Seventh Seal

Before Jesus Christ breaks the seventh seal, the sealing of the 144,000 bond servants commences:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (Rev 7:1-3)

When Jesus Christ breaks the seventh seal, thirty minutes of silence ensues before the seven trumpets are passed out (Rev 8:1-2). Because the first four trumpets harm the earth and sea (Rev 8:7-12), this accounts for the period of silence before the trumpets are passed out; it is the time it takes to seal the 144,000 bond servants on earth.

After the seven angels receive their trumpets, an angel is seen standing at the golden altar upon which are the prayers of the tribulation saints. With a golden censer with much incense, the smoke produced with the prayers of the saints went up before God (Rev 8:2-4). An incident in the Old Testament provides some perspective in understanding this scene occurring in heaven.

Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, the plague has begun!" Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. (Num 16:46-48)

With the smoke of the incense and prayers of the tribulation saints, God's wrath is temporarily halted – until the incense is burned up and perhaps also the prayers upon the golden altar. Refilling the censer with fire from the altar, the angel throws it down to earth, and God's wrath is set to resume.