Christians today mentioning the Voice of God, tend to refer to the First Kings 19:12 description of it in the Bible,
“And after the earthquake was a fire, but Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire was a still, small voice.”
Yes, it seems the still, small voice of God seems to appeal much more to our sensibilities and demands these days, than a loud and frightening God.
But that was not always the case as the Bible clearly shows. Dr. Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament shows that the Jews took a different approach of looking at the voice of God, based on their first hand experiences, saying, “The Jews were accustomed to speak as thunder as ‘the Seven Voices.'”
There can be no greater range in descriptions of the Voice of God, than those which pertain to lower and upper bounds of human hearing. The quietness and stillness of the small voice, and the ear-shattering, body shaking crash of thunder.
In Revelation 10:3 we read a reference to this Jewish tradition where John writes:
“And he cried with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. And when he had cried, seven thunders spoke their sounds.”
You say, no, it was only the noise of thunder! That was not God actually speaking!
But read on to the next line and in Revelation 10:4 we find a clear statement:
“And when the seven thunders spoke their sounds, I was about to write. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, Seal up what things the seven thunders spoke, and do not write these things.”
It is quite clear here that the seven thunders of God which John heard were interpretable as a voice which could be understood; for John understood them, but was told by God, not to write down what he heard.
The New Testament word which John uses in Revelation 10:4 for ‘voice’ is the Greek φωνή or phōnē – from which our current ‘megaphone’ is derived. Thayer’s Definition is: 1) a sound, a tone – of inanimate things, as musical instruments; 2) a voice – of the sound of uttered words and 3) speech – of a language, tongue. Since John was a scholar of Hebrew, we can reasonably infer that he intentionally wanted to link the Greek to the Hebrew for ‘voice’ קל קול or qôl or kole, which BDB defines as 1) voice, sound, noise – 1a) voice – 1b) sound (of instrument) and 2) lightness, frivolity.
This Hebrew ‘voice’ ‘ קל קול ‘ occurs 501 times in the Old Testament. Twice it is used for ‘voices’ but also 5 times, it is used for ‘thunders’ or ‘thunderings.’
The following three verses are examples of a number of places in the Old Testament where the Voice of God is directly related to thunder:
Exodus 19:16 “And it happened on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the voice of the trumpet was exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled.”
Job 37:5 “God thunders marvellously with His voice; He does great things, and we do not understand.”
Psalm 29:3 “The voice of Jehovah is on the waters; the God of glory thunders; Jehovah is above many waters.”
It is in Psalm 29 that we may find the origins of the Jewish saying, ‘the Seven Voices.’ Reading the Psalm, it is quite clear here that the psalmist equates the Voice of God, with thunder.
|1||A Psalm of David. Give to Jehovah, O you mighty, give to Jehovah glory and strength.|
|2||Give to Jehovah the glory due to His name; worship Jehovah in the beauty of holiness.|
|3||One||The voice of Jehovah is on the waters; the God of glory thunders; Jehovah is above many waters.|
|4||Two, Three||The voice of Jehovah is in power, the voice of Jehovah is in majesty.|
|5||Four||The voice of Jehovah breaks the cedars; yea, Jehovah breaks the cedars of Lebanon.|
|6||He also makes them to skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.|
|7||Five||The voice of Jehovah goes through flames of fire.|
|8||Six||The voice of Jehovah shakes the wilderness; Jehovah shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.|
|9||Seven||The voice of Jehovah causes the does to calve, and uncovers the forests; and in His temple all of it is saying, Glory!|
|10||Jehovah sits on the flood; yea, Jehovah sits as King forever.|
|11||Jehovah will give strength to His people; Jehovah will bless His people with peace.|
For too long now, Christians have been toning down the Voice of God, rather than revelling its awesome power and majesty. We have lost the ability to hear the Word of God, in the Voice of God, as He thunders out all around us.
Imagine standing in a thunderstorm and hearing God speaking to prophecy and words of encouragement to you in words of your own language. I’ve never tried it, but I will during the next thunder storm though!
I find it sad that we pride ourselves in our technological advances, but that we have long since forgotten and lost so many amazing God-given abilities along the way; we have lost so many truths of the First Century Church.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we move on in these end-times, I pray You will begin to reveal to Your Church all of the old Godly truths which we have lost over the centuries and millennia. Let it be by Your revelation alone, Lord, that these truths are revealed and renewed to us.
I pray Lord, you will give us the same ears as You gave the Apostle John of Patmos, such that we may hear and understand Your voice in the thunder. Oh Lord God, please renew that ability in the Church today!
Oh yes Lord God, please grant us the ears and understanding to hear you, as you speak to us! Please also grant us the eyes and vision to see the works of your mighty hands. We know the signs and evidences are all around us Lord, but we have grown dull and can no longer appreciate it, for what it is.
Please renew our vision Lord, so that we can see your works and hear your voice as our spiritual ancestors did. Rekindle in us the awe and respect due to Your voice and Works.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen and Amen and Amen.