Article: Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US by Will Kinney

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Revelation 16:5 "Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and wast, AND SHALT BE, because thou hast judged thus."

The Book of Revelation has more textual variants than any other New Testament book. The reading found in the King James Bible in Revelation 16:5 represents one of the hundreds of such textual variants. It is admittedly a minority reading, but it should be noted that for every One minority reading found in the KJB, there are at least 20 such minority readings found in the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV. These modern versions often do not even agree with each other. One will follow a particular minority reading while the other will disagree and follow another.

For example, in Revelation 15:3 the KJB, NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva, Young's, Spanish Reina Valera say: "just and true are thy ways, thou King OF SAINTS." (hagiwn)

The NASB follows other texts and says: "King OF THE NATIONS" (ethnwn), while the NIV follows different ones still and says: "King OF THE AGES" (aiwniwn).

Another instance of fickle changes and disagreements 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..." "He that killeth with the sword" is in the active voice; he is doing the killing. This is the reading of the Textus Receptus, Sinaiticus and manuscript C. It also read this way in the previous Westcott-Hort, Nestle Greek texts.

"HE THAT KILLETH with the sword" (active voice) is the reading of Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the RSV, NRSV, NASB, NKJV, the Spanish Reina Valera and Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta.

However, later on, the Nestle Greek text was once again changed and they decided to follow the reading of ONE manuscript, that is, Alexandrinus. This single manuscript changes the reading from "he that killeth" to "he that is to be killed." Now, the NIV, ESV and Holman versions have adopted this new 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. This is how the "scholars' game" is played.

Revelation 18:2

KJB - "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful BIRD." (orneou)

So read the Majority of all texts, the TR AND Sinaiticus. "every unclean and hateful BIRD" is also the reading of the RV, ASV, NKJV, NASB, RSV, The Message, and the NIV.

However manuscript A (Alexandrinus) reads "the cage of every unclean and hateful BEAST." (theerion)

The previous Westcott-Hort, Nestle's Greek texts read as do the King James Bible and even the NASB, NIV, but later on, the UBS Greek "scholars" decided to change it, and it now includes both readings in full.

So now the 2003 Holman Standard and the 2003 ESV have come out and they add this extra reading of five Greek words which follows neither the Majority text, Sinaiticus nor Alexandrinus. These two latest versions read:

“Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great! She has become a lair for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, A HAUNT FOR EVERY UNCLEAN BIRD, AND A HAUNT FOR EVERY UNCLEAN AND DESPICABLE BEAST." (Holman Standard, ESV.)

Here are a few more examples of how the modern versions follow different texts and don't agree among themselves.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of HEAVEN saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, AND BE THEIR GOD."

There are two textual problems with this verse. The word HEAVEN is the Majority reading, as well as that of the TR, the Syriac, Coptic, Old Latin, the Spanish Reina Valera, and the NKJV. However the NASB, NIV, RSV follow Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, and say: "I heard a great voice out of THE THRONE saying..."

The second textual variant is where we see more of the hypocricy and fickleness of what they call the "science of textual criticism". The final words in this verse: "AND BE THEIR GOD" are found in multiplied scores of Greek manuscripts including Alexandrinus, the Syriac Peshitta, Philoxenian, Harclean, and the Old Latin.

"And be their God" is also the reading of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Geneva Bible, the Revised Version of 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, the NKJV, the NIV, the TNIV, the 2004 Holman Standard and the new ESV (English Standard Version). However the NASB from 1960 to 1995 continues to omit these words, as well as the RSV and the NRSV. The silly and misleading footnote in the NASB of 1995 should be noted. The 1960 NASB footnotes: "Some ancient manuscripts add "and be their God". The RSV footnote says: "Other ancient authorities add "and be their God", BUT now the new 1995 NASB tells us: "ONE early manuscript reads: "and be their God". This is flat out deception!!! The UBS Greek text lists ONLY ONE manuscript that OMITS these words, and that is Sinaiticus. Wallace's NET bible version also omits these precious words of inspired Scripture.

The older Nestle Greek text omitted these words, but the newer critical Greek UBS text has once again changed, and they now include these words, though in brackets. Notice too that the previous RSV, and NRSV omitted them, but now the revision of the revision of the revision has once again placed them back into the verse as it has always stood in the King James Bible. Such is the true nature of what the scholars like to call "the science of textual criticism".

In the very last verse of Revelation 22:21 we read in the KJB and the NKJV: "The grace of OUR lord Jesus CHRIST, be with YOU all." Here the NASB, NIV unite in omitting "our" and "Christ" but instead of reading "you all" (pantwn humwn) the NASB follows neither the Majority, nor the TR, but Alexandrinus which omits "you" and says: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with ALL." This is the reading of ONE Greek manuscript.

The NIV, on the other hand, follows Sinaiticus and even paraphrases this. Sinaiticus says " with THE SAINTS (twn hagiwn) and the NIV reads: "the with GOD'S PEOPLE." Again, this is the reading of ONE Greek manuscript.

Revelation 16:5

"Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and wast, AND SHALT BE, because thou hast judged thus."

The texts that underlie Revelation 16:5 vary greatly among themselves. The word LORD is found in 051, 296, 2049, some Latin copies, the Coptic Boharic and Ethiopic ancient versions. LORD is also the reading of Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, KJB, NKJV, Young's, Webster's 1833 translation, the KJV 21, Third Millenium Bible, Douay, Italian Diodati, Spanish Reina Valera, and Green's Literal KJV.

The NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV all omit the word LORD.

The second part is the one that is more hotly debated - "AND SHALT BE" This is the reading found in the Greek texts of Beza, which the KJB translators mainly used, and is the reading of the KJB, NKJV, Green's Literal KJV, Webster's, Young's, the KJV 21st Century, and the Third Millenium Bible. I've also located several independent English translation that also read "and shall be". Among these are the Natural Israelite Bible of 2008 done by Ed Schneider; The Urim-Thummin Version 2001, A Revised Translation 1815 by David Macrae; The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments 1808 by Charles Thomson, and A New Family Bible 1824 by Benjamin Boothroyd. "And shall be" is also the reading of the Greek texts the Trinitarian Bible Society of 1894, and that of J.P. Green's interlinear Greek text. The KJB reading is also supported by a Latin commentary on the book of Revelation done way back in 380 A.D. by Beatus.

Beatus of Liebana’s compiled commentary on the book of Revelation (786 A.D.) where he uses the Latin phrase “qui fuisti et futures es”. In this compilation he was preserving the commentary of Tyconius (approx 380 A.D.). So there is manuscript support. Whether Beza knew of it or not, the 1611 translators may well have, and we do not know what manuscripts they had at their disposal, likely many more than we know of four centuries later.

Jack Moorman, in his "When the King James Departs from the “Majority Text”, says: The King James reading is in harmony with the four other places in Revelation where this phrase is found.

1:4 “him which is, and which was, and which is to come” 1:8 “the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” 4:8 “Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” 11:17 “Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come”

Indeed Christ is the Holy One, but in the Scriptures of the Apostle John the title is found only once (1 John 2:20), and there, a totally different Greek word is used. The Preface to the Authorized Version reads, “With the former translations diligently compared and revised”. (Jack Moorman) What is of great interest is the English Hexapla Greek-5 English versions of 1841. Though the Greek text used in this printed Greek text follows the reading of hosios or "Holy", yet it footnotes that the reading of the Greek Received text is esomenos or "and shalt be". It was called the Received Text reading way back in 1841. You can see the site here:

Among foreign language Bibles that follow the same Greek texts as the King James Bible and read “AND SHALT BE” are the French Martin of 1744 and the French Ostervald 1996 with both reading: - “Seigneur, QUI ES, QUI ÉTAIS, et QUI SERAS”,The Spanish Reina Valera Gomez 2005 translation also reads like the King James Bible - “Y oí al ángel de las aguas, que decía: Justo eres tú, oh Señor, que eres y que eras, Y SERAS, porque has juzgado así.”

What is also of interest is that the earlier English Bibles apparently followed some other Greek texts because they do not read as the King James Bible nor as the Critical text versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV. Wycliffe read: “Just art thou, Lord, that art, and that were hooli, that demest these thingis;” Wycliffe left out “and wast” and has the awkward reading that God “WERE Holy”. This came from the Latin Vulgate, which came along after the Old Latin. On the other hand, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535 and the Bishops Bible 1568 all read: Lord, which art, and wast, thou art RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY, because thou hast given such judgements.” Here they add the word “righteous” Then the Geneva Bible came along and it differed from all four previous English bibles reading: “Lord, thou art iust, Which art, and Which wast: and Holy, because thou hast iudged these things.”

Dr. Thomas Holland regarding the KJB reading of Revelation 16:5

"First of all, to change the Trinitarian phraseology (which is used in Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:3; and 11:17) does break the sense of the passage and is inconsistent with the phrase used elsewhere by John. Furthermore, the addition of "Holy One" is awkward and is repetitive of the use of the phrase "Thou art righteous, O Lord."

Secondly, there are some textual variances among the changes made. The Greek text of Beza reads, "o wn, kai o hn, kai o esomenos" (who is, and was, and shall be).

Thirdly, P47 is not the only Greek text which is worn here. In fact, while P47 is slightly worn, the Greek text which Beza used was greatly worn. This is so noted by Beza himself in his footnote on Revelation 16:5 as he gives reason for his conjectural emendation:

"And shall be": The usual publication is "holy one," which shows a division, contrary to the whole phrase which is foolish, distorting what is put forth in scripture... But with John there remains a completeness where the name of Jehovah (the Lord) is used, just as we have said before, 1:4; he always uses the three closely together, therefore it is certainly "and shall be," for why would he pass over it in this place? And so without doubting the genuine writing in this ancient manuscript, I faithfully restored in the good book what was certainly there, "shall be." So why not truthfully, with good reason, write "which is to come" as before in four other places, namely 1:4 and 8; likewise in 4:3 and 11:17, because the point is the just Christ shall come away from there and bring them into being: in this way he will in fact appear setting in judgment and exercising his just and eternal decrees. (Theodore Beza, Nouum Sive Nouum Foedus Iesu Christi, 1589. Translated into English from the Latin footnote.)

Wordsworth also points out that in Revelation 16:5, Beatus of Liebana (who compiled a commentary on the book of Revelation) uses the Latin phrase "qui fuisti et futures es." This gives some additional evidence for the Greek reading by Beza (although he apparently drew his conclusion for other reasons). Beatus compiled his commentary in 786 AD.

Furthermore, Beatus was not writing his own commentary. Instead he was making a compilation and thus preserving the work of Tyconius, who wrote his commentary on Revelation around 380 AD (Aland and Aland, 211 and 216. Altaner, 437. Wordsword, 533.). So, it would seem that as early as 786, and possibly even as early as 380, their was an Old Latin text which read as Beza's Greek text does." (end of article by Dr. Thomas Holland)

Instead of "and shalt be" (ho esomenos) most texts read "the Holy" (ho hosios). However there is variation even among these. P47, which is the oldest remaining Greek copy and dates to the third century has a nonsensical reading of "who was AND holy". Vaticanus does not contain the book of Revelation, so we cannot look to it for confirmation one way or the other. Sinaiticus says "who was THE Holy", while Alexandrinus reads: "who was Holy", omitting the word "the". Even among the so called Majority of texts, there are four slightly different readings found, some adding extra definite articles or the word "and", while others do not in varying combinations.

For the modern versionists who depend on one of the so called "oldest and best manuscripts", namely Sinaiticus, it may be an eye opener to see some of the really strange readings found in this text in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 4:8 "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." But Sinaiticus says: " Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty..."

Revelation 7:4 and 14:3 Both verses mention the number of 144,000. However Sinaiticus has 140,000 in 7:4 and 141,000 in 14:3.

Revelation 10:1 "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and A RAINBOW was upon his head..." Sinaiticus says: "clothed with a cloud with HAIR on his head."

Revelation 21:4 "For THE FORMER THINGS are passed away". Sinaiticus reads: "For THE SHEEP are passed away."

Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I make all things NEW", while Sinaiticus says: "Behold, I make all things EMPTY."

What we have here in Revelation 16:5 is a very common cluster of divergent readings and the King James Bible went with one reading while other versions went with another.

It is a well documented fact that multiplied numbers of ancient Greek manuscripts were available to the translators of early English Bible versions that we no longer have today. Another "minority reading" found in the KJB is 1 John 5:7 "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one". Only a few Greek manuscripts exist today which contain this reading, yet it was not always so. John Gill remarks in his commentary on 1 John regarding this trinitarian verse in the texts used by Stephanus in 1550: " Out of sixteen ancient copies of Robert Stephens's, nine of them had it." This example serves to illustrate that some readings found in the KJB were supported by far more textual evidence than is available for us today.

The King James Bible translators did not slavishly follow Beza's Greek text, but after much prayer, study and comparison, did include Beza's reading of "and shalt be" in Revelation 16:5. We do not know what other Greek texts the KJB translators possessed at that time that may have helped them in their decisions. They then passed this reading on to future generations in the greatest Bible ever written. Since God has clearly placed His mark of divine approval upon the KJB throughout the last 400 years, I trust that He providentially guided the translators to give us His true words.

"Thou hast redeemed US...and WE shall reign"

Revelation 5:8-10 The Song of the Redeemed

Rev. 5:8. "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.

Rev. 5:9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Rev. 5:10. And hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests: and WE shall reign on the earth."

There are many who argue that the King James Bible (and many other versions) is in error in Revelation 5:8-10 because these verses seem to teach that the four beasts are counted among those who are redeemed and made kings and priests.

Some scholars are amazingly presumptive in their broad and unfounded assertions about the alleged errors in the King James Bible. One such commentator, Mr. B.W. Johnson, in his People's New Testament Commentary, says of Revelation 5:9: "Didst purchase unto God with thy blood MEN of every tribe... See the Revised Version. The Common Version is incorrect, as is now admitted by all scholars. "

By "The Common Version" he is referring, of course, to the King James Bible. He flat out states that is it incorrect, and then has the effrontery to assert that this is "now admitted by all scholars"!!! Anytime you hear or read someone saying "all scholars agree" on anything, you should know right away that he has no clue what he is talking about.

There are also many others who attack the King James Bible for rendering the Greek word zoon as "beasts"; but this is not the focus of this particular study. For a rebuttal to the claim that "beasts" is "quite inaccurate" please see my article responding to the charges of Rick Norris in his book The Unbound Scriptures.

It should be noted that there is little agreement among Christian commentators as to who or what these four beasts represent. They are not angels since they are distinguised from the angels in verse eleven where we are told John heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders. Neither is there agreement among Christians as to who the elders are or represent. I believe the 24 elders represent the redeemed people of God from both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations; both Jews and Gentiles.

There are several textual differences in the various Greek manuscripts that contain these few verses. In Rev. 5:9 we read: "Thou hast redeemed US". This is the reading found in the majority of all remaining Greek texts including that of Sinaiticus. It is also so quoted by Hippolytus, Irenaeus, and Cyprian. Vaticanus is missing the entire book of Revelation, so we cannot compare it to the others.

However, in Revelation 5:9 the NASB, RSV and NIV reject even the reading of Sinaiticus and follow codex Alexandrinus which omits "us" and reads "thou hast redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred..." But here the NASB, NIV add a word not found in any text. The NASB, NIV say: "You purchased MEN for God..." The word "men" is not found in any Greek text.

The NRSV says: "you redeemed SAINTS", while the Holman Standard and the ESV say "you have redeemed PEOPLE", but neither are the words "saints" or "people" found in any Greek texts at all.

In Rev. 5:10 we read: "and hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests: and WE shall reign on the earth." The words "us" and "we shall reign" are found in several Greek manuscripts, and in the Old Latin (which text predates anything we have in the Greek copies), the Clementine Vulgate, the Coptic, Sahidic and Armenian ancient versions. It is also so quoted by Cyprian in 258, Maternus in 348, Julius Firmicus in 345, and Primasius in 552 A.D.

Revelation 5:9 through 10 read the same in the King James Bible, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, and the Geneva Bible of 1599. It is also the reading of Wycliff 1395, the Italian Diodati 1602, Luther's German Bible, Mace's New Testament 1729, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909 and 1960, the NKJV, Young's, Webster's 1833 translation, J.P. Green's Modern KJV 1998, the Third Millenium Bible and the KJV 21st Century Version.

However in Revelation 5:9 the NASB, RSV, ESV, NIV read: "And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased MEN for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

5:10. You have made THEM to be A KINGDOM and priests to serve our God, and THEY will reign on the earth."

"KINGS and priests" is the reading of the majority of all Greek texts, but Sinaiticus again differs from all others and says: "a kingdom and a PRIESTHOOD", while Alexandrinus says: "A KINGDOM and priests".

Here in verse 10, the NASB, NIV and ESV have once again rejected even the reading of their famed Sinaiticus, and instead have followed manuscript A (Alexandrinus). However they do not always follow manuscript A in verse 10, because A omits the words "unto our God", but these words are found in Sinaiticus. The new versions go back and forth between their "oldest and best" manuscripts, following one and then another when they disagree with each other - and they disagree with each other thousands of times!

There are at least two ways I know of to defend the accuracy of the King James reading.

Explanation #1

One view is that both the four beasts and the elders are in fact among the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In this view, the beasts represent all living creatures that were made by God. We have a beast like a lion, one like a calf, one having the face of a man, and the other like an eagle. The creatures will be part of the new creation redeemed by the Lamb. According to this view, the 4 beasts and the 24 elders speak together as the company of the redeemed who shall reign during the time of the new heaven and the new earth.

In support of this view, we read in Romans 8:19-21 "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

The redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ was not only for His people but also for the creation itself. In the Old Testament God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and this was "between me and the earth"; "my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh"; "the everlasting covenant between God and every livng creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." Genesis 9: 13-16.

In a similar manner, in the New Testament covenant Christ reconciled ALL THINGS, not just His people. Colossians 1:20 says: "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Ephesians 1:10 also tells us: "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."

This redemptive work seems to include not only His people, but also the physical creation, the living creatures, and some of the heavenly beings of all classes, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities or powers - Col. 1:16-20. "All were created by him and for him" - "And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile ALL THINGS unto Himself."

Please do not misunderstand my position here. I am not saying that I believe in the universal salvation of every man who ever lived and every creature that exists, including Satan, his rebellious angels or the devils. All those outside of Christ and His redemptive work will be forever lost, damned, and excluded from His eternal kingdom of righteousness and glory.

So who or whatever these four beasts are, they too were reconciled by the death of Christ unto Himself. Christ did not take on Him the nature of angels (Hebrews 2:16), but Scripture does not say He didn't reconcile some of them to Himself; indeed the Bible confirms that He did just that.

One problem with the NASB, NIV rendering is this. These versions have the 24 elders as well as the beasts saying: "You have redeemed MEN (or "saints" or "people") and made THEM a kingdom and priests, and THEY shall reign on the earth." IF the four beasts are not among the redeemed, then neither are the elders. So who are the 24 elders if not men? Were the 24 elders not redeemed?

Explanation # 2

The second view is quite easy to explain. If you read the text carefully, you can see that the four beasts are probably some sort of heavenly entities like the Cherubim or the Seraphim, and they are distinct from the 24 elders.

Both the four beasts and the 24 elders fall down before the Lamb, but it is the elders alone who have the harps and sing the song of redemption.

"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them (the elders) harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they (the elders) sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book...for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made US unto our God KINGS and priests; and WE shall reign on the earth."

John Wesley remarks: " Having every one - The elders, not the living creatures. An harp - Which was one of the chief instruments used for thanksgiving in the temple service: a fit emblem of the melody of their hearts."

Only PEOPLE have harps, and only PEOPLE are redeemed out of every kindred, tongue and nation - not the 4 beasts.

The King James Bible in not in error at all. It is the most accurate Bible in all the world, and you will never go wrong by believing every word found within its inspired pages.

Will Kinney

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