Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome to the Party! - Heb 12:23

There are many wonderful aspects about the venerable King James translation, but sometimes this version just... well, it just misses it.

For example, translating baptizo as "baptize". Here the Catholic influence is seen in the translation, as the translators let their tradition get in the way of properly translating the word as "immerse", instead opting to transliterate a Greek word into English letters. The word, properly translated, is "immerse"; it is not "baptize".

Another place where the Catholic influence is seen is Acts 12:4, where the word "Easter" is introduced into the Bible. This is just out-and-out a bad translation. It's not even properly a "translation"; it's a complete fabrication. This word is "Passover", and should have been so rendered.

A Jewish influence is seen (not just in the KJV, but in most English Bibles) in that the name of God, YHWH (JHVH in older or Germanic-flavored English) is either hidden behind the man-made phrase "the LORD" or translated as the man-made combination of the consonants of YHWH with the vowels of "Lord" (~ "edonai" in Hebrew), becoming "JeHoVaH". It started out as a reverence for God's name; the scribes didn't want readers to mis-use the name. It seems a great presumption on the part of the scribes, to change God's Word after so many warnings against doing so. (Many Bibles have an introduction that explains that they have done this.) It would be like whiting out every instance of the name "Jesus" from the New Testament and printing "Christ" or "the Lord" instead, "out of reverence for the name of Jesus". How is it reverent to change God's Word from what He inspired to what we think is appropriate?

And speaking of the body of Christ, that reminds me of still another Catholic influence which is woven throughout the entire New Testament of most English Bibles: The word "church" is not in the Bible.

It's "assembly", or "congregation" or "gathering".

The word "church" derives from the Germanic "kirk" and the Latin word "circe", and from even older variants of the word from pagan sources (none of which words are in the Bible). It refers to a circle, and most often referred to the circle of worshipers gathered in pagan (specifically Druid) ceremonies.

The word in the Greek most often translated as "church" is "ekklesia", which you'll see in the names of Spanish churches often, such as "Iglesia de Christo" (Assembly of Christ).

When the New Testament was completed, there was no word "church" in the text; it was "ekklesia" (gathering, congregation, assembly). But as the ekklesia of Christ spread out over the earth, and the Catholic church developed, the Catholic church absorbed many pagan believers, along with many of the pagan concepts and terms (Christmas, Easter, the word "church", etc). By the time the original Greek New Testament was translated into Latin, and then into English many centuries later, the word "church" had become firmly entrenched in the mindset of believers of the time. Accordingly, when King James commissioned the translation of the Bible into English, resulting in the King James Bible, he set down as one of the principles of translation that older established ecclesiastical words, such as "church", were to be kept, even if it violated the text of the Bible (you can see the king's list of rules for yourself, particularly #3 which specifically mentions keeping "church" instead of using "congregation", at

So now, 2000 years later, we read in our Bibles of "the church", which is an unBiblical concept. It is Biblically "the assembly". I recommend that you start reading "assembly" or "congregation" every time you see the word "church" in the New Testament; that's what God intended you to read. And if you wind up changing the sign out front of the assembly building to read "Assembly of Christ", you'll only be more Biblical in doing so, even though you'll be branded a change-agent or worse by your brethren.

Please do not misread me: I am not declaring the King James Version to be a bad translation, or unreliable, any more than any translation has flaws. I'm simply saying it does indeed have flaws, and should not be worshiped as perfect.

So why is this article titled, "Welcome to the Party!"? Because, once again, the King James misses it.

Here is Hebrews 12:22-23 in the KJV:
22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect....

The phrase "general assembly"? The Greek is panēgurei, and means "festal gathering". Here it is translated by the Holman Christian Standard Bible:
22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering, 23 to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect....
If you're a believer, then the welcome is to you: Welcome to the party!

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