|“||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.
- 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.