In our study of Revelation chapter eight, we look at the end of the time for grace and the start of God's judgment.
"When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." NIV translation
When the Lamb that is Jesus opened the final seal on the scroll, there was a pause where everything stopped and became quiet. In chapter six, the seals were opened and terrible things happened to the earth. Normally, when bad things happen there are many people who run to God for help and that probably happened with the opening of the previous six seals. Usually, many of these people will then turn away from God when things get better because they never really came to God in faith and repentance. When things calm down, they go back to their old ways. This pause, with the opening of the final seal, is a time of calm when many will think that they don't need God anymore. God is slow to anger and does not take pleasure in judgment but this pause is also a transition from the time of grace to God's judgment.
"And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets." NIV translation
Once again, we must remember that the number seven represents spiritual completeness. God used trumpets in the Old Testament to communicate with His people. On the way to the promised land (a picture of heaven), God told Moses to make two silver trumpets to communicate with His people (see Numbers 10). The trumpets were used to call the Israelites to assemble at the Tent of Meeting.
When a single trumpet was sounded, the princes (leaders) of the tribes were to assemble and, when two trumpets were sounded, all of the people were to assemble. The trumpets were also blown during times of war so that God's people would be saved from the enemy. The trumpets were also blown over the sacrifices on days of gladness and solemn days. As we can see from these Old Testament uses of the trumpet, they were for calling God's people and not for warning the enemies of God. That is what is going to happen here as God calls His people to Him and those that are left will face the judgment.
"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 the saints, on the golden altar before the throne." NIV translation
The golden altar is the place of prayer and the prayers of the saints were mixed with the smoke of burning incense.