Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lightning in the Bible

When I was young, I was scared when the lightning struck. So I never went out when the storm came.
The scientific fact about it is like this: While a lightning bolt itself is simply an electrical discharge, the air surrounding the bolt of lightning is superheated to plasma temperatures. This very rapid heating of the air causes a rapid expansion which results in thunder.  Lightning heats air to plasma temperatures. There used to be considered three states of matter; gas, solid, and liquid. To this must be added plasma, for it does not conform to the required properties of the first three. Plasma is an ionized state of a gas, and the air becomes ionized by the passage of electricity - as lightning. Usually, some of the electrons of the gas are raised to a higher energy level by the passage of the current through their atoms, and this is shown by the bright light given out by the lightning stroke. However, this is merely excited atoms. Some of the electrons have to be stripped off the atom for it to be ionized. The ionized atom soon captures a stray electron and then the atom passes through the excited stage and back to its natural state.
The event which radically changed the course of the reformer Martin Luther's life took place near Stotterheim on July 2, 1505. The happy go lucky law student was altered into a humble monk searching for God's grace.  Luther had recently completed a Master's degree and started his law studies at the University of Erfurt. He was on his way back to Erfurt after having visited his parents when he was caught in a terrible thunder storm a few hours outside of Erfurt. Lightning struck near him and he was thrown to the ground by the air pressure it created. At this moment he called to Saint Anne: "I will become a monk!"

LIGHTNING: ISBE(International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Thunder-storms are common in Syria and Israel during the periods of heavy rain in the spring and fall and are often severe. Lightning is usually accompanied by heavy rainfall or by hail, as at the time of the plague of hail (Ex 9:24).
In the Scriptures it is used:
(a) Indicating the power of God: The power of God is shown in His command of the forces of Nature, and He is the only one who knows the secrets of Nature: "He made .... a way for the lightning" (Job 28:26); "He directeth .... his lightning" (Job 37:3 the King James Version); "Canst thou send forth lightnings, that they may go?" (Job 38:35); "Ask ye of Yahweh .... that maketh lightnings" (Zec 10:1). See also Ps 18:14; 97:4; 135:7; Job 36:32; Jer 10:13;
(b) Figuratively and poetically: David sings of Yahweh, "He sent .... lightnings manifold, and discomfited them" (Ps 18:14); used for speed: "The chariots .... run like the lightnings" (Nah 2:4): "His arrow shall go forth as the lightning" (Zec 9:14); "The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning" (Ezek 1:14). The coming of the kingdom is described by Jesus as the shining of the lightning from one part of heaven to another, even "from the east unto the west" (Mt 24:27; Lk 17:24);
(c) Meaning bright or shining: Daniel in his vision saw a man and "his face (was) as the appearance of lightning" (Dan 10:6). See also Rev 4:5; 8:5; 16:18. Jesus said, “ I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

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