ABC:1 Kings 8
|“|| 1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
God dwells in light
1 Kings 8:12 Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
Psalms 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psalms 97:2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
God dwells in darkness
The distinction here is only apparent from examining the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament passages. Simply put the KJV translated a word as "darkness" that actually would be better translated as "storm" or "stormcloud", the Hebrew word araphel. The normal Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for darkness is actually choshek which is translated "dark" or "darkness" 77 out of 80 times by the KJV. Another Hebrew word sometimes translated darkness, ophel, refers to dusk, a time of day, as seen from its use in Job 3:6 and Psalms 91:6.
The following is the full interlinear text of the three controversial Old Testament passages in question, I have bolded the controversial Hebrew words translated as darkness. The first and third passages are using the word araphel while the second is referring to a temporary gathering of darkness God the Father made around Him when going to rescue Jesus from Hell. I quote much of this second passage to show the context, that this was a temporary event, not a perpetual dwelling.
|“|| 1 Kings 8:12 Then spake <'amar> Solomon, <Sh@lomoh> The LORD <Y@hovah> said <'amar> that he would dwell <shakan> in the thick darkness. <`araphel>
Psalms 18:4 The sorrows <chebel> of death <maveth> compassed <'aphaph> me, and the floods <nachal> of ungodly men < beliya'al> made me afraid. <ba`ath>
Psalms 97:2 Clouds <`anan> and darkness <`araphel> are round about <cabiyb> him: righteousness <tsedeq> and judgment <mishpat> are the habitation <makown> of his throne. <kicce'>
Meaning of Araphel
Again, the word araphel as seen from its usage throughout the Bible shows it's referring to storms and storm clouds, in fact of the 15 times it is used in the Old Testament, 9 of the times it is mentioned in immediate connection with the Hebrew word anan meaning "cloud" (Deut. 4:11; 5:22; 1 Ki. 8:11-12; 2 Chr. 5:14-6:1; Job 38:9; Ps. 97:2; Ez. 34:12; Joel 2:2; Zep. 1:15) and 3 times in connection with the Hebrew word ab meaning "cloud" or "dark cloud." (2 Sam. 22:10-12, Job 22:13, Ps. 18:9-12)
The following is a complete list of all 15 places in the Old Testament where the Hebrew word araphel is used showing that it does mean "storm" or "storm cloud", I have bolded both it and the Hebrew word anan in the passages for ease of reading.
|“|| Exodus 20:21 And the people <`am> stood <`amad> afar off <rachowq>, and Moses <Mosheh> drew near <nagash> unto the thick darkness <`araphel> where God <'elohiym> was.
Deuteronomy 4:11 And ye came near <qarab> and stood <`amad> under the mountain <har>; and the mountain <har> burned <ba`ar> with fire <'esh> unto the midst <leb> of heaven <shamayim>, with darkness <`araphel>, clouds <`anan>, and thick darkness <choshek>.
Deuteronomy 5:22 These words <dabar> the LORD <Y@hovah> spake <dabar> unto all your assembly <qahal> in the mount <har> out of the midst <tavek> of the fire <'esh>, of the cloud <`anan>, and of the thick darkness <`araphel>, with a great <gadowl> voice <qowl>: and he added no more <yacaph>. And he wrote <kathab> them in two <sh@nayim> tables <luwach> of stone <'eben>, and delivered <nathan> them unto me.
2 Samuel 22:10 He bowed <natah> the heavens <shamayim> also, and came down <yarad>; and darkness <`araphel> was under his feet <regel>.
1 Kings 8:11 So that the priests <kohen> could <yakol> not stand <`amad> to minister <sharath> because <paniym> of the cloud: <`anan> for the glory <kabowd> of the LORD <Y@hovah> had filled <male'> the house <bayith> of the LORD. <Y@hovah>
2 Chronicles 5:14 Then said <'amar> Solomon <Sh@lomoh>, The LORD <Y@hovah> hath said <'amar> that he would dwell <shakan> in the thick darkness <`araphel>.
Job 22:13 And thou sayest <'amar>, How doth God <'el> know <yada`>? can he judge <shaphat> through the dark cloud <`araphel>?
Job 38:9 When I made <suwm> the cloud <`anan> the garment <l@buwsh> thereof, and thick darkness <`araphel> a swaddlingband <chathullah> for it,
Psalms 18:9 He bowed <natah> the heavens <shamayim> also, and came down <yarad>: and darkness <`araphel> was under his feet <regel>.
Psalms 97:2 Clouds <`anan> and darkness <`araphel> are round about <cabiyb> him: righteousness <tsedeq> and judgment <mishpat> are the habitation <makown> of his throne <kicce'>.
Isaiah 60:2 For, behold, the darkness <choshek> shall cover <kacah> the earth <'erets>, and gross darkness <`araphel> the people <l@om>: but the LORD <Y@hovah> shall arise <zarach> upon thee, and his glory <kabowd> shall be seen <ra'ah> upon thee.
Jeremiah 13:16 Give <nathan> glory <kabowd> to the LORD <Y@hovah> your God <'elohiym>, before he cause darkness <chashak>, and before your feet <regel> stumble <nagaph> upon the dark <nesheph> mountains <har>, and, while ye look <qavah> for light <'owr>, he turn <suwm> it into the shadow of death <tsalmaveth>, and make <shiyth> <shiyth> it gross darkness <`araphel>.
Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd <ra`ah> seeketh out <baqqarah> his flock <`eder> in the day <yowm> that he is among <tavek> his sheep <tso'n> that are scattered <parash>; so will I seek out <baqar> my sheep <tso'n>, and will deliver <natsal> them out of all places <maqowm> where they have been scattered <puwts> in the cloudy <`anan> and dark <`araphel> day <yowm>.
Joel 2:2 A day <yowm> of darkness <choshek> and of gloominess <'aphelah>, a day <yowm> of clouds <`anan> and of thick darkness <`araphel>, as the morning <shachar> spread <paras> upon the mountains <har>: a great <rab> people <`am> and a strong <`atsuwm>; there hath not been <hayah> ever <`owlam> the like, neither shall be any more <yacaph> after <'achar> it, even to the years <shaneh (in pl. only),> of many <dowr> generations <dowr>.
Zephaniah 1:15 That day <yowm> is a day <yowm> of wrath <`ebrah>, a day <yowm> of trouble <tsarah> and distress <m@tsuwqah>, a day <yowm> of wasteness <show'> and desolation <m@show'ah>, a day <yowm> of darkness <choshek> and gloominess <'aphelah>, a day <yowm> of clouds <`anan> and thick darkness <`araphel>,
As seen above, there are only 3 of the 15 passages (Ex. 20:21; Is. 60:2; Jer. 13:16) that don't immediately mention the Hebrew words for cloud (anan and ab) in connection with the word araphel, and 2 of those 3 do mention clouds, just not in the immediately adjoining verses. In the Exodus 20:21 passage it shows God speaking to Israel from araphel or the storm cloud, and if you look back at Exodus 19:9 and 19:16-17 it specifically uses the Hebrew word ab in saying God spoke to them from the cloud. As for Isaiah 60:2, it ends up mentioning clouds with the word ab in verse 8.
|“|| Exodus 19:9 And the LORD <Y@hovah> said <'amar> unto Moses, <Mosheh> Lo, I come <bow'> unto thee in a thick <`ab> cloud, <`anan> that the people <`am> may hear <shama`> when I speak <dabar> with thee, and believe <'aman> thee for ever. <`owlam> And Moses <Mosheh> told <nagad> the words <dabar> of the people <`am> unto the LORD. <Y@hovah>
Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third <sh@liyshiy> day <yowm> in the morning, <boqer> that there were thunders <qowl> and lightnings, <baraq> and a thick <kabed> cloud <`anan> upon the mount, <har> and the voice <qowl> of the trumpet <showphar> exceeding <m@`od> loud; <chazaq> so that all the people <`am> that was in the camp <machaneh> trembled. <charad>
Isaiah 60:8 Who are these that fly <`uwph> as a cloud, <`ab> and as the doves <yownah> to their windows <'arubbah>?
At any rate, in 14 of the 15 passages where the Hebrew word araphel is used in the Old Testament it clearly is referring to storm clouds, not just darkness in general.
In other words, God dwells with light in Heaven but surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when coming down to meet human beings on Earth. God the Father dwells with the ultimate source of light, Jesus the Son of God, who at the end of time will be the only light source needed for the New Jerusalem. When Jesus said He was the "Light of the World" in other words He wasn't just figuratively speaking.
|“||Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.||”|
However, as seen from the numerous passages above, God surrounds Himself with dark stormclouds when He comes down to meet human beings (Ex. 19:9,20:21; Deut. 4:11,5:22; 2 Sam. 22:10-12; Ps. 18:9) God ultimately uses these dark storm clouds as a covering, a curtain or barrier. (Job 22:14) Thus, dark stormclouds are used to surround light.
Infidels claims the Bible is wrong about whether every man sins.
|“|| 1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
2 Chronicles 6:36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The distinction is between past and present. Every person has sinned, the Bible makes that abundantly clear in Romans 3 and elsewhere. It is only by grace, i.e. God's undeserved mercy, that we can be justified.
|“|| Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
However, a Christian is not merely someone who is forgiven, but who is made a new person in Jesus. They surrender themselves and die to sin, being given a new heart, spirit, and mind. (Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, 36:26) They are no longer under the power of sin, but have now the ability to live without sin. Rather than being slaves to sin as before, they now have the ability constantly to CHOOSE not to sin. Rather than being slaves to their lusts, passions, and environments, they are suddenly freed so that it has become a question of will and decision to do right.
|“|| Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Nonetheless, as seen above, Christians do have the ability to still sin and are urged to follow God's ways instead of the wrongful choices of their past before coming to new life in Jesus. (Romans 6:12-16) However, cases do occur where Christians fall back into sin (Galatians 6:1) and while they have the ability not to sin, they will always be tempted to sin because the human body is itself prone to sin. (Romans 7:18-25) Christians can by walking in the Spirit reject the temptations of the flesh which bring spiritual and eternal death. However, not until the final resurrection when new bodies are given will the Christian be free from the temptation to sin.
|“|| Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 ¶ And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
At any rate, it's important to note that the Old Testament verses being quoted were before the way of salvation was provided. As for those in 1 John 1:8-10 they refer to life before Christ, as evidenced by phrases like "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" and "have not sinned" (past tense). As Christians we are expected to live without habitually sinning, though isolated cases can occur. Therefore, while Christians are saved by repentance and the mercy of God through trusting in Jesus, not by works, that new life is to produce works. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Thus Jesus said His disciples are to be known by the fruits they produce. (Matthew 7:16-17; John 13:35)
- Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions. EvilBible.com.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `araphel.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for Choshek. The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for 'ophel.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `anan.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
- Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. Hebrew Lexicon entry for `ab.' The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.
- Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.