Friday, March 18, 2011

First Things First; Which Translation?

Truth is a valuable commodity.

After all, God IS truth, and Satan is a master deceiver. Can Christians afford to treat their core beliefs like a game of Scrabble, or are there eternal consequence to getting it wrong? I believe there are consequences. Here are a few things that the Bible has to say on the subject.
  • There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Pro 14:12
  • ...they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2Thess 2:10-11
  • Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt 7:22-23
If the Bible takes its truths so seriously, should not we? 

Christ was a walking encyclopedia of the word of God. He was truth itself. John 14:6. By His own admission, He said nothing and did nothing that wasn't the Father saying and doing it through Him. John 14:10. Paul tells us that the Father was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. 2 Cor 5:19. John tells us that Jesus was God's thoughts spoken aloud, not from a mountain top with fire and smoke, but in human flesh. John 1:14. And it is these very thoughts, God's "words" made audible through Christ's teaching that will judge us in the end. John 12:47-49.

If getting to know the truth that Christ lived and taught can only come by studying His Word, then it is wise to find the most accurate Word we can and to study it as though our life depended on it, for it does. 2 TIm 2:15. The problem lies in the fact that few Americans can read Hebrew or Greek, so we become sitting ducks for potential deception. But since it is not our fault that God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel, He will not leave us defenseless if we truly desire to know Him and what He stands for.

In a world that takes its stand on Evolution, I find it intriguing that secular encyclopedias bother to document religion at all, let alone efforts to wipe God's word off the face of the map. Why remind an indifferent society of a time when people were burned at the stake for simply posessing a Bible, let alone sharing its contents with others or worse, translating it into the vernacular of the common man. But what's odder still is that even  in today's so-called enlightened society, Americans can still be jailed for the crime of placing a Bible among the books on a public school desk, let alone discussing its Author in the confines of a classroom.

In a country that prides itself on Freedom of Speech, such a blatant affront to personal rights should concern even the staunchest atheist and cause us all to wonder what is happening and why. Why would a world which evolved by accident from a puddle of primordial ooze feel accountable to a moral standard of any kind? How does survival of the fittest incorporate feelings of loyalty and love? And why even address, let alone fight over, something as abstract as religion? Who cares if some oddball thinks he is being guided by invisible beings unless there is more to the scenario than meets the eye? And if there is more to the scenario, e.g. documentable evidence of supernatural intervention in the lives of men, might that not suggest the presence of intelligences from another dimension which are worth checking out? 

Perhaps questions of Christian dogma or which translation we should study or even if there is a God might remain filed under the heading of theological gymnastics if it weren't for two trends which have been emerging for the last several years. One concerns why a Christian nation, whose Pledge of Allegiance and currency both mention God by name, should suddenly find its two-hundred-year-old heritage so offensive? The other is why a planet that has evolved from a godless series of natural coincidences should base the third leg of its tri-lateral global system on religion of all things? One might reasonably ask why religion, which religion and in what capacity?

It is my conviction that Satan has ever sought to eradicate all awareness of a Creator God from the minds of men. But when he realized that the "blood of martyrs" was "seed" and that Gutenberg's press could print bibles faster than he could destroy them, he decided to take a different tack. I believe that the different tack is to infiltrate and destroy Christianity from within. I am convinced that this is why we have so many translations of a text that is common to all denominations, and why there is a move to dispense with, as obsolete, the one translation that has stood the test of time. The rationale that modern terminology makes the scriptures more readable has merit, but easy reading, in my opinion, is not necessarily helpful in answering difficult questions, and may actually disguise poison in the milkshake. Paul tells us that it is high time Christians put away milk and started eating solid food. 1 Cor 3:2. He commended the Bereans for receiving his words "with all readiness of mind" and for searching the scriptures daily to see if what he was saying agreed with established truth. Acts 17:11

We, too, are enjoined to search the scriptures, but with all the versions out there, how can we know which version is safe, and not loaded with subtle compromise? There are two ways to evaluate truth as I see it:

(1) Firstly, with the aid of a proven concordance which incorporates the original Hebrew and Greek text, scripture should be studied line upon line and precept upon precept. This was the approach the early disciples used to prove their claims about Christ, and it is their proofs that serve as the foundation for our own Christian faith.
(2) Secondly, the character and claims of any proponents of God's truth must reflect the standards of Christ and His teaching. Any deviation from that standard should be a red flag of the first order. To see how God feels about those who lie in His name we need only look and the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:1-11. Just saying something is true or accurate or better or best is hardly a criterion for acceptance without testing the claims against a ligitimate standard. To claim, for example, that a yardstick is accurate, there must be an approved original with which to compare it. And where the proponents of truth themselves are concerned, the only fair way to research their claims is to go to their own writings rather than rely on prejudiced statments about them. In any dispute, one should go to the source.

Where God's word is concerned, it is foolish to think that Satan is not actively at work to confuse and distort. Steering the theology of the Christian mindset into twisted channels is his forte. Such has been the case from the early church (2 Thess 2:7) which, in order to protect God's truths, necessitated the collection of as many original documents as possible from Paul and the disciples and translating them into Greek, the common language of the day.

This Textus Receptus, or Received Text, which reveals a supernatural pattern of prime numbers, served as the basis of the King James New Testament of 1611. Is it reasonable to suppose that the arch deceiver would leave alone a document that has been stamped with God's own imprimature? How convenient to provide a new, "more accurate" Greek Text from which to produce a myriad of translations subtly distorted to teach a generic religion that would sit well with an international culture. I would ask everyone who is serious about spiritual things to search out the background of the designers of this Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament from which virtually every modern translation derives; to read their letters to each other and to hear from their own lips how they felt about Mary worship, the Catholic Church and the Textus Receptus in particular, and where their extra-curricular activities tended. It is eye-opening.

With eternal life at stake and a Manual that has been badly tampered with, it seems to me that translations based on the oldest and most trusted manuscripts would be the safest to use. Then, in our private study, if we have misunderstood a doctrinal point, God will acknowledge our limitations and "wink." Acts 17:30. After all, we cannot call Him up on the phone, but we can look into the word He has already sent with the assurance that an omniscient, omnipotent, Creator can certainly protect the authenticity of His word while guiding us by His Spirit into its truths. John 16:13. Guide us, that is, if we are willing to follow the format to let the scriptures interpret themselves and to search them diligently in a line upon line fashion. But to deliberately choose tradition and the philosophies of finite man over the explicit word of God is tantamount to rebellion, and the Bible equates rebellion with the sin of "witchcraft." 1 Sam 15:23.

In order to understand better what is at stake, a few comparisons between the KJV and almost every modern translation are as follows:

Revelation 22:14. 

The KJV reads: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Westcott/Hort translations read: Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

Where the KJV points to obedience to God's government as criteria for entrance into heaven, Westcott and Hort transform the message into a nebulous platitude about laundry that mentions neither Christ nor His blood. But according to Strong's concordance, the Greek word entole (commandment #1785) has nothing to do with robes or washing. I have wondered where Westcott and Hort got their Greek word and how it fits Ivan Panin's scriptural mathematics. (See below)

Romans 8:1

As an example of textual abreviation: the Westcott and Hort rendition eliminates the qualification, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This qualification defines those for whom there is "no condemnation" by pointing them to the Holy Spirit as the Source of power for their spiritual "walk."

Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16: 3:22

For examples of individual word exchange please note the difference between "faith of Jesus" (KJV) and "faith in Jesus" (W & H). One might ask if such a small change should matter, but I would ask, if it doesn't matter, why change it in the first place? Personally, I think it matters a great deal, and I think Westcott and Hort thought so too.

Where faith "in" Jesus focuses on our human assessment about Him, the faith "of" Jesus is Christ's own faith acted out in life of the believer. And while the former is man-centered and therefore weak and inadequate, the latter is God-centered and therefore perfect and full of power. This small but essential difference is the heart of the gospel message as I have come to understand it, for even the devils "believe," but "tremble." James 2:19.

It is for these reasons and more that I recommend for the most accurate and reliable study the version that remains closest to the original Hebrew and Greek, as the early succession of English translations have demonstrated. (See Hidden History of the English Scriptures, G. A. Riplinger.) Another and far more emphatic reason, however, is the fact that the Hebrew and Greek upon which the KJV is based has imbedded within the text a mathematical structure of prime numbers that can only have come from a supernatural Source. (See Russian linguist and mathematician Ivan Panin.) Both Old and New Testaments are based on a pattern of multiples of seven in such extraordinary complexity that it not only demonstrates a common Author, but reveals the blatant impossibility of man, even in a computer age, to accomplish an omniscient and mathematical feat of such astronomical proportions.
Insofar as denominations are concerned, these are the questions I would ask:
1. Do the tenets of belief follow scripture exclusively or do they include extra-biblical traditions?   
2. Do the organizational formalities (vestments, rituals, candles, artwork, etc.) reflect the simplicity of Christ or do they smack of self-aggrandizement?
3. Do the advocates walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) in obedience to God and love to man, or are they a reflection of the attitudes of the world? Matt 15:9.

It is my belief that those alive when Jesus returns will either reflect Jesus fully or they will reflect Satan fully. They will keep the word of God or they will keep the traditions of men. They will "magnify" God's law "and make it honorable"  (Isaiah 42:21) or they will magnify the "venerable day of the sun" and make it honorable. This, I am convinced, will be the final test of whose side we are on. My question to honest Christians is this:

Will you follow God as Jesus followed Him, obeying "every" word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, unabridged and undefiled, or will your house be left unto you desolate?

Respectfully submitted
Pamela K

To the Glory of God
March 28, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment