But is it really likely that our Lord would commend James and John for being hotheads by giving them a nickname in honor of their short tempers? I think not. But if not, what did he have in mind when he dubbed them Sons of Thunder?
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of torches. Fire was going back and forth among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lighting.
James and John were called “sons of thunder.” As a matter of fact, it was Jesus himself who bestowed the nickname on them. For the longest time I thought this meant that they were likeable hotheads: zealous for the Lord but given to unfortunate outbursts of anger. After all, was it not James and John who, in a fit of righteous indignation, asked permission to call down fire from heaven against the inhospitable Samaritans?
But is it really likely that our Lord would commend them for being hotheads by giving them a nickname in honor of their short tempers? I think not. But if not, what did he have in mind when he dubbed them Sons of Thunder?
Our text from Ezekiel may supply the answer. In his vision of the glory of God, Ezekiel saw “living creatures.” These were angels of God, apparently of a very high order, closely associated with the throne of God itself. If we know nothing else about them, we know they lived close to him. One almost wants to say dangerously close. Yet, to judge from the text, even these, just like the rest of the angels, have a dual ministry: one to God in heaven, and one to men on earth. For they too, in their own special way, were sent out, like flashes of lightning, to minister to the heirs of salvation: to Ezekiel first, and ever after to those who read his words about them.