We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Friday, February 1, 2013

"New Age Bible Versions" - Introduction


There is a chart opposite the page beginning the “Introduction.”  It complains of the lack of the word “Holy” in “New Age” versions.  In the examples listed for 2 Pet. 1:21, Matt. 25:31, 1 Thes. 5:27 and Rev. 22:6, the context itself implies holy men, angels, brethren, prophets.  So deleting the actual word changes nothing; the meaning is the same.  For John 7:39, Acts 6:3, Acts 8:18, and 1 Cor. 2:13, NAS and NIV both say “Spirit” (capital S), which designates only the Holy Spirit, so there is no confusion with man’s spirit.  For Acts 8:18 the following verse says “Holy Spirit,” further clarifying the context of 8:18.  In Matt. 12:31, even the KJV has “Holy” italicized, meaning it is not in the original!

The first paragraph of the Introduction speaks of an “alliance between the new versions of the Bible . . . And the chief conspirators in the New Age movement’s push for a One World Religion.”  This definitely sounds like an accusation of conspiratorial participation.  Subparagraph 1 reinforces this implication.

Two of the last three items on page 2 are all about dire consequences which happened to editors of “new versions,” and the last item claims that a reference dictionary “new version” editors used was edited “Hitler’s propaganda ‘high priest.”  No documentation is given, and they sound very much like spurious anecdotes.

On p.3, subparagraph 3, claiming new versions are more difficult to read than the KJV, is wrong in my opinion, and in the opinion of all the Sunday School students I have taught over the past 10 years.  KJV is difficult to read, especially with today’s public school graduates who don’t understand current English, let alone 1611 English.

Subparagraph 4 says, “A ‘new’ Christianity is emerging from the new versions which substitute riches for righteousness, a crown for a cross, and an imitation for a new creation.”  This is an undocumented assertion.

On p.4 we begin the complaint about Lucifer being missing from the new versions. Riplinger gives an anecdote as follows:  “..a young man asked, ‘Is the fall, recorded in Isaiah 14 about Lucifer [as the KJV and Hebrew text indicates] or Jesus, the morning star, as the NIV and NASB imply?’” I don’t think the question that was asked would have been asked if the individual had read the context of all verses using the terms.  Actually the whole argument in reference to “Lucifer” being changed to “morning star” or “star of the morning” is, in my opinion, untenable.  In the past I have read much about the translation of the term, but my wife gave me a copy of a children’s magazine sample we picked up at a home-school conference which explained things quite simply.  It is called “Discovery,” and the March 1999 issue has the following on page 20:

Have you ever heard of a “morning star”?  Or and “evening star”?  Many years ago, early in the morning as the Sun began to rise, people saw what they thought was a bright star in the sky and decided to call it the “Morning Star.”  At a different time of the year. . . they saw another light, which they named the “Evening Star.”

They did not realize for a long time that the Morning Star and the Evening Star actually were the same thing.  They also did not realize that what they were seeing wasn’t a “star” at all, but the planet Venus. …

In their own language, the Greeks called it Hesperus in the evening, and Phosphorus in the morning.  Later, the Romans called it Vesper in the evening, and Lucifer in the morning.  Hesperus and Vesper mean “evening.”  Phosphorus and Lucifer mean “light-bearing.”

Does the name “Lucifer” sound familiar to you?  Perhaps you have heard people use it as another name for Satan, but this is not at all what the Bible teaches.  The story begins with a man called Jerome who translated the Bible into Latin. . . .  When he came to the book of Isaiah, he found the Hebrew name Helel, which means something like “the Shining One.”  It described Helel as “the Son of the Dawn.”  Jerome concluded that Helel was just another name for Lucifer  - the Morning Star.

Next, the people who prepared the King James Version borrowed heavily from Jerome’s Latin Bible.  Their translation of Isaiah 14:12 went like this:  “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”  The confusion was started when someone incorrectly decided that this was talking about Satan and his rebellion against God (read Jude 6; Matthew 25:41).  In fact, the prophet Isaiah was talking about the wicked king of Babylon who claimed to be like God, and who boasted that his throne would lie beyond the stars (Isaiah 14:13-14).  The king sought the glory associated with Helel, but God had other plans.  He would bring this wicked king down to the depths of the Earth where he belonged (verse 11).  Today, in order to avoid this confusion, modern translations use “Morning Star” or “Day-Star” instead of “Lucifer.”

Isn’t it odd how weird ideas sometimes get started and then everyone seems to think they are right?

As I have written in a previous blog post about “Lucifer,” here’s the summation: Tertullian and Origen originated the teachings that Isaiah 14 referred to Satan.  Then “Lucifer” first entered the Bible in 405 A.D. when Jerome translated the O.T. into the Latin Vulgate.  In 1611, the KJV translators left the word “Lucifer” in the text instead of translating the Hebrew.  This led to John Milton, in 1667, putting the idea of Isaiah 14 applying to Satan, along with the KJV use of “Lucifer,” into his famous book, “Paradise Lost,” which had Lucifer as an angel who sinned and was cast out of heaven.  And this is how Lucifer became Satan.

I had never heard of the Lucifer/Satan connection when I first read the Isaiah passage, and I never would have gotten the connection from the context.  KJV translators merely left the Latin word from Jerome’s Vulgate in the text.  The doctrine that Isaiah 14:12 refers to Satan is disputed among many theologians in commentaries I have read.  From research I have done, the idea that this passage refers to Satan first appeared in the Second Temple Period in the pseudepigrapha of Enochic Judaism, which was a totally aberrant and mystical Jewish movement.  Early Christians were affected by this movement, and when the Latin Vulgate was written, the word “Lucifer” began to be taken as a proper name for Satan.

Dogmatically pushing this doctrine to prove that new versions of the English Bible are wrong is silly.  Almost everyone I have encountered who wants to discount the newer versions bring up the Lucifer argument immediately.  (I wonder what word other language translations use instead of Lucifer?)  Just because the term “morning star” is used in Isaiah, that doesn’t mean every use of the term must be identified with the same person.  Rev. or II Pet. can use the term without associating it with the Isa. passage.  As a matter of fact, isn’t one translating Hebrew while the others are translating Greek?  And if a literal name is going to be given to Satan, shouldn’t it have been the original Hebrew word instead of a Latin transliteration?

Now we have finished the Introduction and I find, what?

a.  Out of context use of Rev. 22:18-19.

b.  Complaints of removing the word “holy” from the text, even though the meaning is 
clear, and other writing devices (capital S) accomplish the same thing.

c.  Charge of conspiracy with the New Age movement.

d.  Opinions and undocumented assertions implied as fact.

e.  The Lucifer argument which (in my opinion) has nothing to do with translations being wrong.

Not a good start!  I can hardly wait to examine Chapter 1.

No comments: