July 2005 Newsletter and Article
Commentary for July 1, 2005 — Weather in the Bible, and Two Witnesses
Israel was a nomadic family and society that evolved to a pastoral society and later transitioned to an agricultural society. In each stage of its history close observation of the weather was necessary. The prophet Jeremiah notes the understanding as to the source of the weather and its components:
“When he [God] utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and
he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth:
he makes lightnings with rain, and
[he] brings forth the wind out of his treasures.”
The climate and land of Israel was different in ancient Israel. Psalm 23:2 it says “He [God] makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.” David tended the flocks that were threatened by bears and lions that thrive in wooded and grassland areas. This verse says that when David was a young man growing up in the area around Bethlehem there were green pastures and pools of water in that part of the world. Israel is not like that today.
Centuries later, the prophet Isaiah gave an oracle against the land of Moab:
“For the waters [plural] of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass fails, there is no green thing.”
At that time in that land there were accessible waters, grasslands that grew hay for pasture, with green things growing. The land of Moab is not that way today.
Still later in the time of the prophet Ezekiel there were forests south of Jerusalem in the Negev:
“And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the Lord; Thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.”
There was sufficient growth in the area to start a fire that would burn with great flames that would not be quenched until burned up (an image similar to Gehenna). The point is that at Ezekiel’s time there were woodlands south in the Negev area. Today the Negev is a desert. There is naturally no growth there today. The crops and trees that presently grow there require careful maintenance with extensive and constant irrigation.
The word “weather” occurs four times in the King James Version, in three verses: Job 37:22; Proverbs 25:20; Matthew 16:2–3. However, it is misleading for those Hebrew and Greek words to be translated as “weather.” They in fact have little to do with weather or climate.
In Job 37:22 the Hebrew word translated as “fair weather” is the simple word for which is translated consistently as “gold” or “golden” 388 times. Only in Job 37:22 is it translated differently. In context the use of “gold” in Hebrew may indicate a color or condition of the northern sky.
Likewise Proverbs 25:20 the word “weather” is translated in the King James Version from the common word most often translated as “day” some 2,000 times. In Proverbs 25:20 “day” fits the context better than “weather.”
In Matthew 16:2–3 the oldest and best Greek manuscripts do not even contain the words: “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” which comprise most of verse 2 and all of verse 3. Therefore many modern translations do not include it or put a note about those words.
In actuality, while the word “weather” as used today does not occur in the Bible, even though Solomon and the prophet Jeremiah (see the 1st verse above) had a clear understanding of weather processes. They knew that God is control of the weather (even though He gives occasional delegation of power to “the prince of the power of the air,” Ephesians 2:2).
The “July 2005 ASK Newsletter” has additional information about weather in the Bible and future weather patterns around the world. The Newsletter introduces two articles by Dr. Ernest L. Martin: “Biblical Meteorology” and “The Two Witnesses – Who Are They.” These articles interact at the point where the Two Witnesses are prophesied to have a profound impact on the weather in Israel (and the world) during their 3˝ years of ministry.
Exciting times are close upon us as, just like a play, the worldwide set is being prepared for the last act: the end-times leading to the Second Advent of Christ Jesus to this earth (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:12). Stay strong. Stay faithful. Continue in prayers for the ekklesia of God. Pray for proper rains. Pray for the Kingdom of God to come quickly. God bless you all.
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