A Cardinal Sin

By Frank Brown

I recently read an editorial in "World" magazine, in which the editor stated that it is a cardinal sin for a reporter to mis-quote a source. This was in reference to Zondervan’s plan to print a "gender neutral" edition of the New International Version of the Bible, in which gender references would be deleted, and references to "men," for example, would be changed to "people," and "man," as in "mankind," would be changed to "humankind," etc. The editor was saying that since the changes were not actually what the Almighty inspired His prophets to write, they were, therefore, lies. They were only the assertions of uninspired men.

I thoroughly agree with his assessment. But why stop with gender references? I began to think of other areas where the Creator’s words have been changed to suit the purposes of men.

The most obvious and glaring example of this has to do with the Third Commandment. But before we broach that subject, let’s see what the Almighty One Himself has said about changing, adding to, and taking away from His inspired Word, the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 4:2, He inspired Moses to write, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Yahweh your El which I command you."

You will notice that this is not what you read in your King James Bible, or in most other versions. Instead of Yahweh your El, it has been changed to "the LORD your God." In the very scripture where He says, "don’t make changes," man HAS made changes.

Deuteronomy 12:32 also admonishes us about making changes in His Word. "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

Proverbs 30:5-6, Every word of Elohim is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

I believe that in the day of Judgment, the Bible translators who have taken away from the original, inspired Scriptures, the most important Name there is, that of our Creator and Sustainer, Yahweh, and put in its place titles and the names of local deities, will be found to be liars by our Supreme Judge. In many instances, they were simply following tradition - a tradition begun by the Jews at about the time of the Babylonian Captivity in 587 BCE. The Name, YHWH, which He gave Himself (see Exodus 3:14-15, where He introduced Himself to Moses), is pronounced "Yahweh" according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, although many so-called scholars, and even some Jews, claim the pronunciation has been lost in antiquity. Not so! Don’t you believe it. That’s exactly what Satan would like you to think. The Jews, having apostatized from the True Mighty One, Yahweh, began to be fearful of pronouncing His Name, because of a mis-understanding of the 3rd Commandment (You shall not take the Name of Yahweh in vain), and of Leviticus 24:14, which warns against blaspheming His Name.

The Jews, therefore, decided it would be safer not to pronounce it at all. So, over time, it became known as "the ineffable Name." The Jews call Him Adonai (Hebrew for Lord), Elohim (Hebrew for God), Ha Shem (Hebrew for "The Name), but they will not vocalize His correct Name, Yahweh. And the translators continue this practice, even today! Many people think that these titles, "the LORD", and "God," are actually English translations

As I have so often stated, proper nouns, names of people, things and places, ARE NOT translated. They are transliterated Wherever I may go in this world, into any country using any language, I will still be Frank Brown. It will not be "translated" into the local tongue. In like manner, the Sacred Name, Yahweh, is the same in every language, tongue, and dialect on earth. It is a universal Name that can be vocalized in any tongue. Its first usage in the Scriptures is in Genesis 2:4, referring to events that took place during Creation Week.

Again, you will note that your King James Version and others say "the LORD" here. The translators were kind enough to write their substitutes in small caps, and tell us in many of the prefaces and forewords of our Bibles what they have done. This was done in the Old Testament alone, about 7,000 times. Everywhere you see "the LORD" and "GOD" in all small caps, the original text had the Hebrew letters for YHWH, Yod, Heth, Waw, Heth.

To me, using the wrong name or substituting a title for the Name, and passing it off by saying, "Oh well, He knows who I mean, and besides, what difference does it make?" is the exact equivalent of worshipping on the wrong day, and saying it doesn’t matter which day we meet on.

Now, let’s look at some Bible prefaces and forewords, and see what the translators themselves say about what they have done.

The Bible, a new translation by James Moffatt, pub. Harper & Row: (from the introduction, page xx-xxi): One crucial instance of the difficulty offered by a Hebrew term lies in the prehistoric name given at the exodus by the Hebrews to their God. Strictly speaking, this ought to be rendered "Yahweh," which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of "Jehovah." Were this version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing "Yahweh." But almost at the last moment I have decided with some reluctance to follow the practice of the French scholars and of Matthew Arnold (though not exactly for his reasons), who translate this name by "the Eternal," except in an enigmatic title like "the Lord of hosts." There is a distinct loss in this, I fully admit; to drop the racial, archaic term is to miss something of what it meant for the Hebrew nation. On the other hand, there is a certain gain, especially in a book of lyrics like the Psalter, and I trust that in a popular version like the present my choice will be understood even by those who may be slow to pardon it.

(Note that he said the Hebrews gave this name to their God. That is wrong. Yahweh gave this Name to Himself. See Exodus 3:14-15, where He introduced Himself to Moses, and Exodus 20:1-2, where He introduced Himself to all the people. Remember that where your Bible quotes Him as saying, "I am the LORD," the original as spoken by Him, said, "I am Yahweh." Note also that he said he decided to follow man’s tradition, instead of the original inspired words, and even admits there is a distinct loss by so doing.)

The New English Bible With the Apocrypha, pub. Oxford Univ. Press; Cambridge Univ. Press: (From the Introduction, page xvi): [they explain that the original Hebrew text was written only in consonants, but in order to preserve what they regarded as the correct pronunciation, the Rabbis added vowel-signs to the text. Then they say:]

"One variation of this convention is of special importance, inasmuch as it affects the divine name. This personal proper name, written with the consonants YHWH, was considered too sacred to be uttered; so the vowels for the words ‘my Lord’ or ‘God’ were added to the consonants YHWH, and the reader was warned by these vowels that he must substitute other consonants. This change having to be made so frequently, the Rabbis did not consider it necessary to put the consonants of the new reading in the margin. In course of time the true pronunciation of the divine name probably passed into oblivion, and YHWH was read with the intruded vowels, the vowels of an entirely different word, namely, ‘my Lord’ or ‘God’. In late medieval times this mispronunciation became current as Jehova, and it was taken over as Jehovah by the Reformers in Protestant Bibles. The present translators have retained this incorrect but customary form in the text of passages where the name is explained with a note on its pronunciation (e.g. Exodus 3.15) and in four place-names of which it forms a constituent element; elsewhere they have followed ancient translators in substituting ‘LORD’ or ‘GOD’, printed as here in capital letters, for the Hebrew name."

(Note they admit they have "retained this incorrect but customary form," and "have followed ancient translators insubstituting LORD or GOD.... for the Hebrew Name.")

The International Inductive Study Bible, Harvest House, Pub. (From the Preface, page iv):

In regard to the divine name YHWH, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton, the translators adopted the device used in most English versions of rendering that name as "LORD" in capital letters to distinguish it from Adonai, another Hebrew word rendered "Lord," for which small letters are used.

The Good News Bible, today’s English version,American Bible Soc. (From the preface, page 2):

Following an ancient tradition, begun by the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Septuagint) and followed by the vast majority of English translations, the distinctive Hebrew name for God (usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh), is in this translation represented by "LORD." When Adonai, normally translated "Lord," is followed by Yahweh, the combination is rendered by the phrase "Sovereign LORD."

(Note first that they admit they are following tradition and not the scriptures. Then, they say that Yahweh’s Name is "represented by LORD." Also, they erroneously state that the Septuagint used a substitute for the Name. Actually, according to The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures,[1969] Foreword, pages 11 & 12, the Septuagint, although written in Greek, did contain the divine Name, YHWH, in Aramaic characters, instead of the later Kurios and Theos, which is Greek for Lord and God. In case you are unfamiliar with the Septuagint, it was the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into another language. It was done at Alexandria, Egypt about 200 BCE, by 70 or 72 Hellenistic Jewish scribes. Hence the name, which means, Seventy {LXX} in Greek).

The Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition, Doubleday and Company, Pub. (A Catholic Version) :

Exodus 3:13-15, quoted verbatim: Then Moses said to God, "I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?" And God said to Moses, "I Am who I Am. This," he added, "is what you must say to the sons of Israel: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’" And God also said to Moses, "You are to say to the sons of Israel: ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name for all time; by this name shall I be invoked for all generations to come."(Underline added for emphasis).

I could go on, but surely this is enough to convince any but the most intransigent that there is a problem with most of our English translations where the Name of the Most High is concerned. His Name HAS been taken away for the most part, and substitutes HAVE been added in almost all versions of Scripture.

In addition to the admonitions against "adding to and taking away," quoted at the beginning of this article from the book of Deuteronomy, the same warning is sounded in the book of Revelation 22:18-19:

For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Yah shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yah shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

The latest news from Zondervan is that they have scrapped their plans for a "gender neutral" Bible, in the face of so much criticism. It’s just too bad that they and other publishers and translators such as the International Bible Society don’t recognize what they have done in following the traditions of men instead of remaining faithful to the original inspired Word as given to the saints of old. Our Savior warned those of His generation about following tradition. Notice:

Matthew 15:3 (Yahshua speaking) Why do ye also transgress the commandment of Yah by your tradition? Verse 9: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Notice that these people DO worship Him, but He says their worship is in vain, because they teach traditions of men, instead of the Commandments of Yahweh.

Mark 7:9, And He said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of Yahweh, that ye may keep your own tradition.

What commandment? The Third, for one. You shall not take the Name of Yahweh in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

To "take in vain" means to misuse, to claim you are a worshipper of Yahweh when you don’t follow the example of His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, or to bring to nothing. How more can we "take His Name in vain," than to ignore it completely, and use substitutes instead? This practice fits Yahshua’s admonition perfectly, as the Bible translators admit they are following "tradition" by taking His Name out and putting in substitutes.

We need to be careful about mis-quoting sources, as the World Magazine article pointed out. This is only one example. When we put wrong words in the mouths of others, we are breaking the 8th Commandment, which tells us not to bear false witness. I can’t think of a worse example than to make our Creator out to be a liar by putting words in His mouth that He did NOT say, and leaving out words that He DID say. Let’s endeavor to be true to the Scriptures, and NOT be guilty of following man’s traditions.

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