Revelation 8-9: Seven Angels in the Seventh Seal

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 169

Revelation 8 begins with the opening of the seventh seal. What John saw after the seventh seal was opened is recorded in Revelation 8–22. As the following chart helps us understand, the seventh seal seems to be the focus of the book of Revelation.In Revelation 8 we read about the prayers of the Saints, symbolized by the smoke of incense going up to heaven. Because of the prayers of those Saints who were righteous in great tribulations, six angels—each in turn—came in judgment upon the wicked in the world. Revelation 8 tells about the first four angels and Revelation 9 tells about the fifth and sixth angels, whose judgments were even more dramatic and powerful than the first four. Revelation 10 tells about a seventh angel coming down. What happens at his appearance is different from that of the first six angels.Two things seem especially significant in Revelation 9. First, we read that the judgments of the fifth angel only came upon those who “have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (v. 4), which emphasizes again the spiritual—and often physical—protection provided by obedience to the ordinances of the gospel. The second thing of note is that although the Lord sent these destructions to encourage people to repent (see D&C 43:20–25), after six angels had “sounded” their judgment, the wicked were still not convinced to repent (see Revelation 9:20–21). As in the days of Noah and the last years of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, the people apparently became so wicked that repentance was nearly impossible.There are many symbolic images in Revelation 8–9. As in earlier chapters you have read, the images John used may not be what he was actually shown, but symbolically represent what he saw.