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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Seventy-Fifth (Light)

Did you have a good week? I hope so! You know, I'm sure you're very familiar with how rough life can get at times. Psalm 23 comes to mind. Particularly the part about walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Did you know the word for "of the shadow of death," is tsalmaveth and it means "death-like shadow," or "deep shadow?" When you look at verse 4 and put that in context, David was talking about walking through a deep shadowy valley and not fearing evil.

Have you ever walked through dark, shadowy areas? How about unfamiliar, dark, shadowy areas? It can get very disconcerting, to say the least. You don't know what's there, or who's there, or if there's something or someone waiting for the next person that happens by. You can either walk through that area fearful, hoping to be safe from whatever is there. Or, you can walk with confidence and trust in your Shepherd like David, as if you are walking in the light and have nothing to fear.

Have you ever thought about light? I learned this week that there is a high probability that the speed of light is not constant. In fact, it may be slowing down. Historical experiments to determine the speed of light have shown a minimum 2,407 km/sec slowing down over the course of 326 years. Makes you rethink how confident you should be in whatever people are calling "settled science," doesn't it?

During creation, once heaven and earth, in its initial form, were created, Yehovah created light before anything else (Genesis 1:3). Even before the sun! I've heard some people argue that because Genesis talks about God creating light before He created the lights in the heavens (Genesis 1:14) it must mean the account of creation is poetic, rather than historical. Even some Christians take this view.

But what does God mean when He says light? In the King James Version, the word light is in 235 verses. In the 159 verses of the Old Testament that the word occurs, 121 of them use the word or in Hebrew, which means "a light." Another 16 verses use the word maor, a derivative of or that means "a luminary."

If we look to Exodus 40:4, we see the word light in verb form, however the Hebrew is a very interesting word to use: alah. This word means, "to go up, ascend, climb." When we look at this word in context, we see that it's included in Yehovah's instruction to Moses on how to set up and arrange His tabernacle. So really, "light," is not the best translation, and it would be better to say, "set up the lamps."

Another deceptively translated verse is Numbers 21:5. In this case, good old King James decided qeloqel, which means "contemptable, worthless," should be translated to light. The Israelites were using this word to describe the manna given by God for them to survive in the desert.

We could go on, but the last verse we're going to look at as far as improper translation is Judges 9:4. The word light in this verse is translated from pachaz, which means, "to be wanton or reckless." That's quite a difference! I'm not sure how they got "light" out of that...

Why is this important? Why does it matter that these words that don't mean light are being translated to light? If we look at the English language, the word light is used for many different purposes. If you have a light load, it means it's not heavy. If you're light-hearted, it means you're carefree or happy. Of course, it is the word given to the particle/wave that enables us to see. It can also be used to describe a pale color.

It's different though, when you're translating from another language. Yes, there's a need during translation to convey the idea of a passage, especially when certain words don't have an equivalent word in the language you're translating. However, when words get translated improperly, like the examples we looked at, it gives a whole different meaning to what Yehovah told us. It creates confusion, and the inability to figure out what He was trying to say.

If done purposely, it is clearly deception. And you may say the translators certainly did not do it on purpose, right? I say if they didn't, then it was from someone else's purpose! Someone who was in the garden of Eden and had a purpose then, too! I find it interesting that Paul told us Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and we find that the word light was mistranslated multiple times, at least in the Old Testament. Almost as if there was a goal of confusing or disguising something else as light.

I want to emphasize the importance of digging into the original language as you study scripture. It's not as hard as you think! I know there are still disagreements between which original language texts add or remove certain words or phrases, but going to that original language in whatever app or book works for you takes one less layer of opportunity for confusion or lies to be inserted in God's word. Yes, there are different translations that likely translate certain words more accurately, however if you don't go to the original language you don't know which is the one to choose for that word or verse. And you can't just choose the one you like!

Don't get me wrong, the most important parts of scripture are untouched. The means to salvation, eternal life, has not been tampered with. It is clear that belief in Jesus as your Savior is the only way to have eternal life. And yet, some have still been deceived from this! My point is, to get to the even more interesting parts, to get to a deep message and personal Yehovah as led by the Holy Spirit, digging down to that deeper level is touching and eye opening. I highly recommend it!

I hope you have a wonderful week! Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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