Updated: Feb 25
When I was younger, I remember a campout where we sat in the back of a camper truck with its back door open waiting for the rain to stop. At that moment we experienced a white flash and a deafening thundercrack--both at the same time. The sound was so startling I lost my strength and fell to the floor.
If you’ve ever been close to a lightning bolt, you’d agree it’s a terrifying experience.
What's the loudest sound ancient peoples ever heard? My guess is it would be thunder.
Throughout the Bible, the voices of heavenly beings are described as very loud (Job 37:4-5; John 12:28-30; Rev 5:1,12; Rev 6:1; Rev 10:1-3; Rev 14:1-3, 6-7). Angelic and other divine voices are compared to thunder, the rushing of great waters, and the sounding of trumpets.
Even when angels deliver good news, they often begin their message with, “Fear not,” or “Be not afraid.”
Just how loud are angelic voices? Here are some interesting numbers:
Not very interesting? Consider that every increase in 10 dB is a ten-fold increase in sound energy.
Thus, a lightning bolt is,
10 times louder than a trumpet
100 times louder than Niagara Falls or human shouting
1,000,000 times louder than human speech.
With all this noisy commotion, let's focus our attention on just one of these: the modern trumpet.
Question: If a trumpet has no electrical speakers or power chords, where does its blaring sound come from?
Answer: The musician’s lips.
All a trumpet does is increase the efficiency of human lips for creating sound. That’s all!
Efficiency of a trumpet
The next question we should ask is, what’s the acoustic efficiency of a trumpet?
According to this study the “overall acoustic efficiency” of a trumpet
is “0.01% to 0.03% for low notes and 0.03% to 1% for high notes."
This means that if a trumpet were somehow manufactured to be 100% efficient, it would be at least 100 times louder than an ordinary trumpet—making it a screeching 130 dB, or ten times louder than a lightning bolt!
That would be terrifying enough. And we haven’t yet introduced the mathematics of divine, angelic energy! I’ll let you know when get those equations.
I suspect that angels can be far more terrifying than anything you've come across in your lifetime.
The trumpet bell
To reward you for reading this far, here is an interesting fact about the bell of all brass instruments.
The shape of the bell follows what is called an “exponential curve,” pictured in the view below.
The bell has the following unique quality:
No matter where sound energy is within the bell or in what direction it is moving,
after it bounces off the interior of the bell a number of times,
it will always end up moving in the direction the bell is pointed.
Each of the red, green, blue, and purple “sound energies” portrayed above eventually travel straight outward in front of the bell, all parallel to each other.
I bet ancient peoples never came across stun grenades. Evidence of this is that nowhere in the Bible are angelic voices compared to stun grenades.
How many times have you seen movies where someone throws a stun grenade into a room filled with people? Care to guess the acoustical energy of a stun grenade? How does 170 dB strike you? That makes them 100,000 times louder than a bolt of lightning.
I bet that in real life people are more disrupted by stun grenades than what is depicted in movies.
Voice of an angel
If a trumpet could theoretically be increased to 100% efficiency, thereby making it ten times louder than a bolt of lightning, imagine the acoustic capability of a 100% efficient divine voice!
I have a strong hunch that an angel can out-shout a stun grenade. It is for this reason and a host of others that I hope to never be on the bad side of a divine messenger.