***Warning! Rampant Speculation!***

I don’t know about you, but as a kid growing up while the threat of nuclear annihilation still loomed, I was fascinated with the apocalypse and the second coming and all that. I devoured Prophecy: Key to the Future even as I thought, “This guy is being way too specific…” I’m still fascinated, and despite what I just said I also intend to get pretty specific.

Once verse that always struck me as I thought about these things was Revelations 8:1:

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

What does it mean to have a half hour of silence, at least in the context of the scriptures?

Well everyone knows that in God’s reckoning a day is a thousand years. Which would mean that if you do the math an hour is 42 years, a half hour is 21 years, and about a half hour, somewhere in the 11-31 year range. And what about the silence? Here, the straightforward assumption is that this refers to a period of relative calm. No big disasters, famines, plagues, large wars etc. Finally, what about the opening of the seventh seal? Here the common understanding, backed up by McConkie’s chapter heading, is that it’s referring to the time immediately preceding the Second Coming. In other words if we can pin down an 11-31 year period of relative calm that might give us a pretty good idea of when to expect the troubles which arrive a short while later in chapter 8, for example by verse 7 we have “hail and fire mingled with blood”.

The key question then is, what counts as noise? Lots of people will tell you that things are pretty quiet right now, that we’re in the Long Peace because there hasn’t been a war between any of the great powers since 1945. Which would make the current period of “silence” over 70 years, and not a great candidate for the half hour mentioned in Revelations. But what if we count the Cold War? Having lived through the threat of nuclear armageddon, it seemed pretty “noisy” to me. If we take the end of the Cold War in 1991 as the start of our period of silence. Then it’s possible that we’ve been living in that half an hour of silence, without even realizing it.

And, given that most historians think Jesus was actually born between 6 and 4 BC, it would also mean that the seventh seal was opened almost exactly 2000 years after the birth of Christ, which is what everyone expected all along.

Finally, it would also mean that the silence should be ending, and the “hail and fire mingled with blood” beginning, right about now…

If you wish to explore this idea further, I did a much longer version of this post on my personal blog: wearenotsaved.com

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