Reftagger

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 40

וְאֵ֖ת הַכֹּוכָבִֽים

And the stars

Though the moon was a "lesser" light, even in its smallest manifestion it greatly outshined the stars ( כּוֹכָב kocab ). The word probably is derived from the verb כָּוָה (kavah, to burn, but originally to to prick or penetrate), though it may be related to כַּבּוֹן, kabon, from an unused root meaning to heap up.

Though these points of light meant very little by themselves, their relative positions formed patterns in the sky, which made navigation at night possible. Certain patterns followed the apparent path of the moon and marked the seasons much like the moon marked the months.


Word for Word: Episode 39

הַמָּאֹ֤ור הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה

The Lesser Light to rule the night

Though the moon is a lesser (Hebrew: קָטָן qatan; small, insignificant) light even when full, it has a significant role in its own domain. 

Regardless of its phase, the daily influence of the moon bends the surface of the earth, especially the less dense seas. The gentle pull of its gravity  offers assurance that God is still in control of the darkened world.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 38

הַמָּאֹ֤ור הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיֹּ֔ום

The Great Light to rule the day

Though God did not name the lights, He designated a dominion in which each would be prominent. The light in the sky that defined the day would be much more magnificent than its partner of the night. In fact, the sun is over 400 thousand times brighter than its reflection off a full moon.

It is no wonder,then, that the sun is the ruler (Hebrew: מֶמְשָׁלָה memshalah; realm) of the day. The night is a subject kingdom, far less than anything in the daylight.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 37

שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים

Two Great Lights

Though light was revealed on day one of creation, it was not until the fourth day that "lights" (מְּאֹרֹ֖ת moroth) were placed, or appointed, to light the earth. Though translated the same, the word here is to אוֹר a candle or mirror is to the flame that lights the room. A lamp does no good unless it is lit.

The lights are great (Hebrew: גָּדוֹל gadôl; large), that is a lot bigger and brighter than anything else in the sky, and would be a major influence to the people, plants and creatures of the planet.

It is significant that these lights are not named. God had no intention of honoring the tools he used in maintaining his creation. In His law He would condemn the worship of any created thing.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Only God Can Remove Some "Demons": A Study on Mark 9:14-29

Sometimes in life, there are just some things that we can’t seem to overcome. There are many problems that, no matter how hard we try, are unsolvable.God gives all believers the power to encounter everyday life and to do his work in it all. Oftentimes we cannot solve problems, because we confuse God’s power and our power in God.
In the Gospel of Mark, there is an account of Jesus performing an exorcism on a child. While Jesus was traveling around Caesarea Philippi, he reveals to his Apostles that he is the Messiah and that he will die and rise again after three days. Escaping the gathering crowd, Jesus took Peter, James and John to a mountain. There he “transfigured” or revealed his full majestic form in communion with Elijah and Moses. While Jesus was on the mountain he left the other nine Apostles behind with the crowd.
During this time, a man brought his demon-possessed son was brought to the Apostles, having heard of the miraculous healing powers these men possessed. The Apostles, while commissioned with special power by Jesus Christ, were not able to remove this demon. This led to an ensuing argument over whether Jesus and his Apostles really had the power to cast out demons and heal ailments. (Mark 8:27-9:14).

When Jesus returned, he saw the argument. The father went up to Jesus and asked him to heal his son- if he was able. On this Jesus questioned the father’s doubt- if he could heal. Jesus told to him that anything was possible for those who believe and the father cried “I believe, help me with my unbelief!”. So Jesus rebuked the demon and it left the boy. After leaving the presence of the crowd the Apostles asked Jesus why they weren’t able to drive out the demon. This sort of thing could not be resolved except by prayer (Mark 9:29) (some textual variants add fasting, but the point is the same).
“But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said to [the father], ‘ “If you can”! All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’" (Mark 9:22b-24)
“This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer [and fasting]” (Mark 9:29)
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20)

In this account there are a doubting father and self-reliant Apostles. The Apostles had the special authority of God to drive out demons (Mark 3:15). The father came to the Apostles, knowing that the Apostles had performed exorcisms before. When Jesus himself came he had only a sliver of hope left. He thought to himself “Jesus fix this if you can”. Jesus told him to believe and the father knew he needed help with unbelief. The Apostles could not drive it out themselves, because only prayer could drive it out. The Apostles had been given power by God, but weren’t relying on God to do the healing. Instead, they needed to be fully reliant on God through prayer (and perhaps fasting). The father did not get what he desired, because he did not truly believe the Apostles could do it.

The same could be said for believers today. We do not have the same supernatural powers that the Apostles did. Even still, God grants believers a spiritual power to deal with problems of this life and to wage a spiritual war (Eph 6:12). Despite this, there are still some things we cannot “cast away”. In many cases, the only thing we can do is pray and believe.

So whatever “irremovable demon” is in your life- remember that anything is possible with belief (Mark 9:23). We have power from God to live life, but sometimes the only thing we can do is let God do his work. As Christians, God has given us power to rely on his power, not to muster it up ourselves.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 36

לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמֹ֣ועֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים

Signs, seasons, days and years

Having made the earth habitable, God made the heavens useful. Aside from distinguishing day from night, the "clock" became a calendar.

The word "signs" is the Hebrew אוֹת (ōth). As with the translation, the word indicates a signal. Signs identify the true state of things. The lights in the sky are used to confirm the message of the creator.

A season (מוֹעֵד mo`ed) is an appointed place or time. Affixing the prefix "m" to the root verb יָעַד ( yâʻad) forms the noun. By watching the sky regular meetings and activities can be scheduled.

The orbs and points of light also make it possible to observe special days. These include the first day of the month and year (Heb: שָׁנָה, shaneh).

The year is marked when the sky returns to its original appearance. The word שָׁנָה is taken from the verb form shanah, the same root for the number two.

The place of the earth among the heavenly bodies was designed to allow a clear view of what has been set in place. As the Psalmist would write "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps. 19:1).

Monday, February 4, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 35

מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם

Lights in the heavenly space

The lights now commanded to take their assigned places are not the source of light that had shown on the first day. The word used here is מָאוֹר rather than the אוֹר of verse 3.

This alone clears up the charge that there is an inconsistency in the account. The "m" as a prefix often indicates a place. The maorim are lit, or lit up, by energy that is not their own. Like lamps and mirrors, they need a light giver.