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When the little book was opened, the seven thunders revealed its message. Rev. 10:3 says,
3 and he [the strong angel of verse 1] cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.
The “strong angel” is described in verse 1 as having a face “like the sun.” This description identifies him as Peniel, the angel that Jacob wrestled. Gen. 32:24 calls this angel “a man,” but many years later, when Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, passing down the name “Israel” to them, he identified this “man” as an angel (Gen. 48:16). So it was an angel that had taken the form of a man, as we so often see in the Bible.
This angel refused to identify himself to Jacob (Gen. 32:29), but Jacob then named the place after the name of the angel, for he discerned the angel’s name intuitively. It was Panah-El, or Peniel, “the face (or presence) of God.” When God delivered Israel from Egypt under Moses, it was this same angel that led them, for Isaiah 63:9 speaks of this, saying,
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence [paniym, the plural of Panah] saved them.
Even in traditional Jewish literature, Peniel was said to be the name of this angel. We read this on page 222 of Gustav Davidson’s book, A Dictionary of Angels:
“. . . in the writings of Moses Botarel, de Abano, Barrett, etc. Peniel is the angel Jehovah, the dark antagonist, the one who wrestled with Jacob.”
These old writers had some strange ideas, of course, and did not really know the true character of Peniel. But they were correct at least in identifying him as the angel that Jacob wrestled in Genesis 32.
At the break of day, Jacob received the angelic blessing and was given the name “Israel,” which means “God rules.” It was a testimony that God was sovereign and was an indication that Jacob had lost the wrestling match. It was in losing, though, that he won, for he then began to truly acknowledge the sovereignty of God.
Jacob then crossed over the river Jabbok as “the sun rose upon him” (Gen. 32:31). He was on his way to a place that he called Succoth (Gen. 33:17). Succoth is “booths” or “tabernacles” and speaks of the feast of Tabernacles. Hence, in this great historical allegory, we see that Peniel is the angel of the feast of Tabernacles. His blessing is necessary to fulfill that final feast day.
The fulfillment of Tabernacles involves the sun rising upon us. For this reason also, when Jesus was transfigured before the disciples in Matthew 17, verse 2 says,
2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
This is how the strong angel in Rev. 10:1 is described. “His face was like the sun.” His immediate job was to open the little book, to open the word to many nations and to break the power of those who would forbid its reading. But ultimately, the job of this angel is to lead people into an understanding of the feast of Tabernacles, so that they may be given their new name “Israel,” and bear witness to the world that God rules.
This is the message of the seven thunders that John was unable to reveal to us while we were yet in the Age of Pentecost. It was not yet time to reveal openly the mysteries of the feast of Tabernacles. That message had to be hidden until a more appropriate time. That time is now.
Revelation 10:4 says,
4 And when the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and do not write them.
It was not yet time to reveal these things. As we see so often, most revelations are designed not only to reveal but also to conceal. Revelation is then given progressively over a period of time to those who have ears to hear. In similar fashion, Daniel was given much revelation and yet was told to seal up certain things until the time of the end (Dan.8:26; 12:9).
When God seals certain revelation, it is only a temporary sealing until an appointed time. In Daniel’s case, the revelation was written, but its meaning was sealed. In fact, this is similar to what we see in Dan. 4:8, 9, where King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he could not remember. The wise men (magi) were expected to learn the dream by revelation and then to interpret it as well. They were unable to do so, of course, but God revealed it to Daniel and thereby set him apart from the others.
It seems that in Rev. 10:4 God decided to repeat this test of spiritual discernment—and probably for the same reason. God was not merely tantalizing believers with things that would remain beyond their comprehension, for such actions do not befit a God of Love. Rather, He was motivating believers to seek His face and to learn to hear His voice, so that each generation might receive all the revelation that is due in their generation.
So because John was told to refrain from writing the message of the seven thunders, the only way to know their contents is by divine revelation. It is not merely a matter of knowing the interpretation of a word, but of knowing the word itself. There has been speculation about this in many books, often with claims of divine revelation. The validity of these claims is for each person to discern for himself.
As for me, I can only add my voice to the many that have already written and spoken. Let the reader discern for himself how well I have heard God’s voice in this, for it is not possible to prove scientifically. I can only say that from my own experience, the angel Peniel, who gave the original revelation that was sealed in Rev. 10:4, was “unavailable for comment” for a long time and did not reveal himself (at least, not to me) until the year 1995.
On October 8, 1995 an angel appeared to me while I was at a conference in North Carolina and spoke only one word—his name. When I noticed him standing quietly in the corner of the room, I was about to ask who he was when he said, “Peniel.” I had thought Peniel was the name of a place and had no idea that it was the name of an angel. It took me most of the day to search out this revelation in the Word, for it took me totally by surprise.
Something had happened earlier that morning, unknown to me at the time, across the world. A month after Peniel appeared to me, a missionary couple, Ginny and Russell Reese, met me at a house meeting in Portland, Oregon in order to share their story. They had just gotten back from doing ministry work in Japan and had read my report about the angel Peniel, which I had seen in North Carolina.
They told me that a group of about 40 U.S. marines stationed in Japan had been praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and wanted to hold special meetings on the military base. However, the chaplain refused to allow this. So they prayed and fasted, but the chaplain would not budge. So after the Sunday morning church meeting on October 8, 1995, these marines went out to the sea wall, where they began to praise and worship God.
What they told me next astounded me, and so I asked them to write it down for me. Here is what they wrote:
“Iwakuni, Japan, [I] had fasted from Oct. 1-7. On Oct. 8th we met on the sea wall and began worshipping and praising God. Then we went into prayer, asking God what was the dark power we were seeing over the marine base. An audible voice that all 40 heard spoke, ‘It’s name is Evil Report.’ We went into spiritual warfare, prayer, and once again, we all heard the voice asking: ‘Whose report do you believe?’ We began to worship and praise again, declaring, ‘We believe the report of the Lord!’
“God spoke again and said, ‘Blessed is he who believes all that the Lord has spoken will come to pass!’ We then saw the dark power over the base broken.”
When I received this report and correlated it with the appearance of the angel Peniel, I realized that this angel had been released by those 40 U.S. Marines at a base in Japan, the “land of the rising sun.” Gen. 32:31 tells us that after Jacob had wrestled with the angel…
31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.
In a strange way, this verse provided a hidden clue that connected Penuel, the place name, with Japan, the land of the rising sun. When Peniel revealed himself a few hours later as the sun rose over North Carolina, I realized that I had to study the Scriptures to understand the revelation that the angel was revealing.
The big clue came to me through Isaiah 63:9-11 in the prophet’s discussion of Israel’s rebellion in the time of Moses.
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence [paniym] saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy; He fought against them. 11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses….
This told me that the angel of His presence, or face (paniym) was the angel that had led them out of Egypt in the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud (Exodus 14:19). Panah-El, or Peniel, is the angel of God’s personal presence/face and represents “the face of God.”
This angel had led Israel until the great rebellion when they worshiped the golden calf in Exodus 32. At that point God told Moses that He would not personally lead the people into the Promised Land, but rather that He would “send an angel before you” (Exodus 33:2). But Israel already had an angel leading them in the pillar of fire/cloud, as we have seen. So this was a substitute angel, one who had a different calling and purpose.
Peniel is the Angel of Tabernacles. If the people had not revolted, Peniel would have led Israel into Canaan from their southern camp at Kadesh-barnea in the wilderness of Paran (Num. 13:26). They might have entered the land without crossing the Jordan (i.e., through death and resurrection). However, the golden calf experience brought judgment against the nation and made this impossible.
The substitute angel was “Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people” (Dan. 12:1). Michael is the angel of death and resurrection (Dan. 12:2). Both angels have the power to bring us into the Promised Land, but by different paths.
Peniel withdrew until the end of the age, forcing every generation except the last to enter the Promised Land through death and resurrection. Peniel’s power is for “we who are alive and remain” (1 Thess. 4:17), for, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:51, “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” It is only the last generation of believers who have the potential of entering the Promised Land apart from death and resurrection. The release of Peniel by those 40 U.S. marines in Japan made this possible, for Peniel has now been re-commissioned.
The rebellion of the “Church in the wilderness” (Acts7:38) prevented Israel from fulfilling the feast of Tabernacles. And so God told Moses that this angel of His personal presence would not lead them into the land, but rather, they would be led by a different angel. When the people believed the evil report of the ten spies in Num.13:32, they fully lost the opportunity to enter the Promised Land at Tabernacles. Instead, they had to wait another 38 years and then enter the land at the time of Passover—that is, through death and resurrection.
Likewise, in the Age of Pentecost, the Church again wandered in their own wilderness for 40 Jubilees (1,960 years from 33 to 1993 A.D.). Then came the time to move toward the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Two years later, the U.S. Marines in Japan broke the curse of the Evil Report when, after being asked “Which report do you believe?” they proclaimed, “We believe the report of the Lord!” that is, the good report. This ended the long 70-Jubilee delay. The angel Peniel then began to prepare the overcomers to fulfill this feast and lead us into the Promised Land of Tabernacles.
Even so, this “strong angel” has already been active, beginning with the printing of the Bible in the 1450’s. His ultimate purpose (calling) is in regard to the manifestation of the sons of God. It is to usher in the next age, during which time the word of God will go forth in an increased manner until the whole world sees who Christ is—through His sons, primarily.
Revelation 10:5, 6 says,
5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there shall be delay no longer.
The King James version mistranslates this, “that there shall be time no longer.” But time is not being eradicated. Rather, the rebellious Church had delayed the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles for 1,400 years, even as the Church in the wilderness under Moses had delayed their entry into the Promised Land by their rebellious hearts.
Now, the angel was about to break this rebellion in the Church, so that the delay of God’s will could be ended.
The seven thunders were revealed (at least potentially) by the opening of the little book, a biblaridion, which is the diminutive of biblos. It is where we get the word Bible. The seven thunders were revealed by Peniel once the word of God was made available to the people. However, understanding the message of Scripture is another matter. Understanding would come incrementally over the next few centuries until the recommissioning of Peniel in the last generation.
As revealed to me, these are the seven thunders, along with my explanation.
As I said earlier, there is usually no way to prove divine revelation, except by circumstantial evidence that is usually subjective in nature. For this reason, I do not normally share such things, preferring to teach directly from the Scripture. But since John himself was unable to record any of the seven thunders, there was no way to know about it except by divine revelation. And so I ask our readers to bear with me in this matter.