Lightnings, Voices, and Thunders
12. What does John next see and hear, and what do the “lightnings and voices and thunders” call to mind?
12 What does John next see and hear? “And out of the throne there are proceeding lightnings and voices and thunders.” (Revelation 4:5a) How reminiscent of other awesome manifestations of Jehovah’s celestial power! For example, when Jehovah “came down” on Mount Sinai, Moses reported: “On the third day when it became morning it came about that thunders and lightnings began occurring, and a heavy cloud upon the mountain and a very loud sound of a horn. . . . When the sound of the horn became continually louder and louder, Moses began to speak, and the true God began to answer him with a voice.”—Exodus 19:16-19.
13. What is pictured by the lightnings issuing from Jehovah’s throne?
13 During the Lord’s day, Jehovah makes his power and presence manifest in a sublime way. No, not by literal lightning, for John is seeing signs. What, then, do the lightnings represent? Well, flashes of lightning can illuminate, but they can also strike one dead. Therefore, these lightnings issuing from Jehovah’s throne well picture the flashes of enlightenment that he has continually granted his people and, even more significantly, his fiery judgment messages.—Compare Psalm 18:14; 144:5, 6; Matthew 4:14-17; 24:27.
14. How have voices sounded out today?
14 What of the voices? During Jehovah’s descent onto Mount Sinai, a voice spoke to Moses. (Exodus 19:19) Voices from heaven issued many of the commands and proclamations in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 4:1; 10:4, 8; 11:12; 12:10; 14:13; 16:1, 17; 18:4; 19:5; 21:3) Today, Jehovah has also issued commands and proclamations to his people, illuminating their understanding of Bible prophecies and principles. Enlightening information has often been disclosed at international conventions, and such Bible truths have, in turn, been proclaimed worldwide. The apostle Paul said of faithful preachers of the good news: “Why, in fact, ‘into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.’”—Romans 10:18.
15. What thunders have proceeded from the throne during this part of the Lord’s day?
15 Thunder usually follows lightning. David referred to literal thunder as “the voice of Jehovah.” (Psalm 29:3, 4) When Jehovah fought for David against his enemies, thunder was said to come from Him. (2 Samuel 22:14; Psalm 18:13) Elihu told Job that Jehovah’s voice sounded like thunder, as He does “great things that we cannot know.” (Job 37:4, 5) During this part of the Lord’s day, Jehovah has ‘thundered,’ warning of the great acts he will perform against his enemies. These symbolic peals of thunder have echoed and reechoed throughout the earth. Happy you are if you have paid attention to these thunderous proclamations and are making wise use of your tongue in adding to their volume!—Isaiah 50:4, 5; 61:1, 2.
Lamps of Fire and a Glassy Sea
16. What is signified by the “seven lamps of fire”?
16 What does John further see? This: “And there are seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, and these mean the seven spirits of God. And before the throne there is, as it were, a glassy sea like crystal.” (Revelation 4:5b, 6a) John himself tells us the significance of the seven lamps: “These mean the seven spirits of God.” The number seven symbolizes divine completeness; so the seven lamps must represent the fullness of the enlightening force of the holy spirit. How grateful the John class today is that it has been entrusted with this enlightenment, together with the responsibility to pass it on to the spiritually hungry peoples of earth! How glad we are that each year hundreds of millions of copies of the Watchtower magazine continue to beam forth this light in about 150 languages!—Psalm 43:3.
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