Hearken To The Thunder Of His Voice

Hurricanes and Natural Disasters

Whether for correction, or for his land, or for love, he causes it to happen.” –Elihu

 

Especially for Feast of Trumpets / Day of Atonement / Seven Thunders


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Father, make possible for us by grace what is impossible for us by nature.  You know we’re not able to endure much, and that we’re downcast by the slightest difficulty.  Grant that for your sake we may come to love and desire any hardship that puts us to the test, for salvation is brought to our souls when we undergo suffering and trouble for you.  Amen.  Thomas à Kempis (1379 – 1471)

 

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Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

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The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

 

Numbers 16:16. Moses said to Korah, "You and all your party, come before Yahweh tomorrow, you and they, and Aaron too. 17. Each will take his censer, put incense in it, and bring his censer before Yahweh, two hundred and fifty censers. You and Aaron too will each bring his censer." 18. Each of them took his censer, put fire in it and placed incense on it, and stood at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19. Then, Korah having assembled the whole community to confront them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of Yahweh appeared to the whole community.

20. Yahweh then spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 21. 'Get away from this community. I am going to destroy them here and now." 22. They threw themselves on their faces and cried out, "O Elohim, Elohim of the spirits that give life to every living thing, will you be angry with the whole community because one man has sinned?" 23. Yahweh then said to Moses, 24. `Speak to the community and say, `Stand well clear of Korah's tent.' "

25. Moses stood up and went to Dathan and Abiram; the elders of Israel followed him. 26. He spoke to the community and said, "Stand away, I tell you, from the tents of these sinners, and touch nothing that belongs to them, for fear that with all their sins you too will be swept away." 27. So they moved away from Korah's tent. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing at their tent doors, with their wives, their sons and their little ones.

28. Moses said, "This is how you will know that Yahweh himself has sent me to perform all these tasks and that I am not doing them of my own accord. 29. If these people die a natural death such as people commonly die, then Yahweh has not sent me. 30. But if Yahweh does something utterly new, if the earth should open its mouth and swallow them and all their belongings, so that they go down alive to Sheol, then you will know that they held Yahweh in contempt."

31. The moment he finished saying all this, the ground split apart under their feet, 32. the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their families, all Korah's people and all their property.33. They went down alive to Sheol with all their belongings. The earth closed over them and they disappeared in the middle of the community. 34. At their cries, all the Israelites round them took to their heels, saying, "We do not want the earth to swallow us too!" 35. Fire then shot out from Yahweh and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering incense. (NJB)

 

Psalms 77:14-20.  Thou art the El who workest wonders, who hast manifested thy might among the peoples.  Thou didst with thy arm redeem thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.  Selah. 
   When the waters saw thee, O Elohim, when the waters saw thee, they were afraid, yea, the deep trembled.  The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; thy arrows flashed on every side.  The crash of thy thunder was in the whirlwind; thy lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.  Thy way was through the sea, thy path through the great waters; yet thy footprints were unseen.
   Thou didst lead thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.  (UMH 798)

 

Revelation 10:4.  And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down. 

The seven thunders are numbered and described in the following passage:

 

Job 36:1-4,22-33; 37:2-13 {read in the message – go there now}

 

Luke 3:1.  IN THE fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  2.  in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of Elohoim came to IVAN the son of Zechariah in the wilderness;  3.  and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  4.  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of Yahweh, make his paths straight.  5.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;  6.  and all flesh shall see the salvation of El. 

 

Luke 16: 31.  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’

 

Luke 6: 46-49.  Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. 

 

The Epic of Job  

   The epic of Job is one of the oldest and most well known in the world.  Job is a righteous man, a worshipper of Yahweh, a commandment-keeper.  He’s also a man of great family and means.  But Satan challenges Job’s Ěl, claiming that if he can only strike at the things Job considers precious, Job will betray Ěl and abandon his faith.  Yahweh gives Satan permission to do as he will to test his theory, but to spare Job’s life.

   So Satan starts his evil commission by fixing Job’s family – his sons and daughters and their clans were making merry at the lavish home of Job’s eldest son when four catastrophes befell: the Sabean (Yemeni) bandits attacked the servants’ quarters and killed everyone there; then a meteorite hit the field and burned up the shepherds along with all the sheep; then the Chaldean terrorists swept in and stole the camels and killed their tenders; finally a bombastic whirlwind came out of the desert and struck the pillars of the house: it fell in and crushed Job’s family.  A few servants escaped to tell the incredible tale.

   Yet afflicting Mr. & Mrs. Job’s minds wasn’t sufficient.  Satan began to afflict Job’s  body – with

loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  And he took a potsherd to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.  Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse Elohim, and die.”  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of Elohim, and shall we not receive evil?”  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  (Job 2:7-10)

   Please note that calamity of the highest order came upon this righteous man.  Demonic forces, bereavement and loss, terror, financial ruin, devastating weather, disease – even his wife comes against him – all without sufficient cause.  No, Job hadn’t sinned; on the contrary, Job had “hearkened to the thunder of His voice” and thus pleased the Almighty in every way.  So why Job?

 

Job’s Friends

   Word gets out, and along come Job’s friends.  They don’t even recognize the wise man as he sits in sackcloth and ashes.  They do, however, behold a man blasted with the sands of disaster, and they sit in the shadow of his grief for a week without saying a word.  Job’s was an age of hospitality, so we expect that as his friends ministered silence to Job, his wretched wife saw to their needs. 

   Finally Job breaks the stillness – he curses the day he was born. 

Job 3:11-19.  Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?  Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should suck?  For then I should have lain down and been quiet; I should have slept; then I should have been at rest ... Or why was I not as a hidden untimely birth, as infants that never see the light?  There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. 

  This speech opens the door for Job’s friends to opine about his dilemma.  Each is sure he knows the reason for Job’s judgment – be it a sin or a character flaw or just that Job was rich – well – that was reason enough in itself for him to lose everything, one guy thought.  The poems that comprise their theological musings continue on for 35 chapters.  Some of the language is so obscure that translators are stumped.  One thing’s certain, though.  Neither Job nor his friends gain the treasure of their speculation in all that squawk– none discover the correct reason that Elohim would afflict a righteous man or even allow trouble of any kind to befall him.  ¿Isn’t blessing for the good and trouble for the wicked?  Job must have sinned, they all reason.

 

Aren’t We Blessed?

   In this time of wind and rain, are we not all like Job and his friends?  Are we not righteous, commandment-keeping people?  Do we not love the Sky-Father and revere the Son of the Most High?  Are we not the Israel that we claim?  Do we not live in the “Bible Belt”? 

 

The Calamity, whatever it is: Then why have four of the most devastating hurricanes in history, named Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne and Dennis, come upon us, spawning hundreds of deadly tornados, and felling thousands of trees?  Why have homes been damaged, some destroyed; and folks in our community even killed?  What sins have we / they committed to allow for this mess, or by what omissions have we / they caused it?  Has Yahweh judged us, or is it not nice to fool Mother Nature? 

   What science lies behind the façade, and why couldn’t some smart scientist or flashy meteorologist stop it?  Why couldn’t we pray it away, or why didn’t we receive early warning so we could get away?  Why did the good get stung right along with the evil?  And why is it that some folks got off better than others?  Luck?  Or are some more divinely blessed?  Or are some better commandment keepers or lovers of humankind?  Or are some more loved by the Almighty?  Or are some just luckier?  Do you feel lucky?

  Admit it: we are like Job’s friends.  Every friend here has pondered these same questions.  Many with whom I’ve spoken have boiled the whole “Jobic” diatribe down to a few noble words – “It could have been much worse.  We are blessed.”  And indeed, we are blessed.

 

Another Man – Elihu

   In Job’s evil day, another man wandered into the ashes.  Unlike the rest, he was young, uninvited and no friend of Job’s.  As a youth, he patiently waited for the others to speak their pieces before he uttered his voice.  But when his turn came, he was bold in his exhortation, for he was there on Yahweh’s behalf, speaking for the Almighty.  The man’s name was Elihu, which means, “He is my El.”  We take up part of Elihu’s speech from Job, chapters 36 & 37.

Job 36 :2.  “Bear with me  and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on El’s behalf.  3.  I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.  4.  For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.  22.  Behold, El is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him?  23.  Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, ‘Thou hast done wrong’?  27.  For he draws up the drops of water, he distils his mist in rain 28.  which the skies pour down, and drop upon man abundantly. 
   29.  “Can any one understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings
(thunder 1) of his pavilion?  30.  Behold, he scatters his lightning (thunder 2) about him, and covers the roots of the sea.  31.  For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance.  32.  He covers his hands with the lightning (thunder 3), and commands it to strike the mark.  33.  Its crashing declares concerning him, who is jealous with anger against iniquity. 
   Job 37: ... 2. “Hearken to the thunder
(thunder 4) of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.  3.  Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning (thunder 5) to the corners of the earth.  4.  After it his voice roars; he thunders (thunder 6) with his majestic voice and he does not restrain them
[*] when his voice is heard.
   5.  “El thunders
(thunder 7) wondrously with his voice; he does great things which we cannot comprehend.  6.  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’; and to the shower and the rain, ‘Be strong.’  7.  He seals up the hand of every man, that all men may know his work.  8.  Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens.  9.  From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds.  10.  By the breath of El ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.  11.  He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning.  12.  They turn round and round by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 
   13.  “Whether for correction, or for his land, or for love
(רסח,
c
heced, kindness or reproach; eleoV LXX, mercy), he causes it to happen.”

 

The Wisdom of Elihu

   Elihu shares several remarkable knowledge nuggets regarding not only the events that befell Job, but also what’s been happening to us.  Elihu tells us first of all that Ěl is present – along with his perfect understanding of the situation.  Ěl should understand the elements, because he created them.  Yes, the earthquakes are in some way his doing – rain, snow, wind, ice, clouds, whirlwinds, lightnings and thunderings: they are His voices.  (In fact, if you read closely, you can find the seven thunders of Revelation 10:4 “sealed up” here.)  Yes, these weather disturbances are the means by which Yahweh speaks the loudest to us – and to all humanity – be we in covenant with him or not. 

   All may hear the voice of skies and seas.  All will quake at the rumblings of thunder and be blinded by the explosive lightning.  All are affected by whirlwinds and the driving rains – even beasts seek refuge.  His voice is a roaring explosion, and he tells his voice, “Be loud and strong.”  The winds and clouds whirl around because he commands them, “SPIN!”  He dictates to the earth, "Open up!"

   Why?  So he will surely be heard in the midst of all the eating, wine drinking, and merriment of an unconcerned, disobedient and rebellious world.  His purpose must be accomplished and He must make that purpose known: that takes hurricanes. 

  “He causes it to happen,” exclaims Ěli’s messenger, Elihu. “HE causes it!”

 

Flushing Out the Bad

   What has Elohim been trying to tell us with all this rumbling, cracking, booming and fearsome noises?  If Ěl caused the earth to destroy – or – if that’s too strong of stuff for you – if Elohim allowed the earth to destroy – then why here, and why among righteous folks?   Three reasons are found in probably the most curious line of Elihu’s poem: “Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it (Job 37:13).

   Let me first speak regarding “his land.”  Unfortunately, humans are in the way of the renewal of land and waterways. 

 

Hurricanes: Hurricanes and great storms are vital to the natural process of cleaning up land and flushing out waterways of debris and detritus.  Hurricanes distribute seeds of native vegetation while destroying plants that aren’t indigenous to an area.  Hurricanes redistribute sand and dirt and create new dunes and habitats, making safer places for wildlife to live.  Also, big winds bring in fresh water. 

 

or

Earthquakes: Sometimes detractors to Christianity object to the idea of Ěl's existence because of the occurrence of "evil" natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, etc. Ěl created a natural world that is good in that it accomplishes certain things. In order for plants to grow and to continue to nourish humans, the crust of the earth must be replenished. Plate tectonics is one thing that accomplishes this. The incidental by-products are things like earthquakes. It is because there is an ecosystem that Ěl made in the physical universe that has necessary contingencies, and sometimes people get in the way of those things and get killed. That is tragic, but it doesn't mean that the earthquake itself is immoral. It is only tragic because it destroys human beings who have value. If human beings didn't have value, there would be no tragedy.

Obviously, Elihu was an environmentalist.  He tells us that Yahweh restores creation when it’s groaning.  Sometimes that restoration requires desperate measures – a hurricane, and earthquake, an asteroid collision.  But more apropos to our concern is that Yahweh brings such upon “the habitable world” (Job 37:12) – for “correction.”  Some versions say “judgment.”  The debris and detritus of the human heart may need destroying by “acts of goad.”  What He’s given, He may reclaim.  What is His, he may take. Yahweh is uttering his voice, calling those who think they’re already among his chosen, to turn back to him and learn from him.  He’s warning all that they must no longer look to that which is destroyed, but seek out the Living instead.  He’s strongly cautioning that his commandments are forever and, at the final trumpet, he means to enforce punishment upon those who’ve not heeded.

 

{Go here for Feast of Trumpets and Atonement then return.}

 

   We of the Covenant can’t afford to be lax concerning the physical signs of eternal realities anymore.  Your obedience now may be the safety net for those in your household who are, in that day, eating and drinking as if nothing were happening.  Your stand for Scriptural truth may save your entire family in that day.  (You’ll thank me then.)   And if you contend now that Job’s family wasn’t spared by his righteousness, remember that he gained his family back.  How? Through the resurrection of the dead.  And you may also if you’re careful.

 

The Mercy of Yahweh

   Elihu has one more reason for inclement weather that’s perplexing: that Yah causes disasters to happen “out of love” (RSV only).  (The word chesed חסד is better translated as “mercy” than “love.”)  How can such terrors be “out of love,” or merciful?  Here’s how. 

   Yahweh is compassionate and merciful (Exodus 33:19).  He gave us creation to view – and in it we can see his handiwork.  He assembled prophets to convey His word over several millennia, and others to lead his people into true paths of righteousness.  Yahweh sent His son as a serpent on a pole to convey His will to the world in a way the world will never, ever forget.  And after His Son’s passion, Yahweh sent him back from death to comfort the beloved and warn of the wrath to come.  He sent his Spirit, the Paraclete, to woo all humanity into an atoning relationship with the Creator.  And he’s sent a multitude of undeniable, latter-day signs to warn the whole world of His Day (Isaiah 2:12). 

   What more can he send?  What more can he give?  What more can he do to admonish a people whom he loved so much that he sent his own Son as a ransom (Job 36:18)?  He can do one more thing.  He can still send forth his mighty voice. 

 

Job 37:3-5.  Ěl thunders wondrously with his voice. Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth.  After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice and he does not restrain them when his voice is heard.

 

   That’s one of the reasons that, in his great mercy, Yahweh makes what we call natural disasters – to warn the people He loves with his breath – people like you and me – our families and our kind – that there’s mercy and safety in the Blood of Yahshua and the Covenant of Yahweh.  My friend, you can be the salvation of a multitude, if only you’ll hear the bath qol (Daughter of the Voice), and come into the fullness of Yahweh’s shelter of mercy.  You may not simply stand in an open door knocking away as you are waiting out the storm outside.  You must be totally covered.  Amein

 

A Literary Note on the Name “Ivan”

   By the way, Ivan is the English pronunciation of the Russian name Ivan.  It’s a Bible name.  In English, it’s John.  In the language of the Bible, it’s Ya’chan.  That’s why I picked the Gospel reading about the great voice of IVAN the Baptist crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of Yahweh, make his paths straight.”  And what does Ivan mean?  Ivan – John – means, “Yahweh is Merciful.”  

   Dennis is the name of the Greek god of revelry and drunkenness (Dionysius).  Katrina means “cleansing” (catharsis). 

 


Appendix: For Feast of Trumpets and Atonement

 

Feast of Trumpets

   Speaking of trumpets: Did you know that Hurricane Ivan crashed into this area on the Feast of Trumpets (September 16, 2004)? 

Leviticus 23:24,25.  Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no laborious work; and you shall present an offering by fire to Yahweh. 

   The Feast of Trumpets is also known as the Day of Awe (Yom Teruah).  Your Bible also calls it “The Day of the LORD.”  It’s that one day of the year set aside to remember that Yahweh will judge disobedience.  Those who say His commandments are no longer valid forget that Jesus, Paul and all their disciples observed Trumpets, and that Paul and the Revelator wrote Trumpets into many passages – especially the Great Trumpet – when the holy will descend and the wicked be judged.  Yet 99% of the people around here know nothing of that – nor care.  But Yahweh forced the observance of Trumpets this critical year with a sky-trumpet – a hurricane.  Most were in great awe on that day; only the fool did laborious work; and every soul sacrificed whether they intended to or not.

   Believer, take note.  Write TRUMPETS on your 2005 calendar now – October 4th – so you will observe it properly next time and not incur His wrath.  From the Feast of Trumpets next year, you can follow your Bible on to the Day of Atonement.

 

Day of Atonement

   And speaking of that: Do you realize that last Friday sundown (September 24, 2004) began the Day of Atonement?  This is a fitting observance to follow such a calamitous Feast of Trumpets. 

Leviticus 23:26-32 excerpts.  And Yahweh said to Moses,  On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall fast[†] and present an offering by fire.  Whoever does not fast on this day shall be cut off.  Whoever works I will destroy.  It is a statute forever in all your dwellings. 

   The commandment is to fast and do no laborious work on one day every year in honor of the tremendous work of reconciliation accomplished for you through Yahshua’s blood.  The Day of Atonement was YESTERDAY.  Did you fast and pray as you’ve been commanded?  Or do you believe obedience to the Word of Yahweh is no longer necessary for Chr-stians?  Do you accept the plain voice of your G-d or do you prefer the pronouncements and omissions of some inconvenienced preacher?  Yahweh says, “It is a statute forever in all your dwellings. 

   Are you a Bible believer?  Then how plainly do you read that?  After such Trumpet Blasts on the 16th, how could we not observe Atonement on the 25th?  Yet the ninety and nine neither knew nor cared about His name or His commandments, and most scoff at those who do.  On the last Feast of Trumpets in the World of Today, many will be cut off from the World of Tomorrow.  Why?  Because they’ve been inconvenienced by Yahweh’s voice or led astray by the shepherds of churchianity. 

 

Jackson Snyder,  September 24, 2004, updated January 15, 2010.

 

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[*] The RSV here interpolates “the lightnings,” though not found in the source manuscripts. 

[†] “Afflict yourself” RSV – this means not to eat.