Article: Revelation 13 Confusion by Will Kinney

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Revelation chapter 13

The true words of God are complete and not contradictory. If I get conflicting messages from the different versions, they can't all be from God. Satan and sinful men are the ones who pervert the Scriptures.

Let's examine more closely just a few verses from one chapter in the Book of Revelation - Revelation 13:1,8,10,and 18. I am choosing only one chapter and only 5 examples to illustrate my point.

In Revelation 13:1 the King James Bible says: "And I stood upon the sand of the sea..." "I" stood upon the sand of the sea is the reading of Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Wesley's N.T. 1755, the NKJV, Darby, Young's, Hebrew Names Version, Green's Modern KJV, Third Millenium Bible, the Spanish Reina Valera, and the Modern Greek New Testament. However versions like the NIV, NASB 1995 (not the NASB 1977- it has "he stood") have "THE DRAGON stood on the shore". Which was it, John or the dragon? By the way, the words "the dragon" are not in any text. The Holman Standard says "HE stood on the shore".

The reading of "I stood" is that of the Majority of all Greek texts, including even Tischendorf's 8th edition, as well as the Syriac Peshitta, the Coptic Sahidic, and Coptic Boharic, the Armenian and the Ethiopic ancient versions. The reading of "HE stood" is primarily that of Sinaiticus, C and A, and the Catholic versions. Modern versions like the NASB 1995 and NIV that say "the DRAGON stood" are folloing NO Greek text, but are adding their own interpretation to the passage.

Verse 1 "...and upon his head the NAME of blasphemy". Verse one has the "name" of blasphemy, singular name, found in the Majority of all Greek texts and in Sinaiticus, P47, the NIV, NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva, Youngs, and the King James Bible, but the NASB follows manuscript Alexandrinus and has "names" and so does the Holman Standard. Is Alexandrinus an accurate copy to follow? It also omits "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them" in 13:7, but there the NASB decided to follow Sinaiticus which it just got done rejecting in favor of Alexandrinus.

Verse 8 reads "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (the beast) whose names are not written in the book of life of THE LAMB SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD." So read ALL Greek texts, and is so translated by the King James Bible, Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1535, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Revised Version of 1881, Youngs, Douay 1950, the NKJV 1982, the 1998 Complete Jewish Bible, the Italian Nuova Diodati 1991, the Amplified Bible 1987, the Portuguese Almeida Actualizada, Weymouth 1902, the New Living Translation 1998, God's Word Translation 1995, Green's Modern KJV 1998, the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 and 1960, the New International Reader's Version, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, and the NIV as well as the TNIV of 2005.

However the NASB, RSV, NRSV, ESV, Catholic Jerusalem Bible, the St. Joeseph New American Bible, and the Holman Standard read "whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of THE LAMB WHO HAS BEEN SLAIN."

This is not a textual variant but the NASB, RSV and Holman have reversed the order of Greek words in the verse. Which is it in this verse, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world, or the names written from the foundation of the world? Not all bible versions teach the same truth even when they supposedly are translating the same texts.

The truth that the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world is nowhere else taught in Scripture, though a similar thought is found in 1 Peter 1:18-20 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,...But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: WHO VERILY WAS FOREORDAINTED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you."

Revelation 13:10. Another instance of fickle change and disagreement among the modern versions is found in Revelation 13:10. There we read: "...HE THAT KILLETH with the sword must be killed with the sword..." The phrase: "He that killeth" is in the active voice, that is, he is the one doing the killing. This is the reading found in the Textus Receptus, Sinaiticus and manuscript C. It also USED TO read this way in the previous Westcott-Hort, Nestle-Aland Greek texts.

"HE THAT KILLETH with the sword must be killed with the sword" (active voice) is the reading of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, the RSV 1952, NRSV 1989, NASB 1963-1995, NKJV 1982, the Spanish Reina Valera 1060 and Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Peshitta.

The Nestle-Aland, UBS (United Bible Society) texts, upon which most modern versions are based, are continually changing every few years. The Nestle text used to read the same as the King James Bible Textus Receptus - "HE THAT KILLETH with the sword must be killed with the sword." So read the Revised Version 1881, the American Standard Version 1901, the NKJV 1982, the NASB 1960-1995, the RSV 1952 and the NRSV 1989.

However, later on, they once again changed the Nestle-Aland (UBS) Greek text and they decided to follow the reading of ONE manuscript, (according to the UBS Greek text 4th edition,) that is, Alexandrinus. This single manuscript changes the reading from "he that killeth" to "he that is to be killed." (passive voice, that is, he is the one being killed by another). The NIV 1977-1984, the 2001 ESV and the 2003 Holman Standard versions have adopted this variant reading based on one manuscript, and they now read: "IF ANYONE IS TO BE KILLED with the sword, with the sword he will be killed."

Notice that the RSV and NRSV both followed the King James reading, but now the new ESV (a revision of the old RSV, NRSV) has now "scientifically" decided to go along with the NIV and follow a different text based on just one manuscript. This is how the "scholars' game" is played.

Revelation 13:18 says regarding the number 666 "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number OF A MAN; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." It is a number of a specific man, the antichrist. This is the reading of the KJB, NASB, RV, ASV, all previous English Bibles like Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva etc., and the new Holman Standard.

But the NIV tells us "it is MAN'S number" - that is, men in general. The NIV gender inclusive version which has come out in England says "it is humanity's number". But wait! Now the new TNIV has come out, and it once again changes the meaning and goes back to the King James reading - "it is the number of a man".

Of the examples in this chapter alone, none of the multiple-choice modern versions agrees all the way through with any of the others.

For those who exalt the Sinaiticus Greek manuscript, one of the so called "oldest and best", which, together with Vaticanus, is the textual basis for most modern versions, you may be surprised to learn of some of its readings in the book of Revelation.

In Revelation 10:1 instead of seeing an angel with "A RAINBOW" upon his head, Sinaiticus says "HAIR" was on his head. In 7:4 instead of a great multitude of the redeemed whose number was 144,000 Sinaiticus has 140,000 and in 14:3 instead of 144,000 it has 141,000. Instead of "THE FORMER THINGS are passed away" in 21:4, Sinaiticus has "THE SHEEP are passed away" and in 21:5 instead of "I make all things NEW" Sinaticus has "I make all things EMPTY."

These are just a few examples found in the "oldest and best manuscripts" followed by the modern versions. The science of textual criticism is about as scientific as boiling a pot of witch's brew.

The NASB repeatedly goes back and forth between Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (someimes in the same verse), hundreds of times. Their philosophy seems to be, if it differs from the King James Bible, let's put it in or take it out.

Not all of these multiple-choice, conflicting bible versions can be from God. He is not the author of confusion. As we get nearer the end, when many will depart from the faith, the falling away will occur, and men will give heed to doctrines of devils, do you suppose that is the time when the best bibles will be popularly read?

"When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8

Will Kinney

At a Bible club I belong to, one of the members with whom we have been discussing the Bible version issue for quite some time, responded in this way to my little study on Revelation 13. He singled out just one point in the whole study as to whether Alexandrinus was an accurate copy to follow. Included is my response.

Hi Greg, I again would like to address your statement. You said in response to this question: Is Alexandrinus an accurate copy? ---

(Greg) - "It is suppose to be one of the best witnesses to Revelation. However, no one single witness, or group of witnesses can be followed all the time. This was the practice of the KJV translators, and should be ours also."

Greg, you have again gone back to (actually, you never left it) the humanistic, naturalistic view of Scripture. Your present view is that there is no inerrant Bible in any language, and we still need to sift through all the conflicting thousands of textual variants to try to come up with the original readings. But, the people who are supposedly attempting this ALL disagree with one another in numerous examples found in both the Old and New Testaments.

Your "bible" is still and ever will be a work in progress.

NONE of the modern versions agree with any of the others in multiple places regarding the underlying Hebrew or Greek texts, nor how to translate them.

The fact that you are blind to this is shown in just this one chapter of Revelation 13. The modern versions differ from each other in both texts and translations, yet they are following your recommended methods in trying to determine the content and meaning of "the originals".

Your end result? Bible Babel and confusion, and the utlimate belief that no Bible and no text is the inerrant words of God. "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25

Happy hunting, my friend.

Will K,

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