The implication is that when the judgment about to happen becomes visible as the seventh seal is broken and the scroll unrolled, both the redeemed and the angels are reduced to silence in anticipation of the grim reality of the destruction they see written on the scroll. The half an hour of silence is the calm before the storm. It is the silence of foreboding, of intense expectation, of awe at what God is about to do.4Scripture reveals a pattern of silence associated with the recognition of Gods holiness and righteous judgment (Ps. Ps. 76:8-9; Hab. Hab. 2:20; Zep. Zep. 1:7; Zec. Zec. 2:13).5
When Heaven falls silent for half an hour, when all the singing, glorifying, and praising ceases, there will be a deep sense of foreboding. The judgments, every righteous soul knows, must be formidable in the extreme, yet they will shudder in awe at the prospect of having to witness their administration.6
1 A study of Revelation Rev. 8:1+ through 18 indicates that the seventh seal will contain the seven trumpets and the seven bowl judgments.Renald E. Showers, The Pre-Wrath Rapture View (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 54.
2 A. R. Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 8:1.
3 Some understand Zephaniah to be describing silence on the earth, whereas here it is silent in heaven. [Walter Scott, Exposition of The Revelation (London, England: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.), 169n] But Zephaniah says, Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD, which could certainly describe heaven.
4 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), Rev. 8:1.
5 This silence, nevertheless, has made a good deal of noise in the world, especially among commentators. It would be difficult to find another point upon which there have been so many different and discordant voices.J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), Rev. 8:1.
6 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 8:1.