Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Finger of God

"But if I then drive out demons by the finger of God, the kingdom of God has come to you" Luke 11:20

Finger of God is found only three times in the Bible, twice in Exodus and in the verse above. Unable to match the miracles worked by God through Moses, the astrologers and magicians of Pharaoh's court conceded defeat (Ex. 8:19).  Using His finger, God inscribed the Law onto the tablets we call the Ten Commandments (Ex. 31:18).

I think Jesus was being a bit mischievous here. I wonder who, if anyone, caught the irony of His words. Accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub their prince, the rationale of that statement defied logic then and today. Beelzebub is a name for the zodiac sign Scorpio. Other names ascribed to the devil and hell are also associated with this sign. Jesus' critics claimed that He used astrology and magic to cast out demons.

I wonder if the absurdity of their claim forced Jesus to stifle a laugh. We humans invent truly inane explanations for what we dislike and don't understand. Why would any ruler, unless they were naturally inept and incompetent, displace/disarm their own forces and reduce the impact and scope of their rule?

Apparently His detractors had forgotten the history of the phrase finger of God and its previous ties to astrology. In the confrontation with the court magicians, Moses' actions mirrored the Egyptian version of the constellation Serpentarius, a decan of Scorpio. The Egyptian Denderah depicts this decan as a man, with a hawk's head who carries a staff and defeats his enemy, Khu the serpent.

Api Bau, the hawk headed man symbolized an individual of unusual power. Hawks hate snakes and are their natural predators. Api Bau was the personification of an individual who would display superiority over the serpent. The showdown in Pharaoh's court has been the subject of movie making wizardry - mostly wrong. A closer look at the real account explains why.

"But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs" Ex. 7:12

Did you catch it? Snakes eat snakes. There's nothing spectacular about that. Staffs don't eat staffs. What happened that day didn't escape the attention of the magicians and astrologers. In short order they declared the actions of Moses were the direct result of the "finger of God."

Jesus' ability to cast out demons was attributed to astrological witchcraft by people who weren't supposed to have any involvement with this type of activity-at all. His reference to the finger of God should have jogged their memory back to Moses and Pharaoh. In that situation the real astrologers recognized what was genuine when they encountered it. God's chosen people proved clueless and categorized the working of God to the demonic.

Unfortunately, this still happens today. Many Christians attribute anything remotely supernatural to the demonic while those in the occult recognize the power of the unseen realm more readily than His own. There are counterfeiters and charlatans out there, some even claim to follow Jesus which, by the way, He said would happen. Despite this, to dismiss miracles and supernatural manifestations outright is to make the same mistake the Jewish leaders did in Jesus' day.

How about you? How do you react when something of a supernatural nature takes place? What criteria do you employ to determine it's authenticity and legitimacy? Can you discern what is genuine or do you run the risk of mistaking God's power for the demonic? What opportunities to impart into the lives of people are missed if only natural solutions are available and appropriate? What would it be like to have the finger of God work through you?

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