SEVENTH SEAL, Part 2
He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
started our look into the seventh seal with our last lecture. I suggested that
dating the seventh seal is difficult because the text uses the indefinite word about
in relation to the half hour mentioned at the beginning of the seal.
the Church of God fellowship there are those that believe the seventh seal
opened in 1930. We found that theory was originally put forth by W. S. Goodnight
in his book Chart Explanations of the Revelation. Others expanded on his
theory and eventually the seventh seal was popularized as a condemnation of the
Church of God Movement centered in Anderson, IN.
there were some books and tracts written in the 1950s, most of the proclamation
of what is called the seventh seal message was done through preaching.
of this preaching was quite effective but most of it devolved into nothing more
than a diatribe against what was called the Movement centered in Anderson, IN.
Of What Some Call The Seventh Seal
of the most articulate and literary books coming out of what is called the
seventh seal message is a book titled The 7 Sealed Scrolls by Jeanne
Trovato, written in 1999.
follows the traditional church-historic approach of the Church of God movement.
Her comments about the 7th seal are perhaps the clearest I have ever read. She
notes at the beginning of her comments on the 7th Seal: “At the opening of the
sixth seal, there was an “earthquake.” As the seventh seal is opened, there
Her theory dwells on this silence but does not explain what the 7th Seal is
other than it leads up to the “end time harvest of the marriage supper of the
the silence, she writes:
the close of the sixth Scroll message, we related briefly about the failed
Movement of the Church of God. This seventh Scroll is symbolizing that silence
which did in fact take place, among the very people God had committed this truth
this she writes: “The details of the decline of this Movement are varied and
lengthy, for they cover a one-hundred-year span of time.”
With that logic we see she follows the thinking of Goodnight.
blames the silence on compromise and failure to teach the Revelation message.
fifty years into the preaching of the “Evening Light” prophetic message,
compromises concerning sound doctrine began to surface.
. . . These local fellowships gradually began to lose their rejoicing as the
pulpits became silent about the
Revelation Prophecy! The zeal and focus of the message, “Come out of her, my
people” and “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” was almost eclipsed! A silence
was coming over the church!
describes the leaving of people and congregations from the Movement over this
condition of silence in these words:
“earthly headquarters” was ultimately established in Anderson, Indiana. . .
.Many of the “Evening Light” ministers departed and their truths departed
with them. . . . There were many “split offs,” as they were called in
derision by those whom they left behind, yet God did continue to bless this
remnant who departed.
picks up the invective against the Anderson Movement that became the message of
the seventh seal: “What a spiritual indictment against the leadership of the
failed movement, who have become lukewarm in these prophetic truths of God”!
only comment she makes about the purpose of the seventh seal other than the
condemnation of the Anderson Movement is that “God will continue to accomplish
His purpose of a unified body of believers through His
Word and by His Spirit.”
treatment of the seventh seal is not unique to her; her words are perhaps the
clearest articulation of the theory that came into being at the time. Opinions
differ on the seventh seal among those that hold the church-historic
interpretation. Some ignore it having no idea what it means; some hold to this
theory and have even expanded upon it to “split off” from others of similar
opinion; and, some have abandoned the theory waiting for someone to come up with
a better theory—hopefully, the revealed truth of what the seventh seal really
this point we will leave this approach to the seventh seal behind us and try to
gain some insight from what appears in the text.
I mentioned in the previous lecture, the “Apostate Anderson Movement” is too
narrow a view for the subject of a seal as all the other seals deal with the
issues of the church at large rather than on a limited basis. So, the seventh
seal must have a more universal consequence than just a small group
headquartered in Anderson, IN.
the Glorified Christ opens the seventh seal there is a silence in heaven. When
the sixth seal was opened there were all kinds of noises in the spiritual
heavens as there was a great earthquake and people were calling out to the
mountains and rocks to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. After this we see
the servants of our God sealed on their foreheads which caused much rejoicing
and praising God.
the opening of the seventh seal we see the two coming together and silence
taking over. They had been traveling on different roads during the sixth seal
but now in the seventh seal we find a convergence of those roads. The people in
the mountains and rocks stop crying out. The rejoicing and praise of the
servants of our God cools down. Instead, ecumenical thinking replaces the noise
with peace and quiet. It appears that the Lamb’s wrath has passed and the
spiritual heaven is quiet.
Does The Seventh Seal Open?
has been observed in history that revivals and awakenings tend to disappear in
the third generation.
first generation is full of zeal and is actively engaged in the battle for truth
and righteousness. The doctrinal issues have been identified, the apostate
conditions have been identified, and the reformers have a real sense of God’s
timing and God’s working through them to revive the church. This generation is
self-sacrificing as they give all for the sake of the truth. They suffer
persecution, they invest their time and resources in support of the revival, and
they form deep bonds of fellowship with those that have this same burden and
sense of divine mission. Those of the first generation are true believers and
they really are the servants of our God.
second generation inherits the results of the work of the first generation. They
are strong believers in the truths for which the first generation sacrificed so
much to bring to light. However, the conflict has passed and this generation has
to learn how to be the church with the results of the new light. They build on
the work done by others, but there is not that zeal that drove the first
generation. The growth this generation experiences is more organic than
third generation finds itself in just another church. The conflict is long past
and the original issues are no longer issues. They hear the stories of their
grandparents and how God worked through them. While having respect for the first
generation, to them that generation seems quaint, charismatic but perhaps
overzealous and maybe a little misguided. The organic growth their parents
developed has become another established church having its own identity but, in
this generation’s thinking, not much different from other established
churches. To them the past has been put behind them and the challenge has become
how to maintain its identity as just a church among churches.
seventh seal apparently opens in the third generation of the sixth seal. It is
difficult to put an exact date for the opening of the seventh seal. A generation
is said to be a period of about 30 years.
generations would be 90 years and if we date the sixth seal beginning at 1800,
1890 would be the approximate date for the opening of the seventh seal. However,
that does not seem reasonable because that was about the height of the zeal of
the sixth seal and there was no real, effective ecumenical thinking going on at
than dating from the opening of the sixth seal, it might be better to date it
from sealing of the servants of our God in chapter seven. But when did that
happen? Rather than one specific year, that probably happened over a period of
time that we can never determine.
we use the year 1880, as the Church of God Reformation Movement used for the
opening of the sixth seal, three generations would put the opening of the
seventh seal in about 1970. What is interesting is that at about that time the
over-all movement in the United States in its various “split offs” had
deteriorated into ineffectiveness in comparison to its origin, certainly giving
evidence of a third generation.
do not propose any of those dates for the opening of the seventh seal and I
think it is unwise to try to set a date because of the indefiniteness given in
without determining a date, I believe very strongly that the seventh seal has
been open for some time and where we are in that approximate half an hour I have
no idea. But then, perhaps it is better if we do not know.
thinking replaces the noise of the sixth seal with peace and quiet. The word ecumenical
is not an evil word in itself. Its definition is general, universal, pertaining
to the whole Christian church. It evokes thoughts of unity that should exist
time the message of the unity of the biblical church eventually gained
credibility among the denominations. The Protestant reformers saw biblical unity
in the NT but could never arrive at such unity because of their differences on
such things as the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, predestination, and church
polity. During the 20th century there were several attempts at unity among
previously antagonistic denominations and churches. While some denominations and
church groups have merged, practical unity among the church-at-large has never
the message of the biblical church and the unity of believers was published
extensively during the late 1800s, around the beginning of the 20th century the
importance of the message began to be noticed by the denominations as they were
experiencing an exodus of God’s people that were responding to the message.
May 1908, probably the height of the Church of God Reformation Movement, The
Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America was formed consisting of 32
denominations. This was an attempt at organic unity and cooperation.
1948 the World Council of Churches was formed consisting of 349 global,
regional, national and local churches seeking unity for a common witness and
Christian service. It is located at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva,
1950 The FCC in America merged with some other American ecumenical movements to
form the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. It
consisted of 38 Christian faith groups. One of its primary activities has been
to effect positive change for the betterment of society—the social gospel. It
cooperated with the Civil Rights Movement; opposed the Vietnam War; supports a
negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among other social
the midst of these things, the real meaning of the gospel and the church has
become lost to sight—there is a silence in heaven. This does not mean the
gospel is not being taught and people are not being saved; It does not mean that
the truth of the biblical church has been again lost to sight; It does not mean
that there are no people with the zeal for truth and righteousness; It means
that a general apathy has settled in and the prevailing attitude among most of
God’s people is to accept things the way they are. As Shakespeare put it: To
thine own self be true.
movements have taken place since the days of the Protestant Reformation, but
without much success because people were too attached to their doctrinal
positions and formulas.
an attitude that doctrines, denominational distinctives and practices do not
matter has begun to take over the church world: live and let live; we are all
the church of God; let’s celebrate our differences and all go to heaven. Those
that continue to hold to the distinctiveness of the biblical church as separate
from all other churches are considered fanatics, narrow minded, and people with
whom not to be associated—and generally such people refuse to associate with
others other than themselves.
is for sure that without the strong influence of the gospel in the world, the
spiritual and moral values of the world in general have degenerated and unbelief
and false religion have become prominent. Truly, this is a time of silence in
heaven. Even where truth is being proclaimed, no one seems to be listening. How
long will this silence last? About half an hour.
Trovato, Jeanne, The 7 Sealed Scrolls, Privately
Ibid, pg. 257.
Ibid, pg. 225.
Ibid, In loco.
Ibid, pg. 226.
Ibid, pg. 227.
Ibid, pg. 233.
Ibid, pg. 234.