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Calm Before The Storm
Silence Before The Thunder
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“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. And I saw another mighty 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 cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 8:1, 6 & Revelation 10:1, 3, 7.
We hear from quite a number who are concerned about the rarity of fellowship, as well as it being so quiet inwardly and outwardly. The word of revelation is not stirring in them like they once knew it, and we are asked: “What happened to the ministries who used to travel the country breaking new ground with the word of the Kingdom and sharing revelations from on high with the body of Christ? Why has there been such a stillness, such a hush from hearing our Lord’s voice? Other than The Pathfinder, and a couple of others that come by mail, why are we alone and without other sources? Just to read or be with one or two others who speak the same language would be wonderful. Where are they? The thunder and trumpets of revelation used to be the norm, but not now! Why is it so still and quiet? It is like a holy hush has settled over the body of Christ.”
We, of course, empathize with each of them; but we should be encouraged that although silence has swept over our lives, trumpets and thunder are coming.
Trumpets and thunder are two of the most awe-inspiring phenomena known to man. It goes without saying that when a trumpet sounds, all attention is given to it. Thunder can roll fiercely through the heavens with the deep roar of a lion and then wane into the muffled clouds as searching for its prey. In the scriptures, they both often represent declarations and some sort of judgment upon people and nations. Trumpets signify a clear declaration, a command, a revelation, or a message.
There is a thunder that comes from fiery channels of lightning streaking through the dark body of vapors, seemingly slicing it open and signaling the earthbound rain and hail to start their descent. "The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightning lighted the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." Psalm 77:17-19.
At times lightning bolts are never seen, other than illuminations from deep within the secret chambers of charged thunder clouds; but if one is near enough, the report of those secret conclaves can be heard.
Thunder can come as an instant clap, an ear-piercing burst that jars the heavens and set the earth ablaze, and every living creature scurries for cover in fear as the Psalmist wrote: "At Thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away." Psalm 104:7. The resound of thunder, symbolizing the majestic voice of God, who can silence it? It would be just as easy to chain the wind or stay the tide as it would to shut His mouth of thunder.
There are vast resources and treasures in God's heavens, and one of them is Thunder, and notably so; for it is often used in reference to judgment, change, and restoration. Although judgment is not pleasant to anyone who is contrary to God or who might be running from Him. For instance, I knew a man who loved to hear the word of the Lord. It excited him as revelation a chord in his spirit; but after a few weeks, he pulled back the reins, dismounted, as it were, and went back to his old way of life. I questioned him to see what caused this sudden change of direction. He said: “I came to the realization that the more I know the more I will be held accountable and responsible for. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be responsible for not living it. Therefore, I do not want to hear any more of the word.” I told him that if a bridge has been washed out by a flood, it is a good thing to know about it so you can be accountable and apply the brakes before plunging into the river. But, sadly he did not take heed, and he plunged into the metaphorical river. For he was tragically killed sometime later at the young age of forty-nine years old.
Notwithstanding, God’s thundering voice unveils and brings to pass excellent things. For instance, "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when He shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished." Revelation 10:7. It is at the sounding of this mighty angel—Christ who is clothed with His cloud of many members—that causes the seven thunders to utter their voices from within their secret places. When the pealing thunder echoes through the heavens and sweeps over the earth, God's mystery will be finished and manifested openly to be seen by all men. Such a wonder is presently hidden from the world and the church system at large, but not from those to whom the heavens have opened and love is the essence of their lives. "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the *full assurance of **understanding, to the ***acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3. Therefore, since we are in Him, wherein the mystery of God, the finished work, resides, we should know somewhat of its treasures. It is after we have known silence, and have been imbued with this pristine laurel that the voice of the seven thunders can be uttered. Silence is a precursor to His voice, and without the sound of His voice, we are without a word to thunder.
*full assurance: plerophoria, entire confidence. From plerophoreo, to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish. (Strong's)
**understanding: sunesis, a mental putting together, i.e. intelligence. (Strong's)
***acknowledgment: epignosis, full discernment (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)
Once the sound of His voice streaks through His cloud, the mystery of God that is already finished in Christ* will be manifested. Although unknown to others, being hidden since the dawn of the ages, its destiny is to be known by the elect, and it will be known as it is brought into the earth. It will not remain in the ethereal vapors of heaven forever. And we note that the finished product, the manifestation of the mystery of God, is after the Mighty Angel who is clothed with the cloud speaks, and the seven thunders and the seventh angel begin to utter their voices. Revelation 10:1-7.
*“...In Him were created ALL things — those in the HEAVENS, and those on the EARTH...ALL things have been created through Him and for (eis, into) Him” Colossians 1:16, (The Emphatic Diaglott).
Seven is very significant in the economy of God. It is the most frequently used number in the Bible. The Hebrew word for seven is **sheba', which comes from shaba', meaning, "to be complete... to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times)" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). Seven speaks of fullness, completion, perfection. Nothing can be added to or taken from it without it becoming superfluous or lacking while marring its perfection. The Hebrew word for sabboth is shabath and is derived from shaba', and means, to cease, desist, REST, and from this comes Shabbath, or SABBATH a DAY OF REST. Therefore, seven/sheba'/shabbath speaks of a completed work wherein rest is found.
**sheba': a prime cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adv.) seven times...by extension an indefinite number (Strong's #7651)
It is Seven that stamps spiritual perfection and completion to the things it is connected. With time it tells of the sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days. Seven completes the colors of the spectrum and the rainbow. Seven also satisfies in music the notes of the scale, with the eighth merely being a repetition of the first.
It is said that the every cell of the human body is replaced every seven years, yet each replacement is inferior to the one it replaces. This inferiority process, of course, is due to Adam's genetic code of death in all creation. Regardless of how many vitamins we take, the aging process marches ever onward; for down to the smallest atom, they are all embraced by the same genetic code.
We find shaba' in Genesis 21:31, "Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware (shaba) both of them." This oath of Abraham to Abimelech was based upon the seven ewe lambs which were set aside (vrs. 28-30). This points to the idea of satisfaction and fullness in the oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fullness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and so it is written, "...an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife. " Hebrews 6:16.
Seven, as pertaining to fullness, can also be seen in the scriptures in conjunction with sin: An unclean spirit, upon finding the backslider empty, swept and garnished, brought back seven spirits worse than himself, and they entered him (Mat 12:45). Mary Magdalene had seven spirits cast out of her (Luke 8:2). Knowing the significance of this number, and that it was commonly used in the ancient Greek and Hebrew to express fullness, we can see that it was not speaking specifically of seven spirits in either of these two cases. With the backslider, Jesus was merely using an analogy to show the fullness of sin that would come upon Israel. The seven spirits cast out of Mary, the harlot, indicated the ultimate depth to which she had fallen, and in the midst of that unfathomable depth she was forgiven, delivered, and lifted into life by Jesus. Using her as a type of the Church, it would be speaking of her destiny in the fullness of sin, but eventually delivered. Whether referring to good or evil, holy or unholy, pure or profane, the number seven in scripture carries the thought of fullness, completion, totality, satisfaction, etc.
We see seven churches listed in the book of Revelation, and how it speaks of the birth, growth, death of the church and her resurrection as a whole. It deals with her shortcomings and lack as well as her complete victory and fullness in Christ. After the seven judgments of seals, trumpets, angels, etc., and the seven Spirits which minister life, New Jerusalem comes in full manifested glory from the heavenlies.
The impact of seven when applied to God's creation is profound. It ultimately brings completion/fullness/perfection of His mystery to everything that sees, hears, or is touched by it.
For it is in God's foreordained purpose for all men to see and fellowship the mystery which has been hidden since the foundation of the world. It has been the plan of the ages which God formed in Jesus Christ, and we expect it to be expressed without much more delay. (rf. Ephesians 3:9-12). Since this seems to be next on God's agenda, we can count on the trumpet to be sounded and to know the reality of what it brings.
The groaning creation is standing on tiptoe, waiting for this sound. And God is raising up a people not content to remain in the old, any more than Jesus could have been content to stay in Nazareth. What will the manifestation of God’s sons be like? I don’t fully know what it will be like, any more than the early disciples knew what the day of Pentecost would be like when they went into the room with their Lord. I do know what it will NOT be like! It will not be like any move of God, any revival, any experience, or anything we have seen in our life-time! The move of God on the day of Pentecost and the new order of the church age was as different from the old order of Israel and the law as anything could possibly be. It is a new sound and the sons of God are on standby, waiting in the wings to hear the sound. Because there is silence in their heavens, they have been given the wisdom and understanding to distinguish the sound and to move at once when it is proclaimed.
That reality, however, will not come until there is an open declaration in the earth by God's own sons; but lest we get ahead of ourselves, we must keep in mind—silence comes before thunder and the trumpets.
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Revelation 8:1. Every member of that heavenly realm was seen in holy awe and humble reverence in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The opening of the seventh seal makes a way for the seven Spirits of God, the seven messages of God, the fullness of God to be manifested. All who see Him, first those round about His throne, and those throughout all the subdued heavens, shut their mouths at the presence of His majestic glory. Crowns are cast at His feet; for none are found worthy to wear them but Him. Mighty is He in all His splendor, and His beauty to behold is beyond compare.
There is no clamoring in this place, no vying for position, no competition or jealousy, no desire to be seen or heard; for unless He is seen and unless He speaks, there is nothing worthy to do or of value to say. And the silence does not end until the seven angels are prepared to sound! When the inner preparation is complete in the Lord’s people and the conditions are right for the seven spirits of God to be revealed out of them, the silence will be broken. It will be broken by a mighty blast of God’s breath!
“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” Revelation 8:6.
That is what the word sound in this verse means—to trumpet, to sound a blast. It is neither a mellow sound nor an appeasing sound. It is far from being a gentle murmur, a suggestion, or a quiet whisper in the mulberry leaves. When the fullness of the revelation, glory, and power is to be known, the thundering trumpet sounds within and without the sons of God. The sudden blast will not tarry. There will be a great voice sounding from heaven. It will transform the sons of God and empower them with irrefutable authority. The sound will also shake the nations of the world and kingdoms of men. The thundering trumpet of revelation will come with resounding overtures, and it is in the bed of silence where it is conceived.
Ah, silence in heaven. All the messengers of God, the living creatures, and all the saints of fire are in such awe that they reverently hold their peace. Not a word is spoken for half an hour. It is a time hold back their thunder. There is no sounding of the trumpet. Although the hour of a new message is drawing near, it cannot be proclaimed until our voices are released to thunder His sound.
We know how to continue trumpeting and thundering the sounds of Passover and Pentecost; is it not better to be still in the utter silence of God’s awe than to keep on blowing the trumpet of a dying age? If a trumpet must be blown for this old age, let it be Taps and not Reveille.
The hour of a new day is upon us that will bring a wonderful change. Things will be vastly different. We believe that the hour is swiftly approaching for the silence to end, and the new will swallow up the old as surely as the dawn swallows up the night. When the old has been brought to its conclusion, the new becomes a reality! There has come upon us a deep and marvelous work in the elect during this silence. It is a transition in the apprehended ones of their Father, and the new move of God will break forth within each vessel when the silence has finished its purpose. Many things are being hushed within His body, for the Lord will not permit the new sound of the Kingdom to be mingled with the old sounds that are passing away. If that happened, it would be giving an uncertain sound. It would be confusing. But this sound will be clear and certain in the ears of God’s firstfruits.
In the presence of Deity comes the silence of our souls—our minds, our wills, our wants, our emotions. Every particle in the heaven between our ears ceases its stirring. That is the heaven wherein there will not be a word uttered or even a thought to rise when the seventh seal, the floodgate of perfection, is opened, and we will minister from that high and Holy Place of God. We neither need nor are we appeased by the sounds coming from the heavens of soulish fervor. Neither can we become one with the Amens nor praises from the heavens of the outer-courts, especially from loud and disruptive religious spirits. There is no place in the Holiest of all for self-serving people, whether ministers or those being ministered to. Nor is a party spirit welcomed therein. It is an offense to the somber place of God.
When one enters the Most Holy place and ministers from therein, he will refrain from inciting the people to worldly laughter. Although joy is one of the basic elements of the Kingdom of God, it is joy in the Holy Spirit, not joy in the spirit of drunkenness. Laughter will heal hurting souls; but the carnal wit of Adam has no place in the Holy sanctuary of God. The people may be lifted into the roar of laughter by it; however, the wine of intoxication will keep men from ministering unto the Lord. Ezekiel said that "Neither shall any priest drink wine when they enter into the inner court." Ezekiel 44:21. The inner court, whether the holy place or the Most Holy place, is not a place for drunkenness. It is solemn. It is serious. It is a place that demands silence from all flesh and the soulish heavens round about. When those of honor become too humorous while ministering, they can become, as it were, court jesters which are as dead flies in the apothecaries ointment as noted in Ecclesiastes 10:1.
Although unknown by many, we are experiencing silence today in His cloud of glory. It is a strange and difficult time for some; the quietness is unsettling. But others are anxiously resting. They are enraptured by its overwhelming peace. In humble repose, they view God's works which were finished at the founding of the world. Rather than looking for what He is going to do, they see what has already been done as the Son's glory beams upon those finished works. Heaven's Holy host is taken aback by the vista of flaming glory. With bated breath, the cloud of His saints anxiously abide in their place until the time for their thunder to break the deafening silence.
Then comes the awaited hour. The moment arrives when the seven thunders utter their voices, voices John heard resounding throughout God's high and holy realm, but was forbidden to write. Rather than making a record for others, He was told to hold his pen and seal up those heralds of truth. (Rev 10:4). We can, therefore, only speculate what he heard in our day and what will be its thundering manifestation.
This, no doubt, was akin to what Paul wrote about concerning the one who heard things that were inexpressible in human terms, things which would only become defiled when conveyed by the inquisitive mind of man. It was so foreign to the earthy that the natural tongue could say nothing to enlighten the elect.
In the presence of our Lord, when He is seen in His temple, in you and in me, what is there to say? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Unless, however, it is the hour for us to thunder the word of His earthshaking sound. Until then, we rest in utter silence. If we do not see Him high and lifted up, and He is not seen or heard—be hushed! Be still! For if you shout, holler, clamor, and run the aisles in heated fervor with hopes of raising His presence, all that will likely be raised is a dust cloud. Therefore, rest. Be at peace. Be still.
"...Let all the earth be silent before him." Habakuk 2:20 NASB). There are no positions or places for untransformed particles of earth in His presence. Oh, but praise God! When religious demagoguery is quelled, when Babylon is fallen, and all of man's schemes are history—the earth can, and will, stand in awesome wonder before Him. It is then that "The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet..." And then "...they break forth into singing" Isaiah 14:7.
This is a perfect picture of today—the tooting of horns, the squeaking and squawking, the plucking of stringed instruments, the discordant tones that seemingly have no coherency; every man intent on doing his own thing, and this is alright if they are part of the orchestra; for it is the time of fine-tuning. We might not sound like much at the moment, but just wait a little while. After the silence of the Conductor's raised baton, what a sound will be heard reverberating from the Holy Cloud of Heaven!
Much of what we witness is doubtless part of the symphony that is tuning up. And some, sad to say, is the sound of people who feel they have to work up a religious fervor before the Spirit will come in, not realizing He is already in their presence. He is as much there as lightning is in the cloud before it strikes. We do not attend many meetings these days; but when we did in the past, at times we endured that which had been done the same for years on end. There was a lot of routine singing, clapping, loud voices, teaching, preaching, prophesying, or whatever else people did to "get in the spirit." And I say we endured, because a lot of it was exactly that, an endurance. Of course, it could be that they were members of the orchestra, and that was merely part of the tuning process; but it seems that a tremendous amount was the sound of men being busy about church.
We were so encouraged by what our friend, Alyce McPherson, said a few years ago concerning this sort of thing. She was relating about being in a "Kingdom" meeting and so much religious nonsense was going on. She asked the Lord, "How much longer must we endure this?" An immediate answer came, saying, "As long as you remain you will have to endure it, and as long as you remain—you give it life."
I fear that we have for much too long been feeding and energizing untransformed earthiness in the gatherings around the world. We don't want to be rude and walk out every time we don't feel the Spirit moving, or the meeting is not going the way we think it should; but neither should we simply endure the antics of flesh and children. Frankly, kindergarten, marbles, and mud-puddles have no place in the regal halls of God's Kingdom. They may be alright in certain places, at certain times, and with certain people, depending on their level of maturity and the order of the day; but let us be serious in the holy courts of God. Folly should not be seen where the elders cast their crowns in humble reverence.
It was sad to see in those days that some teachers and preachers were more like court jesters than ministers of the Lord’s word, and surely, the King was not humored by it. Some of the people may have been; but the King and His court were surely not. Reflecting on this reminds me of what Solomon wrote: "Dead flies make a perfumer's oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor." Ecclesiastes 10:1. The Amplified makes it little more clear: "Dead flies cause the ointment of the perfumer to putrefy [and] send forth a vile odor; so does a little folly [in him who is valued for wisdom] out-weigh wisdom and honor."
I am not suggesting that we should put on some sort of Pharisaical facade of somber faces, and mope around with no joy in our lives; but we should not replace ineptness with humor. If we do not have a life-giving word from the throne, then let us sit down and be silent! If our music and songs are merely for entertainment—stop it! If the featured speakers, the prophets, the healers, the singers merely serve as talent shows—don't do it anymore.
There were times when we would gather together and reverently sit in silence until there was something to be said or done by the Spirit. Although I do not think it happens much today, silence might be the only thing necessary at times. Or perhaps, just perhaps, the word is to be ministered first, and then the spirit of worship and praise could sweep over the people in anointed song, praise, and thanksgiving. We can, no doubt, find a few scriptures which will support our formulas for conducting meetings; but, brethren, WE should not attempt to be the conductors when we meet in the name of our Lord, and formulas fit very awkwardly in the Kingdom of God.
Back in the late 1970s and early 80s, we had Bible studies in our home, and I was the primary teacher, that is, until my Lord spoke to me. In essence, He said: “My body has more than one member, and each member has a truth and expression of me that no other can express. As long as you are the only speaker, everyone will be limited, and as long as you are their only voice, they will only express what you have taught them rather than me. Therefore, since all who attend the meetings are members of my body, give them the liberty to express me in their unique way of myself.”
This was shared with the others at the next meeting, and I told them that this would be the last time I would be the principle one to share, that everyone else who had something should share it as well, and this was expected to be the norm starting with the next week’s meeting. I also said that if no one had anything that there would be no reason to try and whip up something.
Well, as you might have suspected, NO ONE, had anything to share when we met the following week, and since I had nothing stirring in my spirit, I said: “Ok! Since no one has anything, including me, let’s have some ice cream and cake.” That is what we did, and I waited to see what next week’s meeting would bring, and it was a remake of the former week. And I told the same thing. The third week was different. Everyone had something to share that was precious to them that they share, and after a couple of weeks more, they all had so much to express of the wonders of the Lord, I had a hard time sharing what was so real in my life, and it continued that way until the Lord spoke again to let me know it was time to stop the meetings so they could continue on in the journey in which they were called. This is not for everyone, since there are no molds or set ways to form the lives of the saints; but that was how He did it with us back then, and it was good.
There are those occasions in gatherings, of course, when the King of Glory comes among us in His Imperial presence, with the conductor’s baton in hand, and not a breath can be heard. Then there are those times when we should come together in humble reverence, quiet our heavens, silence our earth, and wait for the King. If He remains obscure or silent, then perhaps we should be a little more obscure and silently, go home, and continue in such. And again, it could be that after the space of half an hour, the trumpeting voice of thunder will be birthed, and we will be heard resounding from the clouds of heaven and raining/reigning God's glory, judgment, and restoration upon the earth.
Indeed, there is Calm Before The Storm and great wonders when it Thunders!
Elwin R. Roach
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