Revelation 8:1 says that when the seventh seal was opened "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." This speaks of a dramatic pause before the next series of plagues (NIV Study Bible comment).

Although Revelation speaks of future events, is there any biblical basis for thinking that when Christ Jesus was nailed to that instrument of torture, to endure the most awful, agonising death, that there would have been silence in heaven, possibly until the morning of the resurrection?

I realise that when the Bible is silent on a particular question, it simply means we don't need to know. But thinking about what Jesus, God incarnate, had to endure in order to redeem us from our sins, makes me wonder how that awful sacrifice was received in heaven.

Edit: Allow me to prevent any more negative comments and disagreements by bringing what has turned out to be a controversial question to a close. This question was inspired by two answers given in response to this question: What is the meaning of sacrifice?

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    I am voting to close as primarily opinion based. We can only speculate what noise or silence in heaven even means. If a tree falls in the forest.........
    – Kris
    Dec 29, 2019 at 4:23
  • You've called this a Biblical Basis question, but you're really asking if it's true or supportable by scripture. That's not what a Biblical Basis question is, which asks how a doctrine of some Christian group is supported by scripture. For this to be a valid Biblical Basis question you'll need to demonstrate that some Christians believe this.
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 29, 2019 at 5:26
  • The scriptures has a lot of of references about the angelic expression. Angels are seen singing praises, interacting with humans, etc so angels like human are capable of expression that canbe understood by human level. They can be heard and understood by man. God allows us to understand how angels communicate like Archangel talking to Mary..So, the question had a strong biblical basis, as angels are ministering to Jesus and to mankind as seen in gethsemane. So angels, are watching how the mission of Christ will unfold.And they will express it in a form of silence, sadness, rejoicing, etc. Dec 29, 2019 at 6:03
  • @Nigel The Sun is the source of light and it rays of light give life to all, it resembles God. At noon, Jesus sees God had abandoned Him fully At the Foot of the Cross, meaning the source of life & light was gone. How about why it is three hours? Medically speaking, Jesus needed to drain all of His blood thru His open wounds by muscle strain.(Leviticus17:11). Plus the number 3 biblically represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection. Dec 29, 2019 at 11:47

2 Answers 2


Was there silence in heaven when our Lord and Saviour was crucified?

There was a profound silence of contemplation and adoration amongst the heavenly Angels before the august mysteries that were unfolding at Calvary.

Amongst the heavenly hosts or angels, there was a profound sense of awe during the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus an eerie silence would have been heard amongst the Angels of God.

There is no biblical basis to answer this question in any direction pro or con. But there may be a few small glimmers of light on this subject that comes from the Scriptures.

In the Book of Kings, we see that God spoke to the Prophet Elijah in a still small voice. The moments of Christ’s Passion truly produced an atmosphere of great reverence as to what was taking place on earth at that moment.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? - 1 Kings 19:11-13

We see the Angels administering to the needs of Jesus on at least two separate occasions during his earthly ministry.

When Jesus was about to embark on his ministry, he firstly went into the desert to pray and fast. It is a story, we are all familiar with. Not only was Jesus tried and hungry during this time, but we see the Devil tempting Our Lord three times. After which Jesus was ministered by Angels.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.- Matthew 4:11

Ministered to by angels

At this, Satan departs and Jesus is tended by angels. While both Mark and Matthew mention the angels, Luke does not, and Matthew seems once again here to be making parallels with Elijah, who was fed by ravens. The word ministered or served is often interpreted as the angels feeding Jesus, and traditionally artists have depicted the scene as Jesus being presented with a feast, a detailed description of it even appearing in Paradise Regained. This ending to the temptation narrative may be a common literary device of using a feast scene to emphasize a happy ending, or it may be proof that Jesus never lost his faith in God during the temptations. - Temptation of Christ (Wikipedia)

There is yet another occasion where we see the Angels ministering to the needs of Jesus. This time is just before his Passion.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” - Luke 22:39-46

Now if the Angels appeared to Jesus on the eve of his Passion in order to strengthen him, it would likewise make sense that during his Crucifixion on the Cross, the Heavenly Hosts were supporting the second person of the Sacred Trinity in his human nature through their prayer and admiration of the Divine Sacrifice that being unfolded. This is not the time for rejoicing, but of awe and reverence.

Although Angels are pure spirit, traditional art have them “weeping” at the Crucifixion of Jesus.

In the Crucifixion, angels are seen lamenting, wringing their hands, averting or hiding their faces.

In the old Greek crucifixions, one angel bears the sun, another the moon, on each side of the Cross. - Legends of the angels and archangels, Mrs. Jameson (Anna)

It makes the most logical sense that during the Most Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ there was in heaven nothing but silence and reverence at that moment.

There is a time for everything and the time for heaven and earth to rejoice would have been first felt is at the Resurrection of Christ. It is not wholly known if the Angels fully knew how the redemption of mankind was going to be transpired here below! God has secrets.

3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Crucifixion with Mary and John by Michelangelo (1540)

Crucifixion with Mary and John by Michelangelo in 1540

A modest depiction of the crucifixion. Next to Jesus are two lamenting angels. Mary and John the Evangelist stand besides the cross. Under the cross is a scull, the traditional reference to the location: Golgotha, Place of the Scull.

In Rome, Michelangelo was befriended to a group of intellectuals who sought a more spiritual approach of religion. That influence may be reflected in this painting without background: the background is irrelevant to the story, so why show it.

When Christ died for our sins, Satan was disarmed and defeated. The one eternally destructive weapon that he had was stripped from his hand, namely, his accusation before God that we are guilty and should perish with him. When Christ died, that accusation was nullified. All those who entrust themselves to Christ will never perish. Satan cannot separate them from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:37–39).

How can the Angels be rejoicing, when there is a battle going on below?

The mood was very solemn as one would think!

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    +1 Regardless of the lack of explicit Biblical verses, it's only congruent and appropriate that solemnity is the appropriate mood. This reminds me of the Catholic tradition around the Triduum of extinguishing the paschal candle, bare altar, no mass on Friday, symbolizing our accompanying Jesus during his Gethsemane and the waiting for resurrection. Jan 1, 2020 at 6:48

Was there silence in heaven when our Lord and Saviour was crucified?

"Silence", what is the right meaning of this word if we applied it to Heaven?

It is very helpful first to know how the Church see the meaning of the word "silence" in order to understand, why the Heaven must observe "silence" during the hour of Jesus Crucfixion.

According to Catechism of the Catholic Church "silence means contemplation".

Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy:..

Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God..

Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer...

"Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer..."

"Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. "I look at him and he looks at me"..

"Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God..."

"Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery..."

2717 Contemplative prayer is silence, the "symbol of the world to come"12 or "silent love."13 Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the "outer" man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.

In actuality when we seek to ask if the Heaven were silence, we infer that the Heaven or the angelic beings were in "contemplative silence" witnessing the Redemptive Act of the Crucified Saviour.

The next very important question before we can be ascertain if the ***"silence or contemplation" is needed at the hour of Jesus Crucifixion are;

What is the meaning of the "Crucified Saviour" and what is happening at that very hour at Calvary?


The name of God that He revealed to Moses was "I AM WHO I AM" or in Hebrew word it is written like this "YHVH".

Moses at the Burning Bush

…Then Moses asked God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ What should I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” The link below expound the meaning of the Hebrew word YHVH and link it to what Moses described in the Book of Exodus and the Crucified Christ is the realization of the actual vision shown by God to Moses in the burning bush.

YHVH, Behold, the hand, behold the nail https://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/yhvh-behold-the-man-behold-the-nail/

So, Jesus Crucified is the very meaning of the name of God and Moses described what he saw in the burning bush is a "Crucified Man or Angel", and Moses gazing or beholding the vision of the promised salvation to the People of Israel.

At the hour of crucifixion at Calvary, Jesus was offering His life in atonement for all the sins of mankind. Jesus was offering His life as a pleasing "sacrifice" to Eternal Father.

If there is a "sacrifice to be offered", then there must be a Priest to offer the sacrifice.

Pope Francis said the "The Mass means repeating Calvary." https://opusdei.org/en-ph/article/the-mass-means-repeating-calvary/

How do angelic beings participate in the Holy Mass? The vision of Catalina Rivas a mystic is worth reading;

The Holy Mass Explained to Catalina by Jesus and Mary https://www.michaeljournal.org/articles/roman-catholic-church/item/the-holy-mass

In this link article, we can see how the angelic being behave and function and it worth noting that your cited passages in Book of Revelation Chapter 8, is what happening the Holy Mass and what the angels are doing as described in this vision during the consecration or the hour of crucifixion.

Angels adoring in silence or contemplative prayer

At that moment, the Virgin Mary said: “This is the miracle of miracles. I have said to you before that the Lord is not constrained by time and space. At the moment of the Consecration, all the assembly is taken to the foot of Calvary, at the instant of the crucifixion of Jesus.”

Suddenly some characters, whom I had not seen before, began to stand up. It was as if from the side of each person present in the Cathedral, another person emerged, and soon the Cathedral became full of young, beautiful people. They were dressed in very white robes, and they started to move into the central aisle and, then, went towards the Altar.

Our Mother said: “Observe. They are the Guardian Angels of each one of the persons who are here. This is the moment in which your guardian angel carries your offerings and petitions before the Altar of the Lord.”

At that moment, I was completely astonished, because these beings had such beautiful faces, so radiant as one is unable to imagine. Their countenance was very beautiful with almost feminine faces; however, the structure of their body, their hands, their height were masculine. Their naked feet did not touch the floor, but rather they went as if gliding. That procession was very beautiful.

Some of them were carrying something like a golden bowl with something that shone a great deal with a golden-white light. The Virgin Mary said: “They are the Guardian Angels of the people who are offering this Holy Mass for many intentions, those who are conscious of what this celebration means. They have something to offer the Lord.”

The final moment of the Preface arrived, and when the assembly said, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, suddenly everything that was behind the celebrants disappeared. Behind the left side of the Archbishop, thousands of Angels appeared in a diagonal line, small angels, big angels, angels with immense wings, angels with small wings, angels without wings. As the previous ones, all were dressed with tunics like the white robes of the priests or altar boys. Everyone knelt with their hands united in prayer, and bowed their heads in reverence. Beautiful music was heard as if there were many choirs with different voices, all singing in unison together with the people: Holy, Holy, Holy...

Now let's compare this vision to the passages in the Book of Revelation chpater 8 that you cited and see the similarites of what the angels are doing in Heaven.

Revelation 8 New International Version (NIV)

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer 8 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Revelation 8 New International Version (NIV)

In closing, we can see from the vision of Catalina Rivas that during the Holy Sacramental Mass a memorial of Jesus Sacrifice, all the holy angels are in adoring and in reverence as st ated "Everyone knelt with their hands united in prayer, and bowed their heads in reverence".

If during the memorial sacrifice happening at the Holy Mass, the angels are in deep silence what more during the actual hour of Jesus Crucifixion at Calvary?

So the answer is, the Heavens during the actual hour of Jesus Crucifxion at Calvary are joined together with the Blessed Virgin Mary who were described by St. John "standing at the foot of the Cross" together with the other Mary's.

The mystery question is, if Jesus is the "sacrificial offering" at Calvary, then who is the Priest who offer Jesus sacrifice to the Eternal Father?

Mary Virgin Priest, pray for us, is the answer given by St. Pius X in 1906 and confirmed by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical.

"...she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always more intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained by his unhappy fall." Pope Pius XII. Mystici corporis Christi, §110, June 29, 1943, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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