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Re: [revelation-list] The Seven Thunders

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  • polycarp66@aol.com
    In a message dated 3/10/2004 10:11:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, keith_starkey@hotmail.com writes: gfsomsel: What function then do the thunders serve? Is it in
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 10, 2004
      In a message dated 3/10/2004 10:11:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, keith_starkey@... writes:
      What function then do the thunders serve?  Is it in the nature of thunders,
      etc. in a theophany?  The problem is that such thunders are not said to have
      been intelligible.

      Oh, I think the thunders were intelligible; John understood them well enough
      that he could have written what they uttered.
      That was never in question.  If he had not understood them, he would not have been inclined to write down the message and therefore would not have been commanded to seal them.  The inarticulateness is in regard to OT thunders accompanying theophanies.
      Considering, however, an OT
      context from Ezekiel and Zechariah with regard to the scroll and thunders in
      Revelation, and noting that the thunders are in the context of the sixth
      trumpet--the trumpets being a series of judgements--it is sound to interpret
      the thunders as judgements, of some sort. If the thunders are specific in
      nature, as are the trumpets, in whose framework the thunders are couched,
      then we can expect the thunders to be discernable events as they are
      executed. If, however, they are not specific, but are a time-spanned event
      within the context of judgement, they will not easily be discerned. Either
      way, God had ordered John to be seal their contents, but seal them
      permamently? I can't see the sense in that. Why mention them at all, if
      that's the case. That the thunders are noted both after (or, rather, as part
      of) the revealing of the sixth trumpet and before the seventh may be a clue
      as to their content.
      The question was specifically regarding whether the thunders are indeed sealed permanently as well as the content of the scroll.  You seem to think the thunders can be equated to the trumpets.  On what basis?  Because the one succeeds the other? 
      Finally, I wish to note another important clue with regard to the nature of
      the thunderous utterances in Revelation ten (I apologize for the repitition
      in doing so). The proximity of the measuring of Jerusalem and of the visions
      of the menorah in Zechariah chapters two and four closely parallels the
      measuring of the temple and the reference of the two witnesses in Revelation
      chapter eleven. This same structure is seen in the eating of the scroll and
      the noting of the thunderous, rumbling sounds of the Living Beings in
      Ezekiel chapters two and three with the thunders and the eating of the
      scroll in Revelation chapter ten. A clue emerges: Zecharia two and four, and
      Ezekiel two and three are directed to the Jews, and, as noted, are namely
      judgements. This may be very significant as to the why the contents of the
      thunders in Revelation are sealed; if it is the Jews who are the focus of
      the thunderous utternances, it may be that God does not wish for the Jews to
      know about these until it is time. As it was for Ezekiel's ministry to the
      Jews, there is something personal about these judgements that God has deemed
      necessary to not disclose before the appropriate time. Following the
      thunders is the measuring of the temple and the noting of the two witnesses
      in Revelation eleven, a message of hope in the midst of this judgement; yet,
      the two witnesses are kept veiled in enough anonymity to support this
      concept for secrecy.
      The rumbing noises you refer to in Ezekiel are the wings of the Cherubim in the transportation account.  I fail to see that it has any particular relation or parallel to the thunders in this passage.  The thunders seem to be the accompaniment of a theophanic event, but I'm loathe to equate them with the whirling of the wings of the Cherubim.  In Ex 19.16, e.g. "there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain" as an accompaniment to the theophany.  In 2 Sam 22.14 we have
      "The LORD thundered from heaven,
      The Most High uttered his voice."
      In Re 4 it likewise mentions lightning flashes and peals of thunder in the throne-room scene. This really seems more equivalent to me -- especially in view of the fact that it speaks of seven thunders here which is parallel to the Seven Spirits as well as the seven eyes and seven horns of the Lamb.
      I don't really wish at this time to get into the question of the witnesses, but will simply state that I take them to be the prophets of the Old and New Testaments.  In keeping with this, I also do not take the measuring of the temple to refer solely to the Jerusalem temple (or it's archetype).  It would seem that this extends to the Church as well.
    • Jon Newton
      My research also involves interacting with Hellenistic thinking. Please tell me more about Momigliano (like where can I get hold of it?) and other good sources
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 11, 2004
        My research also involves interacting with Hellenistic thinking. Please tell
        me more about Momigliano (like where can I get hold of it?) and other good
        sources on ancient astrology and Hellenistic thought relevant to Rev. I've
        read Malina's provocative book.

        jon Newton

        -----Original Message-----
        From: STAFF FACULTY [mailto:charles.larkin@...]
        Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 10:00 AM
        To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [revelation-list] The Seven Thunders

        Dear Keith, et al:

        I'm new to the list and appreciate my inclusion.

        I find myself approaching much of the NT from the
        background of the classics and Hellenistic philosophy,
        with due regard, of course, for the Hebrew background.

        I concur with Polycarp that the "seven thunders" imply a
        context of judgment. A Greek or Roman, on hearing of
        "thunders" would have immediately thought of the
        thunderbolts of Zeus. That's just the way the ancients

        It is perhaps helpful to recall that John's target
        audience is Graeco-Roman and that interest in astrology
        and the movements and nature of the stars continued to
        exercise a major influence in ancient "divination". Varro,
        Cicero and Nigidius Figulus, of course, stand out as
        Rome's three major sources on matters "divine".

        In his characteristically brilliant collection of essays
        "On Pagans, Jews and Christians", A. Momigliano tells us
        that the interests of Nigidius included "occultism,
        astrology, and Persian doctrines about the ages of the
        world. He wrote on grammar, on gods, on the
        interpretation of dreams, and augurium privatum, on
        animals, men, and land, and on stars and thunders." (p.60)

        Interpreters of "Revelation" are often hindered by today's
        widespread ignorance of the Greek and Roman classics, and
        by the modern prejudice against astrological wisdom. The
        latter may be fine for us, but failing to appreciate the
        central role of astrology among the ancients is often
        fatal to understanding the meaning of their texts.

        A case in point is the figure of "the son of man" in
        Daniel which later assumes prominence in the Gospels. New
        Testament scholars engage in all kinds of contortionist
        mental gymnastics trying to derive the awkward Greek
        phrase in the New Testament from a postulated Aramaic
        original. With all due respect to Mel Gibson, the use of
        Aramaic in Hellenistic Galilee is greatly overrated. Greek
        would have been the normal language by the first century

        In any event, in astrological science, the "son of man" is
        obviously Aquarius, the only human figure among the signs
        of the Zodiac. Thus, when in the Little Apocalypses of
        the Gospels, Jesus says that "when you see the SIGN of the
        son of man coming in the clouds of heaven", he is speaking
        in the language of the day and pointing to the end of the
        Age of Pisces (The Fish), which had then just begun, and
        was looking forward to the Age of Aquarius, which has now
        just dawned, since astrological ages run just short of
        2,000 years. An invaluable treatment of all this can be
        found in Carl G. Jung's great final masterpiece "AION:
        Researches Into The Phenomenolgy of the Self", (Princeton
        University Press, 1959).

        Thus, too, when Jesus tells his disciples to go into
        Jerusalem and look for a man carrying a jug of water on
        his shoulder (something a Semite never would be caught
        dead doing!)in order to lead them to the place where they
        would celebrate the Last Supper, Jesus is signifying that
        the Messianic Banquet is to be held at the time of dawning
        of the Age of Aquarius, i.e., just about the year AD 2000,
        since the Sign of Aquarius is precisely the man carrying a
        jug of water on his shoulder.

        The sacred system of Sevens found in "Revelation" also has
        astrological significance in terms of the "ages of the
        world" and in terms of the "six days of creation" followed
        by the great Seventh Day. On 'the ages of the world', see
        also A. Momigliano's "The Origins of Universal History" in
        the above referenced collection of essays. The genius of
        Momigliano lies in his unique ability to wed Talmudic
        wisdom with classical scholarship. Would that we all
        could even approximate the vast fund of learning which he
        had so graciously mastered.

        Hope this may be helpful -- and glad to be aboard!

        Charles Gerard Larkin
        Department of Philosophy and Religion
        Saint Leo University / Savannah Center
        (912) 234-5687 Home

        On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 02:24:55 EST
        polycarp66@... wrote:
        >In a message dated 3/6/2004 2:16:05 AM Eastern Standard
        >Time, keith_starkey@... writes:
        >Once the thunders are uttered and their contents
        >conceiled, the open-scroll is given to John; he must
        >prophecy again (either in style of a Genesis chapter two
        >recap of chapter one, or with brand-new information) about
        >many peoples, nations, languages, etc. His prophecy
        >is--what else--judgement. I believe, therefore, that
        >John's scroll is not specifically the contents of the
        >thunders--since John does, in fact, reveal his "again"
        >prophecies as irrupting from having eaten the scroll--but
        >that the thunders are in the context of the scroll. What
        >this means is that we are not to loose site of the hidden
        >specifics of the thunders--they are not directly uttered
        >in John's prophecy--but, from OT passages, are directly
        >linked to the scroll. If nothing else, they are
        >contextualized in judgement(s).
        >What function then do the thunders serve? Is it in the
        >nature of thunders, etc. in a theophany? The problem is
        >that such thunders are not said to have been intelligible.

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