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(Thick, Gross Darkness)

   The Hebrew word ‘Araphel (H.6205, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) translated into English as, gloom, thick darkness, gross darkness, dark, and thick cloud, appears fifteen times in the Hebrew text of Scripture. This word is used in reference to Yahweh’s dwelling as well as the time of darkness which will be upon the whole earth as judgment is poured forth.

Clouds, Darkness: Yahweh’s Dwelling Place
   To begin the analysis of this all-important word, we will let Psalm 97:1–2 first speak:
   Yahweh reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad [thereof]. Clouds and darkness [are] round about Him: righteousness and judgment [are] the habitation of His throne.
   One may ask, “If Yahweh is light and in Him is no darkness, why would He cover Himself with darkness?” (1 John 1:5). When Moses asked to see His glory, Yahweh replied, saying, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the Name of Yahweh before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” And He said, “You can not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live,” Exodus 33:19–20.
   Yahweh has shielded Himself so that sinful man would not be consumed with His glorious light of righteousness. Yes, Yahweh is gracious and full of mercy and He is not willing any man should perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Therefore, a way was prepared for man’s salvation: repentance, water immersion for the remission of sins that are past, justification by the atoning blood of Yahshua, the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and sanctification. These are all done in the Name of, and by the authority of, Yahshua ha Mashiach (the Anointed); no other way, no other Name (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
   Man’s transgressions must be removed and he must put on the garment of righteousness spoken of in Revelation 19:8: And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
   This is not a pious attitude of self-righteousness, but rather that of a broken and contrite heart which looks to Yahweh for forgiveness and cleansing. It is only found walking in willing obedience to the Light of His Word – made flesh, as an Example for men to follow (John 1:1–4, 14; 1 Pet. 2:21-24).
   At Mount Sinai, following the giving of the Commandments, All the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, “Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said unto the people, “Fear not: for Elohim is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that you sin not.” And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where Elohim [was], Exodus 20:18–21.
   In the parallel Deuteronomy 5:22–24 account, Yahweh is said to have spoken to the assembly “out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice.”
   In both accounts, the word ’araphel is used, and translated as thick darkness. It is in the thick darkness where Yahweh dwells.
   The narrative in 1 Kings 8:10–12 tells when the Temple constructed by Solomon was dedicated and the priests withdrew after placing the Ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy Place, “the cloud filled the House of Yahweh, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of Yahweh had filled the house of Yahweh. Then spoke Solomon, ‘Yahweh said that He would dwell in the thick darkness.’”

’Araphel, Other References
  In Isaiah 60:1–2, we read:
  Arise, shine; for your Light is come, and the glory of Yahweh is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but Yahweh shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you.
  Yes, even in the darkest of times, the Light of Yahweh can be seen upon His people. In the ninth plague which Yahweh imposed upon Egypt, “there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” (Exod. 10:22).
  We see this word ’araphel in other places of the nebi’im (prophets):
    Give glory to Yahweh your Elohim, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for Light, He turn it into the shadow of death, [and] make [it] gross darkness, Jeremiah 13:16;
    Blow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of Yahweh comes for it [is] near at hand; a day of darkness, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there has not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, [even] to the years of many generations, Joel 2:1–2.
    That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble, and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, Zephaniah 1:15.
  It is during this time of darkness, that Yahweh will gather His people. For thus says my Sovereign Yahweh, “Behold, I, [even] I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country,” Ezekiel 34:11–13.
  Finally, ’Araphel finds its place also, in the following Scriptures:
    And you came near and stood under the mountains; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness, Deut.4:11.
    He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness [was] under His feet, 2 Samuel 22:10.
    Then said Solomon, “Yahweh has said that He would dwell in the thick darkness, 2 Chronicles 6:1.
    And you say, “How does Elohim know? Can He judge through the dark cloud? Job 22:13.
    When I made the cloud the garment there-of, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, Job 38:9.
    He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under His feet, Psalm 18:9.

   ’Araphel – prevailing gloom, thick darkness, gross darkness, dark, and thick clouds and the estate in which the most of humanity dwells.
   What about you? Are you in a state of slumber? It is time, past time, to awake! Trim your lamp, for the Bridegroom is coming to pour forth judgment upon a disobedient world and afterwards to gather His elect together.
   May you, having now steadfastly trusted in His Word, then be found worthy of His calling out!

-Brother Richard Anderson

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