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   In Defense of Traditional Bible Texts

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
. . . Psalm 12:6-7 . . .
 

Isaiah 55:11-13--An Everlasting Sign
"it shall be to the LORD for a name,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."

H. D. Williams, M.D.


INTRODUCTION

Chapter fifty-five of Isaiah is a call to all men, whether they are of the nation of Israel or of the Gentile nations, to receive God's free gift of salvation . The Lord assures all men that if they will forsake their way, He will have mercy . Subsequently, He relates how His way of life, thoughts, imagination, and purposes are completely different from man's ways and thoughts (מַחְשְׁבֹתָ֑יו, machashabah).1 He continues by describing how His cunning works , ways, or thoughts are "higher" and exalted above any works, ways, or thoughts of man on earth. His cunning works, which are His words that bring salvation, peace and joy , come down from "heaven" and "returneth not thither" ; and when His words "goeth forth" they shall "prosper," they shall be "for a name," and they shall be "an everlasting sign" .

THE PURPOSE OF THIS PAPER

The purpose of this paper is to place emphasis on Isaiah 55:11-13.

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
[12] For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
[13] Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

This author believes a very significant interpretation has been missed by many commentators. It appears that most reviewers of this passage have overlooked the inductive approach to the interpretation and exegesis of the passage, preferring deductive hermeneutics. The significant interpretation overlooked, avoided, or neglected related to this passage is God's promise of preservation of His words, the everlasting sign , and the fact that His word is for a name , the name of His incarnate Son .

CONTRARY OPINIONS

In contradistinction to this author's interpretation, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, who use the New International Version, state concerning Isaiah 55:12-13 that the "sign" will be:

"Various kinds of trees will grow instead of the thornbush and briers. Fertility on the earth will be a sign that God is in control."2 [not my emphasis, HDW]

Similarly, Frank E. Gaebelein, chairman of the style committee for the New International Version and coeditor of Christianity Today, relates:

"for v. 13 probably refers to the regeneration of the land, though this in turn may symbolize spiritual fruitfulness. All this will serve to bring glory to God, pointing beyond itself to his eternal grace and power."3

Even Joseph Addison Alexander, a mid-eighteenth century commentator who used the King James Bible, reports on verse 13:

"It shall be for a name, i.e. it [the joy of the people and the trees] shall serve as a memorial, which is then described in other words as a sign of perpetuity or everlasting token, with allusion, as Vitringa thinks, to those commemorative obelisks or pillars mentioned elsewhere (e.g. chap. Xix 19). This memorial is called perpetual, because it shall not be cut off, pass away, or be abolished.-It will here be sufficient simply to state the fact, that Knobel understands this as a promise that the homeward journey of the exiles should be comfortable and pleasant..."4 [my addition, HDW]

Albert Barnes apparently comes the closest to what this author believes is the appropriate interpretation of this passage. He states:

"The gospel with its rich and varied blessings shall erect enduring monuments in the earth, to the praise and honor of God. It will be more enduring as a memorial of him than all altars and statues, and temples erected to celebrate and perpetuate idolatry; as wide-diffused as are his works of creation, and more fruitful of blessings than anything elsewhere conferred on man."5

In other words, the gospel, God's words, which are "everlasting," a "sign," and a "name" for His Son, the eternal, incarnate Word of God, and its effects in the heart of man will bring eternal blessings of salvation, joy, and peace. His cunning work, which is His words, will remove nature's groaning in that day (Isa. 55:12-13a,b; Rom. 8:20-23).

THE STRUCTURE OF ISAIAH 55

 

I.          The Everlasting Covenant (v. 3)

A.     His Words (the Bread) (v. 2, 10)

a.       For Everyone (v. 1, 3, 6, 7)

b.      They Are Free (v. 1, 2)

B.     His Witness (v. 3, 4)

 

II.         The Words of the Everlasting Covenant (v. 3)

A.     Its Ways (v. 8, 9, 10)

B.     Its Witness (To God's Thoughts) (v. 11)

C.     It Waters From Heaven (v. 10)

a.       It Brings Peace (v. 12)

b.      It Shall Prosper (v. 11)

c.       It Shall Persist  (v. 13)

1.      As a Name of the Everlasting Covenant (v. 13)

2.      As an Everlasting Sign (v. 13)

 

 

The context and structure of Isaiah fifty-five is significant. The context reveals that God commanded Israel in Isaiah fifty-four to "enlarge" their tent (v. 2) because the "seed" of Israel (v. 3), the Lord Jesus Christ who is "the Holy One of Israel" (v. 5, Gen. 3:15, 2 Sam 3:12, Rom. 1:3, Gal. 3:16) would bring the Gentiles under the "tent" (Heb. אֹהֶל, ohel), tabernacle, or covering of God (Isa. 54:1-6). He assures them that during the time He is performing this feat that He will forsake them but for a "small moment" (v. 7). And although "the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed" (v.10), His covenant of peace, kindness, and righteousness shall never "be removed" (54:10).

THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

The covenant of peace (Isa. 54:10) described as the everlasting covenant in Eze. 37:26 and Isa. 55:3, refers to His words, which He has preserved.6

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. Ezekiel 37:26

The everlasting covenant is all His words, which is the book of the covenant.

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD..." And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient...Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Exodus 24:3, 4, 7, 8

Also, God assures Israel that "the servants of the Lord" shall be preserved (54:14-17). Following this explanation to Israel, in chapter fifty-five God extends the offer of salvation to "every one." He offers free waters, wine, milk, and bread (Isa. 55:1-2). A search of the Scriptures will soon reveal that these terms are all typically His words (e.g. Mat. 4:4, Mat. 9:17, Jn. 4:10-11, John 15:4 abide in the Word, Heb. 5:12-13). He promises "an everlasting covenant," which in Scripture is not only the Living Word, who is "the seed of David," the Lord Jesus Christ (Gen. 17:7, Isa. 42:6, 49:8, Mal. 3:1, Gal. 3:17), but also His written words as well. God calls the promise the "sure mercies of David" (Isa. 55:3), which are mentioned in Psalm 89.

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Psalms 89:1-3 [my emphasis, HDW]

The Lord Jesus Christ is the seed of David, the Covenant, the Witness, the Commander, and the Leader (Isa. 42:6, 55:4). He is the Word of God (Jn. 1:1). His call to the nations (Isa. 55:5) is by His words (Rom. 10:17), which are His thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:7-9). He says,

"my word...goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isa. 55:11)

INTERPRETATION OF THE PASSAGE

In this author's opinion, the verse markings for Isaiah 55:12 should end at "and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:" in verse 13, and not at "and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." There are several reasons why, which help clarify this author's interpretation of 55:11-13.

First, verse markings were not added until 1551 A.D., they are not inspired, and they were placed by man, not a Holy God.

"Churchmen Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro determined different schemas for systematic division of the Bible between 1227 and 1248. It is the system of Archbishop Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based. In the New Testament, the verse divisions were first added by Robert Estienne in his 1551 edition of the Greek New testament. In 1557, the first English New Testament with verse divisions were used in a translation by William Whittingham (c. 1524-1579). These divisions have been used by nearly all English Bibles since then. Unlike the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the structure of the Greek language makes it highly susceptible to being broken up syntactically into inappropriate and even sense-contrary divisions. Inexact apportionment of Greek into verses therefore could easily have obscured the intent, relation, emphasis and force of the words themselves, and thus elicited the most strenuous objections of theologians. The retention of Robert Estienne's verse divisions essentially without alteration is a tribute not only to the inherent utility of his contribution to Bible study, but also to his excellent knowledge of the scriptures and grasp of the fine points of the ancient Greek language. The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible in 1560, coming soon after Estienne's introduction of New Testament verse numbers, and quickly rising to acceptance as a standard way to notate them."7

Therefore, misplacements of verse and chapter markings are not unusual, although overall the verse and chapter divisions are good. Many authors have commented on the Bible divisions. For example, one website states:

Keep in mind that the Bible was not written in verses and chapters; verses and chapters were added centuries later for convenience of finding passages (and sometimes the division of chapters and verses was poorly done). Therefore, when one reads the Bible, it is best to ignore verses and chapters as much as possible.8

Dean Burgon made a similar statement in Inspiration and Interpretation, but the page reference has been lost.

Second, the structure of Isaiah 55 extols God's words, and when they are heard "your soul shall live," (Isa. 55:3) which means your salvation is accomplished by faith in His words (Rom 10:17), the "everlasting covenant." Subsequently, joy and peace ensue in the people (Isa. 55:12). Even nature rejoices (Isa. 55:12-13). Of course, there is symbolism in the metaphors about nature and anthropomorphic attributes given to it. Mountains, hills, and useful trees, which sing and clap, probably represent the prospering (Isa. 55:11) and fulfillment of His words (Psa. 148:8-9) and His leadership (Isa. 55:4, 52:12, Mic. 2:12-13), which results in joy and peace. This imagery is frequent in Isaiah (e.g. Isa. 41:19, 44:23). Even the thorn and brier, emblems of the wicked and uncultivated,9 will be replaced by a fruitful garden of God consisting of useful trees, which probably typologically represents useful people. It seems to this author that the last part of Isaiah 55:13 beginning with "and it shall be to the LORD for a name" is the concluding thought of this chapter, and should be verse thirteen.

EXEGESIS OF ISAIAH 55:11-13

Third, the exegesis of Isaiah 55:11-13, added to the structure of chapter fifty-five, also leads one to the conclusion that the verses are improperly marked, which contributes to a missed interpretation. Isaiah clearly indicates that God said His words would be as (like) rain and snow from heaven, that they would water the earth making or accomplishing (Heb. עָשָׂה֙, asah) His will, that they would not return unto Him, that they would not be empty or void (Heb. רֵיקָ֑ם, reyqam), and that they would be profitable, come in power, succeed, or prosper (הִצְלִ֖יחַ, tsalach).

The verb phrase "it shall not return" (Isa. 55:11) is the Hebrew word יָשׁ֥וּב (shuwb), which is a qal, imperfect, third person, masculine, singular (3pms) verb.10 A Hebrew perfect verb "expresses the "fact;" the imperfect adds colour and movement by suggesting the "process" preliminary to its completion.11 The word, "it," is not identified separately in the 3pms verb, which could be translated "he," "she," or "it," but the 3pms verbs in this verse refer back to the Hebrew word, דְבָרִי֙ davar, meaning word, and so "it" is the proper translation. The next three "its" in this verse refer back to "word;" and this author believes that the "it" in verse 13 also refers back to "my word" as well.

The verb phrases "it shall accomplish" (עָשָׂה֙) and "it shall prosper" (הִצְלִ֖יחַ) in verse 11 are qal, perfect, third person, masculine, singular verbs referring to "word." The phrase "I sent it" (שָׁלַח) is a qal, perfect, first person, common, singular verb with a third person, masculine, singular suffix referring to "word;" so, "it" is again appropriate designation in English.

The next verse and part of verse 13 highlight how the "word" would change people and metaphorically nature. The verbs in the last part of verse 13, "and it shall be (הָיָה hayah) to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (יִכָּרֵֽת karat) are SINGULAR perfect and imperfect masculine verbs, respectively, "so it could not refer back to the people with their joy12 (a second person masculine plural verb), or to the plural mountains (mp) or hills (fp) or trees (mp) or hands (fp). It would seem strange for it to refer back to other SINGULAR words like joy, peace, field, thorn, brier, or tree."13 (HDW, my emphasis and my additions for clarification)

The verbs in the Hebrew perfect tense indicate a fact that is a completed action. Therefore, the phrase, "it shall be to the LORD for a name," (Heb. perfect tense) indicates that the messenger of God's Holy Covenant (Mal. 3:1), the Lord Jesus Christ, had already been given the name, the Word of God (Jn. 1:1) in His mind. Sometimes in the Hebrew perfect tense, "future events are conceived so vividly and so realistically that they are regarded as having virtually taken place..."

The imperfect verb, יִכָּרֵֽת karat, in the phrase, "an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" suggests two thoughts. First, "the sign," which is God's words, will never be "cut off." This thought is confirmed in many of passages in Scripture (Psa. 12:6-7; 119:89, 152, 160; Mat. 24:35; 1 Pe. 1:23; and many other places). The sign (אֹ֥ות), which 15 is His word in this passage (Deut. 11:18, 28:46) is differentiated from the Lord Jesus Christ as the "sign" (Lk. 2:34) by Daniel's declaration that the "Messiah" would be "cut off" (Dan. 9:26), whereas God says "it," "my word" (Isa. 55:11), the "everlasting sign...shall not be cut off" in Isa. 55:13.

Second, there is a play on words between Isa 55:3, which reports that God would "make" or cut (Heb. יִכָּרֵֽת karat) the everlasting covenant, and Isa. 55:13, which uses the same Heb. word, which states that the "sign" or "everlasting covenant," which is His words, "shall not be cut off" (Heb. יִכָּרֵֽת karat). Peake's Commentary on the Whole Bible makes this remark:

"There is a last play on words: the everlasting covenant is (in Heb.) cut [or made, see Isa. 55:3 where made is the same word translated cut in v. 13]: but that the name and sign may be also everlasting they shall not be cut (off)." [HDW, my addition in brackets]

This suggests to this author that the Everlasting Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ, was cut or "made' of a woman," "in the fullness of time" (Gal. 4:4), but He was "cut off" at the Cross. The everlasting covenant, His words, "made" or "cut" by the Lord Jesus Christ, is a "sign" that points to Him; and "it," His words, "shall not be cut off"; and in fulfillment of this promise, "it" has never been cut off. For further affirmation of the premise that the Lord Himself is a sign, notice the following: "the root and offspring of David" (Rev. 22:16), "the root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign (נֵ֣ס nec, sign16) of the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11:10). Luke's gospel clearly calls the Lord Jesus Christ a sign.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; Luke 2:34

Furthermore, additional confirmation that His words are a sign is found in Psalm 60:4 which states, "Thou hast given a banner (נֵ֣ס nec, sign) to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth." (HDW, my additions)

Isaiah 55:13 is another passage in Scripture that confirms God's preserved words shall never pass away. They are "an everlasting sign."

A MODERN CONUNDRUM

The question of preservation of the Scriptures continues to be a conundrum for many who are shepherds of God's people in these last days; and who are responsible for the edification of the saints in local churches. The situation has been created by the subtlety that began in the Garden (Gen. 3:1, "...Yea, hath God said...?") and that extends into the modern age. However, the preservation of God's words should not be a puzzle. M. R. DeHaan, M.D., commenting on Genesis three, said,

"After six thousand years of human history, Satan's strategy has not been altered or changed. It worked so perfectly the first time he tried it that he has not deviated from the original plan since, but today is using the very same tactics."17

However, the subtleness that began in the Garden has been set aside in the modern age for blatant, open attacks upon the "jot and tittle" of inspiration and preservation of God's words by authors from every segment of society, including local churches, which are charged with the responsibility of preserving God's words (Mat. 4:4, 24:35, Lk. 16:17, 1 Tim. 3:15). Dr. DrHaan continued, saying,

"We remind you once again that Satan's first attempt at deceiving man was an apparently innocent and sincere question concerning just what God meant by what He plainly had spoken. But behind this cleverly concealed interest was a plan to cast doubt upon the plain, literal, unmistakable meaning of thus saith the Lord. Be on guard against any tampering with the Word, whether disguised as a search for the Truth, or a scholarly attempt at apparently hidden meaning; and beware of the confusion created by the senseless rash of new versions, translations, editions, and improvements upon the tried and tested Bible of our fathers and grandfathers."18

ISSUES ADDRESSED

The Dean Burgon Society (DBS), Dr. D. A. Waite, President of the DBS, Dr. Thomas M. Strouse, Dean of Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Jack Moorman, missionary, Bible school teacher and textual critic, Dr. David Cloud, missionary and author of many books and articles, Dr. Jeffery Khoo, Dean of Far Eastern Bible College, and many others in the past and in the present have addressed the issues raised by these attacks on verbal plenary inspiration and preservation in a series of striking articles and books.19

Some of the articles and books by these men are in response to several recent books which have appeared such as: From The Mind Of God To The Mind Of Man;20The King James Only Controversy;21 The Origin Of The Bible;22 God's Word In Our Hands;23 The Text Of The New Testament;24 The Bible In Translation, Ancient and English Versions;25 From God To Us, How We Got Our Bible;26 and many others. The books deny the clear pronouncement by Scripture of the perfect preservation of the original words of Scripture in copies (Mat. 4:4, 5:17-18, 2 Tim. 3:14-16, 2 Pe. 1:2127). Examination of these books reveals that the authors invariably begin their discussions from "man's" reasoning and logic as opposed to God's reasoning. God invites man to come reason with Him (Isa. 1:18) because our reasoning is fallacious (Gen. 6:5, Psa. 94:11, Isa. 55:7-9, Mt. 15:19).

Norman Geisler relates in one of his books that "Logic really means putting your thoughts in order."28 This pleads the question, "What is the beginning of that order'?" Obviously, if man is burdened with (1) the finiteness of human understanding, (2) inadequacy of language, (3) the imperfect state of the universe, and (4) the lack of spiritual and intellectual understanding because of sin, logic cannot begin with man's reasoning, but rather with God's thoughts.29 God's reasoning and truth are laid bare for us in His inscripturated words (Jn. 17:17); and so, that is where we should turn for truth to set our "thoughts in order." Therefore, it is surprising when Dr. Geisler proclaims:

"The inspiration and consequent authority of the Bible does not automatically extend to every copy and translation of the Bible. Only the original manuscripts, known as autographs, were inspired."30

Why is this statement surprising? Because putting our logic "in order," means starting with God's words. Dr. Geisler agrees. He states,

"we understand that God is the basis of all logic...Even Jesus said, "I am...the Truth" (John 14:6)."31

Therefore, if God says His inspired words will be preserved for ever, aren't those very words in the copies inspired?

God's words are special revelation from the Father about His Son and His intentions to redeem man. Furthermore, the Scripture declares, "...thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Therefore, if God clearly states that His words would be preserved (cf. Psa. 12:6-7, 119:89, Mat. 24:35) even to the jot and tittle (Mat. 5:18), how can only the originals be inspired? Since they are preserved, and since we have the same words, which are preserved as God promised, then why wouldn't the words be inspired? Is God being called a liar? Surely Dr. Geisler is not speaking of the material that the manuscripts were written upon? It is God's words which are inspired and preserved; they are still present with us and still inspired; and they will be forever (cf. Deut. 7:9, 1 Ch. 16:5, Psa. 33:11, 105:8, 111:9, 119:152, Mat. 24:35). They have not lost their inspiration just because they were "copied." They are the same words. Dr. D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D. unambiguously states,

"I do say that exact copies of the Words of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words are "inspired Words" because the autographs were God-breathed. The resulting Words can rightly be called "inspired" or God-breathed Words."32

TWO ROUTES

In addition, the Great War taking place in spiritual places (Isaiah 14:12-23, Ezekiel 28:11-19) is reflected in the visible world by two opposing choices or two paths (Matthew 7:13-14). Typologically, this is like Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, David and Manasseh, the wilderness (desert) and Canaan, and many other types. It is not simply a matter of comparing

"two or more manuscripts in an effort to reproduce an accurate copy of God's words."33

It is much more. It is matter of deciding which of the two routes the manuscripts traversed, and then comparing the manuscripts from the Divinely ordained route to eliminate the few, simple, easily correctable errors.*34* There are two routes or two paths or two "ways" (Mat. 7:13-14) that the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words took. Dean Burgon said,

"Strange to say, the witnesses are commonly, indeed almost invariably, observed to divide themselves into two camps."35

One "camp" follows the questioning, doubt producing, "Yea, hath God said" path, which clips, cuts, changes, and corrupts the manuscripts. The other camp or route simply collects the virtually identical manuscripts, identifies and corrects the few differences caused by fallible man's copying efforts, which are primarily spelling errors, and then publishes the result.

This process is exactly what Erasmus (1466-1536) accomplished when he printed the Received Text. He chose the manuscripts from the "virtually identical" route, rejecting readings from the corrupted route. Dean Burgon relates the copies Erasmus used were selected by Erasmus, saying,

I reply, that the copies employed were selected because they were known to represent with accuracy the Sacred Word; that the descent of the text was evidently guarded with jealous care, just as the human genealogy of the Lord was preserved; that it rests mainly upon much the widest testimony;"36 (HDW, my emphasis)

Erasmus published the first printed text in 1516. Future editions were simply refining publishing errors and including rare additional information from a variety of many independent witnesses from many geographic areas, church fathers, and manuscripts attesting to the correct reading from the divine route. Dean Burgon said:

"Variety distinguishing witness massed together must needs constitute a most powerful argument for believing such Evidence to be true. Witnesses of different kinds; from different countries; speaking different tongues:--witnesses who can never have met, and between whom it is incredible that there should exist collusion of any kind:--such witnesses deserve to be listened to most respectfully. Indeed, when witnesses of so varied a sort agree in large numbers, they must needs be accounted worthy of even implicit confidence... Variety it is which imparts virtue to mere Number, prevents the witness-box from being filled with packed deponents, ensures genuine testimony. False witness is thus detected and condemned, because it agrees not with the rest. Variety is the consent of independent witnesses,..."37

The corrupted route is founded on only one percent of the manuscript evidence. The differences in the two "ways" in the New Testament Greek text alone amounts to over 8,000 words, a 7% difference between the two routes; and each route claims to be God's preserved words from the manuscripts. This is the heart of the battle for God's words in these last days. Dean Burgon asserts that the "various readings" between the two routes is usually very easy to distinguish and should not be a conundrum as declared by most modern textual critics. He says,

"We are there able to convince ourselves in a moment that the supposed various reading' is nothing else but an instance of licentiousness or inattention on the part of a previous scribe or scribes, and we can afford to neglect it accordingly."38

The different Bible versions are a result of this battle. The Bible versions have a distinct division between their quality and also their faithfulness to either route. The King James Bible is the most faithful translation in the English language to the Divine route. The bottom line for determining a Bible version to use is to evaluate which of the two routes were used to translate the "original" Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words into another language. Both routes claim they have the original words. It is your responsibility to decide. No one can do this for you.

WHICH ROUTE?

Although there are many questions that can be asked to determine whether the route is of the enemy or of God, there are seven (7) specific questions to determine whether the readings (the words of a passage) within each route are the right ones, and therefore, the best path. Dean John William Burgon called them the seven notes of truth. A "witness" in the seven points to follow may be not only a person, but also manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts which are sometimes found in a location such as a church, school, library, or garbage dump. Yes, manuscripts found in garbage burial places have been called as witnesses to readings in the Bible.

  1. The antiquity or primitiveness of the reading.
  2. The consent or number of the readings.
  3. The universality or variety the witnesses to the reading.
  4. The respectability of the reading found in a witness or the weight given to a witness
  5. The continuity or unbroken tradition of the reading
  6. The evidence provided by placing the reading in the context of an entire passage.
  7. Internal considerations or reasonableness of the reading.39

In addition to these points by Dean Burgon, this author would encourage you to examine the beliefs, doctrines, and lives of the men involved in each route. You will soon discover the differences in the lives of the men in the two routes are very significant. A good starting place to evaluate two of the men involved in the battle, Drs. Westcott and Hort, would be Dr. D. A. Waite's books, Heresies of Westcott and Hort and Westcott's Denial of Christ's Bodily Resurrection. They are available from the Bible for Today, numbers B.F.T. #595 and B.F.T. #1131, respectively.

CONCLUSION

God has left us with a "sign," "an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (Isa. 55:13) which is His everlasting words in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and "it shall be to the LORD for a name," the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the enemies of God in the midst of the church have set up their "reconstructed" original language texts, and have opposed the words that were "received" from the Lord Jesus Christ, which He gave to us as "an everlasting sign" that points to Him as our Saviour (Jn, 17:8). The palmist declares:

Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. (Psalms 74:4)40 [HDW, my emphasis]

The key word in this verse, "their," declares the problem then and for us today. The new versions with their doctrinal problems41 based upon the "reconstructed" text of man have confused the man in the pew and diminished the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.42 The Dean Burgon Society's hope is that more believers will become aware of the travesty of the "many corrupters" who have "broken the everlasting sign" (2 Cor. 2:17, Mat. 5:19, Isa 24:5).

Let all of us hear the words of a Holy God:

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:5

My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Psalms 89:34

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 117:2

The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. Psalms 111:7-9

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Psalms 146:5-6

...it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. Isaiah 55:13

Amen.

H. D. Williams, M.D.

 

FOOTNOTES

מַחְשְׁבֹתָ֑יו, machashabah, Strong's 4284, meaning "a contrivance, i.e. (concretely) a texture, machine, or (abstractly) intention, plan (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice):--cunning (work), curious work, device(-sed), imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought."

The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, Old Testament, Based on the New International Version (Victor Books, A Division of Scripture Press Inc., USA, Canada, England, Seventh Printing, 1989) 1111

The Expositor's Bible Commentary with the New International Version (Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, Volume 6, 1986) 313

Commentary on Isaiah (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, Originally published 1867, 1992) 333

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible (SwordSearcher, Version 4.8.1.2, Broken Arrow, OK, 2006) Isa. 55:13

The Covenant of the Preserved Words of God, A New Look at an Old Covenant (DBS Message Book, Bible For Today Press, B.F.T. #3147, July 2003)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible

Jamieson-Faussett-Brown Commentary (SwordSearcher, Version 4.8.1.2, Broken Arrow, OK, 2006) Isa. 55:13

Tense Voice Mood (Woodside Bible Fellowship: Ontario, Libronix Digital Library System, 2.1d, Bellingham, WA, 2000-2004) Qal is the most frequently used verb pattern. It expresses the "simple" or "casual" action of the root in the active voice. Examples: he sat, he ate, he went, he said, he rose, he bought. This form accounts for 66.7% of the verbs parsed.

Tense Voice Mood (Woodside Bible Fellowship: Ontario, Libronix Digital Library System, 2.1d, Bellingham, WA, 2000-2004) TVM8811

יׄוצֵאת, a verb, which is  a qal, imperfect, second person, masculine, plural verb, translated "ye shall go out" in the KJB as referring to the "people" shall go out with joy and is the proper interpretation.

Tense Voice Mood  (Woodside Bible Fellowship: Ontario, Libronix Digital Library System 2.1d, Bellingham, WA, 2000-2004) TVM8816

אֹ֥ות, owth, 79 occurrences; AV translates as "sign(s)" 60 times, "token(s)" 14 times, "ensign(s)" twice, "miracles" twice, and "mark" once. 1 sign, signal. 1a a distinguishing mark. 1b banner. 1c remembrance. 1d miraculous sign. 1e omen. 1f warning. 2 token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof.

Portraits of Christ in Genesis (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI) 1966, 16 [An excellent paper on M. R. DeHaan may be found in O Timothy magazine, Volume 12, Issue 6, 1995. He was a God fearing man who loved God's words.

http://www.deanburgonsociety.org/; http://www.biblefortoday.org/

From The Mind Of God To The Mind of Man (Ambassador-Emerald International, Greenville, SC) 1999

The King James Only Controversy, Can You Trust the Modern Translations? (Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN) 1995

The Origin Of The Bible (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, IL) 2003

God's Word In Our Hands (Ambassador-Emerald International, Greenville, SC) 2003

The Text Of The New Testament, 2nd Edition, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI) 1995

The Bible In Translation, Ancient and English Versions (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI) 2001 

From God To Us, How We Got Our Bible (Moody Press, Chicago, IL) 1974 

Come Let Us Reason, An Introduction to Logical Thinking, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI) 2001, 11

Studies in Systematic Theology (LinWell Publishers, Shreveport, LA) 2001, 7

From God To Us, How We Got Our Bible, 14

Fundamentalist Deception on Bible Preservation (The Bible for Today Press, Collingswood, NJ) 2005, 94

From The Mind Of God To The Mind of Man, 72

* Many authors have addressed the issue of the two routes and the paucity of manuscript differences in the divine route, which has thousands of manuscripts for evidence, compared with the plethora of errors amounting to thousands of differences in a handful (less than 100) of manuscripts heralded as "the best manuscripts" by the reconstructionists. First, see Pro. 22:20-21, then as examples see Rev. D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., Foes of the King James Bible Refuted (Bible For Today, Collingswood, NJ, 1997) 35;  Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., Fundamentalist's Deception On Bible Preservation (Bible For Today, Collingswood, NJ, 2005) 13; Edward F. Hills, distinguished Latin and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University, Th.D. from Harvard reported the divine route reflected "very minor" differences, The King James Version Defended (Christian Research Press, Des Moines, IO, Reprint 1993) 222.

The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, Volume I (Dean Burgon Society Press, Collingswood, NJ, 1896) Republished, 1998, 28

The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, Volume I (Dean Burgon Society Press, Collingswood, NJ, 1896) Republished, 1998, 50-51

The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text, Vol. 2  (The Dean Burgon Society Press, Collingswood, NJ, Originally Published, 1896, 1998) 16

The Lie That Changed The Modern World, A Refutation of the Modernist Cry: Poly-Scripturae, (The Bible For Today Press, Collingswood, NJ) 2004, 265

אֹ֥ות owth, in this verse is the same word used in Isa. 55:13.

356 Doctrinal Errors in the NIV and Other Versions (Bible For Today Press, Collingswood, NJ, BFT #2956)

 

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