Something is “Lost in the translation” but it is not the Bible.
History Channels Bible Secrets Revealed Part 1: “Lost in the translation” A Response
A Nefarious Goal
A Nefarious Goal
Well, the first installment of the 10 part series Bible Secrets Revealed has been presented on Wednesday November 13th on the History Channel. The documentary was advertised as one that would make anyone who was interested in the Bible think this was going to present new or deeper understandings within the Bible. This approach was intended to reach a targeted audience of young seekers or people who trusted the Bible and was interested in learning more . However the information presented became obvious right from the start that this was a effort to cast doubt on the Bible and popular long held core beliefs of the Christian Faith. This was not an objective presentation given for the audience to form their own opinions. It did not have any kind of spectrum of ideas and perspectives. Hardly an oversight, but this presentation had a deliberate exclusion from any conservative, traditional theologians with an equal quality education and credentials with a faith based belief system. They were excluded and were not allowed a voice in the matter. One must wonder if the reason for this slanted presentation is because the viewing audience not familiar with the “higher Academic” levels of studying the Bible, would be left to conclude there was no other view and therefore the “experts” know better than the rest of us about the truths that must have been suppressed or hidden from the public about Christianity and their source of faith, The Bible.
Meet the “Experts”
To know if you are hearing an objective balance and through what lens anything is being said, it is important to find out who is telling you. Here are the experts chosen for this program.
The experts this program used to interview and tell you what you needed to know about the Bible in light of History, Archeology, logic and Ancient language studies were all self professed agnostics including Dr. Candida Moss a Roman Catholic Theologian, Dr Bart Ehrman, a former evangelistic theologian turned agnostic because of the errors in the Bible he claims to have discovered and Professor Bob Cargill Professor, Theologian and Archeologist who is associated with the Atheistic organization Project Reason and member of the American Humanist Association. Also included in this illustrious group of highly credentialed alumni was self proclaimed atheist Dr Francesca Stravrakopoulou. She states: she is an atheists who, “ has a huge respect for religion”. They all have impeccable credentials with multiple degrees and awards from a global audience. All are authors of more than one book, all of which cast doubt on a wide variety of traditional beliefs in Jesus, Christian history and the Bible translations and texts. To study the lives and works of any of these individuals is to clearly see they have a life time devotion to attacking traditional Christianity as a personal crusade. From the world standards of respected and desired credentials, these individuals represent the best of the best and beside them are no others. But there are some key points any thinking person who is truly trying to find truthful information about the Bible with a quest for more than just religion but a relationship with God must consider. This is part of what I want to address here and why I titled this article with the scripture text from Proverbs. We will address some of the deceitful claims of this documentary at the end.
The Biblical Standard is not the Worlds Standard.
The term prophecy in the context of this scripture is referring to the Word of God before it became written down. This original “word” was in the form of a prophetic communication from God to certain individuals. It came not from man's own intellect as imagination or intellectual gathering of information or by any normal human function or ability. That is what this text is saying “by the will of man”. The next part is the most important prerequisite for the people chosen to receive this word. Holy men of God means they were set apart by God himself. This setting apart was God choosing the individual by God's own standards not our own. This was not even a choice or decision by the individual as if it was a career decision of their choice. Holy also has the connotation to the word as a choice from the individual only to respond to God by a free will to first believe him, obey him and trust him so that the iindividual is able to hear from him. It is a free will choice to respond to God to be able to hear from him and him alone. That is what evangelicals label , “a calling” or to “be called”. This term is often used by evangelicals to make their claim to ministry.
This was God's requirement to the first writers but it also is the same standard and calling for anyone who would expound on the written word after it became written.
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 1 Thess 1:5
Today this process is true for anyone to even begin to understand anything about God and his kingdom or his Word, the Bible.
As a member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee and teacher of the Law asked Jesus what he needed to do to understand his own troubled heart about some of the things Jesus expounded on from the Bible of their time, the Old Testament. Jesus in own words explains what we all have to do to understand God, his Word and his kingdom ways.
Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
Whenever we see a declaration started with a double introduction to the rest of the statement, it was a Hebrew way of saying heads up this is very important. To be Born Again was the important element that was needed. The Greek use of, “to see” here is not just the ability to see with your eyes but it means to comprehend or perceive with your mind. In other words the same standard for writing the Word of God is also the same standard for reading and comprehending and instructing others with the Word of God. Jesus goes on to describe what this Born Again idea is.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:5-7
To be born of water means the water as in the bursting of water in natural birth and the reason those Greek words were chosen. You have to be born once in normal physical birth and also a spiritual birth that Jesus further in this text describes is like the wind you can feel it without seeing it. But there is a better scripture to describe being born again in the spiritual sense and it is found in the Old Testament. I want to use this to make a very important point for those of you not familiar with the Bible. The Old testament is best described as the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is best described as the Old Testament revealed. I would suggest to anyone, a first year course you can take at any Bible College is “A survey of the Old Testament.” In this course you see the deep richness in the interconnection and strategy of God's arrangement and purpose for every OT book and how it relates to the New Testament. This is an important connection and here is a perfect example found in Ezekiel 36.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezek 36:25-27
Hundreds of years before John the Baptist preached the need to repent and be baptized in water the example was set down by Ezekiel . In addition the actual description of a spiritual birth is described as to just what happens in a very physical manner as well as it being a spiritual experience. The new heart that is given is your mind being renewed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. God puts his own spirit to merge with mans human spirit. The two become one. This is only done by a free will choice by you the individual by accepting the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is an unconditional surrender to him by believing him and a willingness to follow him. It is supernatural beyond anything a human can do to change the human condition. It is how a “holy man” of God can write what he is told. Before Christ, the Spirit was described as descending upon someone. Moses desired to see everyone as a prophet having the Spirit of God in the same way the prophets of his time had. This desire that all people could be as the prophets was completed in Christ as now, “whosoever will” may receive this gift. This act of God's grace is how we are right in God's eyes and are able to understand and be instructed by God's Word and instruct others as well. I refer back to the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 as the gospel was not presented in word only (intellect) but with power by the Holy Spirit the assurance is by the results of changed lives and the miracles that follow all believers. So if that is God's standard and requirement what do self proclaimed agnostics and atheists have to offer anyone in the way of Biblical exposition? Isn't that like asking Satan himself to explain the things of God and then expect to get an objective answer?
The Bible warns us of the dangers of the natural state of our mind and spirit. That is a term used for the person by ignorance or by direct refusal to accept God's offer of a relationship by being “Born Again”. He is the natural man because he is fully compatible to this fallen world and subject to it not knowing any better because he is cut off from the Holy Spirit of God. Not knowing God's ways he is totally dependent on the only thing he understands, man's ways. This separation makes him or her powerless to do anything for himself or others. In this rejection the "natural" person also is not aware of a real enemy to mankind and God, Satan and his minions. His perception is left to only his five senses and his own intellect
But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Cor 2:14
To be “spiritually discerned” , pneumatikoos from it's use and word structure here means that you are cut off or damned from understanding or comprehending anything from God. Strong language for a strong reason.
The claim was made that the earliest copy of the Gospel account, a Codex we have for the book of Mark ended with bewildered followers with an empty tomb. It is further claimed that Mark was the oldest copy found from the other Gospel accounts and thereby assumed to be the first one written. They make the claim that this ended the gospel story minus the resurrection. They go so far as to say that the other gospel accounts were not even authored by the ones claimed to be writing them and that these unknown authors using the apostles names, just made up the rest of the gospel story to their own desired end. Of course they have to add the motivations of these deceitful people was for monetary gain and political promotion of the faith within the Holy Roman Empire. Insane! Is the only thing that came to me when I heard such outrageous lies.
Many Conservative Theologians and even early church fathers wrote about the addition of the four gospels with the epistles that were to be distributed among the churches as early as 40-80 AD.( epistles are the letters written to the churches by the apostles that are now books of the NT.) They continue on with a hair raising conclusion that even all four gospel stories do not agree with each other having conflicts within the content. To anyone without an education in the Bible this would seem rather conclusive and even conspiratorial if you did not see there was another side to all of this. But what should you expect when you have Satan explaining the things of God to you?
This is not some new revelation. I was in Bible College some thirty years ago and had this same discussion about Mark's gospel in a basic course, A Harmony of the Gospels. The same accusations existed than as remains today but has an easy answer when you don't let Satan twist it around for you.
This codex was texts of pages bound like a book something new in that day from the traditional scrolls that the Jews used for the Old Testament. The bindings of this particular find was rotted away and whatever it was supposed to hold it no longer did. The pages were simply lost in time from the rest of the book, end of story!. Their claim of only proof that the writers were not original is made only by a 200 year gap in finding anything that would be considered original. What they do not tell you is that for any ancient literature written by man in all of history, the Bible has more parts and full texts closer to any assumed original dates than anything else written by man. It is undisputed that Homer wrote the Oddsey or the Iliad yet the closest amount of time for the Oddesy has a 500 year gap for pieces and over 900 years for the first full text. It makes you wonder why the double standard. For the best ever book written by a True Bible Scholar who has both credentials that this world demands and the necessary standard the Lord requires I suggest the ageless book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. He is the opposite of Bart Erman in that Josh for his Doctorate thesis set out to disprove the Bible based on History and Archeology. In his quest he became a Christian when he found the Bible to be the best protected book ever written by mankind throughout all of history. The evidence is so outmatched by anything else it is supernatural in itself.
The outrageous claim that because of a two hundred year gap the authors are not the real ones has no logical standard used by anyone anywhere at anytime. This is a Satanic attack by those that work for the “god of this world” weather they know it or not they are his disciples. That in itself is rather funny as they do not believe in God therefore they also do not believe in Satan as a literal being or the rest of his minions. That in my mind makes them clueless to any spirituality reality.
Are the Four Gospels Telling Different Stories?
Now let's get back to the hair raising conclusions as told by this documentary that the Gospels do not tell the same story OMG! Again a first year student at any Bible College can take a course in “The Harmony of the Gospels” to clearly understand what a foolish claim this is. What is lacking in most peoples understanding is who is talking to whom and why there is a difference. The Lord always speaks to us in our own language and cultural understandings. Anyone who is Born Again and has been led in anyway by him knows how this happens. It is the difference between a dead sterile religion or an exciting relationship with the Lord. The World as it existed in the time of Jesus had three main cultures with a global influence. We also had a new offshoot from Judaism which were the followers of Christ later to be called Christians composed of both gentiles and Jews. With this additional new group we then had four people groups that were directly influenced with the new Gospel of Christ. Each one of these Gospel accounts were tailored to each of these different groups. Each writer of the four Gospels also represented members of the group they were addressing. Much of the details or any differences were based solely on what was important to that culture and how to communicate the story to that particular group. Matthew was an educated Jew and was familiar with many of the prophetic promises about the Messiah as were most Jews of that day. It was important to be very detailed in relating the current events back to the Hebrew scrolls and translated in the Septuagint which in that time was the Bible used even by Jesus. So Matthew included details that would be important and common knowledge to the Jews of that day. A good example of this was in Matthew 21:2 records the account where the disciple was told to go get a donkey for the Lord to ride upon. Two donkeys are mentioned in this text in Matthew where all of the other gospels only mention one. A conflict or confusion? No the actual quote for this event was in a prophecy written in the book of Zechariah 9:9 where the colt of an ass is mentioned, 2 donkeys. This minor detail was only important to the Jews who Matthew was addressing. This detail was not mentioned to the other groups as it had no meaning to them. Mark was a Roman and their writings were culturally short brief and to the point. The Roman did not want details but just the short synopsis of the important information without the dressings and drama of detail. Mark was presenting the gospel Roman style. Luke was a Greek gentile Physician and Historian with a formal Greek education considered the best in that world. Greeks were articulate in recording historical events with a flair for a cultural docudrama type writing style with a touch of the Greek scholarship level of communication. This style appealed to other Greeks of that time. John also a Jew converted to Christianity was concerned with the new spiritual side of this new group and the emphasis was centered around the mysteries of the faith now revealed by the supernatural relationship offered to everyone in Christ. The writing style is eclectic with a focus on the deeper spiritual truths for the new believer.
These four gospels then are like transparencies where each group has a piece of the overall picture. When they are stacked upon one another they give you a full image. What may appear to be a conflicting difference are only a perspective from each individual cultures account and observation that combined gives you a full account of just one event through four different lenses. That is why the class is called A Harmony of the Gospels.
Lost in the Translation?
This documentary also uses an example of a mistake (their claim) in Bible translation or as they subtly call it a mistranslation from a word use of young girl or virgin between Isaiah 7 and Matthew 21. This has been debated for longer than I have been alive. Their claim is that from the Hebrew to the Septuagint to Greek and then the final English translations the meaning changed and the original young woman became virgin. Without a direct attack they allude to the fact that there were nefarious political reasons for a deliberate change. This twist if proven of course would cast doubt on anything else translated in the Bible and by that establish their crowing achievement of casting doubt on the reliability of the Bible. This is a popular lie being proclaimed by many different sources today and when further study is done the faithful can discover how deceitful these claims really are. The Septuagint was the translation Jesus would have used in his own time on earth. Converting the English from the Greek for both Old and New Testaments derived as their sources both the Septuagint and what is called the Masoretic texts. I do not want to get too technical here but the debate is a technical one but the solution is not so hard to figure out even if your not a Bible scholar. I use both sources in my own study and like to cross reference many different sources. For the average person wanting to know more there are many different study resources available and it is just a matter of personal desire to dig deep. The trick is to know what resources to use for any particular answers you need. I am assuming my audience may include many that are not familiar with the many resources available for anyone today. The experts in this video are counting on the fact that most of you will not do your own homework or desire to know what they know on this level but you can if you know where to go for the information.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15
At a time when the enemy is so elaborate in his attacks against our faith, it becomes necessary if we are going to resist lies and provide sound Biblical answers, we must take it upon ourselves to labor in prayer and searching the Word for answers. We have been separated by ancient and foreign cultures, dead or changed languages that have lost much meaning today but it is not so lost that it cannot be known or can be found. This also does not take a genius to be able to find and regain this knowledge and understanding. I find most people are just too lazy brained to work hard at finding good answers. They will let their Pastor or favorite teacher do the thinking for them or accept simple answers from authority figures so they do not have to work themselves. Simple Simon Christianity is not a good enough defense! You can and must dig deeper.
Dr Strong's and Dr Young cataloged every word in the Bible and using entire word etymology and language construct and created the Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. This is the primary source for finding what the original words mean without the taint of doctrine but based on the word mechanics and use alone. Additional books and various commentaries can give you a well rounded deeper study and meaning. Vine's notes on Strong's numbers can give you some deeper truths with notes and trails of global word uses in all cultures or word etymology. I also used Vincent's New Testament Word Studies, Barn's Notes, Unger's Bible Dictionary, Customs and Manners of the Bible, Biblical Gemerta, PARDUS and more. I hope you can get the idea. Do you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to have this library? No you can get them all and about 80 reference books or more on a DVD for a few hundred dollars from Bible Soft. It just takes time and discipline that the average person can perform without being a genius. So here is what I discovered about the change or accused twisting and manipulation for the word young women or virgin.
In the Old Testament (the Septugent) compiled in the 2nd century BC a translation from the Hebrew into the Konie Greek and was the Bible Jesus would have used in his time on earth. Isaiah 7:14 almaah is translated as young woman. In the Masoretic texts (the ones most protestant books are derived from) was put together by Jewish scholars around the 7th or 10th century AD from the Hebrew. The same OT text says “virgin” Debates on these texts have been forever but when the dead sea scrolls were found many of the oldest books in Hebrew were the same as the Masoretic texts. There are differences but nothing that changes any core doctrines except the attempts here with this one word that liberal theologians try to make their claim on.
The Masoretic texts say virgin. Is there a difference? No, consistency in the word use tells us that the 7 times this word is used it is referring to a young woman of child birth age but not married. In this time it was always assumed that this was synonymous with the meaning of a virgin. One use in Proverbs liberals try to say means a married woman but the text is not provable to that claim and has more to do with a promiscuous young man and maiden as the same meaning. In Isaiah 7 when the prophecy was given to Isaiah, his wife had died and he was single but was soon to be married to a young woman (a virgin) who would provide this birth as a sign. This happened and that prophecy was fulfilled in his day and time. There is in proper hermeneutics, a “rule of duplicity” whereby this event has a prophetic dual role with the original being a type or foreshadow of a prophetic event that mirrors a future event. Therefore by the text and well known cultural meaning of alamaah as a young woman who is not married and therefore a virgin, there is no twisting happened here. Rather, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit either word is fully acceptable and consistent to the proper "rules" of letting the Bible interpret itself by itself. Much I have found in the Masoretic texts slant some of the words in this same way as looking after the cross as opposed to before the cross. The meaning is not different but further refined by this lens difference. I still like to use both as a reference to be on any safe side and in that I have not seen anything earth shaking that could doubt or remove my faith in the reliability of God's Word.
The Signs of the Times
I do believe this is where faith comes in and only a true believer can understand this. God is all powerful and it stands to reason if he expects us to have his written Word backed up with the supernatural witness of his indwelling Holy Spirit within us, then it only stands to reason he would be able to protect his Word the Bible to make sure we could rely on it as a source for everything. I think the work of Josh McDowell has objectively shown this protection to the whole world. The Bible has been the most protected book ever written yet the most ridiculously scrutinized book ever.
This reliability is ageless and has been a strong foundation for all of this time. I think it more than a coincidence that now more than ever it comes under attack. Even this attack is mentioned prophetically in the scriptures and those who are the attackers. Here are the warnings for the end times about these attacks.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Tim 4:1-2
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2 Tim 4:3
Prophetic Warnings from the Bible
This is how the Lord views these experts that pervert His Word.
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth..2 Tim 3:7.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away..2 Tim 3:5.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, ...Rom 1:22
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Ps 53:1
My final toughs and warning to these “experts,” who by the Word of God, are Blasphemers. I am not making any moral judgment on you other than what you have stated by your own words and works in contrast to what the Bible requires and warns about you. Is there a chance to change? As long as you are alive, yes there is a chance but there comes a time when people are so convinced by their own ideas they may not be able to come back or change but that is God's job not mine. Mine is to pray and hope you do change but nevertheless it is also my responsibility to warn others of your deceptions. My last warning to all of you is this. While you pretend to be so concerned for all of us that we are believing a tainted work lost in the translation and interfered by man; the only thing lost in any translation is your own disbelief with your unqualified comments and they will have eternal consequences for you. I think it funny that God preserved 66 book that are accepted as the Old and New Testaments called the Bible which means THE BOOK. In Gematra, (assigning a number to word equivalents), the number for man is 6 and when your natural educated mind separate from the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit puts your personal touch on these 66 books... well you do the math 6+66= 666
This was not by chance it is a warning to you.