Sunday, December 13, 2015

Q4H: What did the seven thunders say?

Today's reading has me in the book of Revelation. This book is an interesting read, as the whole thing is a massive vision given to a man named John who was living in exile on the tiny Greek island of Patmos. Is the vision full of allegory and metaphor, or is it to be interpreted literally? Well, that's an entirely different — and much larger — "question for Heaven".

Today, however, I have a more specific question. (Though, I won't be surprised if this turns out to be just the first of many such questions I have about this book's content.) In chapter 10, John is witnessing a strange event. A mighty angel is straddling earth and sea and toting a little scroll. Read with me from Revelation 10:2-4:

2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."

By now, my question is probably obvious: What was it that the seven thunders said, and why was John instructed not to reveal this?

I'd love to hear some scholarly opinions about this. Googling around turned up all kinds of not-so-defensible opinions, but maybe somebody else has a saner suggestion?

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