Friday falls on the 13th of the month only a few times a year, but almost anyone you talk to seems to think that those days are full of bad luck. If you do a Google word search concerning the origin of the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky, you’ll find a lot of speculation but very little science to validate any particular theory.
In history, it is common to have folklore like that carries on for hundreds or even thousands of years after the origin is lost, but the tradition continues.
One really old theory (which now is discovered to be a claim made in the 1920s, and disproved) of why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky goes all the way back to Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, torturing and executing them in an attempt to annihilate the order. However, that theory has been subjected to doubt by those who say this story was made up years after the alleged event (see Endnote #3)
The oldest reference to bad things befalling people on Friday the 13th is found in Egyptian literature that is over 3000 years old. One website describes the following speculation concerning why the Egyptians held this day to be a day of cursing:
“So why all are these separate religions having such a similar tradition of demonizing the number 13? There are those that theorize the number 13 may have been purposely denigrated by the founders of the patriarchal religions to eradicate the influence of the Mother Goddess. In goddess-worshipping cultures, the number 13 was often revered, as it represented the number of lunar and menstrual cycles that occur annually. It is believed by those who adhere to this theory that as the 12-month solar calendar came into use over the 13-month lunar calendar, the number 13 itself became suspect.
It should be noted, though, that not all cultures in the ancient world recoiled at the number 13. The Ancient Egyptians believed life was a spiritual journey that unfolded in stages. They believed that 12 of those stages occurred in this life, but last, the 13th was a joyous transformative ascension to an eternal afterlife. So the number 13 represented death to the Egyptians, but not death as in decay and fear, but as an acknowledgment of a glorious eternal life. Of course, it’s always possible the association with death from Egyptian tradition later morphed into death in an unlucky sense later by cultures influenced by Egypt.” (see Source note #A below)
The Best Reasoning
However, the best reasoning that I have found to explain the widely felt dread caused by Friday the 13th is based on the work of 18th-century Biblical scholars and documented in a book by Mark Daniels (Chuck Missler as well).
Mr. Daniels also explains why those that experienced the original horrific situation would want the cause behind it to be hidden and erased from history, as it would make them and their beliefs in their gods and goddesses appear illegitimate. It is human nature that when telling the story of a fight, the losers often leave out pertinent details which would make them look weak.
The Hebrew people had been under bondage by the Egyptian people and labored under extremely difficult conditions for hundreds of years. Their cries to God for deliverance were heard and He sent Moses to demand that their Pharaoh let them go. The Pharaoh would not, and God sent a series of plagues upon Egypt to convince Pharaoh that He was the one true God and that the Hebrew people were His chosen people.
Below, I have outlined the ten plagues that were sent and why they were specifically chosen to get the Egyptians’ attention. But the tenth plague was the event that broke the Pharaoh’s will and caused him to order the Hebrew people to leave Egypt. It was the plague of the death of all of the firstborn in Egypt.
And Moses said,
“Thus saith the Lord: About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sittith upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.” – Exodus 11:4 & 5
The Hebrews were exempt from this slaughter because they had been told by Moses on behalf of God to sacrifice a lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts of their houses. The Death Angel would pass over that blood, and any firstborn that was in those houses would be spared.
“For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” – Exodus 12:23
As Mr. Daniels explains:
“The Egyptian calendar went from sunrise to sunrise, while the Hebrew calendar went from sunset to sunset. The children of Israel left Egypt on what would now be called Saturday, the 14th of Abie. At midnight on the 14th of the month, the angel of death went through Egypt and killed all the firstborn sons.”
“Since the Egyptian day started at sunrise, the Death Angel went through Egypt at midnight on Friday the 13th. To Egyptians, the 13th of Friday became the vilest and most wicked day in their recorded history. Forever afterward the number 13 was considered an unlucky number and Friday the 13th became a day of infamy and ruin. To this day, Friday the 13th this still considered an unlucky day” (see Source note #B below)
[By Brent: Within every house that did not have the blood of a Lamb painted across the top and two sides of the threshold (which would look like the Hebrew letter “ח “, which means “Living,” or “life.”) of the household of a Hebrew or Egyptian house; the firstborn human or animal male would be killed by the Death Angel. Because the Hebrews had followed the command of the Lord given by Moses to place the blood on the door frame, the Jewish Talmud records that not one Hebrew was killed, yet almost all of the Egyptian oldest males died including Pharaoh’s son.]
In recording and reporting the history of this event, as well as the destruction of Pharaoh and his army by God while attempting to cross the Red Sea, later Pharaohs had scribes describe being attacked by an overwhelming army who destroyed the forces of Pharaoh as well as having murdered all of the oldest males within the kingdom.
What Pharaoh would want to tell the true story of 10 plagues that exposed the impotence and defeat of their 10 deities? Or that it came through the hand of one of their slaves, because of the power of his God, the God of the Hebrew slaves (the word bondage is used rather than the word “slavery,” which is not found in the Torah or Pentateuch)?
An alternate explanation had to be given because of the devastation to Upper Egypt at this time. The truth might destroy the worship of their false gods which gave the pharaohs control over the people.
The 10 plagues and God’s Sense of Humor
One of the things I love about God, that can be seen in His Word; is that He has a sense of humor, sometimes displayed in irony, or even what we would refer to as sarcasm.
Most of the time when people utilize sarcasm is because they do not have a defense for their own position, and therefore in attacking another’s position they use sarcasm to emphasize, or more often to emotionalize the argument. This is common in politics. Make the argument an emotional appeal in an attempt to win whenever you lack rational evidence.
However, when it comes to God, sarcasm is different. It comes in the form of condescension, wherein the eternal divine entity points out the realities of difference between Himself and the creation He has made. It is often used when the creation considers himself greater or at least equal to his creator.
A good example of this is found in Psalms chapter 2. I believe it was E. W. Bullinger that first pointed out the fact that this Psalm appears to be a conversation that is held between God the Father, and God the Son; otherwise, it sounds confusing and unclear. Yet, this is probably one of the best examples of God’s form of sarcasm concerning His view in regards to His creation, when His creation thinks too much of itself. It reads:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalms 2:1-12)
In fact the grammar of the Hebrew language displays that this is a conversation between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, God the Father speakers in verses 1-6 and 8, God the Son speaks in verse 7, and God the Holy Spirit in verses 9-12, (see Endnote #1) which says:
“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” – Psa 2:9-12:
My point is that God many times, in dealing with man uses irony because He relates to man at man’s own level; displaying how myopic and powerless man really is compared to God’s power; and according to God’s perspective.
One of God’s ironies is that in time you will become like what you worship (the word “worship” is a cognate – two words put together: “worth” = to show value; and the suffix “ship,” in this case means = something displaying; therefore “worship” is any act that displays the worth of something to the worshiper, not necessarily religious in nature), – the last paragraph addresses this in particular regarding Jesus.
There are some of us that believe that when God judges the unbeliever, while the main violation will be their refusal to accept God’s provision for their sin, the atoning death of Jesus Christ (which means they will pay for their sin, themselves), God may also judge them according to their own standard (which is a subject for another day) – which would be the ultimate irony.
Perhaps one of the best examples of this type of irony is seen in the freeing of Israel from Egypt. Chuck Missler wrote the following essay, which is highly informative concerning God using man’s own belief system against him and displaying the futility of fighting against God.
The Plagues of Egypt
The feast of Passover is a celebration, a time when Jews remember how God used Moses to free Israel from bondage and slavery in Egypt. There have been few dramas that can equal the story of the Exodus. Yet, while most Christians are familiar with the events of Passover, few of us are probably aware of the significance behind the other nine plagues.
Each of the nine plagues targeted specific ancient Egyptian gods, they were part of an invisible cosmic war against the demons of darkness. The plagues were a powerful and dramatic demonstration of the supremacy of the true and living God of Abraham and Moses.
Waters Turned to Blood
The first of the judgments was upon the waters of Egypt. The Nile was the highway of this ancient land, as it still is today. Not only was the Nile turned to blood, but the other waters of the land were as well, even the water that was drawn for use in the houses in wooden and stone jars. For seven days the whole land was in horror, with dead fish and a stench from the river.
To better appreciate what was going on, we must examine the numerous gods of the river: Osiris, one of the chief gods of Egypt, was first of all the gods of the Nile. He, with his companion, the mother god, Isis, and their child, Horus, were human-headed gods (in contrast to the many that had heads of birds, beasts, and reptiles). There were other gods of the Nile, too: Harmon in the north, and Tauret at Thebes, and the hippopotamus goddess of the river. There was also Nu, the god of life in the Nile. The supernatural pollution of the waters of the land were a humiliation to the gods the Egyptians worshiped.
The second of the wonders further proved the powerlessness of the gods of Egypt. The land was covered with a plague of frogs in such abundance that they infested the Egyptians’ houses and beds. One of the principal goddesses of the land was Hekt, the wife of the creator of the world, who was always shown with the head and the body of a frog.
The frogs came out of the sacred Nile and Egypt’s devotion to them prevented them from dealing with them: they soon had decaying carcasses throughout the land, resulting in a stinking horror. (It is interesting that the climactic war against God in Revelation is assembled by three frog-like spirits.)
The Sand Flies
The third of the judgments on Egypt came out of the soil in Egypt. The Hebrew word ken, is translated “lice” in our English translation, with “sand flies” or “fleas” in some marginal notes.
The Hebrew word comes from a root meaning to dig; it is probable that the insect was one which digs under the skin of men. This was an embarrassment to their great god of the earth, Geb, to whom they gave offerings for the bounty of the soil. Also, the presence of the fleas or lice were a barrier to their officiating in their priestly duties!
The fourth of the plagues were “swarms” (“of flies” is not in the original). The word is `arob, a swarm, possibly suggesting incessant motion. The deification of the scarab beetle is still conspicuous – even today – in the jewelry and artifacts celebrating ancient Egypt. Amon-Ra, the king of the gods, had the head of a beetle. Some of the giant scarabs were even accorded the honor of mummification and entombment with the Pharaohs.
This is particularly bizarre since the scarab is actually a dung beetle.
The insect is about the size of a nickel and feeds on dung in the fields or the side of the road. When animals defecate, these insects swarm from their holes in the ground and collect their provender for future meals by forming it into round balls about the size of golf balls, which they roll across the ground to their underground dwellings. Since they seemed to “come from nowhere,” and perhaps because these perfectly round balls were possibly associated with the sun, these beetles became associated with creation.
The plague of swarms of scarabs, with mandibles that could saw through wood, and destructive qualities worse than termites, must have caused extreme consternation since they were so venerated and thus were not to be interfered with! Pharaoh called Moses, pleaded for a cessation, hinted at the possibility of compromise, and even asked to be prayed for. But God doesn’t compromise; the judgments continued.
The fifth plague was against the domestic animals of Egypt, and thus Apis, the bull god, and the cow-headed Hathor, goddess of the deserts. These were so widespread that even the children of Israel had become tainted by their worship, which led to the fiasco of the golden calf in the image of Apis.
The plague was a “murrain,” a contagious disease among the cattle, and even the sacred bulls in the temple died. Other domestic animals were sacred also, and their images adorned many of the idols, such as Bubastis, the cat goddess of love, feminine matters and fashion, etc. (The veneration of cows still creates a sight in India, when cows appear on the streets and even in stores and shops.) The cattle of the Hebrews, of course, were not touched.
The sixth wonder was manifested against the bodies of men. The plague of shechiyn, translated “boils”, may hide something more terrible. The root means “burning,” and the same word can be translated as leprosy, and as the Egyptian botch, which was declared to be incurable.
Among the gods to which cures would have been ascribed were Thoth, the ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning, and Apis, Serapis and Imhotep. Here even the magicians did not escape and could not carry on their priestly functions. It was their custom to take the ashes of human sacrifices and cast them into the air. Borne by the wind over the milling populace, they were viewed as a blessing. (It is inferred by some that this heathen custom was the source of the practice of putting ashes on the forehead on the first day of Lent.) Moses launched this plague with a parody of this practice, and may even have had access to the very furnaces used in the sacred precincts of the royal temple.
Egypt is a sunny land with virtually no rain. The seventh wonder was a tempest of hail and fire. Where was Shu, the wind god? And Nut, the sky goddess? Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of upper Egypt? When Pharaoh confessed his sin and the sin of his people, he even used the Hebrew names for God:
“I have sinned this time: the Lord [Hebrew: YHWH] is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Intreat the Lord [Hebrew: YHWH] that there be no more mighty thunderings [Hebrew: “voices of Elohim“]” (Exodus 9:27,28).
(The French have a phrase for one who speaks with spiritual language but whose heart is far from God: “le patois de Canaan,” which means: “the dialect of Canaan“.)
Some of the earlier plagues may have been separated by extended intervals, but the eighth plague followed immediately on the heels of the seventh: locusts came upon the land. Every twig and leaf that had somehow escaped the hail and fire was now taken by the locusts. Where was Nepri, the grain god? Where was Ermutet, goddess of childbirth and crops? Where was Anubis, the jackal-headed guardian of the fields? And where was Osiris, great head of their senior trinity who was also their agricultural god? Having lost faith in their gods, rebellion was now in the air.
The ninth wonder was a darkness that could be felt! Josephus writes:
“But when Moses said that what he [Pharaoh] desired was unjust, since they were obliged to offer sacrifices to God of those cattle, and the time being prolonged on this account, a thick darkness, without the least light, spread itself over the Egyptians, whereby their sight being obstructed, and their breathing hindered by the thickness of the air, they were under terror lest they be swallowed up by the thick cloud. This darkness, after three days and as many nights was dissipated.”
Where was Ra, god of the sun? In the school of On, or Heliopolis, city of the sun, the worship of Ra was virtually almost monotheistic. He and Aten, the sun’s disc, were worshiped with the ankh, symbol of life from the sun, as almost a sort of trinity. Where was Horus, the god of the sunrise? Or Tem, the god of the sunset? Or Shu , the god of light? Or the deities of the moon and planets?
And, of course, the well-known tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn – on those homes not covered by the lamb’s blood on the doorposts or lintels. We all know the story of the Passover in Egypt, remembered by the Jews to this day. And, of course, Jesus is our Passover: John the Baptist introduced Him twice as “The Lamb of God.” (see Source note #C)
Lesson for Today
The invisible war goes on. These same demons are still worshiped today. The Scriptures tell us that we become like the gods we worship (Psalms 115:4-8 – see Endnote #2 135: 15-18). Visit Egypt today and when you leave Cairo you will see villages living on dunghills. And this is not a typical “third world” country: it once ruled the known world!
You will become like the gods you worship.
Idols of stone are cold, unresponsive, and immovable. If you worship idols of stone, you, too, will become cold, unresponsive, and immovable. Is the world materialistic? Harsh? Unforgiving? If you worship the world, you, too, will become materialistic, harsh, and unforgiving.
But if you worship the only true God, as seen in the person of Jesus Christ, Who loved us and gave Himself for us, you will become more like Him.
1. The Trinity in Psalms 2
Though Warren W. Wiersbe in his volume entitled: “WIERSBE’S EXPOSITORY OUTLINES”, breaks down Psalms 2 as verses:
1-3 the voice of the Nations,
4-6 the voice of the Father,
7-9 the voice of the Son,
10-12 the voice of the Spirit.
2. Psalms 115:4-8 ~
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”
3. The Knights Temper
It is unfortunate that as Satan has orchestrated the rewriting of history and painted the Knights Templars as evil baby killers and murderers the truth is obscured. There were 10 crusades (some say 11) over hundreds of years, not 3; with a one perhaps two done for profit under murderous conditions. The eight major crusades were to save Christians and Jews, and was defensive rather than offensive. The Muslims and Arabs have been allowed to rewrite history sidestepping their murderous occupation of the holy land along with their criminal activities as highwaymen making the trek to parts of the Far East and Egypt impossible.
B. “Inheritance: Covenants, Kingdoms, Bodies, and Nations,” by Mark Daniel, Page 186, footnote #133
C. “The Plagues of Egypt,” by:Koinonia House, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83816, USA, April 15, 2008, eNews, electronic media.
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’
is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”
For the Self-righteous Unloving Ones ~ A thought