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Chapter 9

On Translations of the Bible
Words about Words

Easter 1997 ... Later enlarged

For translation list see below.




The Promises


·      The following material relates firstly to a pamphlet which makes claims which may give concern to some; though its own concern is understandable. It wishes to eliminate all standards for English Bible except the Authorised Version of a certain King James. A better solution than this is assuredly available, one in accord with the teaching of the Bible, which has indeed been entirely preserved. (See Perspective later.)

·       There is nothing in the entire Bible which states that there will be no variation in texts transmitting the Bible, or that any one nation at any one time will have, far less that all nations at all times will have, a totally correct transmitted copy of the Bible. What is stated in texts such as Isaiah 59:21 and so on, is this: that the MESSAGE, SUBSTANCE, THOUGHT, meat, or doctrine of any type, will be correctly conveyed.

·       The Hebrew use of the words we use for 'words' is noted in *1 below (cf. *3 in a related topic). In fact, then, THIS is what is guaranteed: no translation deficiency will be such as to mislead from what God has to say. It will appear in its full competency and accuracy and impact, as far as any teaching or historically significant point is concerned, for doctrine. His thoughts, teaching, doctrine is guaranteed in transmission. You can say with entire security, This is the word of the living God, if you take a Bible in your hand, having some attention to the overwhelming majority of the texts in the Greek and the testimony of the Hebrew.

·       You can also know that God as to inspiration went further: He guaranteed the exact words to the last point, as conveying what He wanted to say. I Corinthians 2:9-13 with John 12:48-50, Matthew 4:4, 5:17-20 make that quite clear. Whatever may be slightly varied in transmission will do nothing to limit or reduce the impact and knowledge God has given for our instruction in godliness, in doctrine, in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16). It will all moreover be fulfilled to the last syllable. (Cf. SMR Appendix D, pp. 1176ff..)

·       However what CAN happen, within what the Bible states will happen, does include some variation through TRANSMISSION, on minor points, sometimes incredibly minute as to some form of words put one way or another, and not affecting doctrine or testimony in any way.

·       I personally have never found any matter of textual transmission which prevents my knowing any doctrine or any fact whatsoever which alters my understanding of the character of any event, or of any person, or of God, or of His teaching on any point.

This verifies what God stated. Praise His name!


On Transmigrations of Inspiration

Now we come to the rather self-contradictory material recently handed on to me, on the topic "King James ONLY" - an unfortunate confusion of a particularly fine translation of the Bible, with perfection. The first part of the pamphlet on this point is good, saying what the writer does not mean. It is the second part where he says what he does mean, and this unfortunately is wrong, simply, sadly wrong.

There was no "Authorised Version" (AV) in English for centuries; and even some of the translations of the Bible which went before it and which contributed to its translation later, are not identical.

Indeed, it would be quite a work for anyone to show ANY Bible in English, for the hundreds of years before the AV which is EXACTLY in each phase of every reading identical with the AV; for if it were, their task would have been merely an updating of English, a nonsensical proposition. It would moreover assume work done by many to have been done before it occurred - Erasmus' Greek New Testament compilation, Tyndale's enormous labours, the vast efforts in Geneva as in adding Hebrew translation for the prophets, in moving from the Great Bible to the popular Geneva Bible, with its editions. To TEST all things, (I Thess.5:21) is not to PRESUME all things. Indeed, presumption and testing are opposites.

Incidentally it is simply contrary to fact to say with this author, that "King James Only means ... that God has kept His Word and preserved His truth all down through the ages." It may seem true to some writer, but it is not a fact. What the King James (KJV, AV) situation actually implies, in view of the preceding popular and available translations in English, would be this: that for hundreds of years, IF the AV were in all points exact, therefore God had NOT kept His precise words in every respect exactly transmitted down the ages, since there is no exact equivalence of meaning at all times with the words of former translations; or else that some unknown repository of labours of translation unknown, some precise equivalent in all things, to the AV, lay hidden, unused... unfound, unavailable! It might resemble, perhaps, the equally illusory and ludicrous concepts of Mormonism which, in addition to making new gods in their god factory concept (contrary of course to Isaiah 43:10 at the outset), have UNTESTABLE assumptions about a document in gold and glasses with magic propensities!

We are DIRECTED to TEST, and what is here re the translation is ONE fact.

The Bible has NOT been present with AV information precisely, before it came to pass;  it WAS precisely because it was such a monumental effort of precision (in the main) and apt talent and knowledge, WITH the marvellous preliminaries of other translators into English, such as Wyclif, that it gives so excellent a rendering, so justly prized (but not as we show in this chapter, for all that, perfection).

It did not happen before it happened. 'Nature' did not possess it before the intelligence and drive to DO it and the organisation and the structuring of inter-related translation teams, and time.
It came, the AV,  from sweat of the brow, and of course divine help. It was not the only one to come thus; but its superb qualities (as in MANY things they undoubtedly are) are not pre-dating it. Its accuracy and beauty did not pre-date it. Other beauties and efforts did. They all in general have wit and talent. This one had a blending of many minds, and gave some wonderful aids in the work of translation. Yet it did not - in terms of things testable, to which the Bible DIRECTS us to look - come before it was here, nor did its exact  factual parallel.

Such a result may be imagined; it may not be found. If it WERE to be found, it would be the most remarkable of all finds of science in this or virtually any other generation!

Test however has not revealed this labourless feat, or any such feat. If it did, moreover, the very imperfections in the AV here attested (though so minor) would always have been present in every translation, to their detriment. THIS King James Version-ism is precisely the folly of ANY idolatry, or icon or ism-itis, any obsessive fixation, any inflammation of carnal desire. HOWEVER wonderful the thing desired, there is error in following this or that great theologian and anti-scripturally calling yourself after him (as forbidden in I Cor. 3, cf. Repent or Perish 1, *1, The Biblical Workman 8), or adhering to this or that token, sign or other object, written or not, outside the Bible, with an overpowering intensity. By exalting the flesh, or through some circumstance of history, ceasing  to be in test mode, that procedure  ceases to be critical or realistic, and such conduct displaces by  preference the requirements that the word of God itself has NO option for addition. It stands alone, as it is.

What it SAYS, and not what you or someone else says about what it says, THIS is the sublime and sufficient test and criterion. You can no more get mediators in the realm of translation, as if THESE are the way, rather than the word of God, than you can in salvation. The error is not necessarily by any means so profound; but its principle is as polluted. IT always remains apart from the works of man. It must be sought, can be found and should be followed. GOD supplies the evidence for testing; man is supplied with the means of performing the required test. Assumption is NOT test.

If then God had guaranteed NO variation even in word arrangements in the available Hebrew and Greek*1, far more if He had guaranteed translations to be THE EXACT word of God at all times, and so forth, then that would have failed; and, for British Israelites and the like, it might be necessary to add, it would have failed in England in particular. THAT however was NOT the promise of God. This needs, also, to be read, not assumed. As  to this: It has not failed. His meaning remains, His doctrine remains, His truth remains, and minor variations in the vast array of texts, the majority text, are so exquisitely minute that no direction, no incident, no law, no doctrine is left in the slightest doubt as to its nature and meaning. As to what the mouth of God says, it is best to listen!

One can imagine in the days of Rome's idolatrous seeming preference for the Vulgate and its renounced efforts to make this or that version of IT, THE ONE, the very same fetishistic seeming approach. THIS MUST be the one. The POPE (Clement) said so. What appalling error if some non-Romanist church  had similarly insisted, as this pope did, on this being the criterion, flush with the pomp of flesh.  What IS the criterion is ever what God has provided; not in the idleness of dreams about possibilities, but in the realities of texts to be found and valued. It is only when these have been artificially manipulated in importance, and poorly written copies  have been elevated above all, by some magical historical 'event', as with Westcott and Hort and others, which history never had the goodness to confirm, nor statistics to verify, that any problems arise.

Theirs too have been dreams! History shows none of these things. What it DOES show is one magnificently homogeneous array of myriads of Greek texts, and much evidence for refined consideration of any subtle case, in which some matter arises. What is left is just the dust of passage. NOTHING of the slightest doctrinal significance or historical import is in any doubt, when what is PROVIDED is taken as it comes, and romancing, whether of Rome or of this other authority, the King James Version only, is abandoned.

Similarly, as a mere aggravation of the error is this fact. When the AV was undergoing its 14 or so revisions, there would have been no correct copy until the last; for if there were, then some of the revisions did not revise. Further, God who HAS promised and HAS kept His word faithfully in the world in its substance and commands, has not allowed some imagined original language of the New Testament to vanish without the integrity of the text being preserved. THAT unevidenced proposition would be an indictment of God's word! FAITH prohibits it. Evidence alike, does NOT find it! Testable things are concurrent with the word of God; imagination has no such privilege.

In fact, the idea presented in the pamphlet supplied: that one cannot correct ANY TRANSLATED version of the Bible by means of the Hebrew or Greek texts from which it came, and which were the originals, is if not idolatry, at least close to blasphemy. The Authorised Version is to stand free of the sort of test which its translators rejoiced in. IT becomes the standard. That is a mockery of their own integrity!

It means that what DID NOT come from the mouth of the Lord is not to be adjusted by what DID. This is so, even on the view of the writer of the pamphlet, who maintains there is no second inspiration, that is - inspiration given to various translators to ensure their work is perfect! Inspiration from God surely is one thing; godly and dedicated translation and efforts to capture the best attested text in the Greek and Hebrew, this is quite another. It is the first which is scripturally guaranteed; the second is merely a tradition of men. To require it for doctrine is the Romanist style of error: rebuked justly by Proverbs 30:6. Any such approach is further rebuked in Mark 7:7.

·       To assume contrary to the evidence of history,

·       which DOES NOT have to show an exact equivalence of every element of meaning and minute circumstance in the translations of every nation at all times, when once the church grew in that nation -

·       a concept which is beyond the promises of God's word -

·       that there is nonetheless a real cross-national equivalence of translations:

·       what it this then ?

At best, it is obscurantism. It is ideas of the mind without the licence of the word of God, or for that matter, the legs of history. It is not faith but presumption. It is not the attested case; nor is it the Biblically required one. Test does not reveal it; the Bible does not require it. That is all.

What is in some ways far worse is this: such an approach leads to the failure to use all the evidence which God has faithfully and abundantly given us, to preserve what we must follow.
It not merely denies due test of available evidence in finding what the Lord has done, but  it also absconds from what the Lord sees fit to provide in any new nuance or feature which discovery enables. Not evidence but predilection rules; and as to the predilection, it is FAR from FAITH! Faith does not abide in the desires of man, but in the word of God. It does not invent a translation not given in the word of God as the standard; for that is quite simply ADDING to the word of God what it has NOT said, and subtracting what it HAS said, to test all things. In texts, you test texts. Further, since test does NOT show the precise data equivalent of the AV before it happened, it is to ABANDON the results of tests REQUIRED. That is three points of direct disobedience to the word of God. That puts flesh in the way of the word of God, without ground or reason, and how could one approve this unfancied and fanciful myth or fail to denounce it!

If the AV be not specifically inspired by God as a translation, then it is close to idolatrous, contrary both to history and to the word of God, to make it the standard. If HOWEVER it is inspired in this way, then it is a case of this unscriptural "second inspiration".

On going to the opposite extreme

Nor, on the other hand, may one accept the general manner of most modern New Testament translations

This is so in the sense that they do not use the historically attested majority text. Indeed, even the King James does not use all we now have of that majority text, though the differences are exceedingly slight. The New King James, is not infallible (and in this respect, it is like the AV, which however indeed has amazing accuracy, though less clarity at times). As to this NEW King James version, however, it

1) does not use the minority text, thus avoiding an underlying fault of most New Testament translations and

2) does present a broader supply of the majority text for meditation. The differences are minute, but at times useful. The New King James however does often contribute far greater clarity in its use of our English language as it is today in its translation from the Greek; and to fail to use it becomes in danger of idolatry for that reason.

Incidentally, though this might form another paper, the textual family to which the AV Greek manuscripts belong (though NOT in the case of I John 5:7, which was an import mainly from Latin translations) has been the subject of highly scholarly work by two notable contributors, Wilfred Pickering and Jakob Van Bruggen, New Testament Professor of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Both from an historical and a statistical view they present (Pickering in The Identity of the New Testament Text, and Van Bruggen in The Ancient Text of the New Testament, supplemented by The Future of the Bible), grounds for NOT disregarding the 85-90% of all Greek texts which are in this family, used in the AV, though with relatively few examples as a base.

Pickering on review points out that NO sustainable explanation of this state of the text is scientifically available (pp. 158-159) except on the understanding that what is shown in this large majority of manuscripts was in fact the basic type; and of course in it, there is a high degree of uniformity. It is precisely this which in turn attests the good hand of the Lord on the transmission. The Bible's future will closely resemble therefore its past; though the opportunities to distort will not lack.

Already then we are munificently provided, and a good rule of thumb for Bible reading is this: the AV if your English is sufficient, and rely on it (subject to checking the evidence on the Greek and Hebrew) for matters of spiritual discernment and teaching; but use the NKJV for clarity.

It is challenging that a better version than the AV and the NKJV*2 is not available, to my knowledge; but perhaps soon it may be. However these two, taken together, really leave little for the person equipped to handle them to regret, except he/she takes to Greek or Hebrew, and even there one has books which can help further those who do not have these languages.

The net effect of this dangerous slope towards idolatry of the AV is alas that LESS knowledge of the word of God may well result; just as the opposite danger of uncritically accepting some of the appalling failures to follow the correct text in much New Testament translation, can lead to sloppiness not fitting for the word of God. When however, in the area of the majority text, and outside the historically fantasising and hair-brained schemes coming much from Westcott and Hort which led to the whole business of following a small number of preferred and often very poorly transmitted texts: one has little to choose from. Following this as the rule, one finds that except for one notable case, all the major errors so long pushed by small and scraggy examples, go. (Cf. the detailed comments of Dean J.W. Burgon in The Revision Revised.)

That case ? it relates to the fact that the AV puts words in the verse 7 area into I John 5 which are not in the great majority of the Greek texts. Indeed two points stand out here, showing the need to prevent idolising the things of men, even the good things. For in fact, these words, in the AV, are in a tiny number of texts altogether in the Greek: they were not put into Erasmus' famous Greek text at first, and were added to the 3rd edition, after someone challenged him on the point. He stated that if ANY Greek manuscript could be found with this IN, then he would insert it.

One was found which seemed to give testimony to it, and so, on his word, he put it into his 3rd edition. The reason for its insertion was of course not scholarly. It was a case of one manuscript against all that he had, at that time; and it was put in because of something he had said! Now we learn there are perhaps 5 out of hundreds, with it in; and these very far from the early ones.

What is interesting is this: where it is found is in some of the Latin texts, and even these are not regarded as the most reliable ones of their translated type, nor were they early; and the evangelists were not known as Latinists! That is scarcely the same as the majority of the Greek, which the Lord has preserved; and which form the essential basis for the AV! This is quite astonishing. It appears the AV may have followed (indirectly) a tradition in this case: certain it is that it has not followed ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE the great majority of the Greek in this case. It is the fact that it normally does this, not least, which gives it its place! In the divine mercy, even this AV error does not seem able to actually mislead anyone. It is just that the normal evidence it uses, is simply not there!

With, then, the AV AND the NKJ, one is well equipped; and as already noted, thus following the evidence one has no real problems with the text as such. Mere reaction against playing about with the Greek text evidence as happened on the basis of foolish and radical theories of the last century, and which has tended to continue in NT translation, is not wise. Getting to the actual evidence is, as the word of God directs us:


( I Thessalonians 5:20) . The word "all" is of great importance in this context especially! It is God's direction for conscientious care.

Never trust in the manners and mannerisms of men. Trusting in tradition is NOT to be recommended (Mark 7:7); indeed in the case of doctrine, it is divinely condemned in the roundest of terms. OBEY the above injunction, and be safe in the divine directives. In fact, it was precisely this trusting in the tradition of men which led to the whole error following Westcott and Hort; for their conceptions, negated by history, were undoubtedly fashionable. They were not however attested by the evidence OR by the word of God.

In this, they are precisely similar to the reaction towards the AV; except that in this case, it is a fine translation, just not one to be made into a standard. In the end, the word of God does not give sanction to reducing our testing to one example of the evidence - it is directed to ALL THINGS. Let us then follow it. THAT evidence abundantly confirms all that God has SAID; though it is as so often, hard on tradition masquerading as the word of God. And why not! It is a sad presumption both against scholarship and godliness so to do.

Fortunately, both the AV and the NKJ provide the mass of the evidence for the non-technical reader. Remember, always go to the evidence, never to foolish theories, and never to foolish reactions ...

As it is God who supplies the evidence, our trust in Him is such that we are not concerned.

In Conclusion

A final word then on this misleading KING JAMES ONLY approach. Here alas as so often, Paul's injunction to moderation is ignored: things NOT stated in the Bible have to be 'put' there, and things stated are to be ignored or removed. So it goes. But for me and for my house:

what the Bible states is what goes, and what goes without it, is not accepted. The word of God and not the word of man will be our criterion, by His grace; and His grace is sufficient.


*1 On Words

Actually, The Hebrew word transliterated DABAR in fact, in the AV, IS translated in many ways, such as : ACT, ADVICE, AFFAIR, ANSWER, COMMUNICATION, LANGUAGE, MATTER, REPORT, TIDINGS, SPEECH, THING (very often - 215 cases listed), WORD, THOUGHT, SAYING. It is the word used in the Hebrew in Isaiah 59:21, 40:8 and in Psalm 119:89,119:160 concerning what the God who spoke to man, certainly will preserve!  Psalm 111:8 adds to this, using a different word, rendered 'precepts'. It is a term often used in the Psalms and refers to the responsibilities which God places on His people: the word's root being appoint, number, visit and so on (so Harris, Archer, Waitke, Theological Word Book of the Old Testament).

The guarantee here, then, is for what God comes forth to require, as a visitation or appointment with man. As to this, "They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness" - 111:8. This testimony too is guaranteed, for man shall indeed live by EVERY WORD which PROCEEDS out of the MOUTH of God. Directive requirements are therefore guaranteed - precepts. These will not be obscured from man, through departure from the scene. Nor is there any question except about wholly unsubstantial issues, the work rather of grammarians or statisticians than of those concerned to do what it says.

That has assuredly been fulfilled. Indeed, in the full-flavoured Isaiah 34:16 we see that the Spirit of the Lord has gathered the components - here creatures in the afflicted wilderness, subject of God's judgment, and set them their perpetual mark of His esteem, within it. His mouth has made the command, His Spirit has effected the result. Thus the thoughts of His heart, the objects of His disposition are inseparable, assured, guaranteed. THIS IS THE CASE WITH THE WHOLE "BOOK OF THE LORD", we read, for we are invited to search this entire book, with the assurance that so will we find, this combination, correlation. Things, episodes, objects, events will be placed aright, in accurate execution of His commands, and as He gathers His words, so He gathers their matching performances, nothing lacking; for His disposing of things to mirror just what He has said; for as to the Lord, and what He sees fit to provide in His book, this is the position:

"Search from the book of the Lord, and read,
Not one shall lack her mate,
For My mouth, it has commanded, and His Spirit, it has gathered them "
(emphasis added, but it is not untrue to the original).

E. J Young shows this rendering of the last line, which is brilliant - The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 2,
p. 437). The Hebrew posts after "My  mouth" an emphatic addition of "it" and so too after "His Spirit", in keeping with the majestic stress on His action and the assured performance. The entire data of the Lord will be preserved, His thoughts established: as He has spoken, so it will be. Will then the words be lost which direct the deeds, or will the search be prevented to which we are invited ? will the words assembled be lost while events, then uninterpreted, in frustration of His challenge to man,  fall out without their verbal basis ? But who or what will hinder, restrain, prevent the Lord (Isaiah 43:13)!

Assuredly, what He has so presented, He will preserve. The LOGOS, the DABAR is  to be preserved in the book, and the eventuation is sure. Certainly the sins of men may obscure the realities of the Lord, but THEY will not be lacking, nor will His word be quenched which has gone forth out of His mouth as a testimony: for as Psalm 119 indites: "Your testimonies You have commanded" (v.138), and "Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever". Indeed,  as Psalm 119:160 declares, "The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever", while Psalm 111 confirms: as to His judgments ? "they shall stand fast for ever and ever".

A similar word to that in Isaiah 59:21, 40:8 (DABAR) is used in Luke 21:33 (namely, logos, which similarly can mean thought, cause, word and so forth). John 10:35 refers not to transmission but to power of the word of God. These are the verses mentioned in the pamphlet. Verses requiring more are not found. However as to the INSPIRATION of the word of God, Matthew 4:4 is much more stringent, speaking of what GOD UTTERS: for here the exact words (remata) are in view, as also is the idea in II Peter 3:2 when the remata (Greek) of the prophets is considered in its inspiration.

We may however go much further than this. The actual variations in remata of God, in the available manuscripts, duly compared, is of the order I have already noted; and has no bearing on the logos, substance, matter. It affects in my experience precisely NOTHING in preaching, relevant history or doctrine. It nevertheless is not a mirror image of NO variation in any sense!
It is a matter of being precise, moderate and careful in what one says - moderate is Paul's word (Philippians 4:5), as is likewise the phrase, rightly dividing the word of God (II Timothy 2:15): not by philosophy (Colossians 2:8) - but by what it actually says. The material in the pamphlet sent is in its central thrust, inaccurate, self-contradictory and misleading.

These things are so unfortunate. Sound teaching is needed, not flag waving about mythical translation oscars, idols or whatever. We must adhere to the word of God, not to the word of man, or to our ideas of what the word of God should have said. It is enough, what it does say.

And what it does say is so stringent in terms of what IS guaranteed that NO doctrine, NO historical word or example, NO principle, NOTHING of any teaching significance or substantial force is ever in doubt. It is not a question of this topic or that; it is a matter of THAT degree of assurance. Those who, beyond the teaching of God's preservation procedures, want more, want both more than is offered and more than is needed. Inconsequential variations that produce pique and nothing of falsity in the thrust, substance or purity of the speech of God are an arena for admiration at the divine control; and when the variations produced by incredibly perverse philosophical theories are removed, so that the basic text and not some romanticising perversion of it is in view, the case is yet more obvious.

The word of God is sustained for all edification, instruction in righteousness, teaching NOTHING amiss but maintaining its precise message on everything without a misstep. While it has been well to bring redress to the invasion of this field by adventurers in both testaments, and those duped by them, more is not needed. What God has to say in all its purity is abundantly available; and variations of minute kind are mere winds among the trees which do not move, the leaves tossing, the stump erect. Man may indeed live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4), the minute mischiefs of time doing nothing to allay or to betray but rather to emphasise that His word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes all that He has intended.

It was not for a lesson in pedantics that He put it out, and the maintenance of what is to be lived by, whether in mind or matrix, doctrine or righteousness, the thrust of history or the principles of life is so assuredly kept, that the discussion can soon degenerate into mere trifling with words, which is not scripturally recommended . ONE MAY ASSUREDLY LIVE BY EVERY WORD WHICH PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD WITH COMPLETE CERTAINTY.

Indeed, let us quote from The Biblical Workman, Appendix 3, pp. 190-191:


While the issue there was name-dropping and personalising the word of God in terms of slants and upsets of heart and 'clubs' of believerships under this or that name, not that of Christ as the utter criterion in practice, it applies not less here. All points at issue in any reality of the portent and intent of the word of God as transmitted being secure, what remains becomes so trifling that it serves merely as excuse for sedition, occupation with trivia, flirtations with fancy, like worrying about a speck of dust on Sergeant's shoes just before battle. All that shoes are meant to do, these do; and this is not a fancy dress parade.

A Point of Interest

In Psalm 12:6, the term for 'words' is feminine. However in verse 7, the word translated 'them' is masculine (plural) in the first occurrence, and masculine (singular) - 'him' in the second. The righteous, in view in v.1, and contrasted with the wicked man, has been considered in his afflictions (12:5). He is however guarded by the word of God and its promises (12:6), a word indeed most pure. We are assured that the Lord will preserve 'him' (v.7) as also in Psalms 16:1, 37:28,30. Nothing beyond that oft-noted preservation of the godly is demonstrable for v.7 regarding this point. Both the Pulpit Commentary and the redoubtable Keil and Delitzsch indicate this, the latter insisting that since there are two successive references, "You shall rescue them, O LORD, You shall preserve him from this generation forever", and the first is "them" the (em ending) and the second is not: that not only does the vowel pointing categorically signify 'it or him' and NOT 'them'; but the variation from the first ending to the second confirms in such a case,  a change from the 'them' to what is in fact written, 'him' or 'it'.

What is written, then,  is that. However, is the him, really an it, so that it would read: "You shall rescue them, you will preserve it from this generation for ever" - ? Hardly. The topic throughout the Psalm has been the oppressed, the wicked' s butt. In support of their deliverance is the fact that the word of God which covers the case is pure, refined and reliable (v.6). In verse 5 we have seen the 'poor' and the 'needy', grammatically  both in the bulk, the plural form, and in the singular, "I will set (him) in the safety for which he yearns".

The resumption in verse 7 (quoted in blue above) covers both the plural and singular form, just as did the thematic note in verse 5. To ignore this parallel is as in appropriate when you are seeking meaning from words given, as is any endeavour simply to turn 'it' to 'them'. The barriers are up.

Further, as Keil and Delitzsch's commentary also points out, the detail of the wicked persecutors is pursued in verse 8. What then ? This is the theme, and the word of God is the reference for support. Any other rendering adds a singular concept concerning the Bible, which had been in view as plural, the words of the Lord, requiring us to add what is not stated, and ignores the fact that not merely is what IS stated in the singular, but exactly as in verse 7, it is present  BOTH in the singular and the plural, so that the phenomenon of the two endings merely and simply mirrors the kindred forms in verse 5.

Where evidence is paramount, and not subjectivity, there is no choice. The Keil and Delitzsch rendering is objectively indicated: the godly man who ceases (verse 1) , buttressed in expectation of a better deliverance (verse 5) by the word of God (verse 6) is to be kept and preserved, despite all appearance to the contrary, from this generation even for ever, DESPITE the fact (v.8) that the wicked prowl as is their habit and wont.

Indeed, and further, it is BECAUSE the words of God are pure and tried, purged of any error seven times (v.6),  operationally magnificent because truly from His mouth, that the deliverance of the poor and needy, the godly man in his troubles (v.1), the one who is so vulnerable to being CUT OFF and CEASING, is given its due assurance. It is in this way that the theme CAN continue with confidence: YOU WILL KEEP HIM, O LORD! What overthrows perpetual vulnerability but the power of God, and what depicts its operation in security, but the word of God: here is the guarantee! This is WHY the poor and godly man has hope in his latter end, confidence in his pilgrimage and assurance in his way.

This then is not a relevant verse, Psalm 12:6, concerning the preservation of the scriptures.

Scriptures which however do contain preservation guarantees relative to themselves, were noted earlier, in terms of the word transliterated "dabar". This guarantees His teaching, doctrine, the character of history and of persons, His precepts and the substance and thrust of His utterances.

In reality, in the main stream of Greek manuscripts, variation is next to inconsequential. If the matter has been exaggerated a little by the trifling with history relative to the manuscript evidence - itself under God's control, in which many have indulged, or by which they have been culturally hoodwinked: yet where it in fact belongs, it is a matter of small substance indeed.

God has stated with precision what He has done with the INSPIRATION of scripture, which accordingly becomes authoritative revelation from God to man; and what He will do in its PRESERVATION on earth, this too He has stated. The words GOD chooses in EACH of these cases, AND the things He has done, are both fulfilled with munificent exactitude.

When man, on the one hand, works out a philosophy about what God must do, and God makes a declaration about what He will do, on the other, I really have no time or interest in the former. There is no competition. Talmuds and the like are not for my religion, old style ones or new. The word of God is for us. Let us not add to it - at all!

It is just as much a mistake to 'adorn' scripture, as it is to attack it. None were ever subjected to more vitriolic denunciation by any prophet, than the word-adorners of Matthew 23, exposed in their errors by the surgical words of Jesus Christ. As to this area of adornment, philosophic intrusion into and beyond what may certainly be shown from the word of God: it is an area to be avoided therefore, with prodigious care and godly zeal.

*2 Lest there be idolatry, God may give us cause for circumspection

Several examples of this translator's non-infallibility could be given, just as we have had to cite a case in I John for the AV. However for now we shall restrict the exercise to one. It is chosen because it is a grave departure from scriptural conformity, not at all because the Greek text is in any question at all.

This example, by far the most serious, is found in Revelation 19:8. Let us hasten to note that several other translators give precisely the same translation. It is not specific to the NKJV and has nothing to do with its underlying Greek text. It reads, re the bride of the Lamb, that is, the church of believers in Jesus Christ: "and to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." That is what the NKJV says here...

In fact, two rather obvious possible translations actually present themselves here, simply in terms of the language. It will take other criteria to choose between them. The AV rightly translates in this case, "the righteousnesses of the saints". That is sound. It does not intrude, and leaves the understanding of it to the reader. The term translated from the Greek as "righteous acts" or "righteousnesses" can assuredly be translated in either of these ways.

Before we proceed, let us notice this. In Romans 5:16 and 5:18 there are TWO words translated "justification". In Romans 5:16 it is the same Greek word, though here in the singular (dikaiwma), which is used in Rev.19:8 . "The judgment which resulted from one offence resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offences, resulted in justification." This term refers to righteous ordinance, just law (A), and can also mean righteous acts. It can mean judgment, either negative or positive; but can have a sense of acquittal. The emphasis is on RIGHTEOUSNESS, and the underlying thrust, is law. There is a third word which means the state of righteousness, of things as they ought to be, integrity, virtue, purity of life and so forth. This however is not used in Rev. 19:8 or in Romans 5:16,18. There law is in view.

In Romans 5:18, we read, in part: "even so, through one's Man's righteousness, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life". Now the "righteousness" of the "one Man" is the same word as the "righteousness" in 5:16, where it is attributed to the saved or justified sinner. It is a case of meeting all that could be required by the moral, spiritual, divine law; and this He did. It is here in the singular.

Now however, later in Romans 5:18, we find what happens to us who are redeemed sinners: the free gift which reaches to, and is indeed received in this case of the believer, is "justification of life"... A different word occurs (dikaiwsis). It means "justification", acquittal (B). Just judgment is involved, and the grounds for acquittal are stated to have devolved upon one thing and one thing only: the righteousness of the One of whom it is written (5:8) that we are "justified" through His blood. Hence there is this righteous attribution, which includes the decree nisi on the guilt on sin. If now you are saved by His death, how much more will you be kept by His life (Romans 5:9), says Paul, grace reigning by righteousness to eternal life, the gift (Romans 6:23), by grace (Romans 5:15).

The point is this: BOTH words, A and B, are used in a similar sense but with a different emphasis, where noted in verses 16 and 18. In one verse, Romans - 5:18 both are used. There, HIS is the righteous virtue, ours is the vicarious acquittal. In Romans 5:16, however, the contrast is "many offences" with "righteousness", the errors which we performed, and the righteousness which we are given, with which we are garlanded; but of that more anon.

In verse 16, it is a case of emphasis on the wonder of what is gained, on the righteous purity of what is attributed to us on Christ's behalf. It is however, for all that, though this is implicit, used in the sense that we are forensically forgiven, in that context. Assuredly, the contrast is intense between OUR negative contribution and HIS positive contribution, and the efficacy of His work, DESPITE the negativity of our own.

Hence in Revelation 19:8, where the term used is that marked above as "A", found in Romans 5:16, we therefore have the option to take it to mean imputed righteousness, with emphasis on the wonder and glory, the exactitude and thoroughness of the thing imputed, that is, Christ's own righteousness, exactly as in Romans 5:16. Since the emphasis is on the entire cleanness, not at all attributable to sinners, this word choice is very understandable, mirroring that of Paul for precisely the same impact entirely.

The "linen is the righteousnesses of the saints", says Rev. 19:8. Yours and mine, distributively, these are the multitudinous tokens of righteousness, entire righteousness without which no one so much as enters heaven (James 2:10, Romans 1-3, esp. 3:19-20, John 3:17-19). They are in the scene in Revelation 19, seen to be GIVEN, not brought with them. It is "GRANTED" to the bride to be "ARRAYED" in these fine clothes. They are befitting to such people in such a place. They are celestial vestments, given to the choir of the elect, as it were, in their choir stalls, to the bride in her marriage. The array is bought, not wrought.

The wonder of these "righteousnesses" is then either distributive, or it is a multi-faceted thing - the righteousness of sanctification, performance, atmosphere, attitude, spirit, heart, all in Christ, from Christ, and as perfected in Him (cf. The Biblical  Workman Appendix 4, Love of Righteousness), for even LOVE TO GOD is required by God's law! All are attributed, all "granted", conferred, all conveyed, all making the party NOT to be THROWN OUT as occurred in the parable of the unclad wedding guest, as told by Christ Himself (Matthew 22:12-13)... The clothing then expressly is what makes the difference between ENTIRE acceptability and ENTIRE unacceptability; wrath and punishment, and grace and acceptance (cf. Ephesians 1:6). In this last verse, the Greek sense is this, that we are engraced in the beloved, surrounded with gracious acceptance in Him.

That is the kind of surround which is Biblically exclusive in such settings of acceptation, Biblically required, required in the book of Revelation, in the Gospel, in the parable of Christ. There is no other name by which we must be saved; and salvation as distinct from damnation is the issue. Let us then revert to the Parable of Matthew 22.

Now in that parable, if one thing is clear, it is this: the guests were not those notable by moral expectation; they were lying about, or in odd places, undistinguished, and they included positively bad people, explicitly. Their robes are not secured by righteous deeds. Neither are they made white except in the blood of the Lamb (I John 1:17-2:2, Revelation 1:5, Isaiah 61:10). Indeed in the classic base to these images in Isaiah 61:10, the robe of righteousness with which the redeemed are covered is paralleled by the garments of salvation.

Hence we choose not to deny the teaching of the Bible by using a translation which ignores all the imagery to which Revelation is so constantly sensitive in other scriptures; which ignores the teaching of the book of Revelation in other parts, and that of the Bible in other parts; departs from the parable, the theology and the situation. We instead are required to choose as in Romans 5:16, the sense of righteous emphasis without pre-empting the source of it in such a contrary way.

Righteousnesses these certainly represent; pure performance of law: certainly that. But whose ? Whose are those gifts of righteousness which we are explicitly told are attributed to us, though here the righteousnesses themselves, as in Romans 5:16 in precisely this sense, are in focus ? Why they are His in whose blood the saints have washed their garments, He who confers the garments of salvation.

It is, as Revelation 7:14 states, "these are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. THEREFORE they are before the throne of God..." (Capitals added.) John tells us HOW they got that whiteness, better than any fuller can make; and how they can stand: it is a case of washing and "THEREFORE". Let us not therefore choose this translation option, but accept that of Paul in Romans 5:16. These are the righteousnesses of the saints indeed, but their righteousnesses, precisely because they are saints, by which and in which stand and are arrayed, so that it is this which meets the eye and declares the status and acceptability: they are His. The Greek allows attribution to whomever; the translation resolves the point contrary to text, context and multitudes of scriptures. It is unnecessary, intrusive and excluded.

There is more that might be said on this, but this will for now suffice.

This one major error however does not mean that the NKJV is not a good translation. If other things of the type or of any type were to be found of this appalling kind, such could not be said. Other things are found, but not of this significance; and MANY things are found which are excellent, many common mistakes are avoided, and as far as a sound and useful modern English text is concerned, it is very valuable.

Actually, it is almost amusing that each of the two, the AV and the NKJV make ONE almost incredible mistake. Their general standard however is cause for some rejoicing.

Let us then avoid idolatry and TEST all things carefully, holding fast to what is good in the faith of the Lord who has not left us in any doubt about His word, but who requires diligence*3. The general advice given about the practical use of these two versions for those not scholars, is simple and leaves no danger. Practising what the Bible calls "moderation", not the subtle evasion of His teaching and truth, but the awareness of seemly circumspection and apt assiduity, rather than carnal strife, it is well to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, apprehending that for which we are apprehended, and having it finished. (Cf. QAA 11, pp. 136ff.,TBW 1, p. 20, BB 3, Endnote 1, A Just Balance .)

For a consideration of NKJV and AV renderings of interest in various points, we now turn to our set of useful detailed cases.


(Re *3 above: Perhaps not only diligence but intelligence helps, in that the mind is supposed to be used in spiritual things, not set in abeyance.)

While we are speaking about translations, let us use this opportunity to deal with a related matter: translations of THOUGHT into WORDS, in the first instance, before any thought of other languages occurs. Specifically, we are now in the domain of expression as such, of reportage, of giving accounts of things to one another.

In the New Testament a lot of disquiet has been felt by the agitations of many, concerning slightly different phrasings of utterances made by one or another person, or summarising those made, as found in one Gospel relative to another. Extraordinary statements have been made on the one side and the other, as if this were some major matter. As so often in dealing with life, the key comes from life.

We have made it in our family a matter of mirth and hobby, to watch HOW we describe, narrate, report, condense, select in our record of events in narration to one another. Possibly  hundreds of times, we have drawn to our attention this or that case when WHAT HAPPENED or WHAT WAS IN FACT SAID (in detail) was such-and-such, and the WAY WE REPORTED it, or REFERRED to it, or CONDENSED it was this or that. We observe with delicious interest how each case was handled in our normal, unrestricted speech to one another.

The variety is amazing, the liberties were impressive but the principles are quite clear. We then considered how we responded to these various methods of recounting what had been said, in synopsis or simple account.

In our reportage (casual, for ordinary inter-relation and reference as we go about our lives) of this or that to one another, there appear a number of principles, then. We are able to deal with this empirically, since almost countless examples have been dwelt on in our own midst, in which we examine the way it was done in our reporting this time, or that time. What was in common in our methods, our procedure of reportage ?

First, there is frequently found not the slightest effort to get verba ipsissima, that is, the very words spoken. If there is, it is because THAT makes all the difference or is a major INTRINSIC affair; but the cases we studied were not normally of this kind. The precision of using the SAME WORDS was far from central in our familiar reporting. It was the VARIATION and liberty which was central.

What then were the features which constrained, the elements of form and order which we found empirically, like lanes of traffic, which DID APPLY in reporting in this ordinary life setting, what someone said ?

In this, of cardinal importance is the PURPOSE of the report. If it is to recall an event, summarise a reaction, distil the essence or secure the pith of a point of view or statement, then the wording reflects THAT. This is what someone 'said', or 'stated' or 'indicated'. What is then paramount is the accuracy of thought, the aptness of spirit  and  the adequacy of coverage for the purpose in hand. If the question, for example, is whether X was a communist, then the relevant element of his speech might be taken, summarised and applied. There would be MANY ways in which this could be done, of course, such is the diversity of the vocabulary of some million words in English (as we are told), the flexibility of our grammar and the modes available for summary. The best effort would be sure to keep to the exact essence, but do it with an art of recall which brings it out without any distortion or deformity; yet this, in such a way as to expose the nerve, reveal the point at issue.

Thus there are different senses of 'said' in reportage, and it is for the intelligence to seek to determine from the purpose in view and the manner and style of the account, what is the intention. 'These were his words', or with our punctuation provisions, inverted commas of course puts it beyond doubt for us. In Greek, there are what may be transliterated as remata and logoi, and the first moves in the nature of the actual words, the second in the direction of the thought, content. In both languages, the sense of what is being SAID, and the words that convey it is distinct.

It could, secondly, be put in a SETTING which draws attention to relevant surrounding circumstances, and of these, selection to the point at issue might be drawn.

Thirdly, it was found that the substitution of this or that word or phrase for another was the height of flexibility, the substance being what was precious, with length varying according to purpose and precision of essence.

The word 'say' could be used in the most impressive way, to mean in effect: divulge, reveal, utter, signify, indicate and so on. It by no means meant that the words recorded were the words given, nor we found was this by any means assumed. If it were a question of the WORDING, then this might be signified specifically; but 'say', like 'saying' often merely means the concept, the theme, the substance of what was said. THAT must be entirely exact and without the slightest deformation; but the liberty of re-expression is surrounded with art, purpose and re-construction at the grammatical level, provided only that the relevant issue is delivered without overtone which was absent in the original, thought that was not there; and as to the thought that was there, this could be selected to meet the specifications of the understood purpose of the recall in the first place.

When the concern WAS the exact words, then this became a study, a subject in itself; and of course, in our speech, the question of inverted commas did not arise, rather as in the written Greek of the New Testament. IF we were interested in the exact words, for ANY reason, then out they must come; they could be utilised in a setting which made it clear that because they mattered to the point, therefore they were being citing with the accuracy necessary for the point. If their thrust however was the point in view, then out that must come. Fidelity was to substance, manner, mode and thrust of expression; wording was an extra, and this was understood clearly. In all this, a certain minimum but perfectly natural intelligence is employed, and parameters specified if and when this is felt necessary for understanding.

Had we desired to perform some sort of reconstruction, word by word, for a courtroom, that would have been another purpose. If again, the courtroom needed the correct rendering of the situation, that would come.

An interesting example of both the liberty and the constraint in such matters, has been brought to my attention by Matthew Donaldson. It occurs in Luke 20:16 and Matthew 21:41 and the surrounding ‘verbal tissue’.

Now on the one hand in Matthew 21:41, we find, after the parable of the wicked vinedressers, who assaulted or killed those who came for their produce, on behalf of the owner, and then killed the Son so that they could seize the inheritance for their robbing selves, a particular set of words. It concerns the owner thus misused. It is this: "He will miserably destroy them!"

THAT is the response of the hearers of Christ, who have just audited the story, and been asked, "Therefore, when the owner comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" Thus we have the RECORDED SECTOR of the interchange in this occasion between Jesus and the hostile hearers of his parable:

Answer: He will miserably destroy them.

Now in Luke 20:16, We find this.

"He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others."

Response: And when they heard it, they said, "May this not be!"

Then He looked at them and said,

"What then is this that is written ?:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.’ "

In Matthew 21:42: "Have you never read in the scriptures …"

Now the first part of this, brought to our attention, could have proceeded as follows. Jesus declares the fate of the vinedressers as is Matthew 21:40. He  precedes this in both cases by a specific question, and in Matthew the answer of some standing near is given; in Luke His own. As He formulates this question, the more progressive of His listeners are already muttering or exclaiming or inserting their answer, as students sometimes will.

He pauses, and in summary, detached and the more awesome manner, repeats or adapts their words in His own briefer sketch, transfixing the parable into this end in this deft interplay with His auditors.

Seeing the leading students’ view so categorically endorsed in the obvious thrust of the Speaker’s meaning, some are aghast. They can scarcely believe He would have the audacity, the fearless directness actually to say it; but He has proceeded on the favourable breeze of those who saw the point too starkly to do other than  answer His undoubted question. Hence these others now expostulate: "MAY IT NOT BE!" The double affirmation leaves them aghast. Christ then, taking them back where we must all go, to the sole written, authoritative declaration of God to man, at that stage, the Old Testament, now part of the whole Bible, addresses them on the prophecy which indicates such a result, yes, in their own scriptures even!

Now therefore we come to the second point. Did He in fact ask them at that point, "Have you never read…" or did He ask, "What then is this that is written?" What in fact happened ? Both formats appear.

First, quite clearly, He could have said, like one preparing his audience for an impressive impact and result: "What then is this that is written ? Have you never read in the Scripture …" There is no difficulty about that. He enquires in order to confront, then He confronts. That, after all, is precisely what He had just done in the first point we regarded.

Now in our empirical studies on reportage, you would NOT find the word "never" merely introduced as a form of reportage. This has specialised meaning and is not in the confines of conversational precision. Certainly there would have to be a ‘never’ concept, and just as certainly a thrust to the effect, "what is this?" It could have been as we have compiled it, and since this is in full accord with the context, and the wording given, there is no liberty to do otherwise in some flight of imagination. When however there is any question of say, ‘kingdom of God’ or ‘kingdom of heaven’, in some reference to what someone has said, UNLESS there is some peculiar specialty in the context, about the meaning of the one relevant to the (putatively diverse) meaning of the other, we found we ourselves in our own reportage, would in principle, not even be in the least concerned which we would use. (This ‘kingdom’ example is not a specific case in our own conduct, but a specialised result of what we found in SUCH cases in our own midst).

Variations in reportage of a situation at that level, in general were not found relevant, and the report not being verbatim in claim, there was simply no point in trying to do otherwise than convey correctly its substance. As to THAT, however, that was MOST important.

In my work, The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch.2 deals with that particular kingdom question (the two phrases as quoted above), and it is found that in general there is no specialisation, there is nothing generic and certain which can be deduced to which a given context must conform. Hence this is a sound illustration of the point: where there is no point in the specific word, then the only thing that matters is the substance, pith, thrust, point IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE SPEAKER at the time and in the PURPOSE of the speaker at the time. Where that is in doubt, then clearly no liberty can be taken, for the understanding allowing liberty would be absent. Understanding there must be, and without it all is lost.

It is all just a matter of sound common sense, seeing what humans do and how they relate things, and then seeing the very elastic principles of reportage, observing the purposes in mind, the expectations and the results, and seeing what industrious concern for truth in fact constrains to do in such a situation. Truth is such a constraining thing: it requires you to compare, consider, meditate and watch as you speak, comparing impression with impression, purpose with what occurred, impact of report with impact of original, as Paul says, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:9ff.). THAT of course brings in the next point.

In the Bible, we are told that the Spirit of God brings about this comparing (I Corinthians 2:13), so that in this case, the result being the word of God to man. The Spirit of God, we are told by the apostle,

is ultimately, in scripture,
His prerogative to induce and lead into expression.

He knows and divulges firstly, and brings expression to mind which He teaches, secondly (I Cor. 2:11,13). He ensures both. There is  superintending, comparing, scrutinising, compiling going on, in terms of spiritual things, and the work of God by His Spirit is such that He ensures that, apart from all our errors in this or that direction, absolute truth is the result, no mistake being made in any report relative to its stated purpose of truth. NOTHING will mislead; NOTHING will bring the auditor a false impression, NOTHING will claim what is not the case; NOTHING will be an incorrect, inadequate or imprecise record of events, in the purpose, propriety and power of reality.

Thus, WHATEVER part the human writer played, it is such that the Spirit of God is in this case so superintending, as Paul expressly declares, the choice of expressive instruments, that not only the substance but the actual expression of the writing is in accord with GOD HIMSELF!

God ? He is the summit of expression, the name of truth and the essence of wonder. In Him, NOTHING is amiss.

We who interpret the scriptures in terms of their own indictment therefore, must then avoid either doubting the record in any detail, or trying at all times to force it to involve the exact words spoken in a given summary of some speech, only the exact force, substance and thrust being categorically certain. Equivalent expression may be used, summarising condensation may appear, selection of relevant elements may happen without distortion or misdirection.

Let us take another aspect such as we found in our own discourses. Thus, He said, that if I were to do this, there would be enormous consequences, for example, we found could have come from something like: "My man, listen to me. I am not about to tolerate the sort of liberty which comes from you, and you will find, surely find, results that will rock your whole life if you proceed in this way." The précis which could contain this utterance, for the purpose, for example, of deftly exposing the nature and feeling, the spirit and result of the speech, could well be as shown.

We do précis ourselves in school; and paraphrase. The latter can lengthen, but could shorten. The disposition of words to convey a matter is a liberty we all take. It is only when the context indicates sound ground for ipsissima verba, that we should expect it. In our own way, we often overcome any doubt by inverted commas, such as were not used in the Greek text. In this case, we simply believe that in accord with the purpose of the record, so the character of the précis, essentialising, or direct reportage. Since God is the supervisory and final author of the account, it is not of much significance: either the words themselves or the account of them is with divine authority. Context shows where the ipsissima verba are in view. WHAT they say is always what the case actually was.

Either way, the absolute truth is in view, an infinitely sound report, or the original words, according to the character of the case. Sometimes you see "began to say" which gives the indication of some sort of reportage of what they were indicating in a number of preliminary statements. With the Bible, summary or direct wording, then, God is the undertaker that THIS is the wholly truthful relation of the episode or speech. It is hard not to use the French, Que voulez-vous ? What would you expect ? What do you
want ?
Do you want to dictate to others what their purpose shall be, or order what you want provided, whether or not it is in the Speaker's mind best for you to get it this way rather than that.

Let it suffice that what you get is the absolute truth, that where the context demands the actual words, these are they; and when reportage does not, the effect is equivalent in the new context in the shaft of the disclosure that is both just and apt. On what is said, you may rely with an utter assurance that moves down to jot and tittle, and up to heaven itself.

End of end-notes


We come now to some Detail on Comparative Points to Watch
in the pleasantly clear NKJV translation,
with some reference to the AV Translation

In the first section of this presentation,

On Translations of the Bible, Words about Words:

we have considered some basic elements in view in this field, and were addressing ourselves to a combination of the KJV and the NKJV, in the way there stressed. The NKJV without doubt is likely to add very significantly to the amount of accurate, actual understanding of the text, partly because of more normal usage, including words and grammatical constructions, such as we currently employ, and partly because an emphasis towards clarity.

The NKJV does not have much in the way of poetry to add, or in elegant diction - the KJV has enough of that, and its words are basic to a very great extent. What the NKJV does especially focus is clarity, and hence greater awareness of what was actually said. Since God is the speaker, that is crucially important.

There are however a few cases, worth mentioning, where one needs care, even in that framework, if one is to gain the best insight through careful pondering. Those presented are not numerous; but it seems best to mention them, so that even in such things as these (other than point 1, which as noted before is serious), there may be awareness and thought, and the care needed for a good understanding.

Very occasionally, one may find a Greek original in which NEITHER the AV nor the NKJV handles it accurately, aptly or adequately. Two such cases will be noted. As will be there seen, however, they are far from earth-shaking, being comparatively minor failures, picked up in some other translation, and certainly not in the least affecting any doctrine. These will make up cases 10 and 4, neither of the two considered translations appearing here as careful with the original as is desirable.

This list started as

21 Cases for Care and Consideration

with Many Additional

(a 22nd case, one of close concurrence and blessed comparability between the KJV and the NKJV was added as an excursion of great interest in *3 below,
while cases 23-54 inclusive appear in *4, and are itemised below and there).
Above, of course, Psalm 12:6 is covered.
In addition, you may find Psalm 19 with translation,

in Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 3.
  It is now presented for simplicity as




The numbers are as found in the text, in that order, BELOW, and there they are to be found.

Preliminary: Psalm 12:6 and Revelation 19:8 have already appeared above, and occur as numbers 40) and 41) below. Apart from these, numbers 27 onwards are found in others of my works, and the hyperlinks to these sites are provided as they come in their place in the series.  In addition,  a hyperlink to Number 27 is provided for easy reference to this set, immediately below. 36 to 43 have their own hyperlinks below, as also in the text in its numerical order, which follows.

1) Rev. 19:8
2) I John 5:7-8
3) II Kings 7:13
4) Psalm 139: 16
5) Zech. 9:17
6) Romans 3:25
7) Isaiah 13:12
8) Isaiah 53:10
9) Lev. 19:20
10) Psalm 90:12
11) Matthew 10:8
12) I Cor. 15:33
13) Ephesians 3:21
14) Matthew 28:9
15) Acts 9:35
16) Rev. 20:4
17) Isaiah 64:4
18) Matthew 11:27
19) Job 21:30
20) Titus 2:13ff.
21) Acts13:19-20
22) Romans 9:5
23) Isaiah 2:22
24) Amos 4:11
25) Psalm 22:30
26) Isaiah 9:3


27) Revelation 22:14
28) Romans 5:12-15,
29) Joel 2:23 and
30-31) Malachi 2:12,15,
32) II Thessalonians 2:2
33) Isaiah 26:19
34) II Kings 8:10 and
35) II Peter 1:19-20.

36) Also on the topic of I John 5:7 see above.

37) On Titus 1:2-3, translation, see Of the Earth Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14,  IV.  

38) At the same site there is a rendering with reason, of Romans 16:25-26.

39) On II Timothy 3:16, see The Christian Pilgrimage ...Ch. 5 and Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.

40) This is the case treated in the preliminary section of this work, Revelation 19:8, at End-note *2.

41) Psalm 12:6 is also covered in the preliminaries, at End-note *1. 1

42) Zechariah 14:5 (with I Thess. 3:13) is to be found at End-note *2A, below.

43) Psalm 19 is translated in Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 3.

44) Titus 1:2-3

45) Romans 16:25-26

(44 and 45 in Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ 14 at one location).

       46) Isaiah 23:13

        47) Hebrews 11:1

       48)  Ephesians 1:3-5

       49) Habakkuk 2:13

      50) John 1:1. For the actual wording of the translation, see here.

      51) Genesis 1:1
            Gracious Goodness Ch. 6, Bright Light Ch. 9, Dayspring.

      52) Ezekiel 34:29
             The True God ... Ch. 1

       53) Hosea 7:13

      54) Isaiah 9:6-7

      55) Isaiah 8:19

      56) Isaiah 33:6




1-2) As noted in the first section of this presentation, above (*2):

1) 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 there. Suffice here to say that the KJV "righteousnesses" is better by far, than the NKJV. On the other side,

2) the NKJV is the one attested quite clearly by the manuscripts, re I John 5: 7-8.
These constitute the first two cases.

3) II Kings 7:13 appears to contain a reduplicative misprint in the NKJV copy to hand. The KJV seems perfectly correct here, as well as more direct.

4) In Psalm 139:16, the NKJV seems inadequate, and the KJV language appears rather forced into the text itself. The topic is the body being fashioned in the womb, not the days, as the NKJV seems to imply; on the other hand, the term 'days' does appear, though not mentioned in the AV. A good translation taking account of what is actually there on the one hand, and the topic on the other would seem to be found by putting in from the Hebrew verb its subject, making a rendering:

"Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days they should be fashioned, when as yet there were none of them." Thus, as the KJV correctly indicates, it is the unformed members which are assaulting the astonished attention, the wonder and the marvelling of David, and their programmed organisation.

Then comes the "days" notation. Yet "days" in any normal sense occur as a sequence focus for the action of the verb. Organised, like the parts to-be-developed, and for them, they are in a time-product ordained system. As to that, the term for embryo in Hebrew has a root background with an etymological sense of something wrapped up, folded or even hidden. Hence the "all of them" simply indicates the intrinsic particularity, not available in form when the embryo is a simple looking mass, but schematically contained in God's book where they are drafted and hidden, in due course to be empowered by program into individual existence as parts or organs in the now integrated whole of the more developed embryo.

In this verse, the plural form "they" impactively appears with "all written", after the singular form for "embryo", thus yielding a verbal impact on the contextual scene. The "it" (pronoun equivalent for the "substance" or "embryo" term used) without any more ado, suddenly becomes a "they". This however is just like the impact of bodily members on the anatomical scene in the embryonic development. Each "arrives" suddenly: the plural form in word in this verse, and the plural fact in body in the embryonic topic, they have a parallel suddenness, a breach of walls of inwardness as they come directly into the open day of life. If you will, this is a sort of structural onomatopoeia, a literary mirroring of the scene it describes, most apt in poetical beauty.

The verbal form similarly - pu'al - is intensive passive, and would fit with the concept of constant fashioning, much fashioning, configuring, moulding, as appropriate for embryo, but not of course for time. Time merely reaches the scene as the date pages, the day-by-day slots for the action for each day as it were, in the divine and pre-formulated book of operational moulding of members. The celestial engineer's handbook is so time-oriented for the prodigious works each day contains. We look then at the marvel of the programmed DAYS on which each DEVELOPMENT is to occur. It might even be prophetically considered: "the days they were fashioned for me", as an envisagement of what being sure, is thought of as finished. The sense in this case would be the same, and the concept in view could be the so-called 'prophetic past'.

That is, it is seen, as in predictive cases, as already accomplished, so graphic and sure is its coming occurrence to the prophet. IN this case, it would be so sure was the divinely directed programmatic series of events in their time slots that it could quite similarly be conceived as done. This would be the physiologically, the anatomically previewed and decided;  whilst the parallel use of the past tense for history yet to come would be the historically previewed rendered determinate in the prophetic utterance. In the case of the divine babe, you would have BOTH together, the incarnation with the necessities of the bodily building program, day by day, AND the infinite SIGNIFICANCE of this baby, the new format of Him known before all time, God the word inscribed in flesh for salvation (Philippians 2, Revelation 13:8, 14:6, John 8:58). Each was secure.

Here, in Psalm 139, both the pre-envisagement and the pre-coding are ALREADY DONE. The days they were formed are all over before each of them begins: in security, certainty, apt program and comprehending divine envisagement.

In English, then, with clarity in view, probably the best way of translating the thought pattern (with amplifying addition to help, not part of the translation itself) would be something like this:

"My structure was not hidden from You,
when I was made in secret,
and intricately given diversity of form
in the developmental darkness.
Your eyes saw my embryonic substance
and in your book all
(the particular results of developmental processes,
to form the physical equipment of life, organic, structural)

were written,
the (very) days they should be fashioned,
when as yet none (organic, structural members) of them
(so much as) existed."

The "fashioning" can even suggest "create", means mould, form like a potter, and is clearly intricately interwoven verbally with the diversity of form concept applicable to the developing "members" (in the AV) "woven" or "curiously wrought" (AV) or as was put here, "intricately given diversity" above. (This latter term relates to weaving with diverse threads, to variegation).

All that would be both ludicrous and anti-contextual if used of the days as their focus, but not when used of the processes occurring in the structurally prepared days, time notches for the wonderful physical events being outworked according to the book! Then days merely reinforces the focal concept.

Indeed, the formulae, formations, fabrications were all written, and their days likewise. Eventuation into life is the explosion of the secret, already performed. Hence the rendering selected.

The sense is this: THERE are the members, "all of them", written, yes, and there are times, correlated, all engineered in the drawing board, all contained in the book, a synthetic whole of time and place, part and whole, organised, prepared, and to be enacted into actuality on earth with a divinely activated fluency. Creation articulated all these things; eventuation displays it (Psalm 148:5, Isaiah 45:12, Genesis 1-3). Here it is the latter that astounds.

The AV margin has "what days they should be fashioned"; but more exactly it is "days", and the leanness of the words, especially in lyric poetry, is best adhered to when one can idiomatically do so, representing minimal or even nil intrusion into the text. The simultaneity of the

i) form-production,

ii) time-eventuation is in view:

they are divinely paired, joint occupants of the creator's skill. It is rather like a list, as if to say - written were:- my members, all of them, days they should be fashioned. Thus it is a citation of awe.

We look then at the marvel of the programmed DAYS on which each DEVELOPMENT is to occur. It might, being in the past tense as already noted, even be prophetically considered: "the days they were fashioned for me", as an envisagement of what being sure, is thought of as finished. The sense in this case would be the same, and we would be seeing the so-called 'prophetic past'.

To rehearse: it is not the DAYS which are held here in view - they are merely added, remarkable as they are in the complex; but it is the embryo with its secret fashioning, the UNFORMED embryo which is the primary subject matter, with the MEMBERS (i.e. its arms and legs and neck and head, organs), when AS YET, as is the nature of embryos, there was none of them. Hence we have quite naturally and without stress, the words which actually follow in the Psalm: "and not one among them".

This wonderful and imaginative poetry is making a thunderous point. Literally, then, this part ends: "and not one among them". This of course presents a muddle if you are dealing in days, but is a coherent expression of the heart of the theme, if referring to the substance being there, not one member as yet in it. Berkeley renders: "when as yet there was not one among them". Day-member synthesis was all in place, before any member was there.

This is the situation:

none of the noted bodily members is there,

but there the program is,

celestially contrived,

each day of development being nevertheless determinate,

yes, even when not a member was to be seen in the embryo

in its initial simplicity.

That simplicity in marked contrast with its prepared potential, means this:- Amazingly it is all marked out in His book as to days,

each organic whole is envisaged, prepared, pre-designed,

ready to burst forth, like flowers in Spring,

indeed to be moulded,

even when

not one of the members has as yet appeared.

Yes, it is timed!

This is the theme in the context before and after the point in view - the intrusive term "days". If "days" were made the object of formation, and should become the substance, the new item in view, then of course there would be a problem as just noted. Indeed:

a) It would be utterly outside the intimate points preceding, aborting the thrust and continuity.

b) At the time visualised by David, when the embryonic "substance" is held in view, some of the "days" would have been fashioned for the embryo already. Hence there would not be a visualising of the whole day-growth relationship for David the embryo, but a part of it, whereas "they were all written" when "none of them". What however was in view for the unformed embryo was all the members, none of which at the time in view, were observable: ALL had to come "when none of them". The "substance" was still unformed, so that the "members" were not at all formed, or in existence: ALL were in the dark places, evacuated from sight in the powers of the Creator, subject to the diligent skills of the Former.

c) It bereaves the passage of the both the streamlined beauty and coherence as noted above, indeed of its ready intelligibility and theme.

d) It evacuates the words of their stated focal point: members to be contrived - in what at first appears but a vague simplicity. These are prescribed to arrive on this seemingly simple scene: developed organic wholes, means of mobility, of vitality. They are ready to come, ordained to come: into this, this mere commencement of an embryo!

e) We have the clause "when as yet there was none" as meaningless, contorted or else a mystic pot: an unnecessary self-inflicted wound.

Thus "Thy book" was divinely inscribed to cover the case, even when these members, to be made and co-ordinated, were visually absent. (This of course is precisely what is being said in science now, as the genetic code is considered and claims are made that its content for a single human nucleated cell is worth a thousand large, complex volumes of writing. The intense symbolic, code content is prescriptive, directive, executive, integrated, cohesive in kind and synthesising in practice, the most stupendous material design by far, ever visible on earth. It is also, no less, intensively verificatory of the Biblical vision imparted to the prophet who wrote Psalm 139, by the inspiration of God.)

If that sustained emphasis on members is what the NKJV meant to indicate, it does not succeed in unambiguously showing this. The KJV on the other hand, while it does not readily translate the text in its straightforward flow, and seems at one point to render a poetry of its own, adding its relative pronoun to the point to invest a meaning not at all apparent: yet does preserve the basic thrust - an advantage shared by its marginal rendering. The arrival, formation, formulation, fabrication of parts from the innate mass that preceded them is rightly kept in focus, as the considerations above indicate to be appropriate.

Thus we could render, to preserve the sense: "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book my formed parts were all written - the days they should be fashioned - when as yet there were none of them."

5) In Zechariah 9:17 the NKJV does not correctly render, except in the margin, where it correctly shows what is actually written, the text. This is : HOW GREAT IS HIS GOODNESS!

We are not referring to many, but to one. If it is taken as some sort of metaphorical plurality, then we are intruding in putting that in; for there ARE many in the context - people; and there IS ONE in the context, God. The singular has a natural place, that of only ONE which, or who is in view. There is no ground for removing the actual word "his" in the context; and in putting "their" for "his", you embark on an intrusion, if not invasion of the sentiment both here and as is normal in scripture. This is that it is GOD who is good and the greatness of goodness is HIS, definitively!

GOODNESS AND MERCY FOLLOW, but I do not LEAD with them, they find their place in me by derivation and it is the source I signalise, which we should all signalise: NOT changing "HIS to "their" in a way which, quite simply, the context does not warrant - and which would rather resemble the case with the KJV in 4) above. Intrusive change is disagreeable with the words of God, and this assuredly is no mere matter of idiom or conveying the undoubted sense.

6) Here, in Romans 3:25, the NKJV has an advantage, in putting, "by His blood" instead of "in", as both translations are permissible, but 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 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.

7) Isaiah 13:12 in the NKJV has "mortal man" as that which is precious. However the Hebrew does not necessarily have this translation, and it does not satisfy all the components of the broader context. It is more "human" in the sense of mankind, on which the focus is made. The term "rare" again, has a strong connotation of "precious" as in the KJV. The word "man" on the next line is also one which has the sense of a son of man, of mankind, sons of Adam. It could be translated less intrusively by putting it:

'I will make a human more precious than find gold, a man more than the golden wedge..'

Now in Isaiah 28:6 we find this same word "precious" use of the great foundation stone, and that is of great contextual significance both as to language used and meaning in view (cf. Isaiah 11:2-4, 12:2, 40:10, 41:29-42:1, 49:6). Is it not the small valuing of HIM (Zechariah 11:12-13) at 30 pieces of silver, who is THE LORD \ the speaker there, which brings in the trouble to the uttermost? GOD is NOT mocked!

The sense here would appear NOT to be, that you will not find a man, except most rarely - for there appear numbers of them; but that a MAN a HUMAN, a member of this race as to form at least, will be precious, will be incarnation of God, will be rendered vulnerable, will be available. In view of what elsewhere in this book is shown of the infamous treatment accorded this precious cornerstone (as Isaiah 28:16 calls Him), there will indeed be a "shaking of the heaven", as the very next verse in Isaiah 13 tells us.

As Hebrews 12:25-28 puts it,

"For if they did not escape, who refused Him who spoke on earth,
much more shall we not escape if we turn away form Him who speaks from heaven."

The things that CAN be shaken are going to be! THIS is the chief ground, that the things which CANNOT be shaken remain. HE cannot be moved. Nor will those who have "fled to Him for refuge " (Hebrews 6:18).

The emphasis on someone of the HUMAN RACE, the Son of Man, as Christ called Himself, is therefore best left within the translation as suggested, instead of the "mortal man" which is not precisely what is written.

8) The NKJV has a capital for "You" in Isaiah 53:10. This is one interpretation, the original not determining this point. If you take this then that GOD is making the SACRIFICE for sin in this verse, the translation "if" would be ludicrous, for the thing is seen as DONE.

If it is translated not "if" but "when", as it may be, then you have the paradox that WHEN He makes this of His Son, in the most poignant moment in history, THEN the Son sees His seed. Not so. Then the Son cried out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken ME! There could hardly be any less apposite concept.

Further, as Professor E.J.Young points out in his trilogy The Book of Isaiah (Vol. III, p. 354), "God is not addressed in this passage but rather is spoken of in the third person both before and after this verse. Furthermore, sacrifices were offered up not by God but to Him. Although the Lord does bring about the death of the servant, He is not the Offerer. In verse 12 the servant receives the reward for his work, which proves that it is he himself who offers the sacrifice." We may add to this. God in heaven, as distinct from the human-formatted servant, is not addressed in this verse, nor in the preceding chapter, nor in the two following! It is indeed the action of the offerer, the labourer, the sufferer which is rewarded, "He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death" (v.12).

Indeed, if you consider the mode of address, the milieu of terminology, the intimacy of the passage, not only is God being addressed constantly in the third person, so that any question must relate to this mode, if the context is to make things clear (Proverbs 8:8), as we must expect when any ambiguity might otherwise arise, but there is another fascinating feature. "You" or if you will, "thou" is a term in constant use in this chapter, the preceding and the two succeeding. It is used in this way directly or by implication (as in an imperative) - some 15 times in Ch.52, and some 39 times in the next chapter!

It is not too much to say that the address TO the sinner, or TO the people is constant, evocative, intimate, persistent, penetrating, occurring as if one were looking over one's shoulder to a fellow labourer and constantly stating or implying 'you' almost at every turn. Thus, there is the comforting closeness of 52:1-2, where God is telling Zion to re-dress (cf. 61:10, where justification is in view), as in 45:25 - "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and glory", as in 53:5,8,11, in our immediate context. Such themes are woven into the work like threads in tapestry, constant, thematic. "Your God reigns!" is the cry to Zion in 52:7. "Depart!" He exclaims in 52:11, as the tardy sinner is addressed in terms of holiness to the Lord. It is all focussed on "you" or "thou" and "He", the Lord who speaks in solace, comfort and the offers of salvation to the one addressed.

Similarly, at the very start of 53, "Who has believed our report?" is a personalised proposition, searching into the soul of the listener. In Ch.54, there are numerous encouragements to the same addressee:"Enlarge the place of your tent!", "Do not spare!", "You will forget the shame of your youth!", "For a mere moment, I have forsaken you, with a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer."
In this last case, not only is the subject spoken to as 'you', but the Lord speaks of Himself as 'your Redeemer'. The material before us is soaked in 'you', in individual, in joint, in continual circumnavigations of the soul of the listener. "Oh you afflicted one!" , "Great shall be the peace of your children!".

In the next chapter, 55, it becomes if possible more intensive. "Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!" The evangelical thrust, the penetrating appeal, the solacing spiritual challenge is vigorous but tender. "Why do you spend your money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? ... I will make an everlasting covenant with you - the sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people. .. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way..." Such is the continual thrust and command, offer and appeal in this whole area of Isaiah.

Therefore, we must confirm mightily what E.J. Young has to say on this particular point: that God is not the One addressed. Not only is God NOT addressed in this context, but Zion and the individual sinner are both addressed in the second person, literally scores of times. This is the whole tenor of the passage - what HE, God is doing, what His servant is doing in His name, and those to whom He is doing it, repeatedly called to mind and called in heart, with 'you'. The sacrificial physician, spending his life for his patients, is being exposed in honour, while the patients are being appealed to, so that they take advantage of His labours on their behalf. HE does this, and YOU should do that, receive it, eat, drink, dress, come out, receive, be covered from sin.

That then simply confirms the need to AVOID the third personal rendering. Equally however, we must emphasise, it confirms the need to USE the second personal ending, which is the dominating feature with the interchange between "Him" and the appeal, in the overall passage; and this to such an extent that it is rather a matter of seeing why to think of it as at all varied from this pattern and format at all, than why to render in terms of 'you' as so often.

We therefore cannot rightly force into the context either verbally or in terms of the connotations, 'You' as the divine addressee in 53:10. It is NOT - "When You shall make His soul..."

What however if one should consider putting not 'You", but "his soul" as the subject, so that the force is this: WHEN HIS SOUL makes a sin offering... ? This would certainly be an extraordinary variant, since we have been considering the servant as "him" or as "he' all through, rather than a "soul". We might in context have expected, perhaps, When He shall offer His soul...", since then the contour of thought would be unvaried. That however is not what the text provides for us. In form, it is EITHER second person singular masculine, or third person singular feminine.

This contour, this mode of address and of interchange between the One in whose name these words are given, and the one/ones to whom they are addressed, of course does not HAVE to be unvaried. When however ambiguity can arise, it is important to consult the evidence which ANY writer has seen fit to provide, to guide one into the chosen thought. Otherwise the writer becomes unclear, something God forbids in Proverbs 8:8 for the wisdom of His speech.

If nevertheless, you put, "When His soul shall make a sacrifice for sin" (which in grammar here you may), then we appear to have contorted language. In the Old Testament, the priest made a sacrifice of the soul of the living creature... of its life. Now, at Calvary Christ was offering Himself, thereby being both priest and sacrifice. Does it then mean to say this: When His life shall offer His life? Actually, it is His spirit which offers, the spirit which was heavy at Gethsemane and which He commended at the end of the agony, into His Father's hands (Luke 23:46). It is also a variation from the norm of expression for sacrifice. The LIFE is OFFERED. It does not offer. The priest offers, the spirit, or the person, it is this which offers the life.

Indeed, in verse 10, already, the operation of sin-bearing by appointment has been covered; it has 'pleased the Lord to bruise Him'. Now arises the consequence FROM this PAST. When YOU later act, Zion, or individual sinner, to utilise this offering, THEN HE will see the efficacy with joy. When the individual, when Zion should so act, when the "you" who has been addressed, is being addressed and is about to be addressed continually in these chapters, as we have just shown: when THIS is to act, as constantly exhorted throughout to act, and to act in this sacred way, THEN, as constantly throughout also, THEN the purpose of the Lord will be fulfilled. THEN?

It is THEN that the evangelical marvel will be appreciated, its fruits gained, its justifying power will arise and be satisfied - indeed THAT is precisely what the very next verse goes on to relate. "By His knowledge, my righteous servant shall justify many!" and THIS, continually upon the listening ear-drum like rain, is what is beating, beating on the mind. YOU eat, YOU drink, YOU dress, YOU come out - and here, YOU take as a sin-offering HIS soul.

His "soul" or "life" here becomes apt as the receivable offering, in that at death it is as one slaughtered. It is as such that it is received. The whole ignominious insult, the degrading lump of flesh concept is here. It is WHAT He is made of, HOW He is disregarded in SLAUGHTER which comes through; as it is not His soul which offers, but His life, His soul which IS the object of slaughter, the one to be received, in whom the impending justification about to be mentioned, occurs.

It is God who puts Him to grief, we find in verse 10; and as to the servant, it is He whose life is to be received.

We do not, on the contrary, in verse 10 find a finished act of being "put to grief" suddenly unfinished, any more than we find a tragic phase allied WHILE IN FOCUS, with joy. Sequence - the sufferings and afterward the glory . Even if it were a parallel expression, it would be a movement from past to present, from a death already in view re suffering (v.9 "He made His grave", with v.10a), to a death merely in prospect; and it is looking at joy in the presence of the death as about to occur. The joy however is for the future, not at the prospect of dying, which was accompanied by loud cries, as Hebrews 5 tells us, beforehand in an agony of grief. To refocus the 'operation', in prospect, while speaking of joy in terms of this operation, is neither natural nor necessary. The joy was set before Him, not experienced then: that is the position as given to us.

The "putting to grief" and the "trespass offering" being set are different aspects of the one thing. It is the UTILISATION of the offering which is the moment of marvel, the transforming of the tragedy, when the whole enactment, completed in resurrection, is publicised (cf. 53:12). Then indeed He who faced an initial situation which appeared as if "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain" (49:4) finds His "just reward", for it is "too small a thing that You should be My servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob... I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth." THAT is the payload! There is the transformation!

Hence the rendering preferred is this:"When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed" - the same as the NKJV except for this, the 'y' in You is not capitalised. Without children of His own physically, He gains them, nonetheless spiritually, WHEN anyone makes of His sacrifice an offering for sin, faith being the avenue and salvation being the result, as grace is the efficient cause. Ch.54 goes on "For the Lord has called you", "Sing, O barren", "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me!"

In sum: While the NKJV is better here than the putting of 'His soul' as subject, as some do, it is worse than leaving the 'y' small. A note would have helped here.

An Excerpt for More Coverage,
from The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, p. 727:

*15 Hundreds of prophecies in the old Testament bore on Christ and were duly, as always, fulfilled. We are not pursuing that particular topic here. It was this same Jesus Christ who said (John 14:6):

I am the way, the truth and the life:

no man comes to the Father

except by Me.

It was Isaiah who wrote, concerning Christ being hustled with profound rejection to the Cross:

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;

He has put Him to grief.

When you make His soul an offering for sin,

He shall SEE His seed,

{That is, when you receive Him (Isaiah 53:1, John 1:12), He will see you as a child of God - this is life's entry.

It is thus He prolongs - you prolong His days here (``Christ in you'') through His sacrifice.

By this sacrifice (Col. 1:21-22), He shortened His earthly days (Ps. 102:23-102:10-13 is cited in Hebrews 1:10-12).}

He shall prolong His days,

and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand...

By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
{that is, acquit them by bearing their sins }
for He shall bear their iniquities ... Isaiah 53:10-11.

In all solemnity, one must ask : Are you one of that "many" ? Have you made His soul, His life an offering for your sin, accepting the sacrifice rendered ?

He saw life not when but because He saw death; and that life, is it yours ?

9) In Leviticus 19:20, the AV has "she shall be scourged" in the text, for the case where a slave girl, betrothed, has intercourse with some man. In the margin, it puts "there shall be a scourging". Actually, the use of 'she' in the text, when the Hebrew is so impersonally rendered in the AV margin, in such a case, is not good. The fault is mitigated by the margin which has for the AV a better rendering; but the error in the text is merely the more obvious from it.

Other renderings are "there shall be an inquisition" (Revised Version, margin, set as the 'Hebrew') , "a court enquiry shall be conducted" (Berkeley), a judicial assessment which does not of course preclude the finding being innocent, though the possibility of a negative finding is certainly there. The reward, result, is not to be presumed. Indeed, Harris, Archer and Waitke in their Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, speak of the possible rendering, 'compensation', query 'scourging', and show the root in terms of the concept of searching and care. We might safely render: "there shall be a judicial assessment".

What is clear is this: investigation, care, concern and results are to occur because of the incident; and what is required, short of death is to occur. In view of this, it was important not to put the 'she' in the text, along with the Hebrew margin 'there shall be'.

It may raise questions of justice, and there is no cause or ground for this to be found in the text. Here the NKJV is better: "there shall be scourging", since it does not presuppose it is to her alone. ONE of them at least must be guilty, so some scourging might well occur. Of course, you may say, he has to pay as the following verses indicate, while she being bond has to suffer rather than pay; and so there is justice. But if SHE were innocent ?

It is good the KJV has the margin as it does; it would be far better not to have the translation that it does here in the text itself.

What then ? With care, one avoids error; but such things as these, even in an excellent translation, prevent idolatrous assumptions; as they distance even presumptuous attributions to a preferred version, or indeed laziness, as though excellence were perfection, and "second inspiration" had occurred.

10) In Psalm 90:12, the KJV has : SO TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS THAT WE MAY APPLY OUR HEARTS UNTO WISDOM. This has a beautiful sound, is most instructive, but is not precisely a rendering in any discernible way, of the words written. The sense relates; the translation is not simply of what is there.

The NKJV is more accurate here; SO TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS THAT WE MAY GAIN A HEART OF WISDOM. Keil and Delitzsch, the noted and amazingly scholarly commentators of long fame, whose knowledge of the original languages is immense and who are very articulate, considered possible translations. They criticised with careful grammatical exegesis various possible translations and supposed renderings put forward in t his case. Their translation is the one given by the NKJV. They of course wrote long before it was ever made. It is pointed out that the verb in view 'bring" (in the phrase rendered in the KJV "apply our hearts") may have an overtone from agricultural usage, bring is as a harvest, as a product, as a gain. How then will you render - that we may bring a heart of wisdom ... in view of this? One rendering is just that: bring a heart of wisdom.

In our idiom, however, this is not exceptionally expressive. What then? It is possible to ponder and consider the nuances of this verb, and seek the meaning... that we "bring in a heart of wisdom" or gain a heat of wisdom, bring to pass a heart of wisdom. Thus these commentators and translators present the version that the NKJV adopts.

How then did the KJV get 'apply our hears to wisdom' ? It is not entirely easy to see; but one can try to consider what it might have been. What if the thinking is as follows: that we may bring in (like a harvest) a heart of wisdom; that we may ponder (following 'according to thy fear, so is thy wrath') the shortness of our days and the strength of the divine countenance and with diligent watchfulness, surveying all things under the mighty hand of God , with no illusions. Thus, realistic and God-fearing, we get on with, bring in, gain a wisdom of heart. If then this is, as might appear, the contextual thrust, its force might appear:

To say the least, however, this is not what is written. It is a possible bridge between what is written and the KJV. The NKJV is what is written. Try as one might, it would be hard to criticise the NKJV in this case, far less in comparison with the KJV, if accuracy is the criterion, if the object is the simple rendering what is there in its pith, and point.

That is a difficulty of translating. You can go too far in being 'helpful', or you can not be helpful enough. It is best in the end, using our own idiom, yet not to transgress into the helpfulness which substitutes the help for the text.

Finally, considering the very in another aspect, the verbal base is one meaning 'to come, to go, to bring in' and the form of that verb in this text is the causative, which means, to bring in, to lead... to CAUSE to come in. It is a very common word, used some 2570 times in the Old Testament. Thus it comes to have various idiomatic meanings, such as that of harvest and so on. In fact, noun derived from this verb, has the meaning 'a coming in, being stored up income, profit; produce fruit, result". Thus we see a background to the matter, and for any rendering such as gain or produce .. . a heart of wisdom.

The NKJV is sound here, and we might perhaps render also:


Matthew 10:8.

Now we come to a case where both the AV and the NKJV, indeed nearly all 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. 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.

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.

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).

It is therefore apparent 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.

12) Truth and Tradition

I Corinthians 15:33.

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 runs a great risk. The word of God can be suppressed without inquisitorial torture procedures. "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.

13) Ephesians 3:21.

Another 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.


14) 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 vat mass of the text remains, both clear and challenging, at 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. See also 16 below.

15) 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 often do this, 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 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!

16) 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."  Revelation 20:5 tells us that this is the first resurrection.

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*2A), 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 worshiped 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.

17) Isaiah 64:4 is of great interest, the more since 64:5 is stated to have occasioned immense difficulty in interpretation. Obviously, how 64:4 is rendered will greatly affect the flow and sense of sequence to 64:5. What meets this need, if solving any puzzle, hence would be commendable for rigorous care.


The AV renders Isaiah 64:4 like this: "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." Certainly, 16th century English does not help. Why should it! Using former usages does not aid modern problems.

However, let us pass on from this. The beauty, dignity, perception often involved in the AV are genuine arguments for its high place in the arena of translations; its facility in our speech at the contemporary level, quite naturally and indeed necessarily, is not. But there is more here, much more. In this instance, it appears to be giving a quite indefensible translation. Before we consider this, let us note some other renderings of this verse. Thus the NASB has (to take the main area of divergence only): "neither has eye seen a God besides Thee, who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him." Delitzsch in his magnificent and famed commentary set, has this here: " a God beside Thee, who acted on behalf of him that waiteth for Him." Literally the tense is present.

The Berkeley version: "seen a God besides Thee who works for him who waits for Him."
E.J. Young in his immense Isaiah commentary: "a God beside thee, he doeth to the one waiting for him." This gives, he states, in v.4 a reason for what was stated earlier in verse 3: thus God is in v.3 stated to have DONE wonderful, astonishing things for Israel in past times, and the principle is now enunciated: He DOES (acts) for the one who waits for Him. He is not an illusory, philosophical, clairvoyant's muse type of God. He acts. He has power. He used it before. He still does. THESE, the 'waiting' for HIM, are conditions (cf. Hebrews 11:6).

While the sense in all these is much the same, it is fascinating in the context to consider the very  literal translation: "seen GOD, besides Thee. He acts for the one who waits for Him." The last clause is from a participle, "the one who waits for Him", and the thrust preceding, 'GOD', is dropped into the scene like a vast, awesome wonder. Here is the ONLY ONE WHO as GOD is there; the rest are NOT GOD (Deuteronomy 32:17,18,21). The last has this: "They moved Me to anger with that which is NOT GOD" (last caps.added). Besides HIM, nothing intelligible, real at all. It is this God who IS, the I AM, who ACTS (being able) for those who wait.

Attention has been drawn to Deuteronomy 29:2 and Joshua 23:3 where quite the same emphasis is being made. Moses recapitulating, says to the people, "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants and to all his land; the great temptations which your eyes have seen..."  Here, it could readily have been part of this very  address in Isaiah, so close is the wording, the concept, the emphasis! It is a case of what the Lord DID, and indeed did BEFORE YOUR EYES, and further, the things which YOUR EYES HAVE SEEN. This moreover fits with the recurring emphasis in Isaiah 41-48, that God is the One who DOES IT, fulfils it, makes it happen, whether in general, as in Ch.48, or in particular, as for Cyrus the coming deliverer for the Jews, who would send them home from Babylon. (We shall emphasise the point below.)

In the latter case: "And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you: for the Lord your God is he who has fought for you." Again there is the relevant action, the rescuing action, the notable action. This is a frequent theme. In Psalm 78 it is the same; and there too, you see the additional challenge. THEY despite all this have sinned and provoked the Lord, in the very face of such repeated  and marvellous ACTIONS, wonders, things DONE!
In Joshua 23:14, we read a further strand in this theme: "... not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you; all have come to pass to you, and not one thing has failed..." GOD reveals Himself as He will! The NOT-GOD crew are wholly deficient in evidence; God abounds in it.


The AV adds here. It provides what the text does not state. The word 'what' is added. Hence and hence only, they get the  ... rendering, 'WHAT HE HAS PREPARED'. It is however the translators who have prepared that word 'what'.

To add a word, however, when the sense is both clear and straightforward, the sequence cogent, is indefensible. That way, anything can be made ambiguous, and things can be manufactured, rather than translated.

Poetry may require understanding that perceives words which are omitted from a necessary intended sense, for stylistic reasons; or dropped out because of the constraints of metre, etc., so that the alert reader, seeing there is no way of AVOIDING addition, is willing to see the implicit point and put it in.

However this is a part of the words of God which are 'all clear to him who understands', as Proverbs 8 expressly states. It is not a matter of strange oracles for powerful prophets to make sense of some way or other, to their own personal and highly individual satisfaction. It is intrinsically clear, not crabbed, contrived.

That is the point: the word  at times be difficult, challenging, profound indeed, and what more natural when it is God who speaks: but clear? THAT is  another question. The word before us is eminently clear, and unless some reader fashions on the mistaken idea that you can treat a clear statement as having optional extras which would profoundly change an already clear meaning, clear it stays.
The additional mode here would be to interpret the word of God contrary to its own claims and constraints, and for anyone, would be playing somewhat fast and loose with the words actually given. In other words, when what is present is both exceedingly clear and impressively direct, and flowing like one stream with other scripture and context, to add to this is to put the words of God into the hands of men - never a wise procedure, and NOT a divinely PERMITTED PROCEDURE.


Verse 5 in this passage of Isaiah 64, at once keeps to the exact sequence given. God acts (verse 4), and God meets (v.5 - one form of ACTING, not being mere dream or thought or ideal or inclination, but personal, powerful and active in our affairs - in certain specified WAYS, as is the case in all the other contexts noted!). Whom does He meet ? The text tells us: "He meets the one who rejoices and works righteousness" - indeed, "those who remember Him in His ways".
What could be more straightforward, cogent, elicitive, impactive!

GOD HAS ACTED in spectacular fashion in the days of Moses and Pharaoh, for the people.  More generally, GOD ACTS for those who wait for Him. So far, that is the thrust or movement in verses 3 and 4, respectively. Indeed, GOD acts in a SPECIAL WAY for those who wait for Him, at the now individual level. After all (verses 5b-7), there is a massive movement AWAY from God before us in the context, so that God is acting differentially towards those who in fact WAIT for Him.

What is this special way noted so boldly in verse 5: "Thou meetest him who rejoices and works righteousness" - not merely some homogenised 'righteousness' but the sort which arises in those who remember Him in His ways, His words, His witness, His past dealings. Why however this: 'rejoices'? That is indeed a question for our own generation set so firmly in so many sad ways of degeneration (see "Generation of the Dispossessed" - Appendix 1, Barbs, Arrows and Balms).
It is not however a real question for the practising Christian. Christ told us in John 16 we find, that our joy should be full, that we should ask and obtain, and Peter in I Peter 1 tells of joy unspeakable and full of glory, while I Peter 4:13-14 tells of a transcendent joy as the spirit of God and glory rests on the persecuted servant of the Lord, and one has experienced just this. It is so. It is all the case, in life, just as it is prescribed in the word of God. As He says, so HE DOES! And there, that is the continual emphasis here. THIS too is something that HE DOES. It is HIS JOY - "that My joy may remain in you", Christ declared (John 16:22-24; 15:11).

However, it is here literally, "You met him who rejoices and works". This is the norm of the past, the principle which is contrasted with the contemporary, sad scene as depicted by the prophet.
Of vast interest is this point: it is the GOD WHO ACTS ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHO WAIT, and who in particular, has MET with those who ACT, or WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is where E.J. Young's rather awkward sounding rendering has real merit. He says 'DOES': God DOES and the one who DOES righteousness, with the whole will of God and word in his heart (cf. John 15:7,
"If My words abide in you, and you abide in Me, you shall ask what you will, and it will be done to you") is seen in a refreshing rejoicing. Compare John 14:21-23!

Hear again from the text just given: "DONE" to you. GOD is the GOD WHO ACTS, and those who expect and wait and abide will find it so, not in some mere principled fashion (though God does not change and is faithful to the uttermost part), but in a way which IN ADDITION, has the personal splendour of His joy-creating presence. If a great painting has produce delight in the artistic, what does THE GREAT GOD produce in the one WHOM HE MEETS, did meet, does meet, and will meet when the faith and abiding is present! "BESIDES THEE, GOD…"

The rendering of the AV may have been intended consciously or more probably unconsciously, to reflect  the wording of the reference in I Corinthians 2, where Paul makes reference to this passage; but Paul is not limited to one passage, any more than we are, when he refers to the scriptures: they are ALL WRITTEN! Psalm  31:has much of  the other element, with Psalm 16:11 and especially 17:15; with  Isaiah 65:16-17. Penetrating to much, and distilling in his inspiration, the apostle brings out the relevant feature with all its multi-faceted wonder.
It is unfortunate that the AV is in this case inferior to the accurate rendering procedures; but it helps people not to idolise it! It is so often very dependable, but we cannot rest on others, for it is ONLY ON THE LORD that one must rest.

We must collect all we can from every source and be glad of all that the Lord over time has done for His people, without idolising theologian or translator or any other  thing (cf. I Cor. 3:3ff., and 3:21-22, and the camp mentality - see Repent or Perish, Ch.1, Endnote1). Let us be thankful for the CARE of the AV and the scope of the whole, and yet  acknowledge that, not only from our barracked-for team, we must be prepared to learn, but from other translation sites, where the word of the Lord is actually honoured. At times, too, some phase of a translation is marred; but not all..

A Double Addendum

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

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 shortcircuited, 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.

19) NEXT we come to Job 21:30. This is undoubtedly a fascinating case, but it would show also that the AV and indeed the NKJV are by no means all comprehensive in their perfections, excellent as they are in different ways. They do not absolve all men for all time from the need with chaste care to research and consider the translations. In this case, Keil and Delitzsch do a magnificent job, with almost eerily thorough scholarship in the sphere of language, to bring out a coherent and compelling translation which is not disjointed or lacking in flow.

Both the AV and the NKJV put for verse 30, something similar. In the former case:

"That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction ? They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath."

The latter:
"For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath."

Unlike these the NIV has, in what now needs a fuller context, from 29:

"Have you never questioned those who travel ?
Have you paid no regard to their accounts -
that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity,
that he is delivered from the day of wrath?"

Lines 2-3, diverse in the NIV, here parallel the AV, and NKJV renderings. However, they also bear out the stated argument of Job, which the other translations merely interrupt, dispersing the thrust of thought, as if the new data to be gained by questioning travellers were merely that the wicked got what was coming to them, that those who asked for it would certainly reap, as if to fortify Job’s opponents, by noting the calamity-wickedness affair the focus, short-circuiting the entire argument! It is vitally important, not for salvation, but for growth in the beauties of the truth, feeding on His faithful word, to understand, and no hero-worshipping of any one translation is the best path to that. Down the ages, the Lord has indeed done wonders, but his teams are not to be limited to pet players, however grand their normative performances. Not thus is the kingdom of heaven. Sportsmen, businessmen and translators all have their place; none is inordinate!

Job’s point is that prolonged patience must work while parodies of justice flourish. While it is true that unrepentant miscreants await the balances, Job’s concern here is the interim! It is this after all which is his affair! HE is caught in it! Accordingly, consultations with travellers are not to do nothing to detach the prying eyes of his censorious friends from his suffering frame, but to evoke the data which will confirm Job’s contention that the friends ignore! This he speedily proceeds to point out, after making his foray concerning travellers’ reports: the ignorant words of his friends are thus nonsense, beside the point, a simplistic substitute of carping judgment instead of facing the issue in point.

To be sure, the NIV in the book of Job appears a translation almost inspired. It has such sensitive awareness of aspects and moods, such clear expression of the same, and achieves such a sense of logical comportment that one feels almost as if present while the original speakers spoke. That is not a generic commendation of the NIV; it is merely to note this finding in the case of this particular Old Testament Book. On the other hand, the negative consideration regarding the New Testament is similar with it and so many other modern translations, in terms of the Greek text, as discussed earlier. This feature however stands out here in the Job translation.

Now Delitzsch seems to improve even this marvel of translator’s skill still further in one relatively minor, but still telling  point; but that we leave till later.


The POINT in this passage is this: Job is hurt by the endless chastisement of the unruly tongues of his tormentors - or friends as they are called - who seem all but inveterate in their insistence that God is punishing Job for his sins. Now of course it is easy to be confused, and these friends are not lacking in this facility. Since we are ALL sinners, ALL imperfect, then ALL could well be chastened for imperfections. In that sense, to question a chastening can be arrogance and more.
However there is a further question, always relevant. Is THIS PARTICULAR CASE a chastisement
at all ? Or is it rather a test of endurance ? OR, as is explicit in the case of the book of Job from the early chapters, is it even PERHAPS a trial to glorify God, a way of showing the integrity of love FOR HIM on the part of the sinner ? You remember how the knights of old might seek to show their love to the beloved. It does matter. The tests may not have been adequate; but the concept is there. In this case, the devil was wishing to cast aspersion on the reality of love in the
kingdom of God AT ALL (Job 1:9, 2:4-5), and to advance cynical propositions concerning the motivations of the saints AS SUCH.

God gave him liberty to make a test. The result has abundantly glorified God ever since. In this respect, Job was a type of Christ: he could NOT bear anyone’s sins, and did NOT come through to perfection, but the integrity of his cause is vindicated, for it was NOT because of selected sins per se that he was being tested. That was not the ground at all. It was for a grand and (to him, but not to use who read the interpretation in the record of this event) inscrutable purpose of the Almighty, that he was enduring suffering in this case.

In his endurance and vision (Job 19), he glorified God. Every Christmas countless thousands if not millions hear the recital:

At once, and once and for all, the situation is removed from the superficial snare of considering pain-pleasure, or vanity-fulfilment or any other natural equation or desideratum. It is a question of personal reality and love, of God and eternity, and meaning and roles for God. It is a REDEEMER who is to do the necessary work to bring one to haven and to heaven itself. It is not performance based as the ultimate criterion at all!

In their shallowness, the friends tended to highlight once and for all the worldly minded simplistic assumptions of personal material prosperity, prestige fulfilment or the like,  as a sign-post or at least signal of divine approval. In fact, the wicked can for a time thrust around their tongues, indeed these little members as the Psalmist notes, can stride through the earth while their deceptive riches and devious ways disadorn the earth.

Now at the point in the discourse to which in Ch.21 we are directed, Job is removing this paraphernalia of adverse assumptions about his conduct, as the ground of his adversity. He is stating that the wicked DO have prosperity (contrary, for example, to the assertions of his friend in 20:28-29). It is NOT a simple, be good be rich, proposition, or be good be obviously in a superior position this world, as far as health and wealth, power or thrust is concerned. GOD, he says, is deep: "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since He judges even the highest ?" . This he declares with perspicuous justice, since at that very time he was in the midst of such pangs and troubles as were an utter vexation and trial to his spirit.

Very well: Job is arguing that despite this fact of God’s wholly divine competence and final determination, it is NEVERTHELESS true that the wicked can flourish for a time, and (by implication) the righteous may not match their worldly show!

He proceeds in vv.22-33, to give his case to the effect that this concept of prosperity and sanctity, as a sort of indissoluble duet, is nonsense! In fact in v. 34 he expressly confronts them with his summary:

  Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood ?"

IN MAKING THIS ARGUMENT, and in process of reaching this rebuttal by way of conclusion, Job is making several points. Amongst them are these.  In 21:7ff., the position put is this:  The wicked live on with abundance of zest, with flowing children flourishing, homes safe, cattle unblighted, dancing and prosperity, even when, in amazing effrontery, they tell their Maker: "Leave us alone!" (21:7-14). We don’t want You, they declaim!

"Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him!" they mockingly spout, to the airs.

Pray to You ! Why? We have enough! For them, it is as if this world were their beginning and end, and God was lost in forgetfulness for their express benefit. This of course God hates (Malachi 2:17, Psalm 50) and will judge in His own patient depth and eloquence.

Thus in Isaiah 37:21ff., we find the case where the ruthless oppressor, Sennacherib, having served his evil purpose (Isaiah 37:26-28), and taken his place in the tartan of history, and then having expressly challenged God, meets a turn of the wheel of no uncertain vigour!. THAT timing, however, is for God, and many-faceted are His plans and purposes, as the book of history declaims the folly of pride and the arrogance of pretension with God. Meanwhile there is much to be found in the realm of evil prosperity.

This life is not a test for the advancement of simpletons; nor is it a pleasure-pain job that makes history what it is! In the midst, then, of his own personal affliction, Job is rebutting the adversaries in their unqualified attentions to his discouragement in handing out interim judgments on his assumed evil deeds.

How often, Job pursues the point (21:17) is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out ? That is in the whole line of rebuttal, summarised as we noted in v.34. Have you never questioned travellers, he continues (v. 29), for they will tell you! The evil man may indeed be found, contrary to your imputations, he tells his friends, spared in the day of calamity (Delitzsch does a marvellous piece of research here, to show such usages of the verb here, from other Biblical instances) . Yes he may be found delivered in the day of wrath! Who, Job demands,  tells the man of prospering power,  his sin to his face! (many fear to do so for the sake of penalty at the hand of evil injustice, or intrigue). How often he is carried to his grave, and even there, "the clods of the valley shall be sweet to him" (AV).

It is here that Delitzsch makes an improvement even on the NIV - in this case - excellent rendering here. After all, if the valley is sweet to the DEAD, there is clearly some sort of imagery. He quite grammatically, translates vv. 32:

"And he is brought to the grace,
And over the tomb he stills keepeth watch.
The clods of the valley are sweet to him …"

The concept is that it is as if, well placed in perhaps some eminent part (as one sees so often in cemeteries), he is envisaged as looking (in terms of the worldly image, of course, that he held before his death, and many still hold) with pleasure over the well-tended area of interment, with a good view to the listless eye, were it to open. Thus is he thought of, as contentedly maintaining his eminence to the (worldly) end!

In the AV and the NKJV, the entire force of the thrust of Job’s answer is muddied here, for some of the renderings interrupt or even arrest the flow of his argument, as indicated in kind, in his summary of it in verse 34. Such an instance was the verse rendering which they gave, as cited as the outset of this section, and allied to this, verse 30, is verse 32.

20) Titus 2:13 is a further case of interest in this translation area.

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: 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 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.

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".


Our 21st case if one 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 (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 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, in 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, occupying a period of around 450 years.

The reason for not putting it with what FOLLOWS is simply the 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.

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. 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. That is an elementary fact of the most primary school type, 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. 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, so honoured of God that it must be the criterion. Far from it! Here once more it slips. Alas, it even -  with the NKJV, puts the time of '450 years' after the words "He gave them judges" ,which 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, the main problem being clarity; but that is something which does occur.

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.

22) is covered in *3 below - it is Romans 9:5.

23) and 24) for convenience will be dealt with in *4 below. These are Isaiah 2:22 and Amos 4:13. With these come cases 25-41, there itemised.


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

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


*1 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.

*2 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 *3 below, 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.


Deuteronomy 33:2-3 gives a vitally interesting background to "all His saints", with whom Christ comes as shown  in I Thessalonians 3:13, for what this phrase signifies in translation, in concept. The references in Revelation 19, where the saints are first shown arrayed as the bride in the costume which is precisely that of those who, after the marriage feast in heaven,  accompany Christ, as He returns in triumph to the earth, have the significance of symbolic consistency: His raptured and received people are those who are His company.

In Zechariah 14:5 similarly we see Him come to earth with all His saints, while in Deuteronomy 33:2-3 we see a reference to His coming with ten thousands of saints, and immediately afterwards, a designation of "all His saints", which are so much the redeemed, as to be seen in this context:

"Yes, He loves the people;
All His saints are in Your hand:
They sit down at Your feet:
Everyone receives Your words.
Moses commanded a law for us,
A heritage of the congregation..."

This is in precise accord and indeed striking accord with John 17 where the unity of the brethren is so INTENSELY and IMMENSELY desired, that the world might believe, and see that Christ was indeed sent from heaven, and that God has loved them as He loved His own eternal Word, incarnate as Christ (John 17:21-23,1-3, 1:1-4, 5:19-23). This impactive parallel is the more obvious in this, that those concerned, in John 17, are a limited selection compared with the large number of nominal Christians, being in fact those of whom this may be said: "I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" - John 17:8, and this: "the glory which You gave Me I have given them", with this great resultant desired, "that they may be one just as we are" - John 17:22.

Comparing this with Deuteronomy 33 above, we see Christ as the greater than Moses, the One of "more glory than Moses" since "He who built the house has more glory than the house" and He who built the house is God, while Christ has the place of "a Son over His own house, whose house we are",  who are His. In this Christ is  fulfilling His decisive role as acme and ruler, as designated in Deuteronomy 18, being He for whom the Jewish people looked, wondering if Christ were "that prophet": though indeed many did not receive Him when He came. Indeed, they are those of whom this may be said:

Hence those who accompany Christ as He comes in judgment to the earth, "all His saints", are converted, regenerated people having a spirit of oneness on the basis of a written word which is wholly endorsed, received, a Lord who is truly acknowledged as deity and indwells them, whose word rules (Matthew 28:20, 5:17-19) so that they not only believe it, but in obedience to Him, teach ALL that He has commanded, or forward the work of those who do. It is not just believing the book 'cover to cover', but what is in it: accepting its teaching.

While we must therefore seek unity with "all His saints", we must never make THEIR words a criterion, but HIS; and when, through deficiency of understanding, one is less aware than another of the meaning of His word, provided it is not gross and clear rebellion against what is written, a unity of heart can and should still be manifest beyond the imperfections of comprehension. Sometimes in this way, both learn! Nevertheless, where there is rebellion against the teachings of the Lord, there can in this case be no organic unity (see The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch.7).

'ALL HIS SAINTS' then both literally as to the people  in view, in their integrity, and the primary background in Deuteronomy, include those who are called in Christ, who sit as His feet, receive His words, to whom He has imparted His Spirit (cf. Romans 8:6-9).


The 22nd Case

A subtler invasion 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.

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.


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 "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!

As we move one, we find this: Paul proceeds to show the word of God has not been vanquished! It is NOT made of no effect (Romans 9:6), cries Paul, through this rejection of this 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. That is a basic part of Paul's theme and flow in this context.

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.


Thirty four further cases of translation come to hand, and should be added here.

These are

v           23) Isaiah 2:22 and

v           24) Amos 4:11 and

v           25) Psalm 22:30,

v           26) Isaiah 9:3

v           27) Revelation 22:14 and

v           28) Romans 5:12-15,

v           29) Joel 2:23 and

v           30-31) Malachi 2:12,15,

v           32) II Thessalonians 2:2  and 

v           33) Isaiah 26:19

v           34) II Kings 8:10 and

v           35) II Peter 1:19-20.

v           36)  I John 5:7.

v           37) Titus 1:2-3.

v           38)  Romans 16:25-26.

v           39) II Timothy 3:16.

v           40) Revelation 19:8, at End-note *2.

v           41)  Psalm 12:6.

v           42) Zechariah 14:5 (with I Thess. 3:13).

v           43)  Psalm 19.

v           44) Titus 1:2-3

v           45)  Romans 16:25-26

         46) Isaiah 23:13

        47) Hebrews 11:1

       48) Ephesians 1:3-5

                 49) Habakkuk 2:13.

                      See The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 8.

                50)   John 1:1.
                      See The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 10.
For the actual  wording of the translation see here.

   51) Genesis 1:1.

   See Gracious Goodness ... Ch.   6; AQ  8;  Dayspring;     The Bright Light ... Ch.   9

   52) Ezekiel 34:29
       The True God ... Ch. 1

53) Hosea 7:13

Walking in the Light and Keeping Your Eyes Open Ch. 4,  *1 Excursion.

54) Isaiah 9:6-7

55) Isaiah 8:19

56) Isaiah 33:6



Let us take these in order.


23)    In Isaiah 2:22:

"Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he ?"

Delitzsch has an interesting rendering, much the same:

"Oh, then, let man go, in whose nostrils is a breath; for what is he estimated at ?"


This is the sense, and this is the severance in view: from man who, estimated as empty in pride when divorced from God, is the inflated but spiritually fallen object one must cease to follow.

As Delitzsch points out justly, "it is preceded by the prediction of the utter demolition of everything which ministers to the pride and vain confidence of man…"  MAN the generic is the one exalted, to be debased. THAT is the message, and Isaiah 2:22, showing his end, prescribes the finale, CEASE from MAN (or mankind).

‘Man’ is in the Hebrew text precisely the same word with precisely the same definite article as in Isaiah 2:17, "the loftiness of man shall be bowed down," translated as such in the NKJV. But amazingly, leaving this consistent emphasis of the text, and this total parallel in construction, it wishes to translate "man" in this generic sense, as "such a man", which is in the text, is simply "the man" or as a generic, "man". This invention has no defence perceptible whatever. It is not the idea of not being drawn to the craven refugees who move in terror to the rocks for protection - the preceding verse (2:21); for who would be!
It is man, the lofty one who has been attacked in religion in Isaiah 1 and here as that from which the "house of Jacob" must not relate as ground or rule for the heart, for
"come and let us walk in the light of the LORD," is the call. In 2:10ff., there is the invitation,

"Enter into the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the LORD… The lofty looks of man shall be humbled…
The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."

The TOPIC is man, the place to go is the LORD, to walk, to be secure, to be in friendship, whose is the glory, unlike majestic man, a triumph of trivia, vainly exalted. From him one must cease in all his ways, for look, does he not lurk in the shadows of obviously inadequate protection in physical rocks (still ‘the man’, 2:1), when (Isaiah 26:1ff.), their ‘strength’ or literally ‘rock of Ages’,  is the LORD!

This is perhaps the worst example of eisegesis in the NKJV, destructive of the sense of the entire passage, abortive of its dénouement and contrary to the consistent usage in this chapter.

Isaiah 2:11,17,22, all alike, show the same flavour, or dissavour! using either man, or the generic 'the man', as in verse 17 of the race. The oppressive sense of dishonour and folly follows like the reek of rubbish.

One exception to this negativity and derogation of vanity in mankind the race, is found in the reference to MAN casting away his idols in v. 20. In verse 22, as in v. 17, it is even the generic 'the man' which is found once more, this following the intensification in the sense of this being the ultimate ‘repose’ of riotous flesh for mankind: even holes in rocks, because in their dereliction they have not been abiding in that intrinsically secure Rock, the LORD! It is all man so small and devious, derelict and pretentious, and God so grand and innately glorious, to be trusted, as distinct from the defiled, and defiling, lofty haughtiness of man.

The generic, man, it is he who is without strength or help, except in the Lord, and from him, thus occupied, one is to be severed just as this same generic man, is shown in verse 17 in twofold form, embracive of many, to have his haughtiness humbled. It is not so much the punishment of pride, but the presence of it which is the thrust of what one is to cease from, throughout: for in punishment is the pitiful, rather than the vaingloriously attractive in its vaunting.

Indeed, in Isaiah 57:11-13 has the same theme:

"And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
That you have lied,
And not remembered Me,
Nor taken it to your heart…
I will declare your righteousness and your works,
For they will not profit you…
But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,
And shall inherit My holy mountain"

It is not some fleeing man, who, for some unknown reason, though called ‘the man’ or man, is rendered ‘such a man’, suddenly invented. It is not this vagrant and refugee fleshly  flimsiness who is the butt of the passage, but vaingloriously arrogant man, and indeed, man whether punished or not, as a phenomenon of unbelief. CEASE from him! comes the challenge, this breathing fragility, with farcical loftiness, like a prince outside the Lord.

Contrary to context, grammatically unwarranted, it is also unaligned with other parallel emphasis. Rather, do we find:

"I dwell in the high and holy place
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made" (from Isaiah 57:15ff.).

24) Amos 4:13.

Here, the difference is small, but not so small is the issue. The NKJV has this, that God is the One who "declares his thought to man" in a context where capitalisation is used when the Lord is in view. Thus, if it be the Lord’s own thought, then this would be "declares His thought to man". The NKJV, therefore,  excludes God here, in favour of man. It thus becomes the message that God is the one who psycho-analyses or discovers in man his little thoughts, and as it were, shows them up on the screen for man to see. Is that however the thrust of the passage ? Hardly. It is all declamatory, declarative FROM GOD TO MAN! The chapter starts,

"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor,
Who crush the needy… The LORD has sworn by His holiness, ‘Behold the days shall come upon you …’ "

The whole chapter is an exercise is exposure of sin, BY the word of the holy God, who SAYS what is to be done, and what He has done, so revealing both His majesty and His mind, relative to the foolish, unjust and rebellious ways of man. It is NOT the declaration of what man is thinking, but of what he is DOING, and what the LORD is saying about it, which is the emphatic and unmistakable context!

In advising them to be ready after they DID NOT LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAID AND DID FOR SO LONG, he comes to the climax in 4:12-13. Thus in Amos 3:7-8 where He even makes the generic point that it is He who declares His thought:

"Surely the Lord GOD does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear ?
The Lord GOD has spoken!
Who can but prophesy ?"

The prophecy indeed near its commencement, after the declaration of who the prophet is, has this in Amos 1:2:

"The LORD roars from Zion,
And utters His voice from Jerusalem
For three transgressions and for four…"

It continues almost unrelenting, with the precise depictions of what the LORD has chosen to do, conveyed through what He has chosen to say. In Ch. 3, it starts, "Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel," and then exhibits the text in 3:7 noted above, in which the LORD’s undertaking is made clear, about what He will REVEAL, SAY for Israel to HEAR. He proceeds to divulge these words, until 4:1, where the exposure becomes vehement. He then  in Amos 4, exposes what He has thought and done, relative to punishment of Israel in five stages, and then in 4:12 declares that now - having heard and received all this, His deeds replete complete with detailed explanation, following this rehearsing of their failures before Him - they must prepare to MEET their God. Discipline did not create the pangs of conscience, and punishments did not lead to repentance, so now only the direct and fateful meeting is left.

Now is this sequence, series and stress, a revealing of the will and mind and word of GOD or of man! Is the dénouement one of crisis through man’s thoughts exposed, or man’s deed exposed by GOD’S THOUGHTS and the DIVINE WORDS of retribution and judgment! To ask is to answer. Thus it is properly, "Who declares to man what His thought is!" To import man here is not merely contrary to the ENTIRE strength of the context, and of the preceding chapters, and of the key note commencement, but contrary to it. This is simply not what it is about! It rather reflects what has been said in 3:7-8, and applies it in a more totally retributive situation, a climax to all that went before in 4:13, in one of the most beautifully majestic utterances essentialising and giving vast perspective in its consistent thrust… To fail here, is like talking about flowers, while visiting the moon.

NOTE: For more on this verse, see VICTORY Ch. 9, where linked.



In Psalm 22:30-31, the KJV has

"a seed shall serve him;
It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come and shall declare his righteousness
Unto a people that shall be horn, that he has done this."

The NKJV has:

"A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation.
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this."

The Hebrew verb concerned in the Piel form can mean count or recount (tell, narrate). It is intensive, and can be iterative, so allowing the deepened second meaning. In this case, the choice of translation is determined, one taken by the KJV and the other by the NKJV, by the context. There is no word 'next' in the text, so that this venture of the NKJV cannot stand by simple addition. Could it stand without it ? This we must ask of the rendering : "It will be recounted of the Lord to the generation" ? WHICH is THE generation on this rendering! Why "of" when it is more normally to or for ? It seems perfectly straightforward as written, with no additions : It will be accounted to the Lord for the generation.

The LORD Himself, whom after all, Psalm 22 focusses and describes, HE, as Isaiah 53 tells us, had NO offspring, because He was cut off from the land of the living; and if any Psalm tells this with emphasis, it is Psalm 22! In Isaiah 53:10, we learn that when His soul is an offering for sin, it is then that He sees His seed (see  No. 8   above). In other words, biologically He had no children, but spiritually He has many. This Peter picks up in I Peter 2, where we are who are believers in Christ are  a CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, a special people.  WHO ?  Why there, those born of the Lord, begotten by His word
(I Peter 2:23).

Does the KJV rendering fit without addition also, the rest of the Psalm to follow ? This is further index for its test. When it is said that they will come and declare His righteousness to a people to come that He has done this, if we took the NKJV meaning, it would leave us still more stranded about THE generation. Who are they ? A people to be born ? In such a case, it is surely generations! However, taking it as counted to the Lord for the generation, it is the generation of those who serve Him, as appears very near to this, in Psalm 24:6. There we find the question, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD ?" answered in terms of those who, consecrated to the Lord, receive righteousness from Him (as in Isaiah 61:10, 44;5), even from "the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:5).

What then is said of such in Psalm 24:6 ? : "This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face." In spiritual terms we are dealing with a spiritual generation, indeed we have to, for in those terms there is no other. These ARE HIS generation, these are to come, these are to declare to a people not yet born, and so transmit (II Timothy 2:2).

Here is the concept PRECISELY as presented by PETER, namely that it is a special people, a generation of spiritual kind, whether or not locatable in an historical locus. The apostle seems to be exegeting Psalm 22, not least, in this place.

It is for this reason that "a posterity shall serve Him" (Psalm 22:30) - they do so because they are THE GENERATION which is HIS, generated by Him, in lieu of physical children, spiritually begotten, a remnant of grace. It is for the SAME reason that they will DECLARE His righteousness to a people to be born, in future times (not a generation, a people). So to act in the name of their Lord, Himself so deprived on earth as Psalm 22 forever depicts: It is their heritage, their joy and their privilege (Romans 10:9, Psalm 107:1).

In the latter Psalm, it is rendered:

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed ..."

It is quite unthinkable that they should not do so, either fail to speak of their redemption or to praise Him,  and with Psalm 22, with more pith and purpose yet! and like Joshua and Caleb, Moses and the prophets, it is both their inheritance and their duty, their due and their delight so to do (cf. Isaiah 24:16). It is because they are SPECIAL to Him, that you see the intensive itemisation in Psalm 84:5-12 with 87:4-5: prophets, it is both their inheritance and their duty, their due and their delight so to do (cf. Isaiah 24:16). 

"And of Zion it will be said,
‘This one and that one were born in her;
And the Most High Himself shall establish her.’
The LORD will record,
When He registers the peoples,
‘This one was born there.’ "

It is this which relates so well to the same, apt  (Piel) form of the same Hebrew verb as that noted in Psalm 22:30. EACH matters, the reckoning for His book is like the attention to beloved sheep, watchful, alert and intense. The pictures are correlative, the terms brothers in arms, as are His people, under His care. In Psalm 22, this is the generation begotten through the spectacularly grotesque suffering of the Messiah. Small wonder they shall have so much to tell to the people. With what tenderness of thought and precision of prophecy, correlative and filled with character, it is depicted!


26) Isaiah 9:3. For this case, see LIGHT OF DAWN Ch. 6.

  27) 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.

·      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" (1).

·       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 (1) also has a wide selection of Italian versions, varied of the early Church 'fathers', and various notable mss.. That discriminating translator, Weymouth, also has (1), 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."

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.

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 to 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.


In other words, 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, but 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). 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. 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 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!

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.

bullet The unalterable, inextinguishable righteousness of Christ, a gift to the pardoned saint
(cf. Romans 1:1, 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.
bullet 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).
bullet But the life so donated in such liberality and effectuality,
this attests itself and is known to God.
bullet 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 ?  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 authorised 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 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. above) 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:

bullet "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."
bullet "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.


 * 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.

This 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.


28) Of interest also is a far less significant, but nevertheless impelling issue in Romans 5:1-15. While it is largely an issue of form, form can lend attraction to fact.

In this case, the impact of the word of God is highly contemporary and of great value to discernment in these searching times.

For this, see Red Alert, in a Grey Day, with the Bright Light Coming Ch. 7.

29) Joel 2:23 is a fascinating one since it is in a matrix of development which enhances the lucidity one can readily find in the progression. For this, see Teacher of Righteousness, in Barbs, Arrows and Balms.

30-31) For these, Malachi 2:12,15, see More Marvels from the Majesty and Mind of the Almighty Ch. 1.

32) II Thessalonians 2:2. This case appears in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 18,  *1.

33) Isaiah 26:19. See More Marvels from the Majesty and Mind of the Almighty Ch. 8.

34) II Kings 10:8

35) II Peter 1:19-21.

These are found in Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 9.

36) Also on the topic of I John 5:7 see above.

37) On Titus 1:2-3, translation, see Of the Earth Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14,  IV.  

38) At the same site there is a rendering with reason, of Romans 16:25-26.

39) On II Timothy 3:16, see The Christian Pilgrimage ...Ch. 5 and Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Ch. 8.

40) This is the case treated in the preliminary section of this work, Revelation 19:8, at End-note *2.

41) Psalm 12:6 is also covered in the preliminaries, at End-note *1.

42) Zechariah 14:5 (with I Thess. 3:13) is to be found at End-note *2A, immediately above.

 43) Psalm 19 is translated in Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 3.

 44) Titus 1:2-3

 45) Romans 16:25-26

(44-45 in Of the Earth, Earthy or Celestial in Christ at one location)

46) Isaiah 23:13 For this, see the presentation in Know the Lord ... Section 34, Translations of the Bible, in the last unit supplied.

47) 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.

It is true that as a translation is 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 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, it seems best to seek to bring out more than one might otherwise feel to do.

There is a mutuality of additiveness to which one would fain do justice. Hence both are brought in. There is the concept of a foundation, a base, and a conviction; there is next the concept of an evidencing and of evidence. To suppress this duality appears to be insensitive. Hence both aspects proceed. 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.

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 recriprocity, 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.



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 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:

bullet "... 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.


49) Habakkuk 2:13.

See The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 8.


50)   John 1:1. 

See The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 10. For the actual wording of the translation see here.

51) Genesis 1:1

See Gracious Goodness ... Ch.   6; AQ  8;  Dayspring;     The Bright Light ... Ch.   9


52) Ezekiel 34:29
       The True God ... Ch. 1


53) Hosea 7:13

Walking in the Light and Keeping Your Eyes Open Ch. 4,  *1 Excursion.


54) Isaiah 9:6-7

Divine Agenda Ch. 5, Repent or Perish Ch.  7, pp. 174ff., cf. SMR p. 773-774.
 55) Isaiah 8:19

There is no other God, or way or salvation (Isaiah 45:22, 41:29-42:1, 43:10-11, 66:2, Acts 4:11-12). When God the Creator speaks, it is man who must hear, not speak! If he speaks, it is to reject or receive. Playing with words is mere fatuity.

As to God, as He is, so He speaks, not regionally, not tribally, not with favouritism, not with changing ideas, not with short cuts, not with equivocation, not with sensuous appeal or for pride and pomp: not for the actions of man, but to His own mercy, He calls. There is no other, only vacuity and noise. All competitors for man's attention are gross violations of truth, evidence, verification, validity and idols (Psalm 96:1-5).

As Isaiah puts it in 8:19ff.:

"And when they shall say to you,

'Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter' :

should not a people seek their God? should they seek on behalf of the living to the dead?


"To the law and to the testimony:

if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. "

Why seek for dead things where the living is required ? Is it not as in the tomb when the disciples were told by the angel,

"Why do you seek for the living among the dead ? He is not here, but is risen" (Luke 24:5-6)!

There is a derisory, a derogatory splendour in both the invitation and exhortation to seek to their God, and the negative, NOT to seek to the dead on behalf of the living.

Then this same challenge was uttered in the face of the divine incursion into history to the Cross, encapsulated in the format of man as the Christ, offering Himself as the living, before Abraham was, and the living, after death came, rising in precisely three days from the dead in a world of space-time dimensions, where these we inhabit, to these He came, and these He overcame on our own behalf!

Here then Christ came,  in the most staggering wonderful act of all time, its motives singular, its performance perfect, its naturalness such as only the supernatural God could achieve in the world He made, its results its testimony. Here was the climacteric event, for which all else panted and longed, where judgment is covered, death's sting is removed and the victory of hell is quashed, by the living God for the living who seek Him and for all who find Him where He MAY be found! (Isaiah 55). .

Earlier, to Israel, it was in the same principle; here put by God into salient practice! Always the same, the Lord presents life, just as He made it in the first place, and life must seek life, even His! That is the point, not some opposite desecration of truth and witless substitute for thought.

What else ? Otherwise life would be stranded, in His image but without His presence. He however has made it easier, having come; but man is where he is, and needs to come, and seek the living in life, not in the dead prognostications of varied insulations from God, often masquerading as if they related to Him in ways other than those of rebellion!

In Christ, God was present and accessible direct. The word was divine, final, the way was as declared, immediate. It is no different now. What then does God say in the Bible, that book of verity, verification and unique validity ? He declares Himself, His salvation, His redemption, alone given from Himself, in the One sent to do it, in His Word equal with Himself, who is the Redeemer, issuing from Himself, in glorious trinitarian majesty,  to redeem! (cf. Isaiah 48:16).

As the ONLY GOD is saviour and redeemer, and Christ is in Himself, Saviour and Redeemer, paying in the coin of His own life (Isaiah 53:6,8,11), He is God, who alone is and does this; so that just as the same applies to Him as Creator (cf. Isaiah 43:10-11, 53:1-12, 44:24, 45:18,21-22, 46:9-10, Colossians 1:15). He is by name, nature and standing, God.

Should not a people seek to the living ? should they then seek to the dead on behalf of the living! How ludicrous!

Creation, accordingly, prior to His incarnation, it is what that eternal Word of God wrought (cf. Proverbs 8, John 1:1, Colossians 1:15, John 1:1-3); and the Creator is God, and there is no other! The word become flesh is declared definitively as deity, just as the Lord has declared Himself in written words (Hebrews 1) for so long. He, the living, the revealing, the expressive and the expressing is to be sought, not some dead invention of flesh, some demi-god or idolatrous construction of mind, spirit or society.

This is the emphatic, dramatic, direly direct and re-iterated biblical message: there is none in heaven like God! (Psalm 89:6, Jeremiah 10:6, Isaiah 46:9). Creation, salvation, HE ALONE performs. From Him comes the earth, from Him man, from Him his salvation! God is one, and Christ is His eternal expression, in the heavens, sent to earth, accomplishing the Gospel in Himself, sending forth the Spirit from the Father (John 15-16, 17:1-3, 8:58, 5:19-23, Isaiah 48:16). That, it is God!

There, in this living One, it is there that people should seek, not to the dead! It is this living water that is to be found, not the dead and desultory dead waters of brackish philosophy and confounded culture!

  56)  Isaiah 33:6