Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

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Revelation 4:6-8 - "Beasts" versus "living creatures"

"and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." - Revelation 4:6

In Mr. Norris' book, The Unbound Scriptures, he says: "An additional example where the KJV does not present a distinction that exists in the Greek is the book of Revelation. In this example, the KJV is following all the other English Bibles which also did not indicate this distinction."

Mr. Norris then goes on to quote several "experts" who criticize the King James Bible's translation of this word, saying: "Concerning Revelation 4:6-8 in his commentary, John Walvoord observed: "The translation 'beasts' is QUITE INACCURATE and should be changed to 'living ones'...Barnes' Notes on the N.T. has this comment about the rendering 'four beasts': "This is A VERY UNHAPPY TRANSLATION, as the word beasts BY NO MEANS conveys a correct idea of the original word."

John Rice noted: "The four beasts should be called "living creatures".

OK... So let's look at this example a bit more closely to see if there is any merit to Mr. Norris' complaint. One scholar says it should be "living ones" and the other says it should be "living creatures". Apparently they all do agree that the King James rendering of "beasts" is totally inappropriate and by no means conveys the idea of the original word.

As Mr. Norris correctly pointed out, all the previous English Bible versions translated this word as "beasts" including Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishop's Bible 1568, and the Geneva Bible 1599. In addition to these earlier English versions, the modern Bible in Basic English 1961, which is based on the Westcott-Hort Greek text, also translates the word as "beasts" in Revelation 4:6-8.

A few versions like the Jerusalem Bible, Goodspeed, and others translate the word as "animals". In all fairness we ask, If rendering the word zoon as beasts "by no means conveys the correct idea of the original word", then why does the NIV translate this exact same word as "beasts" in 2 Peter 2:12 "like BEASTS they too will perish."

Why does the NKJV translate this same word as "beasts" in Hebrews 13:11 "the bodies of those BEASTS are burned outside the camp"; and in 2 Peter 2:12 "beasts made to be caught and destroyed", and in Jude 10 - "what they know naturally, as brute BEASTS"? Maybe the NIV and the NKJV also "by no means convey the correct idea of the original word".

If they are so concerned about subtle distinctions in the Greek, why then does the NIV translate two very different Greek words (ktisma and zoon) as "living creature" in the book of Revelation, and the NKJV has the misfortune to translate Three different Greek words in the book of Revelation as "living creature"? (zoon, ktisma, and psukee) See Revelation 4:7; 8:9, and 16:3. Could we then not equally charge that a reader using the NIV, or the NKJV could become confused upon reading that a third of the "living creatures" died?

In the New Testament, the NIV uses three different Greek words and translates them as "creatures", while the NASB has a whopping 7 different Greek words translated as "creatures" (therion, ktisis, zoon, herpeton, ktisma, enalios, and phusikos). Are the subtle distinctions likewise lost in the NIV, NASB?

Looking at Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon 1978 edition on page 274, under the word zoon it gives the following definitions of this Greek word: "a living being, animal, a brute, a BEAST."

We could also look at the Hebrew language. For example, the NASB translates the word chayyah # 2421 as "beasts, creatures, living thing, animals, living being, and wild beasts".

See how funny some scholars are? Get ten of them in a room and you end up with twelve different opinions. There is nothing wrong with the King James Bible nor all the others Bible versions which likewise have translated this word as "beasts" in Revelation 4:6-8.

I have never confused the four beasts round about the throne who worshipped God with the many headed beast in Revelation 13:1 who rose up out of the sea speaking blasphemy and making war. But what could confuse some Bible students are the totally different readings found in Revelation 13 in the various bible versions out there today.

In the King James Bible, NKJV and several others we read in Revelation 13:1 - "And I STOOD upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the NAME of blasphemy."

However the NIV reads: "And THE DRAGON STOOD on the shore of the sea. (Not "I" but the dragon) And I saw a beast coming out of the sea...and on each head a blasphemous NAME."

The NASB read differently from 1960 through 1977. It said: "And HE stood on the sand of the seashore. AND I saw a beast coming up out of the sea...and on his head were blasphemous NAMES."

Then in 1995 the NASB once again changed to now read: "And THE DRAGON stood on the sand of the seashore. THEN I saw a beast coming up out of the sea..and on his head were blasphemous NAMES."

So is it " I " who stood on the sand of the sea, or "He" who stood on the sand of the sea, or "the dragon" who stood on the sand of the sea? Is it "the name" of blasphemy (singular) or "names" of blasphemy (plural)?

In Revelation 13:8 the KJB, NKJV, and the NIV tell us: "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." But the NASB doesn't teach that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, but reverses the Greek order of words and says: "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."

Apparently these "subtle distinctions" are less important to some Bible experts than the difference between "beasts" and "living creatures". Go figure.

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Other Artilces by Will Kinney

Other Artilces by Will Kinney in the Textus Receptus database ~

Old Testament

Genesis Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill? - Genesis 6:6 Can God repent? - Genesis 22:1 Did God "Tempt" Abraham? Exodus Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not KILL - Exodus - the Israelites "borrowed" of the Egyptians Numbers Numbers 22 Why was God Angry with Balaam? Job Bible Babel in Job - a comparative study 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 13:21 "a file" a "pim" or "two-thirds of a shekel"? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? - 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? 1 Kings 1 Kings 20:38 ashes upon his face - 1 Kings 22:38 "washed his armour" or "while the harlots bathed" NKJV Nonsense Psalms Psalm 8:5 Lower than the Angels, or a little lower than God? - Answering Doug Kutilek's anti-Preservation in Psalm 12 - Psalm 74:8 the synagogues of God; Psalm 77:2 my sore ran in the night - Psalms 1 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 2 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 3 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 4 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 5 How Different the Versions! Proverbs NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs - Bible Babel in Proverbs Isaiah Isaiah - a Comparative Study - Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 Jeremiah Jeremiah 8:8 the pen of the scribes is in vain - Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim or Zedekiah? - Ezekiel Ezekiel 29:7 Hebrew, Greek or Syriac? Hosea Hosea - a Comparative Study

New Testament

Did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or Not? Matthew Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? - Matthew 27:44 cast in teeth Mark Gospel of Mark - a Modern Version Mix-up Luke Is "cousin" wrong in Luke 1:36 - Luke 17:36 Is it inspired Scripture or not? John John 1:18 the only begotten Son Acts Act 3:19 times of refreshing; 7:20 Moses was exceeding fair - Acts 9:5-7 hear the voice; 7:20 exceeding fair - Acts 5:30 slew and hanged; 19:20 word of GOD - Acts 13:33 this day have I begotten thee - Acts 19:9 DIVERS were hardened, and believed not - Acts 19:35 Diana or Artemis? Jupiter, Zeus or Heaven? - The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus? Gospels through Acts Romans James White discussing Romans 6:17 Philippians Textual Studies in Philippians 2 Timothy 2 Timothy 3:16 Inspiration of God or God Breathed? Hebrews The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study 1 Peter 1 Peter - Shifting Sands of Scholarship 1 John And These Three Are One Article defending the inclusion of 1 John 5:7. - 1 John 5:7 These three are one Jude The Book of Jude - James White's "inferior" texts Revelations Revelation 13 Confusion - Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation - Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US - Revelation 17:8 "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" - Acts 28:13 We Fetched a Compass; 1 Tim5:4 Nephews - Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age?

Modern Versions

Bible Babel 1 - Bible Babel 2 - Bible Babel 3 - Bible Babel 4 - The Oldest and Best Manuscripts? - Every Man for Himself Bible Versions - the HCSB, NET, ESV, TNIV, NKJV - The Inerrancy of Scripture - are you a Bible believer or a Bible agnostic? - True Bible? - Modern Versions Teach Racism - Modern Versions Teach Pride as a Virtue - Do Ghosts Exist? Modern Versions say Yes ESV The English Standard Version 2001 NASB The Ever Changing NASB's NKJV NKJV Word Changes - When the NKJV departs from the TR - The New KJV is a Hack Job Translation - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - Is the NKJV the same as the KJB? - Don't go on Safari with a New KJV Translator - The NKJV is a Poor Substitute for the True Bible - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

King James Word Definitions

Lucifer - Jehovah - Unicorns - Is the word "Easter" an error in the King James Bible? - Are the words "CHURCH" and 'BISHOP' wrong? - Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible - "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" - Servants or Slaves? - Is "charity" an error in the KJB? - The Grace of God Destroyed - "Would to God" - Another alleged 'error' bites the dustIs "bottles" an inaccurate word in the King James Bible?

King James Bible

Is King James onlyism Scriptural? - Does the KJB only position "blow up"? - What About Those Printing Errors in 1611? - Does the King James Bible depart from the Hebrew Texts? - Why do you King James Bible onlyies Attack the word of God? - The Historic Confessions support the KJB position - Can a Translation be Inspired? - The Old Latin versions and the KJB


NO LXX Part 1 - NO LXX - the Fictitious Use of Septuagint

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

Hebrew Text

The NIV, NASB reject the Hebrew Texts - NIV, NASB reject Hebrew texts Part 2 - How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies

Greek Text

"The Greek" and Hebrew Games

Gender Inclusive Versions

Gender Inclusive Versions Dealing with the TNIV

Answering Critics

E mail exchange with Bible Agnostic Doug Kutilek - John MacArthur - Pastor with NO Infallible Bible - A Bible Believer's Response to James Price's book King James Onlyism - a New Sect - A King James Bible Believer's Response to Rick Norris' book 'The Unbound Scriptures' - 17 Parts

Part 1 - The "logical" Premise of Mr. Norris

Part 2 - Those Dreadful Archaic Words

Part 3 - Imperfect men, Perfect Bible

Part 4 - Revision

Part 5 - Printing Errors and Spelling

Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

Part 7 - Alleged Errors in the King James Bible

Part 8 - Let Me Count The Ways

Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

Part 10 - Mules or Hot Springs?

Part 11 - "Digged down a wall" or "hamstrung an ox"?

Part 12 - Steel, brass, copper, bronze - Paper or Plastic?

Part 13 - The Usual Suspects

Part 14 - The Preservation of the words of God

Part 15 - KJB Only versus Latin Vulgate Only Argument

Part 16 - Where Was the Word of God Before 1611?

Part 17 - Final Thoughts

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