and all present turned to see who had come in.
It was a magnificent looking angel holding a gleaming golden fire pan within his hands. Gradually, he walked over to the golden altar of God and held the pan out with his head bowed.
It was true that God’s voice was bold and courageous, but at the same time, it was overflowing with an abundance of love and compassion. “Welcome Altonai, I see you have brought unto us the golden censer in which to mix incense and the prayers of the saints.” God nodded at Jesus for the go-ahead.
Altonai had been standing, but when Jesus walked over to him, without hesitation or thought, he humbly knelt down in front of the golden altar that was before the throne of God. Jesus placed His hands over the censer, both of them packed full of powdered holy incense made with equal amounts of the sweet spices stacte, onycha and galbanum, pure frankincense, and salt. As Jesus continued sprinkling the incense into the bowl, He sang aloud in Hebrew, and it was a most beautiful song, while a glowing light passed over His face.
While Jesus emptied the fragrant powder into the censer, He uttered the prayers of the saints, and they proceeded forth from His mouth into the pan as fire; and the fire burned the incense, the smoke of it ascending before God from the fire pan within Altonai’s hands.
Before Jesus had made it to His throne, He stopped in front of His Father’s throne and knelt before Him to weep; He was lamenting all of the souls on earth, saved and unsaved alike, and the ruthless misery they would have to suffer. As Jesus wept, tears like warm water wet His Father’s feet, and so He blotted His tears from the feet of God with His long dark hair. Jesus looked up at His Father momentarily and tenderly said, “Your feet are all of the children who carry our message throughout the world!”
God gazed down upon His only Son and affectionately caressed the top of His head with His Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is the hands of God. Jesus humbly kissed the tops of both of His feet before seating Himself once again.
God commanded, “Altonai, stand now at once! It is time for you to gather the fire of my wrath from the golden altar!”
Altonai stood at once and picked up the glass decanter from where it had been meticulously set upon the golden altar. He read the words to himself, but something was not right. Unsure of what to do, he scanned everyone’s faces in the throne room as they stared confusedly back, curious what the problem was.
He looked up at Jesus nervously, “Lord, I am so sorry, but I do suspect this is the wrong decanter, for it is labeled in Greek and says ‘…that your joy may be full!’ I think this is the blessings of joy we pour out on God’s children from time to time, and I believe that I’m supposed to be pouring out your wrath!” He sniffled and cleared his throat at the same time.
Jesus snapped His fingers and motioned for one of His angels guarding the door to come forth. Quickly, the angel nervously made his way toward Jesus. The angel asked, “Yes my Lord?”
Jesus gestured for him to lean over near His mouth as He whispered something into his ear. The angel had a look of great surprise as he stood up straight, appearing slightly embarrassed after hearing whatever it was that Jesus had privately uttered. At once, the angel reached into his robes and handed Jesus a different glass decanter. Afterward, he bowed his head toward Jesus with a smile before resuming his place at the door.
Jesus handed Altonai the decanter as He patted him on the back with a smirk, “Nabtaou says he’s sorry, he must’ve grabbed the wrong one; personally, I think he feels sorry for the saints and was hoping we’d throw them some joy on accident!”
Altonai smiled back as he nodded, checking the decanter first, and sure enough, it was labeled, ‘Wrath of God!’
He glanced up at God and humbly beamed, feeling good about himself because it was the first time God had asked him to do something quite this important! Everything God asked was important, but this was a historical moment; and he knew exactly why God had called upon him in the first place—he had a famous right arm!
God said to him, “Well done Altonai!”
He poured the contents of the glass decanter as the fire of God’s wrath descended from it. After it was full, he carefully took the censer and walked it over to the glass wall where a large section opened up into the heavenly realms. In the distance, he could see the unsuspecting planet earth rotating on its axis as it had for thousands of years—everyone going about their business of the day, or night, without a care in the world. He glanced back at God forlornly knowing many would suffer.
God looked at His massive watch on His colossal arm, and held up His finger as He counted down aloud, “7…6…5…4…3…2…and 1—throw it Altonai, now!”
Altonai was the Nolan Ryan of the angels—no one could beat him at a heavenly game of blazeball! It was just as baseball was on earth, except with great balls of fire instead! Not only was it a blast, literally; it kept them trained, and well practiced for battling the powers of darkness.
He posed like a serious pitcher—stretching his right arm back as far as he could, while lifting his left leg slightly in front of him, his left hand steadying the ball. He held his position with perfect balance, bracing himself; and with as much might as he could gather, he threw the fiery censer full of incense, God’s wrath, and the prayers of the saints. It hurled with a vengeance toward planet earth, and as it sailed through outer space, it grew larger and larger until finally, they all stared in grief as it exploded, its fire spreading all over the world in less than a second’s time.
He jumped up and down, shaking his fists in victory, “Yeeessss—strike!” His face lit up with an enormous smile as he turned to see everyone staring at him blankly; for this was not a moment of glory, it was a moment of great suffering and tribulation. The four creatures were even expressionless, a look he had never witnessed from them before, their many eyes blinking simultaneously in shock.
Altonai cleared his throat and meekly dropped his head down, “Sorry.” The throne room was completely silent as he shamefully folded his hands like an altar boy and took his place behind the seven angels with the seven trumpets.
One of the trumpet angels turned his head slightly, and with lips barely parted open at the left corner, he sarcastically whispered, “Good job, Altonai!” in response to his inappropriate behavior.
God was greatly disturbed and quite sad for the humans He had created a long, long time ago. He shook His head back and forth, “If only they would have listened to Me to begin with!” He was deeply regretful and full of despair.
Back To the Cookout
Steph and her mom had just pulled up, bringing to the table of gaseous and fattening delights ooey, gooey, chocolaty brownies!
Chad’s mouth began to water. “Wow! Those look totally awesome!”
Khalid thought he heard a loud noise, and so did the rest of the group. Immediately, everyone stared up into the sky. “Quick! Get inside—grab what you can and run, hurry! Get to the other stairs which lead up to the sanctuary!” Everyone was most thankful to be near the basement door.
Khalid held the door open as each person quickly grabbed a food item, fleeing hurriedly down the basement stairs. He was the last one in, the door shutting behind him just in time.
They were horrified as the atmosphere reverberated with loud noises they had never heard before—horrendously shrill screams from the heavenly places shattered the silence, followed by the most earsplitting, deafening thunder; and lightening so bright it could blind the eyes of those hidden within the confines of stone walls. This went on for about 15 minutes, when suddenly everything man had built back up in the past two months tumbled to the ground in a heap once again—the tedious labor and hard work all for naught.
Yet, while everything around them tasted the burn of God’s vengeance, the church still stood strong, the cross of Jesus Christ on its roof brazenly stating the truth of God’s divine judgment.
The First Trumpet
The seven angels holding the seven trumpets puckered their lips while breathing steadily in and out to strengthen themselves as they prepared to sound their trumpets before God almighty.
God boldly commanded, “Gebereth! Step forward please!”
The first angel of the seven stepped forward from the horizontal line, dropping down in a warrior stance; he knelt with his right leg bent and his right foot flat on the floor, his left knee resting on the floor next to it. With his right hand, he laid the trumpet across his lap and held it in place, his left arm straight down to his side.
He dropped his head low as God shouted, “Blow the trumpet—sound the alarm!”
Drawing in a deep breath, he pressed his lips firmly against the mouth of the trumpet and blew with all of his might.
A Few Moments Later
They ran to the front doors, attempting to crack them open and have a look outside, but all of them together forcibly pushing was hardly enough force to fight against the powerful wind that violently pushed back.
Finally, it budged; each one of them stared out with tremendous fear. It was loud, and they had to holler to hear each other over the noise.
Lorna yelled, “Oh my, look at the size of that hail! It’s as big as coconuts, if not bigger!”
Without warning, fire and blood mixed with the hail, splattering to the ground violently and all over every building—flooding the streets like a bloody river! Bright red blood had sprayed and soaked everything in its path, giving the appearance that a horrific war had happened, and that billions of people were brutally murdered. The pungent odor of putridly rotten death permeated the air.
Trees and grass were on fire everywhere, and the blood and hail acted as fuel, strangely causing the fire to burn more uncontrollably.
When they let go, the door slammed shut as they stared up toward the ceiling in terror expecting to see enormous hail balls breaking through. Khalid tried to remain calm for the people, though it was a difficult task. “We must get to the basement immediately! If one of those balls of hail comes through the roof and strikes any of us, it will most definitely kill!”
He took Krista’s hand as everyone frantically fled to the basement.
Krista whispered to Khalid, “Isaiah told me earlier today they’ve been working hard on the secret tunnel, and it’s very spacious now. They’re constructing a place to bathe and use the restroom, but running into a couple of problems.”
Khalid was amazed. “That is wonderful news! I can’t believe how far they’ve come along with it in such little time.”
They weren’t certain because they had no way of knowing, but they believed the first trumpet judgment of Revelation had just taken place; and they were correct. A major ecological tragedy was happening as fire destroyed one third of the earth’s trees and all of its green grass.
Even from the basement, they could hear the frightening sounds of God’s fury waging war on all of nature. Jake rhetorically asked, “Why does anyone even bother rebuilding and recreating what keeps relentlessly being torn down by the hand of God?”
Khalid answered, “It is because since the fall of man, it has been our endeavor to be like God—creating things, and then constantly coming up with something better; and God is now showing all of mankind who is the real creator!”
Everyone applauded God with praise as Krista commented, “Yes, and at one time, we were the very people who God was not pleased with—believing we didn’t need anyone else but ourselves! We rejected the love His Son Jesus had come to give to us.”
Khalid wrapped his arms around Krista, pulling her in close to him. “We have learned differently now; first and foremost, we need God, and we need each other.”
Categories: Christian Living