Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Mystery of the Book of Seven Thunders Explained

In the book of Revelation (or Apocalypse) the apostle John was given a grand vision of the final end state of Christianity. It is a highly symbolic book, and countless commentaries have been written about it.  Interpretations tend to fall into two categories: the historical view, which seeks to apply the vision to various historical events, and the futurist view, which always pushes the prophecy to some future "end of the world" scenario.  There is a third view: this book does not describe an "end of the world" but an "end of an age." By "end of an age" is meant the end of the Catholic and Protestant false doctrines concerning Christianity. The book describes the last corrupt state of Christianity, which is to be followed by a New Church for a New Age, symbolized by the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven.  Rather than waiting for some visible sign in the sky, this view states we should not be looking up in the sky, but rather seek a revelation from the heavenly world shown in visions.

Many close off their minds, and put their mind in a box, and believe there will be no future revelation. This goes against the history of progressive revelation as revealed in the Bible itself, how each dispensation or age begins with a new revelation. Even the book of Revelation states that some future revelation will be made, and this is described by an angel descending out of heaven with a little book, commonly known as the "book of seven thunders." I will quote the passage in full:
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. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Now 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."
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and 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, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. (Rev. 10:1-7)
This particular passage mystifies every single reader who has come across it. I remember being puzzled by it: why show something and then command the apostle John not to write it?


The passage above concerning the angel with the book of seven thunders proves that at some future date, there would be a revelation concerning the contents of the "little book." We can see this from the prophecies contained in the book of Daniel, where an angel told Daniel that the prophecies would be closed up and not understood for many, many years:
Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (Dan. 12:9)
Then about six centuries later, the prophecies of the book of Daniel are expanded and explained in detail in the book of Revelation. Thus we have this statement:
Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. (Rev. 22:10)
Obviously the words spoken by the book of seven thunders are not included - they are to remain sealed and unknown until some future revelation. The passage concerning the book of seven thunders uses the exact same terminology as these two passages: Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.


When one does a search on the internet, it becomes quite clear no one has a clue as to what was contained in the book of seven thunders.  And if someone pretends to have a clue, it comes from their own guesswork. And when someone starts to "guess" the interpretation is probably false. If this information was received through vision, then only a visionary revelation can truly reveal the contents or subject matter. Nevertheless, lets take a sample of some guesswork, in no particular order.

In What are the mysterious Seven Thunders of Revelation 10?, the website mentions a theory that the message of the book of seven thunders were revealed in the writings and/or sermons of a Pentecostal minister, William M. Branham (1909-65). However the website discounts the theory. This minister seems to have subscribed to a historical view of the book of Revelation. The website goes on and on with no conclusion, and continues this further in THE SEVEN THUNDERS OF REVELATION 10. Finally, the author says this:
"Again, let me emphasize: Revelation 10 is the MYSTERIOUS COMING of Christ in Angelic form. It is not Christ's return to Israel on Mount Olivet or His coming in the Rapture."
And follows up with this:
So, in His Second Advent, CHRIST would first DESCEND from Heaven to the Earth in Word (Spiritual) form as He was revealed in Angelic (Word) form in John's vision.
This I find interesting. As the author tends to ramble a lot I at first could not figure out how he reached that conclusion, but I think he arrived at that conclusion from scripture:
The Living God of the Bible is a Maker of covenants.  He is a 'Covenanter' and the rainbow was the first token of an everlasting covenant He made with the man Noah (Gen.9:8-17).  Even round about His throne, there is a rainbow to remind us of Who He is (Rev.4:3).  The rainbow on the head of this Mighty Angel shows us that He is none other than the Covenant-Maker Himself in angelic form.  He is the Angel of THE COVENANT (Mal.3:1).
As the author has referenced a Pentecostal minister, we will come back to this a little later. There are quite a few false conceptions in the author's ideas about the book of Revelation, but despite that, I found this particular conclusion a bit insightful. But lets continue on with some other guesswork.

In What do the seven thunders in Revelation 10:1-7 mean? from "" they say this:
The reason for the sealing is not given, but it could be that the judgment was simply too terrifying to be recorded. The content of the message is never revealed in Scripture, so we can’t speculate on it.
For a website that says they have answers, I thought at least they were being honest. It is good to maintain a healthy sense of agnosticism: admitting that one does not know is better than pretending that you do know. A similar answer is given in What is the message of the seven thunders of Revelation 10:4? from the "Restored Church of God", but they offer one other insight:
Many wonder about the message of the seven thunders. But, as this verse shows, God did not allow John to record it. Nor is this message found elsewhere in the Bible. God, for His own great purpose, chose not to reveal it in Scripture. What do we know? When the seventh trumpet announces the Return of Jesus Christ, a very significant event will occur. This is what their message deals with. (Notice Revelation 10:7 and 11:15.)
Rev. 11:15 speaks of what happens when the seventh angel sounds, at which time the seven thunders will be revealed.

Beyond the above, typical websites will talk round and round in circles without admitting they do not know, but occasionally one will come across some very "imaginative" interpretations and I will spare everyone from repeating them here. Are there any clues from the gospels? There are 2 references to the word thunder - one is where the apostles are first enumerated and James and John are called "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). The other comes from the gospel of John, which may have been written after Revelation, where a voice from heaven announces how Jesus will be glorified. Some thought it was the voice of an angel, others thought it as thunder (see John 12:27-32). In general, throughout scripture thunder is used to describe the voice of God out of heaven.


Now we come to Emanuel Swedenborg, whose internal vision was opened up after having an encounter with Jesus himself, who gave him the mission to explain the spiritual sense of the Bible. For over 25 years, he had waking visions of the spiritual world, and was guided in the spiritual interpretation of the Bible by God himself, who appeared as a central Sun in the midst of heaven - which more and more witnesses in the modern age have encountered in Near Death Experiences. Those who have had an NDE only get a brief glimpse. Imagine what you can discover if you were in that state for 25 years? A LOT. Swedenborg wrote volume after volume of his spiritual experiences, interpreting the Bible word by word in his massive work, Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia), meaning "Heavenly Secrets." He wrote six volumes on Revelation, explaining it word by word referencing other scriptures, in a massive six volume work entitled Apocalypse Explained which he left as a draft and never published. He was then given a command to shut himself in a room and finish it, and the result was a much more condensed version, Apocalypse Revealed. Reading his works is like uncovering the internal spiritual psychology of the human soul, and how to grow spiritually. The writings are very hard to absorb in one reading, in fact, most will not absorb everything in their lifetime. Because its not about knowing, its about knowing and also doing. If you do not go through the spiritual process in your life, you will never understand.

So, if there is anyone who could shed light on the book of seven thunders, Emanuel Swedenborg is it.  No more guesswork here. So when I first uncovered Swedenborg, I went straight to the University library and pulled out his works on the Apocalypse. What, exactly, was this book of seven thunders and what did it mean? I was going to jump to that point, but he had so many other interesting things to say on other portions of the Apocalypse it took me a while.

The first surprise is that all numbers in scripture have a symbolic meaning, and the number seven does not always mean seven. Seven means "all" or a "complete cycle" - specifically, there are seven states of spiritual development for the human soul. It is why the seventh day or Sabbath was considered sacred by the Jews - the six preceding states are a state of combat against temptation from self effort, but the seventh state is a state of rest because it is the spiritual state where one is not guided by self-will, but the indwelling of God's spirit. As very few self-examine themselves and repent, and it is very hard to acknowledge one's own evils, very few reach the seventh state and hardly anyone knows about it because they have not experienced it. So that's why you have the number seven constantly popping up everywhere you look in the book of Revelation. So if anyone caught in the literal sense looking for seven specific points here will be disappointed. As for the symbolic meaning of the word "thunder", it generically means Divine revelation, or an internal realization of it. Here is Swedenborg's explanation of it when John sees thunders emanating from the throne of God in heaven:
Lightnings, from the flame affecting the eyes, signify enlightenment: and thunders, from the noise affecting the ears, signify perception; and when these signify enlightenment and perception, then voices signify instruction. These were seen to proceed out of the throne, because from the Son of Man, or from the Lord as to the Word, and all enlightenment, perception, and instruction come from the Lord through the Word. Similar things are signified by lightnings, thunders, and voices elsewhere in the Word (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 236).
Such visions explain why in the ancient world they worshiped gods of thunder: from the Vedas you have Indra, the god of thunder, and among the Greeks and Romans you had Zeus, Jupiter or Jove, the god of thunder as well. For before Judaism there was a more ancient revelation based on visions, which in time became corrupted by idolatry. The voice of God that thundered out of heaven happened as Jesus saw some Greeks that had attended the Jewish festival (John 12:20), indicating there was some truth to these ancient myths. There is a bit deeper explanation of the origin of symbolic meanings in the corresponding passage of Swedenborg's unpublished work, Apocalypse Explained:
But let something first be said in respect to the origin of these significations. All things that appear before the eyes of men in the visible heaven, as the sun, the moon, the stars, the air, the ether, light, heat, clouds, mists, showers, and many more, are correspondences; they are correspondences for the reason that all things in the natural world correspond to those in the spiritual world. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 273)
Ever hear of "archetypes" or "collective unconscious" from Carl Jung? Most people have. What most people don't know is Carl Jung borrowed it without acknowledgement from Swedenborg and just changed the terminology to sound more psychological. But the above sample quotes from Swedenborg is an example of how hard it is to absorb the information. Most people know what it is to have a "conscience" - that internal feeling that something is right or wrong, but how do you explain "perception"? Perception is a word Swedenborg uses for an internal state of recognizing if something is true or false, without resorting to external knowledge or human reasoning. The more one enters into a state of love or usefulness towards others, the more one is given a state of perception for recognizing spiritual truths. This is something the modern scientific mind finds hard to grasp, as our minds are stuck in the outer visible senses, and depending on the external knowledge or facts we receive from them. Its a case of if you do not do, you will never know. In the revelations given to Swedenborg, love always comes first. Its the exact opposite of many religions which place emphasis on faith or belief alone, or just meditation and enlightenment, which many just shove into the memory and leave it there. That memory knowledge is not living until it is put to use in one's life.


So first, who is the angel that descends out of heaven? Just an angel, or Jesus himself? The interpretations out there that said this was the Lord Himself are correct, and Swedenborg gives a similar reason, but goes a lot further from what he saw in his spiritual visions:
And I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, signifies the Lord in Divine majesty and power. That this angel is the Lord is manifest from the description of him; that he was encompassed with a cloud, a rainbow over his head, his face as the sun, his feet as pillars of fire, and that he set his feet upon the sea and upon the earth; also that he cried as a lion roareth, and spake like thunder. He was seen as an angel, because He appears in and below the heavens as an angel, when He manifests Himself: for He fills some angel with His Divine accommodated to the reception of those to whom He gives to see Him. His presence itself, such as it is in itself or in its essence, not any angel, and still less any man, can sustain; therefore He appears above the heavens as the sun, which is distant from the angels as the sun of the world from men. There He is in His Divine from eternity, and at the same time in His Divine Human, which are one, as soul and body. He is here called a mighty angel from the Divine power: and He is said to be another angel from the fact that His Divine is described here different from before. (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 465)
Remember the interpretation from the Pentecostal minister William Branham? The secret here is that many Pentecostal ministers read the writings of Swedenborg for their sermons without telling their congregations where they got the information. They sort of hide the books of Swedenborg in their closet.

Next, what about the "little book" held in the hand of the angel? Some have speculated that it is related to the book of seven seals (Rev. 5:1), and they are correct. At this point Swedenborg reveals the secret of the contents of the little book:
And he had in his hand a little book open, signifies the Word as to this point of doctrine therein, that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that His Human is Divine. That by the book which the Lamb took from Him who sat upon the throne, and whose seven seals He loosed (Apoc. v. 1, 7; vi. 1), is meant the Word, may be seen above (n. 256, 259, 295, etc.); for which reason by the little book in the hand of the angel who also is the Lord (n. 465), nothing else is meant but the Word as to some essential therein. That this is the point of doctrine in the Word, that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that his Human is Divine, is manifest from the particulars in this chapter and the following, in the spiritual sense; and also from the natural sense (chap. xi. 15-17). The little book is said to be open, because that point stands out openly in the Word, and is manifest to every one who reads, if he attends. This is now treated of, because this is the essential itself of the New Church. (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 465)
So there you have it. The secret was hidden in plain sight all along, and it concerns the identity of Jesus himself. Many will just say he is just a prophet or teacher, but this chapter in the book of Revelation concerns the rejection of the identity of Jesus Christ within the Christian Church itself. How is Jesus rejected? For one, most churches have divided God into three persons from the Nicene Creed. This is not true: Jesus is the visible form of the invisible God, who resides bodily in Jesus as the soul does the body. The other manner in which Jesus is rejected originates from the Chalcedonian Creed, which divides Jesus into two natures, human and Divine, treating his human form as that of an ordinary man. For when Jesus rose from the dead in all his glory, and ascended into heaven, he had made the human form of his body Divine. Why otherwise would his body and blood be worshiped as such in the Eucharist or Communion? This is an essential doctrine of the New Church - a trinity of three persons is a falsehood. You have the hidden Divine itself, its manifestation in the Divine Human, from which proceeds the Holy Spirit, or the Divine proceeding. You have an emanation of the Divine into lower degrees of existence. Thus many Christians do not direct their prayers to Jesus, who is Jehovah Himself, or you have others who direct their prayers to Mary and the saints.

The explanation makes sense, and John himself may have revealed the secret in his own gospel in this passage which I mentioned earlier:
"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."
Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." (John 12:27-32)
The "glorification" of Jesus occurred when he made his human Divine, by which Jehovah now has conjunction with the entire human race that had been cut off due to sin. So why were not the seven thunders written down? Because at the time the doctrine could not be received, or would have been rejected. What was revealed to the apostle John in symbolic vision in the seven thunders is spelled out in doctrinal form in the writings of Swedenborg concerning the Divine Human:
And when he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices, signifies that the Lord will disclose through the universal heaven what is in the little book. This is signified because it follows that he wished to write what the seven thunders spake; but that it was said to him from heaven that he should seal up those things, and not write them: and afterwards, that he should eat up the little book; and that it would be sweet as honey in his mouth, but that his belly would be made bitter by it; by which is signified that such things were in it as could not yet be received. The reason may be seen in the following paragraph. But I will lay open what was in the little book. In the little book were the things which are contained in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord [found in Doctrines of the New Jerusalem - DW], from beginning to end, which are the following: — That the entire Sacred Scripture is concerning the Lord, and that the Lord is the Word (n. 1-7).
The Lord's fulfilling all the things of the Law means that He fulfilled all the things of the Word (n. 8-11).
That the Lord came into the world, that He might subjugate the hells, and glorify His Human; and that the passion of the cross was the last combat, by which He fully overcame the hells, and fully glorified His Human (n. 12-14).
That the Lord by the passion of the cross did not take away sins, but that He bore them (n. 15-17).
That the imputation of the Lord's merit is nothing else but the remission of sins after repentance (n. 18).
That the Lord as to His Divine Human is called the Son of God, and the Son of Man as to the Word (n. 10-28).
That the Lord made His Human Divine from the Divine in Himself, and that He thus became one with the Father (n. 29-36).
That the Lord is God Himself from whom and concerning whom is the Word (n. 37-44).
That God is one, and that the Lord is that God (n. 45).
That the Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding from the Lord, and that it is the Lord Himself (n. 46-54).
That the Doctrine of the Athanasian Creed agrees with the truth, provided that by the Trinity of Persons is understood a Trinity of Person, which is in the Lord (n. 55-61).
It is said that the seven thunders uttered their voices, because the speech of the Lord passing down through the heavens into the lower parts is heard as thunder; and because He speaks at the same time through the whole heaven, and thus fully, they are called the seven thunders: for by seven are signified all things and the whole (n. 10, 391). (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 472)
No secret here, it is actually in plain sight - that Jesus is Divine, and made his human body Divine, has been arrived at those who have closely followed scripture - the "little open book". This truth will be rejected by many in the former churches, which is described by the killing of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. Observe the hostile rejection or ignorance of these doctrines revealed to Swedenborg in the Christian church itself. Think about it: what is the meaning of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount (Matt. 17)? Jesus overcame to the point where he transformed his human form into the very Divine.


For the curious, within the book of Revelation outside of Revelation chapter 10 which speaks of the seven thunders, the word "thunder" is mentioned seven times:  Rev. 4:5, 6:1, 8:5, 11:19, 14:2, 16:18, 19:6. Note that the thunders of Rev. 11:19 is related to the revelation of the seven thunders, as well as the final instance of Rev. 19:6 where it states that the one Lord God omnipotent reigns.

In the book of Exodus, the word "thunder" is again mentioned seven times. Ex. 9:23, 9:28, 9:29, 9:33, 9:34, 19:16, 20:18.  I thought this was more significant, because between the 6th and 7th instance of the word thunder the 10 commandments were given, where the central revelation is that one God in one Person should be worshiped. The seven thunders in Revelation takes place between the sounding of the 6th and 7th trumpets, which also herald plagues similar to those of the Exodus. As with the gospel of John (John 12:27-32), this again confirms that the interpretation that the seven thunders is related to the revelation that God should be worshiped as one person, in Jesus Christ.

Finally in the book of Job, in reference to God's voice the word thunder happens to be mentioned seven times: Job 26:14, 36:29, 36:33, 37:2, 37:4, 37:5, 40:9. However this is not as significant as the numeric symbolism found in Exodus.

Returning back to Rev. 11:15-19, and 19:6, where they both state that now the Lord God reigns: this refers to the point in time where people realize the fact that Jesus Christ is NOT a second person of a trinity. He comes to reign when people realize Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, and thus his very human is Divine.


  1. Interesting! Thank you for taking the time for this.

  2. Could the angel gabriel standing on water and land be the dragon standing on the two beasts? Thunder in china means dragon and african word da means serpent. I suspect the 7 thunders are the 7 days of destruction and recreation in genesis as there is time no longer and new heavens and new earth. It is the day of the lord and god makes all things new.

    1. Hello Traverso, for scriptural interpretation the symbolism of scripture has been unveiled in the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg in a series of visions that lasted 27 years in the 18th century, explained over several volumes in which multiple passages are referenced to give an overall systematic explanation. What is important to realize is that many of the images are spiritual and not literal, and the focus of scripture is on the Lord and the Church, not on particular political nations. So as explained above, the angel is not Gabriel but the Lord Himself in angelic form. The dragon represents a falsified Christianity that separates faith from charity which leads to a belief in Naturalism, and most of the Western world has fallen into this deception. The number "seven" in general signifies all or what is complete, and in a positive sense what is most holy.


Comments, questions, corrections and opinions welcome...