Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
- God’s Sovereignty in Judgment (4:1-11:19) pp. 219-450.
c. “Seventh Seal (8:1)” pp. 336-338.
Though it creates an oddly small portion of a text for commentary, Osborne separates Revelation 8:1 from the text before and after. The seventh seal is separated from the sixth by an interlude, which Osborne explains, is “to show how the seventh judgment in each series is intimately related to the plague judgments that follow. With the opening of the seventh seal, the scroll (5:1-8a) is now open, and the events that inaugurate eternity are ready to begin” (Osborne 2002, 336).
The surprising element of Revelation 8:1 is that the seal is opened and there is a period of silence. Osborne notes eight different explanations which have been made by commentators, including a time for reflection or expectation of future action, a recognition of the silence of creation, or a liturgical pause. The entire meaning of the dramatic pause is not spelled out, and, of course, the implications are not all mutually exclusive (Osborne 2002, 337). Osborne notes the strong connection between what comes before (the other six seals) and what follows (8:2-5) as another indicator that the internal structure of Revelation is very complex.