Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
There is currently a video clip making the rounds on the internet in which the narrator asks, and “answers” this question. His argumentation is as follows:
First, Luke 10:18 says, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (KJV). The narrator says that while this was written in Greek, Jesus would have originally spoken the words in Aramaic which he claims was the most ancient form of Hebrew. At this point the listener should ignore everything that follows. Aramaic is a language related to Hebrew (that is, they both belong to the Semitic family of languages), but Aramaic is in no way a form of Hebrew. While there is some academic dispute whether Jesus taught in Aramaic of Greek, for the sake of the argument, let us assume that he spoke in Aramaic, since this man’s argument depends on it. From this verse, using the Hebrew lexicon of Strong’s Concordance, he finds the word baraq, which is the Hebrew word for “lightning.” He needs the Hebrew form, because the Imperial Aramaic form (that used in the Old Testament period) is birqun. The Syriac form (Syriac being a late form of Aramaic), found in the Syriac Peshitta translation of the Bible, is birqa’. Thus he has established that lightning is baraq. And unless you’re really dense, you already see where this is going.
Second, he moves to Isaiah 14:12-19, which he interprets as referring to Satan (a standard view among dispensational interpreters, but not usually found among interpreters from other theological backgrounds). In this passage, he focuses on vs 14, which says, I will ascend above the heights.” “Heights” in this passage is the Hebrew word bamah. This, he implicitly imports into Luke as I beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven.”
Third, he observes that the Hebrew vav, which is attached at the beginning of words, and functions as a conjunction, is pronounced “u” or “o.” Thus, “lightning from heaven” would be pronounced barak obama. Unfortunately, everything is against him. “lightning from heaven” requires the preposition min, not the conjunction vav. Further, the word “heavens” which Jesus would have used is, in Aramaic, shamaya’, not bama. Thus, the Aramaic which Jesus would have used would have been pronounced birqa’ min shamaya’ which is, of course, nowhere close to baraq obama. Now one may or may not like President Obama and his politics, but this kind of silliness ought to be soundly rebuked and denied by serious Christians.