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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Magic Versus Miracles - Egyptian Showdown Featuring Moses! [Exodus]

How Could Sorcerers Perform Miracles? 

Scriptures : Exodus 7; 2 Timothy 3:8
Today's post is in response to Ken Kinsley. Ken requested a response from me on Quora to the following question:
In the book of Exodus, how could the Pharoah's sorcerers perform miracles? Miracles of inferior quality to those performed by Moses, certainly, but miracles nonetheless. Who is granting them this power if not their gods? 
My prayer:
In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I come to You asking O Father  for discernment.
Open my eyes to the truth of the meaning of these words recorded so long ago. Give me discernment that I  may convey what it is You wish people to know and understand about this scripture.
Help me understand the texts and at the same time, help me to remain humble in the pursuit of this knowledge. Do not let me become puffed up or prideful. Help anyone reading my writings to understand that I am merely a student, a human, and very flawed at that.
Help them to understand how important it is that they ask You, O Father, to open the eyes of their hearts to the particular message You have for them concerning this ancient writing. Help them see the importance of having a personal relationship with You.
May all be according to Your will.
Amen.
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Examining the Exodus Showdown 

Exodus is one of the most exciting books of ancient Hebrew writing. However, first we need to some matters straight.
The writings do not state the wisemen and magicians summoned by Pharaoh, performed miracles. 
The text says that they merely copied the actions of Aaron in Exodus 7:11.
they did likewise through their בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם.  
To truly understand the Hebrew text of Exodus 7:11 it would be best to consult the original writer. Ask Our Father to reveal the meaning it holds for you.
Second best, is best to consult a student of that language and time period.
Just as meanings of words and phrases have shifted in English, it is necessary to not only know the Hebrew words, but what was meant by those words in that time period.
Unfortunately, I am not a learned scholar in these areas.

Here, however, are my thoughts based on the information I have been able to find so far.:

What Does Exodus 7:11 Mean?

In Paul's second letter to Timothy he refers to the magicians who opposed Moses in Exodus as Jannes and Janbres. Studying the ancient manuscripts written in Hebrew is challenging, because only the consonants are recorded. 
So, if we were to look at this from an English viewpoint, rd could be rad, red, rid or rod. The meaning of the words must be deciphered according to their context and in comparison to their occurrences elsewhere in ancient Hebrew
According to notes on Bible SABDA (http://Bible.Sabda.org):
 The term בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם (bÿlahatehem) means “by their secret arts”; it is from לוּט (**lut**, “to enwrap”). The Greek renders the word “by their magic”; **Tg. Onq.**uses “murmurings” and “whispers,” and other Jewish sources “dazzling display” or “demons” (see further B. Jacob, **Exodus**, 253-54). Some people believe they may have done this by clever tricks, manipulation of the animals, or demonic power. Many have suggested that Aaron and the magicians were familiar with an old trick in which they could temporarily paralyze a serpent and then revive it. But here Aaron’s snake swallows up their **snakes*.
 I find it interesting that the word *בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם* a masculine singular noun occurs once in the Hebrew Scriptures . While in the note above, the root is given as lut, in other places, the root word is לְהָטִים which was translated as flaming in Genesis (the flaming sword held by the Cherubim at the entrance to Eden.).
 To me, this makes more sense, as magicians through time immemorial have used fire as parts of their work -whether as distraction methodology or, as some believe, to summon demons to do their bidding. The prefixבְּ added to this root can have several different meanings, one of which is "by"
Some resources you may wish to consult include:

  • Classic NET Bible . org Exodus 7 - 13 http://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Exo&chapter=7&verse=11#
  • Sacred Texts Exodus Chapter 7 (http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/clarke/exo007.htm)
  • The Jewish Virtual Library https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/
So, did they do their imitations of Our Father's work  through deceptive  means using flames as a distraction, or did they attempt to use flames to  call upon a masculine power to do their bidding?
Whichever way the pale and unsuccessful imitation attempts were made,  the Pharaoh's wisemen finally acknowledged that these miracles were created by G-D Exodus 8: 18-19, because they were unable to create gnats by their arts.
In conclusion, whether you believe that the magicians were calling upon their gods to help them beat Moses, or using smoke and mirrors, THEY ACKNOWLEDGE THE SUPREMACY OF Our Father!

 Thanks for reading!
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May God Bless you as you bless others,
Suzanne