Revelation 8:1-5: The 7th Seal


  • The 7th seal
  • The power of prayer


In most communication of important information we leave the instructions and applications until the end so that it is clear in the minds of the hearers. God has given the vision of the 7 seals, a picture of birth pains ravaging the world, the church suffering, yet being sealed and victorious, and the enemies of God’s people being judged. The visions have been structured in such a way so as to emphasise things by taking them out of their normal expected place in chronology and placed them in the place of importance at the end. We have had the interlude of the sealing and victory of the saints emphasised even though this is something that would have happened before the vision started. Now we have the 7th seal and once again God is deliberately teaching us what is important in this time of the birth pains while the church is being persecuted and we wait for God to punish her enemies. The vision of the 7 seals ends with God calling us to patient prayer encouraging us that He hears prayer and prayer has power.

The 7th seal should in fact be the 6th seal. In the 5th seal we see a picture of the martyrs under the altar. We them crying out for vengeance and then they are comforted. It is then that chronologically we would expect 8:1-5 to have been inserted followed by 6:12-17. The order is this, the prayer of the saints 6:9-11, the dramatisation of the prayer for God’s judgement being answered 8:1-5, then the descriptions of the final judgement 6:12-17. But no, the encouragement for the believer that their prayers are heard and have power is delayed for effect, to underline its importance.