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The Book of Revelation - Part 9 The Seven Thunders

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Issue #178July 2003

The Book of Revelation - Part 9 The Seven Thunders

The only way to know how the book of Revelation has been fulfilled is to study history. For this reason we have taken the time to document the events of history that are relevant to that which the Bible foretells. I apologize in advance if some of this history is too detailed to hold your interest.

The main thing is that you know that the “little book” that was opened in Rev. 10 depicts the opening of the Bible to the common people. It prophesied of the time when the Bible would be printed in the common language of the people, an event which sparked the Protestant Reformation. The Roman Church attempted to stop the people from reading the Bible, knowing that if the ordinary people could read the Bible for themselves, they could learn of God without having to ask the priests.

More than that, when the people read the Bible for themselves, they began to see that there was a huge difference between what the Bible said and what the priests had told them that the Bible said. This began to discredit the priests and the Roman Church itself in the eyes of many people.

The printing press brought relatively inexpensive Bibles to the world.

The fall of Constantinople brought Greek manuscripts to the West, so that the Bible could be translated directly from Greek, instead of having to rely on the Latin Vulgate.

These two events reshaped history.

After speaking of the opening of this “little book” in Rev. 10:1, 2, we are given a prophecy regarding the seven thunders in verses 3-7. After this prophecy, John returns to the subject of the little book and its aftermath. So before we discuss the seven thunders, let us deal with the rest of what is said about the little book. Then afterward, we will return to the subject of the seven thunders.

Rev. 10:8-11

8 And the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, saying, Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land. 9 And I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, Take it and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.

This describes the people in the time of the Reformation who were to “eat” (read) the newly-opened Bible. It was sweet in their mouths, but when they were persecuted by the Roman Church for reading it, it was bitter in their stomachs.

This is quite similar to the experience of the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel 2 speaks of the prophet’s call to preach to a rebellious house of Israel. God says in Ez. 2:8-10,

8 Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you. 9 Then I looked, behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back; and written on it were lamentations, mourning, and woe.

And so the prophet was told to open his mouth to preach from the scroll, or book. Then the text continues in the next chapter, Ezekiel 3, saying,

1 Then He said to me, Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. 3 And He said to me, Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you. Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

So here we see that Ezekiel was told to “eat” the scroll (book) in order that he might know what to preach to the rebellious house of Israel. One must eat the word of God in order to know the message, because we are what we eat.

The word of God is sweet to eat, but when we open our mouths to teach the rebellious people, the word becomes bitter in our stomachs. Hence, when Ezekiel went to preach the word that He had “eaten,” he “went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the Lord was strong on me” (Ez. 3:14).

Ezekiel was sent to rebellious Israel. John was sent to the rebellious Church of the future that was yet to emerge after his death. What Ezekiel discovered long ago is the same thing that the people of the Reformation discovered after they began to feed upon the little book that had been opened to them. It was sweet in their mouths, but bitter in their stomachs. Why? Did the word cause indigestion? No. Rather, it brought persecution from the rebellious Roman Church that had banned the reading of the word.

The rebellious Church did not want the people to know that they had rebelled against God by substituting their own traditions for the true word of God. They did not want people to know that they were guilty of the same thing that the Levitical priests had done in the Old Testament and during the time of Christ. Mark 7:6-9 says,

6 And He [Jesus] said to them, Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. 7 But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the traditions of men. 9 He was also saying to them, You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 29:13, where the prophet pointed out this problem 700 years earlier. The Jewish talmudic teachings had re-interpreted the divine law to suit themselves; and now the Church was re-interpreting the New Testament to suit themselves. In both cases, it was more than a re-interpretation—it was often a case of blatantly overruling the word itself. Jesus said in Mark 7:13, “thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down.”

This was the problem that God began to overcome in the 1400’s, when He opened the word to the people.

The last verse of Rev. 10 tells us the purpose of God’s open book. It is to preach the word. Verse 11 says,

11 And they said to me, You must prophecy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.

This differs from Ezekiel only in the scope of preaching the word. Ezekiel was specifically sent only to the house of Israel that was already in captivity in Assyria (Ez. 3:4-7). These ten tribes of Israel had rebelled against God and refused His law, replacing God’s law with “the statutes of Omri” (Micah 6:16).

John, on the other hand, represents the overcomers who are sent to give the word of God to “many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” John is the one who took the book and ate it, but he did this on behalf of all the overcomers—particularly on behalf of those who would come after the little book was opened. In this way, he represented primarily a future generation to whom the prophecy would be most applicable.

And indeed, once the book was opened, and the stage was set in the 1450’s, Columbus opened the way to the New World in 1492. Exploration was accompanied by the beginnings of missionary activity from the Roman Church as well as the Protestant churches.

We return now to the subject of the seven thunders and the strong angel who utters his voice.

The Strong Angel: Peniel

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 Matt. 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.

The Seven Thunders Sealed

Rev. 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. In similar fashion, Daniel 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 John’s case, he was unable even to write down the revelation.

So the only way to know what those seven thunders were 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.

The Angel Peniel Delayed

On Oct. 8, 1995 an angel appeared to me in North Carolina and spoke only one word—his name. He said, “Peniel.” It took me most of the day to search out this revelation in the Word, for it took me totally by surprise.

Earlier that morning, unknown to me at the time, this angel had been released by 40 U.S. Marines at a base in Japan, the “land of the rising sun.” (Note Gen. 32:31). I was sent this report about 6 weeks later from missionaries to Japan who were there: Ginny and Russell Reese.

“Iwakuni, Japan, 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 came to see that this angel had led Israel out of Egypt, but could not lead them into the Promised Land. The rebellion of that “Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38) prevented them 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 (Ex. 32:34 to 33:4). 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.

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 by proclaiming that they believed 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.

Rev. 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.

Unsealing the Seven Thunders

As revealed to me, these are the seven thunders. . .

  1. The Way into the Holiest. The decree to begin to break the power of the corrupted Church system, because the way into the Holiest was delayed as long as that system held sway (Heb. 9:8).

  2. The Image of the Beast. The religious, political, and economic governments of man based on the mortal image of Adam coming under judgment in order to set the people free.

  3. The Manifested Sons. The coming of Christ in His people, who, like Moses, come off the mount with the new tables of the law on their hearts.

  4. Transfiguration. Like Jesus in Matt. 17, the Sons of God will house His glory in immortal bodies. This is the purpose of the feast of Tabernacles.

  5. Authority of the Sons. God specifically gave me John 14:14, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

  6. The Law taught to all nations. Micah 4:1-4. The overcoming Sons of God are the administrators of the Kingdom on the earth, the teachers and final interpreters of the law by the mind of God. Deut. 33:2, 3 says “From His right hand went a fiery law” and “all His saints are in Thy hand.” The law is the lake of fire and also represents His character (Deut. 4:24). The fire is in the hand of God, and His saints are also in His hand. That is, they will manifest His character and actually administer the corrective judgments of God, called “the lake of fire.”

  7. Division: Disobedient from Obedient. This is a reference to the final age after the Great White Throne in Rev. 20. New Jerusalem fully manifests, but there are still many who must be subdued to Christ (Rev. 22:11). Hence, a division between them until the Creation Jubilee, when all men are set free at the end of time.

As I said earlier, there is usually no way to prove divine revelation, except by circumstantial evidence. It 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.