35Matthew 10:8

Now we come to a case where both the AV and the NKJV, indeed nearly all more recent versions, are of one kind; whereas the vast majority of the Greek text is to the contrary. This seems to come about because those stuck with the Westcott and Hort love of the defective and careless manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, follow what they have; and those who follow the Textus Receptus have just the same. However in this relatively rare instance, the Textus Receptus does not follow the mass of its family of manuscripts of which it is a part. Remarkably well chosen for its time, it is yet in this instance not in accord with the very basics of its selection criteria.

Thus in Matthew 10:8, "raise the dead" does not appear in the large majority (M, as recorded in The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text) and it likewise fails to appear in the parallel passages in Mark (3:15) and Luke, the latter in 9:6 even specifying the thrust in retrospect, without including it. Luke 10, where the 70 are sent on a similar mission, has no reference to it either, though the specifics of
coverage are long. In other texts, it is omitted by many of the "fathers" or early writers, and versions - translations from early times; and there are erasures and even a re-writing here, in Sinaiticus, which as shown by Dean J.W. Burgon*, is far from reliable.

The reference of Christ to raising the dead is found in His OWN account of His fulfilment of prophecy, in order to re-assure John the Baptist, who sent enquiring (Matthew 11:5, cf. Mark 5:41, Luke 7:11, John 11), in a list of far greater magnitude. At that, however, no doctrine is involved, since Peter raised Tabitha (Dorcas) , as shown in Acts 9:37-41 and Christ includes the point. It is simply a matter of the evidence for Matthew 10:8 in particular.

It is true that in an early place, the disciples are seen baulked indeed, when Christ triumphed, even in a case of demon possession, though it seems this one was very special ! (Matthew 17:14-21).

Christ's work was beyond measure (Mark 7:37, 6:56). After Christ went to heaven till His return in triumph (Acts 1:7ff., 3:19-21), it was delightful to see Peter used in raising Dorcas from the dead; but of course the omission of raising the dead from Matthew 10:8 does not entail that it was not done by any disciple before that.

It is therefore appears that there was scribal involvement of some kind in this text, but that the united testimony of many kinds weighs too heavily to be ignored, in the providential pluralities and objectivities of the textual situation as it stands revealed. It appears then that "raise the dead" should in this instance be omitted in terms of general criteria. Although as noted this does not affect any doctrine, it is nevertheless a reminder that 'rules of thumb' such as we may construct for pastoral convenience are no more than that. On the other hand, as to doctrine, no difficulty appears ever, and the thoughts of the Lord, His directions and divulgements, are maintained with splendid precision, fulfilling His undertaking of continuity for His word.

*On textual matters more generally see . On Translations of the Bible, Words about Words Ch. 1.

36Matthew 11:27

Next, Matthew 11:27 is of much interest. Here the AV has this of the Son, concerning those to whom He will reveal Himself: "he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Himself". This is inaccurate, quite simply. It is in fact:

§"All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and the one to whomsoever Son wills to reveal Himself" - similar to that in the NKJV. One may note in passing that the term "whomsoever" if a little old-fashioned sounding in English, is fully warranted by the particular construction in the Greek. It does have a selective sound to it, as if in survey and sovereignty, each one taken specifically among all, and hence is here retained, though it is not in the NKJV. This point is relatively minor, though everything matters in translation.

It is the last eight words in the translation with which we are concerned. The Greek verb added (there are two in action here) signifies this action of Christ's will, His disposition to determine or decide or resolve, and it is much more than a simple expression of the future tense, which is all that appears expressly in the AV in this case!

This is another case showing the folly of idolatry, or even obsessive disregard or neglect of what the Lord has done outside the admittedly excellent KJV. It is quite wrong to neglect these workings of His body (cf. Ephesians 2:20ff., 4:16). This, His body, is MADE with a view to interaction, and scholarship is simply one way of assisting this over time, including the past in review of translations, and proceeding onwards. It is no part of purity to adopt a translation in a blindfolded fashion, though it is true there has been much and even gross provocation in the form of the use of indefensible theories concerning manuscripts, to limit the word of God, divorcing it from its own eloquent and elegant preservation testimony; as it is also true that the AV has in degree great translating tact and perception, wisdom and accuracy, if not always clarity..

Let us however return to dwell for a further moment on Matthew 11:27 and what the actual text, now exposed, has for us to learn when the "wills" is added, as found in the Greek.

It brings to light that the Son is not some sort of quasi-mechanical device with no personality, who simply implements like a CEO. His relationship to the Father is far more profound than that. It is quite true that as the word, He is the One sent, from the speaker, if you will, the One who speaks. It is equally accurate that He spoke as His Father commanded (John 12:48-50). It is however also true that He is in delighted (Psalm 40:1ff.) correlation with His Father, is heard by His Father (John 11:41-42), has upon Him "the Spirit of counsel and might" (Isaiah 11:2), and that in Him is "all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).

The concerted collaboration of Son and Father, especially in the glory before this world was (John 17:1ff.) was such then that there was no smallest question of Christ's character and love being at all short-circuited, cramped, crimped or pinched. What HE was on earth, He was before it, in heart and mind, only the FORM (Philippians 2) having become lowly, and subject to explicit direction in a vulnerable setting.

Hence as shown in Predestination and Freewill, it is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of deity, to imagine that the Christ who as on earth, was absent in the predestinative activities of the deity, or that His principles and perceptions, His values or His character were mutative: for as to God, in Him there is no shadow of turning or variation (James 1:17), and He, Christ is God (John 20:28, 8:58, Philippians 2:6). It is no question of sovereignty dictating away, and the sovereign putting a stamp on it. HE IS THE SOVEREIGN: GOD is not under sovereignty, but sovereignty is under God: it is HIS, and expresses HIMSELF. The FATHER  is precisely mirrored in His Son, and the SON  precisely mirrors His Father and it is from both that the SPIRIT comes (John 15:26), who shows forth the Son, and through whom is given the word of God (II Peter 1:19-21, Acts 4:25, Isaiah 34:16), which we have preserved for us, as is preserved likewise the  soul of each, by His grace, when we know Him!

Fully inscribed in predestination is the reality of the Christ who showed the Father in His own Person (John 14): fear of it is as foolish as is fear of Christ not receiving one who in faith comes to Him. These things we know from the Bible as shown in Predestination and Freewill; but Matthew 11:27 helps us to recognise them perhaps even more clearly.


37Matthew 28:9

§Now as they were engaged in going to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!". So they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him."

It is all but amusing in a grave sort of way, to see heretics and those 'concerned' who may also at times not 'see' how some part fits, and who change some manuscript in antiquity, so creating some minor tradition of their own; and then to see how the vast mass of the text remains, both clear and challenging, as from the first, and penetrating and enlightening at last.

Thus in Matthew 28:9, the Westcott- Hort tradition omits "when they were going", but not so the vast majority of texts.

In fact, the verb for 'going' is in the imperfect tense, signifying a continuing or repetitious act or series of actions. Quite possibly, the sequence is this:

a) the women concerned  all told the disciples in Luke 24:10-11, of the message that Christ was risen from the very dead (without any mention of the transcendentally important personal meeting with Christ being recorded there, because quite simply, they had not at that time seen Him in this way, but received report from the angels only).

b) Then, like Mary in fact (John 20), they went back, drifting perhaps and drawn irresistibly, pondering, wandering, attracted like moths to light, seeking more in the face of the disbelief of the disciples.

c) Christ then met Mary who perhaps because of her profound need, and sense of it, went back more quickly following the race of Peter and John (cf. John 20:11ff., Mark 16:9). She, truly concerned and deeply moved, addressed the One she thought to be the gardener, through her tears, the mist of eye compounded with the fog of heart, saying, "If you have carried Him from here, tell me where you have laid Him" - John 20:15.

d) Later, in the same vicinity, He meets the women, meandering back unsated with anything new to provide the disciples, and gives to them also, this direct confrontation and confirmation. They also held His feet,  in worship (John 20:17, Matthew 28:9). Rising from the dead without even a prophet as intermediary was no small divulgement, like the transfiguration (Matthew 17, where the divine voice punctuated the divine light), unique in all recorded history; but in this case, it was also unique in fulfilling the unique prediction.

However, let us revert to the text itself. To depart from the overwhelming and vast attestation of the text as INCLUDING the words "as they were going" or "engaged in going" , is neither necessary, safe nor wise. Except there be overwhelmingly clear objective evidence of a transmission error, nothing can be done. It is the word of another. In this instance, the opposite is the case.  This objective reality is always paramount, lest people become authors of what is then not the word of God, but the surmise of man. Subjective surmise has here no proper place, lest the word of man thrust itself into the mouth of God, who in His infinite wisdom, speaks what He will.

Incidentally, John 20:17  more literally has "cease clinging to me",  a more informative translation, since this particular (present) imperative holds the concept of continuity. Hence its negation is a CESSATION of that which was continuing: i.e. a ceasing of clinging.


38John 1:1

§In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and it was God the Word was*

Similarly, the translation shown for Genesis 1:1 is:

§In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,
and the earth was without form and void. 

For a substantial consideration of issues involved in John 1:1, see On Translations of the Bible, 17.



In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and it was God the Word was.

In this case, the italics are being used as in normal in the KJV and the NKJV to mean that these words are supplied for clarity in terms of English idiomatic usage, but do not appear in the Greek text. To the mind of this writer, this is the most secure translation, since it is virtually impossible to misunderstand it.

A further feature in favour of rendering it in this idiomatic English way is that the following verse now   is far more perspicuous as to its repetitive element. The meaning would be, as in bold above, followed by this statement: He was in the beginning with God.

Thus the development would be in this style. In the beginning, as in Genesis, before anything was made, was the Maker, and the One to whom we look now is the Word. He was, in this pre-creation, and thus pre-temporal phase, with God. Indeed, God it is that He was. He was in the beginning with God.

The explicatory force now flows as smoothly as a stream in mid-Spring. We meet this Person before creation. It is not surprising that He was with God before creation, since everything is either God or creation. We are told further than His was the status of deity, Himself, and this being so, neatly and compactly for the understanding, we are to picture Him, before all creation, one God. As shown in the main text of this chapter, that is precisely what is to be expected as soon as we learn that the ONE GOD was in fellowship with the Word, so that that which is affirmed of the ONE GOD, is affirmed no less of the WORD, so that in verse three we learn with that sobering relish for the inter-relation of all things to be found in this Gospel, that all things were made by Him, and nothing that is made was made without Him.

Than this, nothing could be clearer: one Being consists in Sender and Sent, Speaker and Spoken, Father and Son, and being ONE GOD, He was there from the first, and has control of things to the last of creation. We learn as John's Gospel proceeds, that He also has control to the last of it (John 5:19-23 cf. Matthew 24:35, John 16:15).



*Greek allows inversions to be clear in such a case, with the verb to be connecting two terms, so that inversion of subject could mislead. Thus the subject equipped with the Greek term for "the", is distinguished from the complement, not  so equipped. In this case, it is literally, God was the Word (plus the information that 'the Word' is the subject, plus the emphasis inherent in putting the complement before the subject.). That is what we have to translate.

Now in English we could put this third part of the opening statement,  as is done here, "and God was the word." The emphasis implicit in inversion, so that what would normally come later, comes instead first, is preserved by italicising the word 'God' in English. It has just been used, so that its meaning is clear; and now it is to be emphasised. In general terms, this might suffice.

However, it is just possible that someone might read this is simply meaning that God and the Word were co-extensive, whereas of course, there is the Father and the Spirit, and the Word. This is not what the text is saying. Hence to match English idiom and mannerisms, perhaps the best translation would be this:



39Acts 9:35

§"And all those inhabiting Lydda and Sharon saw him -
those who turned to the Lord."

The case of Acts 9:35 is of much interest. Here both the AV and the NKJV have an excess beyond what is written. Thus the latter has - "So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord" , while in the former we find, "And all that dwelt at Lydda, and in Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord."

Oddly enough the Pulpit Commentary prefers the Revised Version (English) here, saying that the addition of "they" to make it, "they turned to the Lord" is better; but it proceeds to exegete it as if the REASON they turned was this healing. This may have been a significant feature; but the text does not say this either. These then are two sorts of translations, one too broad in extent, concerning the populations, and the other too restricted, in requiring the cause of turning to the Lord to reside in the healing.

Berkeley does a fine job in precision, translating it,

"And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon, those who turned to the Lord, saw him."

This is almost a literal translation. The Greek has this, forgetting for the moment the Englishness of the translation (or otherwise!): "and all those inhabiting Lydda and Sharon saw him, those who turned to the Lord." It is a way of speaking that they have, that Luke in particular has, and it is found in a very similar way, and case, in Acts 13:48: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

This is an accurate translation, but if we take, again, the way it appears in Greek, for parallel purposes with 9:35, it has, in terms of word order AT THE POINT of our interest: "And hearing it, the Gentiles rejoiced, and glorified the word of the Lord, and believed as many as were appointed to life eternal life."

Thus first you get the ACTION: "they REJOICED", and "GLORIFIED" and "BELIEVED" - and then with a similar relative pronoun, we get the qualification as to precisely which category did these things, "AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED". Thus Luke not only uses this limit, grammatically, but he does it again nearby in a similar limiting, adding the limit or qualification, AFTER noting what it was that happened.

This is not trivial, though of course it is not doctrine as such. It means that there were people in the two cities mentioned in Acts 9 who SAW the healing, and there were people were TURNED TO THE LORD, and the two categories were the same. Whether SOME HAD ALREADY believed (presumably, as Peter went to the Christians already there) who saw the healing in the Christian midst, and what proportion of the population of the 2 towns believed, we are not told.

A good translation is found as noted in Berkeley, but if we tried to make it sound more natural in English idiom, we might render it:

§"And all those inhabiting Lydda and Sharon saw him -
those who turned to the Lord."

:We can compare this with Acts 13:48:  "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

As to Acts 9:35, We often do this, appending a qualification; and it simply means this - that no Christian did not see him as healed, in that place, and there is an emphasis on action "turned", which suggests it had a strong bearing on the faith of many, possibly leading to it, to salvation in a number of cases. These are the inferences, the sentence in quotation marks, however, is what we are TOLD. It is wise to separate text from inference! Let it say what IT wills, while we think what we may, but separate our thoughts of appearances and possibilities from what is stated. Is this not what we like others to do to us; how much more do we do this when it is the Lord who provides the data!


40Acts 13:19-20

§"And when He had destroyed seven nations
in the land of Canaan,
He distributed their land as an inheritance -
all of which  took
about four hundred and fifty years.
And after these things He gave them judges
until Samuel the prophet."


This is a case of wide interest, because of its implications. In this illustration, both the AV and the NKJV rather astonishingly, and rarely indeed as a combination, fail to provide a satisfactory translation. It is found in Acts 13:19-20. "And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet."

The NASV, duly covering Egypt, 400 years, and the Exodus (13:17-18), proceeds:

§"And when He had destroyed seven nations
in the land of Canaan,
He distributed their land as an inheritance -
all of which  took
about four hundred and fifty years.
And after these things He gave them judges
until Samuel the prophet."

The Berkeley version translates similarly.

The time noted for Israel’s period in Egypt was 400 years (Genesis 15:13), the wilderness 40, and a little time was needed from Egypt to the failure to enter the land, as in Numbers 14, while Joshua, who began his military entry at a late age, proceeded for a small number of years to the allocation of the tribal lands, as seen late in the book of Joshua, and anticipated in Numbers 33:54. This fits both grammatically, as we shall see, covering all the data both aptly and well, and historically as an approximation, which it statedly is.

The Majority Greek text has, literally: "And having destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them as inheritance.  And after these things, within about four hundred and fifty years, He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet."

Two major points at once obtrude. FIRST, the phrase "after these things" is  FOLLOWED AT ONCE by the dative case reference to time, which would be construed as TIME WITHIN WHICH.

Unlike this, the time references in vv. 18,21 are in the accusative case, and would indicate duration of time. In those cases, one sees the time of action stretching out as it is lived; in the dative example, however, it is posing the time within which the action in view had happened. That is the difference.

That time within which the action described in some detail, occurred:  450 years. The action ? what preceded, here summarised. The sense: after these things, themselves occupying a period of around 450 years, He gave them judges ... There is a reason for the case change, which equates to a time concept change, and this presents perspective backwards, by disjunction from the earlier and later methods of timing, which are in the accusative or duration time approach. The change interrupts mere ongoing duration figures, with time within which figures, and it does this for a reason.

The reason for not putting the new time, about 450 years,  with what FOLLOWS is simply the dramatically disjunctive change of case. It is not wise to ignore grammatical change of case in a varied series of references to time. It is as if for a doctor there were a change in inflammation, and one simply ignored it, or for a mechanic, a change in engine noise, and one was listless about it. In other words, instead of flow-on, on an established time frame, there is disjunction, for an intervening remark which, stopping progress, brings summary.

What then do we find here ? The judges would be conceived as living it, as stretching forth like the case of the wilderness 40 years, and Saul, bearing rule over the same period of time! As to the 400, there is certainly, in simple grammatical terms, an option, to take it as summarising what had been said or anticipating what was about to be said. However this would be to miss the significant and indeed conspicuous case change for time reference, which significantly interrupts simple time duration figures, occurring both before and after it..

We are rather having a change of speech to cover a change in aspect. Otherwise why write at all, if data are ignored! No more is it as in v.18 a duration happening as it were before our eyes, 40 years; for now a time slot is carved out in review, a survey note on time elapsed, before the action proceeds to more things graphically before the eyes, another 40 years coming in v. 21, exactly as in the wilderness case in v. 18: both duration of time.

As to the grammatical evidence, in terms of case change, then, in v. 19 on the one hand and 18,11 on the other: this is survey; that is living. The former has it transpiring, the latter sees it elapsed. The NASV gives attention more aptly to ALL the evidence and thus is here preferable.

The other reason is this: it was NOT about 450 years from the distribution of land by allotment for inheritance purposes, to Samuel. If he were  born about 1050 B.C., having been young as a prophet, and we allow the normal 30 years before maturity for spiritual service, then we have about 1020 B.C.  If the Exodus was at 1445 ( Archer op.cit.), then the date in view would be a little after 1400, say 1380. But from 1380 to 1020 is not about 450 years.

Further, if it took Joshua more than 20 years to the distribution, then the disparity would be greater. It is much less near if the Exodus were, contrary to detailed evidence, at some imaginary later time! In this, the early date of the Exodus*1 is confirmed; one  underscored in Archer "Bible Difficulties" in such decisive manner (pp. 191ff.). That in turn is indicated clearly in I Kings 6:1, as in Judges 11:26, this making a third affirmation. In biblical terms, it is one more harmony, from different quarters in it. It is of course confirmed here in Acts 13.

What is the length of time, then, from the exaltation in Egypt through the 400 or so years there, and the 40 in the wilderness to Joshua's distribution ? It would be 440 plus perhaps 20, or about 450.

Even if we leave the field of approximation in which the text is in fact moving in Acts 13, then the figure still relates. Then, from the day of the exaltation of the Israelites in Egypt, till the end of their residence there would be 430 years, less such time as it took them to reach that exalted state, which might have come no later than the days of Jacob, as we read of the flourishing situation in Genesis 47:27-31 some 17 years).

Whether the round figure of 400 years, therefore as in Genesis 15:13, be used, with 40 years for the wandering in the desert, and a relatively short additive for Joshua to reach the point of land distribution, so making  about 450; or instead,  it be taken as 430 plus 40 or 470 with some extra for Joshua to reach the events of Joshua , with something omitted from the 430 for the exaltation of Israel, to be reached a the starting point: both come to much the same.

It is in round terms to be considered as about 450 years.  The use of the 400 as in Genesis 15, plus the 40 in the wilderness, in terms of KNOWN approximation, in a field statedly one of approximation, however, would seem the most likely meaning. Stephen appears to use precisely the same approximation in Acts 7:6, in confirmation, just as Genesis 15 is in anticipation.

450 is just what one would  expect on such a basis.

A further detail of interest is Joshua's precise invasion time for reaching the distribution of lands as in Joshua 13ff..

Thus, if he were 40 when made Commander in the assault on Ai, and made a close associate to  Moses as suggested in Exodus 32:17 at the time of the golden calf episode, then it follows he would be 80 at the time for the entry into the Promised Land, so that if the main distribution took till he was 100 before death at 110, we would have 430 plus 40 plus perhaps  20 making 490, minus time for flourishing and exaltation in Egypt as the point of departure.

It is all  approximate; but it seems for that very reason to take the 400 year base as in Genesis 15, because of its fame in terms of approximation for that period, with the 40 and the 20 or so for Joshua to reach the point described in the text. At 460 this gives a relevant approximation of 450.

That would appear an almost elementary fact, for one versed at all in what would be for Paul, national history, religiously significant. In lecturer style, he is expanding and compressing, giving action and then time slotting it. Again, there would not seem any ready way of explaining away the case change, unless there is precisely that difference.

Now let us reflect. The majority text, of which the textus receptus made use in important selections of this family in the AV, is beautifully conveying to us the fact. It is showing itself reliable. Certainly, one could as in the NASV expand with italicised words; but that is only to bring out the sense of what is in the Greek data.

God has not left Himself without a most clear witness; BUT that is not at all the same thing as saying this: that the AV is THE standard, the ONLY translation to be used, that it is so honoured of God that it must be the criterion.

Great as that translation is, and normatively reliable, it does not reach to that grand height all by itself! Here once more it slips. Alas, it even -  with the NKJV, puts the time of '450 years' after the words "He gave them judges" ,so displacing the word order in the Greek text. This makes the ordinary reader STILL MORE confused, for it then appears that that is a closed case. In fact, the time reference  comes before that topic is mentioned, and the rest of the point is as above.

Now this sort of thing in the AV  is a rarity, for it has a care and alertness hard to match, despite its imperfections, elsewhere: the main problem being clarity; but that is something which does occur in the AV, at times, partly because of the passage of time and change of language. .

Similarly, as with all translations, there are books or areas where the special expertise of someone is most helpful and a feeling for, a flair comes to light as in the NIV in Job. It is unwise to ignore this. It is unwise also to idolatrise anyone or any thing; to make a monument and authority, a PILLAR as Paul put it, of anyone, or any creation. ONLY GOD, ONLY THE LORD, ONLY HIS WORD is that. It is simply a failure, if one should do otherwise; be it to honour someone or something, most cordially, it is still an error, and how well I John 2:27 guards against it. Indeed, let us remember that the AV is the PRODUCT of people, and you must look NOT to them but to the Lord.

Now someone may say, It is not idolatry to prefer a version; and of course, this is so. What is idolatry is to have such reverential feelings toward anyone or anything not the Lord, with whatever good intention or even in one sense, admirable loyalty, that one dispenses with the full breadth of what the Lord is doing. That is why it is quite unscriptural as noted in Repent or Perish 1, End-note 1, to have this ism-itis, the inflammation of the 'ism', this tendency to set some one theologian as one's real parent, the name by which we are called. Paul condemns it explicitly, expressly in I Cor. 3.

It is FORBIDDEN. How long does it take for people to realise that just as the RC horror of cordially disobeying Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) in calling people 'father' is not the ONLY way to fall. In that sense, of spiritual supervisor and master or authority, it is for CHRIST ONLY. It is not only by EVERY word which proceeds out of the mouth of God which one is to live (Matthew 4:4), but by no other AT THAT LEVEL! NOTHING may add even a jot! Suggestions may abound, authority however is vested not elsewhere, and its administration is not another name for its supervision with complexes and cords, chains and additives, stringencies and requirements, provided courtesy of some kind party - again, however well-intentioned such may be!

What then ? The AV is fine, but not final in all things. Its eminent and justly famed serviceability is indeed a useful barrier to some of the subtle intrigues in the area of the Greek text, which so many for so long have seemingly so supinely accepted. That however is no excuse for idolatrising it, or treating it in such a way as to contravene Biblical restrictions for our liberty and our walk in love in the Lord; for the simple fact is this, that as soon as you set up these human instruments (i.e. work of a particular set of translators to the exclusion of all others, or the same in  a particular theologian) , you are limiting the liberty of the word of God, and that inhibits the love which abides in His word: it is polluting your inheritance, in the very desire to preserve it pure.

How one praises the Lord to have put the things before us in this external evidential way, letting the testimony of His due care and wonderful control of things appear in this also, the preservation of the thrust and meaning of His text to achieve the fulfilment of His promises.


41Romans 3:25

§Whom God set forth as a propitiation by faith through His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.

Here, in Romans 3:25, the NKJV has an advantage, in putting, "by His blood" instead of "in", for while both translations are permissible, the latter may suggest to idolatrising minds an idea not in the original. On the other hand, the NKJV also changes the order from "through faith in His blood" to "by His blood through faith".

It is best to preserve where possible the order given,  often indicative of intimate meaning or emphasis, however. Perhaps the best way of all might be this:

§by faith through His blood.

Such matters as these show chiefly, perhaps, the importance of actually understanding what is being said, in stead of relying on what some one translation or translator has to say, with however good an intention. The body has many gifts, and where there is no clear contrariety from the Lord, it is best to use them.

The point is that the blood is indeed the transmissive basis, but that it is NOT the objective fluid: it is its having been shed and the purpose of it which is to the point. Thus Colossians 2:21-22 shows it is HIS DEATH which the blood symbolises, and that it is HIMSELF in whom faith must rest. This passage tells us: "Now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight...", and this is all dealt with at great length in Hebrews 8-10 (e.g. Hebrews 10:10,14 and so on). Similarly John 5:23-24, 3:16, Romans 10:9 make it clear, as so often, it is in HIM we trust; but of course, it is HE who has done these marvellous things, even to the point of blood, which testifies of the payment and its adequacy, the suffering and its completeness, its setting and its efficacious character.

 Romans 5:12-15

§ It is therefore as follows:

As through one man sin entered the world,
and death through sin and that passed to all persons since all sinned

(for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged up,
law not being in place,  but death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even on those who had not sinned after the manner of Adam's transgression,
who is a figure of the Coming One):

yet not as the offence, so is the free gift.
For if through the offences of the one, many died,
much more the grace of God and the gift in grace which is derived from one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.


This is taken from On Translations of the Bible Ch. 10. Because of the centrality and notable character in terms of form as well as function, the fuller presentation is preserved for this Romans 5 case.

In Romans 5:12-21 we find that there was a first man who went astray, a thing which personality is and must be, perfectly able to do, in its initial stages at least: for otherwise it would lack the qualities integral to BEING a person. Programmees are not persons. Freedom is not a mathematical, economic or moral necessity. Without freedom, there is only rule, not reality for man. It is the reality of man that he weighs and considers, proposes and disposes, often messing things in the meantime; and that his standards are as far from being set, as on the contrary, they are set in the Artic to Antarctic bird programs by their Designer*2. Freedom was considered in Predestination and Freewill, Part I especially, as in SMR pp. 348ff., Licence for Liberty Preface,  I , 2  and elsewhere, in Things Old and New Ch.  1, Beauty  of Holiness Ch.   5  7   8; News 145  (see also indexes SMR and other).

He is still paying; he is still sinning. The direction is the same, the speed can increase as multiple assaults are institutionalised more and more, and good teaching is replaced with a moral invention of goodness, whereby evil is treated to glory (cf. Mystery of Iniquity and The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 8).

Now in Romans 5:12 we find the generic, historic declaration. The first man sinned, gained death and his condition became universal to the race as it then was. In verses 13-14, we learn that this was an exceptional case, like your first smash after gaining your driver's licence. It is not a particularly memorable thing, but it is remembered!

SINCE then, we there learn, man sins in a different way from the original idea of sinning, which then was indeed quite original... He sins in a derivative way, lest monumental in kind, but still fatal in type. When Moses was given a heavily codified law, we are told, then sin was decisively, if you like arithmetically accountable. However, before then, it was still sin; God was still divine, man human, results still accrued, and in particular, death.

In making this distinction, chapter 5 of Romans provides us with a link. The sin of man in the first was of one kind, and in the unity of that first man it was dowered to mankind! The first man was a type, illustration, forerunner, of the COMING ONE, we read.

Paul then resumes the argumentation of explication.

It runs well in the Berkeley translation*1. The case is this (this is the sense of it): the first man sinned, getting death and this spread. The case was different in the first, from that of others, who came after the first episode. They sinned with sin already resident. However the first sin was from ONE agent, and the Coming One, to meet it, was another Agent. Each was one. Each was crucial. Not however like the first sin situation is the second man's or the second representative man's action. Sin multiplied by the first; grace abounded by the second.

The basic movement is this, then: Here is the position (v. 12). Just as sin came by man, and spread like a plague, so in complete contrariety, grace came by man, and spread like a bounty. Sin came like that; but otherwise did the coming of grace from the Coming One occur!

This then in verse 15 is the first of no less than 6 parallels, law court sounding presentations, each reinforcing the last, each proceeding to a new phase, and sometimes gathering strength from what went before as well. It is not possible really to interrupt this amazing flow of analysis with brackets and imagined recall of verse 12, as done in both the Authorised Version and the NKJV. It is a cohesive, coherent, deeply integrated series of propositions, like arms and elbows, and hands, each articulated so closely with the other, that interruption is dysfunctional.

The Greek does not carry brackets, so we have to use our own perception. Thus the bracketed part PRECEDES the 6 parallel presentations, starting at verse 15, in the translation as given. What is clear is found in two points. The verse 12 is explained in verses 13-14 in terms of the first and later sin, and the difference between them. Then in verse 15, we have the adversative parallel: That happened in one way, but THIS, it happened in the opposite.

·         The respect of contrariety is this: THAT was negative, this is positive. That was fatal, this is a balm of life. But BOTH were multiplying in results, like a cyclotron. So begins the education by contrast! in its extended series.


1) Thus in verse 15 we have the first of the six parallel statements, mutually developmental.  Here is the dismal multiplication contrasted with the delightful abundance, the salient stripping of sin, and the exotic abounding of grace.

2) In verse 16, we have a further and related contrast. There is, in the first man, Adam, the movement to judgment. There is via the second man (as Paul puts it in I Cor. 15 "the Lord from heaven" defining the term), the movement to justification. The one is to sentencing, the other to quashing. The one is to the bar of justice; the other is to the car of deliverance. One indites the guilt; the other waives it. This is the judgment-justification contrast in the parallels built about Adam and Christ.

3) In verse 17, we come to one offence of one man leading to the REIGN of death. Man could not escape, and the preludes and passions of death were the thing that ruled, de rigueur. However as to those who receive the GIFT of righteousness (cf. The Biblical Workman Appendix 4), donated with abundance of grace, these escape that reign. For them there is a substitute reign. It is the reign in life, THROUGH the One, Jesus Christ. This reign is very delightful. Life does not control you; but you in Christ find it is amenable to direction. HE as Lord is able to subdue it, control it, endue it, vitalise it, renew it, endue it, bring to the fore its proper qualities and project it into the space of grace like a missile. It is a reign IN LIFE, through Jesus Christ.

The contrast here is between reign of death and reign in life... THROUGH Jesus Christ the deliverer.

4) In verse 18, we move to the realm of offence and righteousness as performance criteria, rather than moral and legal directions. Here the one man achieved a result, offence. It produced condemnation, like decoration on a cake. It followed and exhibited what it was all the more clearly. The other Man however, also achieved something. It was transcendent in its superiority, opposite in its result.

He performed, and this was this was a life of righteousness unblighted, undimmed, exhibitive of that perfection which no sin touches, no judgment assesses and no fault maligns.

The gift if you will, of the first man was a performance contribution, like a father's will in the monetary sense. You get what you are given. He gave offence and judgment. The other, the One in parallel but in quality and wonder, beyond all comparison: He gave perfection and this, if received, presents justification, that is, the entire re-reading of your record in terms of your Saviour's attainment which you take. This is the OFFENCE achievement, RIGHTEOUSNESS achievement parallel and contrast. Here the direction of results is clarified for all, in the universal offering, one effective however only where received.

5) But the apostle is still further inspired. There is more to follow.

Thus there is the glory of verse 19. Here is the constitutive question answered. The first man's disobedience constituted MANY sinners; the second man's obedience made MANY righteous. Of course, as we have already been shown, the 'many' in the first case are all! Paul has emphasised this repeatedly. In this EFFECTUAL RESULT section, however, to preserve the parallel, Paul uses 'many' for both the fall and the finding. Thus, in the second, which uses the same parallel term in this garden of parallels, it is indeed 'many' as in Matthew 26:28, Romans 8:32. Many have fallen and many arise. The first is the entire multitude of mankind; the second is the entire multitude of those redeemed.

The parallel is thus in format beautiful, and it is for this reason that we have moved from the 'all' above to the 'many' in the case of this verse. It is manifest that Judas was not righteous, but indeed the devil entered into him and it would have been better for him, the Saviour said, if he had never been born.

Thus the word of God declares that "many are constituted righteous". The movement of justification was towards ALL; but the movement is, in terms of constituting people afresh, of regeneration, something quite different. The one has potential, the other actuality. The one is rich in hope; the other rich in fact. There is in some, those who receive the free gift of verse 17, a change that is more than one of the grace that looks differently upon them (and this is of course crucial, since only perfection is acceptable or indeed workable in heaven where sin is excluded, a colour bar that nothing will lift, a moral colour - Revelation 21:8,26).

In this case, it is one of the spiritual transformation of heart and value, priorities and power, of zest and passion, which fixes on God as a man on a rock, in the middle of the ocean. It is moreover not only a new stability and deliverance, but a change within. It is as if climbing onto the rock, the man finds his nature miraculously changed also. It is a transformative rock, not only situationally, but intrinsically.

That is because it is alive, and personal: it is the Creator, and it is in this mode one of transfer of power to create a clean heart, and to renew the mind (Ephesians 3:16, 4:23, Psalm 51).

While to God is known HOW many, the fact that the 'many' is put in parallel here is exhibitive of the grace which would have all men to be saved, however irreparable the reproach of many more, who will not have 'this man to rule over  us'. One can sympathise with this for a mere man; it is when the man is what God became in order to save that it is a privilege to obey, a delight to serve and a delicious joy (I Peter 1:8) to be acquainted; and with that, to be a friend of God, it is a bounty beyond all. So has been the way since Abraham was shown the way of grace, till Christ paid for it (Genesis 15:6, II Chronicles 19:7).

6) To Romans 5 verse 20, we now may proceed. The law, in this additional facet of the perspective, says Paul, came to expand in a vigorous realism, the offences. You cannot shrug. It is right or wrong, black or white, and no grays are tolerated, no argumentation. You do or you do not. It is simple, a snare for the self-justifying hordes of non-holiness living, who prefer the vacuity of talk to the virtue of walk. Here then you have OPPOSITE ABUNDANCES.

This said, the apostle continues, the abounding of the law, in defining sin, was outdistanced entirely by the superabundance of grace. But to what did the grace then move its recipients ? Just as sin brought on the reign of death, Paul continues in enrichment of verse 17, so grace now reigns through righteousness to eternal life. NOTHING has been left, in these enclosing parallels!

Hence the reign in life THROUGH Jesus Christ, now becomes the reign of GRACE through righteousness, that of Christ, to something endless: eternal life.

Thus there is a changing of the guard, the death squad out for the redeemed, and the reign of grace is the reign under the face of Christ, for God, as Paul observes in II Corinthians 4:6, who commanded light to shine out of darkness ... has shone in our hearts in which is revealed the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. This is transformative continually (II Corinthians 3:18), just as the receipt of grace and the free gift of righteousness is a total change of status, initially.


What says Paul, in Romans 6, are you now going (perversely, as if some enemy were mocking) to say this: That it is so wonderful that there is so much of this wonderful grace, so that we will sin more and more freely, allowing it thus to swamp in in even greater amounts!

God forbid, he declares. Christ had to die to secure this: we who are His die with Him, in Him, through Him. Our sinful personalities, and not merely our sinful deeds, are SIN, and the SIN offering TAKES the sin, of this or that kind, so that we are crucified with Him, planted with Him, buried with Him. This is found in Romans 6:3-6.

Obviously the successive figures have NOTHING to do with the sacrament of baptism, and everything to do with phases of life. They authorise no sacrament; they illustrate the wholly essential elements, the actual ones indeed, which follow when there comes to a person, this dynamic transformation of the Saviour who died and rose, bearing sin, breaking its penalty and presenting life freely, for ever. It is the practice of living, not of symbolic rites which is thrust into view.



We have then finished this survey of ONE AND ONE, the one dynamically contriving ruin, with initiative, invention, contention and disgrace; the other creating salvation FROM IT, with initiative, invention, meeting challenge and overthrowing opposition to the deliverance, even to the point of resurrection from a penalty-bearing death, comprehending the sins of all who should ever receive Him. The scale is profound, the scope entire.

The scenario  does however provide entire focus on Adam and on Christ. They are added to the scene, Adam from earth, his spirit from God, Christ God as man, who yielded His Spirit without spot to God, He the sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:12,19). One adds sin, the other subtracts. One adds sentence, the other subtracts. One adds disobedience, the other obedience; one adds the scope for law, the other the realm of grace. This one and one do NOT make two: they are adversative, not cumulative!

The one is adequate for wreckage; the other for reconstruction. The one suffices for sin; the other for salvation. The one breeds disaster, the other relief. The one catapults man into death, the other makes death relinquish its mirthless jaws, by bearing it. Grace did it, love thrust into it, power accomplished it, purity enabled it. It is the work of God Himself (Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34, I Timothy 3:16, Titus 2-3).

That then is the reality of Christianity, when you bypass sacramentalism, neo-evangelicism, neo-orthodoxy, Romanism, liberalism, and the rest (cf. The Biblical Workman Appendix III), and simply take the Lord according to His word, and follow Him.

Devils are numerous. God is one. Error is multiple; truth is one. (Cf. Errors.)

Christ is one. He is the only One who is needed, and He is altogether needed. He is revealed in the Bible, exposed by the Spirit, adopted by grace, and transformative by power. In the last case, it is radical in its initiation and continual in upkeep. In scope, it is ONE MAN doing ONE THING in ONE WAY which has ONE RESULT. The conferred and constant result is status (John 10:27-28); the phase result is function. Both follow because God is alive. Both come through faith in the OBJECT which is thus, and this is Christ, and that, not any Christ, but the LORD'S Christ (Luke 2:26).

REMEDY AND RUIN, never better accomplished than in quack remedies
(Matthew 24:24, Colossians 1:19ff., Ephesians 1:19-23, Galatians 1, 3, 5)

All this is clear ? But of course. Very well. Then WHEN this is done and NOT UNTIL, then the sin problem ceases to be like so many radioactive wastes dispersed on a daily basis, like so many atomic bombs with cobalt delivered to the ground daily, and the kingdom of heaven arises within, in the midst.

When it is not, you have this present world, where not only are there numerous false religions, but numerous false versions of Christ, which never lived, were never born, never acted and never rose, because they are but figments of the imagination. There is evidentially but One. If you take someone else in His name (Iprecisely as was done in II Cor. 11 where Paul rebuked it), it is relevant only in one thing: its presumption adds vastly to your sin, and to the folly in the world, hastening its end. It is done likewise with the Gospel of grace, to substitute things like physical violence (and the world is having its face dipped in this tar, since it is so fond of such false philosophies and religions) and imperfect works, as if some arithmetic could determine eternity, where sin has no place at all.

Sin is an interesting thing, is it not ? The more of it, the sooner the world is unlivable; the sooner it is unlivable, the sooner He comes; and  the sooner He comes, the sooner we who are His have the privilege of being taken to Him (I Thessalonians 4);  and the sooner these things happen, the sooner the judgment sits. God of course knows when, but these are internal dynamics on the scene. Yet for all that, heaven forbid that one should call sin, for all its acceleration of the end,  in the tiniest degree beneficial. Like cancer that left alone, kills you sooner, it is hardly a blessing on account of that! The point is to be cured fast, and be rid of the destructive dynamic.

The cancer is spiritually speaking, sin. It is a figure of it, illustrates it. Sin kills and goes on asserting its just desert. It kills all the more when the remedy is denied, for then it is in the arena of the ultimate dimension of sin, like someone formerly of 20 stone, but now of 45. The world is overweight, with sin.

THAT is the problem. It is so because it does not accept the Saviour. That is the secondary cause which rejects doctor, drug and deliverance. That is like pouring atomic waste into your drinking water. In one sense, it is merely one more senseless act. In another, it is nearing the point of being terminal. As you see in II Timothy 3 and Matthew 24, not to mention Jude and II Peter 3 with I Timothy 4, there is a progression. We are about there. Answers to Questions Ch. 5 shows how VERY nearly we are there.

Your own eyes in the light of the word of God should be able to give you an increasingly interesting read-out as the last few phases (cf. SMR pp. 502ff.) arrive. The Moslem answer as occurred in Afghanistan and in so many centres showing vast crowd support for such as bin Laden, throughout the world, is not apt. Force and guns to produce submission to some being is nothing to do with truth, as we have repeatedly seen in the earlier chapters and the last volume (cf. SMR pp. 50-71).

To "fight against such of those to whom the scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the last Day ... and do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued" is entirely irrelevant, a parody of personality and a misplacement of force where it is an outrageous accessory to spiritual crime, not a vehicle of truth (Koran, Surah 9:27). If then the US is to look to root causes of its trouble, it is not to be found here or in such places as this, nor in circumstances where, as to unbelievers, you "make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme" (Koran, Surah 48). These things are a large PART OF THE PROBLEM, not its resolution. The Jews by jihad must go; the US by jihad must yield. Others by jihad must do this and that. Remove this from the Middle East and the impact from the US and much of the problem would be reduced at once.

However these are but part of the total complex of confusion and infusion of man's imagination into divine matters, to his fatal detriment.

It is useless to look for the solution in the realm of its generation. It is hardly a solution to a hurricane to fly into it. It is vain to expect help from the invading elements, that assault the region of faith with force.

Rather needed is love, understanding and opportunity. If the faith is not received, judgment will come soon enough. People need not bother to play god, though they will, for it is so predicted and the world is hastening with all this acceptance of false religion, now even at State level, into this field as if hungry for its own dissolution.  


Not dissolution, however, but solution, this is the requirement. That we have been seeing in Romans 5, precisely, as to its nature. As Galatians 1 makes so clear, the capacity of man to add or subtract to this gospel of divine grace, the product not of flesh but of God, the realm of His own mercy, under His own initiative and control, His only: it is zero. Zero alteration leads to infinite blessing. If purity of chemicals is so important to medicine for the mere body, what of purity of truth for the heart and soul, for the relationship with God who both IS it and PROVIDES it from Himself (John 14:6).

THIS IS THE SOLUTION: the LORD's CHRIST as Lord and Saviour in fact, not in theory, in dynamic not in booking for the hospital. THIS, it is an operation which allows your coming to the operating theatre only in repentance, liike a black robe (Luke 13:13), and allows your deliverance only in a trust in the surgeon (Romans 3:25, Galatians 3 and 5) - a thing which would be madness with men. With God, however, it would be madness to withhold it! That trust allows you to receive His directions. They are His, attested and verified, validated solely among all (SMR Ch. 1, Repent or Perish Chs. 2,   7).

Nor is the Bible an option for this operation, for as Christ said, He who wills to do the will of God will know of the doctrine (John 7:17), whether or not it be true, of God; and again, it is the word He has spoken by which He will judge (John 12:48ff.). There is no alteration. God knows His own mind. He has spoken it in word and in work, in His definitive expression, His eternal word, incarnate as Jesus the Christ. It is not obscure; it is not unknown; it not for millenia unheard of, but flashing like lightning on all sides, ever since the only Saviour did the only things that even in one being totally and absolutely, in all respects and at all costs, in every phase and feature, were divine, incapable of imitation, obfuscation or deletion. His words continue as if spoken yesterday; the world obeys, NOT in DOING them, but in receiving the due and precisely stated outcome of its deeds. As in other disease, these are not anything, but highly specialised and the prognosis and the symptoms alike, are all traced out with prodigious detail and exactitude (cf. SMR Chs.  8   -  9).

The point for this world is this: the gospel of GRACE is given in so many ways, in so many bindings, in so many languages, in so many places that its ignoring is mere wilfulness. The WORK of grace has been wrought in such perfection and attested with such precision that its continued refusal MUST, will and does lead to disgrace, violence and vileness.

THAT was how sin began, in the rejection of the grace of the place provided. It is NOT how it ends. If you want sin never to end for you, so that you either have it in operation or its results in operation, you have merely to reject the Lord's Christ and not receive His words. It is fatally easy. It is as Christ indicated, if one may use modern terms, a four lane highway to hell which is available (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30).

The other way is exact, exacting but freely given (Matthew 7:13, John 10:9,27-28). It is unbreachable (Romans 5:9-11, I Thessalonians 5:9-10), but reachable (Isaiah 55:1-6). The gate is open (Psalm 118:19, I Timothy 1:10). The gift is free (Romans 6:23, 5:15, 3:23-28, Isaiah 55:1-6). It is without priests (Hebrews 2-10), available by faith through grace, with ONE only your Master, and He, Christ Himself. He ? Sinless, sovereign, the Creator. If you want ot invent God, so be it. You get nowhere, with NOT-God, If you want God, Christ is not a step, but the reality itself (John 8:58), saying, He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:1-10).





§Romans 5:12-15 in this version runs as follows.

"It is therefore as follows: Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death passed on to all persons in that all sinned. To be sure, sin was in the world earlier than the Law; but in absence of law, sin is not charged up. Death, however, held rule from Adam to Moses over those who sinned but did not transgress a command in the way Adam had done - who foreshadowed the Coming One.

"With the free gift, however, it is by no means as it is with the fall, for if through the lapsing of one person many die, far more richly did the grace of God and His gift, that comes through the favor of one man Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. "

We could with perhaps more consonance with the actual text write.

It is therefore as follows: As through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin and that passed to all persons since all sinned (for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged up, law not being in place,  but death reigned from Adam to Moses, even on those who had not sinned after the manner of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of the Coming One): yet not as the offence, so is the free gift. For if through the offences of the one, many died, much more the grace of God and the gift in grace which is derived from one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.

This adversative parallel is most interesting. AS THIS happened, yet not so was it with THAT.

It is even more sophisticated. "The Coming one" in the interpolation or aside, is itself a link within what we put in brackets for simplicity of thought, to the next term. It gives the pivot for the next development in contrariety. If it is NOT as the first thing, the fall, this gracious gift, then in what mode is it to come. Anticipating this need, Paul refers to the Coming One BEFORE he mentions the contrast with the gift. Hence the grace is preceded by the Gracious One, and the Agent appears before the act, hence smoothing the transition, which nevertheless has a most delightful wrench to the heart, and impact on the mind. NOT like that is it when the Coming One comes, for it is OTHER!

This sentence, incidentally provides another example of adversative comparison as in Romans 5, where we inspected it.



The reader interested in pursuing examples may wish to consult the following.

Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch.  9  - glamour, stammer, hammer  ... flitter and glitter;
Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch.   3 (the soporific self, and the unity glide, under the sedation of sin);
The Frantic Millenium and the Peace of Faith Ch.  11 - twigs and towers;

News Fact and Forecasts - Chs.

   8 - sham, shame and co.;
   13 - symphony and seditions - two heady heads,
   14 - deadly d's;

Repent or Perish Ch.  5 inventions in mind, gender, politics ...


43) Romans 9:5

§"Theirs are the fathers, and from them in human lineage has come the Christ, He being God over all, blessed forever Amen."

The following excerpts are taken from On Translations of the Bible   6.



A subtler invasion of life, and sending it away

ROMANS 9:5 in the context of the word of God, and not of the imagination.

The translation in the case both of the KJV and the NKJV is essentially the same, in an area of typhoons and cross-currents, in a show of stability and perception to the glory of God.

Let us commence with it:

"Theirs are the fathers, and from them in human lineage has come the Christ, He being God over all, blessed forever Amen."

Romans 9:1-6 has a deep and sustained message, clothed in a grammatical form that approaches being a formula.

In face of the choice marvels of Chapter 8 preceding, the equipment and dowry of the Christian, Paul laments for the wilful self-exclusion of the Jews en masse, in a vast majority, moving to "establish their own righteousness" as he shows in 10:1-3, to follow.

Indeed, almost he could wish himself a curse, an accursed being, for his brethren, the Jews, we learn  - so is He driven by the love of Christ within him, of Christ who DID become a curse for those who receive Him - for their sake! (Galatians 3:1-13).

Now the form, the virtual formula in this passage of Romans 9, begins. It is a list - an embracive, consuming list. It swells, encompasses, expatiates. The relative pronoun  is used like an anvil as the apostle pounds his points. The "metal" flattens and spreads, explanatory or epexegetical comments increasing the coverage.

First, as noted above, he refers to the Israelites. Then he commences his eloquent and arresting series of expansions, based on relative pronoun links.  Here, the very praises or acknowledgments of Israel's advantages serving almost as an indictment in view of what they have done with them ... or more precisely, NOT done with them! Let us look at the list, and enlist its thoughts to our own, so that we shall be instructed by the apostle.

1) WHOSE is the adoption,

and the glory,
and the covenants,
and the lawgiving
and the service
and the promises

2) WHOSE are the fathers, and

3) OF WHOM is the Christ according to the flesh

4) WHO is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Actually, a better translation, as we shall see later, making point to the use of the participle (being over all - in Greek), for the last point (4), is :


That is a Greek way of putting things, and would be rendered, as by the Berkeley translation: HE WHO is God over all, blessed for ever. In this way, first the Jewish place and race is characterised with the WHOSE, WHOSE, OF WHOM series, and then the summit over all, Christ, is characterised, both according to the flesh, and in His epitome, The all-ruling God, blessed for ever.  

Even if this were ignored, however, the point remains as here stated. Either way, it has the same result regarding the deity of Christ.


Ø        1: the rampant fling of words like ricocheting stones. They tend to skip on past the relative clause base, to provide a soaring addition.

Ø        2: the explanation in case 3) above.

Ø        3: the parallel to it in case 4) above.

Ø        OF WHOM is the Christ (explanation following) - according to the flesh,
WHO is over all (explanation) - God blessed for ever (expansion).

It is only by rupture of structure that any ambiguity can arise, and that, it is an invasion, a distortion, a wilful ignorance grammatically speaking; for if a direction is set, and one knows not what to do next unless one follows it, does one then bite one's thumbs and excite oneself in an agony of ambiguity, and ecstasy of concern; or does one not rather take it that the speaker being competent and aware, intends one NOT to invent, to intrude, to invade the context with one's imagination, through bringing in UNSTATED words when this is necessary ONLY if one wishes to make the statement obscure! Such words may indeed be freely added when mere economy is in view, and the meaning is pellucid, unquestionable.

To add them however when the addition - which could have been made explicitly and without any imagination - alone makes for lack of clarity, is an intrusive addition, a wresting of meaning on the basis of what is apt elsewhere, but certainly not when it changes what IS there entirely!

In fact, not only is there -

1) the thrust to explain or extend the reference as noted and shown for this particular soaring passage, but there is

2) the one-sided aspect (according to the flesh) in point 3) as made, which calls for its match in what is NOT of this limiting formal character. Indeed THAT particular emphasis is constant and strong in Paul, a thrust both pre-emptive and perpetual. (Cf. Colossians 1, Philippians 2).  In addition, there is

3)  the explosive enlargement throughout in this passage, so that a minimisation of the significance which the Jews (as a nation) had and wasted in Christ, would be foreign, even alien, an aggressive disruption to the tenor of Paul's speech, and

4)  the following fact...

Paul is reaching a crescendo to his considerations in reaching "Christ", and an "according to the flesh" as the sentence terminus, would damage and even render the thrust ludicrous. Being "over all" in terms of a "flesh" basis is far removed from Christ as Pilate from government (John 19). A king ? yes, but the kingdom is that of the truth.

Moreover, to LEAVE the sentence without even the "over all" phrase would, if it were possible, be yet more antagonistic to the structure and thrust of the passage, making it comic. The heightening winds of name and glory are then ditched and interred in "according to the flesh".

True, the 'flesh' for incarnation,  that is what they contributed; but it is to minimise the fact that they were chosen, exposed to His WONDER and DIVINE opportunity, and it would be to leave derelict the mounting enthusiasm of the passage. If one adds "who is over all", this certainly reduces the difficulty, for to be over all is a climax to the preliminary considerations, to the enlargements,  and it is a parallel to the continuing explanatory character of the context. Indeed, it is one more of the struck medium of relative pronouns giving enlightenment, by which the passage has both eloquence and clarity, cohesion and construction, provided as if by a magnetic force to keep the particles of speech in order and clear.

However, that expedient of disjunction in what is obstructively conjunctive in form and format, if it is used to exempt from the continuity, and separate from the heavily stylised sentence the "God blessed for ever" phrase which follows: this,  though it meets a little more, the magnification of context to a climax, avoiding indeed a stricken bathos - that result being bathetic as well as pathetic - yet it has the difficulty earlier noted.

A pure flesh base for the exaltation which dominates in "blessed" would remove the ground of glory. Having someone over all in flesh contributed by Israel would do nothing to provide supreme delight and superb exultation. The antichrist could conceivably lay claim to some such thing. Moreover, and the more so in this setting, the removal from the structural context of this last phrase,  would cut off a terminal passage from the fabric of the context, leaving it isolated like an island, without ground for what would then be its meaning. It would be unclear, uncohesive, bathetic and dispersive of glory, at the very moment in which glory is felt, and blessing pronounced to the wonder of the Lord.

A cut off rogue phrase in the midst of work which would thereby be left full of ambiguity, and truncated ? Yet this is NEVER found in terms of the Greek adjective in view, euloghtos in the entire New Testament. How is it used in this Testament ? Either it is used to start a sentence - II Cor. 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, I Peter 1:3, Luke 1:68; or is used  with clear statement - 'who is' in full - Romans 1:25, or as a genitive following a preceding reference - Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61), or else a verb is supplied before the relative pronoun so making the back reference to the subject sure (as in  II Corinthians 11:31) - "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ KNOWS, He who is the blessed..." (blocks added to show the point in view). In this way, the proximity to "Jesus Christ" is prevented from any question of reference, apart from anything else, because the subject "God and Father" has its own verb "knows" inserted before the "He who is the blessed".

In short, there is NO way any ambiguity ever enters in, relative to this word in the New Testament cases examined, and in this present case, it is ONLY when the exceedingly clear, highly visible and indeed almost obstructively and certainly eminently impressive structure of the wording is ignored as a guideline, that the question arises.

  That structure and flow of context, grammar and form, however is precisely one of the modes of clarity: to use a form and a structure which acts as a stricture, as a narrow gate, indicating the author's mind and bent and way. Here it is the way to have a mass of continuing relative pronouns - expanding and re-directing course as occasion requires, a sort of tissue of cells of content in this way moulded into oneness, integrity, cohesion and clarity. In this, continuation, explanation and new direction within the progress, is the mode. Paul often uses notable style in making impact, and to exclude this as a consideration is simply to SUPPRESS what is present. THAT however is not to express it, but to summon and seize it, no work of translation at all.

Hence to achieve some departure from this structure is an invasion of a guideline by pure unmixed imagination. Anyone who does this is not finding, however, an ambiguity, but inserting a desire. Proverbs 8:8-9 tells us that the words of God are all clear to him who understands, and what is to be understood is this, that language has its parameters and persuasions, and that to break up a structure is an arbitrary sharing of the creation of the passage concerned, and to act on this is a mistranslation. It is virtually to become a co-author, so that one 's creative imagination in such a case, would be ignoring  indication. It is as simple as that.

When, as here, it leads to early separation in the first place (making what is taken as "who is over all"  into a new sentence), it ALSO leads to comedy in the contextual train of mounting climax. When, the break in continuity is inserted AFTER that, and before "God blessed for ever", then the style of explanation and cohesion, PLUS the move to grander and greater fields is broken. A new thing is inserted into the New Testament - slovenly writing which admits of no resolution, a new usage for this Greek word 'blessed' within the entire structure of the New Testament, a floating one! Elsewhere the cohesion is tight, as it is here by virtue both of the flow, the characteristics and the direction of the context. Only invasion can make a Kosovo of this land. Otherwise it coheres in its place, both by the force of the meaning of the context, the impressive mounting climax, and its grammatical structure.  

Essentially, there is a matter of emphasis to be made. If clarity were in view (as it must be, according to Proverbs 8, with I Corinthians 2:9-13), then other choices were available, as we see in the listings above, which could have achieved this for the phrase (or clause and phrase), if it had been intended  suddenly to break it off into a sentence of its own. THESE available and sometimes used indications were NOT used. Hence it is not shown that this is the will of the writer, to impart what he could have imparted by available means. Rather and definitely, it is shown by the eloquence and cohesion and direction of flow, and the complementary compilation of meaning, that precise force, coherence, cogent force,  and beauty which otherwise would lack.

All things are possible, but by no means all are expedient. When to make a meaning from a passage in a letter, you have to ASSUME ambiguity, and then RUPTURE the form used, and INVADE the direction of flow, inserting from an assumed ellipsis (no verb for any final short sentence being given, so that to get that isolated phrase, you have to add one), then it is clear that the will of the reader is transcending the will of the writer.

Further, and quite categorically, it is also clear that it is being ASSUMED that the writer is inept or speaks without much concern about points which, from other letters, are known to be - when taken THIS way or THAT - of supreme importance. All that is a large depreciation of the writer, almost amounting to a denunciation. When the writer in the end, as I Cor. 2, Matthew 4:4 (see Appendix D, SMR), here is God in the sense of covering both the substance and the words chosen in superintendence, then it amounts to something so near to blasphemy as to be best left to the judge to determine! People of course do not always realise what they do, the implications of their actions and statements, so we leave that to Him.

No, some other choice of words was not made, as in the other passages when a direction to God direct is made, in the New Testament. That choice of words and of grammar was NOT MADE.  To render it thus is therefore a heavy intrusion into the context. It is unworthy, unwarranted and impermissible. It then reads, "God blessed for ever. Amen." Who or what is the referent ? Is it something in the context, or is it suddenly divorced, taken into what (would then be) is another realm, relative to the actual cohesive context! In fact, the preceding person, Christ,  is Himself the climax of much preliminary about the oracles of God and promises and covenants, and comes as a primary focus.

Is HE then to be divorced as irrelevant ? and now that He has come into focus and sight, is He to be interred all over again by the mind and imagination of the reader, so that HIS significance is to be ditched and a wholly separate item is to be introduced as if the brakes were to squeal and the car lurch to a halt, leaving it half way over a precipice of confusion and upset ? Is imagination to divorce one of the most emphatic antecedents ever available in all literature, and insert from above, NOT from the preliminaries, whereas the whole context has been dealing explicitly, continually and remorselessly, indeed in the genius and nature of its lament and complaint, with what is BELOW, however it got there!

Further, there is a cohesion not yet mentioned, but brought out in the Berkeley translation of the New Testament, which renders this last part of verse 5, "sprang the Christ, He who is God over all." Not 'who' but 'he who'.

In fact, the Greek does not literally say, 'who is over all', but 'the being over all God, blessed for ever.' Without additives, THAT is what it is saying, and to supply what is 'missing', which in turn aborts the rising crescendo, is mere eisegesis. What is there does not say more than this: the being over all God, blessed forever. If you are interested in what is there: THAT precisely is there. Hence it is to be faithfully translated, allowing for idiom, but not supplementing the sense. Hence the course of translation, if it is to be this and not paraphrase, is as given at the outset.

It thus literally reads, 'from whom sprang the Christ, the being-over-all-God, blessed for ever.' Greek loves to do this sort of thing (cf. Acts 9:35, Romans 8:1), making the most - at first sight - odd sorts of compacted phrases by this use of the relative pronoun with accompanying qualifications on the way to the noun. One gets used to it. So after from whom and out of whom, and of whom, relative pronouns mounting as the case against Israel and for the prevenience of the ever blessed God mounts, His blessedness and His generosity, His gifts and His wonders in stubborn contrast to the unblessed and mingy failure of Israel so much as to respond to Him in such a vast project, thus consummated, we have as climax literally supernatural to end it all in a word, this description of the Christ, who "out of" Israel according to the flesh did indeed come. 

His ontological state is noted, His eminence is make eloquently obvious, so that we find this being said: "from whom sprang the Christ, He being the God over all, blessed forever." That in fact  is the translation which is not only neatest seeming in English, giving full emphasis to every aspect of the grammar in Greek. HE WHO is God over all, blessed for ever is however to be preferred because it is in English neater, without losing the accuracy of the point in view in the text.

This 'being' in the first rendering above, is exegetical, telling us just WHOM we are now dealing with. Since there is a special word for it, which was not needed on a debased interpretation, we must emphasise the point. There is no occasion to say 'being' instead of 'is' or an omission, if it meant 'who is'. The REASON for the participle here is this, that it is an expressive designation depicting One WHO NOT according to the flesh, but according to His own being, flesh apart, in Himself, is - wait for it, GOD! God ? Over all is Christ, He BEING God, blessed for ever. The tie is more like handcuffs. The Christ has the being noted, to show the direction of emphasis, namely on the One just noted.

Thus what would be sloppy and almost unintelligible grammar, 'who being over all', end of sentence, or 'who being over all, God blessed for ever', becomes not only intelligible, but elegant, just as Paul tends so often to be, as the Lord uses him for His purpose.

In this way, we revert to comprehensibility as in all cases of 'blessed' in the New Testament; we leave a soupy mix created by fog of mind, and USING the grammar to ESTABLISH the sense, in combination with the oratorical prose and thrust of the passage, end with what is the precise parallel to Philippians 2.

 Let us be clear, then, is the force of the text, by "God" we mean NOTHING LESS that this, Him who is blessed for ever, God Almighty, the LORD of the Old Testament, Him designated by the famous tetragrammeton, the God of eternity, the first and the last as John is moved to put it in Revelation 2:9, and Isaiah in 44:6 of the Lord God. THIS is He, this is the One  who according to the flesh, is from Israel, the One nevertheless to be identified as the being-God-over-all, blessed for ever. Not to Him were the oracles given: that was to Israel, who according to the flesh were kin of Paul. To Christ, who according to the flesh was also of Israel, there is this overwhelming accentuation, acceleration, acme and parade: He, HE for His part being the Being over all, blessed for ever.

What then ? He being that, is yet evacuated from the earth, while Israel revolts. So Paul proceeds in the context to more of his theme.

How terrible then is this lapse in Israel, that far from being 'nothing' or a nonentity, a barren waif in the wilderness (cf. Ezekiel 16:1-7), she - through divine mercy alone - had been presented with privileges and favour not stopping short of the very presence and power of God Himself, personally, who would act in ransom in His own Being direct (as in Hosea 13:14 and Ezekiel 34).

"Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say,

‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem:

"Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.

"No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born. And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful." ' "

In other words to the present point, Paul is both recounting the wonders given to Israel, climaxing not in some mere authority, but where it began, in GOD Himself, blessed for ever (very much as in Jeremiah 2:13 - broken water containers instead of living waters from the snow's purity, and 18:14), so that not to some mere human eminence is the landmark of gift to Israel compared, but to the eminence of GOD in contrast with the sickliness of polluted nature and polluting sin. This is the thrust of the Bible throughout, the DIVINE is in giving mode and the human is in disbelieving mode, and the divine not only gives things and mercies, but HIMSELF! in patience, in love, in cherishing, in Messianic forecast, in predicted bearing of sin in ransom achieved by the very deity as noted above!

This is the thrust both of the word of God in its highest plaint, and deepest appeal, and it is so here, where the 'the being God over all, blessed for ever' is the height of the arch constructed, illimitable, relevant, in contrast, in contradiction to Israel's self-blight and in horror at the depth of it, the loss of it (just as in Isaiah 7 in the notorious case of Ahab, who wearied even GOD! in his equivocation).

Christ quite simply is at the height and depth of the crusade for Israel, its summary and depiction, its force and its impact, Him 'who being God', as in Philippians 2, and thus most blessed for ever, has so made gifts of such magnitude to Paul that he could even wish himself accursed for their neglect, like Moses, who of course as with Paul, is not about to consider such a horror as being cursed for anything less than the case where GOD HIMSELF is affronted, in view, relevant, in focus and passed by (cf. Exodus 32:32-33). The case moves where it is placed (Romans 9:3). It is as in Hebrews treading under foot the blood of Christ which is so utterly shocking that it evinces the response in Hebrews 10, based as it is on WHO GOD IS, WHO CHRIST IS, as shown so explicitly in Hebrews 1.

Thus it is that the climax being in terms of Christ, from Israel according to the flesh but God blessed for ever in spiritual nature, leads on naturally in the context to the fact that by no means if the word of God broken in all this. How could it be when GOD Himself has come SUCCESSFULLY as Christ (cf. II Corinthians 5:17-21), and done His work effectually, in the ultimate work and gift of salvation, and Israel simply bypasses for the time (Romans 11 shows this emphatically, for the time only!) the gift so great that its refusal by them has Paul almost wishing himself accursed for them.

To what does this bring us ?

As we move on, we find this: Paul proceeds to show the word of God has not been vanquished! His word is NOT made of no effect (Romans 9:6), cries Paul, through this rejection of this ultimate eminence by the Jews. Not at all (Romans 9:6ff.). After all, what has been given goes to the heart of God Himself personally, and the height of the gift brought down so low, to us, this evacuates God from any possible or conceivable challenge of inaction or insufficiency at the divine level of concern and involvement (Romans 11:26-36, 8:31-39, and Colossians 1:19ff.). That is a basic part of Paul's theme and flow in this context. Moreover God has His elect, has found His own, and if rejected for the time by the nation, is found by those who are His within it. If gold is sparse for the mining company, is it therefore useless!

In fact, by Romans 11, we find that there is a vast empire of the empirical, there is as in an olive tree time and sequence, coming and going, nation in and nation out, Gentiles out and Gentiles in, then Jew back and re-grafted. In vain? ludicrous. Indeed in Romans 10:9 we find what Romans 11 with Zechariah 12-13 makes so clear, that it is all coming back to this Christ, God over all, the Redeemer coming PERSONALLY to man, the Lord Himself, the Lord of glory, to cover the cost, provide the service (cf. Matthew 20:28) and bring both individual and nation, yes and even a vast residue of Israel, in its time, by ONE method of ONE Christ, who is the God over all, blessed for ever, in whose blessed face is seen the glory of God (II Corinthians 4:6). Indeed, it is HE who is to return, for which we wait (Titus 2:13), even the great God and our Saviour (one introductory 'the' - the great God and Saviour of us).

NO ONE but GOD is Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), and Christ is NONE OTHER than the Saviour who paid in His own Person, gloriously sent, intimately willing (Psalm 40), coming from equality with God to the executive action of the Cross.

Thus GOD  has met all that was ever propounded or indeed could be conceived, in what He has provided, for the Jews. By the time he comes to Romans 10:6-9, Paul completes this phase of confrontation and indication of the name, integrity and grace of God. What then ? is there something in heaven to go for, to bring this end of the law for righteousness DOWN? NOT AT ALL! says the apostle. Or is there something somewhere else ? Emphatically NOT! He, Christ HAS come from heaven, there is nothing left of what could come, and the word conceiving Him gives link through Him to His abode (in heaven), as shown in Romans 10:9.

This of course is precisely what is shown in Philippians 2 and Colossians 1-2: in HIM is the fulness of the Godhead in bodily format, already brought down, already provided, already rejected by many, but eminently and astonishingly available, while the day of grace lasts. TO HIM, every knee will bow, just as Isaiah 45:22ff. made clear: this submission of all to one, is to God the Lord, alone. (Cf. SMR Ch. 7, pp. 532-560).

And Christ, He is Lord! NONE other, says Isaiah, but the LORD is God; and it is to HIMSELF that He swears every knee will bow, in accordance with this fact. Thus it is to CHRIST that every knee will bow, in entailment of His deity status; for to have it to any other would otherwise violate the integrity of the divine insistence; and to have it to another as the very focus would violate it infinitely. But to God blessed for ever, who is Christ, it is the one chosen for the purpose from the infinitude of the trinity. Infinite is the blessedness of the infinite God who provided His infinitely loved Son as this glorious focus, incarnate, predicted, performance endued, consummating the preliminaries, covenantally countermanding the rewards of sin for His people. To HIM shall it be done.


There are then times when the NKJV tends to be  clearer and truer to the original; while the KJV gives stimulus to thought and can be a stimulus to thought and fidelity. Both together are useful. The above provides valuable illustration. Thus in 17) and  18) we see the NKJV advantage, concerning clarity allied with accuracy; in 1) especially, in 5), 7), 8) for example, we see perception in the AV which can show a sensitive relationship to all the scriptures in its renderings.

Let us consider the results overall now, together with some other considerations. It is found that neither of these translations is infallible, faultless. On the whole, one finds the KJV is inclined to exhibit more spiritual perception*1, rarely lacking in that, whereas the NKJV frequently has far more clarity, possibly even in terms of the English of the times concerned, certainly in terms of today's English. In that regard, the NKJV is clearer and truer to the original; the KJV however gives stimulus for thought, frequently  exhibiting much discernment. Both together are useful.

Avoiding rash options, let us then use what the Lord has provided, circumspectly, knowing His word is surely available. What is in view when this is done, is able indeed to convey the full import of His words to us, and nothing more, and we can live by them, in Him. Without the Greek text before us, or indeed the Hebrew, and relying on only one translation when another basically sound one is available, it can at times be that a well-known and slightly archaic word form will disguise the meaning, which never becomes clear to the reader. But it is not for mantras but for declaration from God that we come. Our task is to use the intelligence God has given us to ensure we

v  a) find all we can of what is there, and


v  b)  do not prejudicially pre-empt the decisions of the Almighty in His gifts to us, by discarding on party lines without Biblical warrant or evidential support. To whom much is given, from him much shall be required.

It is time to avoid the philosophically fostered disdain for the text God has abundantly preserved, and skilfully confirmed; it is time likewise to avoid  a slavish dependence on the KJV, though its preservation has been providential. It is of a certainty a magnificent translation of great spiritual tact and care; just as the NKJV often lends superior clarity, new impact from this cause and a certain distilled sense of acuteness which it sometimes achieves. Different nuances of the two can lead to study and understanding being enhanced. It is in some ways like preachers, where Paul was at pains to prevent partisanship (cf. I Corinthians 3).

This is no time for obsessive reactionary blighting of good work and useful clarity, following an admittedly shameless shambles in this area on the part of many manipulators of the Greek text, some basing their extravanganzas on mythical events which neither have the advantage of having any evidence, nor agree with the (statistical) evidence we do have, as if God had not competently preserved His thought and doctrine according to His promise. Nor is it any time to seize one of the translations which avoids this error (AV), in preference to another which shows the same and in some ways a greater sensitivity to the Greek text (NKJV) - though this is purely because we are  now in possession of more of that  same prolific and superabundant family of texts, justly used by the AV.

With such care on the part of both of these translations in this regard, such preference would be not merely wrong but ironic, making the same error as others, but for different reasons.

For the rest, some other versions can help and hinder, and very occasionally may be a needful blend or in some instances provide a fine clarity, and may be used, with understanding. Item 19) was a fine example of this. These two, AV and NKJV, however in conjunction have a safety net and a sanity to offer which, for those not planning to study the original languages, have a moreover rich texture.

This is not to say that some other translations in some places are not quite marvellous, but their use is often a matter of either being capable in Greek and Hebrew, or of leaving well alone, for they are not all by any means faithful.

Theories founded against the evidence and against the promises of God are readily discounted, and this, it is true, means great caution with most New Testament translations (the areas are not great, do not affect basic doctrine, but nevertheless we do want ABSOLUTE PRECISION with what we have). With the NKJV and the AV we are in good company in this regard, and should reinforce the one with the other, and use the discernment of one to aid the discovery of original meaning, making edifying excavations where there is any stimulus. Speaking of myths, we should equally avoid the concept that God is not allowing His command "test all things" to be apt here, and has in some secret way kept some secret copies of some secret texts which have always been a word for word, precisely identical translation. Let the evidence suffice, in conjunction with what God actually presents, and let us avoid the political sort of see-sawing which never rests while there is any unbalanced surge of airy thought.

The evidence is WONDERFUL, showing the clear and amazing precision of preservation of all doctrine and command, so that what is in textual variation, AFTER one has consulted the overwhelming textual evidence for one family, is so minute in scope as to be wholly divergent from the assurances God has given, and merely assures us the more of the zeal of His cognitive preservation of His word.

Indeed, NOTHING of ANY effectual impact fails to be placed, established on the earth. Follies of disregard and seizure*2 do nothing to alter this; nor will they (Isaiah 59:21, Psalm 111:7-8, Matthew 4:4, II Timothy 3:16, Matthew 16:18); and the gates of hell will indeed not prevail against the church of the Lord, founded on that rock (Psalm 62) which is and can only be Himself, not some petros of Rome, airily invented and inserted like a trifle, into the foundational rock: rock, not 'a stone', as the text demands for man (cf. SMR  pp. 1056-1072, 888, and Intro. xxxi-xxxii). Nor is it some experience without covenantal base, some babbling tongue of man, some conviction of thought: CHRIST is the rock, and His words on which one must build do not vary or vanish; and may not, for they are commanded. 


It is in the highest degree unfortunate that a false, liberal intrusion into Greek textual affairs, having led to some peculiarly reckless results, an uninformed or merely radical reaction, should have set in. Understandable it certainly is, and readily so; rationally defensible, it is equally is not.

The almost political seeming squalor of the results is divisive, uninformative, a market place for violent haggles, squabbles and unsophisticated nonsense, which no longer deems "test all things" relevant, but rather, imagine anything!

IF you do NOT believe the Authorised Version is final to the syllable the originally inspired word of God, you are scarcely, if at all, worthy of fellowship! THAT is the conclusion of some, and this is the reactionary ultimatum often enough delivered. Do not worry me with tests, figures, surveys of the actual textual material which God, in His wisdom, has made available, goes the spiel, the implausible patter. The AV has done so well that clearly (sic) it and it alone is the word of God.

S0 goes this new Delphic oracle.

IF you say, 'But there is no textual evidence that the exact Greek text which the AV uses is the original, but rather that it is a member of vast majority of all the texts, a family,' what then ? Then back comes the delusive drama of words: How do you know ?: for secretly hidden, is the evidence for what I affirm. And it is at times added: The AV is to be used as the ultimate text, with no appeal to Greek or Hebrew.

Alas, this is no distortion. This is the sort of thing which is actually said. It is a failure, Biblically, for the Bible is as clear as these remarks are vacuous and woolly. "TEST ALL THINGS," I Thess.5:21 does not and cannot mean, "Imagine anything!"

Test involves the a ascertainment of facts through evidence, not dictation to evidence of what it does not happen to be!

This reaction, therefore, is unbiblical, unreasonable, unscholarly and close to blasphemous, telling by some personal feelings, where the word of God is to be found.

Is that however not exactly what the liberals did in the first place, foisting a fictitious and imaginary meeting for textual revision onto the history of the early church, despite the factual evidence being overwhelmingly this - that it did not occur.

These weird imaginations on either side are an offence, divisive, both the one and the other, and pollutants; and the church of Christ should go on with moderation and self-control, not snared by these devices.

It takes only a little restraint to see that in fact the  AV cannot be idolatrised, or with virtual blasphemy, exalted to a standard that has never been accorded to it or indeed any other translation, in the Bible. We cannot add to the word of God, if we would (Proverbs 30:6), any more than we can make imaginary evidence on which to build a view of the text. We cannot, for example, take a point in history, where a culmination of many translations is brought to a new height, and say, Look, God has done this thing. It was always there.

WAS IT ? To such one might ask this: Do you seriously then affirm that before all that work, the thing to which it gave birth was there word for word ? Is this the imagination which needs no test and hence no Biblical obedience ? And what was its idiom ? and if it was there, in good idiom for each piece of English history, before this, why was it not there a year earlier in the case of the AV, when the idiom was virtually the same ? or ten years earlier ? or why was it not all there before Wyclif, in such felicity, or translated into English before it was translated at all, before this, the first Bible in the modern tongue "the first Bible at all in a modern tongue" (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Vol.1, p. 137, re the Wyclif era) ?

Do facts mean nothing! THAT was there ? Where ? In your mind ? What does that serve ? And in the meantime, when we come to those who look at those little things called facts, what do we find: the ENGLISH did NOT for long  have this word to them in their speech, so what is all this talk about God doing this, and this then being what HE HAD to do in terms of His promises, which in fact, as we have in detail shown, do NOT so indicate at all! The Greek was always present, the translations were not; the thought of God was never evacuated, though many were they who suppressed it. Let us not join them by philosophical pretensions not found in the word, imaginations not found in the evidences of history, or slacknesses not found in our forefathers.

If the historical scenario invented implausibly and anti-historically in method, by the liberals was a work of incredible presumption, what of this ? Is it better ? And does it serve, if the  AV translators did their remarkable work in terms of the English resources of their day, if we in our day abuse it by not developing the translation in terms of the changing English language, idiom and vocabulary of our own ? Are to create magic in order not to do our own work ? Are we so to rely on their sanctity that we are loose and slack ourselves ? God forbid!

In fact, as we have amply clarified, the AV is a translation from within what, objectively, is a  vast majority family. That is fortunate, but not entirely surprising, the majority being what it is.

Its translators were many,  and multiplied meetings, which is good. That assisted the development of a fine precision in seeking to present within the vast English vocabulary and specific idiomatic structure of their generation, a finesse of representation of the constraints of the Greek text, to take our New Testament case. As to the AV, its predecessors also included much sacrificial scholarship, as by Tyndale, who gave his life in his toils, helping to develop what the AV translators could use as resource, developed over hundreds of years.

In the end, as to the AV, its discernment in terms of sensitivity to ALL of the scriptures, as it translates any, is excellent, and verges on wonderful. When its time came, it was there; before this, it was not, but the thoughts of the Lord were there.

However, for the AV,  clarity is not its chief gift. Sanctimoniously clinging to it with no clear comprehension of significant sections, is no action worthy of a Protestant.

Many NT translations of modern kind indeed follow text rather slavishly outside the majority family. These are to that extent blemished.

However, the NKJ does not do this, and gives us a step towards justice for the whole textual, majority family of which the King James base (i.e. in Greek MSS) is a part. This is an evidentially oriented exercise, in terms of "Test all things..."



Thus the facts are these: There has been a liberal-radical intrusion, invasion into the textual affairs box, and this has misoriented many, led to a false and indefensible textual approach manoeuvring a faulty careless base into prime position as if God were not in charge, and the testimony of preservation were not a song of triumph.  In turn from this, numerous New Testament translations of modern time (20th. century on) have been defective in some things, though not necessarily in overall doctrine nor in general; but they have failed to follow tested data, and instead have  preferred unsubstantiated philosophy and concocted history which failed to arrive to verify itself. Naturally this has not always worn a label, nor has it necessarily been intentional.

This radicalism, and thrust of mere imagination, threw much modern New Testament translation work into disrepute, in THIS respect justly, and both invited and incited reaction in some, who then, misusing the promises of God, turned in something close to idolatry to the AV version. This had merit in one point: it IS a very sensitive, apt and careful translation, though, lest one good custom should corrupt the world, as Tennyson has the thought, it is demonstrably not perfect. Notwithstanding this, its performance is nothing short of magnificent, and it is of the greatest sorrow that this excellence, as with so much in human affairs, has led to so fixed an attitude towards it on the part of some, that the undoubted help and fine features of some other translations is radically, and  by inept or inaccurate generalisation, simply discarded, thus impoverishing the church in these cases.

So does evil work its witless way.

In fact, avoiding reactionary excesses, and being THANKFUL for providential mercies, both with the actual manuscripts and the AV, one should use ALL God has provided, in good sense avoiding all the excesses of radicalism in the vast majority of modern New Testament translations, but not for that reason failing at all times to use their good features. For many it is indeed safer and better, if not gifted at all in these matters, to avoid all but the AV and the NKJV, since their text background is soundly based. For others however, with due caution, and awareness  of the textual defects of many of these modern translations, and realising that the differences are relatively rare, and provided it is a case of actual translation and not paraphrasing of some patronising type, it is both practical and possible to find stimulus from the brilliance of some areas of other translations, and in particular from the Old Testament. True that has also been affected by the prodigious impertinence against the divine authority, that some have exercised in loose 'critical emendations' of the text, as if imagination, once again, were lord and the God of His word were a bystander, but this has been less pervasive in many good translations.

Thus, for example there appear places in the New Standard American Version in Isaiah which are prodigiously felicitous, and in the NIV, Job is a work of paramount excellence in translation.

These points are pastoral as well as textual, but it is time an understanding returned to some quarters, and the spirit of the Age was avoided BOTH in its radical follies and in the reactionary excesses, BOTH of which features impoverish the saints and limit the impact of the word of God. It is in effect just ONE MORE place where philosophy wedded with a lack of precise faith in the promises of God has led to confusion, and through reaction, a profusion of confusion.

This having been said, let us give some more detailed overview of the doctrinal situation in this regard, and summary of aspects of necessary advice, with all good will to all, thus  arising.

One should notice:

1) Even outside the majority family, no doctrine is altered though numbers of texts are mutilated; but in principle, INSIDE this family, as in the NKJ version, the variation is minute.

2) Often, with examples here given, the AV does an almost inspired job, surpassing in perception, the NKJ version.

3) Often, with examples given, the NKJ gives far greater clarity, preventing confusion or misconception (take Ezekiel 40ff., for example!), or indeed, for many, little concept at all in some places.

4) In rare cases (examples given) the AV fails.

The NKJV appears to so do more often. Neither version could be called "bad" or heretical. Both  are good, but different sorts of translating skills are highlighted in each. For fidelity, nearly always, the AV is best. For clarity, quite often, the NKJ is best.

5) Almost never (contrary examples given) do both fail in the same place.

6) No false doctrine is obtained but merely a lack of clarity or adequacy, from either: although in one verse, one implication of the translation is quite unsound in the case of the NKJV (Rev. 19:8).

7) Some other versions have stimulating or excellent work available in the Old Testament (where for example the NIV translation of Job is marvellous, and some renderings in Isaiah in the NASV are notable), but you have to be careful to check the Hebrew in any divergencies, as the brilliance may sometimes appear unrestrained by due care. Flair can take off into the winds, though sometimes expose excellent perspective.

Reference even in the NT in such cases, though unlikely to be needed, can on occasion be fruitful.

8) The desire to honour God, not to be in the hand of pedantic princes, a mere substitute for papal power, is quite sound

However, to allow reactionary forces to dictate without evidence, specifically going beyond what the Bible authorises, is wholly indefensible, a definite work of schism. We must here therefore distinguish sharply between the motive and the means!

What then ? Let your moderation be shown, the known be honoured above the guessed, for God has not forgotten to be gracious. Cling to what is good: the testimony of the original, immediate inspiration of all Scripture, and the faithful transmission of God's thoughts.

Avoid ANY approach which assumes God has not done this. This leaves the AV and the NKJV as available options. It also allows judicious willingness to find testable examples of real value in some other translations, where the underlying Greek text is (as usually is the case) not affected.

In exceedingly rare cases, where there is some difficulty as to an original text's meaning, place, one must always be willing to examine every line of objective evidence from all historical sources.

This writer has never met case of residual doubt as to the content of the text, in its thought and thrust, induced by any textual variation. No doctrine depends, in any case, to the least degree, on such cases. What He has promised, He has punctiliously, as ever, performed. In terms of Christian Apologetics, this is one more illustration of the flair and care of His word, which is His!

God has indeed transmitted His thoughts, His commands and His mind with (what without miracle would be) an incredible clarity.

This must not be abused or confused by racial schismatics, of the right or of the left. As to the word of God, let it speak for itself. It is there. It does not need help from philosophical theories, or historical  ones; whether of the one kind or the other. It evidences itself without these.

God has spoken. Listen. That, not addition, is what is necessary. Test what ? ALL things, and that includes spurious theories of minds astray from the evidence as it exists - and continues to do so, by the grace of God, through His honour.



The close inter-relation of the text of the Bible, each part with each, is one of its most arresting phenomena. It is by no means exaggerating to assert that it is like the integration of arms and legs. They, while very different to be sure, are of such a close integral inter-relationship, that it is PART OF THEIR FUNCTION to act together in the midst of their specific specialisations, as one whole, or part of one whole, each other member contributing, all individual, all correlated in a triumph of motion.

Thus, a more sensitive document in this respect, than the Bible, it would be difficult to imagine. Its themes, predictions, chaste turn of exact language and enormous directness that never fears to shock or affront mere formalism, or to the godly, to comfort and caress the spirit and challenge the heart, are so deep and comprehensive yet they ring true to each other over the 15 centuries or so chosen for the release of all these compositions from the Almighty; and this is so, from whatever "culture" the inspired writers came (Moses from Egypt, imbued with its learning, Daniel in Babylon, living deep in the heart of its administrations).

Here the text is filling in, there widening detail like some computer pictures, as they growingly appear on the screen, faithful to the original, but gaining in its coverage as we wait, appear with intriguing wholeness before the eyes. In all this, the Bible reminds one precisely of that paragon and perfection of all expression on earth, from heaven, Jesus Christ the righteous in His diction, fearless, frank, tender, triumphant, sharp, insuppressible, indefeasible, direct and able both to do surgery through speech and provide solace to the uttermost depths.

Awareness of this composure and of all the details of the revelatory procedure is necessary in any translator, just as memory is necessary in reading love letters - or legal documents for that matter. Good translations have this as one of their criteria, that the translator with a whole different array of words and connotations to choose from, and in the case of English, an enormously expanded one (some million or so, it is reported), chooses with erudite skill and deft reach.


Alteration, "critical emendation" may indeed be made in the underlying text before translation with a wanton freedom prompted by amazing blindness. This can distort the word of God like sand in a precision instrument; as can unblushing intrusion of rough idiom in translation, over-riding exact statement. In Number 22 above, there is shown an example of no final doctrinal impact, as is always the case; yet it is one showing the direction of flow which may readily enough be found in lax or liberal renderings outside the AV and the NKJV.


44Romans 16:25-26


 In passing we refer to On Translations of the Bible 13, but then to Possess Your Possessions Vol. 12, Ch. 7.


Just as Paul continually reasoned in the synagogues that this Jesus was the Christ of the prophets, so this statement of manifestation of His word is not set at variance with the declaration of the prophets, but  in consummation of their words*1, as in Romans 16:25-26. This has this word from the Lord:


§ "Now



 to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel


 and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery


 kept secret since the world began


 but now made manifest,


 moreover through prophetic Scriptures


 according to the commandment of the everlasting God:


 for obedience to the faith to all nations made known:



 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."

(In the NKJV also, incidentally, there is displacement of some words and the result might seem  almost turgid and a little unclear, but this rendering above seeks to avoid that. It is rather beautifully done in the main,  in the Berkeley version).

A Divulgement

With all this, there is an absolute, objective standard, there are standing orders, and there is a revelation which is the SOLE written, operative direction required of all. It is called the Bible, the word of God written, inspired by the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:16-21), instituted with power as privilege from the divine mind, for the magnificent purposes of God.

It centres on  our fallen estate, our opportunities for restoration, and opens up like a bud becoming a flower, as the revelation moves from early indication to eventual consummation in the Gospel of the substitutionary salvation of Jesus Christ crucified, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18).

It was


symbolised for Israel,


essentialised in the coming Messiah,


culminated in His incarnation from heavenly eternity,


secured on the Cross,


exhibited in power in the resurrection,
which also authenticated it
as the finale on the personal works of Jesus Christ when on this earth,

and is


available to Jew and Gentile alike,
while God fulfils all the specifications of method
which He has had in mind, both to confront this earth,
commend the free grace of the path offered,
and to bring to some eternal life, who believe, and to the rest, judgment
because, despite all this, they do not.

God is a Spirit and the thing is spiritual; God made the earth and man upon it, and the thing is practical; God loves and He took action to show it, did work to implement it and loves mercy to fulfil it.

This brings us to the sheer magnitude and magnificence of His self-revelation and practical demonstration before and for us, and the need to realise our position and act. For this, there is an impelling overview provided, for example, in Romans 16:25-27. This shows the sheer wonder of it, the fact that it centres on a revelation of things without God, mere mystery, but with His act most clear, relevant and wonderful.

It is a work to do justice to this divine declaration,  and its overview requires careful alertness.



Romans 16:25-27 


to Him who is able to establish you

   according to my Gospel

   and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
   according to the revelation of the mystery,

      kept secret since time began, 
      but now manifest,

   and by the prophetic scriptures:

       made known according to the commandment of the eternal God,
       for obedience to the faith to all nations -

to God alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ be glory. Amen.

This gives in translation from Greek to English the sense of vastness which it has. However the Greek has linguistic abilities here which the English does not adequately transmit, clarificatory aspects which require us to use our own language in such a way as to mirror these. It is not that it is too complex, but it needs care in rendering to secure full transmission in this, another medium of discourse.

Thus, for immediate impact it could be segmentalised. so that we look further at ways of translating.

We have something to consider, since in particular,  in English we do not have case endings, which here in Greek reveal the track of thought with three participles all of the same grammatical case (genitive), the first following 'revelation' (of the mystery), in that it was long hidden, the second denoting its being made manifest and the third the thrust or purpose of its being made known. They act like sign-posts, very conspicuous in their similarity both of grammatical and visual form, and of impact.

Since in English we lack this way of joining like things together with such endings, it may be helpful to use what we have in our language, to indicate what the Greek puts in its own way. Thus it could be rendered like this.


to Him who is able to establish you
according to my Gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery,

kept secret from the times of the ages,  but now manifest,

and by the prophetic scriptures:

this made known to all nations
according to the commandment of the eternal God -

leading to obedience of faith,

to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
 be glory for ever. Amen.

To make it easier to read, we could segmentalise it a little further*1:


to Him who is able to establish you

according to my Gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery,

kept secret from the times of the ages, 
but now manifest,

and by the prophetic scriptures: 

this mystery

by the commandment of the eternal God -

being made known to all nations
leading to obedience of faith:

to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
 be glory for ever. Amen.


Thus you have the mystery 1) hidden    2) manifest     3) made known.

This guides by its force and its form, both together. 

The three participles move us forward in successive steps.


First is the secretion,


then the manifestation,


then thirdly the making known.

The first two are an evocative contrast; the third is a functional application.

BEING manifest, it now has a job to do, and this by command of the eternal God. In fact, it is to all peoples, and leads into obedience of faith.

You could translate, at one point, "leading to faith's obedience." It has much to commend it. One translator has 'obedience inspired by faith', but this is to put a thrust into words which the Greek does not. On the other hand, there is a possessive which could be simply translated, ' faith's obedience' . About faith there is this realism that without works as James reminds us, it is dead. IF you believe, the RESULT will come. What motivates may be hope, what activates, it is faith. Drawing back and withdrawing are NOT faith, but mistiness, wistfulness, romancing or the like.



Let us return now to the substance of this divine declaration, the Divine Charter for Man. It is not enforced. It is revealed. It is not debatable, it is given. It is not a matter of 21st century changes, but of some 35 centuries of revelation. It is not merging with other things, not mutative, but successive, unitary and like a giant ocean wave, coming to issuance in one way only.

In this way, the Christian, now the recipient of the entire revelatory masterpiece of divine diction, will and provision for man, is to be established as Romans 16:25 declares. It is by two divine thrusts. First is the Gospel as given, for one, to the apostle Paul (who was in unity with the other apostles on it as in Galatians 1-2); and this involves the revelation of a mystery, that is, something known to God, explicable only by Him, but able to move readily into the mind of man, despite its distempers,  to clarify potential confusion, amplify moving thoughts and give form and precision to his entire spiritual and qualitative nature and life.

It is the Gospel and revelation of mystery, together with the prophetic scriptures (Romans 16:26), which are basis for establishment of any man before God. These are means cited and used by "Him who is able to establish you." So declares Romans 16:25-26. These two operate together as one: the long aggregating revelation through the prophets, together with Messianic focus, on the one hand, and the central and practical focus of the completion in Christ, through the Gospel given legs and arms in His actions, on the other (Hebrews 1:1 - 2:10). Both counter the hiddenness, the one in preparation, the other in completion.

As to this mystery, then, it came in phases, being at first hidden, since only God is able to have and show His OWN mercy as HE sees fit. It is however made manifest,  simply because He articulates it. Nor is this simply for notational completion, but practical action. Nor, again, is this merely for visual or intellectual focus, but it has results. Its scope is universal to all nations, not just Israel, which was the initial revelatory channel at the time of Moses, for its extensive formulation and symbolic utterances.  Indeed, the revelation goes back to the earliest days, when the hiddenness was far greater, the very time of the fall of man and the prediction of what God would do to deliver him (Romans 5:1-12, 8:17ff.). Genesis 3:15 shows the first beginnings of the lifting of the veil and so is called the protevangelion.

It is not only for ALL nations, but it is so by DIVINE COMMAND, declares Romans 16:25-27. It is not a suggestion from a suggestion box; it is a sovereign declaration for deliverance, from the eternal God. Paul shows, through the word of God, this aspect with magnificent force in Galatians 1, for example, crystallising this further in Galatians 3 and 5, and applying it in Galatians 4, concerning the Israel to Church movement, at the supreme spiritual level. Christ shows as recorded in Matthew 28, that Great Commission which does indeed give divine command that all the Gospel be proclaimed with the teaching of ALL the commandments.

The establishment of those who hear, as in Romans 16:25, is both through this teaching in its fulness, and through the prophetic scriptures, both being revelatory channels; for whatever is hidden, may be so for two reasons. Firstly, it may be there, but the investigatory power or constraint is lacking, so that it is not found; or secondly, it may not be there at all. 

The consolidation or establishment of the Christians at Rome, in terms of both the Gospel and the writings of the prophets is certainly co-ordinate as in II Peter 1:19, not only because of the theme, portent, even the unveiling in the prophetic procedure to the full light of common day, nor only because of the terminology, where distinctively,  the writings of the prophets is made co-ordinate with the manifestation of the Gospel from hidden phase to full revelation, but because this IS establishment, to see the progressive opening up of the Gospel in one setting, one thematic display. This is one of the means used for the consolidation of disciples in the full glory of the manifest truth!

It is like a day developing, hour by hour, till noon. It consolidates itself to the mind, impresses itself on the soul and it attests itself in its disregard of the constraints of time, no small contribution being there if not substantially realised at the first (Genesis 3:15), and true to the last. However foolish and slow of hearing the disciples might be, yes by Christ's own word, those with Him (Luke 24:25), the plant of prophecy was a large and abundant one, even before the sun shone so brightly upon it.

This is no small part of the method of Paul as he reasoned in the synagogue from the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ, of Philip to the Ethiopian, of Paul in Romans 11 and 15, and of Christ in his diversification of testimony to the disciples, emphasising what is there ALREADY together with the impact from Himself, sent direct from the Father, as from His ordained actions in fulfilment of the scriptures as in Matthew 26:52-54.



Its outcome in thrust lies in the obedience of faith, we find in Romans 16:26. It is the obedience which faith understands, to which it seeks, which is normal and natural to it, which implies the discernment, motivation and love to which it is conjoined: the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, love and joy, for example (Galatians 5:22). In other words, what is to be received by faith in the Lord, in His revelation, in His mercy, impels one to faithfulness as a fruit. It is not the obedience of servitude, of cringing, though the fear of God is clean (Psalm 19);  but it is that of that faith which knows God, loves Him and seeks His desire with relish,  as a privilege of mercy and a testimony of friendship, the work of the Captain and King of mankind, working not by force, though with power, but rather with the impelling attraction of love.

In Ephesians 3:9ff., we see something emphatic. It is that the joining in harmonious unity through this very Gospel, of Jew and Gentile, one certainly, as in Romans 16, prefaced in the prophetic scriptures given to and through prophets in Israel, is now made more manifest in its profundity.

It is no small thing for God to take the format of man and the race of a Jew in order for Jew or Gentile, to bring a common salvation, fulfilling the promises in the prophets and providing the Gentiles with direct access with all boldness, to Himself (Hebrews 2-4). 

In Ephesians 1:7ff., we find that "in the dispensation of the fulness of times" -

that is, when the Danielic prediction of the Gospel's time
in terms of the dismissal of the Messiah when He came to earth
(the date for its occurrence as indicated, and shown in Christ the Citadel Ch. 2, for example):

all things are gathered together in One. Who is that One: It is Jesus Christ.

That is the Saviour, God Himself as man (Philippians 2, Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11-12),


having been foretold, forecast, and


given the date displacement in detail, and


 indeed murdered, and


 resurrected, the torn body not left to rot,
but as practical declaration of God, for the precincts of immortality:

is now acting in triumphant testimony as the  One who is both Lord and Christ.

Indeed, to fulfil this purpose, He both lived and died (Romans 14:9), that He might be Lord both of the living and of those already past their earth's pilgrimage. He is both cynosure and centre. He is both explication and  application, testimony and triumph.

Moreover,  this Person and this establishment, it is declared,  is to be seen as such by all men. The precise way of this unification was not always so clear, but now it is. That is what we are being told. It is in the earlier prophetic scriptures (such as Isaiah 42,46,49-55, Micah 5, Jeremiah 31, Hosea 13:14ff., Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40, 69 and so on), but not always was it understood, for it could be understood that it was revealed for a coming time (I Peter 1:12). That time is now. It is upon us. Its tenure is moving to coming phases for this one Gospel of this one Saviour, with His inclination that all might be reconciled, but in love, and not in force or violence (John 18:36).

The 'mystery' like the sight of a ship near the horizon at the ocean shore, is now brought close, as it has berthed in the harbour. When it is so, it is realised that after all, the outline was indeed in the prophetic scriptures, which like field glasses trained on the ship on the horizon, had not erred! Moreover the symbolic prelude was not amiss (as in Hebrews 1-10), but moved by faith (as in Hebrews 11), men of old acted as seeing Him who is invisible, as those who move to a city which has foundations, whose builder and Maker is God (exemplified, typified and essentialised in Abraham (Hebrews 11:10, Romans 4). Nor is there is no other foundation but Christ Jesus the Lord (I Corinthians 3:11).

Many founder in seeking to change the foundation, or in efforts to make another; but being confounded, they merely address their windy words to no effect (II Peter 2:18, cf. Daniel 7:20), a squalid whine or whimper in effect (cf. Jeremiah 23:16-28), however pretentious for the moment it may appear in deception (as in II Corinthians 11), as the Age of Grace proceeds to its fulfilment, the opposition itself mounting.

The truth will not alter or wither or quiver, though typhoons of truculence or arrogance spend themselves.

We are not dealing with the creations of men, says Peter (II Peter 3:16), but

"with the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

the apostles who were with Him

"being eyewitnesses of His majesty,

or He received from God the Father honour and glory ..." 

There is a whole matrix of things past concerning His coming, things present when He came and things to come, in finality and completion, when the time of testimony becomes the act of judgment. Therefore be steadfast (I Peter 4:1-12), serious, unmaimed by imaginative flirtations, not dithering but living in the obedience of faith.

Bereft indeed will be purveyors of such illusory substitutes for the millenial work of divine singularity, which is attested alone, invested with divine authority, and has culminated in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Christ who having done all, will return for its consummation, and harvest (Romans 11:25ff., Matthew 24:29ff., Mark 14:62, I Corinthians 15, Acts 1:7ff.).

Again in Colossians 1:24ff., we find that the Gospel of the loving divine desire, and His practical provision, that He might bring ALL men into reconciliation with Himself, as in 1:19ff., is now found in revelation of the 'mystery' of its wonder. It conjoins now things often before needlessly sundered, but now epochally fulfilled, the one in the other. This universal Gospel excels what preceded, being immediate, direct, complete, uncluttered (II Corinthians 3:10). Here is "the glory which excels."

That now it should be so intimate and individual and personal and direct, that without priests we should dwell in and with the Lord, is a wonder and a witness of divine splendour and patience, so that it comes to this, "Christ in you, the hope of glory", Colossians 1:27. That was something hidden in its depth and directness, but now explicit and express. Every feature that had beckoned is now transfixed into place, like hair now set. Now the Gentiles themselves have this richness, by no means limited to revelatory pivots like Abraham, but rather in total fulfilment of all promised.

In Romans 16:25ff., we have a summary of some beauty, indeed of no small magnificence. This now fully revealed Gospel with its vast thrust to all nations, this thing once found in the prophetic scriptures, but now exhibited in all its profundity and scope direct, through the Gospel and the revelation given to Paul as one of the apostles, brings foundation and indeed an establishing certitude to the believer. Moreover, its outcome is found in the active conformity of faith, not to a vague mist, nor to a mere set of instructions, but to the amplitude of resolute reality, to know God and of course to obey Him as an outcome of faith.

This involves: relishing His written word, and proceeding indeed, in the manner which is characteristic of that love which faith feeds on, and desire understands when the heart is regenerated. For this, Romans 5 gives introduction, Romans 8 expatiation and Ephesians 3 amplification.





Another rendering of Romans 16:25, similar in most points, but with one significant difference, is provided by John Murray in his work, "The Epistle to the Romans," Volume 2.

With the impressively imaginative idea that WHEN and BECAUSE the Gospel was being spread world-wide, therefore the prophetic scriptures went with it, being as it were unleashed to the globe indirectly by this means, the thing to be "made known" to all nations could be held to be  "the prophetic scriptures". This would then be what, by the commandment of the eternal God, would be made known to all nations. This is grammatically possible.

However it does not at all concur with the emphatic stress that Paul continually is making that his Gospel, the one accorded to Him, this is the acme, the bloom, the distillate, the glory that surpasses, the end-product; and thus to have the preliminary prophetic scriptures so linked to this vast and impactive statement about the command of the eternal God in this way, seems disproportionate, an alien emphasis. Truly, the one does go with the other, the Gospel with the words of the prophets; and the one would take the other with it. as may be seen in Romans 15, for example. But the emphasis on what GOES and what it takes with it would then seem reversed: what goes with it, in this way, becoming the focus of the vast and epochal command.

Moreover, in II Peter 1, we see that indeed the Christian is to be ESTABLISHED,  and the point in view here is that there was no cunningly devised tale about Christ that was delivered,  but in fact His majesty was directly perceived by His people, not least in the transfiguration, and that all this simply confirmed the prophetic scriptures which continue to give help and support, as a light in a dark place, one that should be heeded (II Peter 1:19).

Here there is the same insistence on the Person, the direct and central one; and when it comes to consolidation, then the scriptures of the prophets (the actual phrase in Romans 16:25ff.) are a great asset. Indeed, they have rapport with what happened, are in preliminary mode expressive of the Gospel, and Christ and this word are entwined. But Christ is the tree, and the prophets the creeper, even though in point of time, they came first. He who came 'last' is first!






45)  I Corinthians 13:8-10

§"Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will come to an end;
whether there are tongues, they will cease;
whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

Unfortunately, the KJV has after prophecies, "they will fail".  This has nothing whatever to do with the Greek as rendered into modern English. Worse, the NKJV keeps this.

The actual import of the Greek term, as found in Thayer's Greek dictionary, is quite clear. First, one should note that it is the same Greek verb that appears both after "knowledge" and "prophecies". The meaning is this:  that the thing concerned has finished its job, is complete, no longer functioning. The verb is katagew, here used in the future passive. In that mode, it means ... that the thing in view will be 'rendered idle', or 'caused to cease' or 'put an end to'. With persons, it can mean discharged or loosed from what had held it or its bound place.

The concept, then, has nothing whatsoever to do with a break-down, something that is a failure. It is rather something that having done all, has no more ground to continue, is now out of functional usage, perhaps like some of the old ploughs you see in farming communities, on display to give recognition to former times. The ploughs are BY NO MEANS being disparaged: quite the contrary. They are being given their due, and remembered for the vital and valuable work which they once performed.

The reason why the prophecies, on the one hand, and 'knowledge' on the other, are to cease to be in active performance once one is in heaven, when and when alone 'that which is perfect' is come to all who are the Lord's (which is the topic), is simple. Thus, when the night lights of the train work in the darkness, it is of great value; when, however,  the day comes, they are no longer functionally relevant. You would have no occasion to use them: they are finished, done away, rendered idle, caused to cease. Daylight is so much better, revealing what formerly was visible, but not so manifest!

The daylight in this case, that is the consummation, the end of the matter, that to which Paul looks in terms of being a 'child' and becoming a 'man' by contrast, is nothing other than heaven's direct gaze (Revelation 22), following the resurrection. There is no other possible understanding for seeing God 'face to face'. Here IN PART in the order of events; there KNOWING AS KNOWN, seeing face to face is the order. Here the one is contrasted with the other.

Accordingly,  'knowledge', Paul explains in I Corinthians 13, which is to 'vanish away' is something currently present in PART, at this point. When that which is perfect is come, then what is in part will no more have a bearing. Important as a PART was once, occasioning insight and understanding, yet it is now no longer functionally operative, for the WHOLE in the resurrection, is  available. The 'part' has succeeded in being a vital part in the 'night' ' but when the 'day' comes, with Christ for His people, it will be outshone as is a torch by the sunlight.

It is therefore best to translate this in some such way as 'come to an end'. Since 'knowledge' in the same way and with the same Greek verb is to have a similar terminus to that of 'prophecy', then we could indeed use the same English verb to translate  'knowledge shall come to an end"; but this too does not fit happily into the context, and suggests in English more than the  Greek provides. In translating Greek, you have terms with their own range and spread of meaning, and English partial equivalents, with theirs. It is good to use the genius of the one language and that of the other, so that the best match of English words to Greek,  in the context provides the total sense, without doing violence to any one word at the same time.

Hence we could translate as above for both of these cases, one concerning 'knowledge' and the other concerning 'prophecies'. "Vanish away" for knowledge certainly has a particular feeling associated, and when we are given the exact sense, by 'know in part', it is so clear that this rather brusque rendering has a certain felicity. It seems well kept, and only the 'fail' used for the same verb in translation in I Cor. 13:8, needs to change.

Freed from ambiguity or imported senses not present in the original, therefore we so translate, as above in blue, at the outset of this presentation.

In the case of  "Love", on the other hand, at the start of  I Cor. 13:8, the verb used here is another one: and in this case, it does signify what English translates as 'fail'. Hence this can be kept and only one word, and not this one at this point in the translation, needs replacement. It is rather amusing, in a way, that in the KJV as in the NKJV, the two verbs which are the same in Greek, have different renderings (quite possible, as above), while the one which is different, as in "love never fails", is made the same as one of the two instances of katagew. Thus the twins are separated, and what are not twins are joined together.

Readily however is the case rectified as above. The NASV simply puts 'done away' for both the partial knowledge and the fulfilled prophecies. As often, the NKJV does not seem to have the flair of some, though it seems more reliable than a considerable number. It is best to study the Greek, consider what has been done, look at the context, ensure that there is insurance as far as may be against misinterpretation in the rendering into English, and to remember the point about the profiles of the Greek and English terms available, some languages having more options than others, and using the best interlacing available, in terms of the possibilities on the one hand, and the sweep and content of the utterance on the other. In this way, felicity and art, on the one hand, and accuracy and clarity on the other, may be kept.


46) I Corinthians 15:33

§"Evil company corrupts good morals"

Truth and Tradition

This having been said, it is fascinating in terms of variety, to notice that there is in I Corinthians 15:33 a case where the AV is far surpassed by the NKJV (both apparently erring in the preceding case), in terms of clarity. This is no fault of the AV, but it is a LARGE fault in the approach which would slavishly keep to it. Thus it has,

"Evil communications corrupt good manners", whereas the NKJV with admirable clarity, puts it thus: "Evil company corrupts good habits." The New Scofield rendering is "Evil company corrupts good morals" which has the advantage of being highly idiomatic in our tongue.

How necessary today is such a reminder! How searing is the company of the lost whose addictions of mind, body and spirit are so great that ears, bodily resistance, aims, ideals, objectives are one great bundle of contagion in many cases, which can obstruct health in every dimension, tempt and tamper with rapidity born of great cultural acceptance, TV addiction mechanisms to reinforce, in the interest of money, power or popularity, for example and parental absence in the pursuit of more income, more something or other, while the family tissue is often allowed to rot, a worse than AIDS depression of resistance soon being found in mind, heart and spirit in the young.

Of course it is not only this group which is reminded in our text; but it is a poignant reality that whole lives may be turned, like a just launched ship to the rocks, by an early tug from community, commune or conquest of peer pressure.

It may be well here to note a vast difficulty in traditionalism, whether of translation approach or theological convention, the forbidden man+ism of I Corinthians 3, expounded further in The Biblical Workman, Ch.8. (with special reference also to *2) and in Repent or Perish  1  (and in particular in *1 of that Chapter). On the side of translation, first then, the case is clear. The Latin of the RC dominion of ignorance in pre-Reformation (and some Reformation) times was appalling. It is true that this was compulsory (sundry people could be burnt if they dared to read and understand) in many cases, per the diligent opposition to the word of God on the part of the Church of Rome at that time.

It is true that now the option of consulting other texts is free in most places. However, diligence is not everywhere the same, and the deadening weight of tradition does not always build only on physical compulsion, since cultural constraints readily apply for many. Hence it is dangerous to make traditional preferences for text have any constricting force. In the case of the AV, the tradition is a good one, but as with all tradition, its elevation to (practical) parity with the word of God is evil, because presumptuous, and not always accurate as shown.

The ACTUAL MEANING in CLEAR TERMS of what is written is a first priority. But let us diverge for a moment in a further aspect of traditionalism, as a topic, in a parallel area.

On the side of theological occlusion, obfuscation, through the man+ism device, that is expressed elsewhere as noted, so that for the present it is sufficient to note that not only is it expressly forbidden by Paul, but the simple fact is that the elevation of (admittedly) heroic Christian figures of the past to -ism status for those of the present tends to reduce awareness of weaknesses whether at some point of teaching or approach in the same - and who is perfect among all of us, sinners - so constricting the word of God. This may occur in two obvious ways:

a) areas left untouched, or relatively superficial in the past hero's work, may now require because of the times and their individual pressures, much exposure now.

b) areas of error can be duplicated like someone using an uncorrected master for the making of thousands of copies - all the same in fault. The further this goes, the worse the case, since one may then confirm the other in the error.

The same type of thing is seen in the 1991 action of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, in which it was required that one show FROM THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION any place which would allow one to depart from any of it, in order to gain that ... liberty. This was despite the fact that in the Basis of Union of 1901, by which the people were willing to gather as one, LIBERTY WAS EXPRESSLY GRANTED. Here it is denied in terms of a Confession which itself has the excellent grace to note that since all assemblies in the past are capable of error and many have erred, that therefore it is wrong to make any of them a criterion for faith. And what was the body of those who drew up the Confession except an assembly! Hence the genius, one of the excellent poverties of spirit which adorn this excellent Westminster Confession, is turned on its head, while at the same time, a liberty already granted as a condition of unity is REMOVED, and reduced to NULLITY except the CONFESSION (of all things, in view of what it expressly demands in terms of liberty) may be shown (as of course it in fact may be shown) to deny such stringency.

The net result is both undue and improper stringency, afflicting the union original basis, and undue laxity, since the word of God is bound VIA the Confession, which in this sense cannot be bound. It is of course true that, as the Procurator showed in an official publication of the PCA (Basic Documents on Presbyterian Polity, 1961, p. 92), decades ago, that the definition of "word of God" must be such as to conform to the use of that term in other official documents, such as the Confession, which makes it clear it is "infallible". Since the Word of God contained in the Bible is the UNCHANGEABLE doctrinal basis of the PCA, it is thereby bound, though this fact was disregarded for about 40 years in extreme measure, and is still difficult if not indeed quite impossible to reconcile with some of the practices of the body.

This illustrates aptly the danger of using tradition and giving it undue place; since the word of God alone is adequate, pure enough and sure enough to do the job. Subordinate standards (as the Confession is deemed to be expressly in the PCA, in good Presbyterian practice in INTENTION) have great use; but when the subordinate becomes inordinate it is insubordination! Tradition always has this peril. It is to be used like radioactive material, by one equipped with gloves and protective apparel, however useful it can be when rendered ... safe.

To revert to our I Cor. 15:33 example and its rendering in the AV. The use of this version now for such things as idioms and some nuances runs a great risk. The word of God can be suppressed without inquisitorial torture procedures.

It provides this:

§"Evil company corrupts good morals" -

and to have this put in some ancient version of our native tongue, that actively misleads by suppressing the meaning in our current speech, this is to use what is good to do what is bad. Such is always the vulnerability of elevating to parity with the word of God, the traditions of men (Mark 7:7). It can be direct, dire or indirect, tendential, but it is now desirable. Indeed to require the AV is presumption, the more when it is spuriously presented as tantamount to inspiration, thereby bypassing the evidential reality concerning the Greek and Hebrew text, and adding to the word of God itself, both in favour of rampant subjectivism. Proverbs 30:6, Mark 7:7 with Psalm 19:13 show the way to avoid. Unwise is the man, the church taking any such step.

The word of God is to be presented to every generation with entire and sublime accuracy in the symbols - words - that express to that people what it says. By policy or confusion to do anything less is unfaithful, suppressive, a covering over a light that must shine.

We are indeed fortunate that in most (but by no means in all) countries, we have or can have the implements needed, without overt suppression. With the exception noted ('scourging' and one minor case), the AV does not err in translation AS TO DOCTRINE, that one has found; while  the NKJV, with one major exception noted, does not actively mislead, though it has less refinement or sensitivity at times in rendering with a view to all the context*1, despite its very commendable clarity. With both in hand, the lay reader is really well placed, though at that, a prepared pastor can lead further safely from the vast array of translations, using the original languages as attested.

God has made for us teams, not so that we are utterly reliant on them, but so that in their co-functionality there may be enrichment and strength. Thus the helps which can be given pastorally in this way, or through the student work of the lay scholar, the extensions and the nuances, the touches and the exposures, though not substantial and not affecting doctrine, are yet  of great stimulus and blessing. The church is a divine invention, and though it does not MAKE doctrine, for this, the Bible,  is in the written word of God from the infinite mind of God; yet it has both opportunity, office and blessing to present it faithfully. This is not less so in the field of translation than in that of exposition.


47) Ephesians 1:3-5

§"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has  blessed us with every spiritual blessing 
in the heavenly places in Christ,
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world
that we should be holy and blameless before Him,
in love having predestined us to adoption
as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will,
to the praise of the glory of His grace,
in which He made us objects of grace in the Beloved.

"In Him we have redemption through His blood..."

Ephesians 1:3-5 constitutes an amazingly delightful translation issue.

It could mean

1) He chose us in Him... to be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons

2) He chose us in Him... to be holy and without blame before Him, in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons

3) He chose us in Him ... to be holy and without blame before Him, in love having predestined us to adoption as sons


Punctuation is so helpful.

In Greek, it is not to be found here.

Hence, we need other considerations to enable us to find the best translation.


Many considerations point in just one way, as it happens. Nor is this by chance.

Firstly, let us consider the "in Him", "before Him" and "in love" adverbial phrases, all of this kind grammatically. We are chosen IN HIM. We are chosen to be without blame BEFORE HIM. We have been predestined IN LOVE. The verb chosen, has its phrase, as does that 'to be' and the participial construction of the verb, 'predestined'. That is the position if you opt for 3) above.

We would in that situation notice that the verb 'to choose', has its phrase a little after it, as is the case with the verb 'to be', and that the verb 'to predestine' in that case has its phrase before it.

Thus schematically it would be as follows: We are chosen IN HIM, to be holy BEFORE HIM, IN LOVE predestined...

There is a certain balance of emphasis, each verb with its phrase, and there is just that emphasis on the "in love" aspect which Ephesians 3:16-19, which follows shortly, one of the greatest love passages in Paul, would lead us to expect. How is this achieved ? It is by reversing the order when it comes to love. Chosen in Him, holy before Him, in love predestined... becomes the sense. With love, it comes first!

This fits perfectly with Ephesians 3:18 which contrary to what may appear in some translations, has the same order, the phrase before the verb, which in the Greek appears as this: "in love being rooted and grounded that you may be able ..." Here not only is the phrase "in love" before the verbal form, but it is the SAME phrase, 'in love', in the same epistle which highlights love and uses this primary position of the phrase indubitably in this case of Ephesians 3, before the verbal form. Not only so, the verb is in the participial form, as is the case in the tested case, Ephesians 1:3-5. Thus we have this, in Ephesians 3 - "in love being rooted and grounded that ..." and in Ephesians 1, if we follow 3), "in love having predestined us to adoption".

This gives the following schema. Adverbial phrase, 'in love', for emphasis coming first, participle joined with it giving atmospheric emphasis, a graphical presentation,  this verbal form thus adding to the emphasis of having the phrase first; and in each case, it is the precise phrase 'in love', not something merely similar, that is used, which appears rather like this: 'en agaph'. In sense, in the one case, we are found IN LOVE PREDESTINED, in the other IN LOVE ROOTED AND GROUNDED. In each case action results, in the former - Ch.1, that we become adopted, in the latter, Ch. 3, that of Christians being enabled to comprehend the illimitable dimensions of love.

Not only is this so, but the very emphasis on the illimitable in love, both in direction and importance, and in height and sublimity and in depth and wonder, makes an all-encompassing approach apparent from Ephesians 3 which would in the translation 3) for Ephesians 1:3-5, be reflected in full.

Thus structurally and topically, emphatically and positionally, it is all one. Paul is emphasising something, using primacy of phrase to do it, depth of expression, and placing first things first, is presenting divine action in participial graphicality before leading on to more blessing. In the first case, this blessing is adoption, in the second, realisation of the splendour of the illimitable dimensions of 'love', each site using the phrase 'in love'.

As if this were not enough, we find further that in Ephesians 1:11, this same emphasis on the primary in a primary positioning of the phrase is found: IN HIM we have obtained an inheritance, we discover. It is not "we have obtained an inheritance in Him," but that "in Him we have obtained an inheritance." Indeed, the same emphatic technique continues throughout. Thus in Ephesians 2:8, it is BY GRACE you are having been saved persons, once again, the phrase being placed first because of its eminence of consideration, its importance in the theme being presented. The primary has the primary place in these instances in what grammatically is called 'inversion'. The same inversion is found in 2:5, again by grace you have been saved, and in 2:18, where it reads, THROUGH HIM we have access...

Further, in Ephesians 2:19-20, we have a parallel form, in which the persons precede the participial construction thus: FELLOW CITIZENS, HAVING BEEN BUILT, with the two relative pronoun phrases, "in whom" occurring in 21-22, keeping the same feeling of thrust, as the apostle is impelled to write, phrase first, action later (cf. I Cor. 2:9-13, I Peter 1:10--12).

In Ephesians 4:1-3, again,  we have WITH ALL LOWLINESS ... ENDEAVOURING, the same adverbial phrase with following participial construction which is deep in the heart of this epistle. It suits it. It is an emphatic device, a clarificatory emphasis, and a merging method, enabling matters in this way to be seen in a clamant perspective which cannot be missed.

These things being so, the thought of ignoring the emphatic mode, the emphatic topic (here love for our Ch. 1 concern) and the spirit of the emphasis throughout being alien, it is impossible to prefer what lacks similar credentials, so that one must applaud in this the translation of the Berkeley Version, the American Standard Version and that of the RSV (all with type 3) translation as above).

This, in essence ? 'In love having predestined'. The phrase is with the predestination!

Further, in Ephesians 1:9, we learn that God has made known to us the mystery of His will according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. It proceeds to state that this purpose involves His gathering all things in Christ: the criterion. It is IN HIMSELF that this good pleasure is purposed. This brings out the intensely personal side of this predestination, and since GOD IS LOVE (I John 4), and since Paul is emphasising in this very epistle in language of the most intensive, the illimitable character of the love of God, these in combination lead to the same conclusion: the intensively personal God who is love, and in whose love is illimitable wonder, has in this mystery of marvel, acted in and with this love to forge links of salvation which do not break (Ephesians 1:11).

As to translation 2) above at the outset, while it is possible, it is rather limping, adding this phrase in that style, when the topic is so impelling in this epistle (and not this alone, as I Corinthians 13 would remind us soon enough!). What do we find in I Cor. there ? It is this, that without love, anything is nothing. It is not different in predestination. To be sure, the apostle in I Cor. 13 is speaking of man; but this is BECAUSE OF WHO AND WHAT GOD IS. Love is not pre-eminent for man because God is other, but because this Being, whose nature is love, is as He is and has made us in His image!

As to translation 1) above, it has no comparable credentials for selection. It would put the love last in the series of features in view for man's conduct, which is of course anomalous here, in this particular epistle. It would omit the 'love' from the 'good pleasure of His will' in a way which is not actually the case. It would breach the form found so often in the epistle, and that allied even to the content 'in love' as shown above. It would moreover tear apart a fascinating parallel. That ? It is as we now find.

Thus in 1:3-5, we have with this priority of love, a predestinating movement concerning His people. IN LOVE predestinating "to the praise of the glory of His grace". What then of this glorious grace, this kindness, this merciful wonder in the Lord which is infinitely filial with love ? It is to an end which is now stated in 1:6, and it is that BY THIS GRACE we should be "accepted in the Beloved." Thus the generic love in predestination, in 3) would lead to the entrance in an entrancing manner, to the Beloved. IN LOVE predestining, so that grace may be praised, He acts to make us accepted IN THE BELOVED, becomes the sense.

Thus the propelling love (of predestination) becomes the accepting love (of adoption in Christ), and the predestining dynamic becomes the acceptance dynamic. What moves becomes what accepts. He loves in predestination so that He accepts in destination: where ? IN the Beloved.

To tear apart so many considerations for a weak and strangely secondarily placed phrasing as in 1) above, is not really in the end, a translation but a divestment. Again, it is not that slender evidence attests translation 3), but that it is perfectly incomparable in force in context and conception, in form and structure, with anything else.

Therefore we translate as constrained:


§"... just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world
that we should be holy and blameless before Him,
in love having predestined us to adoption
as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will,
to the praise of the glory of His grace,
in which He made us objects of grace in the Beloved.

"In Him we have redemption through His blood..."

Love works in choice, blamelessness works in resultant in the adopted: the agent is Christ, the glory is in grace, its compass is objects of grace who are in this same Christ, not only agent but express image of God, who to this end poured out His blood, that its flood should enable the grace to abound, the adoption to astound and express that love so profound. It is in GOD, that we are based, in GOD that we find the action of predestining, in GOD that the grace is to be praised, and it is in GOD that the love is impelling to the Son of God who acts on it, so allowing our reception in truth as His own.

Any other construction would merely constitute a divorce not only in form, in situation, in force, in dynamic and in cohesion, but of the primacy of what is primary from the One who is primary. It is unthinkable, egregious and inconstant, unable to stand in the context.

When, moreover, we see the continuation into the redemption by His blood (Ephesians 1:7), we find once again the testimony of the love impelling, in predestination, with the love accepting, in adoption, and the love dispelling, as in the blood. It is bound as by vast magnetic forces of conceptual cohesion.  We look further, "BLESSED be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him, in love having predestined us to adoption ..."

Thence we see even further the sequence. How blessed is the God who has seated us in things, in places spiritual, indeed in the realm of the heavenlies, and done it is Christ. This is entirely like the way He chose us in the first place to be holy and blameless, in love having even predestined ... It is all about the blessing imparted, the love exhibited, the grace found, the founding being profound, and the amazing thing, as in Ephesians 3, being the outthrust of a love uncontainable, expressing itself like sunshine in multiplied ways in the flora of the earth, so here in the flourishing of the soul.


48)  Ephesians 3:21

§ "To Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all phases of history here and hereafter. Amen"

kAnother translation of particular interest in its field, is this in Ephesians. Neither the AV nor the NKJV are impressive here. The phrase of our interest, "throughout all ages, world without end" is NOT what it says, but it is what the AV has. It is an attempt which is more fluent in feeling than accurate in depiction in this case. It can readily given an impression that not merely can cater to this-world worldliness, holding on to it as to an eternal regime, which it assuredly is not (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3:10-13), but it does quietly introduce a word which is not there.

§'All phases of history here and hereafter'

is the meaning and anything, for the sake of common speech, putting it more concretely in terms of the world, changes the text and makes a person without he original vulnerable to misunderstanding.

It is a poor effort as translation, this time, on the part BOTH of the AV and NKJV: it is not so much false as inept. While a person  reading II Peter 3 is in little danger, not all read it at once, and this is thus a weakness in translation. A query to a pastor, arising from this, could solve it, of course, or the educated reader might divine the point. But some might not and this translation leaves much to be desired accordingly.

Even the possibility of scholarly extensions of meaning of the term for "age", in no way reduces the direct meaning, its flavour and phrasing; and this rendering exposes those not versed in Greek to a real danger of mistaking the point. THAT is not the work of a good translation.

Idolatry of the AV or KJV is to be avoided : just as they do almost always supply sound DOCTRINE (and an exception in each case has been noted, and another in an area of fine precision is about to be in 14) below. Yet they are not to be made shibboleths. The word of God needs no shibboleths, just as theology needs no name+isms; and it is to be taken as it is. Testing all things and holding fast by faith, that is our aim. It is not aided by substituting subordinates for it, or subordinating it to any kind of convenience, traditional or other. Taking accurately what God gives, we shall not be disappointed. God has indeed kept His word in exactly the sense He specified; and it is available fully for testing, for taking, for doctrine and for truth.




49)  II Thessalonians 2:1-2

§ Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
be not quickly shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter,
as if from us, as though the day of Christ were at hand."

This case appears for example, in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 18,  *1.. Below is taken from On Translations of the Bible, 12. 

An Eschatological Excursion

There are different translations here, and two major dictionaries present different read-outs. One would have it, like the NKJV, the day "had come", while the other with supporting material, would have it that the day is referred to as 'impending', 'threatening' for the particular tense of this verb here used - the sense of the rendering made by the AV.

According to this famous dictionary, the sense for this tense is said to be "prop. as it were, to stand in sight, stand near'. That is the 'proper' or literal meaning in view. Perhaps it is simply a question of something right up with you, caught up with you, come upon you, and in that sense, present; and Thayer's New Testament Greek dictionary is stressing the sense in which the concept of present is in view - pressing itself upon you, hence impending or even threatening, a meaning found in Liddell and Scott as one major case also, for enisthmi. As has been noted, it scarcely likely Paul would be thinking some would take it the day was fully realised, but rather looming in intensity.

In either case, the message is that they must not be preoccupied with the day of the Lord as if it were thrusting itself upon them; standing in or over them; upon them: there is MUCH TO COME FIRST!

That the main relevant part; nevertheless, let us simply summarily note the aspects of the case for "at hand", the AV translation.

1) The word in the preceding context is "quickly" not "soon" as the AV renders. It is

§"be not quickly shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ were at hand."

That is the precise shade of the adverb. Keep this in mind.

2)  What they are to avoid happening to them quickly, then, is that they should be troubled in mind. A state of anxiety and suspension, uncertainty is to be avoided, one that could take them quickly.

Let us place these two points together.

Are they really to be conceived of as genuinely thinking that the day of the Lord has come, the DAY  OF THE LORD? Are they anxiously to ponder whether that fateful hour is NOW HERE, the one so clearly set out in the Gospel, in the teaching of the apostles, as one in which CHRIST returns for His own, and then COMES IN JUDGMENTAL MODE, killing the beast and arresting his armies with destruction (Matthew 24, Revelation 19).

Is this to be conceived of, in anxious mode, in sudden spurts of thought, as being PRESENT! Is there some doubt about its presence or absence ? Did an atomic bomb land and we did not notice; are we to have anxious thoughts whether we are ransacked... The setting is fearful apprehension, and analysis of what after all, needed little analysis, leads not to their having  a current sense of all being overpowering in condign, actualised and personal arrest in the arraigning advent of the Word of God, fatal in judgment on the reeling earth! (cf. Matthew 24:26-31, Revelation 19). It is anxiety of uncertainty, not experience of certainty.

3) If it were a question of the day of the Lord actually being PRESENT, then the Christians would be ABSENT, in the first instance, as taught by the Lord in Matthew (noted above). Are the apostles then gone, taken with Christ, who would take one from two in a bed, leaving the non-elect ? Is that a question of some difficulty to the church to which Paul was speaking, in Thessalonica ? Was it too hard to find out if they had been evacuated from earth ? Has Paul gone ? Is he not writing to
them ?

Is this, then,  Alice in Wonderland or fact that is being considered ? If not a dream, then "at hand" is the concept, not "present". What is troubling them in perplexity and with sudden bouts of imaginative dread is this: IS IT ABOUT TO HAPPEN! Only this can stand with security in such a setting.

4) Further, if they had such considerable confusion on the nature of the day of the Lord as such an hypothesis on their part would imply, then the teaching of the apostle might be expected to MAKE THEM SOUND ON SO BASIC A POINT, not to be talking, relevantly but without essential correction of their misconception as such, of the PRECEDING STEPS.

On the other hand, if the  topic is the considerable danger of an impending and threatening (meanings found in the dictionaries) DAY of the Lord coming (that is the word following the point in the context), then the listing of all that has to happen first is most relevant, is a direct removal of the misconception, is good teaching, relevant and apt teaching, leaving nothing out of place. Such sound teaching is to be expected from a master-builder of the church (I Cor. 3) , when meeting widespread confusion and misconception on such a topic as the Day of the Lord being imminent, or being present. It in fact covers the former beautifully, and the latter very little in its fundamentals.

5) Thus Paul goes on to say that this day will not "COME", unless... this and that happen. The immediate term used in the negation of the confusion, is NOT COME. Now if it were necessary to distance the day from COMING, then WILL NOT COME UNTIL would be the expected wording, just as it is found. To be sure, if they thought it actually present, then it would also be relevant to distance it, but the more obvious and immediate rebuttal wording expected would rather be: The day of the Lord will not be PRESENT until... or WHEN it is present, you will know!

The point is that all things, contextual, logical, scriptural in teaching point in only one direction, whether because of absurdity, normalcy or mode of handling teaching be the considerations.

Further, it should be noted, talking of the general scriptural context, moreover, that in Matthew 25:19, the parable told by the Lord envisages a "LONG TIME" passing following His, the Messiah's departure from the earth, BEFORE HIS RETURN. In the same line, the one leaving his servants, goes on a journey to a FAR COUNTRY, certainly implying in those days, what ? a long time. In fact, kingdoms had to fall into a very riot of international war, morals had to decline precipitously and characterisably, fear had to rise to an acute dimension nationally and internationally, famines had  to grow widespread, horrible sights had to abound, a plethora of false prophets and christs had to sweep into the kill, the vultures circling. All this is seen in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.

Moreover, Jerusalem (Matthew 24:2, Luke 19) had to be destroyed and rebuilt (Matthew 24:15, Luke 21:24) so that the dominion of the Gentiles over it would cease, and hence the Jews had to return to the Israel from which they would be ousted. It would be indeed a LONG TIME, before Christ would return, and such that anxious imaginings and thoughts that "My Lord delays His coming" might be expected to arise (as in the parable exposing this attitude, in Matthew 24:48).

A mere form of godliness without its power (II Timothy 3) predicted for the "last days" of the era could also then be wholly expected just as surely it had to come into the pseudo-Christian body which would be then left, surging amongst the church (II Peter 2) which would be invaded with false teachers, not to its destruction, but in a morass of evil such that "the love of many will wax cold" as Christ stated (Matthew 24:12) of this enveloping trial that would grow in profundity at its maturity. That enveloping horror was to come, false teachers to proliferate, not true apostles prevail in dynamic and personal presence.

All that ? A long time. That the days might suggest to some that these events were in train is entirely understandable, but somewhat superficial for the time in view of what had to happen. That this great day with such a surround and preliminary, with such historical foothills leading up to its mount, should be thought actually present however, labours not merely in the area of the ridiculous, as noted earlier, but it fits as little in the apostle's context as in the Scriptural setting. It would be talking of Winter in Spring.

For all that, choose as you will, and take no account of the reasoning: it is still true that II Thessalonians is teaching that there is a considerable scope for time as the mystery of lawlessness reaches it height, and that it would be sheer foolishness to act as if there were impending a vast alteration in the order of things such that one might cease one's normal, godly action. That is the entire thrust of the passage. It is NOT YET. Much HAS TO HAPPEN first, so KEEP ON GOING AS NORMAL.

Finally, let us dwell on the fact that Peter in II Peter 3:9 makes it clear that there is a qualitative as well as a quantitative side the matter of when the Lord actually comes. It is a special characteristic of  God that He is compassionate, not willing that any should perish, and that the word should go as a testimony bringing the Gospel to all the earth (Matthew 24:14). It is only then that we hear from Him, these words: "Then shall the end come!" There is arrest until this geographical distribution of the Gospel is accomplished.

Peter gives light on why. It is to move pervasively, invasively throughout the farthest reaches of this terrestrial globe before any thought of coming, the coming of the day of the Lord, is to be entertained. So far from dwelling loomingly off the coast, it is not yet in the meteorological picture at all. It is just that IT WILL BE, in its time. Such was the case when Peter, when Paul, wrote. In the last days, therefore, is something future indeed as in II Timothy, and its characteristics have to be spelled out, since it is a novel thing to find, in its time and occasion, when history reveals that side of its face.

First, as stated, then, it is for a testimony; for as the Bible states through the apostle Paul, God has not left Himself without a testimony, He is not mute; as Isaiah 45:18-20 declares from the Lord, He, the Creator of all has not spoken in a secret place ... "I declare things that are right!" Revelation is apt, adequate and public, in abundant provision, and when things happen, has not the Lord spoken clearly in the basic structure, and is He not thus verified in His power of control, wisdom and power! That is the point here.

Secondly, the compassion acts as a constraint, a restraint on terminating things, the longsuffering holds back the finale until it must wait no longer. That is what II Peter 3:9 makes so very clear. In the context of HOW LONG, the apostle Peter makes an indication that for the Lord, 1000 years is as a day. THAT is the immediate context (I Peter 3:8). A delay of 1000 years is not at all to be gasped at, therefore, should it arise. There is, then, MUCH TO BE DONE and for a LONG TIME, before the Lord comes.

That, of course, was THEN. NOW, nearly all is done already. It STILL does not mean that second guessing the exact moment (and it could still be decades), one abandons godly living in some heart-stricken form of arresting excitement; one continues rather  to abound in the work of the Lord in all wisdom as instructed (Matthew 24:45ff., I Corinthians 15:50-58). There is however one beautiful addition which is for the present, and this not by some present revelation, for there is none to the church past Revelation, only clarification and understanding in terms of the principles and precepts given (which in turn means real wisdom and living communion with the living Lord, with provision for guidance just as He sees fit, as  shown in A Question of Gifts, pp. 95ff (*16)., 104ff.).

No it is no new doctrine; it is the old doctrine APPLIED. And this ? WHEN you see these things come to pass, Christ said, that is the plethora and the fabric of coincident events noted, THEN LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS. Why ? Because of this: THEN you know that your redemption (of your bodies, Romans 8:23, cf. Hebrews 9:12-15, 10:10-14, I Peter 1:17-19) is DRAWING NEAR!

Notice, even THEN, it is only DRAWING NEAR, yes, impending, at hand! You lift up your hearts, then, but not your heads. In patience therefore as Christ put it, possess your souls! Vigorous and vital should our work be until the curtain falls, however delightedly we hear the moving of the strings in their folds.


1) The word in the preceding context is "quickly" not "soon" as the AV renders. That is the precise shade. Keep this in mind. Thayer in his Greek English dictionary not only stresses quickly for the adverb, but indicates a clear nuance of HASTE in the word.

2) What they are to avoid happening to them quickly, then, is that they should be troubled in mind. A state of anxiety and suspension, uncertainty is to be avoided, one that could take them quickly. Let us place these two points together.

Are they really to be conceived of as genuinely thinking that the day of the Lord has come, the DAY  OF THE LORD, clearly set out in the Gospel, in the teaching of the apostles, as one in which CHRIST returns for His own, and then COMES IN JUDGMENTAL MODE, killing the beast and arresting his armies with destruction Matthew 24, Revelation 19). Is this to be conceived of, in anxious mode, in sudden spurts of thought, as being PRESENT! Is there some doubt about its presence or absence ? Did an atomic bomb land and we did not notice; are we to have anxious thoughts whether we are ransacked... The setting is fearful apprehension, but analysis of what after all, needed little analysis, being overpowering (cf. Matthew 24:26-31, Revelation 19).

3) If it were a question of the day of the Lord actually being PRESENT, then the Christians would be ABSENT, in the first instance, as taught by the Lord in Matthew (noted above). Are the apostles then gone, taken with Christ, who would take one from two in a bed, leaving the non-elect ? Is that a question of some difficulty to the church to which Paul was speaking, in Thessalonica ? Was it too hard to find out if they had been evacuated from earth ? Has Paul gone ? Is he not writing to them ?

Is this, then,  Alice in Wonderland or fact that is being considered ? If not a dream, then "at hand" is the concept, not "present". What is troubling them in perplexity and with sudden bouts of imaginative dread is this: IS IT ABOUT TO HAPPEN! Only this can stand with security in such a setting.

4) Further, if they had such considerable confusion on the nature of the day of the Lord as such an hypothesis on their part would imply, then the teaching of the apostle might be expected to MAKE THEM SOUND ON SO BASIC A POINT, not to be talking, relevantly but without essential correction of their misconception as such, of the PRECEDING STEPS.

On the hand, if the  topic is the considerable danger of an impending and threatening (meanings found in the dictionaries) DAY of the Lord coming (that is the word following the point in the context), then the listing of all that has to happen first is most relevant, is a direct removal of the misconception, is good teaching, relevant and apt teaching, leaving nothing out of place. Such sound teaching is to be expected from a master-builder of the church (I Cor. 3) , when meeting widespread confusion and misconception on such a topic as the Day of the Lord being imminent, or being present. It in fact covers the former beautifully, and the latter very little in its fundamentals.

5) Thus Paul goes on to say that this day will not "COME", unless... this and that happen. The immediate term used in the negation of the confusion, is NOT COME. Now if it were necessary to distance the day from COMING, then WILL NOT COME UNTIL would be the expected wording, just as it is found. To be sure, if they thought it actually present, then it would also be relevant to distance it, but the more obvious and immediate rebuttal wording expected would rather be: The day of the Lord will not be PRESENT until... or WHEN it is present, you will know!

The point is that all things, contextual, logical, scriptural in teaching point in only one direction, whether because of absurdity, normalcy or mode of handling teaching be the considerations.

Further, it should be noted, talking of the general scriptural context, moreover, that in Matthew 25:19, the parable told by the Lord envisages a "LONG TIME" passing following His, the Messiah's departure from the earth, BEFORE HIS RETURN. In the same line, the one leaving his servants, goes on a journey to a FAR COUNTRY, certainly implying in those days, what ? a long time. In fact, kingdoms had to fall into a very riot of international war, morals had to decline precipitously and characterisably, fear had to rise to an acute dimension nationally and internationally, famines had  to grow widespread, horrible sights had to abound, a plethora of false prophets and christs had to sweep into the kill, the vultures circling. All this is seen in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Moreover, Jerusalem (Matthew 24:2, Luke 19) had to be destroyed and rebuilt (Matthew 24:15, Luke 21:24) so that the dominion of the Gentiles over it would cease, and hence the Jews had to return to the Israel from which they would be ousted.

It would be indeed a LONG TIME, before Christ would return, and such that anxious imaginings and thoughts that "My Lord delays His coming" might be expected to arise (as in the parable in Matthew 25).

A form of godliness without its power (II Timothy 3) predicted for the "last days" of the era could also then be wholly expected just as surely it had to come into the pseudo-Christian body which would be then left, surging amongst the church (II Peter 2) which would be invaded with false teachers, not to its destruction, but in a morass of evil such that "the love of many will wax cold" as Christ stated.

All that ? A long time. That the days might suggest to some that these events were in train is entirely understandable, but somewhat superficial for the time in view of what had to happen. That this great day with such a surround and preliminary, with such historical foothills leading up to its mount, should be thought actually present however, labours not merely in the area of the ridiculous, as noted earlier, but it fits as little in the apostle's context as in the Scriptural setting.

For all that, choose as you will, and take no account of the reasoning: it is still true that II Thessalonians is teaching that there is a considerable scope for time as the mystery of lawlessness reaches it height, and that it would be sheer foolishness to act as if there were impending a vast alteration in the order of things such that one might cease one's normal, godly action. That is the entire thrust of the passage. It is NOT YET. Much HAS TO HAPPEN first, so KEEP ON GOING AS NORMAL.

Finally, note that Peter in II Peter 3:9 makes it clear that there is a qualitative as well as a quantitative side the matter of when the Lord actually comes. It is a special characteristic of  God that He is compassionate, not willing that any should perish, and that the word should go as a testimony bringing the Gospel to all the earth (Matthew 24:14). It is only then that we hear from Him, these words: "Then shall the end come!" There is arrest until this geographical distribution of the Gospel is accomplished. Peter gives light on why.

First, as stated, it is for a testimony; for as the Bible states through the apostle Paul, God has not left Himself without a testimony, He is not mute; as Isaiah 45:18-10 declares from the Lord, He, the Creator of all has not spoken in a secret place ... I declare things that are right!"

Secondly, the compassion acts as a constraint, a restraint on terminating things, the longsuffering holds back the finale until it must wait no longer. That is what II Peter 3:9 makes so very clear. In the context of HOW LONG, the apostle Peter makes an indication that for the Lord, 1000 years is as a day. THAT is the immediate context (I Peter 3:8). A delay of 1000 years is not at all to be gasped at, therefore, should it arise. There is, then, MUCH TO BE DONE and for a LONG TIME, before the Lord comes.

That, of course, was THEN. NOW, nearly all is done already. It STILL does not mean that second guessing the exact moment (and it could still be decades), one abandons godly living in some heart-stricken form of arresting excitement; one continues rather  to abound in the work of the Lord in all wisdom as instructed (Matthew 24:45ff., I Corinthians 15:50-58). There is however one beautiful addition which is for the present, and this not by some present revelation, for there is none to the church past Revelation, only clarification and understanding in terms of the principles and precepts given (which in turn means real wisdom and living communion with the living Lord, with provision for guidance just as He sees fit, as shown in A Question of Gifts  (pp. 95 - *16 esp., and 104ff.).

No it is no new doctrine; it is the old doctrine APPLIED. And this ? WHEN you see these things come to pass, Christ said, that is the plethora and the fabric of coincident events noted, THEN LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS. Why ? Because of this: THEN you know that your redemption (of your bodies, Romans 8:23, cf. Hebrews 9:12-15, 10:10-14, I Peter 1:17-19) is DRAWING NEAR!

Notice, even THEN, it is only DRAWING NEAR, yes, impending, at hand! You lift up your hearts, then, but not your heads. In patience therefore as Christ put it, possess your souls! Vigorous and vital should our work be until the curtain falls, however delightedly we hear the moving of the strings in their folds.


50)  II Timothy 3:16


He is not telling us that if you ever manage to identify the scriptures, you may be sure that these quiddities are inspired. He is instead asserting of a known object, in a rational manner, that as to these they may be qualified as follows: they are God-breathed, without exception. Profitability lies in them all, accordingly, to know what is what (doctrine), for reproof (to quell rot), for correction (to bring things to righteousness as a standard, to truth), for instruction in righteousness (to engender understanding about right and wrong, and the song of righteousness (Psalm 551:14, 145:7, sung by wisdom - cf. Proverbs 8, esp. 8:8).

Nor is He adding "which" after "all scripture."

Now we find an altogether more delightful message. It comes this time from II Timothy 3:16. It is amazing how many significant 3:16 verses there are in the Bible, and here in Timothy is an excellent illustration.

In I Timothy 3:16, as we saw in the last chapter, there is one of the most beautiful, comprehensive and succinct references to the glory of God in the Gospel that one could wish to see; and here in II Timothy 3:16 there is the exposure of the status of the word of God in terms simple, express, explicit and sure, in summary and impactive form and formula. It is of no particular significance that his amazing numerical feature exists; the verses as such are not divisions in the original; but it does help the memory. Let us pursue, then, II Tim 3:16*3.


Now obviously the apostle is not telling us of this absolute standard in order that we should not know what it is. He is NOT saying that all scripture, in the case where it is God-breathed (undefined therefore) is so profitable. That would be rather like saying that all petrol is good for cars, provided that its hydro-carbon content is *^% , where these terms are not defined. It would be an appallingly useless, undefined, inexpressive jumble of sound, of no value, useless communication, a joke.

The character of inspiration has not been left unknown by Paul in I Corinthians 2:9-13, where first, the revelation in substance is conferred on the apostle, and then the words which provide the verbal assimilation of the revelation, these two are provided. On this topic, see SMR Appendix D. Again in Psalm 119, again and again we find that ALL His testimonies are true, that they last for ever, are enshrined in heaven and such things, as shown in the above reference.

Again, the Greek simply states ALL SCRIPTURE GOD-INSPIRED AND PROFITABLE FOR TEACHING, then listing other features of this focus. The omission of the copula (is) is not unusual. There is no 'which' in the text, no designation of any division, let alone any second verb, which would again have to be added to make any sense of it at all – which is … is. There is no such clause.

If such a gate-crashing were to be followed, this would be adding not only three words but even a clause gratuitously, constituting a form of verbal aggression, with the erratic invasion of a thought from the heart of man to the mouth of God, so that to implant this in the text is merely adding to scripture (against Proverbs 30:6): thus making it trebly ludicrous as an attempt to ignore the fact that man is "live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). This is shown in Christ's dialogue with the devil, by its being absolutely final once cited, in the classic argumentation and confrontation. In the same way, in Acts 4:25, a given scripture is at once said to have come from God, in this way, "who by the mouth of Your servant David, has said..." What then ?

¨     It is solemn farce to act the ventriloquist when God is speaking, spluttering in one’s own thoughts in His face, even acting as if to force one’s words between His lips.

Such is the audacity of disbelief, and the illustration of the need for the warning of the first lion, in I Timothy 6. What is written is of another category than culture, than social nuances and desiderata of the flesh. What then is to be found in II Timothy 3:16 with all its allied topical utterances from the Lord in the Bible ? What does it teach about the biblical scripture ? Let us follow the text.

What was written is regarded as an absolute source and recourse, a citable matter of utter authority, without attenuation or mitigation, not a vexed question or a vague shadow in part or in whole. Would not the devil have said, But God has said ... and then put in some thoughts of his own, attributing them to God. Impossible since the word of God was WRITTEN already, so that Christ simply went on to make final demolition of every temptation with the word, "It is written." Or He might say, "It is written again...", thus signifying that SOME, indeed ANY word was final, with no countervailing element possible.

That written, declares Paul in I Tim 6, is profitable for instruction and in this case, for reproof. Any attempt therefore to subvert this clear revelation meets multiple contradiction at once, from the word of God; and further, it would be ludicrous to imagine that the apostle were saying this, All scripture which (not there, but added by the imagination) is inspired by God  is A, B, C and so on. That would require one to add three things: the 'which', the first 'is' and the second 'is', a real party of intrusion. In fact, there is simply the quite common omission of the first 'is' in the rather proverbial fashion applicable. Adding to someone else's words fails to render them; it is merely a form of intrusive plagiarism: and we are here concerned with what is being said by the writer, not the reader!

ALL THE GOD-BREATHED SCRIPTURES, as elsewhere defined and here APPLIED, are then of this character. One would expect this since if GOD breathes them, WE should find them PROFITABLE when we want to teach the new Christian or the old, what HE WANTS, HOLDS and DETERMINES. Naturally such a source would provide such a result in terms of being profitable for righteousness and godliness, for who is more godly than God is Himself, or where is RIGHTEOUSNESS but in Him as its moral source and uttermost base!

Further, all scripture is profitable for CORRECTION. How could you correct if the source for correction were incorrect! or how correct if it were not even known, or how use a basis which was unbased, unclear or uncertain! Not so with Christ: one blast of the word of God written and even Satan was powerless. Again, all scripture is profitable for reproof; but how could you reprove if the basis of reproof were reprovable! Hence this lion is roaring: take it all, use it all, it is the basis, the blight for error, the standard for correction, the reservoir for instruction, the module for doctrine.

What it says is correct, clear, basic, assured, God-breathed and ipso facto God ordained, endorsed and provided. Just as departure from the word of God is most horrendous, that lion as we earlier saw roaring with a splendid organ-toned power, so the abiding in this word is wonderful, all of it, not some, all of the Bible in both testaments, not some, all that God has said, every word, not some of His words, whether one likes it or not, whether it hits favourite theories or not, whether it smacks one's hand when one ponders a possible course of action or not: IT IS PROFITABLE to correct, instruct, to show what is right, what is godly, what is rebukable.

THIS is what one would expect when the Maker of Man the Communicator, speaks to man the thinker, the one who engages in abstract thought, who makes rules, who has power to elect perspectives.

¨    Its tenor and severity is verification in KIND of the expectations from such a source. It is not a suggestion, any more than our DNA has suggestions.

¨  It is not a cultural offshoot, any more than 2+2=4 is a cultural offshoot, being rather a fundamental reflection in numbers of the divinely ordered creation.

¨    It is not variable, like the thoughts of some genius, often elevated, but sometimes  appallingly poor (as when Einstein reputedly made a fundamental mistake on one occasion, yes and a simple one, where perhaps his preference was at stake cf. SMR p. 422D).

¨    It is clearly demarcated as contradistinct in authority and reliability from the words of mankind (cf. Jeremiah 23:28-29); divorced from error in its promulgations, with a refined care (cf. Christ's words on this in Matthew 5:17-20).

 Further, and most wonderfully, it is expressly testable, and one is exhorted to consider this in RESULTS, as a scientist might ask of students, when they turn from his lecture to the laboratory! This is seen repeatedly in Isaiah in Chs. 41, 43, 48, and is altogether characteristic of the approach of deity in His word, to the witless wanderings, the thoughtful self-elevations and the capricious foolishnesses of man, who wants to assert himself and in so doing, is about as wise as a moth, asserting itself in the mouth of a lion.

The LION HAS ROARED, as Amos puts it, who will not fear! (Amos 3:8). "Surely," he was saying, "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets."

How He has done this as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 42, 49-55, as in Psalm 2, 16, 22, 102, as in Jeremiah 25, as in Micah 3, 5, as in Zechariah 11-13, as in Zephaniah, in Hosea, in Amos and all the prophets! Alas for Israel, but her end approaches which is full of good things as well as exposure of the ungodly (Romans 11 cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, *3, and Ch. 3 *1, SMR Appendix A). How does Micah 7 sketch that end, with Deuteronomy 32 and Romans 11! Already its preliminary events have stretched themselves luxuriously like a cat in the sun, in the lifetime of this author, in their amazing intricacy and prophesied detail (cf. SMR Chs. 8   -  9).

It is wise to hear the lions in their roaring, both lion I and lion 2, and to realise that this is not brute force, but beautiful sovereignty, that of the God who IS love, and whose protestations are GIVEN IN LOVE, that man might live more abundantly, not in the dives of political careering and career-making, philosophical vacuities, irrational premises and hideous ineffectual promises form the premises of mere arbitrary flesh.

Alas for the world, for more and more it moves into this sphere, where the roaring of the lion being ignored, the raw mess of its headstrong precipitancies becomes a stench, rather than mere malodour.

That, however, that too, you would expect it: it is what the world does with itself, ignoring the word of God; and the results are predictable as now they are predicable! This, it is verification as always, however sad, however grievous and however needless. How wise to listen to the roaring of these TWO LIONS!


See for II Timothy 3:16, also Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy  Ch. 8.


51)  Titus 1:1-3

§“Paul, a servant of  God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ,
according to the faith of God’s chosen people,
and the sure knowledge of the truth which is in accord with godliness: in hope of eternal life.
God, who is alien to all lying, promised this before time began;
and so, in its own appointed times,
He has openly shown what He has in mind
(or, manifested His word),
expressing it through preaching,
entrusted with which am I
(or , with which I stand entrusted),
according to the commandment of God our Saviour:

 "TO TITUS, my own son in terms of the common faith …"

Both the AV and the NKJ provide the sort of translation which includes the word "which" as object of "promised", and then proceed to "in due course manifested" with the object "His word" in such a style that in English idiom, you are left with

the scenario of "which" as apparent object of both "promised" and "manifested":

This first appears in the sense, if we follow these two versions: which God promised and has in due course manifested.

Then, one is faced with the perfectly astonishing phenomenon of translation, that the word "His word" comes as a SECOND object of manifested in the preceding WHICH God promised and has in due course manifested. In short, it appears to read: WHICH God manifested but which God has in due course manifested His word...

There is no indirect object; there is no additive, as if to state: which together with His word God manifested. As presented in these renderings, it is just the rather cacophonic format: WHICH God promised, but manifested His word.

Now you really need to clarify this. Is it which God promised, and has in due course manifested AS His word, as one translator has it rendered. Yet it does not SAY "as". It says which God promised, and has in due course manifested His word ... except that in the Greek, the verbal form CONTAINS the personal pronoun so that you have the option of spelling out that pronoun in English, if you want to do so. Thus, avoiding this idiomatic catastrophe, you have: Which God promised,  and He has in due course manifested His word. This is clear and the precise original. In this context, the fact as in the lexicon, that logos can bear the meaning, 'what is declared, a thought,' and this is here the point, the disclosure, makes this a lucid presentation in English. Our 'word' is not so broad in essential meaning, as is this Greek word. Again, the total content of the Greek runs more harmoniously in English by replacing manifesting His word, with showing His word,  expressing it. This is not dynamic equivalence but grammatical and semantic translation, or rendering. If there were foot notes, it could be handled that way. Without them, this seems valid to the portent of what is written.

In passing we refer to Romans 16:25-26, given attention below, but far more in Possess Your Possessions Vol. 12, Ch. 7.

Just as Paul continually reasoned in the synagogues that this Jesus was the Christ of the prophets, so this statement of manifestation of His word is not set at variance with the declaration of the prophets, but  in consummation of their words*1, as in Romans 16:25-26.

This has this word from the Lord:





  to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel


  and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery


  kept secret since the world began


  but now made manifest,


  moreover through prophetic Scriptures


  according to the commandment of the everlasting God:


  for obedience to the faith to all nations made known:



 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."

(In the NKJV also, incidentally, there is displacement of some words and the result might seem  almost turgid and a little unclear, but this rendering above seeks to avoid that. It is rather beautifully done in the main,  in the Berkeley version).

Moreover, with its distinctive felicity and internal harmony, its precision without obtrusion, the scripture states NOT that it is "in its own appointed time" that it is so made known, but "in its own appointed times", plural, so that in its time here in Isaiah, there in David, here in Moses, here in earlier intimations it is made known, and preached to mankind. Yes Isaiah, the evangelical prophet, and David too, these were preachers in the sense of open proclaimers of the Gospel, though its payment for efficacy was yet to come, and its delightful and vivid focus, Christ Himself the Redeemer, was seen at first in vision, before in victory, calamitous to the devil, triumphant for the saints, eviscerative for sin, and with deliverance for those awaiting penalty.

Thus Paul is not saying ONLY TO HIM, did it come, not for example to Peter or to Isaiah; but it is COMMITTED to him, and he plans to be FAITHFUL with his own commission, yes and in Galatians 1, shows apostolic authority against all diversifiers who at any time, be they angels, or even himself should he deviate, and announces a curse on such a blight to the only hope and way to man! .

What do we then find ? The "appointed times" , special select times by divine judgment, these embrace all scripture that manifests the Gospel, but their apostolic mandate portrays the pinnacle, yes and if you will follow the figure, makes its topography definitive, its height (if it could have a height which is infinite in glory) specific and its location determinate, its speech express and guaranteed against all falsification and fraud.

Small wonder then that Paul instructs Titus that a heretic, one contrary to the apostolic teaching, when once and twice admonished, is to be rejected. What colossal pain and loss would the churches of the 20th century have avoided, had they followed this directive! and even now, what solace for their companionship, peace for their hearts and strength for their performance if they returned to such standards. Some have them; many fail and falter, not being faithful in this.

Using the fact that the term 'word' in the Greek, can mean what you mean, that is, your thrust as well as 'word', it seems best to convey the sense carefully, to use the translation suggested in red below, in this, that it leaves no way anyone can either wonder what it means, on the one hand, or fail to see the sense. The "manifested" gives the sense of putting the thing in His mind into our purvey, taking it from its abiding place and presenting it expressly, and the term "word" here conveys the sense of giving this very thing in verbal format, in expression as logos can signify.


What then ? To what He had lent promise, He now gave explicit expression in manifest form in the Gospel. That is what is being said. Thus with due care to preserve this precise sense, it could be rendered in this way.

§“Paul, a servant of  God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen people, and the sure knowledge of the truth which is in accord with godliness: in hope of eternal life. God, who is alien to all lying, promised this before time began; and so, in its own appointed times, He has openly shown what He has in mind, expressing it through preaching, entrusted with which am I (or , with which I stand entrusted), according to the commandment of God our Saviour:

 "TO TITUS, my own son in terms of the common faith …"

In this presentation, the excellent suggestion of Weymouth, entrusted "am I" is a clever rendering of the sudden introduction of the "I" in the epistle. However, for those who find it slightly strained in our idiom, certainly the sense is well conveyed by "with which I stand entrusted". It has both the force and the dignity of the original. To capture the precise sense without straining our language (which really is not a translation) or allowing ITS idiom to force some slightly different sense into the words given for translation: these are dual aims which one has sought to fulfil in this rendering.

One last point is worthy of mention. It could be said that it would be more literal to render it, "which has been  entrusted, I" and so it would be; it is just that it would not be a translation into ENGLISH! Again, one has rendered a "which" relative pronoun as a new sentence, where it appears as "this"; but this allows one to seek to give the precise sense of the beautifully apt and CONCISE Greek term, 'non-lying', with some care as to its sense, without prolonging the sentence beyond what Paul wrote, and so keeping the sense of his style.

As to "who is alien to all lying", this sums up the Greek term used with care neither to make it appear that it is precisely "who cannot lie", which it is not, though it is exceedingly close to it, nor simply that He DOES not lie, for it is much more than this. The character, nature, way of the One concerned is wholly directionally divergent from lying, His way diverse from it, other and contrary to it. This being so, the phrasing seems to convey it.


52)  Titus 2:12

§"looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing
of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us
from every lawless deed and purify for Himself
His own special people, zealous of good works."

Titus 2:13ff. has already been a focus for some little attention in Stepping Out for Christ 10. Let us use and extend this for our present purpose.

So great is the infinite affinity of God the Father and His word, that we even read in Titus 2:13-14 of this great expression: We are, says Paul and oh so rightly!

 "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous of good works."

 The Greek has, word by word,  the great God and Saviour of us. It is not the great God and the Saviour: it is one identity, with only one introductory 'the'.

This is obvious enough when you realise that in Titus 2:10 we find written, "God our Saviour", which in turn is not surprising, since Isaiah 43:10 tells us that besides GOD there IS NO SAVIOUR. Whatever is the saviour in this highest, most eminent, final way is God; and of course this is precisely what Jesus Christ was called from the first (Luke 2:11, 2:30,38). Redeemer, Saviour from sin, the Christ is of necessity God, who acknowledges no other Saviour. Hence that it is God, even the great God and our Saviour who is to appear, is merely a reflection of all these things. It is He who is in the "midst of the throne" (Rev. 5:6), the First and the Last (Rev. 2:8, 1:17); just as it is the Almighty who is Alpha and Omega (1:8). It is HIS WORD which acts, and delivers the salvation in His own name, which naturally is above every name  (Philippians 2:9-11), AND does so, with the result that all whether in heaven or on earth should bow to Him, the Christ, confessing Him as Lord to the glory of God the Father.

He is LORD to the glory of the Father, not in contest; for He is raised, who submitted, and glorified, who abased Himself to serve as Saviour indeed, and so it is to the glory of His Father than this, His manifestation in flesh, should as a Person, be Lord; for it was for this reason that He "died, rose and lived again," as in Romans 14:9.

This is the specific data on His return, result, reality.

Now that is as it must be. What is true is real, and reality will show what it is. Lies, and liars are but the ephemeral production of that glorious invention, freedom, when it is abused. The former perish and the latter have their own more instructive mode of divorce from the platform of the present! Thus, when Peter admonishes the rulers, priests and elders, inflamed in their infamy, he spoke what is, and what is to be shown with more than logic, as it now is: with Lordship. For as he declaimed it, so it will be:


There is no more important fact in the universe to which ANY ONE in our race may apply the mind, address the heart, than this!

Look at again in Titus 2:13ff., therefore. For what are we waiting, among all this political flotsam and jetsam, this abominable and appalling generation of death, and degeneration of the race in war of mind and soul and spirit and flesh, notion and nation ! It is the due end. And that: "the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour, Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness".

And as to this LOOKING, ANTICIPATING, EXPECTATION of which Paul here speaks ? It is one which results from one fact, this - "the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men" (2:11). So much has it appeared that the dating system of the world has been altered to acknowledge it. It is not a private party. Millions of books have doubtless been written on it, of broadcast made about it, and some of the most inventive of scientists have been entirely assured of it.

Here the NKJV is most clear. The AV is ambiguous, where this is not needed: "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".


53)  Hebrews 11:1

§ Faith is the foundational assurance of things hoped for,
the attestation and conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 is perhaps one of the most fascinating of translation confrontations. Its meaning is clear, but the way to express it and to ensure one grasps all of it is challenging.

Considering the notable term upostasis (A) often rendered assurance, but having a terminological relationship to underlying reality, substance and foundation, on the one hand, and the next basic term, elegcos (B) often rendered conviction, but able to mean proof, or evidence containing or constituting it: then taking the totality in one sweep, and next returning to ponder the parts, one comes to such a presentation or translation as this.

Faith is the foundational assurance of things hoped for,
the concurrent evidencing and evidence-based conviction of things not seen.

Since this is inelegant, whereas the Greek is not, another formulation is needed.

Faith is the foundational assurance of things hoped for, the attestation and conviction of things not seen. It is true that as an initial translation it may seem odd to add concurrent' but then, this could be put in italics as is the custom in such matters, in the AV. This is here done. The flavour of upostasis (A) is thus gained on the one hand, and the interplay between this substance, or substantial aspect and what follows (B), the concept of a piece of evidence, a proof, of what shows a thing to be true, with its further translatability in conviction, is thus aided. Now when the second term COULD mean conviction, and MIGHT mean proof, may be evidence-based conviction OR is perhaps demonstration, then we touch on both the inward or the outward, on what produces the conviction and the conviction produced.

Thayer puts this aspect rather well in his Greek Dictionary, concerning the word some translate 'evidence', elegcos: "that by which invisible things are proved (and we are convinced of their reality)." This then appears in the translation chosen.

This being so, it may seem a little harsh simply to select. In terms of the interplay of concepts between A and B, both having reaches in the objective or outward, and scope for the inward. Accordingly, it seems best to seek to bring out more than one might otherwise feel to do, so that both aspects appear in the translation.

In other words, there is a mutuality of additiveness to which one would fain do justice. Hence both are brought in. Indeed, friwt there is the concept of a foundation, a base and a conviction; there is next the concept of an evidencing and of evidence. Those are the two chief terms re faith. Each has a depth to it.

Hence one seeks to express each of the dualities of thought, for to suppress it appears to be insensitive. Hence both aspects proceed:. 1) foundational assurance, and 2) attestation and conviction. This fits the context in this, that it is full of cases where the profound assurance, going to the foundation of things, is present, and the operational power of what these witnesses so utterly and devoutly believe, is so no less.

Put a little differently, there is the foundational conviction (1), and there is the power to convict (2) of that in which they believe. Thus "by faith the walls of Jericho fell down" (11:30), and in this without doubt there is an indication here of (2), this power to convict, to convince coming from the actual reality of the thing believed. On the other hand, we find that "others were tortured, not accepting deliverance" (11:35), and this too is by faith. Indeed, in the same verse, we find that by faith, some received their dead restored to life.

There is what could all but be called an inextricable interweaving of the two aspects:


  the prominent power to attest itself,
and the dominant reality of what has this power on the one hand,


  and the conviction which moves effortlessly in the midst of such power, on the other.

It is like walking in the midst of some marvellous garden, flowing with architectural intimacies, grand domains, glorious vistas and profound sweeps, and being continually, on the one hand, filled with a desire and delight in the REALITY which thrusts itself into one's consciousness and objectively envelops one with its wonder, while on the other, finding evoked an inspiration and a conviction of how splendid it all is.

Without any doubt, the thrust of Hebrews 11:1 is on REALITY and SUBSTANTIALITY, and there is interchange between this and the CONVICTION and ASSURANCE which this infuses. Faith occurs when this is so.

While we are here, let us apply these things somewhat, in formulating them.

Faith is the absolute assurance of things hoped for -  it is not a finger on a pulse, but a grasping with both hands.

Faith is affirming testimony of things not seen - the confirmatory cry in response, the conviction which draws on evidence, prompted by reality, stirred by actuality, like a fish, waving its tail and meeting water with it! It is what is found when both hands meet the hand of God.

Here there are two aspects. Firstly, there is a fundamental reality so great that its appreciation brings strong assurance. Secondly, there is an evidential thrust so enormous that it brings a conviction from its very plainness. Things unseen are inescapable, inveterate, basic and original. They include all your purposes, motives and aspirations, all your heart's store of plan and intention, but more importantly, those of the Creator of this universe, and the Maker of the heart and spirit of man. Spoken into a book, the book of the Lord (Isaiah 8:20), manifested in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3), applied by prophets with just one message over the millennia (Heb. 1:1), it stands under the power of the living God. This is the character of the conspectus in view in the Bible, and express in Hebrews 11.

You see that the source of the visible is the invisible, the source of the programmed is the unprogrammed, the beginning and the end for man lies in the free origin of his sinful spirit - the Maker of liberty whose product, man, has twisted and torn it, until only a new making can redeem it (John 3). Of Him we read in Hebrews 1:1-3: who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person, when He had by Himself purged sin, sat down on the right hand of Majesty on High. Where He lived, He returned (cf. John 6:62, 5:19-23, 8:58, 17:1-3, Micah 5:1ff.).

Hence in Hebrews 11 the text proceeds from the invisible source of visible and limited nature, to the invisible stimulus of the spiritual beings, men, who by faith grasp the One who grasping them in reciprocity, uses them, moving as "seeing Him who is invisible" and waiting "for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God", who built and made this temporary vessel called the universe, which is just as made, to be sent packing when test concluded, faith consummated, salvation manifest, the whole exercise in the temporal with the spiritual, ends in the eternal field from which it came.


 54) James 2:18-23

§ "But someone may well say, 'You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'

"You believe that God is one. You do well; the devils also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognise, O foolish man, that faith without works is useless ?"

Notice the placement of the inverted commas, unlike NKJV and AV but like NASB.

Hear the sermon on this topic in some detail, on our Web Page at


55)  James 4:5-8

§ "Or do you think that it is to no purpose that the scripture speaks ?   

Does the Spirit which dwells within us yearn jealously

But it is more grace that He gives

As it is written, God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the lowly."


As it is written (James 4:5-6),

"Or do you think that it is to no purpose that the scripture speaks ?    {cf. Hebrews 9:5}

Does the Spirit which dwells within us yearn jealously!

But it is more grace that He gives

           {this enables us in English to bring out the force of the "more"
            which in Greek comes first, before the verb, to be followed by 'grace'},

As it is written, God resists the proud,

But gives grace to the lowly."

The same thrust is to be found in I Peter 5:5, which proceeds to exhort us to cast ALL our care on Him, since He cares for us.

The Berkeley Version here briefly notes, re yearns jealously over us, their rendering, that God wants all of a person, our undivided loyalty.

The use of imagery concerning zeal and spiritual depth and love is often found in the Bible, as in a bad sense, in its misuse, in Ezekiel 16, and again of course in Hosea, while in a good sense in Ephesians 5. Misconceptions based upon a failure to realise the use of imagery have no excuse, but the actuality has a certain glory of purity.

As in Hebrews 9:5, the verbal use can be general. It may be, and seems clearly here, to be referring to the whole message of the Bible, in this, that it would contravene and controvert this if such a proposition as would transparently deny James' view of love of this world, were to be put. In other words, the entire force of Holy Writ comes down on any idea of loving this world, or thinking that its love is in the least degree acceptable to the God of creation, whose Christ declared this, that the prince of this world HAS NOTHING IN ME! (John 14:30).

THIS is the world of the universal flood, a grievous thing; of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of Hezekiah, who for all his remarkable and admirable godliness, made a huge mistake in allowing the ambassadors of godless Babylon to come on behalf of their king, to have fellowship (ostensibly) with the sick, but now recovered king of Israel. That fault had enormous consequences, and indeed, when pearls are cast before swine, or in this case, temple values worth trillions are exposed to hearts animated by greed, is it wise ? Is it wise!

No, it would be contrary to what the message of the Bible is, were this not to be so: LOVE NOT THE WORLD, for friendship with the world is enmity with God.  That is the first point.

The next sentence, if as it appears, you take it as a question, has an almost stunning piece of brevity and pith. It then becomes a rhetorical question.

Thus it asks whether you realise the intensity of the yearning zest of the Spirit of God in the Christian, in a figure resembling that of a devoted husband for his wife! What he may have at the interpersonal level, God has at the level of Creator and Saviour, so that compromise or desire for the world is as outré  as rain in an oven.

Do you imagine that when you, wrongly, love this world, that the Lord is indifferent, is not keen to divorce you from such forsaken alliances!  There is a divine desire for our purity, as for a wife, but it is not jealousy in another sense, that of feeling a competitive edge to the blandishments of this world, accruing in the mind of a believer, rather than a zeal for the well-being and hence avoidance of delusion on the part of a Christian, that is a different thing. We must not mistake the imagery for the reality. It is a comparison of two different things in order to take out in common, the point at issue, so that the vivid reality of it may be FELT!

In other words, might we put it that the Spirit that dwells in us yearns with jealousy ? We might, in a figure; but it is actually a case of more grace being given to the lowly. He does indeed  yearn, seek industriously and with a deep longing for the soul, but let us not be too fascinated with the figure of speech, in this comparison with the righteous zeal of a husband, which might be in part a matter of flesh. It is the purest of motions the Lord has for us, a matter of conferring grace to avoid the evil, relish the good, conform to what is the reality of the nature given to us, that it live in the midst of spiritual understanding, becoming more like the Christ, and less subservient not only to indolence, indifference or misplaced passion, but to its wrong repository. This world has no site for spirituality, and its love is perilous; for it is stricken with sin and mastered in folly. Avoid toying with untruth, and keep to the zest for God which is apt for such a pilgrimage in such a world as this one has become.

Thus,  the context proceeds smoothly to indicate, it is NOT indifference but zeal, not in slackness but intensity, not formalistic overisght merely, but direct and personal involvement that the Lord has in drastically seeking the good of His people, freed from futile pre-occupations. :

What then does He do to these objectives ? WHEN the heart is ready, when the mind is lowly, then the solution is clear: It is MORE grace that He gives to the lowly. The image of Christ, the work of the Spirit, the attention of the Lord to the needs of the tempted soul is personal, particular and potent.

It is not a question of more envy on the part of the Lord, if one were to love this world, or if more precisely, such a topic were to come to be in question; it is rather a question of GIVING MORE GRACE to the lowly, to the poor in spirit, to the consistent Christian. And why is it given ? It is in order that such things should NOT occupy the mind, or steal the soul.

No, the scripture does not speak in vain, and the Spirit, the sense seems to be, does not yearn in vain. That, once more, is another reason why friendship with this world, its bitter envy, and sensuality (James 3:14-15), involvement carnally in its forsaken ways is far from the wisdom which comes from above. Indeed, the Greek verb used with the term rendered crassly 'envy', relates to the noun qmnos, which gives the sense of ardour, excitement, passion bursting forth. It goes well with simple envy, and with it, suggests strongly what the Lord neither does nor induces, only the crest of the zest for the welfare of His people. The negation is clear. It is the ZEAL and the DESIRE in this case for good, that bears the resemblance to jealousy; not the littleness of it in type! This evokes the vastness of His desire, not its format!

With His SPIRIT at work, there is thus a double evacuation from the world in these respects, fortifying James' remarks concerning it in James 4:5, something in total accord with his earlier remarks in James 3:14-15. The Lord is CONTRARY to the allurement of this world and COMPETITIVE for the soul of man with its ambitions to seduce his spirit, while CONSTRAINING in His spiritual oversight and involvement. It is short of force, but most forceful: it is so in a spiritual fervour, not a violent and merely repugnant compulsion. It is a yearning and it is associated with a gift: that of MORE GRACE, selectively available to the lowly.

In passing, let us note one other thought, some have had on this verse.

The concept that the reference is to our own spirit as the one which 'dwells in us' does not agree with the context in word or development. Would it be our spirits which yearn in vain in the face of worldliness, or rather is it they which are the site or even source of the error! Moreover it is THE Spirit, ONE, who dwells in us, who are many! It is God who is One, we who are many, and THE Spirit dwells in US, who believe.

If it were a matter of our own tempted spirits, Indeed, it would not be 'more grace' to the lowly, for the arrogance of desire in the human spirit is in need of grace, foundationally, as fever of water. Further, the very emphasis in the Greek, MORE, He gives, GRACE, in that word order, stresses that it is an INCREMENT that is in view. It is God who gives the foundation and God who gives the increment. The operation is divine; the need is human. Assailed by many a temptation, the Christian is given grace; and to the one who is lowly, there is more. Indeed, anyone who is lowly is ready for the Lord and receives grace, since humility finds reality and reality is that the Lord IS gracious, and the enlightened soul receives Him in humility.

That fits to perfection with the Spirit of God, dwelling in man, being quite contrary to such things as this world's lusts, and follows as Summer from Spring.

Thus, when this Spirit of God is in view, then the 'more grace' becomes the antidote, arising from a consistent reference to the nature of the Spirit of God, followed by the nature of the grace given. The MORE, in its word order, then has complete intelligibility and relevance. It sings the song that has begun, with total harmony.

Both the word and the Spirit are decisive against friendship with this world, flirtations with its fancies. It is not a context; it is a command; it is not an option; it is an exclusion; it is not an object of dispute, for the world is an object of disrepute. Hence, do not imagine that the word or the Spirit of God is amenable to it, to its agreeable fancies or ways. This world and its ways, its characterisable nature: it  is an exclusion zone, like one marked for high radiation. Don't tumble into it, rumble with it, search out its wiles or be duped by its deadness.

Such are aspects of the message of James. For the Christian: Have no friendship with this world! It is at war with your God. The Lord has it up for judgment, not  social agreeableness.





II Peter - Revelation


56)  II Peter 1:19-21

§ "Knowing this first: that no prophecy of scripture
is sourced simply in itself;
for prophecy was never introduced by the will of man,
but by the Holy Spirit: being borne along,
did holy men of God speak."


Below is an excerpt from On Translations of the Bible, Vol. 12.

On this topic, again central in terms of the divine self-sufficiency and competence, sovereignty and faithfulness, initiative and control past all the sins and defects of man, displayed by the Lord in His revelation, we first shall regard what was written earlier. We have met these verses of II Peter 1, before. Let us first remind ourselves of this work, and then we shall add perspective.

Our first port of call is Things Old and New Ch. 6, from which the following excerpt is taken.

But let us pursue the visionary picture in Ezekiel 47. The waters come from the altar and are of such huge amount, like a flood, yet a beneficial and beneficent flood, that they swell and mount. At first the prophet finds himself covered to the ankles, then higher and higher, till he must swim. Then he is borne very much as the prophets of old were borne (II Peter 1:21) when the wrote the scriptures, which are not of any private explanation, BECAUSE this is the case.

That is, Peter here states that SINCE the scriptures were given by an operation of the Holy Spirit of a driving character, so that He was bearing the prophets along (the word used of the storm tossing the ship before it, when Paul was in the Mediterranean), THEREFORE these same scriptures are of no private explanation. How COULD they be, if GOD provided them with power and impulsion of this heavenly and majestic kind! They are, as stated from GOD, the men moved by His Holy Spirit, so that any other explanation of their existence is blind, unempirical folly!

Paul amplifies even this in I Corinthians 2:9-13. When God wants to speak, He secures His desire and declares to man what His thoughts are (Amos 4).

Any theory which sites them in the individual lives of the writers is asinine, astray, impervious to reality, simply wrong.

The scriptures, then, are not EXPLICABLE in terms of the individuals concerned, BECAUSE GOD is their source! That is the teaching in Peter. Here in Ezekiel 47 is its dynamic counterpart in the vision of the prophet, himself immersed increasingly by stages in the impulsion of the waters, till he must swim, being borne along.

This strong, bearing or impelling quality of the Holy Spirit is felt by Ezekiel as indicated in his vision, as a flood. Yet it is not a violent one, nor a resistible one either, and while it forces him to swim, it also surges on to the places which it refreshes (like the flushing we have in our tiny little Torrens 'River' in Adelaide, when large volumes of water are released from the reservoir to cleanse it); and in this visionary stream are the fishes. Fisherman fish for them! That is of course a primary source of Christ's word: "Follow Me, and I shall make you fishers of men!" (Matthew 4:19). Thus the Lord is at work in the world with His Spirit with the content of that Cross reality which bears the Gospel. Marshy places (Ezekiel 47:11 - like sects which distort the word of God, Titus 3:10) are left.

Our next exhibit comes from SMR pp. 1167ff..

There follows, for our thought, the passage from II Peter - 1:19-21. Here stress is laid on the irresistible dynamic of the deliverance of divine news and views to the devoted, dedicated, delighted servants of God in times past. Indeed, the Greek verb here used in verse 21, for 'moved' in the translation, is selected to refer to the stormy wind which 'drove' Paul's ship before it, on his way to Rome, described elsewhere in scripture (Acts 27:17).

It was not a matter of man, with his will, as we learn indeed in 1 Peter 1:10-12. lt was NOT EVEN to themselves that they 'ministered', as it is written. It was not a matter of man interpreting at all. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED (the tense is PAST). The coming sufferings of Christ and His subsequent glory, says 1 Peter 1, were not (as the prophets then knew) being depicted in their revelation for their own use. They were provided for the use of others yet to come. No, the matter was unique and challenging, which reached the scripture writers from the Spirit of Christ, says Peter; and it was by no means a matter of THEIR thoughts, but of divine activity donating these scriptures for times yet to come. Thus, II Peter 1:20-21 declares (Weymouth):

Above all, you must understand that no scripture came about by virtue of its own release. For prophecy never came from the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit...

The word sometimes metaphorically used to mean 'interpretation', as Thayer points out in his Greek dictionary, is in fact to 'loose'. Scripture is meant and sent, not deposited from the work of one's own will. It is not 'idios', one's own (our word for 'idiot' comes from this); and there is a STATED REASON for this fact. It is not one's own unloosing, uncovering, one's own ideas at all.

This is BECAUSE the men who were HOLY and indeed OF GOD spoke in a different climate altogether. Being of God and being DRIVEN (Greek word used of storms on ships), they were under the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing about other people's interpretation of scripture; there is nothing at all about what one does with it. It is a cause and a consequence of the clearest character. They did NOT loose their own thoughts BECAUSE in this type of case, they were DRIVEN by someone else; and HE ? He had a special relation to them as men of GOD: HE in fact was, as the Bible here states, the HOLY SPIRIT.

Driven by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1), these men spoke in times past. This we are told. THAT is why it is not a matter of what ANYONE MADE OF IT, or might make of it; that is WHOLLY beside the point. THIS, these words directly attest. GOD gave this to them, so that one's own ideas and constructions (literally, in the text), one's own developments and thoughts, simply are out of the question. It was NOT a faint suggestion: they were DRIVEN, MOVED by the Spirit. THIS, and nothing else or contrary, is precisely what is written.

God in His transcendence invested dependent man with news and views, and those views, being God's, were truth. God the Maker gave man in His image both declaration and information by the Holy Spirit. It was the SAME HOLY SPIRIT who brooded, as we read in Genesis 1:2, who 'hovered', who moved over the waters in that vast display of divine creative energy, at the birth of our material system. It was this same Spirit who brought from the heart and mind of God another spectacular creation.

THIS TIME some men were witnesses! What was THIS ? It was the word of God to man (cf. Amos 4:13, 12:1). God made the STAGE and He made the SCRIPT. The script is scripture. (There is ALSO - see Chapter 2 supra - an extraordinarily biological script written in programmed format into our very HUMAN PROTOPLASM.) We could go further. Peter does so. As man despoiled the CREATED WORLD, so men seek to despoil the WRITTEN WORD of God (cf. II Peter 2:1), which itself is like a world - of its own ? of GOD'S own! His speech world, His direct speech world (for even cells, we recall, are an INDIRECT speech world, crammed with thought, expressed in one language, in consistent code).

Wilfully, many seduce themselves, permit themselves to be seduced from the certainties of God's word, and from God's creation by His word, ignoring the desecration of the world in past judgment (cf. II Peter 3:3-6). In fact, they went so far as to slay the 'lamb' of God, that signally strong Saviour who worked with His Father (Proverbs 8, John 1) in making the world: they desecrated that explicit personal expression of God, whom even to know is a matter of "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). This they did in an act foreordained by the divine thought and word (I Peter 1:19-21, 2:7-8, Acts 2:23-32).

It is ALSO, however, ordained, and was so from the first, that this desecrated divinity, this God-as-Man, the living word who CAME TO the world, will judge men, not vice versa (John 5:27, Matthew 7:21-22, Acts 13:36-41, 17:31). THIS He will do in due concord WITH THE WORDS THAT HE, THIS SAME CHRIST SPOKE (John 12:48-50). It is THIS Christ, who bothered to come and be sacrificed, and NOT another. NOW

God... commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).

Thus in II Peter 1:20, the verb used about private explanation has the following force: literally loose, or explain, release, uncover, solve. The noun is thus explanation, release, uncovering, solution, and it can be extended to the concept of interpretation, since this may be used to uncover what is already there.

However the last concept is alien to this context. What is the topic ? FInding what something MEANS, or seeing its security and reliability ? It is clearly the latter, in context, for this is the whole thrust, while the other is not found, relevant or pursued.

Since the theme is God's competence and action, driving and impelling, leaving all thought of man behind, the LAST thing that would be involved is any interpretation by some man, by some human being, since the WORD given is the OBJECT of thought. What we are being told in II Peter 1:21 is this: that as far as the prophetic word of God is concerned, its implantation defies explanation, its deposit is beyond account,  except by divine power beyond all that man can do. Man is ruled out; God is ruled in. The word is His. Therefore it is faithful and reliable and to be regarded as stable, securing life in the midst of evils. That is the context.

J.B. Phillips puts it rather well, since the verb is 'become' or arise, not strictly 'is'. He renders this,  that no prophecy: "arose from an individual's interpretation of truth." THAT is what is excluded in this appeal to us to rely on these words of the Lord. Actually, it does not so arise (it is really present tense of ginomai - Peter and perhaps Paul were then still writing scripture, and John, in that era), in accord with some individual's interpretation, by someone's philosophy, understanding, because it was never brought by man's will. How it does arise is equally taught by Paul, in contemporary sense as a penman for God, himself, in I Cor: 2:9ff..

In fact, better is found from Thayer, who in treating this very verse in his classical dictionary, notes that ginomai with the Genitive case, as here, means "to become i.e. be changed into something, come to be, issue in, something", and he proceeds concerning this verse in Peter, "no one can explain scripture by his own mental power (it is not a matter of subjective interpretation)". However, while these renderings preserve something of the antithesis made by Peter, they do waft into a theme not present. The actual theme is reliability and the exclusion is the will of man. The grammar is centring on something 'coming to be' as Thayer has it.

What however is the topic ? Scripture, its fact, its presence as sure, sufficient and proficient. What is coming to be, then, in the simplest and most unobtrusive sense ? Scripture. That and that alone is the topic here.

Thus we have this: the prophetic scriptures did not come (or generically, do not come as at the time of Paul, whose writings also included this kind) into being through any individual man as explanation. THIS is not their way, source or origin. It is not through its own intrinsic mental source, that it arises. Not so at all! It is indeed the antithesis. It is not accountable, explicable, resolvable in terms of some normal individual source, the native basics of a mere man. It is not self-explanatory a a literary item.

HOW then DID they come to be ? Not through the work of an individual. Not indeed (v. 21) by the will of man at all. Even the will did not contribute. It was by the power of God. WHAT was by the power of God ? Interpretation of something ?

Of course not. THE ARRIVAL OF SCRIPTURE was by the will of God. THIS is the meaning sustained in the context, through the varied treatments. How such things came is NOT IN THEIR OWN TERMS. Indeed, this, the arrival and production of scripture is not explained by individual perception or enlightenment, power or thought; it not explained as sourced in the will of man: it IS explained by the power and impelling provisions of God in action. It is not explained as to interpretation, but as to existence, origin, presentation, coming to be, arising, becoming as the text has it. One cannot well intrude some other additional material. This is the defined topic, and the defined result, with the negations and affirmations accordingly.

The Berkeley version is good in presenting the clear sense that follows:

"Because no prophecy ever resulted from human design;
instead, holy men from God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."


  HOW is it reliable ?

  HOW did it come and how is this spiritual phenomenon explained, so that we may indeed rest assured in its utter and absolute authority and calibre ?

NOT by the thought of man, then (v. 20), us it explained, and NOT by the will of man (v. 21), and not the first BECAUSE not the second, but for entire explanation of its derivation, regard but one thing: IT IS BY THE POWER of God, His impelling, His thrust and His MUST! That, it is not an 'interpretation' but a creation. THAT is the ONLY explanation of the word of God. NOTHING else can stand in the arena with it, to account for it.

Interestingly, there is the same whole hearted negation as with Elisha's word for Ben Hadad (II Kings 8:10 - . "You will certainly not live, for the Lord has shown me that he will die."). Both Elisha and Peter in these crucial places have the NOT prominent at the first of the relevant declaration, emphatic denial.  Here in II Peter 1:20, the parallel power has this concerning prophecy: No, it does not come at all like that. It is the entire antithesis of such a concept. It has nothing to do with any matter of some individual man in his musing. In fact, Holy men spoke as DRIVEN ... It came from God, and this is how, not from some philosopher's musings.

Thus the negation is followed by the affirmation, the prohibition (on erroneous thought about prophecy) is succeeded by the explanation of such a rejection. This is good NOW and that is why: THEN it came in that way. That is WHY it is good now.

Nothing could be clearer when you ponder it just a little!

That is the thrust of the passage: Was it some individual's unloosing, release, explanation of things, uncovering, solution, was this was the origin, source, basis, nature of this powerful, protective, wholly divinely sanctioned word of God ? not at al! Such could scarcely be further from the truth. WHY ? It is BECAUSE Holy Men of Old spoke as DRIVEN ALONG by the Holy Spirit that this other hypothesis, the humanistic one, is not applicable. That is why: it was not wrought (in the times past cf. Hebrews 1:1), by man at all. He was merely an exponent of what was deposited, yes driven in to him by divine power.

Prophecy - so sure and reliable, so much to be exploited, as Peter indicates, in order to strengthen ?  What is to be said of this amazing phenomenon, this spiritually therapeutic marvel, this resource extraordinary! What ? Why this: Its explanation is not to be sought in the riddles of man's solution at all, but in the deposition of God by the Holy Spirit.

HOW COULD you explain such a thing as the prophecies which Peter has been at pains to exalt before us in the preceding verses ? Would it be by saying that man is the explanation! Rubbish! God is the explanation, and HOW He conveyed these vital words is as Peter then shows, the explanation. It was by the dynamic direction of the Holy Spirit. THAT is how they spoke it. What anyone makes of it is not an issue in the entire chapter. It is what God did to bring it to us, past all flesh. GOD DID IT ONCE, man can benefit now. This is the indubitable teaching.

Thus the translation could be put like this:

·         §"Knowing this first: that no prophecy of scripture
is sourced simply in itself;
for prophecy was never introduced by the will of man,
but by the Holy Spirit, being borne along,
did holy men of God speak."

The sense is that no personal attribute of any man led to the scriptures,
for the will of man had nothing to do with it.

It was in fact, being borne along by the Holy Spirit,
that holy men of God spoke."

The topic is not human authority to interpret,
but divine power to present in the first place,
consistently maintained throughout the passage,
the context and words of which permit nothing else.

This gives due attention also to the word order, expressive of emphasis, to the passive where used, and seeks to remove any addition from the actual flavour of the text, in its logical setting.

Or you could put it: Knowing this first: that no prophecy of scripture is accountable in its own terms ... and then on as before.  This gives due attention to the usage of the verb ginomai in this genitive phrase context, to the logic, the focus, the topic and the result in view. It is not some interpretation which is to be accounted for, the idea being conspicuously absent; it is the RELIABILITY and DEPENDABLILITY, it is the ADEQUACY of the prophecy which is in view. Pay attention to this great light source.

Do so, the word of God indicates,  KNOWING THIS...

In other words, the principle to follow embraces the fact just stated, confirms it, gives ground for it.

What then is it which gives ground to the reliability, the light source quality of the prophecy which (unlike something else, be it men or institutions)  is to be heeded ? It is this thing which we KNOW.

What then is this thing which we know ? It is this: that no prophecy is accountable in its own terms. Why is that the case ? The gar or for to follow then unveils this mystery or reality, also. This in turn is for a most potent reason. The ground of rejection of any assault on the prophetic word, any doubt about it in elevating it to the position of a light source, in a dark place, this world - it is not something else, there is no noticeable attention at THIS point to something else; for it is this. And that is it which we find in the text here. It is that those humanly responsible for it, the writers themselves of these prophecies of scripture, did  not exercise their own wills to achieve it. It is not an individual human sponsorship matter at all. They were not philosophers. Theirs was not the internal inspiration, the authorship brilliance.

Not in the least degree is this so. That is why not in the least degree should you doubt the wisdom of following the LIGHT OF THE WORD OF GOD. It is not that the reason you should trust a man to interpret scripture is that God-driven inspiration drove the writers, for that has nothing whatever to do with it. The thing that happened of old was a Spirit driven inspiration giving a revelation from God Himself, and it is that which explains why it is asserted that the matter does not at all belong in the realm of the thought of man, being the very thought of God. To try to wrest for man the office of interpreter from the statement and explanation that it was God who gave it direct, so that it is indeed His word is its own condemnation.

Indeed, to take the matter to completion and conclusion, not only negatively but POSITIVELY, the word of God continues. The fact is this: that they DID speak as they were CARRIED ALONG by the Holy Spirit. It is in this way that the prophecies of scripture were BROUGHT IN. Both terms are passive in the original, emphasising the divine initiative, power, precision, and HENCE RELIABILITY of this word DISTINCTIVELY from ANY announcement, be it new or matter of interpretation for that matter, of mere men.

Mere men were NOT the source, because GOD was and their participation was NOT IN THE LEAST a contributing factor in the outcome, namely the revelatory product, which is precisely in content, what GOD wanted. Anything further from some future 'interpretation' being handed to someone not having the advantage of being GOD is hard even to imagine! It would foul, indeed contradict the sequence, defy the topic and defile the exhortation.

Thus the translation of the NKJV and AV, if it were not for some measure of ambiguity, would be not only wrong, but appalling! As it is, it is entirely inadequate. Weymouth however has done an excellent job. All of this is only one more reason why the dictatorship of pope or AV is so wrong. God did not ordain man to mix his puny thoughts in this way with His own, and direct the brotherhood (and you are ALL brethren, with only ONE master Christ EXPLICITLY declared - Matthew 23:8-10), and you have but ONE FATHER, who is identified as GOD. We are not polytheists, one Father and one God, and this is that!

The highest wisdom of man and the greatest powers of some individual's or individual work of translation from some or one, it is not this which is the light. It is the word of God which is that light, and in translation there is no divine commission to any one party on record, be it slow in coming in the 17th century, before or after, which is defined and detailed in the Bible to be the one to heed. What presumption to make a mere man, be it pope or translator, or group, the criterion of the word of God! What follies follow, obscuring by the refusal to use ALL the gifts God has provided, in church or translation, the wonders of the light in the very presumption of trying to limit to him or nowadays we had better add it, to her! to these or to those.

Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils,
for in what is he to be esteemed ?

(as the NASA has it, for Isaiah 2;22). It is only when we are unimportant that the result has good hope to be important. It is only when GOD HIMSELF, that eternal Spirit, is in control, sole recipient of majesty and focus of praise, that magnificent trinity of love and peace, truth and power, majesty and dominion, creation and consummation for all things, revealed in His word, made manifest in His Son: it is only then that the conditions of spiritual prosperity are present.

We may rejoice in what He does through us, but do so IN HIM, not in our own works, of whatever magnitude they may appear. The more they are praised, the more the danger that their very human limitations or tendencies to error will become the objects of idolatry, the confines of comprehension. Rejoice in diversity, insist on integrity in the translation of the word, and rest in NONE BUT GOD. His word is very clear.

It is necessary never to enthrone any man or group in the place of God. ALL assemblies even, as the Westminster Confession so rightly says, are subject to error. Trust never in them. Be thankful for them, but rely on God by Christ, and according to His word as your CRITERION, not man, not men, not their ways. The church is good and a fine provision; but its very health comes in NOT TRUSTING in itself, its own works or ways.

Does this mean you never know where you are ? Of course not. The word of God is intrinsically clear (Proverbs 8:8ff.), and it is arrogance which tends to polarise and impose upon it.

It is by such trust in GOD HIMSELF, that the healing, the health comes. It is when the church is humble that it is more nearly holy, and being holy, casts itself in faith on the Lord Himself, not the engineers or engineering of man. It is to rejoice with trembling, not to assert with arrogance that is the task prescribed (Psalm 2)! It is then that the follies of pseudo-sanctified extremes, and the narrowness of preferred traditions, so hated by the Lord because of their intrusion of MAN's things into those of GOD (Mark 7:7ff.), arise, then when man is put level wt. God, and his works are added as if they could direct even the word of God!

ALWAYS that word of prophecy is as far above the thoughts of man as the heavens above the earth! If you try to bring in man's marvellous nostrums, soon it is like an asteroid impacting on the earth, all of heaven that is responsive to human arrogance; and indeed, it is just this which IS predicted in that prophetic word to which we do well to take heed (see Revelation 8:8-11). As to the word of God, as the Westminster Confession again so scripturally affirms, never take anything as from it but what can be PROVED, without addition, FROM IT.



Now, since so much evil has come from misuse of this word of the Lord, in II Peter 1:20ff., let us now see it in its contextual sweep and realise to the fullest extent, its teaching.

Of what, then, does the apostle Peter speak earlier  in II Peter 1? It is of this: that Christ declared and PERSONALLY expressed  God in Majesty, was aurally attested and that this confirms prophetic predictions concerning Him; while the PROPOSITIONAL expression, the written format of the word of God this is a further valuable attestation, one indeed which was in no small measure fulfilled in Christ's own life. As to these writings, says the apostle - "so we have the prophetic word confirmed" -  they continue to confirm, and will do so until the Light of the Lord sallies fresh to the hearts of the regenerate in heaven. THAT is their target, their fulfilment, not something else or less: heavenly light IN HEAVEN.

Thus they are an exceedingly valuable resource now that Christ has returned whither He came (and we await the actions of His return at the time appointed - II Peter 3:10).

Very well: "Knowing this ... " (II Peter 1:20), is the very next phrase in the sequence. What it says is therefore confirmatory of what precedes, a basis for the understanding for the above.

In fact, as a prelude Peter at once declares, in explaining his exclusion of man as a basis, that it was not brought by the will of man at any time. This, it is what is written. It guides our thought, directs our understanding. No, man is NOT the explanation, because (past) it did not come by man's will. The PRESENT is dealt with in ONE WAY ONLY. It is in verse 20, and it deals with a contemporary feature, how scripture comes to be (literally, 'becomes', comes into being). It is NOT, this becoming, this coming to be, to be considered, explained,  in terms of any individual (i.e. writer) as source. THAT is not the solution of the 'problem', the resolution of the issue (as the term, centring on solve, loose, uncover, has in its thrust). That is not how the matter is to be interpreted. Far from it!

This is not the explanation of the matter at all. Nothing else in thought is present in the text. The whole character of scripture, how it comes to be, is to be considered in the light of established routine. It is NOT a writer's brilliant idea; because it did not come that way at all. We find this appeal to known fact in dealing with present circumstance. What it IS depends on HOW it did NOT come, on the one hand, and how it DID come on the other. came. It is not, as a category, a class of things, anything to do with a mere individual, what he willed, wanted, to what he aspired. Why may this be stated ? It is because as to its origin, the scripture, the word of God IS a Spirit-driven deposit that. Men, in short, were not the movers in this field; on the contrary, they were MOVED. It was not by some mere emotion or desire that they were moved; it was by the Spirit of God. It was not an influence from the Spirit of God which brought out the words of the prophets; it was an impelling and a constraining, indeed a driving force from God that did this.

It is NOT saying that since man did not by his will produce the prophecies, therefore man must interpret them. That is not only a truancy from the truth, but a flat contradiction. It makes supreme what this part of the Bible is rigorously detaching from all consideration in the theme, statement and affirmations being made.

It came instead by God's energetic deposition. This past act, and past exclusion jointly give to the prophetic word its assured status, and issue in the character of scripture as given at any time; and that, it is far from being, and simply is not the subjection to the opinion of a man. Acts accomplished and described, these are its ground; actions axed and proscribed, these are the guarantee its purity.  HENCE (v. 18) it is a light in a dark place - NOT something else. As SO produced, it has SUCH an authority, as light, makes such a declaration, of itself, for it is ITSELF which has the origin to grant the light with security. As it fulfils itself, so it confirms itself, all an inherent process dependent on its source, which gives its stature, and makes light for man.

A licence to direct man as to their understanding is not given by the fact that in past times man's will was excluded! The value indeed is wholly opposite, an intrinsically sure guarantee, first confirmed by a specific exclusion, then by divine action in times past. THAT is how the thing works, is founded, is explained, comes to the pinnacle of reliability and dominion of certainty which is its inherent right.

It is GOD's word. You cannot explain it by, in or with, through or in terms of ... man! Further, what has GOD's AUTHORITY has it because GOD DID IT. It is not an inference. It is a divine specialised function, to present in dynamic directiveness and assured quality, what is His very word, impelling with purpose, dealing with authority, providing with thrust that nothing can or does resist.

What then are we 'knowing' ? What is the 'this' ? It is that this whole 'burden' of the word of the Lord, of prophecy as exampled in its light and reliability as shown just before, did not come from man's will, is not so explicable, but was driven into the mind of the prophets by the thrusting power of the Holy Spirit. It is this that we are knowing... We could not be knowing this if we were talking about mere interpretation. THAT may be perfect, but if the original is not perfect, it is in vain! The ground of the knowing is the fact that the will of man did not produce scripture. This is written. Something else is NOT!  THIS it is which is identified as the light, not a help to a light, but as constituting it.

No mere mortal surmise was this: it is therefore trustworthy always a a light in a dark place, this prophecy. It is not a matter of uncovering some one man's thoughts, his or her 'explaining' of divine mysteries, as if it were by any individual's concept of truth, by stabs in the dark, or purely personal 'inspiration'. It is as far removed from such littlenesses as is heaven from the earth.

Not at all, and far from such a thing is the actual case! What then is the case ? It is this: that God Himself, the thought proceeds in parallel in I Peter, by His own Spirit made His own excursion and incursion into the heart of man by His Spirit, dynamic and undeterred.

This, it was the DIVINE INITIATIVE, WROUGHT IN THE PAST TO SECURE THE STABILITY OF THE PRESENT. In I Peter 1:10-12, we find indeed quite directly that those who wrote realised that they were MINISTERING TO US. This is the basis; this is the ministry. They wrote it; it was for us.

Hence you may with complete safety rest on such a revelation. It is NOT subject to human intervention and sin at all. It was so given ONCE, so that it is faithful NOW. Present actions are EXCLUDED in the ground of the security, which begins "FOR"!

Interpretation by human agencies is then, not merely wholly contrary to the context, it would make of it ludicrous collisions in time and topic.

What follows ? Is it this ? Be comforted by the word of God, whatever its purity, since somehow it will be interpreted aright! What good, however,  does that do, if the thing itself be not first secure ? It is irrelevant, with no iota of contact with the context, so to interpolate, an example of eisegesis: non pareil, unexampled, perfect as a cancer in kind, like one that blocks the whole bowel, on X-ray when it is discovered. Further, the topic is not only the authenticity and reliability of scripture, but this in CONTRAST with all the works and inspirations of men, which, in comparison with what IS scripture, are just individualistic caprice or superficial soundings. THAT is the contrast in view.

Contrasted in fact is the word of God, the advent of it, with the content of man, in his sin.

What then ? Why is this prophetic word not of a purely private loosing, explanation, and why is it not so to be esteemed ? Is it because God (past tense) Himself drove it home; or is it so because it is to be interpreted (contra to I John 2:27) by experts and because human tools, not mentioned or in view at all, will perform an explicatory act, so mixing their authority with that tried and tested one of God, by His very own word, expressly so termed, and their understanding with the deposition of men, who wrote as they were driven by the Holy Ghost! If it were to be something of men, or man, then, why contrast with God Himself, in His unique activity, that specifically related in terms of what is past and intimately known by His people ?

Here is the uttermost in stability and authority as a deposition of assured status because of what it has done. We now see that not only is this denial to man's will altogether a source of the scripture being outside mere human explanation, what did NOT happen ;  it is also because of the way it HAS come.

Indeed, if it is a matter of what man in his religious propensions can do now, why give the basis in the past ? such is mere presumption within the context, importing without licence; and if it is of man, why speak of what God in ways specifically described, has made His own mandatory and tested transmission medium (cf. Hebrews 1:1)! It is that unique thing, the very word of God written which is defined as the base in view. It is nothing less, nothing else; it is incomparable in kind, in authority and in origination on this earth, all three. Human inspiration ? religious exaltation (forbidden in Matthew 23:8-10 anyway - ONE Master, YOU ALL brothers) ? Forget it. This is not to be given any such superficial explanation. IT has come direct from God, bears His name, is His word.

Are we to ignore what He does say is the reason for the words of  II Peter 1:20, and to provide what He does not! Certainly, and by all means, if only we revert to Genesis 3:4, and are hearing the serpent: HAS GOD SAID! He wants his own word to be interpolated, introduced, while Eve is seduced.  It is here just the same sort of event which arises.

No, nothing like that! as Elisha said to Ben-Hadad. The prophecy is what it is; and it is this by virtue of its origin, not from what man can do to it! Its sourcing in celestial mind, will and power has no bearing on man's contortions or proportions, but with its calibre, quality and truth AS scripture. The reason WHY it is so, a reliable revelation, is that God by sovereign majesty and power, shown categorically in Christ in the flesh, in words secured this deposit of His meaning, His message, His thought and His will.

Both Christ and the scripture have come. The one is to be believed; the other received; and in reception, one is to be assured that it is a constant fount of inspiration, revelation, fixed, needing no change, authorised, verified, vindicated, indicated. Because of this status, woe to those who add their own words, to these (Proverbs 30:6).


In Ch. 2 immediately following, we find that despite this, evil men and false teachers will arise in the latter days, as the Age progresses towards its end, people who will bring in wicked and corrupting false teaching. That is a measure of HOW corrupt they are, that they so act in the light of what GOD HAS DONE, and done superbly. HE came as man; HE gave as God the words that went with it. HE confirmed the words in and through the man, and continues to do so.

Is man to do something more now ? Is this double and mutual assurance of the word of God and the Word of God, to be bypassed, added to, supplanted ?

There is no excuse for these things. They are obstreperous, intrusive, admirable only in one thing, the pure, unbounded character of the  presumption (and Jude with Peter, stresses with very thing).

In our text in II Peter 1, however, NOTHING is said about human authority. It is God's word on the one side, and man's sleight of mind on the other. What then of these predicted false teachers? Their trouble is not understanding per se: it is motivation. They are interested in money.

Powers of interpretation are not the issue: indeed, it is precisely here that we receive in II Peter 2, immediately following, the WARNING. Willingness to obey, this is!

Would a managing director say, Now you can rely on my words and follow them safely because they will be interpreted aright. How useless! The question is this, whether they ARE right, and what is the sort of power and truth they contain. It is far too late if you are talking about interpreting something; it is the message itself which is the authority and the ground of reliance. If you are subjected to such insertive and assertive private parties pushing their own barrows, or any imagined barrow, then you are in the hands of men. THEIR antics Peter then describes in this Ch. 2 in some detail.

If however you rely on what God by the impelling power of His Holy Spirit HAS done, then you are safe. It is, we notice clearly, not what God is GOING to do, which is the ground of our assurance here, but what HE HAS ALREADY DONE. The thing is past, apostolically certified and defined. The first feature and focus is Christ Himself in II Peter 1, at this point. The second is the prophecy. Its efficacy is mentioned. Then more. And that ? It is the certified action of God, to send His own word, His prophetic word, which is to be explained not in someone's private thoughts about truth, but in HIS declaration AS the truth, and carrying this, His word to man; and as to that, it is  by a safe conduct no less than the power of God Himself!

The prophecies then are not reliable because they can be interpreted; they are worth interpreting because they are reliable. Yet interpretation is not even aroused as an issue. It is the action of God in the past which is provided. This is what is written. As to these words: They are reliable because God, personally and in the past, secured their purity past all human intervention of any kind. Hence those who depart from them, as in II Peter 2, can be discerned and dismissed. Their object as there defined,  is gain!

re II Peter 1:20-21
(it is December here in Australia)!

But let us summarise some of our findings. What does it all mean ? It is this: the concept that II Peter 1:20-21 means that private people, that is individuals of any kind, people not specified by Peter in his giving of grounds for faith in the word of God, are by no means in the equation of stability or the concept of constancy, yes the favours of faithfulness or the grounds of assurance.

No man can come into this realm. If however you should extraneously, presumptuously and intrusively seek to put some such idea into the context, there are a number of areas violated.

Let us list a few.

It is

  It is likewise

as well as


Let us look at these.

WRONG TIME: What the apostle Peter is warranting is the PAST performances of holy men of God. This, and not something else in terms of authority or assurance, is what is written. Implying a present power or basis is arresting the authority and placing where it is simply not put.

WRONG THEME: The theme in II Peter 1 as it approaches its terminus, is the certainties of God, in Christ on earth, as attested by God, as attested by prophecy; and of prophecy, as attesting Christ who performed as predicted, in attesting likewise what is to come, this being now an even more verified tool, instrument of faith and guaranteed force in Christian life. BOTH Christ of divine honour and glory, God incarnate (Hebrews 1, John 8:58), and the word of God written, AS provided in the supernatural way noted in II Peter 1:20, are inveterately virtuous, tested, tried and true, sure and steadfast. One IS God in flesh; the other is the WORD of God in writing.

One reason for this is that it is all a verified work of God, done in the past, sure for the future.

WRONG TOPIC: The topic at the point of the text in vv. 20-21 is HOW scripture came to be, and WHAT is its quality. It is nothing whatsoever to do with untested human authority, or indeed man in his coming workings at all.

WRONG TASK: Hence there is, in any concept of a future ecclesiastical domineering or direction, as if this were in view, a failure to realise what IS written, the steadfast reliability of the word of God as already given, its certainties for all future occasions, and a negation with dire emphasis of any outthrust away from this, to invent machineries or approaches wholly dissonant. Such things are not even tangential - for in them, there is no point of contact with the emphasis on things past, things sure, things tried, things verified, the fulfilled power of God in providing a sure guide, no, not even an iota.


Hence there is not far off, and soon looming into sight, a perversion of the exhortation to STAND by the PROPHETIC word ALREADY given, one made even more sure and confirmed. In that specious substitute for the word of God, the concept is that one should stand by what is NOT already given, NOT tested and verified and NOT mentioned by Peter at all. This perverts faith, corrupts the passion for purity and makes by devious means zealots instead of devoted people, trusting in God alone.


Likewise, instead of leading naturally into the warning about what people will do, corrupting the faith with damnable heresies, things worthy of condemnation through false motivation, arising even from within the church, it would open up the vulnerable to this very vice by assuming that directors can come in and thrust their own authority into the midst of the word of God, precisely as II Peter 2 predicts will happen. It indeed has happened, fulfilling the prophecy of II Peter 2, Acts 20, II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, all parallel,  and that with a rich fertility, impassioned weeds of poison flourishing in the soil that has departed from the faith

(cf. SMR pp. 699ff., 743ff., 750Bff., Stepping Out for Christ Chs.  1,   5, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Ch. 3,
News, Facts and Forecasts
122, 123,
Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 
82 87,
Repent or Perish
Ch. 5, Things Old and New Epilogue, Ch. 2, Appendix, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 11,
It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls
Ch. 11).

Thus instead of seeing the incoming of deceivers, putting their own authority into action as they corrupt the church through false motivation, gain, themselves corrupt, and being justly warned, this fiddling with the word of God has a perilous outcome. Indeed, this interpolation of extraneous material, emphasis and thought into what is actually written opens up the church to precisely what Peter warns it AGAINST! Indeed, in II Peter 2, this warning is long and sustained, devastating in its condemnation and massive in its implications. Jude acclaims the same.

It is parallel to that of Paul in Acts 20:20 about wolves coming IN, not sparing the flock, yes concerning those of this ilk, who "from among your own selves will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." This drawing after themselves is precisely what ROMANISM has done, sects have done, false prophets like Muhammad have done (cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4). In such cases, MAN, as excluded in II Peter 1:20-21, is now the focus. NOT what the word SAYS, but what man says, what someone NOT a writer of the prophetic scriptures, the word of God says: this becomes the test, the criterion.

NOTHING, however, could be further from Matthew 23:8-10, which REQUIRES


NO ONE ELSE is this (Acts 4:10-11).



It really is a massive (literal) impertinence, to thrust a concept of human interpretation of scripture as the thrust of this passage, for more than all the above reasons. It is so for quite another. Simply: it DOES NOT FOLLOW that because

a) men did not 'achieve' scripture from any will of their own and

b) in fact God by an impelling vigour and direction secured it by His own inalienable and always adequate power,

therefore no one but important people, special people, can interpret it.

That, then, is to put into the mouth of God a fallacy: some gift! In fact, and as a point of empirical reality, the stress is quite the opposite. You do not NEED, indeed you MUST NOT HAVE, anything to interfere with this tested scripture, for if you do, then where are you placed under the guarantees given ? Not only would you then be NOT COVERED (as with any insurance policy, when you go outside the prescribed conditions - NO cover is given for any affirmative action whatever relative to the handling of scripture here) , but you would be UNCOVERED DESPITE A GRAVE WARNING of the dangers of precise the area of your vulnerability! This would be gross, outrageous and reckless to the uttermost point, contrary and contrary, using both pronunciations and meanings of the term!

But what a travesty, to seek so hard to bring in a mischief, or to ignore the point, for whatever reason (including cultural conformity and so forth), that you make God by your mere importation of philosophy into the scripture, to be author of confusion! What a confusion it is which is not merely confused but wishes to put into His word, a logical fallacy! FOR, says II Peter 1:21, "prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit".

WHAT then is the case BECAUSE holy men so spoke, BECAUSE the word of God did not come from the will of man at all ? Is it that THEREFORE only special authority may interpret the word of God ? Is it the case that since God is authentic, and this word is tested, tried, true and deposited exclusively by divine action, in its outcome infallible therefore, that MEN MUST authorise its understanding ?

Does it follow ? It is the OPPOSITE of what follows. The result in fact: be careful not to pollute it, as II Peter 2 AT ONCE goes on to direct. This IS the authority: do NOT do such a thing. It is not at all, DO IT! Nor would it follow. If God did it like that, it is not implied in the least degree that we must therefore treat this word to a new authority, so that we can try to catch up with what God was 'trying to say'. Not only it is incongruous, but there is also no way in the world that such a thing would FOLLOW from the exemption of the will of man from the creation of the written word of God. Further, since any such authority would be extraneous to anything Peter here or elsewhere says, this is an INVASION by ILLICIT authority of what is NOT provided for.


As a result, such a misinterpretation of this text becomes an actual fallacy imported into the word of God. All this comes before we even look at what it is actually saying. It is merely propounding the negative, what it cannot be deemed to say, both because of contradiction of logic, denial of reason and uninhibited abuse of context. It is, in other words, more than a non sequitur. It is an import as well of extraneous material, offensive and contrary. It is moreover a


It is no mere wavering of thought, lack of concentration which is involved in this error. It is very dreadful. It abandons restraint and wisdom, looking to what is not merely missing, but what is deplored in the context, when it is present, as it is predicted to be. Moreover it is a


Not merely does it collide with the surrounding parallel with Christ, the living and the written word being the topic, in their whole and integral reliability, both in being tested and sure (indeed made more sure, confirmed in the case of the prophetic scripture), as found in II Peter 1, and the negative parallel of warning in II Peter 2 into which Peter at once proceeds, but it smashes headlong into I John 2:27, where we are advised that you do not NEED any man to instruct, since the anointing suffices.

This does not remove the advantages, the expediency if you will, of help in humble ministration, or genuine presentation with assurance of what is manifestly the word of God beyond all human authority, as in Romans 12 where different gifts minister from one to the other. It does however removes any concept of a MASTER, of a NECESSITY, of an actual intrinsic AUTHORITY, which can in any way come into the scene outside the scriptures of God.

Let us hear John's inspired word, itself part of the scripture:

"But the anointing that you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught  you, you will abide in Him" - I John 2:27.

In other words,

AS the anointing TEACHES concerning all things,
AND is true and is not a lie,
AND just as it HAS taught you,

SO you will abide in Him.

What do you not NEED ? That anyone to teach you. Is a pope covered by 'anyone' ? Of course, he is a man. Is a church council covered ? Of course, each participant is a man. The thing is one body, one authority. What then can a church council do ? ONLY provide by sound and assured reason what cannot be controverted. From John as from Matthew, as likewise we learn that they can have NO authority in themselves. The Westminster Confession is utterly sound here, forbidding an implicit faith in anything of men, and requiring that ONLY the DEMONSTRABLE certainties of what follows from the word of God may be doctrine.

It is even SIN to go further, NOT SANCTITY.

These scriptures utterly exterminate and annihilate the whole authoritarian conception of the church. Its power is only to carry out what is written. Certainly, it can form arrangements expedient, but its power over the faith is zero. The word of God has power over it, and if it in anything goes beyond, it runs headlongs into all these scriptures.

Pompous prelates like honeyed harridans, prostitute the power of God readily enough, when they intrude into divine things apostolically made, and made in the past (Ephesians 2:19-21), the foundation "having been built", the Master the increate Christ, the number of masters ONE, and that one, Christ; and the word one, the word of God. There is the gulf of infinity between God and man, and the forgetfulness of this simple fact is the bane of nations, and of many false churches, lords over the heritage of the Lord, having dominion over faith, false Masters, not Christ, not so identifiable any more than is the heaven with the earth.

Even elders are NOT lords over your faith: indeed and rather are they helpers of your joy (I Peter 5). SO says this same apostle. What therefore we have, and have multiply is a

CONTRADICTION OF OTHER SCRIPTURES in any such pollution of this text. It is not merely other than these, adding to them: it actually precisely and directly CONTRADICTS them. Further it produces a

COLLISION with PROHIBITIONS, for there is not only thought in this matter, its denial, its contradiction, but there is also an actual collision about practice. YOU must not and CANNOT do the things which some would bring into this text in II Peter 1, as if the word of God were a mere sink for human thought, precisely as  is being DENIED RIGHT HERE, by Peter in II Peter 1:20a. The erected authority in this text, it is scripture (in II Peter 1 in context, after reference to Christ who in times past was so authenticated).

You must realise that its arrival had nothing to do with the WILL of men, and that is WHY it is to be viewed as surpassing all human explanation (II Peter 1:20). You DO NOT NEED such teachers, and you MUST NOT HAVE them (I John 2:27, Matthew 23:8-10). What obtrudes, intrudes. What suffuses, confuses. Men may minister; God alone commands.

Thus, moving in this illicit way in constructing a contrary sense for the text, you actually collide with the word of God about what you MUST NOT DO! Indeed, Paul in II Corinthians 11 shows what folly is wrought when high-minded and mighty individuals start throwing their puny weight around, like wet putty (II Cor. 11:19-20). You suffer it, he says, if some foolish intruder pushes you around and so on! It is however the SAME Jesus, the SAME Gospel, the SAME Christ. NOTHING must alter this at all (Galatians 1), and what chiding comes from the apostle when there is any movement from that sacred and secure, safe and spiritual foundation of all doctrine, the word of God. WHO ELSE knows! WHO ELSE can understand ? Whose word IS IT!

BUT any such  intrusion as this is simply another gospel, another spirit, and another Christ. It is alien to the authority in God only, in the word of God only, which is the indubitable and explicit focus of Peter in I Peter 1-2 in general, and in 1:20-21 in particular. Indeed, here, in such a fallacy imposed on this word of God, you have a



Instead of following what is actually in this text, and noting that the validity and reliability, the teaching power and pure certainty of the prophetic scriptures comes from two facts, that the will of man had NOTHING to do with their production, and that the power of God had everything to do with their inditement, provision and presence, there is a perversely contrary procedure. What then is this ? It is nothing less than an entangling of the very thing hated, human will and authority, in the sacred places noted, required to be without addition, and provided with warning about additions.

What is not demonstrable from scripture is assuredly an addition, as any judge would know, who examines what the actual data of a crime are, and what the lawyers think they can make of it. The two are distinct and contra-distinct.

Hence, in making this subversion of theme and topic, logic and parallels, such a perverse misinterpretation of this passage, there  is a pushing of powers outside those noted and authorised here, into the arena so specially select, preserved and being of certified purity, safe. This both waters down the word of God and works in another authority, not merely forbidden, but extraneous. It is a simple addition to the word of God, per favour of irrational extension, illicit logic and extensive breach of context and this both immediate, broader in these first chapters and extending throughout the entire epistle, fraught with warning on this very thing.

But let us now look at the actual movement of this passage in Peter. It is not saying that the complete absence of man's will from the production of scripture is a reason why its interpretation should be carried out ONLY by important people, or with deference to their thought, whatever their claims; but that the complete absence of man's will from the production of scripture is a reason why it may be affirmed as having no human explanation, no source in the heart of an individual man, of whatever kind, calibre or character. That is what verses 20-21 are declaring, logically, contextually and in the entire context of the Bible.

What is given is this, and no idios, single or singular action by any man, no humanity, no flesh, has any part at all in it. Man in all his littleness, regardless of his situation, presumption or accolades, is here OUT altogether. The word given by God is outside this domain. Its power rests only on God; its criterion is found in the past; and what is His word has a bearing and autonomy accorded to nothing else.

This, in fact, is what is written. Man can't solve or explain scripture by any of his own thoughts since what ? Since scripture did not even depend on his will at all. HOW COULD you imagine in some humanistic, some naturalistic, some psychic notation of man, that scripture has an explanation! It would be ridiculous. Why ? Simply because it had NOTHING TO DO with the will of man at all. His resources were not the criterion of the advent, his imagination did not create the substance, his powers were not the issue. It was without his very WILL, by which he could summon.

Not only so. It was on the other hand, BY the WILL and POWER of God that the actual impetus, the whole substance, the entire gamut arrived. This is PRECISELY  of course what Paul is saying in I Corinthians 2:9-13.

There we find that the THINGS themselves, the substance involved in the scriptures, as Paul declares, came from God AND the words with which to express it were likewise from His provision. This is not necessarily the same as 'dictation' in some narrow sense. It IS however the same as an entire provision by whatever divinely directed means the Lord should choose, of the RESULT.

In the end, it is God and not man who supervised and succeeded in securing the input of substance and the output in words to His entire control with the intended consummation: expression in exactitude of His heart and mind toward man, and of what concerns him, with power.  The result has NOTHING of the will of men, and ONLY the output of the power of God, unimpeded, acting as needed to secure the issue of His own will in His own name of His own word. HE has spoken! (cf. the almost endless array of sentences like these - Thus says the Lord, and the Lord has spoken or the mouth of the Lord has spoken and cf. Acts 4:25, where once again, it is Peter who is speaking).

This, then, in II Peter 1:20 is the result of the divulgement of II Peter 1:21. This DOES follow with NECESSITY, with ENTAILMENT, without non sequitur, but with robustly apt logic: that SINCE man's will was not involved in the production of scripture, was indeed a wholly alien matter, and SINCE secondly, on the affirmative side, the POWER and PROVISION of God was involved, and that with impelling and imperial thrust, therefore what we have in the production of the prophetic word of God is not a matter of explanation in human terms at all. That is the word of II Peter 1:20. Nothing else fits the sequence, the situation or the scenario, the logic and the validity.

On the other hand, this is wholly and emphatically, richly and dramatically the exact message of other scriptures; and again, any endeavour to attribute invalid logic to God by intruding a theme not found here, out of the development and contrary to it, is merely a measure of the desperation to deceive, or the inuring of custom and tradition, which does indeed make null the word of God, as Christ warned (Mark 7:7-13). This intrusion, inversion, perversion, addition to what is written, this whole genre is certainly to "reject the commandment  of God that you may keep your tradition" and a matter of "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition", as Christ there declares.

Indeed, that is the end of the whole concept of tradition without more ado. The traditions of men are merely the provision either 1) of extraneous presumption, putting the will of man into the word of God, or beside it or 2) the clear and logically demonstrable presentation of what is actually written. If the latter, it is however, not tradition but exposition. Exposition that is nothing else, nor does it add anything. THAT is precisely what man is permitted, no encouraged and directed to do with the word of God: ADD NOTHING (Proverbs 30:6).  


The perspective is as always, the clout of truth, the invasion of reality, the transmission of the mind of God through the word, spoken and incarnate. In no case is there room for change; in each case, it is self-declarative. The room for man is zero (I John 2:27). Man may help; but he has no capacity to adorn the word of God with opinions. It was precisely the removal of such a possibility in the past, which is the ground for the confidence for the future. That is what is written. How rightly the Westminster Confession insists that ONLY what is written and what is necessarily implied is to be taken. NOTHING of dubiety, nothing of intrusion, incursion is permitted.

That is how the situation stands. God will not stand for those who stand in the way of the light, making themselves arbiters and authorities. ONE is the Master (Matthew 23:8-10), and ONLY one. Who is that One ? Why He is the very one whom Peter speaks of, before these verses, Jesus Christ,

THAT is the conjunction of terms, of realities made by Peter. In each case the divine is made manifest, heard and is to be done. That is ALL there is to it. What then ? in the first case, Peter shows the divine transmission of the Son (to whom none may add so much as one iota), and in the other that of the written word (add not to His words, says Proverbs 30:6 lest you be found a liar!).

With GOD ONLY as your trust (Jeremiah 17), and His expression of His eternal word (Micah 5:1-3), in flesh  as your Saviour (I Peter 1:18-19), and in the writing of your assured guide, the one specified by the apostle Peter: you are surrounded with certainties. Small wonder then Peter tells us that we are KEPT by the POWER of God (I Peter 1:1-5) to an inheritance that does not fade away! The word is sure, definitive, declarative, investing truth in the format for man, which gives utter assurance.

If you put anything else anywhere near it, no wonder you have trouble with Christian assurance.
A chain is only as sure as its weakest link. When the chain is commanded by God, there is NO room for doubt. No link is weak.

THEN you can go forth in the power and faith of God, and become partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4), a cleansed creation, a victorious phalanx (I John 5:4), founded on the rock, on the work and person (Psalm 62), on the words of Christ (Matthew 7:24-29). Nothing, but nothing can touch you there. (Cf. SMR pp. 98-99).

Small wonder then that Christ declared, THEY SHALL NOT PERISH (John 10:9,27-28). When you are dealing with God, rather being dealt with BY Him, the options for failure in life are zero. His word is your guarantee, His work is your cover, His Spirit is your supply, His guardianship is your solace. And there ?

There is the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7), and in whom is it found ? In him, in her in whom God has "begun a good work" *4A, and having begun THAT work, will "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Thus it is  that you look for Him in whom is your trust, according to HIS ONLY word, the one which bears His name, so that "He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself". There is no dubiety. God has spoken*5A.

THAT, it is the way it has to be. It is also the way it is. Any other way faces the NO WAY, GO BACK highway sign. Such a way is not on the highway of holiness on which a person, though a fool shall not go astray (Isaiah 35). The way of God, however, is PRECISELY THAT! It IS the way of faith, which accepts what is offered, and counts it done.



I John 4:7-8 cf. SMR pp. 386ff., Spiritual Refreshings for the DIgital Millenium Ch. 9-12.

See: SMR pp. 580ff. excerpted below, 25ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Barbs, Arrows and Balms  6-7, Spiritual Refreshings for the Biblical Millenium Ch. 16, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 11), and Index, GOD His Freedom, His Integrity, Truth Inviolable.

Cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 9, Appendix IV, Repent or Perish Ch. 2.

A GOOD work, as here stated,  does remain. It is the trees which "My heavenly Father" has NOT planted which will be "uprooted"! (Matthew 15:13, Isaiah 61:3). On the brows of His people there is everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11). These are those whom He has redeemed, with eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). These, if it were possible might be seduced as in II Peter, by 'interpreters' of the word of God who do not bother to KEEP to it. However, it is NOT POSSIBLE (Matthew 24:15). These are "the elect", chosen in Him before all time (Ephesians 1:4), purchased and kept (Romans 5:9-11), and indeed serviced (Hebrews 12:4-13). See Red Alert ... Ch. 7, The Biblical Workman Ch. 2,

For a biblical doctrine on its own status, see SMR Appendix D. For the relationship of this to its proven character, see SMR Ch. 1.



 57) I John 5:7-8.

It appears Erasmus inserted these in response to some kind of challenge or contest. They have no ground for inclusion in the Bible.

Indeed, the NKJV in its rejection entirely of these verses from the testimony of the Bible is the one attested quite clearly by the manuscripts. I John 5: 7-8. To be sure, all but incredibly, it does print the unattested words that are here found in the AV, but at least it clearly shows how the texts are far from supporting this, in its note at the foot of the page. In fact, it notes "only four or five very late manuscripts contain these words." There are hundreds of manuscripts, some very early. On this topic, see Ch. 1 of On Biblical Translations, near its outset.

58) Revelation

Let us take on the other hand the sheer marvel that is the Bible, and consider yet one more illustration of its precision and wit. Thus in Revelation 13, there is a question. IS the bestial political-financial apparatus, the last of its kind, the empire-making, world-dominating example par excellence, to actually PLACE on the forehead of ALL (not killed) the mark of this, 'the beast' ? If you read some translations, you might think this, but in use in this chapter for 'making' things happen, are two Greek constructions, in some ways alternatives, but here the differentiation is significant; they are not the same and their point is reflected in the context, in the way they diverge. It is in fact remarkable that in so short a passage, in fact over the space of 4 verses, these constructions are used at different points.

Thus there is in Greek a distinction which should be translated into differentiation in the English. In Rev. 13:14 there is the verb to do, make or cause, with the infinitive: the evil entity causes them to make an image. That is to be done, will be done, is done. He caused it to be, and it is.

Very well, it is simple cause with adequate power, and effect with certain accomplishment: cause and effect, that is in view. This image is certainly going to be constructed.


However a different construction is used in the Greek in Revelation 13:12, for there he causes, as before, but causes that they might. It is a different construction, the conjunction of purpose and the subjunctive, not a simple infinitive as above. English to some  extent provides the same option. Thus one might say, I caused them to do this. This is clear. You did it. They did it, and the reason was that you made them do it. However, you might instead say, in a different situation, I decreed, ordered, appointed that this should be done. If you are omnipotent, as you are not, it is clear that it will happen. If you are not, and no mere man is, then it is clear that this is your intention, or even decree, appointment, requirement; yet what happens depends, it all depends on your power and that of those for whom your purpose (the conjunction in  Greek is one of purpose).  Whether or not they try to resist or circumvent your decision, decree or determination, your purpose is one thing, and that is another. How successful it might be, that is a third component of the situation. Thus Rev. 13:13 could read: " ... and ordains that the earth and those who dwell in it should worship the first beast ..." or something similar to  grasp the quality of the matter carefully.

Thus in the cases of Revelation 13:12 and 13:15,  this is an edict, not a mere effectual power to get it done. He makes it to be that this should happen, he makes an edict, declares, requires and so on, is the sense of it. He will not of course get it, for we KNOW that there are many who will refuse, for AS MANY as caught are to be killed, if they decline; as in Rev. 13:15. In this verse,  this also, it is a not case of simple cause and effect; but with that same subjunctive, the meaning provides the sense of edict, declaration and determination, that it might be done.

It is neither more nor less than Hitler's approach to the Jew: the Jew was to be slaughtered; and yet not all were slaughtered, for some escaped detection, with foreign aid, with Swedish cleverness, with Dutch resistance and so on, and were never able to be confronted, because not found, so that the result of investigation was irrelevant. That never occurred, because they were not caught. They escaped the net, ordained!  The application of the edict, quite simply, was in those cases thwarted.

Now you may wonder what is the point of this distinction, that would interest us. First, then, it is the point in that the AUTHOR decided to write it that way, making the difference between the grammatical construction in Rev. 13:14 and 13:12 and 13:15. It is always important if you want to understand the mind of someone expressing himself, to know what he says, is it not ? Such variation in so small a  compass cannot be overlooked; it is not a question of stylistic conformity, but non-conformity, and the cases in question precisely reflect this fact.

Thus the IMAGE is CAUSED TO BE, but the death sentence and the homage is DECREED that it might be. There is the essential difference, one pointed out in  Thayer's Greek dictionary concerning the use of the word here translated 'cause', its various translations into English,  and the effect of various grammatical constructions; and it includes this one of purpose which we have noted, allowing such translations as 'appoint, ordain'. Such is seen also in Mark 3:14, where Christ ordains disciples that they might proceed in a certain way. That is the same construction as the one we have noted in Revelation 13:12 and 13:15.

When a mere man appoints or ordains, however, not the Son of God but the child of Satan, it is one thing to ordain and another to force it to happen. THAT, as we have seen, it depends on the power, and the escape routes available. Death is the barrier which some pass; escape is the other possibility as in all dictatorships.

Hence, it is by no means sure that there are but two classes of persons at that time, and in this respect: those who DIE and those who BOW. MANY may escape, no doubt a small percentage, but with many billions of men around, even 0.1%, say of 8 billion, would be 8 million, and one tenth of one per cent is a VERY small percentage!

Hence when the Lord returns, as you see happen in Revelation 19, after the destruction of  'Babylon'*3A , that great satanic, unspiritual sop to this world and bastion for the betrayal of the saints (in Revelation 17-18 there is recorded the sudden calamitous devastation of what had for so long endured, with its hideous incorporation of the evil birds, as they are called, of the earth), certain things now follow.

There will be many with the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26), the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes, including who lost their lives to the work of the bestial political power, and religious power, with its IMAGE; for these are part of the "all His saints" which are so directed as we see in II Thessalonians 3:13, at His coming.  There will therefore also be many who have died throughout all ages in Christ (I Thessalonians 4 shows their abstraction from this earth), and there will be ALL whom He has taken to Himself, according as it has been predestined, a fact the Westminster Confession rightly exposes when dealing with those who die young, or similarly by extension,  are intellectually 'challenged' and the like.

That is the first and blessed resurrection, that which is part of the coming of the Lord for His 'elect' as in Matthew 24. It is (cf. Bible Translations 4, number 32) those beheaded AND those who have not worshipped the image of the beast, this the culmination of many  prototypes over the Ages! (Revelation 20:4).

When is it to occur, in terms of sequence ? Christ in Matthew 24:15, in a setting of the 'end of the Age' and moving on till a 'then' which is the greatest tribulation to that time, and the point that unless He returned then, no flesh could be spared, shows that there is a pointer which shows a veritable climax of evil and horror is at hand. What is the pointer here in view ? It is this: that when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, STANDING IN THE TEMPLE, then flee from the environment.

This of course is what was given a preview in Antiochus Ephiphanes, as in Daniel 8's prediction; but it has its counterpart in the little horn of Daniel 7:8 (the same phrase is seen in Daniel 8:9), whose evil work was fulfilled in his placement of what is not God in the temple of God, an element for worship (cf. Biblical Blessings Chs.   1 and   2).

This figure is given more data in II Thessalonians 2, where it given the name 'man of sin', who is seen there parading himself, showing himself that he is god, in the temple. Now in that passage, it is made clear that his DOING THAT, that is, making of himself a god, apotheosis by desire if you like, occurs after what RESTRAINS is removed out of the way. The accelerator rushes the vehicle of evil in the domain of history, to its climacteric horror, when the brakes, what restrains, are removed! And what is it that DOES restrain except the power of God, but since that cannot be removed, what is meant ?

What is removed goes with the saints from the scene, at their call out of it, to Christ, at their summons from this terrestrial scene, to the wedding of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8). How can it be declared ? It is of course the power of the Spirit of God that dwells in the lives of His saints, salt in the earth, refusing to bow to the idolatries of man's fallen lusts, their testimony of valiant witness and freely poured out blood, a hindrance that shouts and echoes in the minds of the masters of tyranny.

It is this that is removed. It is this that until then, restrains! Now all restraint gone, the malignant apotheosis proceeds to its delight, and its swiftly following doom!

How is this removed ? It is removed with the saints whose bodies,  in whom the Spirit dwells for such work, are removed at the call of Christ, whose summons comes with the words, "Come up here"!*3B  as in Revelation 11, whose power resounds with the trumpet, when the dead are raised incorruptible, and this mortal puts on immortality (I Corinthians 15).

What is the name for that ? It is commonly called 'the Rapture' (in terms of Matthew 24:27ff,(, or the 'first resurrection' (Revelation 20), and means simply what Christ prescribed when He calls His elect from the four winds, and gathers them from the world (as also seen in I Thess. 4). It is indeed a rapturous thing, in both senses of the term, for the rejoicing of deliverance follows an immersion in the smog of spiritual corruption, growing constantly deeper, like that from the burning, physically, of rubber tyres. Just  as that became appalling, so does the summons to the Creator's reception evoke delight!

When does this occur in terms of the dynamics of the evil powers gathering in their storm ?

From Matthew 24 we learn that when the man of sin STANDS in the temple, the end is at hand. When he SHOWS himself*4, or decrees, as very likely would be the parallel performance, assigning a role of deity for himself, perhaps as the ultimate representative of man in his self-idolatrising way: then the people of God are already REMOVED, but only for a time.

The absence of their 'braking effect' led to the stunning speed of the spiritual insanity of the 'man of sin' (II Thessalonians 2:4ff). After their 'wedding' in heaven (Rev. 19:8), fitted with linen white, that is washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:13-14, 19:8-14) , they come with Christ as He desolates the wickedness of the false prophet, the beast and in dazzling truth, destroys the false glory of the man of sin (as in II Thessalonians 1).

These then are some of the features of the sequence,  let us return to the matrix of events itself when the Lord and His saints return to this earth. Let us consider the earth when Christ, having withdrawn His elect from the ultimate turmoil, comes with them, in that season when the apostles are to have their thrones (Matthew 19:28), and the earth is to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 2, Habakkuk 2:14).


59)  Revelation 19:8

§ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and brighnt, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.

The chief NKJV failure is in Revelation 19:8. Why this is so and what to do about it, and the whole situation in the Biblical context, broad and narrow, is covered in Chapter 1 of this volume (pp. 13-44 supra, on pp. 33ff.) . Suffice here to say that the KJV "righteousnesses" is better by far, than the NKJV.  It is plain dealing like this which is one ground of attraction for the AV.


60) Revelation 20:4

§ "I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God,
and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image,
and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand;
and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

Revelation 20:4 is an interesting case. BOTH the NKJV AND the AV do an inadequate work in translation here; though in this case, the NASV, The American Revised Version and the English Revised Versions do well. The NIV is all but unbelievable in its change of the text in this case, being even less accurate to the original than the AV and the NKJV. This therefore represents a case where NEITHER the AV nor the NKJV have an accurate readout; but two famous revisions do have it right; and this is most exceptional indeed. If it were not important, one could ignore it, but it has repercussions which make it worth while attending to it.

The case is this. The NASV rightly puts:

"I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God,
and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image,
and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand;
and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

However, the AV has "that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped"; while the NKJV has this: "who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands." In the English 'translation', this allows for a double condition for those present: that is, they BOTH had been beheaded and had not worshipped... They are a selection of the saints.

The Greek, however, has a participial phrase for the first set, "souls of those who had been beheaded" and then in the second reference, that is to the group "who had not worshipped", instead of a parallel participial phrase, it uses a finite verb and notes "and those who had not worshipped". It is not only a grammatical change, one which designates this group clearly and pointedly; it is a clear and simple assertion. These people were present.

Indeed, the verb for "saw" has three objects:

1) the thrones, near to it;
2) the souls as quoted above; and
3) those who did not do homage.

These are what he saw, ending in the "and" for the last one. The "souls" are further defined in terms of a genitive participial phrase "of the having been beheaded people". The third category is further detailed by a further clause, with a finite verb, indicating what they had not done. The selected grammatical architecture preserves clarity.

The term used relative to "had not worshipped", oitines, thus is "all those who". The plural of ostis,  it represents a bald recital of a group in question, exhaustively. ALL THOSE WHO HAD NOT WORSHIPPED have something predicated of them. They were present entirely, as a group, at this time. That is? In other words, this is the first resurrection, that of those beheaded, just as also  of those not worshipping the beast. They are ALL there. The bridesmaids who were asleep, certainly, are not there (Matthew 25); but those who were awake with hearts burning, they were ALL there. To the wedding they have gone (Revelation 19:8), to be clothed with the robes sparkling white with the washing of the blood of the Lamb (as defined in Revelation 1:5, 7:14), and their righteousnesses (as stated - see End-Note *2 in Section 1, pp. 161ff.) are both a donation and enveloping (cf. Appendix 4, The Biblical Workman).

Berkeley puts this well re Matthew 22, where the parable of the wedding guest WITHOUT his proper clothes is told, and he is REMOVED to a dire fate. He indicates that the rejected guest had failed to use the grace provided, and had depended on his own presentability! Quite contrary is the covering and glory of the saints as declared in Isaiah 61:10, I will rejoice - nay!

 The imputed righteousness and all its glories, as perfected in and by Christ, untouched by the hand of man, cleaned with the holiness of eternity, covers the bride. It is a righteousness wanted, washed and worn, without trace of unacceptability because with no trace of human production. The savour of Christ, the satisfaction of Christ, His thrust and working in us both to will and to do: it is all there in its grand beauty, with no derivative of the flesh at all.

With Christ come ALL the saints (Zechariah 14:5) while He comes to be admired in all those who believe (II Thessalonians 1:10), with Him as His own bride.

These then are they, who are noted in Revelation 20:4: there is no limitation. The categories are comprehensive. The entire course of the beast is before us; those dying in Rome’s first manifestation like those in later days. Now let us examine the category of those who had NOT done this homage to the beast, more thoroughly.

Who then has not so worshipped ? The beast as we see in Daniel, has multiple representatives, indeed beasts of a type are so homogeneous spiritually, that they are composed into one body in the symbolism of Daniel 2, while put in separate carnal convulsions and convolutions, in the beast parade of Daniel 7. The last beast, the fourth of Daniel 7 is as noted in SMR, the partly strong and partly broken Roman body that stretched from imperial Rome to Holy Roman Empire to later assortments, and it has its supportive dragon with lamb's clothing, and its 'female' adornment (Revelation 17:6). But where is the beginning of the thing ?

Moving back in Daniel's imagery, we find in Daniel 7, that the pictogram given him was an historical device to relay and relate to a series of imperial world dominions, and as also shown in SMR, and explicit in Daniel, these are shown from Babylon on. We move then back to Babylon, the head of gold in Daniel 2.

Babylon however did not spring from nowhere. In its denunciation at great length and with that same magnificent sweep of historical power which we find from the lips of the Lord in the Bible, we find partly in Jeremiah 50-51 and partly in Isaiah 13, its own place in the scheme of things. Its lofty self-assurance, its failure to have any compunction in being used as a broom of the Lord to sweep out the dirt of Jerusalem and Judah, is linked to its partial namesake Babel, where this same disregard of divine things was no less apparent. Thus we read in Jeremiah 51:53-54:

"Though Babylon were to ascend up to heaven,
And though she were to fortify the height of her strength,
Yet from Me plunderers would come to her," says the Lord.
The sound of a cry comes from Babylon,
And great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans,
Because the Lord is plundering Babylon
And silencing her loud voice..."

Just as Babel was indeed to "ascend up to heaven" in its heedless and reckless haste to divine honours or power or survey or situation (Genesis 11), and the Lord engineered its destruction because of its vapid and rapid grasping for a greatness which did not and could not so belong to it, so its namesake covered many religions, basked in grandeur and did not bother about the transgression of revelation involved in its empire-building spiritual enterprises, as rash and brash as the current internationalising of religion which goes on apace in the UN, in the "international community" and in the hearts of many who, though they may inhabit churches, make so fast and loose with the Bible that they seem but a convenient way-station for building into the heavens themselves, from which pathetically some look in the mere created universe, for celestial messages!

The spirit of Babel and of Babylon is alive and as sick as ever, but strong in its throes for the time as predicted; and many have been those who have worshipped there throughout all history from the first; but those who have NOT so worshipped and have not taken such a mark, the whole company of the elect throughout history, "all the saints" (I Thessalonians 3:13, cf. Zechariah 14:5, Deuteronomy 33:2-3*2), they will be there, fresh from the marriage feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19), where as "his wife" (19:8) they have been regaled by His regality. The cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), which sums up the vast review of history in Hebrews 11, where the FAITH has been seen with arms and legs, at work, will indeed witness. (Cf. SMR p. 1031C, and SMR Index, 'Babylon the Great'.)

But let us ask this further question. What of those who at ANY time worshipped the beast? Would that be fatal, unrepentable? Whether or not a worship of the beast is deemed to be (and therefore is) fatal, that is to say, an element in the unforgivable sin, or whether the concept is the normal one that sins repented of are dismissed (and that this could be repented of) is not stated.

However in the absence of anything to the point here, it would seem invasive to assume there is a special case here when it is not mentioned. Presumably therefore, it is as in Ezekiel 18:21. If someone heeds the warning of the watchmen, though he were appointed to very death, if he repents and turns, he is forgiven, and this sin will not be remembered. As both Old and New Testaments put it, "I will remember their sins no more", or as Micah says, "You will cast their sins into the depths of the sea".

In fact, of course, this is a universal statement for this world, it is a principle plenipotentiary. However, WOULD any such person repent? We do not know. There is no assurance that this is an exceptional, once-gone-never-repent case.

What is quite certain is this: those not so engaged are present. This is quite simply the assemblage of the church of Jesus Christ present in the millenium. It is not some special paratroop corps only. The book of Revelation is not a development of difference here, but provides expression in most salient and solemn terms sufficient to arouse the due circumspection of dabblers in the depths of the follies of this earth as its rigor mortis sets in, at the last days, now coming upon us like a mist from the sea.

On Rev. 20:4 see also Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 10,*2, which deals further with the topic.



 61) Revelation 22:14

§ "Blessed are those who keep His commandments,
that they may have authority for the tree of life,
and enter through the gates into the city"

Of great interest in the text for Revelation 22:14. It is the fact that the two major offerings that have been transmitted are so vastly different that we have here a crux for contemplation. We show the rendering here, give the reasons at length. In effect, the above in one sense incorporates the other, once it is understood in total biblical context.


One rendering, appearing in the NKJV and the AV (1),
unlike the case in the NIV,
English Revised Version, Berkeley, the American Standard Version of 1901
and the New American Standard Version (2), is this:

§"Blessed are those who keep His commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and enter through the gates into the city"


The case for those mentioned second above (2) results in the rendering:

"Blessed are those who wash their robes,
that they may have right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city."

The word for 'right' signifies AUTHORITY! It is an absolute mandate.
THAT is found ONLY in Christ as in Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1ff., Titus 3:5ff., Romans 5, John 10, 6:51ff., I Thess. 5:9-10. It is at HIS APPOINTMENT and not at our provision. He ONLY is Saviour (Ephesians 1:1-12), and any endeavour to synthesise this with the poor and imperfect efforts of the flesh is not so much an error as a different religion (Isaiah 53-55, Psalm 51, Romans 5:9-11, 10).



It is interesting that the famed Dean Alford in his very conscientious textual apparatus for the New Testament, also chooses (2). He notes of this that Athanasius (the famed controversialist for the trinity, against Arianism in the 4th century), along with Vulgate and Ethiopian, with such mss. as   A and a are here ranged against others supporting  the reading he does not choose. These include such items such as the mss. B, the Coptic, Syriac, Tertullian, Cyprian.

Also we find that (2) also has a wide selection of Italian versions, varied of the early Church 'fathers', and various notable mss.. That discriminating translator, Weymouth, also has (2), rendering "who wash their robes clean", while the notable Amplified New Testament has "those who cleanse their garments" and J.B. Phillips has "who wash their robes."  The Vulgate adds "in the blood of the lamb." The following additional early church notables are also cited as supporting (2): Athanasius (373 AD), Fulgentius (533 AD), Apringius (551 AD), Primasius (552 AD), a 6th century Ambrose and Haymo (841 AD).

This official UBS text also puts in (2) as the resolution, not (1), but indicates that Coptic testimony is from different sources, on both sides, whilst more than one Syriac, including the Harkleian is for (1), and with this the record of the famed 046.

This array is interesting, but not surprising when further criteria are regarded.

The considerations are mixed; but especially strongly in favour of (2) is the very MIXED and highly DIVERSIFIED sources of testimonies from many ages. It is to be confessed however that in this case, varied indeed is the alternative textual testimony as we see above, and not few are the 'fathers' who attest it.

To this must now be allied a further pair of considerations. The metaphor, spiritual pageant or in fact doctrinal declaration inscribed in the clause "wash their robes" which appears in essence both in Rev. 7 and Rev. 1, is strongly at peace with the normal phrasing and teaching therefore of the apostle. It is not only what he teaches; it is actually what HE SAYS!

It is more even than this. The alternative in (1) is not so much at variance with his doctrine: prima facie, it might even appear to be in stark and elaborate confutation of it. The redemption of the Lamb (5:9), the glory of Him whose blood allows washing, the clean and fine linen of the saints which knows no degree when they appear in HIS own presence (Rev. 19): all these are matters of the utmost simplicity.

HE washed us from our sins in His own blood  as Rev. 1:5 expressly tells us and it is HE who has MADE us priests and kings. THIS FOLLOWS FROM THE WASHING, AND IS NOT ATTAINED, BUT DONATED (Rev. 1:5-6). The water of life, accordingly, in Rev. 22:17, up to the very end, is not sold but given as was the case from the first (Isaiah 55), where there is even EXPOSTULATION on the spending of wages for nought, when the free gift was available without money and without price. Eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23). It is the blood which makes white; not the sweat. That is what this Book says!

To make war on this direct teaching, and make OBEDIENCE the ground for reaching heaven as a RIGHT is at war with John, with Revelation and with Paul, with Christ and with the prophets. It is not merely the folly of such a concept; it is the species of aggravation: it is by this as a RIGHT! Such is the plea of those in Matthew 7:21ff., and Romans 10 who go about to maintain and secure their own righteousness. This is a gift as we see in Romans 5:17. You receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

This is the total emphasis of John and Paul alike. Isaiah pours coals on the vagrant concept: "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Indeed, he declares, "All OUR righteousnesses are as filthy rages"! What then of himself ? He himself was cleansed by direct divine action (Isaiah 6), and it is He who writes, "with His stripes we are healed". It is not our aches but His stripes which give us authority to enter in (cf. John 1:12, 5:24, 10:9,27-28). While the ministers or servants of God burn like a flame of fire as the Psalmist tells us, it is not this which makes them so: it is because they are His servants that they so burn (cf. Matthew 7:18). They are made so, with the gift of righteousness, with the regeneration as new equipment (hardware if you will) and the Spirit of the living God upon them to drive and refine, while the blood covers (Romans 3:25).

Moreover Christ in Matthew 20:28, we find, gave Himself as providing the epitome of service, and the nature of the service was this: to RANSOM. Now a slave does not gain ground for his new, and free premises as a RIGHT from obedience! Someone washed in the very blood of another does not have right of redemption and reception in it, by his own OBEDIENCE!

It is thus clear that the text "wash their robes" is in agreement with the Johannine, Pauline and Isaianic; it is of the core and thrust of Revelation likewise in terms of access to Christ and authority to be His with all the spiritual graces and gifts involved in that simple fact (cf. I Cor. 3:21-23, Romans 8:32 in context 8:29-39). Its alternative in this function of authority to enter the kingdom "keeping the commandments" , as supplied, prima facie seems the precise contrary, like a student making a caricature of his teacher in a fit of outrageous humour.

These considerations, in the light of the enormous cleavage in meaning of the two texts (1) and (2) would appear to make the choice easy. What then might be thought ? Someone at some point corrupted the text. It is blatant and extreme, derelict of all consonance with the Bible, the apostle or the book of Revelation. It was a vast intrusion; but the alternative is strongly attested in church 'fathers', early versions, translations and decisively in the clash or consonance consideration.


 It is war, like D-day, or it is peace. It is contradiction or it is normalcy. It is the teaching of the apostle or it is a riot!


However, the reading of the Majority Text, as presented for example in the Second Edition of "The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text", from Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad (1985) is NOT to this effect. It provides (1) and not (2), commandments and not robes.

 It is a clear, categorical index to "keep His commandments".  Hence the AV and the NKJV, not unusually as one, both in the interstices of the majority text in the Greek,  likewise here both follow this finding. For them, it is (1).

 Accordingly,  one must consider afresh what may be the implication, a little more deeply.

 One can see the stress that might have been felt by some, but must now look at some other elements in the word of God to enlighten us on this point. Has the contrast between these two matters been adequately presented above ? That is the question. Have two possible understandings been merged, and has the actual intent of the text been lost, so making it appear unacceptable when an alternative reading is at least available.

Has not the GROUND of salvation been conflated with the AUTHORITY FOR ENTRY ? No indication is given that this entry is what saves. Salvation precedes it and entry pass if you will, is the inalienable privilege of those who, being His, love His word.

 Thus in Isaiah 26:2-3 we find this: "Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in peace, peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You." This provides gates. This has entry! This is parallel to Revelation 22:14. Indeed "the righteous nation which keeps the truth" is highly parallel to the keeping of commandments characterisation in Revelation!

 Here in context the question is one of a refuge and emplacement, following the destruction of the wicked featured, in Isaiah 25;   and the provisions are for the righteous, the people of God made righteous by HIM (Isaiah 25:7-8, 53:10-11, Jeremiah 23:6, Zechariah 3:9, Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 3:4, Isaiah 61:10, Romans 5:17), those already His. It is not how you BECOME a child of God, but what BECOMES OF YOU when you are that is before us here! It is not evangelisation but placement which is in view. That then fits our present situation in Revelation 22:14, and in its negative side, 22:15, which is the precise opposing parallel, speaking of those immersed and immured in their sins, sovereign over them, defined in defiance, dead in trespasses, OUTSIDE.

To provide a REFUGE  and emplacement for the people already those of God, and to give a ground for such transmutation, indeed conversion and salvation: these are two things wholly different. Here in Isaiah the entry into the city is in view, in terms of who is who: some are in fact sheep by this time, and some remain goats. So is the situation as in Matthew 25:31-46, of this kind, where all nations are seen gathered before Christ Jesus; and according to their already established nature, bred in Christ or outside Him, so is the RESULT.

That is precisely as in Revelation 22:14 in its context with 22:15, sheep and goats.

The REASON for the pardon and the change, it is the blood of Christ, never the keeping of commandments. However, are we TOLD that it is the basis of the redemption or the nature of the regeneration which makes each what and who he or she is ? or rather that we have an evidence or attestation for it ? Is this before us in Rev.  22,  the way the righteous enter or the way they are redeemed ?

Certainly not the latter, any more than being a sheep in Matthew 25, is the GROUND for salvation, rather than its quite obvious expression. You are born again, a sheep, if you will, then with a ticket of truth in Christ, a gladsome bell about your neck, placed there in the fulness of His favour, you enter.

Consider a football match. Tickets are first bought, only then presented. The ticket is by no means the ground for your being able to enter, but its testimony. Well-planted orange trees of sound genetic structure ('born again' is the parallel, God IMPARTING this Himself at conversion as in Titus 3:3-7) provide the basis, and having eternal life is the CONSEQUENCE. Thus in the case of oranges, the nature of the fruit it is which attests what they are, but this does NOT provide for their acquisition of this new nature or before that, their initial planting! These fruits are mere results.

It is not, then,  the case that evidence of fruit that is the ground of entry of the tree into the orange orchard; it is the consequence. Trees seen are tagged in terms of what they show themselves to be. HOW they became what they are, is the horticultural equivalent of regeneration, the planting of the Lord from His own stock.

When the trees are considered, it is not hard to see which have oranges, when you know what oranges LOOK like! (cf. Luke 6:46). To an orange tree, you do not continually cry in vain, BE an orange, look like an orange, possess juice!  However poor an orange may be, and however few may be the fruit on some, orange trees HAVE this fruit BY NATURE.  Never and in no way in any part of the Book of the Lord is there attested a type of tree that plants itself in this field, whether in Isaiah 61:3 where they are the PLANTING OF THE LORD, or in Romans 6, where we are planted with Him. It is not the oranges which plant the trees, but the planting of what are FIRST made into orange trees, which produces oranges. THAT change into the tree type, it is the work of God as in John 3, and no one else, for these are "born of the Spirit" who blows where He will.

Here likewise, it is not the keeping of commandments which is the ground of salvation, as John continually attests in Revelation as in 1:5, 6:11, 7:14-15 and so on, but the atonement of Christ. Notice in particular that  in 7:14-15, NOT ONLY are those found in the blessed and eternal presence of the Lamb the ones who "have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb", for that is only half the story. The rest ? It is FOR THIS REASON, that they are before the throne of God in such a blessed condition. The washing was the ground of their condition, position and eternal life.

Thus, in verse 15, we read: "THEREFORE are they before the throne of God, and swerve Him day and night ... they shall hunger no more ..." It is in such sites as I John 3:9, normative living in sanctity, that we see the results; and in I John 1:7ff., that we see another, the absence of delusion that being in Christ is the same as being anything in danger of being confused with sinlessness.

Sin's sovereignty is one thing; its presence is another. Pandemonium is one thing; imperfection is another. For all that, rebellion as you see in Jonah's case is far from normative, and is sure to be challenged and chastened as in Hebrews 12.

 The ground of being a child of God ? It is provision of blood (Romans 3:28, Galatians 6:14). The consequence ? you practice righteousness (I John  5:4, 3:10). The entry in Rev. 22:14 ? for those so endued.

Let us look at the latter:

Here, then, in conformity with this biblical teaching in general and that in the writings through John in particular, we find the sure result. Revelation 22:14 ? it is not the ground for BEING of this character that is stated, but the attestation of that nature. It is not the securing of salvation but its expression in recognisable results which is in view. These attest, but before this, the change is wrought when God invests the sinner to secure for him or her, the salvation which is free and functional.

This is in this overall context no more than saying that recognisable reality is required. Farcical fabrications are neither those of the redeemed, nor functional for fruit. Orange trees have oranges, not lemons; sheep have wool, not hair. Christians are producers of good fruit, not fraudulent substitutes. They are not all loaded, but none is an alien who produces a life of a divergent kind. If they sin, they repent; if they err, they are corrected, if they err greatly, they are disciplined as indeed was David, and if they are TOLD to confess, they do. In all this, they are as friends of God, children of the Almighty, brothers of Christ, acting in His kingdom by faith through grace, and installed not in solemn farce but transforming fact.

Goats have little beards; sheep do not. Goats are good at acting the goat; sheep do not naturally take to such antics. Their ways attest them; but as to the creatures themselves, God MAKES them. THAT is what makes them what they are, doing what they do. So here: God takes the sinner and makes the saint, the latter still far from perfect, but by NATURE aware of Him, awake to Him, girded by Him, educated in spirit by Him, surrounded with strength of spirit and wisdom of heart, by Him, led by Him (Romans 8:16). Indeed this last is a perfectly general proposition asserted of those who belong to Christ.

Let us stress that Revelation 22:15, the very next verse, on this perspective, fits to perfection, noting as if in due antithesis of the former statement in verse 14, that "outside  are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murders, and idolaters; and whosoever loves and makes a lie."

Here the very profuseness of the itemisation of those outside, fits as a match in the negative, to those who do enter. That opposite category who have no place, it is enumerated as we see above, with zeal! Beyond this, is the "for" at the head of v. 15. BLESSED are those who are His, who in short have in character and in essence departed from iniquity as in II Timothy 2:19, and who enter; BECAUSE OUTSIDE are those whose hearts are torn in iniquity, not born into the truth. That is a compelling consideration.

Indeed, it is this very point which makes the comparison with Matthew 7:20-21 apt. There someone is wanting ENTRY and is DENIED it on the ground that such a person has not done the WILL OF GOD. Good trees have good fruit, said Christ in Matthew 7, Sermon on the Mount. What however, someone may ask,  can this have to do with the issue:  Does the keeping of the commandments allow ENTRY ?

To this the answer is already established: it is not the GROUND of salvation that is in view, but it is the occasion of entry which must be understood. Not here is the buying of the soul in redemption, but the  badge that betokens that it is fitting for these ones, already redeemed, to enter. Sheep wool shows sheep, unlike the more wiry and sparse hair of goats. We are not here concerned with HOW they got to be what they are, but how they show it.

Certainly, I John 5:2 declares this: "By this we know that we love that children of  God, that we love God and keep His commandments". Nor is this given as a substitute for such love, as if loving God and keeping His commandments were some kind of celestial substitute for life one earth;  but it comes as the way of expression of what is divinely desired. Indeed, says John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome." There is nothing hypothetical here.



It appears timely now to pursue FURTHER the concept of  correlations with this teaching in John.

Thus in I John 3:21-23 and 5:1-5 we have this:  

"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment."

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

The emphasis is added here to depict the point in view more readily. The commandments in question are



  a) not burdensome.



   b) in essence to believe in the name of Christ and love one another

   c) and as  believing, it is summable as
      "believe that Jesus is the Christ,"   this being sufficient

   to ensure the regeneration, new birth, categorical change of status,
   as one of God's children, and of life,
   as renewed according to the image of Him
   who created us (Colossians 3:10).

To this is allied (I John 3), both assurance available
of such placement by grace, and the certainty of the blessed state to come.
In other words, believing in fact, and not in mere form, is an action-creating process, or better, an action correlative one (cf. SMR pp.
520 - 532,  Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 5), and the results are multiple, but the condition is one. In this sense, it is the exact correlative of washing your robes in the blood of Lamb, which you cannot do without faith in Him, and which as in Titus 3:3ff., results in being cleansed, regenerated and His. One textual version points it out directly, the other indirectly, but both bring up the point that the GOSPEL IS COMMANDED, CLEANSING and INDISPENSABLE.  

Accordingly, the ultimate is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (not ponder, 'accept' or postulate! - faith is the sort you ACT on, and not the sort you use as a children's game of 'Let's pretend!'). From this comes victory over the world. This is obtained by those who believe that "Jesus is the Son of God", which is thus entirely parallel as an expression to "Jesus is the Christ".

Victory over this world is inseparably annexed to believing, just as believing is unable to be evacuated of results, those which accompany faith. The fact that some become so keen to wrap it all up, that they institute a Romanesque works additive, does nothing to alter the essential fact that this is CONTRARY to keeping His commandments (cf. Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1ff.), and an affront to His word, covenant and Lordship.

This DONATED victory (you can have a donation which is extremely hard in its energising and work within you, from God who works in you both to will and to do - as in Philippians 2) ensures that, with whatever David-style failure here or there, or Peter-like weakness at this point or that (they were honest, pardoned and cleansed) you do not indulge in the CONTRA-COMMANDMENT illusion of perfection (cf. Psalm 139:23-24). In fact, this is so important that we shall cite it:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me,
and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."

As I John tells us, if you think that, you merely deceive yourself! Deception, so far from being the keeping of a commandment, is its BREACH! In other word, the gracious, salvation by grace through faith New Covenant is a COMMAND, and it cannot be broken. You are not free to invent your own means of pardon or imaginary results. They are characterisable, but anything approaching perfection is not one of the characteristics, any more than is wanton, wilful, disregard of His word. A child may err; but when the adoption is a PERSONAL thing, and not a generation matter in history among mankind, then there is a SORT of tree, fruit, child, result; and it has these two features, assimilability to the ways of God, and continual need of washing and pardon for the errors which occur, but need never accrue.

Thus this FREE Gospel of grace (Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 5:15) is one BY COMMAND, and in receiving HIM as commanded you acknowledge this. It is impossible for the devious creator of new christs, new gospels, new commandments and various oddities, since this is to defy the lordship of Christ who remonstrated as in Luke 6:46, WHY do you call Me Lord, Lord and NOT do the things that I say!

This "believe that... " is neither a matter of form nor one of burden. It is NOT grievous, burdensome. It is FAITH in HIM! It is not a matter of burdens placed on faith or additions to faith, which is characterisable as to its outcome, by God who tells us in Paul to judge nothing before the time (I Corinthians 4:1-4), and at the same time, when simple false doctrine is in view, false prophet material, adjoins us that we SHOULD know. What is indisputable relative to the word of God is not judging but application of that word; and in this, one must avoid presumption, which is as common as sand on this globe, and to be avoided as is that material in the eyes.

Thus, and in total accord in the writings accorded by the Lord to John, a regenerated heart is wrought by faith, so that believers in Him emphatically have eternal life (I John 5:11-12), and that is all there is to it, so long as you do not define faith anti-biblically as works, or symbol, or anything other than an active and assured trust in Him and in His integrity, and reliance on Him to do what He says and to be what He declares. In this faith, biblically defined, OF COURSE you act on it; and of course you are not perfect either, since it may be sullied or spoiled to some degree by fear or routine or other things, without - like your car which may get a bumper push somewhere - ceasing to be faith. In the end, you either do or do not trust Him, His word and His assurance. If you do, how do you trust someone else with something else! God is ONE!

So far then we have been considering the COVENANTAL approach to salvation, which inheres like a jewel in a casket, with the FAITH approach, since the faith is specified on the one hand for salvation, and the covenant specifies WHO HE IS in whom we are to believe, and what He has done. It is not some other Jesus (II Corinthians 11) or spirit or Gospel. It is this one, the COMMANDED one; it is this one, the FAITH operative one. It is this, the washing one; it is this, the directing to wash one. It is one.

Thus to doubt this eternal life through faith in Him is to doubt His assurances as in I John 5:11-12, 1:12, 5:24, John 10:9,27-28, Romans 5:1-11, and it comes back in the end to elemental acceptance of Him ass faithful who so assures. This is in no way to conclude that a sickness in this area is an absence of life; but it is to show that the normal life of faith is thus, and such is its inheritance.

Thus, in accord with all of this, John 1:12 tells us of the authority to become children of God, and it declares this to those who receive Him, the One just defined and declared, the Eternal God (there is one, not more cf. Psalm 82, 89:7), and as to the One there is, NONE IS LIKE HIM in character and power, none is comparable. To doubt this authority, or to defy His self-definition is the axe that removes all coming together. John 1:12 declares to the contrary, that there is not mere opening but AUTHORITY to become children of God where such faith in Him is to be found.

Accordingly those who so believe have AUTHORITY, in terms of Revelation 22:14, to enter the gate. They have kept the one all-sufficient command which leads to Him, to washing, to pardon, to adoption, to redemption, to assurance, to BELIEVE that He is the Christ, that He is the Son of God, and to believe IN HIM.

There is ONE channel for saving faith, and it is to HIM! There is ONE such Saviour and it is HE who came and is as declared to be, not another. There is one word of God, neither jot nor tittle BY HIS OWN WORD, can escape fulfilment, and this is the Bible as confirmed in the past and authorised in the future at the day of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, as I John 1 tells us, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. "AND JUST ..." Indeed, Romans 3 tells us the very same thing, that the redemption that is in Christ Jesus is provided that God might be just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus. In both these two additional scriptures, we find that the JUSTICE being covered, it is by being JUST that He authorises our entry, who believe, into heaven. Payment is made, faith has received it, it is applied by the Holy Spirit, and the result cannot be otherwise BECAUSE He is just, and therein is the authority, the right to enter the gates. Jesus having paid, it is BY RIGHT, by the divine right of the Saviour that the believer enters in.

Man is to live by EVERY WORD which proceeds out of the mouth of God, and this is part of faith, to accept what He has said. It is rebellion against what He desires, not failure, it is removal of His will which makes it a fraud. In the end, many say this and that, but they seek Him and His word, to follow it as it is, and not as people would mangle it, which matters. It is not perfection but faith which is in view, and faith does not make perfect, but for submission to HIM, and not to men! (cf. Galatians 1:6-9). The commandments of the Lord (I Cor. 14:37), and the scriptures of the Lord (II Peter 3:16) are not for fun but for faith.

You cannot ADD to it, nor could you remove it, since it is His. Even a letter is what is given, and not some conflation with your own inspiration. Much more so is this with the word of the Lord, and with the book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16). Small wonder that this same apostle John is so emphatic that you cannot take away from the WORDS he has given, or add to the THINGS! THIS is the end! Christ came, the word came and the word is closed. Precisely as in Deuteronomy 4 and 12, there is a beginning and an END. THIS Gospel and not some other is to circulate the globe till the end of HISTORY follows the END of the writing of the BOOK of the Lord! (Matthew 24:12).

Thus authority and washing are everywhere to be found: AUTHORITY in telling you in what to believe, and who He is, and washing, because you believe, which changes what you are, so that as His, though far from perfect, you know your way about ... His house! You respond to this in faith, obeying the command to repent and believe by the power and grace of God.

It is personal FAITH (I John 2:27) so that you do not confuse men with God! It is loving faith, so that you seek fellowship with those of like precious faith (Jude). You are able to KNOW that He is able to keep you from falling, for this is part of the COMMANDED word, and that He will not let you be tested too far, for this is another part (I Corinthians 10:13). You are aware that you will never perish since the Good Shepherd (if you are a Christian) is yours (John 10:9,27-28), and this is HIS COMMANDED WORD, that so it shall be. You trust Him. 

You believe in Him as God incarnate, ransom of your life, bodily resurrected (Luke 24, I Cor. 15), conferring His eternal life on you (cf. I John 1:1-4, Romans 6:23), God eternal, given of grace and of eternal redemption, salvation, not in some variable entity of your or some other person's or body's creation! Christ is NOT and never WAS created, being God from the first, and in His very own, unique FORM as such (Philippians 2). HE is to be regarded to make His WORD and His GOSPEL clear; and this is precisely what He has done. He may test us with concerns which force us to think, and to understand more deeply, and what good teacher does not do this! It is good, and we grow, as Peter prescribed in II Peter 3:18! yes in grace and in knowledge.


Let us even add to all of this. The AUTHORITY in Revelation 22:14 is this: to have access to the tree of life. This tree is seen in Rev. 22:2, and it is MEANS and METHOD and GROUND for eternal life. As such it is Jesus Christ.

HOW do you have authority to the take PRODUCT of this tree, namely eternal life ("lest he should put out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat,  live for ever" - Genesis 3:22) ?

It was EXCLUDED to Adam because of his breach of fellowship and failure in the test of innocence; but it is NOW accorded to MANY (Matthew 26:28, Isaiah 53:9ff.), and to ANY who should, so to speak, stretch out his faith and take and eat (John 6:50ff., in the new ransom mode of access by sacrifice),  the sin offering of Christ.

The authority is gained by obeying the joint commands, to repent (if not, nothing - Luke 13:1-13), so giving appetite and stomach to TAKE and receive the gift, by faith, and so have Christ as Redeemer, so living for ever. It is found by receiving the COMMAND not to substitute works of your own for His (Matthew 7:21ff., Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10), in whole or in part, of this or that 'part' of you, since it is ALL YOU, and any work of yours is excluded! and by taking the gift of grace THROUGH grace (Romans 5:15), so that neither in its substance nor in its mode of giving is there ANYTHING of merit or superiority or contribution of relevance to distinguish you whatsoever. It is NOT of the will of the flesh, period! (John 1:12 cf. Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 3).

Thus and not in some autonomous way, you EAT the sin sacrifice by faith, and so have eternal life.

SO you enter the city, since by THEN you are HIS, and are COVERED, and it is a citizenship which of course is conferred by belonging to the King of the City.


Then, being born again of Christ

(as in John 3, by the power of the Spirit, as also in John 16,
and through His conviction dynamic),


you are given a new nature (as WHAT, being born again, is born of GOD),


so that while still decidedly imperfect (I John 1),
the recognition of which is also by COMMAND there,


you are equally decidedly NOT, as a matter of fact -


by your new heredity and new connection to "Christ in you, the hope of glory" - Col. 1:27) -


under the domineering dominance of sin


but set free (John 8:31-36, Romans 6). 

 Then, so constrained by the command which makes the altered and UNALTERABLE GOSPEL (Galatians 1:6-9, 3, 5), and not imagining that having started in the power of the Spirit you may continue somehow to wrest something from the 'law' of your own works, as Paul so clearly shows in Galatians 3, 5, you proceed as a son of the house, in the house, abiding in spirit and in principle, and in essential character in the rules of the house which holiness becomes.

If you DO fall into any sin, at any time,  then you have now an ADVOCATE, Jesus Christ the righteous as your Barrister (I John 2:1ff.), and you are acquitted; for having heeded His word and believed in Him who sent Him, you HAVE eternal life (if it finished, you would never have had it, for it is one which is resulting in His acting, saying, "He will live forever", even for one of whom it is said, he ate of the body, with no statement of continuity as in John 6:50-51.

Moreover, such a one is such that he "will not die" for he "does not come into condemnation" and "has passed from death to life" (John 5:24). Naturally (John 6:53), the one who receives Him in sacrificial atonement draws always on His provision; but equally, he who once eats of this, will live for ever. Such is faith, and the faith.

Thus the commands about BELIEVING, and receiving by faith, the sacrificial Lamb, and doing so in repentance, so that His is the life within, the thing being not ostensible but actual; and about the absence of one's own works of ANY kind being relevant: these are constrictions on the STRAIT or constrained way in (Matthew 7:15ff.). You HAVE to enter that way, and there is NO AUTHORITY for any other way! and the faith does not alter. Yet if you enter in that way, you have GRAND AUTHORITY, the authority that God did this for you that He might be JUST, and being justified, there is this stark, vicarious but victorious, graciously conferred but entirely operatively perfect  right of entry!

So does all scripture sit together, and does its authority say the Gospel in all its liberty, assurance and perfection, stressing now this, not that aspect, now using symbol, now being direct, so that any and all concerned may come, whether this way or that, to the POINT, of which there is but one, of the Gospel. It is thus that coming in HIS OFFER (as in Isaiah 55), to Himself as Saviour and Lord, and without deviation to false gospel or another Jesus or another spirit, or another alliance, or another command or another authority, believing what is offered and Him who offers it, that the tree of life, eternal life its fruit, is granted at last to fallen man.

If anyone sin, then there is a constraint on that too, to confess it and be cleansed from it altogether. If anyone is on the highway of holiness, even if he err, yet he will be led; for it is of this kind, and the new nature is inseparable from the One who gave it, so that as Christ said, the one who enters by Him will be saved and go in and out and find pasture, and SHALL NOT PERISH (John 10:9,27-28), and DOES NOT come into condemnation, having PASSED from death to life.


Here, then,  is John in another book with the same immense and intense emphasis on the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, with no pluses (I John 1:7-2:2, 3:1-3, 4:1418, 5:10, 5:11-12), together with the same combination of considerations.

First is the free way to be saved, and then there is the natural and supernaturally charged expression of it; and this, it is not a handle for man's manipulation (I John 2:27), but a testimony of divine power. JUDGE not! thunders as securely as ever (Matthew 7:1ff.); and fruit appears as a ground to seek in discriminatory watchfulness when false prophets ply their wares. One obviously missing fruit, in such cases, in humble and contrite reception of redemption (cf. Things Old and New Chs. 9, 10, Epilogue and Appendix) from deity in flesh, is marked like the mushroom cloud. One freely confessing the reality of Christ within, only Saviour and living God, freely conferring salvation without works is likewise to all visible sight, in concord with the truth, as Christ conducts the life on the paths of eternity.

It is therefore the word of God which must at all times be applied chastely,  neither with intrusive self-righteousness, far less assessive skill (I Corinthians 4:1-5), as if man were the judge, but with watchful alertness. When it comes to secret judgments, the DAY WILL SHOW IT, the actuality, here says Paul. Schismatic freakishness is as far astray as is careless indifference to what is required.

Keep the commandments ?  After all, ONE commandment that resonates in Revelation, and indeed in I John and Isaiah 1, is WASH! It is only pure rebellion which will refuse that; and what then happens ? Then one is made clean by imputed righteousness, crowned with imparted righteousness, not as a ground of justification but as an expression of it (Romans 8:10), and lifted into the relish of righteousness, in the company of the Supreme Righteousness, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9-11). Redolent with His presence, made keen in His joy, there is for His people the token of the perfection that is His, in the portrayal of OBEDIENCE to His LORDSHIP. His commandments are not hard! No, (I John 5:3-4). Wash ? This is not onerous!

The mother's call to her children before breakfast, Wash! is not a ground for distress, but a natural operation in a household that walks in wisdom. It is not ground for virtue that one washes, but attestation of being one of the family. It is a washing family: that is how it is constituted in the case in our view.

Wash ? Indeed, it  is He who cleanses! (Hebrews 10:14). How would he whose heart is changed refuse to be washed ? Would wheels not turn ? would water not wash ? would Christ's blood then not cleanse ? Only denial has impact on such an issue, and denial is not the affirmation which we study!

It would here be apt to note that the great Matthew Poole in his Commentary on the Bible, points out that in Revelation 22, the tree that imparts life is obviously Christ, and just as it is introduced in verse 2, so its access in v. 14 provides access to Christ; and that the great Gospel commandment is to believe in Christ, so that in believing, one is obeying; and this is the more obvious in Acts 4:11-12*.

One must add that this excludes another Christ, another Gospel or another Spirit, the Spirit of God evidently, as in Ezekiel 47 and John 7 being seen as a life-imparting stream, in figure. It does however indicate saving faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour, all additives excluded (Mark 7:7ff.), all alternatives deposited in the pit (II Cor. 11), all changes abhorred (Galatians 1 - the word is scarcely too strong to cover Paul's declarations here).

He who has HIM, has life, says I John 5, and he who lacks Him does not have life: it is exclusive (of unbelief) and inclusive (of belief, and hence on acting on it, and receiving Him as in John 1:12). To those, says the Gospel at this point,  He gave AUTHORITY to become the children of God. This authority stays with the believer for ever according to the promise (John 3:16, 6:50-54, 10:9,27-28, 5:24); so that in having obeyed the command to believe in Him, the believer has already all authority to Him for ever, by grace, through that faith by which he first entered the first door, which is the Lord Himself (John 10:9 with 27-28).

Whether it be washing the robes or believing and so in effect encompassing all commands in one, it is one: the one leads to the other and the other to the one.

Thus in John 12:35 you have the command, "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be children of light" (bold added); and in 9:5, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world," and again in 8:12, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." To believe in Him is to obey that one command which embraces in its grace and mercy all commands, for what lacks He covers, and Christians are accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), by grace, their deficiencies accounted for in the great accounting (II Cor. 5:19-21), and their efficiencies graciously valued (Matthew 25, as of the sheep).

In Rev. 22:17 the freedom of the drinking which according to the Lord Jesus Christ, in John 4, imparts life forever (and it is aorist, not a process in that verse, as for the parallel in John 6:50ff.), is maintained straight after our text in 22:14, making it even clearer, if possible, that the keeping of the commandments in 22:14, means what I John 5 tells us, believing that Jesus is the Christ. In that setting however, it makes it obvious that this is no mere wafting of a verbal wand, a casual dripping from the devious lip, but biblically defined faith, which means a trust that activates as in James, an assurance that constrains, and anything but feeble formality alone.

Now before we go further, let us pause. Having said these things, it is clear that we must be sober in understanding  Revelation 22:14. This is by NO means to imply that ANY form of our own righteousness or works is even RELEVANT to salvation. Far removed is all such cant from the GROUND for that blessed pardon, transmutation and transformation, of depths and of heart, of spirit and of life, of thought and of procedure. As above noted for Revelation, for I John as for Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-10, it is always the same. He saves freely (cf. Isaiah 55), and you are then arrested, invested and conducted in the paths.

Your works change you then ? your works make you a Christian ? That too is ludicrous, a ground for boasting, says Paul.  Oranges don't make orange trees, but orange trees attest their origins by their oranges! It is calumny of Christ, making havoc of His word, indeed by tradition of thought from philosophy, making the word of God of none effect as Christ put it in Mark 7:7ff..

No, instead here in Revelation 22:14, it is to indicate, along with Matthew 7's stress on the will of God, that there is a token that betokens, a result that indicates, an index that agrees, and it is not on this as ground of salvation in the very least degree, but as an expression of what is that ground, that entry is given.

The fees, again, are first paid for; but it is the cap and blazer which identify at the gate.

It is an inexhaustible account of righteousness (II Cor. 5:17-21), with a fathomless depth of pardon, paid in Christ's sacrificial death,  which is the GROUND OF SALVATION, with its crux that cross of Christ in which alone is one to glory; but here, in Revelation 22, it is the testimony of that righteousness which is the indisputable notation of Him who saves and to whose kingdom the Christian comes, which characterises the entrant. The topic of redemption in Revelation 22:14 indeed, is not even MENTIONED! Because of other scriptures, it cannot even be here entertained any more than in Isaiah 22, as shown above.

Abysmally would any fail, if this were ground of salvation; but as expression of the washed heart and Lord-run life, it is incalculably different from what is not. The light of Christ shines in the once stricken but now secured soul, and this, it is unmistakable! (John 8:12). Repent, receive, believe, commit, entrust, rely, for to faith all this is open; and with this obeyed, there is authority. Nothing deters, the way is opened, and in this you now operate, an operator by sublime, divine authority. Having entered the door in submission, you are renewed in commission; in obedience received, since you believed, the base is HIS obedience, and the result is yours, in so receiving the outcome of His singular obedience in achieving the ransom for free, indeed wholly authorised entry, and continued access.

Similarly, from such redeemed and Christ-inhabited souls, we are told that the Spirit of God pours forth like a stream (John 7:37). Who can fail to notice a stream, least of all, the Lord!

Indeed, there is a certain savour in the path and calling of the Christian, which is a testimony of life to the living and of death to the dying, as Paul declares it (II Corinthians 2:14-17).

The STENCH of sin is covered; the GUILT of sin is covered; and consequently the WORK of righteousness is REAL, so that the testimony it gives, like a ticket paid for elsewhere, but honoured on presentation, is indefeasible, just as its ground in Christ Himself, is indefectible.

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments;
and His commandments are not burdensome!
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world,
and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith"

(I John 5:3-4).

Yet one may say, COULD anything be remotely near enough to attest Christ, even as an index, in such as that chief of sinners, Paul ? Yes, it could, not as a ransom, but as an expression of the realisation and reality of that ransom. The peculiarly individual sap of the vine in the limb attests its place! Such a divine sap is this that not to realise it would be more than congenital blindness, it would be to shut the eyes; and remember, it is God who sees! and through whom is entry for these, His own. Does a mother not know the ways of her own children ? and in this case, rebellion is worse than witchcraft! Change is here not psychological or cultural, political or ideational merely, but personal, spiritual and eternal (I John 3:9). These necessary consequences of such divine action are divinely visible, in terms of construction, as much as were the ruins of Hiroshima in destruction. You need no microscope to see such things.

Why even the lips will be strengthened in godly testimony (Luke 21:15)! Without His Spirit you are no Christian at all (Romans 8:9), and with it, the body is dead because of sin, and you are LED by the Spirit (Romans 8:10,16), being no more characterisable as in the flesh, but in the spirit (Romans 8:9). Indeed, without this transmutation, you CANNOT please God (Romans 8:8). With it, you are rendered ENGRACED in the beloved, or accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:6).

What then ? Ransom is legal, pardon is profound; and it is not without results. It is time to be clear in this generation that the greatest work in human personality ever made since creation (cf. Colossians 3:10), is not vacuous but virtuous, not evanescent but evangelical, not merely emotional and notional but actual. Realisation is practical in life quality for the children of God. Being born again does not fail to make you a new creation, utterly diverse from its earlier model.

If CHRIST is in you (Colossians 1:27 -'the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles'), there is indeed no automatic perfection or anything remotely like it; but there IS a Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which is in such a person (Romans 8:9), and those that are Christ's HAVE crucified the flesh with its lusts (Galatians 5:24), so that to LIVE is CHRIST! (Philippians 1:21). His shepherding is one function, His first making you SHEEP is another; His Spirit in you is a third and His zeal over you is a fourth (II Corinthians 3:18). Love of His word is a fifth, as He Himself attests (John 14:21-23), and is inseparable from love of Himself. Love, it never fails! Love constrains, remains; it does not entertain but enables; and when it is love of God, in a nature made susceptible by God, then rebellion is not the reality in view. It may come for a moment as a mist in the morning; but departs at noon. Regeneration is not a new front for the store, but a new store for the front.

To suggest that this has no practical bearing on anything is mere contradiction; just as to maintain that it could serve as a ground, rather than a mere index, for admission would be as anti-scriptural a point as anyone could wish. It is therefore, perhaps, in the end here, a matter of rightly dividing the word of God. Authority to enter is a vast and imposing reality inseparable from the presence of the Spirit who enables in the heart of the believer; but it is not the same as the PAYMENT for entry or its GROUND. Even the priests took note of Peter and John that they had been with Jesus. IF you have been with Him, it is as impossible to hide as is the reek of rebellion!

On this, the reader is strongly recommended to see the Sermon No. 43, in The Site.

Hence John's constant stress on washing throughout the book of Revelation may have been a reason why some wanted to change the text here to what, in the Greek, involves very little change, though in the English it is vastly different. It is the Greek, however, which was transcribed and it is here that changes occurred. Needed to move from keeping the 'commandments' to 'clothes' was chiefly the dropping of two letters before the Greek for commandments and adding one letter, to turn it into clothes. There was a net reduction, a net omission. That is readily done in transcription. It is not quite so easy to add what is not there at all. Possibly operative also is motive, and the extreme ease with which this may appear another Gospel, would be testimony to that (cf. 43 above). The other change in the text has no net numerical effect, and is precisely the sort of error, when the cases are inspected, which could well be imagined!

This harmonises well with the Majority Text which has those extra letters at this point; and it is to this that one looks in providential grace, where there is no masterful ground to the contrary. Not little must be the impetus to depart from that objective reality. Again, there is a wide spread on both sides, in this textual doublet: Tertullian versus Athanasius for example. The former, with the Majority Text as it is now, had one advantage, that his time was substantially nearer to that of the originals, since he was born at the end of the second century, far earlier than Athanasius, and is joined in his testimony to what is now the Majority text, by Cyprian, and of course Codex B with neighbouring Syrian as well as Coptic companionship.

It is true that you do not alter the everlasting gospel which none of the writers stresses more constantly than John, and none more than Christ for that matter: because of confusion. That leads only to illusion, as if different aspects of the same truth were beyond contemplation. Indeed, as Paul says, even if HE should preach another gospel, he would be accursed (Galatians 1).

What then ? You do not, emphatically NOT, follow orders in order to be accepted, except in this, that without the Gospel, you CANNOT be accepted, and you are COMMANDED (Acts 4:11-12) to REPENT and to believe in the Saviour (John 8:24). We have seen this in great detail above. Indeed, you DO follow the command, so non-burdensome, to find Christ so that with Him, you for ever will be, with God your Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11-12, Revelation 2:9, 21:22, 22:3); and so you look for His return with real expectation (I John 3:1ff., Hebrews 9:25ff.).

It is not just that the Greek here rendered "in order that" can have, as Thayer's dictionary*1 points out, the sense of purport rather than purpose; but it is also that the commandment in question is to BELIEVE in Him, to believe that HE is the Christ, the Son of God, and if these are several, yet in essence they are all one. It is to believe in Him as your continual and eternal Saviour, so that it is NEVER you or your performance at all, that is the question, you being blessed for your good works, while those who REFUSE salvation, as in Matthew 25, are cursed for their bad ones. That is the difference between being covered and not covered. Even a somewhat blundering man in a covering that excluded radiation would live, while the most agile without it, might be assigned assuredly to death!

What then, you KEEP the commandment, first of all, to repent before the living God and of what more than this, that you had not trusted His word, His ways, His works of salvation and power to sanctify, for yourself! Moreover, there are not only sins of ignorance to repent of, but of commission and omission and of stature, non-growth in spiritual things, or in perverse substitutes, of your own estimation, while HIS command, character and call were neglected. KEEP that, in the sense of being appalled by it, and turning to the Lord in penitence, being pardoned and commissioned for better things. KEEP the commandment to believe in Him (for if you do not, He indicated, you will die in your sins), believe in Him as in the Father, with whom He does all things as the Father does, and thus to find in Him the eternal God (John 8:58).

Moreover, as I John 2:7, there is a commandment, not new, to love his brother. This is taken as an OUTCOME (John 3:14) of "passing from death to life" as in John 5:24, where we are told that he who hears His word and believes in Him who sent Him, has eternal life, does not pass into judgment, and has passed from a state of death to one of life! With the words through John, there is always this combination: faith brings life, but it is faith in the One who in the beginning both was God and was with God, the eternal I AM, and in Him as He says, who is able to bring sin in subjection (John 8:29-32), BECAUSE one depends on Him who acts for the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 63). The gift is gratis, the results are sure, the skirmishes may be many, but the victory also is a gift (I John 5, Galatians 5).

Again, in believing in Him, we do not have a sharing of His authority (Matthew 23:8-10), about not being called father or master, because ONE is your Master, even Jesus the Christ. This too is a command. The commandments define the issue, but what they supply is access to the actual Christ, so that He cannot be mistaken, and so one finds and enters through the door, having as in Revelation 22, authority of access since HE calls to all, and being lifted up, draws all men to Himself.

Some do not come anyway; they refuse His call. So be it. Grace is evacuated by making, defining, renewing a new god, just as in Deuteronomy 32, or new gods newly coming up on the spiritual screen, based on nothing, sent from nowhere, providing no salvation, giving no authority of access to grace. Thus this aspect of Revelation's teaching is also precious, ruling out all the foolish fevers of what one would call transformationism, emergent or emerging churches, Vineyard type practice of fondling bringing in this and that in the construction of some combination or synthetic god of preference,  created by man; but how ludicrous. In the beginning, MAN WAS NOT, and he was NOT with God, and he was NOT the word, any more than he now is. To treat mankind to such sumptuous spirituality not only demeans him (as whenever you refuse the due use of something, and so evacuate from its lustre), but misdirects to what very simply is not the case, and so does not help, just like placebos. They might taste nice, but bitter in the bowels is their resultant!

It is all a gift, when you take it at the command of the Giver, by faith, the whole thing not of yourself, but the provision of God as in Ephesians 2:1-10. The whole thing is HIS work done by HIS grace, and received at HIS call, which coming from foreknowledge in His love in all issuance,  all provision, is dowered in devotion; for it is His stated will that all might come, and nothing in HIM prevents it. It is ORDERED in the result, but FOUND in the foreknowledge. It is not the preference of sin, but the one which God finds before time or sin, so that the difference stated in John 3, it is the DIFFERENTIAL preference for darkness in the very face of the saving light of Christ which matters. Nothing is to be set at God's door: has He not done ALL that one might even conceive in personal sacrifice in humility, humiliation and constant holiness, an example, a ransom, a release to peace in pardon!

Thus there is AUTHORITY just as, alike with Revelation 22:14, in John 1:12, where to those who receive Him (as there defined and depicted) are given AUTHORITY to become the children of God. Access to the tree, to eternal life, to being children of God, whichever, all and each, these come freely to faith. There is nothing free about the wages of sin, for these are duly paid (or paid out, where Christ is received as the sin-bearer - Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3); but the GIFT of eternal life is entirely free, where faith receives it in the name of Christ and His work of salvation (Romans 5:17-18): free to us, but not to Him!

WHATEVER the excuse for not believing, it is always the ground of exclusion; and there is no mistake about the foreknowledge of the fact of His act of love and this relative to everyone (John 3:15-16, Colossians 1:19ff.). It is then predestined in logical order, in terms of the originating love, and the foreknowledge of each person (not of works, since the soul is not then in existence and this is denied as relevant at all in Romans 9). Next in logical order is the predestination in security of what is thus known, followed by the call, the justification (Romans 5:1),  and the glory which follows as in Romans 8:30ff..

There is no room for new commandments, set-ups, situations, arrivals; it is all categorical. Blessed are those who simply believe in Him so presented, and receive both Him and His word, which depicts who He is, His will and His ways.

John stresses this realism  about the truth, along with the glory of the loving and free gift of eternal life. It is take it or leave it; with no controls, no changes and no special pleadings. It is the same in physiological life, when it comes to the crisis point. If you have cancer, and an excision will remove it in time, good. But you can't substitute new drugs, such as aspirin or some concoction of your own. If you do, you freely court death, which in such a case, can be very yielding!

Thus it is not at all your performance which is here in view, but your following the covenantal faith to the Covenanted Conqueror, King and Lord, and so being regenerated being His. Thus, as in John 1:12 do you have right to enter in, and as to working your passage or whole or in part,  such a thing is not anywhere in the entire word of God ever asserted. It is ridiculed, rubbished (Romans 10:1ff.). You do it because a good tree cannot do otherwise. It is endemic, irresistible, natural to the new nature which, however blighted at times by the scorching fire of temptation, as with Jonah or David, Peter or Thomas, yet like a citadel under siege, not only stands but sallies forth with spirit, to overcome the enemy by the power of the Spirit, the promise of the word and the transformation wrought and fostered by the Lord, within (cf. II Corinthians 3:18).

Any concept of seeking performance rather than Christ alone as guarantor and guide, ground and entry right is ridiculed, rubbished (Romans 10:1ff., I John 4:9-10,18-19). You act in godly style because in the end,  a good tree cannot do otherwise. It is endemic, irresistible, natural to the new nature which, however blighted at times by the scorching fire of temptation, as with Jonah or David, Peter or Thomas, yet like a citadel under siege, not only stands but sallies forth with spirit, to overcome the enemy by the power of the Spirit, the promise of the word and the transformation wrought and fostered by the Lord, within (cf. II Corinthians 3:18).

That indeed now becomes the point: if you do have this characterisable attitude of keeping the commandments, this thrust, this generic mode, not in the imagination of perfection, but with humility and contrition, with the power of the pardon in the blood of Christ continually operative (I John 1:7-9 saying precisely this), then this is visible to the invisible God. You are alien. Aliens lack authority in the land! They need first to be brought near by the blood of Christ, which through faith changes their very ‘genes’ (I John 3:9). New genes are generative of new beings, children of God.

He knows, because He Himself declares that NO ONE can have in the flesh, anything but enmity with God; but YOU are NOT in the flesh, says Paul (Romans 8:5ff.), but in the Spirit; and if anyone does not have the Spirit, that one is none of Christ's! That is the word of the Lord. Indeed, if Christ be in you, the apostle declares from the mind of Christ, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Infinite payment was not made for infinitesimal result.

What a marvel we have then here! Sin brings death, borne by Christ for every believer (II Cor. 5:20-21), and the Spirit freely enters and moves in the covered soul, in the life with Christ, so that the righteousness appointed in legal cover, is also that active in dynamic lift. It is not the DEGREE of lift which is in point, but the dynamic of it, the reality of it, the NEW CREATION aspect and the savour of His own Spirit in the converted soul and life of the Christian. God does not ignore Himself! 

Moreover, it is a case of transformation, of entire change, at birth into spiritual life (John 3). Could anyone confuse an egg with a chicken! So it is with the new life, not attributing any sort of perfection to chickens, but rather discernible wings!


Let us turn from the biological to the botanical: In Christ, those who are planted are kept and bear fruit (Romans 6). But leaving all figure, let us be direct.


The unalterable, inextinguishable righteousness of Christ, a gift to the pardoned saint (cf. Romans 1:1, 5:15-21,Romans16-17),
it is this which resides undimmable,
unfading, unflecked and unspotted in purity,
the cover for cancelled sin, the condition of reception
into fellowship with God;
and it is this from the Good Shepherd
who laid down His life for the sheep, 
which alone keeps faith with God, alone up to the infinite standards of His acceptation.


Here lies their anchor (Hebrews 6:17-20, 9:11-12,10:10,14), the ground
for the change of name and entry into life (John 1:12).


But the life so donated in such liberality and effectuality,
this attests itself and is known to God.

The former gives redemption status, regenerated reality; the latter gives recognisability of the born,
as borne by and in Himself.
You cannot really mistake the ways of a kitten with those of a pig.

ONE of the criteria of such a life is the fact that CHRIST is Lord, and is CONFESSED as such (Romans 10:9), not merely mouthed. Another is this, that that name above every name is a very hub and centre of action between God and His ransomed children. It is like a car: not in the garage but on the road, with continual calls to headquarters. These may be of distress, of joy, of sharing, of drawing on the funds of strength for function.

Such a spirit is profoundly obvious to the Father of spirits, and it is but one aspect of the new life in Christ.

It does not posit any more ascription of praise to those so changed, than did the rebellious moment of Jonah; but the prophet remained what he was, a man of God, even offering to be thrown overboard to seek for peace for OTHERS on board, whatever became of him. So Cranmer, excellent archbishop, having in temporary sojourn from spirituality, signed a document of renunciation, of recantation concerning the very truth, muddled in his thought and muddied in his mind, yet in detestation of his sin, BURNT that same right hand FIRST in the fire, where he went after recanting his recantation, having first with conspicuous gallantry, preached again the true Gospel of free grace in the very midst of his foes.

Thus, what literally are the having-been-saved-by-grace-through-faith people (Ephesians 2:8), as the Greek expresses it, come into life with the testimony of Christ undivorceable from their faces of faith. They seek a city which has foundations, and go as seeing Him who is invisible, and He who is invisible descries their beloved form, as the father in the parable saw his returning son; and here how much more does He know those who abide with Him at last, His very own come in finality into the premises to which they have long looked, to share with Him whom long have they known and in whom they have dwelt. Thus in Romans 8:30ff., it is even those whom He FOREKNEW that He predestined; and He who would have ALL (Colossians 1:19ff.), knows those who are His, the redemption costly, the accomplishment glorious.

What Christ bought is their ransom in the Cross; what Christ wrought is the symptom that shows. Oranges grow on good orange trees, and good trees bring forth good fruit. You can tell them by that; and even though men may malign and misunderstand, GOD DOES NOT DO SO. You see that in Matthew 25 relative to the sheep and goats. The sheep are commended for their right actions, the goats condemned for their failures. Since they refused to have them covered, they are discovered, uncovered and loaded with guilt.


Planting is by grace;


transformation is by grace (cf. II Corinthians 3:18);


salvation is by grace through faith;

and fruit is found in the heart to which God looks, that changed heart, which humble and contrite, and trembling at His word (Isaiah 66:2) is loved and cherished by Him. Known from before the foundation of the world (cf. Romans 8:30ff., Ephesians 1:4), paternally guarded, eternally secure. In all things, in the end, these seek to be close to God.

To this man, says Isaiah,  will God look; though the way he was bought that he might be God's, and the way in which grace wrought that he might be changed, and the ground for the very entry of the Holy Spirit, that he might have the attestation that he is Christ's (Romans 8:16), and yield his members as instruments of righteousness, with whatever lapses or errors: these are the preliminaries of which such spiritual fruit is the assured attestation. Leave a ditch which you have dug from the unyielding earth, in the open skies, and when it rains, it will assuredly have water.

Far is this from validating that horrible approach that men judge other men's fruits to see if they are yet Christians, fruit inspectors as if to accord spiritual status to the would-be Christian, without presumption! Passing on this information, their findings, would they then allow those assessed to think that at last now they are Christians, now they have faith ? How, if so waiting, would they then have the faith, critical for production of the fruit!  

That distortion of righteousness is self-contradictory. It would mean that you do not believe until you are told you are a Christian, that you really are one. Hence in such a twisting of truth, faith is not working in you till then; hence fruit is not forming while it is being looked for, that it might be accredited; hence it is not to be seen, since without faith you cannot even please God, and salvation after all, is BY FAITH.

If then any such method as this were followed, the results would be frustrated and the fruit precluded. It is God who sees the heart, and invalidates spiritual error, not accepting mere performances, such as those of the Pharisees for instance (cf. Matthew 23). It is faith which grasps His life, the vitalisation and the victory, His own. This faith is in no more authentication in reality, than is the birth of a child. A doctor may inscribe the certificate; he cannot deny the birth. If he does, it is not he who is medically fit!

In such an approach of fruit-inspectors among men, therefore, there is horrendous confusion, and this in profusion. It has not been uncommon in the past, nor is it in the present; and it has many close companions in seeking to super-add our puny performances to the infinite quality of Christ and His acceptable work, like putting the babble of infants into the select mathematics of some genius of senior years. Indeed, it is worse still: for that is relative, but this is absolute, the infinity of divinity relative to the finitude of man's imperfections.

Assurance comes from faith and faith from God; it is not the permitted product of human intervention. Works to permit faith ? it is like a marriage certificate to permit love.

The reality is intrinsic, not extrinsic.

All such things are indeed quite different from the belief that the word of God is true when it declares,

He who born of God does not make a practice of sin (I John 3:9).

You may err as King David did with Bathsheba, and repent as he is shown to have done in Psalm 51, that marvellous cup of kindness for the fallen; for though the righteous fall seven times (Proverbs 24:16), yet the Lord sustains him. That is what He does to the one reconstructed, regenerated, pardoned and indwelt by His Spirit. God knows His own, and this aspect is like a portrait, the reception of pardon, the contrition of horror at sin, the relish of the rectitude of Christ, the cleansing by His inveterate love covering with that reservoir of merit in His work which went to the death, yes and through it to the resurrection that would not give death dominion, but rather shattered it. THIS is the righteousness that counts in redemption.

What attests it is the savour of His Spirit in the ransomed life, the outcome of His regeneration in the new heart, crying - Father! the willingness to be led, the wonder of His own indwelling, the close intimacy of fellowship, the touch of the Master.

God recognises His own who being His, endued by Him both in nature and in dynamic, through love and in mercy, are swept in the current of His life, and drawn at length in love where death does not dwell, to join the spirits of just people made perfect, where in the Father's house, through Christ, they are to be found.


He KNEW them as His own before the world was founded;


DREW them as His own when their time in history came;


DELIVERED them through His blood, and then


AUTHORISES them as His own when the portals of eternity are open;


for they ARE His own, find in Him their sanction and resource,
look TO Him in prayer, walk FROM Him in faith, to finish His work.

Seen through the eyes of love, they look like His sheep, their wool pure through the washing of pardon, their ways understood, their fealty recognised with the eyes of truth as His procurement, the due result of His work for those whom He has endued with inseparable spiritual life.

Called, they know Him and He pays for them; enthralled, they know Him and by His hand He leads them in the right way. At a glance, they are known, and given authority; for were they not already uthorised as in John 1:12, to become the children of God ?

Now that authority extends to their collective Christian uniform of love and truth, and of course, love of His commands who is their Lord. His children are ALWAYS authorised to enter all spiritual gates in the very interstices of His kingdom. As then, so now.

When you distinguish thus different things, all fits into place with massive biblical support. Thus conscious of the elements in view, let us return to the text of Revelation 22:14.

Thus the mere reliance on relative ease of interpretation cannot be allowed, in the last analysis, to suspend the testimony of the carefully considered and construed Majority  Text; and this the more when its testimony as here,  is unclouded and clear in itself. One would not dare allow a disputed text to change doctrine from clear crowds of textual confirmation, for that would be folly; one could not well depart from this Majority text without peculiar warrant, since one leaves to the providence of God, what is to be taken. Hence in this case, possibly the most thorny textual one, one is forced to see that what is not saying that entry is PAID for by obedience, but granted to those of such a kind, is not excluded at once.

Instead, it needs the closest examination; but when we see such allied texts as Matthew 7:21-23, which are really saying the same thing, and realises the import of Jeremiah 13:27 - that magnificent testimony of divine love, then one it becomes plain that one must leave to its own objective reality, the Majority text, rightly interpreted as it MUST be because of all other scriptures; and follow it.

DOING THE WILL OF GOD is seen in Matthew 7:21ff. to be the inalienable product of the child of God. What may not thus be characterised is from this scripture, seen to be simply not His! Err he/she may; astounding may be the lack of vision at times, the foolishness; but the child of God is bred by God, inhabited by God, known to God, walks with God, and has the irremovable spiritual genes inbred that come only from God. God is his proclivity, God his resource, recourse and desire, as is that of a horse galloping, for water.

HE makes children of His own, not another; and children of His, they are, and not of another. Their final fuel is from Him; their dynamic is His movement, their target His side, their perils His concern, their deliverance His delight. Deliverance is not always from pain, from suffering, or even death; but from lassitude that does not love, from confusion that does not see and from wandering that does not cease. The Good Shepherd goes and fetches what wanders in His fold.

Let us look then for a moment at Jeremiah 13:27. Confronting the innate sin that dominated in the array of rebellious hearts of that day, that thus DID have dominion over these to whom the prophet speaks, Jeremiah from the Lord makes this declaration, and asks this question:

"Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you not be made clean ?
When shall it once be ?"

To this writer, this is one of the most poignant of the verses of the Book of the Lord! There you see


1) a divine yearning, as from a mother.


2) a fatherly caution, crisp with realistic concern.


3) an interrogation, as from a surgeon, foreseeing inoperable lung cancer,
and speaking to an uncontrolled tobacco addict.


4) an implicit attestation of long continued abuse.

Being clean is NOT a matter of drawing near with the lips while the heart is afar off (Isaiah 29:13); it is a matter of WASH and BE CLEAN! (Isaiah 1:16, I John 1). When you respond, you obey, and when you confess in due faith, you are covered. Cleansed and covered you are accorded authority to become the children of God, and these, as His, have the paternal authority always at hand, for their welfare and as adopted, for their confirmation.

What then do we find in all of this ?

Operationally, when you are first so cleansed, you are also regenerated, and when you are regenerated, you are fundamentally changed, and when Christ lives in you, the carnal nature, at war with God, though still a trial and source for Satan, is NOT in control. The washing of regeneration (Titus 3:3-7) is followed by the washing of each working day. The one creates a new relationship with the Father of all, and His Redeemer. The other exhibits its dynamic warranty, and its working of its power. Not for nothing does Deity so yearn; and not in nothing is its culmination to be found!

As a child of God, we see from Matthew 7:21ff., you DO the will of God, though it be ever so poorly. You are His and as Lord He is not a mere verbal ascription, but the living God dominating and dynamising, directing and correcting you. You are HIS: and nothing can change either that or the testimony of the change (Romans 8:30ff.); for it is known from of old, and sustained for ever (John 10:27-28, Ephesians 1:11).  God knows YOU and He leads you in His presence (Galatians 5), so that you are indeed LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, as Paul declares in Romans 8:16, in the very context of morality and divergence from the old life.

     Is God then blind to who you are ?

 and is He who brought you to the birth, not in order that you be not born, but as borne by Him to this place, not to bring you to the light of day as a child of God ?

    and if a child of God, do you act as if your old genes were still operational and it is not a regeneration at all (I John 3:9) ?

Can you leave them behind, your new spiritual genes,  evidence of birth and its necessary concomitant ? No more can you do this, than be perfect; but God, HE KNOWS the difference between imaginary perfection and ravaging impurity, between temporary setback, as in sickness, and the morbidity of necrosis (John 6:70). Implanted, these your new genes, the actualisation of the birth,  are inseparable as in ordinary life. Indeed, if you are and become a child of God, you may stumble, and need correction, training and help from your Father; but is to stumble to fail, or to learn to be lost (Hosea 11:1ff.) ? rather is it growth in the domain of vitality, the Lord the presence, the word the witness.

Let those, says Paul, who are the Lord's,  depart from iniquity. Why ? The reason given for such departure is this:  "for the Lord KNOWS who are His" (II Timothy 2:19, blocks added). Departure from iniquity is not unakin to keeping the commandments! Nor is it grievous, to wash, and to love and to relate to your Father when your whole nature is so changed that HE IS your Father, by adoption through Jesus Christ.

In this way, confronted with such a challenge to understanding, we are kept on our toes, forced to examine ourselves and all the evidence, the very fundamental principles profuse in the word of God, lest we should somnolently allow ourselves to stray.

Indeed, look what thought this has provoked, and what self-examination!  God has not asked us to de-craniate but to evaluate and test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). Here then He has presented textual evidence, and we are not free to exclude it where the division is between the easy option on the one hand,  and the objectively and forcibly present Majority Text on the other.

Thus the AV and the NKJV are to be valued in their testimony here, for the family, the Majority text, to which they relate. On the other hand, I John 5:7 in the AV is a blatant error, that as we have seen should never even have been considered. To be sure, this was not a different doctrine, this verse in I John, but untenable because of almost TOTAL lack of textual evidence! Its presence is a warning NEVER to follow ANY version, where the mind of man becomes the criterion, but the LORD whose word is for any, and for all centuries, to be found, itself rested on, not the work of man. In His mercy, doctrine is not here in view, but textual fidelity; but the latter has caused us to relish minutely the glorious consistency of doctrine, and the seemingly effortless readiness with which these things are surveyed. Truth has liberty, and this is what here we find.

In view of this text, let us consider anew the AV and the NKJV in their own authority.

In terms of translation, earlier work, just as in the case of Calvin in theology, is to be greatly valued where it excels, without becoming a shibboleth (cf.  Repent or Perish Ch. 1,  *1  and Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 2, *1), as if its errors, when they occur, were in some way sacred.  Does a builder imitate a crack in some master-builder's work ?

If we are wedded to the evidence of all kinds, and to the COMMAND test ALL things in I Thessalonians 5, then the AV like all the rest, is a provision. It is in this case an exceedingly good one. It is not however en bloc a substitute for the commandment to TEST! Test, indeed "all things"! (5:21). Thus the AV in Matthew 11:27 is not only misleading, but positively wrong. The Greek is "wills to reveal Him", not "will reveal Him" as the New King James version rightly shows. This is important.

There is then, liberty to examine, but not licence to wander. Many have rightly sought to follow FIRST and foremost the actual objective textual testimony, and neither vain theories of men contrary to evidence both of history and of statistics, as in the case of Westcott and Hort (q.v. Ch. 1) and their bevy of related "modern" translations, on the one hand, nor capricious textual emendation or the other can stand such test.  Here in this present case, we find as so often, the importance of not following tradition. If here, it was a nineteenth century tradition which arose to tower itself on sand, so be it. Every tradition tends, in the flesh, to exalt itself, if not in one way, then in another, if not in the conservative quest not to alter anything, then in the radical desire to sweep away anything! It is only the word of God which has unfathomable fidelity to truth, being truth.

The danger is always present, then, to follow, follow men, not the Lord.

He prohibits this (Mark 7:7ff., Galatians 1:10, I Corinthians 3:5ff), so that any preference for  tradition relative to the word of God is abomination. It is likewise presumption and even absurd (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms  6 - 7, SMR pp. 99ff., TMR Ch. 5). In the case of the Pharisees, tradition seemed so sacred that it appeared to them sacrilegious to question it, including THEIR OWN AUTHORITARIAN ESTIMATE of Christ! (cf. Matthew 23, Mark 7, Matthew 26:63-67). THEY were the people, and tradition made them gurus immune to the good, lassoed by the evil quest for self-preservation for the Jew, for the nation (John 11:49ff.), and doubtless for themselves or at the very least their "leaven" as Christ put it, telling His disciples to beware of it!

At once we are reminded of Matthew 16:11-12:


"How is it you do not understand
that I did not speak to you concerning bread? -
but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."


"Then they understood that He did not tell them
to beware of the leaven of bread,
but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Tradition CAN be helpful; but relative to the word of God, it is intrusive if not invasive and is on no account rationally to be allowed.

The word of God is given attestation, and while a given vehicle cannot alone determine the issue, lest as Tennyson put it, 'one good custom corrupt the world', yet when this is the extant Majority Greek Text, carefully construed and considered, an inescapable warrant itself based on the word of God,  must be found for any departure, which in turn reminds us that nothing is in any doubt, only the addiction to carelessness! In this case, no doctrine is in question, as always in matters that need extreme care; but understanding is a heavy requisite as have just seen.

The word of God is in all things exceedingly clear in all doctrine, and because God is God, on a topic of divine speech, the objective testimony must always be put above the subjective, and the clear above the implications which may seem to arise on another. In this way, nothing of His teaching is unsure, and His word stands in its priceless integrity. Meanwhile is fulfilled also this, that it is to the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honour of kings to find it out (Proverbs 25:2). Teachers will realise that some of the best work comes when the student is left immersed in wonder at some topic, where searching brings content.






Thayer, with careful argument, assesses the usage of the relevant word 'ina, in terms of either purpose or result, but with this provision. If it is to fit with the concept of 'result' then it must be in a context allowing for the sense of being in accord with the purpose and  approach of the Lord. This being in a context wholly given up to just such an atmosphere, the result concept is suitable. The result of this obedience is the freely opened gate, this by authority of the Lamb. This means that those who find, repent, trust and follow the challenge to receive the Lord, for the commands are not grievous, in reality, have right to the tree,  for HE has secured this right! This gives them access to what is the last item leading to certainty, and having obeyed in entering in faith, they now have no further impediment, for HIS right is then their own.

Blessed then are those who keep the commandments, not grievous as in the Gospel they are, since this state of  affairs has so blessed a result. As to the commandments not being grievous, as in  I John 5:3, we are given a reason why this is so in I John 5:4-5. It is this:

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcomes the world - our faith.
Who is he who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."


 * NOTE:

To believe in Christ, you accept His Gospel. Hence you must repent (Luke 13:1-3), believe in faith and not mere form (John 6:47, Acts 4:11-12, II Timothy 3:5) and receive Him as your sacrificial Lamb (John 6:50-54), amazingly but actually physically raised from the physical death (John 20:25-29, Romans 10:9ff.)   See scriptural references,  SMR pp. 520ff..  You are commanded to believe (Acts 16:31).

It must be HE and not another (John 6:40, II Corinthians 11, Matthew 16:13-17, Ephesians 4:4, Matthew 23:8-10) in whom one believes: in Him, not another Jesus, in His biblical Gospel and not another (Galatians 6:14, 1:6-9), receiving not another Spirit but the Spirit of truth sent by Christ from the Father (John 15:26, II Cor. 11:4). It is all decisive and inveterate.

Wrought by God, this Gospel of Christ must be received by man, as commanded (John 1:12, Acts 4:11-12), according to the New Covenant likewise commanded (Matthew 26:28) for the remission of sins. It is by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God that man is to live (Matthew 4:4) as his guide in grace, and not in some other way, with some other authority or some other control (Matthew 23:8-10, I John 2:27). In obeying the command to WASH, one must recognise the authority of the Lord, the Person of the Lord and believe in the power of the Lord. It is a spiritual washing that matters as in Titus 2-3, and how vast are the implications when this, by the power of God and the grace of His Spirit, for the sake of the finished obedient work of Christ, is done.

How delightful, moreover, in the case of Revelation 22:14, that having found what is passed down in the text, and found its salutary character, we yet affirm equally, if not more, the doctrine that is parallel to it, as found in Revelation 7:14, referring to those who have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb of whom it is said this:  "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night." How beautiful logic can be! How delectable are the multi-faceted mercies of God!

Let us rejoice in this: that His covenant of repentance, ransom and redemption through faith in the living Lord, provides uncountermandable authority, because commanded by God (John 10:9,27--28, 5:24, 3:16, 4:14,  I John 5:11-12, Luke 24:47) for those without God to become imperishable children of God by His free gift (Romans 5:15-16, I Peter 1:1-5), once drinking of this water, and never thirsting again (John 4:14).

This is to be received, both in authority and as a draught! The whole apparatus of redemption by grace through faith is commanded (Matthew 20:28, Ephesians 2:8-10, Hebrews 9:12, Romans 3:23ff.), and its provisions are unalterable. Nothing can be added, not even making fruit to be root, and imagining that oranges make the tree, and not the tree oranges, which is planted with the spiritual genes of God’s free gift (Isaiah 61:3, Romans 5:15, 6, Matthew 7, I John 3:9). Results attest; faith invests. God's people delight in Him as Lord, who sent grace, finds place and redeems a race of special people, to whose hearts He is motivation, to whose lives He is quest, to whose security He is guarantor.