Things Every Christian Should Know
For mature Christians who are
seeking a better understanding
of the Bible and answers to some
of the so-called discrepancies
which mislead the blind.
My people perish for
lack of knowledge:
Chapter 1. A Brief History of the Early Church
Chapter 2. A Brief History of English Bibles
Chapter 3. The Seven Pillars of Christian Faith
Chapter 4. Prayer
Chapter 5. Why Jesus Taught in Parables
Chapter 6. The Garden of Gethsemane
Chapter 7. A Biblical Look at the Trinity
Chapter 8. The Texus Receptus and the King James Version
Chapter 9. Deliberate Changes Made to the Bible
Chapter 10. The Name of Our God
Chapter 11. God’s Voice
This book was not written for evangelical work with unbelievers or new converts to Christianity. It was composed to edify those who already believe, but who have come to realize that there are just too many discrepancies in what the Bible says and many of the doctrines, beliefs, and practices of the Roman Catholic and many Protestant Churches.
None of the material in any chapter is fully developed. It is the author’s hope that this book will lead you to study other sources especially the Scriptures and not be spoon fed by someone else.
The great and wonderful work of dedicated righteous men throughout the ages has not been stressed. Instead, the terrible way ungodly men have used Christ’s Church and the Holy Scriptures for their own nefarious selfish purposes has been emphasized to show their effect on scripture and our beliefs today. .
It is the desire of the author that instead of becoming disillusioned with the condition of the ‘visible church’, all readers will be thankful that God has lead them to the truth and will take joy in seeing more clearly, the truthfulness and consistency of The Old and New Testaments and His wonderful plan of salvation, through Jesus the Christ, His only begotten son.
Greenville, South Carolina
The early church from the end of the Roman Empire through the European dark ages played a more significant role in establishing custom, tradition, and doctrine in both Catholic and Protestant churches than most Christians realize. During this time, there were many believers who lived Christ-like lives and honored their savior. However, most church leaders were worldly men who neither knew nor followed Jesus, nor cared for their flock. They were ignorant of Scripture, and took great pains to see that all ordinary men remained ignorant as well.
No denomination I know of places much emphasis on this early church history. They may give it lip service and even require prospective members to become familiar with a few events leading to the formation of their particular denomination, but no one is required to study with a questioning mind the history of the church from the resurrection of Christ to the Reformation. This is very unfortunate as during this period many of the basic truths taught by our Lord Jesus were distorted, added to, or eliminated altogether. It has been executed so skillfully and so effectively that even today, many Protestants who attend church regularly, read their Bibles frequently, and attend Bible studies do not realize what has been done.
This chapter does not cover all the important events in church history, but emphasis is placed on those events and circumstances which clearly illustrate the immoral lifestyles of early church leaders, the wicked decisions they made to increase their own personal wealth, and the sinful decrees they issued to keep their flock in physical subjection and spiritual darkness, rather than to enlighten them about righteous living and God’s plan of salvation. Keep in mind that in reality, ‘The Church’ is all people, in all ages, from all nations, who believe that God the Father sent His son, Jesus the Christ (the Messiah), to take away the sin of the world, who repent, and who strive to live righteous lives. These believers become children of God.
The other ‘so-called or visible church’ are those highly visible organizations which call themselves ‘the church’, but by their beliefs and actions are not children of God. Sometimes children of God are members of this visible church, but not all members of the visible church are children of God. It is important, no not important but essential, for you to be able to recognize both churches. You do not want to remain a member of the visible church.
You are encouraged to read more detail accounts of early church history, but be sure to select unbiased ones as many denominations have glossed over and even erased from their publications many of the shameful deeds committed by their early leaders.
In the first hundred years or so after Jesus’ crucifixion, the new church was persecuted by both Jewish and Roman authorities. Most believers, elders, and Bishops were godly men who loved the truth and would willingly give they lives for their faith in Jesus. Many did, including Bishops Ignatius, Alexander, Polycarp, and Justine Martyr to name only a few. But then something very strange happened. It happened after the Roman Emperor, Constantine, defeated his rivals, embraced Christianity, and moved his capital eastward to the Byzantine city of Constantinople, now called Istanbul. Now for the first time, instead of persecution, Christianity was recognized as the official religion of an empire and enjoyed much freedom.
Constantine was able to unify his empire politically, but he soon realized that the Christian Church within his domain contained two antagonistic groups. The hostility centered on the understanding of the nature of the Father and the son. Some Bishops, basing their belief on the monotheistic concept of Scripture, reasoned that since the son was begotten of the Father, there was a time in which the son did not exist. Therefore, the Father was the only self-existing one, that is, the only God. Other Bishops disagreed, reasoning that if the son was begotten of the Father, he was identical to the Father in all respects, so therefore he also was God. The debate had been simmering for years, but now was becoming open, and was and threatening the unity of the empire.
Constantine quickly called
and financed a council of church leaders to resolve their differences and
produce a unifying statement of faith. It is fully
recognized that Constantine’s call was more for political reasons than
religious ones, but it was an official Christian Church Council nevertheless.
In 325 AD this council met in Nicaea, Turkey with Constantine, the nation’s Emperor, not a church Bishop, as its highest authority. After months of bitter debate, the Bishops who believed that both the son and the Father were God succeeded in convincing Constantine they were correct and together, without agreement of the dissenters, they issued what is now called the Nicaean Creed. This creed recognized the existence of the holy spirit, but did not raise ‘him’ to the position of God. That would come later. Here is an English translation of the initial Nicaean creed.
“We believe in one God, the father almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousion, consubstantialem) with the Father.
By whom all things were made both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered, and the third day he rose again and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead.
And we believe in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say, that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that he is of a different substance or essence from the Father, or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion, all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.”
By an Imperial order, this creed was imposed on all church congregations. Those who did not accept it were excommunicated and their Bishops exiled. However, from exile these Bishops continued their opposition so effectively that ten years later in 335 Constantine changed his mind and proclaimed the Nicaean Creed to be in error. Notice that the creed was changed by the Emperor and not by an assembly of church leaders illustrating how Constantine was it undisputed leader. He reinstated the exiled Bishops and exiled the Bishops who had led in the creed’s adoption.
Nevertheless, this ruling was short lived, as two years later, Constantine went to his deathbed (where he was at last baptized) with a sharply divided church. After Constantine’s death, his son and successor, Constantius, repealed his father’s last decree. He re-instituted the Nicaean Creed as the official doctrine of Christian faith within the Roman Empire, re-calling the exiled Bishops who favored it, and again exiling the Bishops who opposed it.
There are two things to note from these events: (1). That this creed was not given through the holy spirit to godly men for the edifying of the church, but was the product of long and heated debates by church Bishops and political leaders and, (2). That this creed has never been fully accepted by all Christendom. Later it will be explained why this creed gained widespread acceptance in spite of intense opposition to it.
Even though the new Emperor Constantius decreed that the Nicaean creed must be accepted by all churches, opposition to it continued. Twenty years later, in 357, another council, The Ecumenical Church Council of Antioch-Seleucia met and removed the co-substantive (homoousios) clause. This clause said that Jesus was of the same substance as the Father. But, twenty four years later in 381 still another council, The Council of Constantinople, repealed the Antioch-Seleucia deletion and went further by adding, “That God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to be co-eternal, co-equal, and co-substantive.” Thus 320 years after Christ’s crucifixion and after more than 50 years of fierce human controversy, the church and secular authorities arrived at a creed that is still widely taught today. Just how this new creed agrees with or contradicts Scripture is discussed in chapter 7.
With the new doctrine now officially recognized, church leaders and the state spiritually and physically crushed all opposition. Church leaders and members alike who did not accept church doctrine were excommunicated, their property taken, and in some cases their lives forfeited. These actions by the church and others like them, led to the period of European history known as the ‘Dark Ages’. And dark they were, for the Bible describes ‘darkness’ as the absence of God’s word, and the Roman Church certainly saw to it that no one other than church officials had access to the Scriptures.
Another controversy was with the Donatist. These Christians refused to reinstate church members who, when the church was under persecution, had renounced their faith and surrendered copies of Scripture to be destroyed. The state demanded that all local congregations welcome these members back into fellowship. From such an order, one can conclude that under the leadership of Imperial Rome, you were not to be disciplined if you turned your back on Christ, but if you did not believe the Nicaean Creed, you were worthy of death. Such was the heart of the highly organized visible church.
After the fourth century, the Nicaean Creed became the central doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and thousands lost their lives when they refused to accept it. But, the ignoble deeds of those who insisted that all Christians believe this creed were not confined to the Roman Church. As late as 1553 John Calvin, considered the founder of Presbyterianism had a famous doctor, Michael Servetus, burned at the stake for openly declaring that the Trinity Doctrine to be a perversion of the gospel. And today, a Christian who refuses to accept the Nicaean creed is often considered by Roman Catholics and most mainline Protestants to be a lower infidel than one who rejects Christ all together.
While all this debating and excommunicating was going on, the church at Rome began declaring itself to be the ‘Mother Church’ and that it’s Bishop was superior to all other Bishops. It insisted all religious matters must ultimately be decided in Rome.
In 380 Ulfilas, a missionary to the Goths, saw the need and translated a portion of the Bible into the Gothic language. He was immediately denounced by the Roman Church and commanded to cease further translations. Church leaders did not want the Scriptures in any common language. Twenty-five years later in 405 the church commissioned one of its own priests, a monk called Jerome, to prepare the Old and New Testaments in Latin. His translation, called the Vulgate or Common Version, prepared from just a few late manuscripts, became the only Bible available to European churches for hundreds of years. We now know that his translation incorporated much Catholic tradition not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. Unfortunately, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate was used extensively to prepare the earliest English Bibles thus greatly influencing our beloved King James Version.
In 428, Nestorius, the Bishop of Constantinople, refuted the Roman Church by declaring Mary not to be the “Mother of God” as Jesus was born as a man. The Church, through the Council of Ephesus responded by declaring him to be a heretic and exiled him from the Empire. By 550, the Roman Church was the largest land owner in Italy. But, instead of using this wealth to further the gospel, church leaders used it to live opulent, sinful life styles while they lorded it over the poor peasantry, and hid God’s word from them.
In 586 the Roman Church converted all the Visigoths living in Spain to Catholicism. Their choice was ‘leave, convert, or die’. This move ended all religious tolerance in Europe. Just a few years later Augustine, a Roman Catholic Priest, established a church at Canterbury, England. England remained under Roman Catholic domination for nearly 1000 years, until 1530 when King Henry VIII rebelled and Parliament established the Church of England.
For over a hundred years there was strife between the Roman Church and the Easter Orthodox Church, but in 596 the strife worsened when the Eastern Church openly refuted the Roman Church’s claim that Jesus was just as powerful as the Father. This strife was intensified in 733 when Pope Gregory III excommunicated the Eastern Emperor Leo III for attacking the Roman Church’s use of statues and idols in church worship. The split continued to deteriorate and became complete in 1054. By 800 the King of the Franks, Charlemagne, became so powerful that he was crowned as Emperor of The Western Empire. He immediately began to convert his subjects to Catholicism at the point of a sword.
In 870, the Roman Church again forbade the use of any native tongue in worship services. This meant that the people had to hear the Scriptures from the Latin Vulgate Bible, which they did not understand, and rely solely on a priest to tell them what he had said. It was during the period, from 500 to 1500, that the ‘visible Church’ forbade anyone outside the church to own a copy of the Bible, and forbade anyone not a priest to even read the Scriptures. Further, and more damaging in the long run, church leaders during this period, took liberties with the content of the Bible that they had no right to do. These liberties and their aftermath are discussed in chapter 9.
During the next few hundred years, the leaders of the visible church were more involved in the political activity of European kings than in evangelizing the people. They made and supported kings who were obedient to the Pope. They withheld support or overthrew kings who opposed him. In 1095 Pope Urban II initiated the first crusade to wrestle control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. He promised full pardon for all sins to each warrior. Within four years they conquered the city, but instead of liberating it, they massacred the Muslim defenders and the Jewish inhabitants as well. They were praised and honored by the church.
Pope Innocent III, (about 1200) brought the Papacy to the pinnacle of its power by forcing the submission of the kings of France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire. He assumed the title, “Vicar of God.” He decreed that all members must believe in transubstantiation, a belief that the elements of the Lord’s Supper actually turned into the flesh and blood of Christ, and he continued to ban Scripture from the common people. He initiated Papal Inquisitions, and killed all Albigenses and Waldenses who would not submit to his authority. Peter Waldo was a wealthy merchant of Lyons, France. After Waldo had made provisions for his family, he lived a simple life preaching the principals of the Bible. His influence spread to other parts of Europe where they were called Waldensians. Initially, the Roman Church accepted this work. That is, until they began quoting Scripture to the people. Then persecution began. The pope created a new order, the Dominican Friers, to eliminate the Waldensians by massacring whole villages.
During the next century, reforms were attempted by the Cistercian Order, the Mendicant Order, and the Franciscans, but church leaders were unwilling to relinquish any income, power or influence. The Popes and Bishops alike lived immoral lives, sold church offices to the highest bidder, levied heavy papal taxes, and sold indulgences, even for future sins. They amassed large fortunes for themselves, and had little, if any, care for the common man. There were a few godly men within the church who lived by Biblical principals, but they had no influence on church policy.
Such was Europe when
John Wycliffe became a Roman Catholic priest at Oxford, England. It did not
long to see the depraved condition of his
church. He believed that all men should have the Bible in their own language,
but was denied permission to translate it into English. He rejected the
doctrine that tradition was equal in authority as Scripture.
He even went so far as
to say “It is supposed, and with great probability that the Roman Pontiff
is the great Antichrist.” On his own, Wycliffe trained lay preachers
and sent them to spread the gospel of Jesus to the common people around
Oxford. These men came to be called Lollards. In 1383, he translated
the Bible into
English and had it published in Germany.
The Church declared him a heretic and sought to kill him, but he was protected by powerful members of the English aristocracy. The church dismissed him from office, and after his death ordered all his works destroyed, his bones dug up, burned, and spread on the River Avon. Such was the hate the Roman Church had for anyone who defied them. Wycliffe is frequently referred to as the “Morning Star of the Reformation,” but that blessing had to wait for a later time.
One hundred years later another Catholic priest saw the great need to reform the Church, but this one was in Germany. His named was Martin Luther. Luther was an Augustinian Monk and was very disturbed by the decadent life style of church leaders, sale of indulgences, and other church doctrine. He sought God’s approval by all the paths advocated by the Church, but nothing gave him peace. Then he read in the Bible “The just shall live by faith.” The western world would never be the same.
Actually Luther wanted only to reform the Church, but the church hierarchy would have none of that. He was commanded to recant his accusations, and when he refused he was declared a heretic. Like Wycliffe before him, he was protected by the ruling aristocracy, who also were concerned about the far reaching and corrupt power of the Roman Church. In hiding, Luther translated the Bible into German and together with German Princes, established a separate national church. By 1550 Lutheranism spread to all the Scandinavian countries, and Luther’s ideas radiated across all of Europe. The Protestant faith had finally been born, but much blood was to be shed before the Roman Church was forced to recognize it’s existence.
As you might expect, the Roman Church leaders were having none of that rebellion in Germany or any other country. For the next hundred years, they sought to burn all literature not approved by the church. They sought to silence anyone who disagreed with them, and if unsuccessful, they willingly burned them at the stake. They continued to prohibit publishing the Bible in the language of the people.
Their most notorious instrument was the Inquisition. Anyone suspect of disobedience or who tolerated another’s disobedience was summon to trial by a church appointed inquisitor who had unlimited authority to obtain a submission. Suspects were imprisoned, subjected to inhumane physical torture, and if they did not submit, they were killed. And guess what, all their property was forfeited and divided between the inquisitor, the Bishops, and the ruling obedient secular authorities.
In France, the Roman Church was responsible for killing over 20,000 French Protestants or Huguenots as they were called. Many were killed in Paris during the so called “St Bartholomew Massacre.” In Scotland, the Church burned the early reformers, but John Knox received support from Scottish nobility and merchants and defeated Queen Mary Stuart’s attempt to keep Scotland in Rome’s fold. In Holland, William of Orange defeated the Spanish army and established a nation that permitted religious freedom. It was here that the Anabaptist movement began, emphasizing authority of the Scriptures, baptism of only believers, and separation of church and state. In Switzerland Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin successfully opposed Roman authority and established Protestant congregations without the level of bloodshed of other countries.
In England, King Henry VIII supported the Pope against Martin Luther calling him, “a limb of the devil.” Henry supported the Pope because he wanted two things from him: (1). A Title like the one the Pope had given the King of France, “Most Christian King,” and (2). He wanted the Pope to grant him a divorce from his wife, Catherine, as she had failed to give him a male heir. For his opposition to Lutheranism, the Pope decreed Henry was, “Defender of the Faith,” but he never granted his divorce. Henry’s wife was the daughter of the Spanish Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, who burned heretics by the thousands, and who the Pope was not going to offend. In 1530, after years of failed negotiations, Henry, with Parliament’s approval, broke all ties to the Roman Church and established the Church of England with himself as its supreme head. Henry permitted the printing of Coverdale’s and the Great Versions of the English Bible, however, he remained ‘very Catholic’. For example, he outlawed Wycliffe’s translation, would not permit Tyndale to publish his translation, and decreed death for anyone not believing in transubstantiation. Henry had little sympathy for the dissenters (Christians who rejected both the Roman and English Churches), whose voices were now echoing throughout his kingdom.
King Henry did have a male heir by his third wife, Jane Seymour, who became King Edward VI, upon Henry’s death. It was during Edward’s reign that the Roman Church realized that they must do something to stop the spread of Protestantism and convened the Council of Trent (1545-1563). However, this council did nothing to satisfy Protestant complaints. It upheld the basic structure of the Medieval Church, the sacramental system, all religious orders and doctrine. It strongly affirmed indulgences, pilgrimages, the veneration of saints, relics, and transubstantiation. It did acknowledge the need to increase the education of rural priests and their discipline, but this was fare too little and far too late.
King Edward VI reigned only six years. He was succeeded by his half sister Mary, daughter of Henry’s first wife Catherine. Queen Mary I was a staunch Catholic, and by her wretched efforts to return England to papal control, she rightfully earned the title, “Bloody Mary.” John Rogers, author of the “Thomas Matthew’s” Version of the Bible was her first martyr, but he was soon followed by hundreds of others. Mary’s favorite method of killing heretics was burning alive at the stake.
Fortunately for England, Mary reigned only five years. Upon her natural death, her half-sister, the daughter of Henry VIII by his second wife, Ann Boleyn, became Queen Elizabeth I. She also became Head of the Church of England. While she sent traitors to the block for treason, she never killed anyone for their religious beliefs. Queen Elizabeth assisted the Huguenots in France, the Protestant Dutch under Spanish rule, German Protestants under Charles V, and the Scots under their Catholic Queen, Mary. She authorized the Bishops Bible to be printed and used in all churches.
The Pope was filled with so much hatred for Elizabeth that he excommunicated her, released all her subjects from obeying her decrees, and promised full pardon on earth and in heaven to anyone who would assassinate her. He also commanded Phillip II of Spain to invade England and return it to Roman control. In 1588, Phillip sent his infamous Spanish Armada, to overthrow Elizabeth’s Protestant government. However, because of England’s new sea power, and as some say, the powerful hand of God’s weather, the Spanish were decimated; leaving England and her new church the freedom to sow God’s word like it had never been sown before.
While Elizabeth exercised more religious tolerance than any previous English monarch, she was never able to come to terms with the Pilgrims and Puritans who wanted further separation from Roman Catholic doctrine and practices. During her reign many of them chose to leave England.
Elizabeth’s successor was her cousin King James I, who was also King James VI of Scotland. James’s mother was Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary was Roman Catholic, but James was raised as a Presbyterian and brought his Protestant faith with him when he became King of England. King James was less tolerant of the dissidents than was Queen Elizabeth. Hoping to unify most believers in England, he authorized a new translation of the Bible. James firmly believed in the Divine Right of Kings, so he insisted that the new translation contain no glosses or marginal notes which challenged his authority. The results, published in 1611, was the Authorized Version, better known in America as the King James Version, This book has influenced the world more than any other book, bar none.
Hopefully, you can see from this brief account, that the visible church from the time of Constantine to the Reformation completely ignored the teaching and examples of our Lord Jesus given to us in Holy Scripture, and in its place dispensed rituals, relics, tradition, idols, and mystery. The Reformation corrected many of the practices and false doctrines of this visible church, but there are yet more important truths that still need to see the light of day. We discuss some of these important truths in later chapters.
Most American’s knowledge of early English Bibles is limited to the history of the King James Version completed in 1611. However, this version was only one of many that played a significant role in the Reformation and the conversion of a large portion of the United Kingdom and subsequently much of the English speaking world, into evangelical Christians. This chapter presents the major events leading to the first edition of each version. No attempt is made to relate later editions. Social, religious and political conditions are emphasized to show the trials, hardships, risks and dangers each translator faced. It is indeed shameful that so few of today’s church members know of the suffering our forefathers endured so that we could have a copy of the Bible in our own home.
You are encouraged to read longer, more detailed, historical accounts of early versions to learn the sinful, inhuman, and painful methods the visible church used to prevent God’s word from reaching the hands and hearts of the English world. It is hoped that by knowing this portion of our history, you will cherish your own Bible more dearly and be moved to study it, not just read it, but study it. You are encouraged to study the Bible for yourself and not to be content with spoon feeding by a pastor or a priest.
John Wycliffe was born into an England that had only three classes of inhabitants, the clergy, the landowning aristocrats/knights and the hard working peasants. The merchant class had not yet appeared. The country was ruled by the clergy and the aristocrats. The peasants toiled and lived in squalor producing all the food, clothing and structures. They were uneducated, and very superstitious. The church and the Lord of the manor governed all aspects of their life. At this time the Roman Catholic Church, rather than the king, actually ruled England and most of Europe with an iron fist. One hundred years earlier in 1213, the Pope humbled the English King, John II, when John displeased him. The Pope excommunicated John, declared him no longer king and released his subjects from obeying him. He ordered King Philip of France to invade England. John saved his kingship only by a complete submission to the Pope.
The English Bible began, if it is possible to pick a beginning, in about 1377 AD when John Wycliffe, an Oxford Roman Catholic Priest, became disenchanted with the decadent lifestyle of church leaders, the unspiritual excesses of the whole Papal system, and even some church doctrines. Wycliffe trained and sent out preachers to proclaim the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. These men, first called ‘Bible Men’, but later called ‘Lollards’, were bitterly persecuted by church authorities.
Together with several others, including John Purvey, Wycliffe completed a translation of the Bible into the English Language. Because the church prohibited English Bibles, it had to be secretly printed in Germany. Wycliffe‘s translation is based heavily on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, and is very poor by today’s standards, but it was a beginning, a very good beginning. The church declared Wycliffe a heretic and sought to kill him, but he was shielded by his protectors, John of Gaunt and Queen Joan, wife of Edward III and mother of Richard II. He was expelled from Oxford and forced to withdraw to his Lutterworth parish where he died.
After Wycliffe’s death, the Roman Church, hated him so much that they ordered his works destroyed, his bones dug up, burned, and scattered over the River Avon. King Henry V signed an edit that said, “All who read the Scriptures in the mother tongue should forfeit land, cattle, life, and goods from their heirs forever.” Wyclif is often called the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation.’ So much for the visible church’s eagerness to carry out Christ’s instructions to go and make disciples of all men.
One hundred and fifty years after Wycliffe, England was much the same except that the merchant class, and the larger cities were beginning to assert political power, and the printing press had been invented. William Tyndale, a Roman Catholic Priest, like Wycliffe before him, became disillusioned with the practices of the Roman Church. He requested, but was denied permission, to translate the Bible into English so that ‘every plough-boy might read it’. He was persecuted by the church, fled to Europe, and lived obscurely to avoid persecution. In 1530, with the help of sympathetic textile merchants and other reformers, he translated and published both the Old and New Testaments in English. Because the Roman church prohibited the Scriptures in any mother tongue, Tyndale’s Bibles had to be smuggled into England. Tyndale’s New Testament translation was so good that nearly 80 years later it formed the foundation of more than sixty percent of the King James Version.
Betrayed by a friend, he was captured, tried, and declared to be a heretic. After appealing in vain to Henry VIII, he was burned at the stake by the Roman Church. His dying words were, “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England.” His prayer was answered for in 1535 after Henry had broken away from the Roman Church and established the Church of England, he authorized the printing of an English Bible.
Miles Coverdale was ordained an Augustinian Monk at Cambridge about 1415, but soon became interested in the works of Erasmus, Tyndale, and Luther. He renounced his monastic orders and became a secular priest in Essex. When the Bishop of London learned that Coverdale believed confessing to God alone was fully adequate, and that he did not believe in the worship of images, he was driven from England. He went to Germany and helped Tyndale. Several years later he began his own translation. Unfortunately he used German and Latin texts, not the older Hebrew and Greek. In 1534 when Coverdale learned that Parliament had passed The Act of Supremacy establishing the Church of England and that King Henry VIII was amiable to an English Bible, he returned to England and received permission to publish his translation. Coverdale’s Bible was the first version to actually be printed in England. While Henry VIII did authorize an English Bible, he was still very Catholic, and condemned to death anyone who did not believe in transubstantiation. He also prohibited the owning or even reading any translation by Tyndale.
Thomas Matthew was a pseudonym used by John Rogers because of his fear of persecution by Roman authorities. In 1526 he graduated from Cambridge, became a Catholic Rector in London, then a chaplain to English merchants in Antwerp. Under the influence of William Tyndale, he abandoned his Catholic faith, married and became the father of 10 children. He organized and published his English translation from the safety of Holland. Roger’s Bible united the work of Tyndale and Coverdale with two thirds coming from Tyndale. In 1543 Parliament condemned all Tyndale versions and any other version containing marginal notes or glosses. In 1553 Rogers returned to England, was arrested, and burned at the stake by church authorities as England was then ruled by Queen Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII. Roger’s death was the first blood drawn by the infamous ‘Bloody Mary’ who eventually took the lives of hundreds of Protestant saints as she strove to return England to Papal control.
This version was so named because of its large size. It was made large because it had been authorized by Henry VIII to be read from the pulpit in all churches. Henry authorized this version, not because he was interested in common people knowing scripture, but because he disliked the doctrine and marginal notes in all previous English versions. Besides, he required that one chapter and only one chapter be read each week. Thus it required nearly two generations to hear the whole Bible once. (It was still against the law for anyone to possess his own copy of Scripture.) Coverdale was the general editor, but it turned out to be a patch work of several versions. It was greatly hailed by the English Church, but never acclaimed nor used by the common people.
In 1558 Queen Mary I died leaving no heir. She was succeeded to the throne by her half sister (both daughters of Henry VIII) Elizabeth I, a staunch Protestant. The Geneva Bible was financed by English scholars, Puritans, and other dissenters who had found refuge in Geneva, Switzerland during the reign of Mary I. The Bible was the composition of William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and Thomas Sampson. All had attended Oxford or Cambridge. The scholars used all existing English versions and some Latin and Greek Texts. The Geneva Bible contained elaborate marginal explanations and references as well as notes with moral lessons. In its eighty-four years of publication, 140 editions were printed.
While the Great Bible and the Bishops Bible were read in the churches by royal decree, the Geneva Bible was read by the home fires. It was the Bible of Shakespeare, John Milton, John Bunyan and Oliver Cromwell. It was the Bible brought by the Pilgrims to America. It was the best loved version long before and long after the King James Version appeared. The Geneva Bible was largely responsible for spreading the knowledge of the Scriptures among common English people and figured heavily in the history of early America. Some have said, “The Geneva Bible was the old world’s gift to the new world.”
The Church of England had put itself in a corner. Most everyone agreed that the Geneva Bible was vastly superior to the Great Bible which was the official version used in all churches, but the Geneva Bible contained marginal notes considered unacceptable by Queen Elizabeth I and the Bishops. Thus the church set about to produce a new authorized version. The work was distributed to many Bishops with Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, as the overseer. The Bible was slightly larger than the Great Bible and had only a few marginal notes. Its text was superior to the Great Bible, but did not match the quality of the Geneva Bible. The Church required a copy to be in every cathedral, the house of every Bishop, and as far as practical in every church. The Bishop’s Bible never gained the popularity and influence of the Geneva Bible, but remained the official Bible of the Anglican Church until it was replaced by the King James Version forty years later.
Not all dissenters who experienced religious persecution during this period were Protestant. Under King Henry VIII, his son Edward VI, and to a lesser extent Queen Elizabeth I, many Roman Catholics felt threatened and fled to Europe. The center of their activity was an English College at Douai, France. It was from this college that a new English version of the Bible was prepared to counter the Protestant Bibles now flooding England. Because the school was temporarily moved to Rheims, this new work is called the Douai-Rheims version. The scholars as expected did not follow the lead of Protestant reformers, who used the oldest Greek and Hebrew texts available, but resorted to the Latin Vulgate, together with much Roman Catholic tradition. The version enjoyed little success, being reprinted only once in one hundred years. No doubt the Roman Church was pleased as they still did not want the laity to have access to the Scriptures.
In 1604 King James VI of Scotland (who became King James I of England upon the death of Elizabeth I) ordained that a new version of the Bible be prepared for use in all Church services of the United Kingdom. It was to be based on the best previous English versions and the best Hebrew and Greek texts available. He insisted on no marginal notes such as those found in the Geneva version. He resented them for among other things, they question the divine right of Kings. Fifty-four scholars in six committees working at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster began their work in 1607. In 1611, after nearly four years of effort and nine months of ‘final review’ the Bible went to the printer.
When the KJV was published, the Geneva Bible was the most popular, and it remained so for the next thirty years. The reason was simple. The KJV did not contain the marginal commentaries found in the Geneva version which were so desired by the laity. It was known that even some of the KJV translators kept their Geneva versions as their primary Scripture. Finally, the KJV overtook the Geneva Bible in sales, mainly because the same printer, Robert Barker, printed both versions and he chose to print more of the KJV than the Geneva. In spite of a slow beginning, the KJV has proven to be an enormous blessing not only to the English people, but to the whole world. After nearly four-hundred years, with only minor infrequent updating, it is still read, studied, loved, revered, and praised. Even today, some Christians believe that it is the only version that English speaking people should use.
A Few Of Many Recent English Translations
The Revised Version 1881/1885
This version was a modest revision of the Authorized or King James Version. The New Testament was completed in 1881 and the Old Testament in 1885.
The American Standard Version 1951
This version was essentially the Revised Version with a few changes desired by American Clergy.
The Revised Standard Version 1952
This translation was shaped between 1946 and 1952. Its goal was to preserve the beauty of the KJV, but to correct several textual problems and to remove now known spurious passages.
The Jerusalem Bible 1966
This is a 1996 Roman Catholic translation. It is easy to read and removes many textual errors. It is the first of any modern translations to replace “The Lord” when referring to God Almighty with what some believe to be the Hebrew Sacred Name for God, “Yahweh.”
The New International Version 1978
This version is the latest of the new major translations of the Bible. It was a committee effort containing Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars. It has received both high praise and strong criticism.
Most denominations have doctrines that prospective members must confess before being accepted into fellowship. A careful comparison will show that many times these doctrines differ greatly, and sometimes are in direct conflict with each other. These differences may be related to such issues as church authority, baptism, the sanctioned day of worship, the Lord’s Supper, other sacraments, or Holy Days. For a new Christian, and for most older ones as well, such conflict of tenets is often confusing. So the question is, “Does the Bible tell us the essential fundamental beliefs for all Christians?” The answer is, ‘Yes, it does’, and they are called “The Seven Pillars of Christianity”.
The Seven Pillars of Christianity are the necessary basic truths which man is to believe about God, His son, man and God’s plan to rescue a dying world. Anything else is man’s addition to God’s fundamental requirements. These pillars were hewed by the son of God and revealed to man over a long period of time. They are not to be modified or distorted by any individual, or any denomination, but are to be accepted just as they were hewed and presented in the Bible. These pillars are not a list of the works we must do, the rituals we are to perform, the ceremonies we are to attend, or the liturgy we are to follow, but are the basic beliefs that all Christians are to hold in their hearts and minds. Correctly understood, these beliefs will compel us to love God, to obey His commandments, and to rely on the atonement of His son, Jesus the Christ.
Before studying these basic beliefs let us look at what the Bible says about truth from God.
1. God will reveal to His people all the truth that is required to understand Him and His will for mankind. Read Deuteronomy 29:29 and 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.
2. God does not give His followers all the truth at one time, but little by little as they use what they already have and continue to seek more. He gives it to the ones who are ‘drawn from the breast’, that is, those who can eat ‘solid food’ and not have to rely on ‘milk’. Read Isaiah 28:9-11, and Hebrews 5:12-14.
3. God desires that we understand, not just the temporal meanings of scripture, but comprehend the more important spiritual concepts. Read Colossians 1:9-10, Ephesians 1:3, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 3:15-17.
4. God does not want His truth maligned by unbelievers. Therefore as you learn and understand important spiritual truths, you must treat them as your dearest treasure. You are to keep them in the inner most part of your heart, but willingly and eagerly share them with those who express a genuine interest. Read Matthew 7:6
5. Evidence of the Seven Pillars: “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” Proverbs 9:1
This is a verse where the spiritual concept is difficult for the casual reader to understand. In the Hebrew language, as in most European languages, many words have gender whether they are related to the sexes or not. In Hebrew, the word, ‘wisdom’ is feminine. Thus, wisdom is spoken of as ‘her’. This inappropriate characterization blurs a clear spiritual understanding of Proverbs 9. Let’s see if we can clarify it. Paul said: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24, Also Read 1 Corinthians. 1:30
These two verses show that Christ is the wisdom of God. Combining this information with the knowledge that in English ‘wisdom’ is neuter thus can be applied to the masculine or feminine, we can paraphrase Proverbs 9 as follows:
“Jesus Christ has built his house. He has hewn his seven pillars. He has prepared his food, has blended his wine, and has set his table. He has sent forth his servants with invitations: He calls from the heights of the city, ‘whoever is without understanding, let him turn in here’. As for him that wants understanding, he says unto him, ‘come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have blended. Forsake that which deceives and live’.” Proverbs 9.
Anyone who has studied the four Gospels will quickly see that Proverbs 9 presents an exact picture of Jesus during his earthly ministry. It says that Jesus has hewed his seven pillars, that is the seven most fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. If we correctly comprehend these beliefs we will be able to discern truth from error, and to reject false teachings. We will be able to present to others a clear understanding of the Father and the son, and to lead others (with the aid of God’s spirit) into salvation, love, and service.
Pillar one: The One True God
The first and central pillar of the Christian faith has been the central doctrine revealed to Adam, to the Patriarchs, to Moses and to the Prophets. The Lord Jesus proclaimed it, and his disciples recorded it. It has been repeated again and again throughout the Bible. The first pillar in its simplest form is: “There is but one God,” not two, not three, not four or more, but one! This one God is self-existing and full of love. He is the source of all life and the creator of all things.
Here are some Bible verses that tell us about our one God.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of who are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Corinthians 8:6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6
Other verses which present this same truth are: Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Mark 12:29-31, Mark 12:32, Isaiah 45:22, John 5:44, Ephesians 4:6-7, Romans 3:30, and James 2:19.
Pillar Two: The Nature of God
The second pillar is
to believe in God’s true nature. Satan goes to
great extremes to depict God as harsh and demanding, one who intentionally
withholds pleasure and joy from His creation, one who takes great delight in
metering punishment, one who permits natural disasters to kill and to destroy,
one who takes the lives of the innocent and who is indifferent to man’s
suffering. Eons ago, Satan rebelled against God and His government. He
declared God a liar and persuaded one-third of the angels to follow him.
3:4-5, Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:13-19, Revelation 12:7-10.
The history of man is God’s effort to show the whole universe what will happen by following Satan’s lead, and to lovingly win man’s affection and obedience by demonstrating His true nature. The following Bible verses give us God’s true nature.
God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever, Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Ephesians 2:4
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:8-9
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. John 1:18
And of course, the verses that beautifully sum up God’s love for the whole world.
For God so loved the world
that he gave his only begotten son, that
whosover believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life. For god sent not his son
into the world to condemn the world; but that the world
through him might be saved.
Pillar Three: The Only Begotten Son Of God
The third pillar is to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah and the Son of God. The Bible tells us if we confess and repent of our sins and permit Jesus to wash us in his blood, we will become sons of God. We become sons by adoption, but the Bible tells us that God has a son, not by adoption, but a begotten son. We are not told how God birthed or generated His son; we must accept by faith that He did. Here are some Bible verses that tell us about the only begotten son.
The Lord became my Father at the beginning of His way. Long ago before any of His works, I was set up from everlasting, from the first, before the earth was. Before there was any ocean, I was born, before there were springs, or sources of water, before the mountains were settled in their places and before the hills, I was born. Proverbs 8:22-25
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. John 3:18
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the son of God? 1 John 5:5
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: Colossians 1:13-15
Pillar Four: The Nature Of The Son Of God
While many Christians think of God’s son only as he was flesh and blood, the Bible tells us considerably about the son before he was born in Bethlehem. The Bible says that God brought forth His son as the first of His works, as the origin of His creations, and through His son, He created everything spiritual and physical. Read Chapter 7 for more information about God’s son.
The Father loved the son and anointed him with His own spirit. Thus the son became the ‘anointed one’ or ‘Messiah’, or ‘Christ’. They all mean the same thing, that the son possessed the same spirit as God his Father. The son is the image of his Father, the brightness of His glory, and the expressed image of His person. When God brought His son to the angels, He instructed them to worship him, confirming the son’s divinity. (divinity is defined as one worthy of worship). It was the son who was the leader of the loyal angels in the war against Satan and the rebellious angels. The son is the power and the wisdom of God. The son has life in himself, but this life was given to him by his Father. Here are Bible verses that confirm these characteristics of the son.
When there were no oceans, I was given birth. Proverbs 8:24 NIV
He is the likeness of the unseen God, born before any Creature. Colossians 1:16 An American Translation, Goodspeed
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Acts 10:38
And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:6
For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the son to have life in himself. John 5:26
And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:9
Pillar Five: The faith Of The Son Of God
It is the son’s faith that his Father would raise him out of Death (Spiritual Death) that the Bible refers to as ‘the faith of the son of God. It is the faith of Jesus, not our faith in him that saves, because that faith would be of ourselves. The faith that saves is a gift, that is, from a source other than within. The son as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, made atonement for our sins and now sits at the right hand of God the Father as our advocate. The righteousness of God covers born again believers so that they will appear spotless before the Father and inherit eternal life. Here are Bible verses that confirm each of these points.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. Romans 3:22
.Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law; but by the faith of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Galatians 3:22
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelations 14:12
Pillar Six: The Nature Of Man
God made man in His own image, and designed him to live forever- as long as he trusted and obeyed Him. Unfortunately, Adam believed Satan rather than God and disobeyed by eating from the tree of good and evil. As a consequence, God removed His presence from Adam, resulting in Adam’s Spiritual Death, and God barred Adam from the tree of Life. Thus Adam’s body of flesh and blood, now corrupted by sin, died physically. As a result, all of Adam’s descendants inherited his corrupt flesh and blood, therefore are mortal. Man remains in this condition until he accepts God’s offer of redemption and is born again, this time born of the spirit.
The concept that all men are composed of a physical portion which will die, and a spiritual portion, which is immortal, is not Biblical. God made man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Man was given a free will, that is, he was free to choose the source of the influence that would rule his mind. There are two sources of influence in the universe, one from God, and the other from Satan.
A person displaying a spirit (a mind set) of pride, hate, greed, lust, arrogance, envy or lawlessness permits Satan to control his mind. A person displaying a spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and mercy permits God’s spirit to guide him. The born-again believer who abides in the Father and the son will display the spirit of God in his earthly life and will have the wisdom, the desire, the courage, and the ability to overcome sin.
The concept that the inner man is a spiritual being separate from his physical being is from Greek mythology. It was adopted by the Romans, embraced by the Roman Catholic Church, and is taught by most Protestant Denominations. However, the Bible teaches that when a man dies, his body returns to dust to await the great judgment day when the Lord Jesus returns to gather his saints. Then the redeemed will receive new glorified bodies of uncorrupted flesh and blood and the unbelieving will become ashes. Here are some Bible verses describing man:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiel 18:20
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of Life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28-29
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness temperance; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22
Too often man tries to work his way to heaven. However, God has made it very clear that this is impossible. In the sight of God, the noblest man on earth, if dressed at all, is covered with filthy rags, but too often he is both blind, (does not see how depraved he really is), and naked (all of his unrighteousness is exposed). But what does this all mean?? It means that man cannot save himself. He must have a savior and the only Savior sent by our loving God is His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It further means that the only way to this Savior is by God’s plan of salvation, without any help, modification or enlightenment from man himself. God’s plan of salvation is the seventh pillar.
Pillar Seven: God’s Plan Of Salvation
To show heaven the terrible results of following Lucifer (now Satan), God created another world, the physical world of flesh and blood. The inhabitants of this world, the earth, have a free will. The story of Adam’s and Eve’s failure to remain obedient and the anguish, pain, heartache despair, grief, torment agony and untold suffering that followed well illustrates the results of following Satan. But God did not leave His creation without escape. Together with His son, He initiated His Plan of salvation.
The Plan of Salvation began when the Father requested His son to relinquish his honored position in heaven, and take a body of flesh and blood, to accept Spiritual Death as atonement for man’s sin, and to endure physical death so that corrupt sinful flesh might be destroyed. The Father promised to raise His son Out Of Death, and to establish Him as Lord and King over an earth made new. This re-made earth will be inhabited by all who repent and accept Jesus as their personal savior. There is no alternate method. You cannot work, talk, sneak, or bribe your way into heaven, nor do you obtain salvation as a birthright.
This Plan of Salvation is not just a New Testament doctrine. The Plan of salvation was devised by the Father and agreed to by His son before creation. Some say that in Old Testament times, men were saved by works, and in New Testament times they are saved by grace. The Bible does not teach such a doctrine. Men have always been saved by God’s grace. It is true that man has tried to alter God’s plan and obtain salvation by works, but God does not accept this strategy. The only difference is that in Old Testament times, spiritual men looked forward with hope to the coming Messiah who would somehow save God’s people. In New Testament times we look back with love and thankfulness knowing not only our Savior’s name, but knowing exactly how he became the atonement for us. The following Bible verses refer to the Plan of Salvation.
For thou (Satan) hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into the heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. Isaiah 14:12
Behold my servant (The Messiah) whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42-1
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts.
There you have it: the seven essential beliefs of the Christian faith, the foundation of Christianity as hewed by the Lord Jesus himself. As seen in the following table the best loved verse in the whole Bible written by the Apostle John sums it up so well. Anything else is man’s addition.
Seven Essentials Beliefs as depicted in John 3:16
PILLAR BELIEF JOHN 3:16 1 There is but one God
2 The nature of God So loved the world That he gave 3 & 4 The son of God His only begotten son 5 The faith of the son That whosoever beliveth in him 6 Sinful man is mortal Should not perish 7 The Plan of Salvation But have everlasting life
Most Christians recognize the need for prayer, and most pastors encourage their congregations to pray. Furthermore, there are countless books and other helps on prayer readily available to English speaking Christians. But, in spite of all of this encouragement and help most believers, including the clergy, woefully lack one of the most, if not the most important ingredient of prayer.
We are given instructions concerning the frequency of our prayers, the content, and our attitude when praying. Oft-times we are counseled to include each type of prayer such as adoration, supplication for others, requests for self, and thanksgiving. However, after doing all this well we still have not touched on that vital missing element. If you were to ask your pastor what this vital element is, I doubt he would know: most do not. I say this because I have never heard it from a pulpit, on the radio, on TV, or read about it in any book on prayer. I am suspect that this missing element is not taught in seminaries. It can however, be deduced from careful Bible study.
Unlike the method used in other parts of this book, I am not going to spoon feed you. Instead of telling you what this ingredient is and then giving you Bible verses to support it, I am going to give you Bible verses and ask that you look for it yourself, at least initially. Here are a few verses.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. John 11:41
* * * * * * * * *
I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. John 8:26
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. John 8:28.
Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. John 8:55
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. John 12:49
And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John 12:50
Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
* * * * * * * * *
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. John 10:4
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:16
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Did you read that the Father taught His son, that Jesus heard his father, and that Jesus’ sheep hear his voice? Have you discovered the special ingredient yet? The first two verses give two occasions in which Jesus prayed. In the next group of verses Jesus tells that everything he spoke, and everything he did, he received from his Father. The final group tells how we can receive the same directions ourselves. When you put all this together you have that special ingredient: “Listening to God.”
Most people describe prayer as talking to God, and that is certainly part of prayer, but only part of it. The best prayers are talking with God. There is a difference. Talking to God is when we do all the talking, say amen, and go our way, awaiting the answer to our petitions. Talking with God is first we talk; then we stop and listen for God’s answer. We listen!
We do not hear God with our ears. God speaks to us by His holy spirit which we hear with our heart, our mind, our conscious. Listening with the heart takes practice, a willingness to be lead, and a desire to be obedient..
Most times we do not receive an immediate answer to a prayer. Sometimes hours or even days later, sometimes just ‘out of the blue’, the holy spirit answers our question, or provides the directions we sought. Sometimes the holy spirit, urges us to perform a task solely to help a stranger. A prayerful, spirit-filled Christian learns to hear the voice of the holy spirit (which is the voice of Jesus. See Chapter 7) and takes delight in submitting to it.
I am well aware that many depraved men have said that Jesus told them to do their sordid deeds. However, just because Satan uses God’s method for sinful purposes does not mean that we should ignore Jesus’ instructions to listen for and follow his voice. This is why it is so important to read and understand the Bible for yourself. If you hear a voice telling you to violate a Biblical principle, that voice is not from Jesus. Jesus will never ask you to commit a sin, or act in a selfish manner. If you hear a voice requesting you to help someone out of love, you can be sure it is from heaven as Jesus always requests – he never demands.
Someone once wrote, “The greatest praise one can bring to God is to be a channel through whom He can bless.” This saying is well worth memorizing.
The peace, joy and contentment that obedience brings are just what the world is looking for. However, the world never finds it, for it always tries wrong methods and looks in the wrong places. Christians find peace by praying, listening, and obeying.
Pray, listen, obey, receive joy. Amen
These prayers have been included
for your consideration.
My Dear Heavenly Father
According to thy will :
Please fill me with your holy spirit so there is room for no other.
Please show me my faults more clearly than I see faults in others.
Please give me wisdom, that I can distinguish truth from error.
Please strengthen me, that I can fulfill your purpose for my life.
Please help me to bring good tidings to someone in darkness.
Please give me the bread of life, that I can feed the hungry.
Please fill my cup that I may quench the thirst of others.
Please help me to die to myself, to make room for Jesus.
Please help me to share your gold with those in need.
Please shield me from all of Satan’s attacks.
Please help me live to hear those wonderful
words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
In Jesus’ Name,
Most Christians believe that Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables so that the hard working, poorly educated men and women of Israel could understand his teachings. This sounds like a reasonable explanation, and is so convincing that it has been told by well meaning pastors and teachers to countless generations of dedicated believers, who told it to their children, who told it to their children, etc. Now it is a ‘well known “Bible truth”, or is it?
Jesus himself tells us why he spoke in parables, and the reason may surprise you. He said the reason he spoke to the crowds in parables was not because of their level of education, but because of their unbelief. I bet that comes as a surprise to you! The apostles had left their families and their means of livelihood, and devoted their whole life to following Jesus. They believed Jesus was the Messiah, the son of God, and they were wholly committed to his ministry. As a consequence, Jesus told the apostles the spiritual meaning behind each parable. He did not offer the spiritual explanation to the crowds. The crowds followed him out of curiosity, in order to see the miracles he performed, and sometimes to eat free bread. They did not believe he was the Messiah, much less the son of God, and they were not interested in the spiritual lessons of his teachings. Here it is straight from Matthew:
“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11. and he answered and said unto them, unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. 13. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; neither do they understand. 14. And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive’: 15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should turn again, and I should heal them.” Matthew 13:10-15
There it is in verse fifteen. “and their eyes they have closed.” In the Bible, ‘seeing’ is often used to convey the idea of ‘understanding’. Jesus was saying that these crowds have closed their minds to the truth he was sent to give them. They were not interested in heavenly concepts, only things of the earth. Jesus promises, ‘seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you’. (Luke 11:9- 10) If you truly seek that which is spiritual, you will be given an understanding of the spiritual. If your mind is on the earth, you may see, but you will not perceive. You will remain in darkness.
It is the condition of your heart (your mind), the intensity of your seeking, and the commitment of your life that determines your understanding of spiritual truths from God. The holy spirit is able and willing to confer to you heavenly truths over and above your wildest dreams, but first it is necessary for you to do your part, that is to seek and to knock, and not be merely curious( also known as lukewarm). Jesus said,
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
That should be promise enough to suit anyone!
But don’t forget the other lesson to be learned from this chapter. It is: ‘Just because you have heard it all you life, just because your pastor tells you, just because your denomination prints it in their literature does not necessarily make it true.’ It is true when it can be confirmed by your Bible. Learn to read and comprehend the spiritual meaning of the Bible for yourself.
Do not be satisfied with a shallow earthly reading, but learn the spiritual meanings of Bible words and take delight in all the wonderful truths God has buried in His word. And, don’t stop when you have taken only the ‘milk of the word’, but like Paul says seek the meat of the word so that you can discern good and evil.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe, But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 6: 12-14
Do not let your denomination tell you what is good and evil. Study your Bible and learn for yourself. I repeat, you simply cannot let your denomination tell you what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is not. You must rely on your Bible.
A prime example of this point is illustrated by the current perverted leadership of several mainline Protestant Denominations who are striving to make sodomy an acceptable and honorable Christian practice within their church. When in stark contrast, the Bible clearly and repeatedly states that sodomy it is an abomination to God.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. Romans 1:27
If the laity of these denominations knew their Bibles, and had purposed in their hearts to live by its principals, they would have impeached these depraved leaders when they first attempted to impose such a sin. Instead, the laity along with their ordained leadership meet, discuss, and sometimes approve this sordid behavior. It never would happen if the laity knew and loved their Bible. No wonder denominations make no attempt to provide deep Bible study to their congregations.
Isn’t it time for you to stop being spoon fed by a clergyman and began to study the Bible for yourself? Yes, it is!
Most Christians are familiar with Jesus’ visit to the Garden of Gethsemane after he and his disciples ate Passover in the upper room. Many remember some of the physical incidents that took place that evening, but precious few are aware of the unprecedented spiritual events which occurred.
If the Bible is read as the world reads books, it is very easy to miss the spiritual concepts of many passages. However, both the Old and the New Testaments tell us it is God’s desire that mankind comprehend not only His words, but the spiritual message they contain. Some of the concepts that God would have us to understand are:
1. That the things of God are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14
2. That we must not worship Him with only an outward show of
praise, but we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
3. That we should not learn man’s wisdom, but that wisdom
which the holy spirit teaches – comparing the spiritual with the
spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:13
4. That the words that Jesus spoke are spirit and they are life.
From these verses, it is clear that it is the spiritual things of Scripture that are important, and it is God’s desire that we strive to discern them. However, it is important to remember that God does not give spiritual understanding to the merely curious Bible reader; He gives it to those who are who are truly hungry and thirsty and who earnestly seek the truth. (See Chapter 5. about Parables).
This chapter on Gethsemane
has been written so that, together with your Bible and the holy spirit, you
not only have a knowledge of the visible events
which occurred, but also comprehend the spiritual events as well. Jesus’ suffering
in Gethsemane was significantly greater and much more important than
Each of the four Gospels contains some record of events in the Garden, and when assembled produce the following account:
After keeping the Passover and instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn, departed Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley, and entered the garden. Judas was not among them. He had gone to meet the authorities, having agreed to lead them to Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
In the garden, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray. Continuing on until he was alone, Jesus prayed to his Father to remove the burden which was about to be placed on him, adding however, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Upon returning to his disciples, Jesus found them not watching and praying, but sleeping. Three times Jesus prayed, and three times Jesus found his closest companions asleep. Then Judas and the authorities arrived, arrested Jesus, and the disciples fled for their safety.
Before proceeding with the study of Gethsemane, it is essential to correctly comprehend several Bible concepts. These are: Death, Sin, and the Old Testament Passover. A clear understanding of these concepts will aid you to comprehend just what Jesus endured and why.
Death. It is unfortunate that the English language uses the same word to describe two entirely different concepts. The word with two meanings is ‘death’. The first and most frequently used meaning is physical death when the heart stops beating and the body dies. In this pamphlet we shall write this concept with a small ‘d’. The second meaning is Spiritual Death. Spiritual Death is a complete physical and spiritual separation from God. We shall denote this death with a capital ‘D’. Spiritual Death first occurred when Adam sinned and Died. As a result of sin, Adam did not die (physically), but he Died (Spiritually). Spiritual Death is the result of sin. Jesus gave us a clear picture of this difference when he replied to the young man who desired to follow him, but first wanted to go home and bury his father. Jesus said, “Follow me, and let the Dead bury their dead.” Matthew 8;22. Jesus also made it clear that it was Spiritual Death that was to be feared, not physical death, “And I say unto you my friend, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do, but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear him which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him.” Luke 12:4-5
Conclusion: It is Spiritual Death that is paramount.
Sin Today, when most people hear the word ‘sin’, they immediately think of murder, adultery, robbery and similar activity of the hands. The people in Jesus’ time (especially the Pharisees) thought the same thing. However, Jesus corrected their thinking by telling them that the sin actually occurred in their hearts before any act was committed. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time: Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 Three other references which present the same concept are: Matthew 23:25-26, 1 John 3:15, and James 1:15-16.
Now you should see that the Bible does not confine sin to terrible acts: It is the condition of the heart, and mind. The terrible acts we commit only show the presence of sin in our mind. Sin just as wicked or maybe more wicked than the ones mentioned above are greed, hate, lust, envy, covertness, wicked imaginations, and pride, and these sins all originate and reside in our minds. It is important for you to remember this in order to comprehend the terrible events of Gethsemane.
The First Passover Here is a brief summary of the first Passover, Exodus 12.
1. On the 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the year, each Hebrew family enslaved in Egypt removed all leaven from their home (leaven was a symbol of sin), and at evening sacrificed a carefully selected unblemished, year old male lamb.
2. They took the lamb’s blood and marked their door posts.
3. They roasted the lamb, dressed for travel, and hurriedly ate the lamb together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
4. At midnight, God’s angel slew all the first born in Egypt, of both men and cattle, except the first born in the houses marked with blood. That home was ‘passed over’, thus the name Passover.
5. In the morning, any uneaten portion of the lamb was completely burned, but no bones were broken.
6. The loss of his first born son caused Pharaoh to permit the Hebrews to leave Egypt.
7. The Hebrews departed for the Promised Land, taking spoil from the Egyptians with them, gifts of gold, silver, precious stones, and clothing.
It is important for you to note that the lamb was ‘slain’ in the evening and its body ‘destroyed’ the following morning.
Returning to Gethsemane
Now that we have carefully thought about sin, death, and the first Passover, we are now ready to study the frightful events in the garden. Let us return to where Jesus left his disciples and requested that his Father remove the cup he was about to drink. As you know, this ‘cup’ was that he was to become the Sacrificial Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. We have previously learned that Jesus was not concerned about and did not fear physical death. Thus, when he requested that the cup be removed, he was not asking his Father to save him from death. Jesus knew that Spiritual Death lay ahead of him, that is, separation from his Father. Some translators have recognized this and have correctly translated Hebrews 5:7-9 as “Jesus offered up both supplications and entreaties to him who is able to save him out of death.” (Darby, Williams, others) These translators understood that Jesus was concerned about Spiritual Death, not physical death. Jesus knew the awfulness of Spiritual Death. Three times he asked his Father, if possible, to remove this cup from him. Matthew 26:38-39
It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that God placed the sin of the world into the mind of Jesus. Here it is - that significant spiritual event we have been telling you about!! It is impossible for any human to even imagine the grief, pain, and loneliness that Jesus felt as the guilt of the world’s sin pressed upon his mind. Jesus’ mind, which previously had known only love and obedience to his Father, and likewise, love, and care from his Father, now was filled with anguish.
His anguish was so great that blood flowed from his temples, as if it was sweat. Jesus would have physically died in Gethsemane had not his Father sent an angel to strengthen him. “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:43-45
Modern medicine now has a name for the condition when extreme anguish bursts blood vessels near sweat glands in the temple causing blood to mix with sweat. It is called hematidrosis and is described in many modern medical books.
When the angel left, Jesus’ heavenly ties were broken. Gone was the abiding Spirit of his Father which had been with him throughout his ministry. Jesus was Spiritually Dead. Oh, he was still alive and suffering physical pain, but Jesus was Dead. For the first time in his life he could not see beyond the veil that sin had placed between him and his Father. All he had now was his faith that his Father would, as He had promised, save him Out Of Death! By accepting Spiritual Death, Jesus paid the sin debt for all mankind. I know you have been told countless times that Jesus paid the debt at Calvary, but Bible principals tell us he paid it at Gethsemane. Remember man thinks about the physical, Jesus brought us spiritual understanding. But what about Calvary?
Well you say, “If that is true, what did Jesus do at Calvary? Why did Jesus have to suffer the agony of the cross if the debt was paid?” Do you remember that as a result of Adam’s sin, God removed His presence, and Adam’s flesh and blood became corrupt? Consequently, every human since, has been made of corruptible flesh and blood, including the Son of Man, Jesus.
Are you surprised to learn that Jesus was made of corruptible flesh and blood? Here is what Paul wrote. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3
Corrupt flesh and blood were the result of sin, and sin originated in Satan, making corrupt flesh and blood the work of Satan. Here is what the Bible says Jesus did. “For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
When Jesus suffered physical death at Calvary, his body was destroyed. Thus sinful flesh was destroyed. We know this also from Paul’s writing to the Romans. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.” Romans 6:6 Jesus’ sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and his crucifixion at Calvary followed the same plan as the first Passover. First the lamb was sacrificed; later his body was physically destroyed. A side by side comparison of each phase is shown in the following table.
Jesus The Lamb: A Comparison
In Gethsemane, God’s Firstborn Son, Jesus, Dies Spiritually, the ransom for sinful mankind. His blood protects from Death all who believe on him.
The spiritual meaning of to drink is ‘to do, or to perform’. We know this from Jesus’ request to his Father, “to let this cup pass from me.” Matthew 26:39 A cup is for drinking.
Perhaps now you can see even more clearly that to eat Jesus’ flesh and to drink his blood is to believe that he was sent by God to be the savior of the world, and to obey his commandments.
Although Jesus was born with a sinful-nature fleshly body, he never sinned. He was able to remain sinless because he always surrendered his will (his mind) to his Fathers’ will. Jesus spent his life showing us his Father’s love, doing the work of his Father, and giving us his Father’s message. Everything he did on earth was to please his Father. This is what is meant by abiding in the Father. It is also called ‘dying to self’.
Because Jesus surrendered his will, the Father abided in him, enabling him to resist temptation and empowering him to do marvelous works. You and I can cease sinning and do marvelous works if we eat his flesh (believe him and take joy in what he said), and drink his blood (obey his commandments to love his Father, and to love one another). As the song says, “Love and Obey, For There is No Other way.”
Fulfilling Old Testament Prophecy
To better comprehend
the prophecy in Isaiah 63, it is helpful to understand two things about Gethsemane:
The meaning of it’s name, and (2).
Who was there, and what they did. Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew words meaning
winepress. The garden was a place where juice was separated from grapes, and
oil pressed from olives. Both activities require pressure. Jesus used wine
to represent his blood. “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which
is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28
We are told that there is life in the blood. Leviticus 17:11, Deuteronomy 12:23 This life or rather Spiritual Life was pressed from the Savior in Gethsemane. We know from other scripture that olive oil is frequently used to represent God’s Spirit. Just as oil was pressed from olives in Gethsemane, the pressure of sin in Jesus’ mind pressed God’s spirit from him.
Now let’s look and see who was at this sorrowful scene: (1). Satan was there in Judas, (2). The clergy was there in the High Priest’s servants, (3). The secular government was there in the Roman cohort, (4). The congregation of Israel was there in the Elders of the people, and (5). Jesus’ disciples were there as his friends. Satan, the clergy, the government and the congregation were there as enemies. His disciples were the only ones there as friends, but his friends first slept and then ran away, leaving no one to comfort and to support him. Jesus was alone.
Now when we read the following verse of prophesy from Isaiah it makes complete sense. “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me.” Isaiah 63:3
Understanding Gethsemane Resolves
So-called Bible ‘Discrepancies’
The first so-called discrepancy resolved by a correct understanding of Gethsemane is the problem of Adam’s death. God had told Adam on the day that he sinned, he would die. Yet the Bible says that after he sinned, Adam lived on and had many children. However, if you recognize that God referred to Spiritual Death (separation from God) then all is made clear. God separated himself, and Adam Died the very day he sinned! God spoke the truth, and the Bible consistently presents this truth.
The second so-called discrepancy Gethsemane makes clear is with reckoning time. Jesus told his disciples he would be raised after three days and three nights, but the popular belief of a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection does not contain that time span. However, counting time from his Death in Gethsemane on Thursday night until Sunday morning is just right.
By a careful study of this chapter on Gethsemane you should see most clearly that what appears to be errors in the Bible are not errors at all. It is our understanding of the Bible that is deficient.
There are many ways to examine the doctrine of the Trinity, including denominationally, historically, and Biblically. For the sake of brevity, let’s put aside the first two and get right to the heart of the matter, looking only at Scripture.
The Trinity doctrine
says that there is one God, existing in three persons, God the Father, God
and God the Holy Spirit. All three of these persons
are co-equal, co-eternal, and of the same substance. There never was
a time when all three did not exist. Let’s examine these assertions
using only the Bible as an authority.
First and foremost, the Bible says quite clearly that the Father is the only God, and it says it time and time again.
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Corinthians 8:6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: Mark 12:32
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s greetings in his letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17
These verses are more than sufficient to show that only the Father is God, and that Jesus is our mediator, our Lord, and our ransom. Notice that Jesus himself declared his Father to be his God.
Now let’s look at the co-equal claim. If Jesus were co-equal with the Father, he would have the same authority, knowledge, judgement, power, and dominion, of himself. Is this what the Bible teaches? Let’s see.
Jesus did have life in himself, but it was given to him by the Father. The authority that Jesus possessed was given him by his Father. Even the doctrine he taught was given him by his Father. The Father instructed the angels to worship the son. It was not self evident. The Father put His spirit into His son. Jesus even said that his Father was greater than he was. Each of these points are shown in the following verses.
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. John 5: 26-27
And Jesus came to them and spake unto them saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.
Matthew 28:18 ASV
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. John 6:38
Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. John 7:16
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. John 12:49
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. John 8:28
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: Isaiah 42:1
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. John 14:28
And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:6
Now let’s look at the co-eternal claim. To be co-eternal Jesus would have existed from the very beginning along with God the Father. If that were the case, how could he have been begotten? God has granted his son eternal life and he will live and rein forever, but Jesus was begotten of the Father so could not be co-eternal.
Was Jesus All Powerful? Look at the following verse from John and see that Jesus could do nothing of himself.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19
Was Jesus all knowing? Read the following verses and see that the Bible tells us that, of himself he was not.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:32
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Revelation 1:1
By now, any reader with an open Bible and an open mind will readily see that the Bible does not support the Trinity doctrine, but contradicts it again and again. But wait, there is more. Read the following two Bible verses that tell us that God is invisible.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: Colossians 1:14-15
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
No one can dispute that his son was very visible to thousands in and around Judea. Therefore, if God is invisible, and his son was visible, then it must be that his son was his son, just as the Bible says, and not God.
Read the following verses about temptation.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: James 1:13
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2
The Bible says that God cannot be tempted. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted. What’s wrong here? There is nothing wrong with what the Bible says about temptation. What is wrong is the man-made doctrine of the Trinity.
Now let’s look at this thing called death given in the verses below.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:3
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. Revelation 1:18.
The first verse above tells us that God is immortal. The remaining three verses tell us that Jesus died. So we have a problem. If Jesus was God: he could not die, which would make the remaining four verses deceitful. But, these verses are not deceitful: It is the Trinity doctrine that deceives.
Since the Bible does not and cannot support the Trinity, it is explained as a mystery that we cannot understand. But the Bible contradicts even that explanation. Read the verses below and see that for believers there is no longer a mystery about God, The Father and His son. This point is also made in Ephesians 3:3, Ephesians 3:9, and Ephesians 6:19.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: Mark 4:11
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: Ephesians 1:9
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. Colossians 2:2
It is easy to understand why members of the church during the dark ages believed in the Trinity. They possessed no Bible, and had no access to one. They had to rely completely on a church priest to tell them what to believe. Today however, anyone in America can obtain a copy of God’s word and read it for themselves. Sadly, few do! I appeal to you not to be one who has no time for the Bible, but urge you to study this most precious book for yourself. God himself, through Paul, asks you to do it.
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Today, most Protestants
choose their church for social or family reasons, or for the church’s youth programs, not for doctrine. They are content
to be spoon fed by their preacher. They make no effort to really study the
Bible and to question church beliefs when they do not agree with what they
read. Protestant denominations give lip service to ‘The Bible Only’ as
their source of truth, but in actual practice they still possess many doctrines
and rituals of their ‘mother church’ from the Middle Ages. The
Trinity doctrine is a very good example.
Support For The Trinity
Now let’s be fair and look at the Bible verses that Trinitarians use to support their doctrine. One of the favorite expressions they use is ‘God Incarnate’ and it comes from the following verse.
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
If this verse was an accurate translation, then they would certainly have a valid argument. But, that verse in the KJV is flawed. We now know that the oldest Greek manuscripts read, ‘He’ who was manifest in the flesh, and not, ‘God’ who was manifest. Most recent translations have the word ‘He’. Even the Roman Catholic, New Jerusalem Translation has the word ‘He’. It is easy to understand how over-zealous Medieval Roman scribes wishing to bolster church doctrine would have made this change. Praise God that we now have the older unaltered manuscripts.
Here is another verse Trinitarians use to support their belief. “See”, they say, “The Bible acknowledges the Godhead.”
For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
1 Corinthians 2:9
Yes, the KJV does use the word ‘Godhead.’ But since the concept of a Godhead did not exist until after the Council of Nicaea it is not possible for a Co-equal Godhead to have been in Paul’s mind when he wrote his letter. We can see this clearly from the following verse in his letter to the Corinthians, saying that God is the head of Christ. There is not two or three Co-Equal, Co-Eternal beings. There is only one Lord God Almighty.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3
Now let’s come to probably the most favored of all Trinitarian verses, John 1:1. Verse two is included for a reason.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2
Notice that John identifies Jesus as ‘The Word’, not as God. Then twice he says that the Word was with God. It is inconceivable that he meant Jesus was God then twice said he was with God. No other portion of John’s five books is written this dubiously.
Actually, the word order of verse 1 as it appears in extant Greek manuscripts is as follows.
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and God was the word.”
Some new translations have the above wording, but for years Trinitarian scholars defended the earlier wording based on rules of sophisticated classical Greek grammar. This is, as if an unschooled son of a Hebrew fisherman from Galilee, whose primary language was Aramaic, and whose second language was Koine (common) Greek would be writing perfect classical Greek. A very weak case indeed.
Many translators (Trinitarians by the way) have translated this verse vastly different from the KJV.
In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine. An American Translation by E. J. Goodspeed 1939, also, Schonfield 1985, also Stage 1907
The Logos existed in the very beginning, The Logos was with God, the Logos was divine. James Moffatt Translation
Jesus could certainly be considered divine since he possessed eternal life given by his father, his Father had placed His spirit in him, and the Father had instructed the angels to worship him. He was divine (worthy of worship), but he was not God. There is a difference!
If John had considered Jesus to be God rather than the son of God, the Messiah, the savior of mankind, he certainly would have said it again and again. He didn’t. In sharp contrast, he repeatedly said that we are to believe that Jesus was the son of God.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another. 1 John 3:21
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. John 6:68-69
Why would John have called Jesus, ‘God’ in verse 1:1, then repeatedly tell us that his books were written to make us believe that Jesus was the son of God, not God, but the son of God?
I have a personal opinion about John 1:1. I have no manuscript to support it, only a repeated request to the holy spirit for understanding. I believe John 1:1 was originally written as follows.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was in the word.
This wording removes all the problems we have previously mentioned. It does not contradict hundreds of other Bible verses. It does not alter the Greek word order. It does not require John to have been a linguist, and it introduces no new Biblical concepts, as four times Jesus said that the Father was in him, and four times Paul said it.
“But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him”. John 10:38
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. John 14:10
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. John 14:11
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:21
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? We speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 2 Corinthians 12:19
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Galatians 3:17
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
We have already documented in several portions in this book, how the visible church took unholy liberties by changing the scriptures to suit their nefarious plans. Why would they hesitate to make another change that would achieve so much? They wouldn’t.
I also believe that if the visible church came into possession of an extant Greek manuscript with John 1:1 written as ‘and God was in the Word’, they would never, never let it be known to the outside world. They have too much to lose.
There are over one-hundred verses in the New Testament that contradict the Trinity. I could list them here, but if you have not been persuaded by the evidence already presented, you will not be moved, if you were shown ten thousand verses.
Sadly, many have chosen the traditions of men over the word of God. They can, however, take consolation in the fact that they are with the majority of both Catholics and Protestants. But remember, many are called, but few are chosen. Why not be chosen! Find your Bible. Study it. Ask the holy spirit to give you wisdom about the Trinity. Ask your preacher to explain the discrepancies between the Trinity and the Bible. If he cannot; then you know what to do. You study to show thyself approved unto God. Then you will see that the Trinity is a man made doctrine.
There are only two things important in this world, what you believe, and what you do about it. All else is vanity.
There are many Christians who use only the King James Version of the Bible and fault others for using more recent ones. They are generally very religious, sincere in their beliefs, and very adamant about the unsuitability of any other version. Are these well meaning Christians taking a prudent position?
Rather than just criticize either point of view, let’s take a brief look at the history of the Texus Receptus, (a Greek version which heavily influenced the KJV), the KJV itself, and more recent versions and let the evidence speak for itself.
The so called Texus Receptus (TR) is a Greek New Testament primarily based on a Greek text written in 1516 by Desiderius Erasmus, a Roman Catholic Dutch scholar proficient in Greek. Erasmus and his publisher, Johann Froben, hastily prepared their translation from what is now known to be poor manuscripts in order to preempt the publication of another Greek New Testament, contained in The Complutensian Polygot Bible, being prepared by Cardinal Ximenes. Erasmus and Froben published their document mainly as a business venture, which is not a very good reason for disseminating Holy Scripture. As a result of their haste and their limited resource material significant errors were incorporated.
As an example of the inaccuracy of Erasmus’s version let’s look at two errors whose history is highly documented. The first is presented in 1 John. After his first edition was published, Erasmus was rebuked by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) when he omitted more than twenty words of 1 John 5:7-8. Erasmus omitted these words because he could not find them in any Greek manuscript written before the 16th century. Further, he stated that he would not include them in later editions unless he did. Here is the verse with the omitted words marked through.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” 1 John 5: 7-8
Not surprisingly, the Roman Church ‘found’ a 14th century Greek manuscript in Ireland with the questionable words, and Erasmus, true to his word, reluctantly included them in his third and subsequent editions. Thus the TR contains not only the words of God, but also words added by man. Interestingly, these words have yet to be found in any manuscripts written before the 16th century save the very suspicious one produced by the Roman Church.
As one might suppose, after becoming a part of the TR, the corrupted verses found their way into many translations based on Erasmus’s work, including our beloved KJV. Fortunately, today’s Bible scholars have learned of this nefarious deed and do not include the marked through words in most new translations. Of course they are found in the NKJV, since after being the premier English translation for four hundred years it would be difficult indeed to remove them. Here is a case of the Protestant Church, just like the Catholic Church letting tradition influence doctrine, as these words are oft quoted and sorely needed by Trinitarians.
Another example of how the KJV was unduly influenced by faulty manuscripts is found in 1 Timothy.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.
1 Timothy 3:16
The phrase “God was manifest” has been traced to the Latin Vulgate Version, and very late Greek manuscripts, but is not found in any early Greek manuscripts. Early Greek manuscripts read, “He who was manifest” referring to Jesus. It is easy to see why Trinitarians would prefer the Vulgate version. Most modern versions, even the Roman Church’s Jerusalem Bible do not agree with the Vulgate and the KJV and do not say “God was manifest”.
There are many additional words and phrases in the KJV which were poorly translated significantly affecting the meaning being conveyed. Similarly, there are words in the KJV that are not in the earliest manuscripts which should be omitted because they add untrue concepts. These changes are discussed in another chapter.
Actually, the Texus Receptus is more complicated than saying that it was Erasmus’ Greek New Testament. Erasmus’ final edition was published in 1535, and while he consulted the new Complutensian Bible, he still relied most heavily on late Greek manuscripts as before. In 1550 Robert Stephanus, a French publisher, published a Greek New Testament based on Erasmus’ fifth edition. This version was used for Beza’s 1565 edition, and subsequently the Elzevir Family’s Version published in 1633. The preface of the Elzevir Version contained the following statement in Latin. “Consequently you now have the text received by everyone in which we present nothing that has been changed or that is corrupted.” The Elzevirs were stating that they themselves had not changed anything. As the years passed, scholars begin speaking of this text as ‘the received text’, and many embraced the notion that it was delivered by divine authority and should never be altered or even questioned. This notion became the power and influence of the TR, not the accuracy of its content.
In 1611 when the KJV was authorized, there still were few early Greek manuscripts to consult. The primary sources for New Testament translations were late Greek manuscripts, the Latin Vulgate, written in the fifth century by Eusebius Hieronymus better known as St. Jerome, a Roman Catholic Priest, The Complutensian Polygot Bible, and the so called Greek Texus Receptus, or the ‘Received Text’. There were, several English versions available including the Wycliffe, Tyndal, Coverdale, Thomas, Bishops, and Geneva versions, but these were all based primarily on The Latin Vulgate and the Texus Receptus. True, there were many late Greek manuscripts available, but these were written after 1300 by Roman Catholic Monks. However, these manuscripts are known to reflect Catholic doctrine in preference to Bible accuracy. There is little doubt that the translators of the King James Version were dedicated and sincere Christians who produced a magnificent translation. But, their resources were not as reliable and as flawless as many believe them to be.
Since 1611 numerous ancient Greek manuscripts have been discovered, dated, and categorized into family groupings. With these new texts and considerable study, Bible scholars have been able to determine much more accurately the words and concepts of the original authors. It is these more accurate older manuscripts that provide the basis for many of our modern versions.
It may surprise you to learn that the KJV was poorly received for nearly fifty years. Most dissenters, including the Puritans, and even some Anglican priests continued to use the Geneva Version as it contains many glosses (notes) in the margin which questioned the divine right of Kings. Historians now conclude that one reason King James authorized the KJV was to remove resistance to his divine right to rule, since he forbid the translators of the KJV to include any marginal notes.
There are many additional words and phrases in the KJV which we now know to be poorly translated, and even some words that should be omitted. These points will be discussed in a separate chapter. Meanwhile, for a better understanding of the message of the Bible, you are encouraged to study the history of our English translations.
Perhaps now you can see for yourself that to rely solely on the KJV is not the wisest thing to do. While this beautiful and wonderful version has been responsible for the calling of millions of the lost, it is not as accurate as later versions. Perhaps a good compromise would be to use the KJV for its majesty, elegance, and beauty, but use several later versions for serious Bible study.
For one-thousand years, between 400 AD and the Reformation in 1400, the Roman Catholic Church in Europe had a complete monopoly on the scriptures. With this monopoly they did exactly as they willed. Unfortunately what they willed was not in harmony with God’s will. They forbade the translation of the Bible into native tongues. They forbade the laity from reading the scriptures. They compelled the common people to hear God’s word in Latin, which they did not understand, and to rely solely on priests for interpretation. And worst of all, they took upon themselves to alter the scripture to suit their own nefarious objectives. With this history in mind let’s look at how these men affected our beloved King James Version.
Many people believe that the King James Version of the New Testament is a perfect translation of the words and concepts of the original manuscripts into the English language. While the KJV is a very good translation, is beautifully written, and has been a powerful spiritual tool for nearly 400 years, evidence discovered since 1611, has shed new light on some of its contents – not many, but some. It is these verses that we would like to review not because we love to find fault, but because these verses are used to support erroneous concepts which you need to be aware of. Let’s begin.
1. This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 1 John 5:6-8
The lined-through words in the above verses are found in the Latin vulgate Bible translated by Jerome, a Roman Catholic monk, in 405 AD, and in many early English translations, including the KJV, all of which were based on the Vulgate. But, they have never been found in any Greek manuscript written before the sixteenth century. See Chapter 8 for a detailed account of the reason for this change. Fortunately most recent translators have seen that the lined through words were not part of the original manuscript and have mustered the courage to omit them.
2. Go ye therefore, and teach all nation, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghosts. Matthew 28:19
The marked through words of this verse disagree with the baptismal instruction presented on three separate occasions in the book of Acts, two by Peter and one by Paul.
Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Acts 10:47-48
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:4-5
Eusebius, a third century church Bishop, in writing his massive works, quoted Matthew 28:19 twenty-one times. His quotes always read, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations and make disciples baptizing them in my name.” Honest scholars now recognize that these words first appeared in the Latin Vulgate and carried through to early English versions including the KJV. Even the Roman Catholic New Jerusalem Bible has footnoted this verse casting doubt on the correctness of its wording.
3. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father:
but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 1 John 2:23
The lined through words of this verse are printed in italics in the KJV signifying that the translators intentionally added them. The first addition of these words to the scriptures has been traced to the Latin vulgate. They are not found in any of the oldest Greek manuscripts.
4. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; Revelation 1:10-11
The lined through words in the verse above while present in some recent Greek manuscripts, are not found in the oldest and best preserved copies. They were added during the dark ages. They were added in an attempt to give the source of the voice that John heard (Jesus), the same characteristics ascribed in other verses to The Lord God Almighty (Isaiah 48:12, Revelation 1:8 and 21:4-7) in an effort to ‘prove’ that Jesus was God.
A careful examination of each of these changes will reveal one underlying motivation, to support the doctrine of the Trinity. What a shameful way to handle the truth in God’s love letter to all mankind!
These are not all the errors that have been discovered in the KJV, but they are sufficient to demonstrate that any serious Bible student needs to be aware that the Roman Church has not always been careful with the truth, but often places tradition and the corrupt ‘objectives of the visible church’ above the truth of the Scriptures.
For hundreds of years Protestants and Catholics alike have been told that God’s name is ‘God’ and ‘The Lord’, and like trusting sheep we accepted this statement without questioning. But, now at long last many of God’s people are awaking to realize that something is wrong – very wrong. Basic English grammar tells us that the words ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ are titles, not names. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the word, ‘god’ is derived from a Teutonic word for deity. Therefore it is absurd to believe that it is God’s name. This chapter explains how we got into this state of ignorance, and what we must discover so that we do not remain there.
First let’s see what God says about His name so that we are not led astray by those who continue to say that they are His names, or by those who say that it does not make any difference. Listed below are just a few of the many Bible verses which speak of His name. You do not have to be a seminary graduate to see that God’s name is important to Him.
God told Moses that he was called so that His name may be declared through all the earth. Exodus 9:16
God declares that if His people which are called by His name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then He would hear, and forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
God says that He will deliver the man who sets his love on Him and knows His name. Psalm 91:14
God instructs us to bless His Holy name. Psalm 103:1
God says that His people shall know His name and know it is He who speaks. Isaiah 52:6
God says that He will cause His people and all the Gentiles to know his name. Jeremiah 16:21
God says it is deceitful prophets who cause His people to forget His name. Jeremiah 23:26
God promised to make His holy name known to His people and not let them pollute it. Ezekiel 39:7
God says that He is jealous for His holy name. Ezekiel 39:25
God declares that He
will hear those who call upon His name.
God says, from the east to the west His name shall be great among the Gentiles. Malachi. 1:11
From these verses it should be crystal clear that God’s name is of utmost importance. Now lets turn to the Bible and see what God’s name really is, and how and why it was concealed for so long.
God first mentions His name, not title in Exodus 3:15. “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” There it is. YHWH is His name.
The above translation contains the English equivalent of the four Hebrew consonants God gave Moses as His name, rather than the word ‘Lord’ as used in the KJV. God’s name, YHWH, appears over six thousand times in ancient Old Testament manuscripts; however you will not find it even once in most English Bibles. These four letters are called ‘The Tetragrammaton’ (Greek, for four letters) and people all over the world are eagerly learning about them. Further, they hold the key to understanding many seemingly ambiguous Bible verses which we will discuss later. God’s name was written with four consonants because in Moses’ day the writer wrote only the consonants and the reader supplied the vowels. For centuries the Hebrews spoke God’s name, praised His name and even named their children after Him. Then His name began to be hidden.
Concealing God’s name began years before the Jews were carried into captivity to Babylon, when Jewish Priests, ‘The Massoretes’, proclaimed (in spite of what the Scriptures said), it was forbidden to speak YHWH’s name. The Massoretes were charged with keeping the Scriptures and ‘protecting God’s name’. They wanted to protect it from abuse by the heathen. Their primary method of protecting it was, and is, to keep it a secret. This desire for secrecy is what caused the problem in the first place. When the Priests read the Scriptures, they substituted the Hebrew Word, ‘Adonai’ (which means Lord) for God’s name.
Years later, when the Jews were in captivity, the Priests decided to translate their Scriptures into Greek, as most Hebrews in the Diaspora spoke mainly Greek or Aramaic. This translation, completed in about 250 BCE is called the Septuagint. The translators wrote the body of the text in Greek, but wrote God’s name, YHWH, in Hebrew letters. However, the Priests continued to say Adonai. Later, copyists wrote God’s name in Greek Letters; and still later the copyists when they came to YHWH just wrote the Greek word kyrios which means Lord.
The translators of the KJV had only copies of the Septuagint containing the Greek word kyrois and followed that practice. That is how you and I were led to believe that God’s name is ‘Lord’. Very cunning on Satan’s part wasn’t it? Earlier copies of the Septuagint with YHWH in Hebrew letters have now been discovered.
Now just what does YHWH mean? The name comes from the root word ‘to be’ and encompasses ‘was, is, and will be’. This idea is presented again in Revelation 1:8. When God said, “I am Alpha and Omega, saith the Lord (YHWH), which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” God’s name carries the concept of ‘The Living, Self Existing One’, or ‘The Eternal One’. It would be correct to call our God ‘The Living God’, or “The Eternal God”, but these would still be titles not names.
We have determined how to spell God’s name in ancient Hebrew and what God’s name means, now comes the difficult part. How do we pronounce it?
Before we tackle that task it is necessary to understand two important processes, translation and transliteration. To translate from one language to another is the process of using words understood in the second language regardless how they sound, so that the idea or concept expressed in the original language is clearly understood in the second language. Note that the sounds and letters of the second language are not important.
To transliterate a name is to write the name in a second language using the letters of the second language’s alphabet which best enables the reader to speak the name as it sounds in the first language. No attempt is made to make it look like the name in the original language, nor convey any meaning which the name may have. Understanding these two processes will help you understand the remainder of this chapter.
There are many ideas being presented for the correct pronunciation of YHWH. Some based on history, and archeology, some on word entomology, and some based on other Old Testament names. For a number of years the two names which have been mentioned most often are Yahweh and Jehovah. There are, however, reasons why each of these is probably incorrect. Yahweh can be rejected as it has approval of the Massoretes confirming that it is not correct, and the hard sounding letter ‘J’ of Jehovah was never conceived until the late 1600 hundreds. Even the original KJV of 1611 was printed with I’s instead of J’s. So what name did God give Moses?
Let’s start by reviewing when, why, and how the pronunciation of some well known Bible names have changed over the centuries. Most changes were done by the ‘Massoretes’ during the translation of the Septuagint to keep anyone from accidentally pronouncing the Sacred Name. The table below gives several examples of how Bible names were changed as part of the plan to keep God’s name secret.
The Name Before The Name The KJV
The Change After The Change Name
So, we have a start. From these changes we can conclude that YEHO is, or very close to, the pronunciation of the first portion of the Sacred Name. You can also conclude that Jewish Rabbis are not going to be any help in determining how to pronounce God’s name as they have placed a ban on it for more than two thousand years.
The Scriptures contain another key to help us. It is the name Judah, the
fourth son of Leah and Jacob, whose name is written very similarly to The Sacred
Bible English Equivalents The
The Bible Name Of Modern Hebrew Name Pronunciation
As you can see from the chart, Judah’s name contains YHWH plus a D. Today it is pronounced Ya hu’ Dah. Now if we remove the ‘D’ sound, we have Ya hu’ ah. We are getting closer to the Sacred Name, but we must take into account the name changes of the first and second centuries, and the Hebrew consonant W, which the Massoretes have conveniently ignored in the name for Judah. Thus the sacred name most likely would have been pronounced Ye ho’ vah. Praise Ye ho’ vah! We cannot be one hundred percent certain, but this is the most rational and most Biblical based proposal we have ever seen.
The next step is to determine the name of God’s son. In this regard, God said two important things: (1) that He was Israel’s savior and (2) that His name was in His son. Further, the son said that he came in his Father’s Name.
The Hebrew word for ‘saves’, is shuah. Thus the expression ‘Ye-ho’-vah Saves’ when spoken in Hebrew, and using Ye, the shorten form of Yehovah, would be Ye’-shuah. This is the name of the messiah, the name the angel instructed Mary (actually Miryam) to call her son. The one name under heaven whereby we must be saved Hallelujah!!!. Thank- you Father. Praise and glory be unto The Father, Ye-ho’ vah, and His son, Ye’-shuah, our lord and savior.
We have used the names
Lord, God, and Jesus for so long that it is going to be difficult to change,
is not our decision to make. God has told
us what He wants – no ifs, no ands, and no buts.
We should begin using these names in our daily conversation and in our correspondence, so that in a short while it will become second nature for us to say Ye ho’ vah, and Ye’ shuah.
We have not used these names in the other chapters in this book for a reason. It is our opinion that most readers, not possessing the material presented in this chapter, would reject the whole book before reading it because it contained strange Jewish names for God and His son. But please know that we happily use God’s and His son’s given name in our everyday life, and we encourage you to do so as well.
Many English speaking Christians are confronted with much confusion about God’s name and His voice. Chapter 10. deals with what the Bible says about God’s name and how to pronounce it. This chapter will deal with what the Bible says about hearing God’s voice. Please study Chapter 10 before beginning this one. God has promised us one pure language (Zephaniah 3:9), but as of now we do not have it, so we must do with what we have. Further, Satan is doing everything he can to confuse us, but with the help of the holy spirit we can gain a correct understanding of God’s voice in Scripture. So ask for Help.
There are many problems in translating from one language to another, two of which are, (1) when there is no word or phrase in the second language which accurately describes the word in the original language, and (2) when there are many different concepts in the original language for a single word in the second language. Sometimes we have the second type problem within just one language. For example: when we say the word ‘church’ we could mean the fellowship of all believers, a denomination, a building, or a worship service. Most of the time, we know which concept the writer is referring to, but not always. So it is with the Bible.
Let’s start with a problem with the King James Version. For example in the KJV, Jesus said that “man has neither heard God’s voice at any time, nor seen his shape”, John 5:37. Yet in the Old Testament we read that, “The Lord appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect”. Genesis 17:1. From these two verses it appears that either Jesus did not tell the truth, or that the Old Testament is in error. However, as you continue this study, you will learn that there is a straightforward explanation which makes both verses true.
The difficulty begins with translation. One problem with the KJV and most other English and foreign language Bibles is that they translate many different Hebrew words as ‘God’. A few of these include El, Elohim, Eloah, YHWH, Adonay, and Yehovih. There are others, but these will do to illustrate the principal involved. Sometimes these words mean ‘God’, but many times they have other meanings. Further, Hebrew Priests substituted the word ‘Adonay’ (meaning Lord) for God’s name, YHWH, further complicating the issue. These words and some of their meanings and their Strong’s Reference Number are given in the following list.
EL (410), God; also A god-like one; A mighty man;
A man of high rank.
Elohim (430), God; also A ruler; A judge; Beings who
make up God’s heavenly host i.e. angels,
cherubs, sons of God, God’s only begotten
son, perhaps other beings.
Eloah (433), God; also A false god.
YHWH (3068), YHWH; The sacred name of the one true
God. Pronounced Ye-ho’vah (see Chapter 10).
Yehovih (3069), A variation of 3068
Adonay (0136), Originally a lord or owner of another person,
but later ‘Lord or God’ when Hebrew Priest
substituted this word for YHWH.
As you can easily see, translating all of these words as ‘God’ would certainly cause much confusion on the reader’s part if the writer actually meant one of the other meanings. In fact it can cause a reader to misunderstand the whole concept of the described event, and that is exactly what has happened. Let’s take one example in Exodus 3. The following words in bold letters are the Hebrew words all of which have been translated as God, or Lord.
1. “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of Elohim, even to Horeb. 2. And the angel of YHWH appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4. And when YHWH saw that he turned aside to see, Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses.”
Before we study the words in bold print, let’s leave Scripture for just a bit and examine a cultural difference between the near east and the western worlds. In the western world, a representative of an eminent person always makes it clear when he is speaking for himself and when he is speaking for his leader. He never speaks in first person as if he were his leader. However this was not the case in Bible land when the Scriptures were written. In Bible times, when a servant was on a mission, especially a distant mission for his lord, he often spoke in first person just as if he were his actual master. Everyone understood he was not his master, but had full authority to speak for him. Also, the receiver of the message treated the messenger just as if he would have treated the messenger’s lord. It is important for you to understand and to remember this custom. It will enable you to understand many seemingly contradictions arising from the expression, ‘and God said’.
Understanding more fully two other Hebrew words will also help. One is the word. mal’ak (4397). Mal’ak means messenger. It is translated as ‘angel’ in the KJV. Messenger is a better translation as angel carries with it our preconceived notion of a human-like form dressed in white and flying about on wings. Actually, God’s messengers can be in any form. In the Bible, Mal’aks were God’s messengers sent on specific missions. We see an example of this in verse 2. which is better translated, “and the messenger of YHWH appeared unto Moses” . . . .
Understanding more fully the Hebrew word, Elohim, will also be helpful. The word Elohim is frequently translated as God in the KJV, but often it refers to God’s heavenly host, that is the other beings in heaven. It includes the angels, the cherubs, the sons of God, God’s only begotten son and perhaps others which we know nothing about. An example of how the Hebrews viewed God’s host is presented in 2 Samuel 5:10: “And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.” (KJV)
With our new understanding of Hebrew words this verse reads, “And David went on, and grew great, and Ye-ho’vah, Elohim of hosts was with him”. You can see this for yourself by examining the Strong numbers assigned to each word in this verse in the KJV. Actually the ASV, Darby’s, and Young’s translation have a more accurate translation except they use ‘God’ rather than Elohim.
Now let’s go back and read Exodus 3. Notice in verse 3 it is the messenger of YHWH that appears to Moses, and in verse 4. an Elohim (one of YHWH’S Host) speaks to Moses. This mal’ak or messenger of Ye-ho’vah is none other than Ye-ho’vah’s son, Ye’shuah. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he tells us it was Ye’shuah who lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock that went with them: and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4.
It was Ye’shuah, the messiah, who speaks as Ye-ho’vah (God) to all men. God, never left heaven. He is represented to all men by his son. His son has full authority to speak for Him. He spoke in first person as God, to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, all the prophets, and anyone who the Bible says talked with God.
Now you can understand how the Bible can say that God spoke to men of old, while His son said that no one has seen God nor heard His voice. Ye’shuah was the one bringing God’s message to mankind, and he still does it in spiritual form as the holy spirit. Ye’shuah has spent his whole life serving man: first at creation, next guiding the chosen ones during Bible times, and then bringing us a perfect image of his father when he came to make the final sacrifice at Calvary. He now brings us his Father’s word as the holy spirit. Ye’shuah repeatedly said that he came from his Father and that he spoke only what his Father had told him.
Glory, praise, and honor to our God, Ye-ho’vah, and glory, praise, and honor to our savior Ye’shuah. Amen