Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Language of God: Thunder

This is part of an ongoing series called "The Language of God". Previous entries were:

The Language of God: Earthquakes
Language of God: Fire and Brimstone
Language of God: Lightning
Language of God: Hail

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. (Rev 4:5)

In the bible, God's voice is often depicted as thunder, or, alternately, when thunder occurs, it is God speaking. We're told that thunder, when it is God's voice, presages judgment. We remember the people at Mt Sinai were scared out of their wits upon hearing the thunder and begged Moses to ask God not speak aloud again (Ex 20:19).

We recall Revelation 10:1-4 and the mystery of the Seven Thunders. "And I saw another angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth. And he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when he cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them."

These booms happened this week, except for the next to last one which was in January and the last one which was 4 months ago, but I included it because it happened in GA

Florida:  Geologist: Shaking Wasn't Florida Earthquake
Investigators are trying to solve a bizarre mystery in Flagler County. A wave of people called 911 around 9:30am Friday to report the ground shaking in Flagler County. The calls all came from the Hammock area of Palm Coast. However, people in the north Daytona area, as well as in Deltona and as far north as St. Augustine, said they felt it as well. Many people were worried that the shaking was an earthquake.  The Emergency Management Office was on the phone all day trying to figure out the cause of the shaking. Residents said that buildings were shaking, and even a dispatcher in the county felt it happen.

South Carolina: Residents report loud booms; CofC says no indication of seismic activity
Loud booms and shaking across the Charleston area Monday afternoon had people a little jumpy. Three big booms were reported late Monday afternoon. The reports came from people in different parts of the metro area. A Mt. Pleasant man said it felt like a truck hit his house. Vacationers from Canada reported hearing and feeling a series of loud booms at Folly Beach. "They sounded and felt like muffled explosions. Others on the beach appeared as unsettled as we were," said one Lowcountry resident. "The last few we felt once we had returned to our condo. The sound made the light in the dining room rattle." "Stuff like this normally does not bother me, but this was over the top," says one Mt. Pleasant resident. "I could actually see the window frame move."

South Carolina: Booms revive an old mystery
The first boom sounded like thunder. The second shook windows. The third shook an entire house. Then they quieted, mysteriously. The series of booms were reported Monday afternoon by people on Kiawah and Johns islands and Isle of Palms. At least three booms, each more intense than the last, occurred within 15 minutes starting about 3:30 p.m. "There's another one. The third one, just now. It's like thunder getting closer to us, only there's no rumble, just a blast. Beutel, S.C. Earthquake Education and Preparedness director. She suspected sonic booms, but a public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort said no F-18s were flying in the area at that time. A public affairs officer for the Charleston Air Force Base said C-17s were operating, but not fast enough to cause sonic booms.

New Jersey: Newark Police Puzzled By Mystery 'Boom'
Police were investigating the cause of a mysterious noise on Monday after multiple people reported hearing it and feeling it. Residents living in the area of Idlewilde and Weiant avenues called police on Sunday afternoon to report what sounded and felt like a loud explosion. The noise caused homes to shake, residents said. Police and fire crews responded after several people called 911 to report the noise. They were unable to find any sign of an explosion or what might have caused so many people to feel the shaking.

Washington State: Mystery boom heard Saturday
A loud boom was heard through Moses Lake Saturday night about 8:30 p.m.  Authorities do not know what caused the sound.  People described it in a variety of ways from a methane explosion to a sonic boom. "I don't know what it was, but it was loud," said Moses Lake police Capt. Dave Ruffin. "It sounded like a transformer blowing (up) down the street." The Multi Agency Communications Center (MACC) received several reports through 9-1-1 about the sound of an explosion and deputies were dispatched to determine the cause, said Kyle Foreman, Grant County Sheriff's Office public information officer. Moses Lake firefighters did not receive any calls for fires or explosions, said Chief Tom Taylor. The US Air Force did not have any jet fighters operating in Grant County this weekend, nor any other types of aircraft operating at supersonic speeds, according to Foreman. Authorities would like to determine the cause, said Foreman.

Oklahoma (in January) : 'Boom' Heard Across SE Part Of MetroA loud 'boom' was heard by Oklahomans on Thursday morning, but officials confirmed that it was not an earthquake. Eyewitness News 5 began reporting a possible earthquake around 10:30 a.m. The United States Geological Survey said no such earthquake had occurred.

Georgia: Mystery boom still confounding officials
A tremendous boom that shattered the quiet of a Friday night in rural west Georgia continues to defy explanation. Residents of Carroll, Douglas and Haralson counties heard it, and officials in all three counties tried to find what caused it. They're still trying. Douglas County Communication Director Wes Tallon said "911 calls lit up" the switchboard after the 9:45 p.m. noise rattled windows across a large area of west Georgia. "There was no catastrophe, we know that," Tallon told the AJC Saturday morning. Villa Rica authorities dispatched several police and fire units to the Mirror Lake subdivision when the sound was first reported, but they found no damage or even smoke. "People all over the city heard the boom, but we couldn't find anything," a police department receptionist said late Friday. The National Weather Service in Peachtree City had no natural explanation for it. And there were no obvious signs of damage on the ground.

These booms interest me for several reasons. First, because all the articles used the same language, "mystery" and "boom." Secondly, they all excluded all known explanations. It wasn't a quake, it wasn't sonic, it wasn't an explosion, it wasn't a transformer, it wasn't a gas line...they all defied explanation. The latest bunch of skyquakes all resulted in the same string of denials from U.S. Geological Survey officials (no earthquakes), civil officials (no construction blasting or other known explosions), military nor civilian air traffic controllers (no exercises or high-speed flights). Last, I am interested in these booms because of our reaction to them.

When we read about mysterious booms that defy natural explanation do we shrug and go on... or do we think of God? Come on, be honest. I bet most of us don't think of God. Perhaps we should.

Thunder, when it is not a God-controlled weather phenomenon, is a direct representation of God's power. Even adults startle when a particularly loud boom of thunder claps above you. The booming noises could be interpreted as God's instrument to invoke awe and righteous fear into those who do not yet fear The Lord.

The throne of God is surrounded by thunder. "From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God." (Revelation 4:5).

God spoke to Moses and the people heard thunder. "When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder." (Exodus 19:19.) When Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus, those who were with Paul heard thunder. God said to Job, "Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" (Job 40:9). The bible shows us time and time again that sometimes when God speaks, it sounds like thunder, or a boom.  Not every thunderclap is God speaking. Sometimes it is simply one of the forces of nature controlled by God. Sometimes it is His voice as heard by flawed and un-glorified man. Other times- as recorded in the bible from past to future- it is an expression of His divine wrath.

Now, usually nowadays God speaks through His son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Word. But if I hear a mysterious boom, I would like to think that it is a merciful God speaking to us, to awaken us to His tremendous power ... but showing us His tremendous love by using only an infinitesimal amount of that power, otherwise we would surely surely die. The loudest thunder is still God's whisper to us; "I love you...wake up."

5 comments :

  1. As I was driving home from work recently, I had the radio tuned to the Canadian station out of Windsor, ON. They were talking about these very same kind of booms being heard, and felt, all over Essex County. I didn't think as much about it at the time, but now after reading of all the other similar incidents around the US, it's, as you say, unsettling. Makes me wonder about what other booms might have been heard recently around the globe....hmmmm.

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  2. Yesterday, here in Western Pennsylvania, it rained badly all morning. Then, all afternoon (at least where I was) there was almost constant thunder, but no rain and no visible lightning. Maybe it's just because I'd never encountered that before, but I thought it was strange.

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  3. It's not just in biblical times that God has chosen to allow man to hear His voice like thunder. I know because I had an experience when I was 21 years old while praying. I heard the voice of God, along with two family friends and my wife, as it thundered in my living room! It shook my entire house and the cupboards in my kitchen flew open and dishes flew out onto the floor! I've never been the same since that day. It was a totally clear night that night as well. I had originally thought to myself that it must be the Lord's return and so I walked out onto my front porch and looked at the sky and it was nothing but stars....

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  4. Hi ~Michael~

    Sounds like quite an experience, like the one in Acts 4:31.

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  5. Hi there,

    I was driving home from work recently and I had a vision of God's return/coming judgement. I didn't have music on or anything else, just piece and quiet in the car and I understood what the Holy Spirit showed me. When I say vision I don't know if that is the right word but it's hard to explain. It's like images on my brain not taken in through my eyes and there is no audible voice explaining what I see... just an inner understanding. Anyway I understood that when the Lord returns I believe His call will be like the most deafening clap (one clap) of thunder you've ever heard. Not just the kind that shakes your house or rattles your windows... the kind that makes your ears ring and your heart race. The kind that will strike terror into men. I also believe that His call like thunder will be accompanied by a tremendous blast of brilliant light. The kind of light that's blinding. I saw a bright, white, all encompassing light. Everything rapidly faded into the blinding white light. I don't know if that was a call of judgement or a call for His bride but it felt like both to me.

    -Hannah Kyle, West Virginia

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