Hi Bob, In Luke 13:16, how does one know if Satan is himself causing the illness or something else?
The devil is indirectly responsible for many things, so that our Lord can say here "whom Satan has bound" and not mean that the devil himself was personally afflicting this woman. The number of fallen angels is incredibly large. You are no doubt familiar with the thesis advanced in the Satanic Rebellion series (esp. pt. 5) that the Church of Jesus (including all believers since Adam and Eve up until our Lord's return) is a one-for-one replacement of these dark legions. The devil seems to spend most of his time directing this massive army, and therefore it is highly unlikely (though not technically impossible) that he personally was afflicting the woman in question here. Satan did get directly involved at the temptation of the first Adam, the temptation and betrayal of the Last Adam, our Lord, and will again be active in the career of the false Christ, his son the beast. Other than these pivotal instances in human history it is likely that the devil is observing, planning, commanding (he is the "prince" of the power of the air, and goes "to and fro" in the earth: Job 1-2), but not doing "low level work" like this. He is, after all, just a creature and cannot be in two places at once.
Further, the beginning of this section says that the woman had a "pneuma astheneias", literally "a spirit of disease", and the word pneuma or spirit in these contexts almost always means an "unclean spirit" or "a demon". It seems very unlikely to me from the language here that such a generic description could be used at the beginning of the incident if the devil himself were the "spirit" in question.
Please see also the following links:
Spiritual Warfare I
Spiritual Warfare II
Satan's Tactical Methodology
Demon Possession (in SR #4)
The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16.
Hope this helps,
Question #2: What does the Bible say about language? I know about the Tower of Babel. But is there more?
The account of the Tower of Babel is the one place where the origins of language are treated directly. The scattering of the nations which the events at Babel produce is thus linked to this (see the table of the 70 nations: Gen.10:1-32; cf. the phrase "clans and languages" in verses 5, 20, 31, 32; cf. Acts 17:26-27). Other passages of interest are 1st Corinthians 13-14 where Paul talks about "tongues of men and angels" etc., and Ps.19:1-4 which speaks about the universal "language" of the visible creation (through the contemplation of which all men come to know about God). The Bible, of course, is written in Hebrew and Greek (and some Aramaic in both Testaments), and it is interesting that knowledge of a specific language twice in the book of Acts gains Paul a hearing, first from the commander of the guard at Acts 21:37 (he is surprised to hear that he speaks Greek), second from the hostile crowd Acts 22:2 (they are surprised to hear him speaking Hebrew; some versions mistranslate this as "Aramaic").
It is also fair to say that the notion and concept of language is key to scripture inasmuch as the "Word of God" is both its title and its theme (Jn.1:1-2; 1:14; Rev.19:13; cf. Is.55:11; 1Jn..1:1), for it is to His voice that we are called to listen.
You can find what I have written about the Tower of Babel at the following link:
The Tower of Babel
You might also find this link helpful:
English and the Tower of Babel
Hope this helps,
Question #3: Could you shed some light on Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy? Have you written anything on this?
Response #3: Daniel's 70th week is briefly mentioned in Coming Tribulation part 1 as a synonym for the Tribulation (see the link: Daniel's 70th Week). There are references to it in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series, a study which goes into depth on issues of biblical chronology in order to establish the overall seven day millennial age plan of God for human history. I don't believe I have ever had occasion to set out my take on the prior 69 weeks. Simply put, the 69 weeks are also weeks of years. Adding two years (for the birth of our Lord in ca. 2 B.C. - see the link: The Birth of Christ), we arrive at approx. 485 B.C. (the date of Xerxes' letter opposing rebuilding: Ezra 4:6ff). Subtracting 42 years, we arrive at approx. 443 B.C., the time frame of the completion of Nehemiah's rebuilding efforts. The main problem in the interpretation of these events from my point of view is the difficult mode of Hebrew expression in Daniel (a problem encountered throughout the book until one becomes accustomed to his concentrated style). I would translate the critical part of Dan.9:25 "... from the issuing of a decree to desist [from building] and for the building of Jerusalem until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks ... ". The time between the order to desist and the actual completion is "seven weeks" (42 years plus a perfect seven for the actual rebuilding).
In the One who provides for our every need, our Savior Jesus Christ.
What does the number 12 mean in the Bible? Also, are there books or websites where I can get information on the different meanings of numbers in the Bible.
The number twelve seems to have the significance of fullness and completeness in relation to God's arranging and ordering of created things like the twelve months of the year (in contrast to the perfection of three which is a fundamental, natural perfection, as in the Trinity, or the perfection of seven, which is the result of a divine creative process, as in the seven Genesis days of re-creation). So, to use the two most obvious examples, we have the twelve disciples/apostles who are assembled to do the Lord's work (and this required the substitution of Paul for Judas), and the twelve tribes of Israel through whom the ranks of the seed of Abraham and eventually the entire Church is organized and completed (see the link: "The Uniqueness of Israel"). On this latter point, and particularly the relationship and significance of the number twelve and its multiples to God's calling out of His Church, see "The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar" (section II.8.c of part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series). The 144,000 Jewish evangelists of the Tribulation are also organized on the number twelve, on which point see: "The Sealing of the 144,000" (section V of part 2B of the Coming Tribulation series).
On the subject of biblical numerology in general, you might also have a look at the following e-mail responses:
Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast.
The Number 20
The Number 40
As I say there, the best numerological work I know is J.J. Davis' Biblical Numerology (Grand Rapids 1968). The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible also has a substantial article on biblical numerology, and that is no doubt true also of most good Bible dictionaries and encylopediae of the Bible (such as The Anchor Bible Dictionary).
Hope this is of some help to you.
In Him in whom all the mysteries of the ages are summed up in Jesus Christ.