What is the Meaning of the Seven Thunders?

The word seven is in the Bible 465 times. Most frequently it is found in the Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. There, this word seven is found 48 times. We read of seven churches, seven Spirits of God, seven golden candle sticks, seven lampstands, seven stars, seven lamps of fire, seven seals, seven horns, seven eyes, seven angels, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven thousand people, seven heads, seven crowns, seven plagues, seven vials—or bowls, seven mountains, and seven kings.

The word seven, described by W. E. Vine, generally expresses completeness. Although used by John the apostle in the Book of Revelation, the word seven is not found in the Gospel of John. This special numeral can also mean full, abundant; perfect completion.

The two-word term seven thunders appear only three times. All these three are in Revelation 10 verses three and four. This chapter creates a pause between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets, because God’s judgment is about to be greatly intensified. Further and more severe disasters are pending and imminent as the prophesy progresses toward the end of end times. The sixth angel had sounded his trumpet in Revelation 9:13, but the seventh angel will not sound his trumpet until Revelation 11:15. The break between these last two trumpets is given in the eleven verses of Chapter 10:

I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land [representing God’s absolute sovereignty over all the earth], 3and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” 5The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his right hand to heaven 6and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished [brought to perfect completion], as He declared to His servants the prophets [Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 31; Ezekiel 36, 37; Daniel 7; Zechariah 14; Matthew 6:10]. 8Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” 9So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.
(Revelation 10:1-10)

When we hear loud thunderings and see lightnings flashing, we can trust in God that He is in control and is displaying His power—audibly, visually, and resultantly. An annual average of over five thousand forest fires of the western U.S. and Rocky Mountains are reported to be caused by lightning. [Source: National Interagency Fire Center. www.nifc.gov/index.html]. This statistic will worsen during the Tribulation period:

And from the throne [in heaven] proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices… (Revelation 4:5a)

Then the angel took the censor, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
(Revelation 8:5)

In the middle of the seven-year Tribulation, when the Antichrist takes over the temple of God in Jerusalem, God, from His temple in heaven will exhibit His powerful disdain:

Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:19)

17Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
(Revelation 16:17-18)

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. (Job 37:5)

The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
(Psalm 18:13)

3The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the LORD is over many waters. 4The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty… 7The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. (Psalm 29:3-4, 7)

As God’s wrath is prophesied to build up and bring on more and more catastrophic tragedies, the last verse in Revelation chapter 10 describes one of God’s angels giving instruction to John: he is to give all of earth’s living readers—including the coming Tribulation period inhabitants—continued and more severe warnings for the impending and eternal consequences:

And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
(Revelation 10:11)

The angel in Revelation 10:11 commanded John to eat the little book which would be sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach. The LORD caused Ezekiel to eat the scroll with writings on it, and it was like honey in sweetness in Ezekiel’s mouth (Ezekiel 3:1-3). It is sweet to read of God’s triumph over Satan and how all sin will be done away with, but it is bitter to contemplate the eternal doom of all who reject the Savior. We, too, need to eat—that is, absorb and digest—God’s Word.


All Scripture quoted is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author: Mike and Elfriede

For the past 15 years Michael Copple has studiously devoted his life to the Lord by preaching the Gospel and moderating Bible studies. He is a 1958 Eagle Scout, holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, and achieved the highest US Air Force enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant with over 26 years service, one year of which was with Forward Air Control duties in Vietnam. For three years he was the senior enlisted member of the US Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team; he has performed over 2,000 parachute jumps and accumulated over 15 hours of freefall. During his parachuting years Mike experienced a mishap of being a “hung jumper” outside the aircraft, and serious parachute malfunctions like a deadly seesaw night jump entanglement with another jumper, and an 85 mph wind shear which almost took his life. This experience inspired and qualified him to author the novel Calling from the Sky. A former world-wide electronic service engineer for 16 years with a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, he and his wife Elfriede currently live in the Canadian Rockies surrounded by 6 National Parks. Besides studying God's Word, they both like to exercise, cross country ski, hike, garden, and walk their dog Kansas. Visit him at https://www.michaelcopple.com/

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