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Archive for the ‘Bible Translation’ Category

Long before the birth of the Christ, ancient civilizations were aware of the prophecy that God would send his son into this world. Though commonly known, it was yet little understood. What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you can tell? This question, asked by the writer of Proverbs 30:4, is very important. The preceding lines of the verse establish that the writer is speaking of the name of God, and the name of the Son of God.

Psalm 2 is one such prophecy. It predicts the rage of this world against “his Anointed.” Those words are translated as “his Christ,” in the Greek Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament from the pre-Christian era. Psalm 2:7 calls this Christ, the “Son.” According to John 1:1-3 and 1:14, Christ is the “Word” who pre-existed as God, before his advent into this world. If the prophecies had been made any plainer, there would probably have been even more false claims to Christ’s position than have occurred.

“Why do you ask my name, since it is secret?” This question was asked by the “angel of the Lord,” who appeared to Manoah and his wife predicting the birth of Samson (from “Shemeshone,” meaning “sunshine” in Hebrew). “Shemesh,” means “sun,” and “shamash,” means “servant”). It’s possible that even in those ancient days, common usage of “The Name” was being avoided. The Hebrew word translated as “Secret” in Judges 13:18 of the King James Version, is translated as “Wonderful,” in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, …and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

The secret name is “YHWH.” Without even knowing its story, our world has been profoundly affected by “The Name.” It is the personal name of God from the Hebrew language, and it is linked linguistically with the Greek word for “son.” Though it appears many times in the Jewish scriptures, those who follow the orthodox Jewish religion do not read the name, nor any of its transliterated forms aloud. Even when reading silently, they are trained to substitute other titles for God, terms such as “Adonai” (Lord), or “HaShem” (The Name).

In deference to this tradition, most translators have substituted words that mean “Lord” as the Bible has been interpreted into other languages. Scriptures that originally used “YHWH” in various combinations with “Adonai,” or “Elohim,” the Hebrew word for “God,” were rendered “Lord God” in older translations such as the King James version. It has now become “Sovereign Lord,” in modern Bibles such as the New International version.

The result of deeming “YHWH” to be “the unutterable name,” is that many implications of related families of words and names have become unknown, and the name YHWH is found in very few translations (Ref. “Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, the Secret of YHWH,” and other posts in my November 2011 archives, plus all posts in my April 2015 through August 2015 archives. See also my page, “the Messiah,” accessible from the “Home” page of my blog). Note that the Hebrew letter “Vav,” also serves as a “U,” and a “W.”

Who is Jeus Kurios? That is my question. “Google” search suggests Jesus Kurios. That is an excellent suggestion. “Kurios,” the Greek word for “Lord,” is of the same word family as “Christ” (ref. “Crystal, Chrysalis, and Christ,” in my July 2010 archives). “Jeus,” “Ieus,” or “Ias,” as in “Elias” (Helias), the Greek form of “Elijah,” are transliterated forms of “YHWH.” The name “Jeus,” would be commonplace if existing conventions in transliteration had been followed consistently throughout the Bible. “Yah,” or “ia,” is a common shortened form.

I have heard that some ancient church writings represent “YHWH” as “Iaous.” “Iesous,” is the Greek form of the name Jesus. The Hebrew form of “Jesus” is derived from YHWH, and the Greek follows in the same tradition. The actual origin of the term “Jews,” was probably “Jeus,” being derived from the name of God, rather than the Old Testament name of “Judah.” This would lend new meaning to 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves and pray….”

There is a lot of “debate” over incorrect transliterations, but these necessary patterns and procedures have been in use since ancient days. Some of the conventions have existed for thousands of years, and are probably a direct result of the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

In a Greek transliteration of a name such as “YHWH,” “Y,” becomes an “I,” and “H,” becomes an “E,” except at the end of masculine names and such, where an “S,” is used instead. “W,” (or “V”) becomes a “U,” an “OU,” or just an “O.” “J,” is a common transliteration for “I,” in the Old English language. Many spelling variations are common, especially in the use of vowels, as could be expected. Also, many ancient spellings were invented to differentiate between words with similar sounds and meanings. The same thing happens today.

To add to the general confusion of transliteration, although the Greek language has no proper “y,” an upper case “u” (upsilon), is represented by a symbol with a similar shape to an uppercase “Y,” and a lower case “g” (gamma), is shaped like a lower case “y.”

Many Greek words related to brightness contain prefixes or suffixes of “os,” “as,” “oi,” or “ia,”as can be seen in the words for, “bright,” “morning,” and “star,” in Revelation 22:16. “Aster,” is the Greek word meaning “star” in that verse. In Hebrew, one of several corresponding syllabics is “esh” (ref. “Shemeshone” above), “ash,” or “ah.” The most commonly used Hebrew form of the name “Jesus,” is “Yeshua.” The Greek word for “sun” (or “ray”), is “helios,” and the biblical symbolism surrounding the “sun,” and the “son,” is evident in that language. The Greek word for “son,” is “uios” (pronounced “huios”).

The meaning of the name Elias (Helias), the Greek form of “Elijah,” is “God of Jehovah” (God YHWH). “El,” means “God,” and remember that “Ias,” is a form of “YHWH.” Now, is it only coincidence that the name, “Helias,” and the word for the sun, “helios,” are so similar? There are far too many “coincidences” of this sort for that to be true. It makes more sense to think that symbolism, designed into human language, foretells the story of God’s “Son,” and coincides with Old Testament prophecies later fulfilled by Jesus. Some things in life become “incidental” due to a pre-existing foundation. By the way, in Zechariah 6:11,12 of the Septuagint, the name “Joshua, the son of Josedech,” is translated as “Jesus,” and the name “Josedech” means “righteousness.” That is another prophecy concerning “the name.”

“Helos,” a Greek word for “spikes,” or “nails,” is from the same word family as “Helios.” The connection is that a spike has a form similar to a ray of the sun. “Helos” is translated as “nails,” in the words of “doubting Thomas” in John 20:25. Stauros is the Greek word for “cross.”

I realize that this writing may seem to spin the mind in circles, but I am certain these things are more than linguistic “coincidences.” Our planet orbits the “sun,” and our lives should center around the “Son.” It may be difficult to admit, but I think that all the evidence indicates that Iesous (Jesus) is indeed “Yah’s son.” The words, “Yah’s son,” could be translated and transliterated, and represented by the Greek spelling “Iasuios.” Perhaps it should be. When I see the name “Ies,” “Ias” (Yah), and the word “Uios” (Son), they certainly appear connected. These Greek words seem to be as old as the language itself. If so, then it is direct evidence supporting the biblical account of the tower of Babel.

Much history and symbolism from the Bible record became food for imagination in the ancient Pagan mind, and altered forms of God’s name were associated with idols and forces of nature. Pagans today claim to have originated all the celebrations in nature, but God created the people who became pagans, as well as all of nature. We can’t blame God for our twists on everything.

Jesus is Theos (the Greek word for God) and TheEos (the dawn, or the east), the Easter (ref. “Dawn of the Rising Son,” in my April 2011 archives). Jesus is the bright and morning “astar.” How can anyone think that Easter isn’t about Jesus? His story was written in the formation of human language, and in the cosmos above.

The “secret name” identifies Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, Malachi’s, “Sun of Righteousness,” Zechariah’s, “Jesus the son of righteousness,” the Son of God and man, predicted in the Old Testament. May the helos of helios in the hands of Iesous, pierce the grey sky of Earth’s morning, and bid you “Hello,” from YHWH Theos.

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Much of the meaning is shrouded in mystery. Who has slain the Lamb? Who has murdered innocence? Man is wearing the bloody clothes, but in one way or another, all things have been twisted around to make it sound like God is to blame for everything. Theists get it turned around, and Atheists get it turned around, but God himself is the Lamb (Acts 2:22-24, Revelation 22:3, John 1:1-3, 1:14, & 14:6-10).

Many Atheists make use of the theistic teaching of “predestination” to turn people against God. Some of them have personally objected to the way I read the Script, telling me that I am misinterpreting the Bible. That is because it weakens their argument to consider that God is good, and that the Bible can be shown to make sense.

We can truly understand God only in the light of the Lamb (Revelation 21:23). There is nothing else in all the history of creation that reveals God in his true colors as does his suffering on the cross. It is the only way that he can reach us, touch us, change our hearts and minds (John 3:16, Genesis 3:21).

Man gets everything turned around when he eats of the tree of knowledge, makes his own moral judgements, and reinterprets all matters for himself (Genesis 3:5). It is this alienation of mankind from God, and the blame which man places upon him that slays the Lamb. I have read the atheist’s proclamation, “God is dead, we killed him,” but we are all just as guilty. Our rejection of him is the murder weapon. Some of us, having understood this are filled with regret. We become repentant, and are glad that he is back alive.

The English word “repand,” from the Latin word “repandus,” means bent backward. To feel sorrow and regret is considered a “secondary” meaning of the word “repent,” but being sorry is primary to the process of changing from our bent (or bias).

Contrary to what you may have heard preached, God took no pleasure in the suffering of Christ; it’s his own skin. That doctrine is an example of misinterpretation due to the multiple meanings that words have come to have. Because of multiple meanings, the correct interpretation of many Bible verses is not the first thing that comes to mind when it is read. That is one reason why it is so critical for us to trust God. It is similar to the need for us to trust one another in order for understanding to exist.

The literal meaning of the word translated as “pleased” in Isaiah 53:10, (It pleased the Lord to bruise him) is “to bend.” A secondary meaning is “incline.” “Pleased,” is a figurative meaning. There are other meanings but “pleased” is the most commonly used. The Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, translates Isaiah 53:10 to indicate the Lord’s pleasure is not in the suffering and death, but in the great deliverance from it. “The Lord also is pleased to purge (to remove) him from his stroke.”

The same Hebrew word (in its original spelling) is translated as “purpose,” in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God takes no pleasure in our pain, or death (Ezekiel 18:32). Death is an enemy (1st Corinthians 15:26). Multiple meanings of words are often used by the Lord’s enemy to cause misunderstanding and rejection of God.

The thing that pleases God is that some of our hearts are won by what he has endured, and that is a great comfort to him. Despite the suffering of this world, some of us no longer reject God, even if we don’t understand parts of the Bible. We can begin to see what our mistrust has done to God and our fellowman. Who has slain the Lamb? Man’s DNA is at the crime. Our DNA was in Adam, when he dressed himself in leaves and hid among the trees.

We still have that reaction to God. We need a long walk in the Light. It is God’s desire to walk with people (Genesis 3:8); to live in them, to find them where they are (Mark 2:15-17), and help them. He wants to be born in them, and we never know who will become his child. That is his great desire, his primary will, though he must allow us freedom even when our paths become painful.

People call this God’s “permissive” will, but it is not something that he desires. There we encounter more words with multiple meanings, but I don’t think we should think of that type of thing as “God’s will.” That is like saying that a student’s misbehavior is the teacher’s will when she steps out of the room, or that it is the will of the policeman for us to break the law when he isn’t around.

Sometimes, there seem to be no perfect words to use, for all the words have taken on unfortunate meanings. It isn’t completely right to say that God tolerates, or allows evil, or that he is permissive, assenting, or consenting. God’s momentary silence doesn’t mean that he condones our behavior. “Forbearing” is probably one of the best words to describe God.

He “endures” our world (2nd Peter 3:9), temporarily not fully enforcing that which is right (ref. The Lost Child of Freedom, in my August 2012 archives). The longer that God simply endures us, the harder we become. The Greek word “endurece(r)” is the origin of our word “endures.” It is translated as “hardens” in nearly all English versions of Romans 9:18. That is another verse often taken out of context and misunderstood.

God either endears us, or he endures us. We should all be endeared to God, but if he must only endure us, then there is good reason for it. Time will tell. Anyway, to the extent that God does not intervene, bad things may happen to anyone. That doesn’t mean that it is “God will.”

The paths that we choose in difficult circumstances are often not what we desire, but are influenced by other factors. It is the same way with God. Nevertheless, God is deeply involved in the intricate details of our lives, and our desires and prayers influence certain outcomes in ways that we can’t conceive. We should remain thankful.

In (or through) everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1st Thessalonians 5:18). The first word of that verse, “in,” is one of many words that could have been used. According to The New Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words (for the KJV), the Greek word “en,” is translated as “by” (141 times), “with” (134 times), “among” (117 times), “at” (112 times), “on” (46 times), “through” (37 times), other miscellaneous words (321 times), and “in” (1874 times).

In spite of our circumstances, it is the desire of God for us to find things to be thankful for. I thank God that he is with us through all these things. Though man has slain the Lamb (Acts 2:22-24), I am thankful that he loved us enough to bend to save us. I thank God that we can still make sense of the Bible, in spite of (or sometimes, because of) the multiple meanings of words. I pray that we all have a happy Thanksgiving.

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Some Atheists, as well as some Messianic Jews (Jewish Christians) believe that the name “Jesus” was derived from the name “Zeus.” That’s one reason why many Messianics think we should call Jesus only by his Jewish name “Yeshua,” rather than an English transliteration of the New Testament Greek name “Iesous.”

Actually, there is evidence that the name “Iesous,” predates the mythology connected with the name “Zeus.” “Iesous” is a very old Greek transliteration of the name “Yehoshua” (Joshua), though the Jews consider it incorrect. The ancient Greek “Septuagint” name for the book of Joshua is “Iesous.” This is important evidence in favor of the Bible.

Atheists have also suggested a connection between “Zeus,” and “YHWH,” the personal name of God in the Hebrew Old Testament. Here again, evidence shows the name “YHWH” to be the oldest. Much of the following information may be difficult to find in print, but I suspect that many have been aware of it, and have rejected it without thinking it through. This may be one underlying reason for much of the argument over the name of Jesus.

My last post mentioned the difficulty of representing the Hebrew name for Jesus in the Greek language. That post is very important to the understanding of this one. The ancient Greeks would have had a similar problem with “YHWH,” the namesake of Jesus. To keep this short and simple, I’ll say that they lacked a proper “y,” as well as a proper “h.” The use of a “u” to represent the Hebrew “w” is fairly accurate.

A strange thing occurs if the transliteration process (from Hebrew, through Greek, to English) used in our old English versions of the Bible (Ref. King James version) is applied to “YHWH.” I have not been able to find such a transliteration of “YHWH,” or “Yah” (Jah), the shortened form of the name, anywhere (note; it’s possible that our word “God,” came from the pronunciation of “yod,” the “Y” of “YHWH”).

Perhaps we do have the transliteration, but we haven’t recognized it because it isn’t what we would expect. When I’ve attempted an internet search, what I find instead is psychological warfare against the name of Jesus. We do have another interesting Greek transliteration of “YHWH” which I intend to write about shortly.

The name “Jehovah,” is sometimes called a transliteration, but it does not follow the same pattern as Old Testament names which recur in the New Testament. It is only “JHVH” with vowels added to suggest a pronunciation, and has not come to our English Bible through the Greek language of the New Testament. That is because of the ancient tradition of always translating “YHWH,” as the word “Lord” instead, and not attempting to write, or pronounce the actual name (Ref. Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, The Secret of YHWH, in my November 2011 archives). The name “YHWH” would appear, in some form, in many places in the New Testament if not for that tradition.

There are many examples in older versions of the Bible, such as the King James version, where an “h,” at the end of Old Testament names, becomes an “s,” in the New Testament. This has happened because the names were first adopted into the Greek language before coming to us. For example “Judas,” in Matthew 1:3, is “Judah” in the Old Testament.

Modern versions of the Bible, attempting to make the Bible easier to read, sometimes drop this information by spelling the names alike in both Testaments. This type of thing sometimes occurs even in older versions such as the King James.

In the transition from Hebrew to Greek, an “h” usually becomes an “e,” (eta) except at the end of a word. This is a general rule often followed in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament from the pre-Christian era. Many variations in spellings exist, and other Hebrew letters sometimes become an “e” so caution must be used in this study. The name Jehu (in Hebrew spelled Yhw ending with an “aleph”) isn’t found in the New Testament, but in 1st Chronicles 2:38 in the Septuagint, it becomes “Jeu.” The silent “aleph” may have been added to this name to distinguish it from “YHWH.”

The English “J” in “Jeu” was a “Y” in the Hebrew, and an “I” in the Greek. The “h” in the Hebrew name became an “e” (eta) in the Greek, remaining the same in the English translation of the Septuagint. The Hebrew “w” became “u” in the Greek, and was carried over to English. If there had actually been an “h” at the end, that final “h” would have become an “s” in a Greek transliteration. Following this procedure, a transliteration of “YHWH” through the Greek language into King James English could have given us the name “Jeus.”

That begins to look a bit mysterious because “Djeus,” or “Dyeus,” is considered to be the Proto-Indo-European origin of the name “Zeus.” This appears to also be the origin of “Deus,” the Latin word for God, as well as the Greek word “Theos.” The evidence suggests that “Zeus,” is a very ancient transliteration of the Hebrew name “YHWH.”

The use of a “Z” in the name “Zeus,” probably originated with the way some languages combine a “d” with other sounds, as in “Djeus,” or “Dyeus.” The Greek “Z” (Zeta) is pronounced “dzay’-tah.” “Z” is also often combined with other sounds. According to the Wikipedia article, “Jesus (name),” “Jesus” in Limburgish is “Zjezus.”

A “Y” in Middle Paleo-Hebrew is shaped like a “Z” with the addition of a short horizontal bar. That is another possible origin for the “Z” in “Zeus.” I intend to supply more details later.

Here is a very important fact which many atheists would ignore in an attempt to put their own spin on this information. The evidence shows the Hebrew name is the older, because there would be no need to transliterate “Zeus” to the Hebrew. The Hebrew alphabet could perfectly capture the pronunciation of “Zeus” in several different ways without a change in the sound of the name.

The Greek alphabet, on the other hand, would not permit the name “YHWH” to be written without significant changes. If the ancient Greeks wanted to record something about YHWH, they would have to either change (transliterate) the name, translate it as “Lord,” or use Hebrew letter symbols which would be meaningless to most Greeks.

Evidence shows that the Greeks tried all three methods at different times. That is probably why some stories about Zeus have elements in common with records from the Bible.

Except for pronouncing it, I have no problem with using the Hebrew name “YHWH” for God. I’m not going to use the name “Zeus” for God, because for most people, there is too much myth attached to the name. Only God himself could demythologize the name, but it probably began with an honest attempt by some ancestor of the Greeks to record the name of God.

For the record, some Aramaic Christians believe that Jesus should only be called by the Aramaic name “MarYah (Mar-Yah),” which is usually interpreted to mean “Lord.” I didn’t know that particular fact when I wrote my page “The Messiah.”

I ask any Christians or Jews who happen to read this to please understand that I am not equating ancient myths with the Bible. I think there’s proof that the Bible contains an accurate record of God’s interaction with man, and that some of its writings are the oldest in existence regardless of the age of our copies. If there is any truth in what the atheists are saying about “Jesus” and “Zeus,” then it is actually evidence that supports my statement. Atheists would have a stronger argument if they simply attribute the “zeus” sound in the name “Jesus” to coincidence.

There is much evidence however, that many of the ancient pagan myths are simply distorted, and fanciful, retellings of ancient events reported in the Bible. Likewise, many names of the “gods,” and heroes of the myths appear to have some foundation in the Bible. Biblical events are sometimes the source of information that has devolved into myth, but not the other way around.

The information I’ve given here needs to be studied and further refined, but it is very important. Whether atheist, or theist, whoever is aware of this has kept the secret. That may be because it runs counter to what many atheists would want to believe, and many theists would simply misunderstand it. The usual attitude is, “shout (or shoot) first and ask questions later.”

We need to get over that, if we’re going to get anywhere. The roots of this controversy may go back to the Tower of Babel, and it’s likely that God has preserved evidence of his truth in the design of languages.

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I remain skeptical of the “Bible code” generated by computer from alphabetical characters in the Hebrew Bible. There’s too much room for chance in the process. If such a code exists, we haven’t unlocked its secrets. A computer search for messages hidden in letters a certain number of spaces apart would yield mixed results. It would take a lot of “hits” to confirm the existence of a code.

From studying some things that are more evident, I am certain that background information does exist in the Bible however. The ancient Hebrew language is highly organized, and innuendo exists in the Bible. There are many instances where particular words hint at the broader meanings of a family of words, and interesting connections exist between languages also. I have written about a few of these things (ref. “Truth” in my March 2010 archives, “Altar, Alter” in January 2014, “Crystal, Chrysalis, and Christ” in July 2010, and also my blog page, “The Messiah”).

Such word associations can determine whether a passage of the Bible has special meaning to the reader. Sometimes one language might also reveal a facet of God’s truth that another may not.

Some would object to calling these language enigmas a code, but they have obviously been used as such in Bible prophecies. Hebrew letters each have an individual name and meaning, while the original pictographic precursor of the letter may convey a further thought. Other meanings may yet be communicated when letters are combined into syllables (ref. Syllabic writing). Shortened words acting as syllables, prefixes, and suffixes, are part of all languages, and all languages have families of words with related meanings. Some words may have an opposite meaning, but yet be related.

Hebrew letters also serve as numerals, as do letters of the Greek alphabet (and others), so a numerical code could be contained within the original writings of the Bible. Sections of it could remain intact, in spite of translations and transliterations. That would give even greater meaning to Bible warnings concerning the altering of the text.

We probably should have a word of caution here, because people often disagree on the interpretation of a simple reading of the Bible. Although a deeper study of the Bible can resolve many perplexing passages, other problems may arise in the process. I think we should set a rule for ourselves, that an interpretation of underlying meanings should not contradict a plain reading of the text.

Besides the Bible, it’s possible for other ancient writings to contain hidden information. The Copper Scroll, found in the same cave as some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is an ancient document that might make use of such secrets of language.

The Copper Scroll is neither an ancient commentary, nor a copy of a biblical writing, as are the other scrolls. It is a list of various treasures, mostly silver and gold, presumed to be from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, hidden in separate places prior to the Temple’s destruction. Altering a few words or numbers in the interpretation of the scroll could jeopardize its value as a map.

There’s a good chance that the claims of the scroll are truthful, but many of the landmarks have been lost. If some of the treasures are yet hidden somewhere, it’s possible that the scroll contains encrypted clues that could lead to a discovery. The writing is in a different dialect from the other scrolls, and a few Greek letters are inserted here and there in a mysterious fashion. Some serious scientists think the Greek letters do involve some sort of code. It could be interesting to apply “Bible Code” software, and other code-breaking techniques to the Copper Scroll.

The ultimate goal of truth is complete revelation, but concerning the Bible, just as it is in war, some knowledge must not be revealed to the enemy too soon. Foreknowledge must sometimes be kept secret from those who would seek to alter the future from the paths predicted by the Bible. Otherwise, God would be robbed of biblical evidences for Christ.

Many atheists claim they would be accepting of God if he would openly reveal himself, but that’s not necessarily true. Some people might be receptive, but many would not. God only knows. I’m sure that all of us would abuse knowledge of the future in some fashion if we actually had control of it. That is one of the reasons for some of the obscure passages of the Bible.

The Bible plainly says that Christ’s enemies would not have crucified him if they had fully known who he was (1st Corinthians 2:8). Some, while they wouldn’t have hesitated to torture a fellow human being, would have feared to treat the living God in the same manner (Jesus is recorded in Matthew 25:40 as saying that mistreatment of others is equal to mistreatment of God). Some people directly involved in the crucifixion would have feared to expose their true nature, and others would simply have tried to avoid fulfilling Bible predictions.

If earlier attempts on the life of Jesus, had been successful (Luke 4:28-30), he wouldn’t have completely fulfilled the prophetical writings concerning the suffering Messiah. The writings had to convey these prophecies to a later generation, and yet do so in a way that the enemy would not be able to alter them. The suffering of Christ is the foremost attempt of God to reveal his heart to a doubting world. Only one who truly loved mankind (the good shepherd, John 10:11-14) would have endured the cross when he could have avoided it (Matthew 26:50-56). The prophecies had to be fulfilled for God to gain our trust.

Knowledge of the future is considered in the Bible to be an evidence of authenticity. The “dark sentences” (Daniel 8:23-25), enigmas, and paradoxes of the Bible are there for a purpose. My last few posts have been about the tower of Babel, but endless books could be written on the subject. It’s all in the Bible, often in a condensed form, some of it written between the lines in undiscovered codes, and (ref. Proverbs 1:6, Psalms 49:4, and Numbers 12:8) in the “dark sayings of the wise.”

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Difficulties arise whenever ancient writings are translated into other languages. Many words may not have an exact equivalent, and the meaning of some words may be unknown. In such cases the original word may be adopted into the new language. The translators will attempt to represent the pronunciation of the word, to whatever degree it is known, using letters of their own alphabet. Even this can be a challenge because of the lack of exact equivalents.

The result is often a variety of spellings. As an example, the name of the river “Pishon,” in Genesis 2:11 of the Bible (ref. Rivers of Eden in my October 2011 archives), comes to us from the Hebrew language. The Hebrew letters Pe (or Phe), Yowd, Siyn (or Shiyn) Vav, and Nuwn, are used in the spelling.

Even the spellings representing pronunciations of foreign letters vary, and sometimes arguments develop over their correctness. Pe may be written “pey,” and yowd may be “yud,” “yod,” or “jod.” Siyn and shiyn become “sin” and “shin,” and vav becomes “vau,” or “waw.” Nuwn becomes “Nun.” Note that we are not using the Hebrew alphabetical symbols here, but an English transliteration of the symbols.

Multiple spellings of Pishon exist; Pison (King James Version), Phisom (Septuagint), Phison (Josephus), and others. All of these are recognizable representations of the original word, and such differences usually aren’t very important. A serious disagreement develops however, over the transliteration of the Lord’s Hebrew name Yahweh, into the English Jehovah. I hope to write something on that subject soon.

Procedures of transliteration used when adopting foreign words vary over periods of time, and also depend upon the languages which the words pass through. Information sometimes reaches us that is a translation of earlier translations, and we may be altering marks of authenticity whenever we attempt to harmonize spellings and content of various records.

Human speech was first given to man by God, though Adam soon began to adapt his language. For instance, God allowed Adam to give names to the animals (Genesis 2:19). At the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), God translated man’s original language into several branches, and Genesis 10:32 tells us that the nations were divided according to their families.

More than simply a monument to man, the tower represented an uprising against God. I also intend to write more on this later. Anyway, the building of the tower ceased when suddenly, the workers could no longer understand each other. God has many ways of performing that which we call miracles, but in the final analysis, he’s using some principle of science in some way that we don’t currently understand. He has created the rules of science, and has the ability to circumvent them. Science is aware of these possibilities.

Keeping the tower of Babel in mind, and the miracle of the second chapter of Acts involving several different languages, it would be interesting to study the human brain searching for a scientific mechanism that might have been involved. Such scientific knowledge would be a very dangerous thing in the hands of man however.

Computers, with access to the right programs and information, can perform either encryption, or translation tasks quickly, so accepting the event of the confusion of languages should not present any great challenge, even to an atheist. Atheists should also easily understand the motives of the designers of the tower. While the confusion of languages ended the futile attempt at building a “tower to heaven,” it also made Bible translation a necessity.

If we can learn a little about the Hebrew and Greek languages of the ancient Bible, and the history of its translation, we’ll have a fuller understanding of it. Actually, I think that would apply to translations in all languages. It could be easier for a particular people, because of their language, to grasp some facet of understanding. Some people are quick to point out to me, that we don’t have to know any of this stuff, but only to have faith. I understand that, but I think that some people also need to understand more about that Bible before they can believe it. Faith and understanding go hand in hand.

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