God's Nectar Preserved
The Dean Burgon Society's 2004 Annual Meeting
Dr. Robert J. Barnett
July 14-15, 2004
It is a privilege to be back with our friends of the faith at Heritage Baptist University on our Dean Burgon Society's 26th Anniversary. We thank our host Rev. Russell Denis, Jr. the President of HBU for his gracious invitation to be here. We always enjoy the warm Hoosier hospitality. It is also a privilege to be on the platform with our faithful DBS Founder and President, Dr. D. A. Waite. Dr. Waite as our resident scholar in Bible Defense, we would be remiss if we did not ask you this traditional question: Dr. Waite, over your many years of studying each book, chapter, verse and word in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek scriptures underlying the translation of the Authorized 1611 King James Bible, have you ever found any translation errors or mistakes in our 1769 Cambridge edition of the King James Bible?
With over 100 modern English versions of the Bible they continue to grow progressively worse. Most begin with a critical text that has been corrupted by a naturalistic approach to textual criticism instead of a supernatural approach based upon God's promises of divine providential preservation. Most new versions follow a dynamic equivalence approach to translation instead of a formal or complete equivalence approach that seeks to accurately translate each and every word God gave by inspiration into the receptor language.
We begin our study by illustrating just how bad some modern translations have become and where they are leading the world. One of the latest versions entitled "Good as New" is for all of us the validity of a sample. Dr. Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England praises this version for 'extraordinary power.' The doctrines taught in the "Good as New" Bible are often 180 degrees in reverse of the truth God revealed. The London based One organization which produced this translation is reported to be dedicated to "establish[ing] peace, justice, dignity and rights for all." The organization stresses, "sustainable use of the earth's resources," challenging "oppression, injustice, exclusion and discrimination" as well as accepting "one another, valuing their diversity and experience." They appear to be ecumenical globalists bent on bringing unity at the sacrifice of truth and godliness.
In an apparent effort to make Bible names more acceptable to their readers, the translators have changed the original Greek and Hebrew nomenclature into modern nicknames. St. Peter becomes "Rocky," Mary Magdalene becomes "Maggie," Aaron becomes "Ron," Andronicus becomes "Andy," Barabbas becomes "Barry," and John the Baptist becomes "The Dipper." The personal names or identities that God revealed become irrelevant in the Good as New version.
Then how does this version treat the Godhead? In Mark 1:10,11 we read the account following the baptism of Jesus Christ: "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Now let us read the Good as New version: "As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God's spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, 'That's my boy! You're doing fine!'" Did Jesus mistake a pigeon for the Holy Spirit which descended upon him like a dove? Did Jesus mistake a voice from overhead as the voice of His Heavenly Father? And would our Heavenly Father refer to His eternal Son as, "That's my boy! You're doing fine?" Could you ever imagine this beautiful inter communication of the Divine Trinity being reduced by translators to a boy with a pigeon on his shoulder being approved by an overhead voice?
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 23:25: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!..." But in the Good as New version we read: "Take a running jump, Holy Joes, humbugs!" This translation might sound like "my boy" to some people, but they are certainly not the words spoken by the Holy Son of God.
Part of the apostle Peter's denial of his Lord is described in Matthew 26:69,70: "Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest." We can't even repeat all the words ascribed to Peter in the Good as New version: "Meanwhile Rocky was still sitting in the courtyard. A woman came up to him and said: 'Haven't I seen you with Jesus, the hero from Galilee?" Rocky shook his head and said: 'I don't know what the h--- you're talking about!'"
Not only does the Good as New translation defame the names and words of the disciples, and blaspheme the names, words, and work of the Divine Trinity, but it also reverses God's holy standards for sexual morality. For example in I Corinthians 7:1,2 we read: "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." The Good as New version reads, "Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner." Instead of forbidding fornication, the Good as New version both justifies and recommends the continual practice of sexual sins.
God says it is better to marry than to burn in 1 Corinthians 7:8,9: "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." The Good as New version reverses this admonition: "If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner. Better than being frustrated." This version encourages sexual fornication to avoid frustration. God warns against burning with lust and eventually burning in Hell. God condemns all sex outside of a one man and one woman relationship in marriage. Heb. 13:4: "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
(We credit Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily in his article entitled "The Bible for Idiots" dated June 29, 2004 for giving the Good as New translation quotes and background above. Most of the comments are mine.)
The Good as New translation gives us a vivid picture of why Dean John William Burgon labored so diligently in the Church of England during the 1800's to preserve the traditional Bible texts. He warned them then that such perversion would eventually lead to the destruction of the accuracy and authority of God's Holy Scriptures. The endorsement of the Good as New translation by Dr. Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England proves Dean Burgon was exactly right.
This illustration of modern Bible perversion brings us to our message for today, God's Nectar Preserved. For about a year I have been praying and meditating upon how to give a simple message to promote the divine accuracy and authority within the King James Bible so that anyone hearing or reading this message could understand.. I believe the Lord has led us in our Bible to study simple honey to share this truth.
There are many references in the Bible to honey. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey in Matthew 3:4. The nation of Israel was promised "a land flowing with milk and honey" in Exodus 3:8. God fed Israel in the wilderness with manna "and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey," according to Exodus 16:31.
God compared the benefit of honey for the body to the benefit of the wisdom of His Word to the soul: God said in Prov. 24:13, 14: "My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: 14So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off."
We find this truth also in the prophecy of the coming virgin born Messiah found in Isa. 7:14, 15: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." Our Lord knew how to refuse evil and choose good because of the honey of God's Words. As our Lord said in John 14:10: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works". He said in John 6:63: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Just as Jesus Christ received God's words, He shared these living words with His disciples in John 17:8: "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." Jesus Christ prayed to the Father that these same words He gave His disciples would be shared with each of us in John 17:20: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." Jesus Christ assured us that we would all eat the honey of His words.
Eating honey is compared to eating God's Word many places in the Bible. We find God's Words are sweeter than honey in Psalm 19:10. "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." Also in Psalm 119:103 we read, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" In Ezekiel 3:3 we read, "And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness." John gives the same testimony in Revelation 10:10: "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter." As you know both the roll eaten by Ezekiel and the Little Book eaten by John were God's Words.
Since God's words have been compared to honey in the Bible in so many references, where do we look for the honey of God's Word today? First, we don't look where Samson did in Judges 14:8, in the dead carcass of a lion. All he discovered out of that honey was a riddle that caused him much pain. Modern versions of the Bible are today like dead lion carcasses where people are seeking to find honey. The only living lion you will find in that crowd is the roaring lion who seeks to devour us by substituting his corn syrup in place of God's true honey. There is only one true lion we can trust to give us God pure honey. That is the lion who is the living word personified, the lion of the tribe of Judah.
The view of honey as kosher food commonly held by orthodox Jews gives us some insight and principles to consider. Since a bee is a non-kosher species, how can Jews call honey a kosher food? (All quotes below by Rabbi Dovid Heber are located at: http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-palate-honey.htm)
Rabbi Dovid Heber says, "Bees suck nectar from flowers with their proboscis (mouth). The nectar mixes with saliva and is swallowed into the honey sac where enzymes from the saliva break down the nectar into honey. The nectar is never digested,' it is only transformed into honey by the saliva. Upon the bee's return to the hive, the honey is regurgitated, dried, and placed into the honeycomb." Heber went on to say, "The Gemara explains that honey is kosher as it is not a secretion from the bee; the bee functions only as a carrier and facilitator. Honey is kosher nectar, which enters the honey sac, is transformed into honey, and placed into the honeycomb retaining its kosher status throughout the "transformation."
As I read this description of kosher honey, it seemed to illustrate truth that could be applied to the honey of God's words. The only source of real honey comes from the nectar of plants such as flowers. So also the nectar and honey of God's Word has its only source in God. The true nectar of God's Word comes from the Lilly of the Valley and the Rose of Sharon!
Then what about the human authors God used to write these words? They were like the honeybees, they only conveyed the nectar God gave them and deposited it in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek or in the honeycomb. As the Jews say, "that honey is kosher as it is not a secretion from the bee; the bee functions only as a carrier and facilitator."
This raises another question, is the honeycomb kosher? Again according to Rabbi Heber: "Since it is not a "ma'achal," a "food," its status as a yotzei min hatamei does not cause it to be non-kosher. Therefore, beeswax is considered kosher, provided that no non-kosher solvents are used, and it contains no non-kosher additives." So also in the Bible, God inspired the very words He filled with the nectar of His truth. Those same words of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were used before in many ways by many people in their normal daily language or speech before God choose to sanctified each word in proper order to reveal His Holy Scriptures.
That which sets each of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of Holy Scripture apart is God as the source of their selection, order, and content. God selected each word to contain and convey the honey of His inspired, inerrant, infallible truth. Apart from the nectar of God's truth within each of them they become of no more value than an empty honeycomb of bee's wax. Many modernistic scholars have spend all their lives trying to discredit and destroy the value of God's honey within these inspired words. So that now all they have left to chew on is bee's wax. For example, they spend their time arguing over the theological meanings of Bible words like some politicians trying to determine exactly what the meaning of the word "is" "is."
Now before you think I used politicians arguing over the meaning of the word "is" as just a joke, consider how modern theologians might argue over the word "is" in the words of Jesus in John 17:17: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Or how would modern theologians explain the word "is" in 1 Thess 2:13: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." And what about the italicized word "is" in 2 Tim. 3:16,17: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.?" On second thought, maybe I should have prepared a message on the word "is" from the Bible.
(Personally, I like the way our forefathers interpreted "is" as "immediately" in article #8 of The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as adopted by our English Baptist forefathers. This same Confession was republished in October, l855 by C. H. Spurgeon for the New Park Street Chapel in Southwark: "The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), (l4) and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.") Scripture "is" not "was" inspired.
Now let us continue by applying our study of honey as it relates to our King James Bible? Well, the translators are like beekeepers who remove honey from hives and put it in jars. KJB translators by formal equivalence transferred the honey of God's words into comparable receptor words in the English language. They labored to place the receptor English words in the same form and order as the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words God inspired so as to render the honey of God's inspired truth transparent. As you know, glass and sand contain the same elements. Glass is made by heating sand until it melts, then forming it for its intended use. The English in our King James Bible was heated and molded by the fire of God's truth for over a hundred years until it reached its final form in our authorized King James Bible. It has held the honey of God's truth as our standard and our transparent container of truth these hundreds of years. They took the honey from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words or honeycomb, and placed it by translation into what I will call the glass jar of English words. To me the honey of God's truth in the English remains just as kosher as it is in the honeycomb of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. If you have difficulty believing you are getting all the honey God gave, you can always go back and chew some more on the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek honeycomb. We still have access to them both. I personally feel content and satisfied to drink most of my honey straight out of my old English glass, my King James Bible.
When modern Bible version translators use dynamic equivalence to replace the words God gave with their own thoughts and words, they are destroying the nectar or honey of God's truth and giving us Satan's corn syrup. They are usurping the source of nectar by putting themselves in the place of the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley. They are usurping the ministry of the Spirit of Truth who was sent to guide us into all truth. John 16:13: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." Translators who use dynamic equivalence are undermining God's promises of divine providential preservation of the very words God gave us. By refusing to translate every word of God accurately they are in practice violating and denying the very doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration that many of them still profess to believe.
Nectar and honey remind us of another principle, bees usually fight hard to protect their honey. Maybe you remember hearing about a tractor-trailer which while hauling 512 beehives overturned on a curve in Montana on June 15, 2004. The spilling of the honey resulted in nine million angry honey bees going on a stinging rampage. The truck driver, Lane Miller, said "I've never felt so much fear in my life." The road was closed for 14 hours because of the spilled honey and angry bees. Finally road crews dumped sand on the road to make the road safer and scatter the angry bees.
The above story reminds us of the words prophesied in Isaiah 59:13,14: "In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment."
Well, today the honey of God's word is being spilled out upon the streets of this world, and what or where is the reaction of the bees who have been left to guard it? The honey of God's word should be of more value to us as Bible-believers than honey is to the bees. God's honey is our source of truth, life, love, faith, and hope. It is our only tangible form of saving truth God left us on earth to have and to hold until Jesus Christ returns again. We are reminded in Jude 1:3: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Today the world is pouring sand on the spilled honey of God's Word to render it ineffective and scatter us. As we reminded you before glass and sand contain the same elements. Glass is made by heating sand until it melts, then forming it for its intended use. The English in our King James Bible was heated by the flames of God's truth for over a hundred years until it reached its final form in our authorized King James Bible. It has held the honey of God's truth as our standard and our transparent container of truth these hundreds of years. Today attempts have been made to break this glass mold and spill the honey. Then hundreds of modern English versions have been doing nothing less than pouring sand upon the honey of God's truth to render the highways of this world safe for Satan and sin, while trying to scatter the honey bees.
Well, this 1769 Cambridge edition of the 1611 King James Bible I hold in my hands is my kosher honey because it holds the pure nectar of God's divine truth that came from the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley. I do not believe there is or every will be any reason to alter a single book, chapter, verse, or word within this Holy Bible until we see Jesus Christ face to face. I believe every word of every verse in it is filled with the Holy nectar of God's divine truth from the first verse in Gen. 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." to the last verse of Rev. 22:21: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
Dr. Robert J. Barnett, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church & Academy
6504 West M-72
Grayling, Michigan 49738