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Religious Pied Pipers
When Israel left Egypt, Yahweh sent an angel ahead of the people to guide them along the way. He warned them not to rebel against the angel because He said, "My Name is in Him."
When the Tabernacle was set up in the wilderness, a cloud appeared above it and stayed over the tent night and day. This phenomenon looked like a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night. When the cloud lifted and moved, Israel packed up and moved with it. When the cloud stopped, Israel stopped and set up camp.
The people remained in the camp as long as the cloud stayed in place, whether it was for a day or weeks. They moved only when the cloud moved and they followed wherever it led them, Exodus 23:20-21 and Numbers 9:15-23.
Talk about supernatural guidance! This marvel was real! A visible, physical presence that led Israel to the Promised Land, Deuteronomy 31:14-15 and Psalm 78:52-54. After the temple was built the cloud filled the temple with Yahweh's glory and no longer traveled, 1 Kings 8:10-11.
Traditions Took Over
Although the cloud no longer moved, Yahweh promised to guide Israel to the end, Psalm 48:14. The guidance, however, was no longer a visible, physical presence. It became an invisible Spiritual influence contained in the instructions for righteous living and preserved in the writings of Moses and the prophets.
After the remnant of Judah returned from the Babylonian captivity, Ezra and Nehemiah were appalled by the Jews' ignorance of the Torah and Yahweh's requirements for righteous living. Schools were established in the synagogues to teach people to read the Torah and understand the commandments.
Men learned how to read the Torah and those who also learned how to write, became scribes. The scribes were required to copy the Torah and to teach the law. Teachers were called rabbis and the sages and scholars among them wrote commentaries on the Torah.
These commentaries, called Mishnah and Talmud, are attempts to adapt the writings of Moses and the prophets to the changing lifestyle of the people rather than attempts to adapt the people to Yahweh's requirements for righteous living.
The rabbinical interpretations and additions to the law contained in the Mishnah and Talmud became traditional with the Jews. They formed the basis for many religious beliefs and practices in Judaism that were more influential in Jewish life than the writings of Moses and the prophets.
Paul tells us that the very words of Yahweh were entrusted to the Jews, Romans 3:2. Peter wrote, "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of Yahweh," 1 Peter 4:11.
This was not how the rabbis taught Yahweh's Word! They quenched the Spirit by their traditions and additions to the Word. Obeying the law became a burden. By Yahshua's time, most rabbis were Pharisees and Yahshua called them hypocrites.
How then could He tell the crowd that the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat and they should do what the Pharisees told them to do? The explanation must be that the Pharisees paid only lip service to Yahweh's law and the people were to do only what the Pharisees paid lip service to and ignore the “false” doctrines taught by the rabbis.
Yahshua's followers are promised that the Spirit will guide them into all truth, John 16:13. All truth is contained in the Bible, but neither Testament by itself contains all truth. Therefore, people who have trouble understanding something in the New Testament should do what Yahshua told the crowd to do. Go to Moses and the prophets!
Yahshua and the apostles often quoted from the Old Testament to explain a spiritual truth. Sometimes there is no other way a New Testament Scripture can be rightly understood.
In spite of this fact, most Gentile religious leaders ignored Moses and the prophets for centuries. It was taught that Yahshua and the Apostles had established an entirely new religion.
Preachers, teachers, writers, and priests of the new religion did what the rabbis of Judaism had done. Rather than converting repentant people to Yahweh's way, they adapted to the people's way by teaching false doctrines based on misunderstandings that made Scriptures seem to support their religious practices. All they had to do was change the names of their deities and embrace heathen worship days.
A New Religion Devised
The result was indeed a new religion. It is even referred to in history books as a new religion, but it was really only a Christos-coated paganism that enabled the religion to survive persecutions, the fall of the Roman Empire, and to grow in prestige and power.
To this day, the martyrs of the Roman persecutions are looked upon as the price paid for survival. The sad truth is, the martyrs died because they refused to compromise with the pagans. They wouldn't recognize the religion that survived. It was not Yahweh's way of Spirit and Truth.
Nearly everything the religion believes, teaches, and practices is supposedly founded upon Yahweh's Word, yet there is not one translation of the Bible that upholds changing the seventh day Sabbath
to Sunday. Nowhere are we told to observe pagan days like Christmas and Easter as days of worship, or to teach such false doctrines as a secret rapture, predestination, and justification by faith alone.
People of this religion claim to have a Judeo-Christian heritage and think Yahshua and the apostles founded the religion. This is not true! Nothing in the Scriptures hints that Yahshua or the apostles even thought of creating a new religion.
After Christianity became the state religion of Rome, those who refused to turn from obedience to Yahweh's Word as taught by Yahshua and the apostles were driven out. By doing so the new religion wouldn't even have the appearance of anything in common with Judaism.
Reformers Try a Few Changes
After the printing press made the Bible available to everyone, many people soon realized how far from the truth they had been led. The growing unrest that had plagued the Roman Church for several generations erupted in a massive revolt that led to the establishment of Protestant churches.
Leaders of the revolt were determined to lead people back to the way of Spirit and Truth, but they and the people who followed them had no inkling of how continued rejection of Moses and the prophets and retention of false doctrines and pagan days of worship over the true days had distorted their understanding of Scriptures!
The Reformers understood Revelation 1:6 to mean that all followers of the Messiah are priests, and, therefore, are ministers of the Word as well as witnesses. The thinking was that each believer was to read, interpret, and apply the Word for himself.
It wasn't long before the leaders woke up to the fact that people could not come to a mutual agreement about the correct meaning of many Scriptures. Different groups ended up following a leader they believed was teaching truth.
The divisions that survived are now known as mainline Protestant denominations. These denominations continued to splinter and fracture as later generations came to a different understanding of some Scriptures.
If the leaders and congregation could not be convinced that a new insight was more correct than the traditional belief or practice in question, the people who advocated a change either left the church voluntarily or were forced out by those who rejected the new teaching.
Most Protestant leaders, even those of a later generation, were sincere, fervent, zealous truth seekers who would probably have rather died than knowingly deceive people into believing lies. If they rejected a teaching, it was because they sincerely believed it was not true.
They believed Yahshua's words were spirit and life and would never pass away, John 6:63 and Luke 21:32. They believed Yahshua and the Father are one and that the Father would answer Yahshua's prayer to protect those who obey the Word, John 10:30; 11:22; 17:6. Where is the evidence of divine guidance of the people who believe they are the people for whom Yahshua prayed?
There have been some, maybe even many, charlatans among Protestant leaders who knowingly preached lies for personal reasons, but generally, most were sincere. A preacher who advocated a change in doctrine or practice put the congregation in a situation where it was either believe or not believe the preacher's proposal.
Unless the question was resolved it resulted in a schism in the congregation. The situation becomes a case in which both those who advocate change and those who refuse to change could be following the father of lies. Only one faction could be following the Spirit of Truth.
This is the method by which the father of lies has deceived people into resisting the Spirit of Truth and believing lies in man's doctrines. It also explains how one Scripture can say, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way" and another say that Yahweh sends people a powerful delusion that makes them believe lies, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 11.
The delusion sent is allowing Satan to deceive people who resist following the Spirit of Truth into believing lies that make Yahweh's Word appear to condone conformity to the world. Satan's success must be due to the fact that most people, even some sincere truth seekers, are impelled by fear.
Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, 1 John 4:18. Deep in their hearts, people know Yahshua has not rescinded Yahweh's decree that the soul who sins will die. Compare Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Yahweh has made it easier to avoid death by belief in His Son and promised individual spiritual guidance to believers. So, let's take a look at how people are deceived into believing that Satan's spirit of disobedience that they follow is Yahweh's Spirit of Truth.
When the Reformation began, it was taught that the Bible was not the exclusive property of an ecclesiastical priesthood and that all believers should read, interpret, and apply the Bible for themselves. This sounds like a great idea, but it didn't work out as expected.
Could it be because 2 Peter 1:20 indicates that no Scripture or prophecy is open to private interpretation? Private interpretation results when the guidance of Yahweh's Spirit is rejected and a person allows emotions and fear to govern what is believed or not believed.
When emotions and fear control people they will believe what deep in their hearts they want to believe. They twist the meaning of Scriptures to make them appear to support their beliefs.
Creeds Are Simply Error Carried Over from the Past
It wasn't long before there were divisions among the reformers and later even divisions of the divisions among them. The outcome of the confusion resulting from private interpretation of Scriptures was creeds.
Different groups following different leaders adopted a standard of orthodoxy that a person must agree to abide by before being accepted into the group. In effect, a creed said, if you expect to fellowship with us, you must agree with our interpretation of the Bible. Creeds quenched the lead of Yahweh's Holy Spirit!
Most who turned away from the Roman Church because of false doctrines and unscriptural religious practices used their freedom from restrictions of the church to indulge in gratifications of their carnal minds without feelings of guilt. Of course, most people did not realize they were doing this and were deluded by their creeds into thinking they were standing firm in Bible truths.
Creeds actually did nothing more than freeze the spiritual insights of a leader into traditional beliefs and practices that included whatever errors and even lies that had been carried over from the past.
By writing scholarly Bible commentaries, Bible handbooks and theological studies, theologians and Bible scholars are repeating the error of the rabbis in attempting to adapt Yahweh's Word to changing times. And, as it was in Yahshua's day, the scholarly works produced by early Protestant leaders, theologians, and Bible scholars have a greater influence over people's thinking than the Bible itself.
Yahweh's Spirit does not overwhelm a person with a blinding flash of pure spiritual light. The mind of a truth seeker is not opened to more truth than can be comprehended and accepted at the time.
Even with the most sincere and pious person, growing in knowledge and grace (divine influence of the Holy Spirit) is a progressive and often slow process that begins with repentance from past sins and proceeds only with turning away from continuing in sin. Isaiah says truth comes "here a little and there a little," Isaiah 28:10. In Luke 8:18 Yahshua says,
Therefore consider carefully how you listen, Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.
This goes along with the parable in Matthew 25:19-23 about the servants who have been given a few talents and to whom the master said,
You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.
Doctrine Preceded Scripture
There were a few among the earliest Protestants who saw the fallacy in such doctrines as justification by faith without works and who deplored the idolization of Scriptures. They saw idolization as making the Bible a paper pope. They foresaw that interpretations and understandings that upheld doctrines considered orthodox — whether true or false — would become the absolute rule and unchangeable religious authority.
Note this! It is interpretations and understandings that become unchangeable, not translations of Scriptures.
These early Protestants were working with translations. In a few years it became necessary to invoke the concept of the plenary (absolute) inerrancy of Scriptures. They would use the concept to make any questioning of doctrine appear to be a questioning of Yahweh's Word rather than people's interpretation and understanding of Scriptures.
Yahshua never said He would start a new religion. He said He would build His assembly on a rock, Matthew 16:18.
The rock must symbolize solid, spiritual truth. Yahshua is the only way to Spirit and Truth and people who wish to live by the Spirit and Truth must believe Yahshua is the Son of Yahweh, the Savior, and not conform to the ways of the world, John 14:6 and Romans 12:2.
Can a religion that from its beginning has succumbed to the demands of secular societies and cultures be built upon the solid rock of truth?
The debate among 20th century Bible scholars and theologians has shifted from the idea of inerrancy of Scriptures to the interpretation of Scriptures. They have come to the conclusion that Scriptures were not given to convey dogmas and fixed doctrines, but to change people's hearts and minds so that they would live by the truth. If people are to live by the truth, they must do what it says, James 1:22, but they can't do what it says if they don't understand what it says.
Advances in the knowledge of ancient languages have revealed that most translators of the past lacked the depth of knowledge of languages required to make an absolutely errorless translation. Comparison with ancient Biblical manuscripts, such as those in the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient secular writings found in long-buried libraries, and the oldest Biblical manuscripts available to the earliest translators confirm the mistranslation of many words in our present translations.
Because nothing but translations are available to us, and even though present-day scholars are more knowledgeable than those of the past, they are nevertheless uninspired and often preconditioned by belief in traditional lies. They often do not even see an error that should be corrected.
An example of an error that is seen, but which remains uncorrected in all but very few translations, is the mistranslation of the sacred Names. Even though translators know the Names, they continue the mistranslation that became traditional through the KJV. How can we know we are not being deceived if we can't believe that the Bible we read is without errors? Fear enters here. A fear of being deceived blinds people to the fact that Satan has already deceived them. Fear makes people want to believe lies that soothe the conscience and suppress guilt feelings.
Satan's spirit of disobedience began tampering with Yahweh's Word long before the New Testament was written. Translators were often motivated to insert a word or words to make a lie that people believed appear to be scripturally sound doctrine. But Yahweh has not allowed Satan to actually insert lies into the Bible. It generally doesn't take an earnest truth-seeker long to uncover contradictions resulting from belief in a false doctrine.
A person studying only to prove a lie will ignore contradictions and believe misunderstandings of Scriptures. A Bible student who follows the spirit of disobedience is a person who is ever learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth, 2 Timothy 3:7. He is deceived into believing he is following the Spirit of Truth.
Is it love of truth or fear of learning that they are deceived that makes people reject all translations of the Bible except for the King James Version?
Is it love of truth or fear that claims that only manuscripts used by KJV translators are accurate in every word, and different manuscripts used by other translators are the product of men who hated the truth? Are all modern translators propounding the lies of the ancients because they are totally deceived or are they themselves deliberate liars?
Paul says, "Yahweh's Word is not chained," 2 Timothy 2:9. It wasn't bound to Yahshua's stake and neither is it tied into a book! People may not be worshiping a book, if they claim it is the only book that contains Yahweh's Truth, but they have succumbed to idolizing the Book while ignoring the mistranslations and men's additions to it.
When the sincere Bible student seeks to understand why modern worship has wandered so far from the teaching and truths of the Scriptures, he can start with the Bible translation he is holding.
Many errors we see today originated with translators who either lacked the complete understanding of ancient languages or who let their own doctrinal beliefs influence their work.
Many Protestant Translations
The King James Version was the most famous and widely used translation of the Bible with English-speaking Protestants for about 250 years. The KJV, however, was not the Bible used by the founders of the Protestant churches nor was the KJV ever used by all Protestants.
German Lutherans used Martin Luther's German language translation of both the Old and New testaments. Luther's Bible had a more profound effect upon Germans than the KJV ever had upon English-speaking Protestants.
The German Bible was used by German-speaking Lutheran churches in America until well into the 20th century. Luther published his Bible about 89 years before the first KJV appeared and was definitely not a German language version of the English Bible.
The Anglican Church of England used the so-called Great Bible and a later revision of that Bible called the Bishop's Bible published in 1548. Geneva, Switzerland, became the center of the Protestant Reformation in Europe outside Germany. From Geneva, John Calvin dominated the Reformation and was the most influential leader of the movement.
Calvin wrote a book that presented his understanding of what Christianity should be. The book became the foundation for almost all Protestant Church doctrines and practices.
K.S. Latourette said in A History of Christianity that Calvin "had more to do with giving the Reformed Churches their distinctive characteristics than did any other individual." The four volumes of the book Calvin first wrote in Latin and then rewrote in French were titled The Institution of the Christian Religion.
The work shows that Calvin prized Scriptures, but it also shows that he espoused the Trinitarian doctrine, the doctrine of predestination and propounded the concept of election in the sense that some are chosen to be saved (the elect) and some to be lost.
During John Calvin's leadership Geneva became a city of refuge for English Protestants forced to flee from the Catholic Queen Mary. Known as "Bloody Mary," she had about 300 persons called Catholic heretics burned at the stake.
In 1560 the scholars among the English Protestants in Geneva published an English language Bible known as the Geneva Bible that became very popular with the common people of England and was brought to the New World by the Pilgrims in 1620.
No Reform of Reformation
These Bibles are not named with the intent to indicate that they were the only Bibles published during the first century of the Protestant Reformation. Rather, to point out that they were widely used by the founders of the Protestant churches long before the KJV appeared.
Leaders of the Reformation were not unopposed by others who had also left the Roman Church at the same time and for the same reason. One such Protestant who was a contemporary of Martin Luther was Thomas Muntzer.
Muntzer was a dynamic preacher and a very religious man who had only scorn for Luther's doctrine of justification by faith without works. He referred to Luther as a "white pope" who was leading Christianity into accommodation with the cultured, propertied classes and who taught "Spiritless Father Tread-softly" doctrines. He referred to the division and doctrinal differences among Protestants as "Bible babble."
Muntzer's major disagreement with Luther, however, was with the need for social reform rather than conformity and accommodations with society. He regarded rulers and the wealthy as tyrants and merciless sources of misery for the poor. His sympathy for the poor and his understanding of Scriptures would not allow him to remain indifferent to their plight.
To Muntzer, the need for social reform was a matter of divine justice. His fervent preaching on the subject caused Luther and his followers to label Muntzer a heretic.
Muntzer eventually became obsessed with the idea that the end of the age was at hand and the "sword of Gideon" had been given to him to lead the peasants against the tyrants in "the L-rd's battle."
He led about 8,000 peasants in a revolt against a well-equipped army of knights who cut them down without mercy and captured Muntzer. Later, Luther said Muntzer died an obstinate heretic who refused to recant in spite of being tortured on the rack.
Is the attitude of Luther and his Protestant followers excusable because Muntzer's fiery preaching against social injustice incited a revolt against the rulers that threatened their survival? Wasn't the Protestant's attitude exactly the same as the attitude the Catholic hierarchy has always had toward people they label a heretic?
Trinity Doctrine Opposed
John Calvin was not without opposition in Geneva. There were some Protestants who opposed him on the grounds that his the cratic (i.e. church) government was a dictatorial regime.
Another opponent was a Spaniard, Michael Servetus. He had been a zealous Catholic in his youth, but became a Protestant after studying the Bible and reading the writings of Reformers. He fled from Spain in fear of the Inquisition and never returned.
A very religious man who earnestly desired to restore Christianity to the truth, Servetus preached that Protestants should reject the dogmas taught by the church from its beginning and look only to the Bible for truth. He rejected Calvin's doctrine of the Trinity as a satanic delusion to which most of the evils of Christianity could be traced.
While in Vienna, Servetus was arrested by the Catholic Inquisition but managed to escape and flee to Geneva, where Protestants could expect safety from the Inquisition. He was recognized by Calvin's Protestants who arrested him and put him on trial for heresy. The charge: denial of the Trinity.
The trial was very one-sided. Protestants who opposed Calvin's idea of how the church should be governed did not support Servetus. They merely used his trial as a pretext to further their attacks on Calvin. Servetus was convicted and burned at the stake.
In a letter written after Servetus began preaching against the doctrine of the Trinity, but before he came to Geneva, Calvin wrote: "If he (Servetus) comes here I will not let him depart alive, if I have any say in the affair." After the trial had begun Calvin wrote in another letter: "I hope the verdict will call for the death penalty."
Really now, which man was a heretic—the man who denied a doctrine or the man who made such statements? What translation of the Bible, ancient or modern, supports such inexcusable statements?
In his position of dominance it would be very unlikely that Calvin did not have a say in the affair and influence the verdict reached. The trial set a precedent for future Protestant heresy trials, but in details it was no different from a heresy trial conducted by the Inquisition—even to the manner of death upon conviction.
Were the actions of Calvin and the Protestants motivated by love or fear? The King James Bible is not the only translation of Scripture that tells us we are to love our enemies and that all judgment has been given to the Son (Luke 6:27 and John 22).
Michael Servetus merely opposed a doctrine and was no physical threat to them. What scriptural right did the Protestants have to kill him rather than try to discredit him by proving he was wrong and they were right?
As another Protestant heretic influenced by Martin Luther in Germany said, "How does it help us to know that the Pope is a scoundrel, if we do not wish to change for the better ourselves?"
Today the question is: What good would it do us to have what could be proved to be original writings of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, if we will not follow the Spirit of truth and live by what the translations we have shown is true? The historical record shows very clearly that the actions and the doctrines of the Protestants were not without errors and those of the so-called heretics were not entirely without truth.
Many Revisions in KJV
About one-third of all Americans who use the Bible still prefer the King James Version. Many of them may argue that what happened before it was published occurred because people did not have a totally inerrant translation of Scriptures to guide them into all truth. So, let's give some thought to the King James Version.
In 1604, the English King James I appointed 54 scholars and clerics from both the Anglican and Puritan denominations to make a translation of the whole Bible. He decreed that their translation should be as "consonant" with the original Hebrew and Greek as possible.
Even with the decree, the modern reader has a problem with the king's English. By "consonant" did the king mean "agree in sound" as the word means in the 20th century or did he mean "be as accurate"? The king must have meant "be as accurate as possible" because the king would have understood it would be impossible to make English sound like Hebrew and Greek.
What did "uncomely" mean in 1611? The dictionary defines ''comely' as 1) pleasing in appearance as in "a comely face" and 2) "proper," as in "comely behavior."
Hence, "uncomely" means displeasing or improper.
In the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 7:36 "uncomely" is translated from aschemoneo (Strong's Concordance Greek Dictionary No. 807). Aschemoneo means "to be, i.e., to act unbecomingly." Can this mean anything other than to act improperly? All that modern translations like the Revised Standard Version and the New International Version have done is clarify Paul's meaning for today's reader.
Did "uncomely" also mean "unpresentable" to the King James translators? They translated askemon (Strong's No. 809) as "uncomely" in 1 Corinthians 12:23. Greek-English lexicons say that askemon means shapeless, deformed or indecent, inelegant." "Unpresentable" is probably not a literally accurate translation of askemon, but it seems to present a clearer understanding of Paul's meaning to today's reader than "uncomely" does.
Many word changes in modern English translations are the result of a modernization of the vocabulary. Two examples of such word changes are:
• John 15:4—abide (KJV); remain (NIV); abide (RSV); remain (NEB)
• Matthew 8:1—charity (KJV); love (NIV); love (RSV); love (NEB) Scholars appointed by King James I to translate the Bible worked seven years on the translation and used all previously published English translations, the best Hebrew and Greek texts available to them and even the Catholic Douay Bible, which was an English translation of the Latin Vulgate.
The reference used most to determine the best English translation of a Greek word was William Tyndale's English translation of medieval Greek New Testament manuscripts published about 1525. Tyndale's whole Bible, an English translation of both the Old and New Testaments, completed by John Rogers and Miles Coverdale, was published in 1537.
The King James translators so admired Tyndale's work that they adopted about one-third of it to their translation without a change.
Twelve years after its publication the KJV was revised and republished in 1623. The revision contained at least 300 changes from the 1611 version. Another revision and revisions of revisions were published in 1629, 1638, 1653, 1675, 1762, and 1769.
Work on the New King James Version was begun in 1975 and the New King James translation of the New Testament was published in 1979 and the Old Testament in 1982. It has been estimated that there are about 75,000 differences between the KJV used today and the KJV published in 1611. Today's KJV is obviously not the same as was published in 1611.
This brief background of the KJV is given to show that the KJV is as much the product of men as any version. The men who produced it and revised it were dedicated to making an accurate translation of the Bible in a language intelligible to the people who would be using it. So are today's translators.
The Bible is Yahweh's Word! His Word is truth! That truth is still hidden in translations of the Bible produced by men who are really dedicated to turning out a translation that is as accurate as humanly possible.
The truth may be a little more concealed and harder to uncover than the original writers hid it. But, Yahweh's guiding Spirit can and will reveal deep hidden truths to earnest truth seekers who will follow His Spirit and live by revealed truth, Daniel 2:21-22.
Yahweh's Name Removed
Yahshua accused the lawyers of having taken away the key to knowledge, Luke 11:52. This is, of course, a figure of speech. What was literally taken away was Yahweh's Name. Without Yahweh's Name many Scriptures, especially New Testament Scriptures, cannot be understood.
Jewish superstition and the lies of false prophets caused people to forget Yahweh's Name, Jeremiah 23:25-27. Scholars, both secular and Biblical, may still argue over the exactly correct pronunciation of the Hebrew tetragram YHWH, but all agree that it is not "the LORD" as in the KJV.
Many modern translators acknowledge this fact in the preface or in footnotes of their Bibles, but continue with the KJV's precedence of the "LORD" because it is so traditional and widely used.
Modern translators are knowingly withholding the key to knowledge that the KJV translators inadvertently withheld because of ignorance.
In spite of the fact that modern translators are unwittingly abetting the devilish scheme to hide Yahweh's Name, Yahweh says My people will know My Name, Isaiah 52:6. Yahweh's people are those who are called by His Name, Daniel 9:19.
The message in Isaiah 52:5 is clear in either the KJV or the NIV. Rulers (religious leaders) cause people to howl and blaspheme Yahweh's Name all day long. (The NIV translation "mock" for yalal doesn't appear to be correct.)
Could people blaspheme the Name if they don't know it? These rulers and the people who follow them are not called by Yahweh's Name because they don't call on the Name: they blaspheme the Name.
How do they do this? They mock and belittle the use of it and teach names of the Baals and false doctrines that deceive people who will not follow the Spirit of truth. They blaspheme because they believe worshiping in the names of the Baals is not vain worship.
The translation of 1 Timothy 6:34 in the NIV is expressed in more modern words than in the KJV, but the warning to Timothy is unmistakable in either version. Paul says that people who engage in meanspirited disputes about words and teach false doctrines don't understand anything. What can he mean except that they don't understand Scriptures?
Proof of this is in the often heated controversy over the word "virgin" and the fact that some reject all translations except the KJV because many modern English translations do not translate the Hebrew word almah (Strong's No. 5959) as "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14. The NIV translates almah as virgin in Isaiah 7:14 but the New Jerusalem Bible translates almah as "maiden," while the RSV, NEB, and the Jewish Publication Society of America Bible translate almah as "young woman."
It doesn't take a complicated word study to learn the correct translation and the fact that the King James translators were not consistent in the use of the word al mah. Also, that the NIV translators must have been as preconditioned by the New Testament to mistranslate Isaiah's statement as the KJV translators were.
Looking into both Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary and Gesenius' Hebrew Chaldee Lexicon, we find that according to Strong, almah means a lass (as veiled or private) and accordingly Gesenius says almah means a girl of marriageable age.
Gesenius also says almah does not convey the idea of unspotted virginity, but it does convey the idea of a nubile girl. (Nubile meaning a young woman mature enough to be suitable for marriage.) The idea of a pure, spotless, untouched virgin is conveyed by the Hebrew word bethuwlah (Strong's No. 1330).
Compare the KJV of almah in Genesis 24:43 with the NIV translation. The same word is translated "virgin" in the KJV and "maiden" in the NIV. Now, compare the translations of Genesis 24:16. In this verse the word "virgin" is translated from bethuwlah.
Why did the King James translators give two Hebrew words with different meanings the same meaning and the NIV translators give two meanings to one Hebrew word with only one meaning? One explanation is that both the KJV and the NIV translators were conditioned by their understanding of New Testament Scriptures which the Old Testament writers did not have.
Does the fact that Isaiah was inspired to write maiden rather than virgin shall conceive and bear a son explain why the Jews still look for a man of natural birth to become the messiah?
People who reject all modern translations of the Bible because the word almah is not translated ''virgin' in Isaiah 7:14 are resisting the guidance of the Spirit of truth by refusing to examine the truth and understand why there is a difference and which is correct.
On the other hand, people who insist that Yahshua the Messiah was merely human are not just resisting the Spirit's guidance; they are rejecting truth and calling Matthew, Luke, and John liars.
Turning to the New Testament we find that the word "virgin" in Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27 is translated from the Greek word parthenos in both the KJV and the NIV. Parthenos is Strong's Greek word No. 3933 and he says parthenos means "maiden" and by implication "an unmarried daughter."
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon says parthenos means virgin because it is the Greek word found in the Septuagint in place of the Hebrew word almah in Isaiah 7:14 and Genesis 24:43. It would take a linguistic scholar to determine for certain whether Strong says par thenos means maiden because the Hebrew word it replaces means maiden, or Thayer says it means virgin because the King James translators say it does.
People who accept without question the statements about Yahshua's birth in Matthew, Luke, and John never seem to understand that there is a legitimate reason for not translating almah as "virgin." Their attitude and emotional, unthinking arguments, coupled with Christos-coated pagan doctrines and religious practices, give the appearance of credibility to the skeptic's arguments that the Bible is filled with religious myths and fables and is nothing more than the product of men.
The testimony of these Bible writers settles the question about Yahshua's birth for a person guided by the Spirit of truth. There is really no need to fear learning that Isaiah wrote almah (maiden) rather than bethuwlah (virgin) in 7:14. The wording and grammatical structure of recent translations may differ from that of the KJV, but none of the versions mentioned above alters the meaning of the Greek Scriptures that tell of Yahshua's birth any more than the KJV does.
In Luke 1:34, Mary asked the angel how she could conceive since she has not known a man. The angel's answer was that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be overshadowed by the power of the Most High, verse 35. Even before conception the angel calls Yahshua a "holy one." Unless Luke is lying, Yahshua's human body of flesh was miraculously conceived and Mary was an almah (maiden of marriageable age) and also a bethuwlah (an untouched virgin.)
Matthew confirms Luke's statements in Matthew 1:18-19. Matthew says Mary was found to be with child before she and Joseph had come together and because of this fact, Joseph was going to quietly refuse to marry her. The English translation of the Greek in these verses is a bit confusing in all versions. If Mary was only pledged to marry Joseph, can Joseph be her husband before marriage?
A quick check of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance reveals that the word "husband" in verse 19 is translated from the Greek word aner (Strong's No. 435), which means "man" in the sense of an adult male and "husband" only by extension. Aner means husband only when referring to a man to whom a woman is married.
Strong indicates that the word "man" in verse 19 isn't even in the Greek. It seems that modern translators were influenced by the KJV translators and traditional understanding of Matthew 1:19.
A bit of word study indicates that the verse would have been more accurately translated if it read: "Then Joseph, being an upright man and not willing to publically expose her, decided to privately release her from the pledge to marry him. Before he could act on this decision, the angel appeared to him and told him that the child she bore had been conceived by Yahweh's Holy Spirit." This is confirmed in Luke 1:35.
John doesn't give us an account of a miraculous conception, but he does tell us that Yahshua was with the Heavenly Father before the world was made and that He came from the Father when He became flesh and dwelt among us, John 1:1-4.
People who reject Yahshua's divine nature and preexistence are disregarding John and rejecting spiritual guidance. People who argue heatedly over the meaning of words and reject translations because changes in words or grammar cast doubt upon dogmas or doctrines believed are resisting the Spirit's guidance if not actually rejecting it.
The Spirit of truth will have trouble opening people's minds to truth if they must have an infallible book to sustain their faith. After all, we have only translations of translations and there isn't any version of the Bible that is an infallibly correct, word perfect translation of the original writings of the Bible any more than the Roman pope is an infallible teacher of truth.
It is incumbent upon all Bible believers to get back to the original Scriptures as closely as possible. The original Scriptures when given were without error. Only man has perverted Yahweh's words through ignorance or tradition.
-Elder Ralph Henrie (deceased)
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