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Steve Van Nattan

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The Semitic New Testament

Comment by Editor:  Blessed Quietness Journal--  Is the study of the Bible affected by which Bible we use?

This article is very volatile. It deals with the question of whether KJV defenders of the Bible have been duped into accepting the Antioch texts without discriminating as to the authority of some of them. If the authors are correct, then indeed there is a basis of deception to come.  

I don't agree with the authors that the zealous defenders of the KJV and the Textus Receptus are party to a deception or plot. They have everything to lose if they were to try that.  

I do have to wonder if the authors are onto something in predicting the last great deception will be a Third Way Bible Text in Hebrew. We have a letter from a reader quoting the Stern Bible, and it has a number of what seem to be friendly Hebrew translations of New Testament texts which weak Fundamentalists might jump at.  

Stern is not the magic moment, but another work, done with committee scholarship, could be the final deception-- a Hebrew New Testament.

So, let us not be too eager to cast defenders of the KJV and the TR as fools.  However; let us be very wary of a new "authorized Hebrew New Testament," or something along those lines.

 

THE SEMITIC NEW TESTAMENT

Part I

English-speaking Fundamental Christians have been led to believe that throughout Church history there have been two competing streams of Bible manuscripts: the Byzantine, which underlies the Textus Receptus and thus the King James Version, and the Alexandrian which originated from Egypt and form the basis for most modern versions. However, there are not two but three families of manuscripts vying for recognition as being derived from the original text. Having contended earnestly for their respective Greek Received and Alexandrian Texts, in true dialectical fashion, Christians will soon be offered the synthesis -- the Semitic New Testament based on various Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts such as the Syriac Peshitta.

Modern versions have already broadened the way for multitudes to accept counterfeit scriptures. The Fundamentalists are the last stronghold, persistently holding to the KJV based on the Received Text. However, now that there is evidence that the Fundamentalist churches are coming under the baleful influence of the Hebrew Roots Movement, the debate may be resolved via compromise.

The Judaising movement, which has infiltrated culture and religion across the board, promotes an Aramaic/Hebrew text over the Greek.

The Hebrew Roots Movement is based upon the false premise that the original Gospels were written in Hebrew, or possibly Aramaic, and that the Greek New Testament is a mere translation of Hebrew or Aramaic originals. The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, which has influenced the Messianic ministries on a broad scale, is a major source of this error. The theory of Hebrew originals of the Gospel accounts was propounded in a book published by the JSSR, The Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin and Roy Blizzard:

"Why are the words of Jesus that we find in the Synoptic Gospels so difficult to understand? The answer is that the original gospel that formed the basis for the Synoptic Gospels was first communicated, not in Greek, but in the Hebrew language. In spite of this, today's modern translations are all based upon a Greek text, derived from a still earlier Greek text, which is itself a translation of an original Hebrew Life of Jesus. This means that we are reading an English translation of a text which is in itself a translation. Since the Synoptic Gospels are derived from an original Hebrew text, we are constantly bumping into Hebrew expressions or idioms which are often meaningless in Greek, or in translations from the Greek. 1.

"Our reasons for writing this book are not only to show that the original gospel was communicated in the Hebrew language; but to show that the entire New Testament can only be understood from a Hebrew perspective." 2.

The JSSR is a non-Christian, Jesus-Seminar type of institution which has connections with and sponsors seminars for various Messianic and Hebrew Roots ministries such as Moriel Ministries and Messengers of Messiah. It is not surprising, therefore, that Peter Michas of Messengers of Messiah takes the position of the JSSR with respect to the lack of originality of the Greek gospels, as he expressed in the Preface of his book, The Rod of An Almond Tree in God's Master Plan:

"I realized that there were errors in the English translations of the Bible...Like most Christians, I had been taught that the New Testament was originally written in Greek.. I wondered if the gospels were originally written in Judea (or possibly in Antioch, the largest Christian community of the earliest Church), by Jews, about a Jew in Jewish culture, could it be that the Greek was, in fact, attempting to express the Hebrew language and Jewish culture? This required further investigation... I ended up going into a place called Chabbad House which was run by the Lubovich, the ultra-orthodox rabbis. This was the beginning of my education in the Hebraic roots of the Bible." 3.

The Chabbad Lubavich is a Kabbalist movement, the term "Chabad" being an acronym for two of the Sefirot, Chokmah and Binah, in conjunction (Da'at): "The name 'Chabad' is a Hebrew acronym for the expression 'Chokmah,' 'Binah" and 'Da'at' -- Wisdom, Intelligence and Knowledge. These Kabbalistic terms are central to the distinctive intellectual theology of the movement..." 4.

The distillation of Peter Michas' education under the kabbalist sages of the Chabad Lubavitch is indicated by his rejection of the Greek New Testament and reliance upon the first five books of the Old Testament (Torah) and Rabbinic commentaries to determine Christian doctrine:

Is The New Testament Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek?

"In summation, since existing New Testament manuscripts are Greek, written to express Hebraic concepts, why be limited to the Greek or English translations when we have Hebrew, now a living language not very different than it was 2000 years ago. The New Testament is in the pattern of the Jewish traditional work of Torah, Mishnah, Haggadah, Halakah, Talmud and Midrash, but inspired by God Himself for the common people. These Hebraic works as well as the Inspired Scriptures were quoted from by Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament. But even now, to have full comprehension, we must read the scriptures in the proper Hebraic context."

 

SEMITIC NEW TESTAMENT PROJECTS

James Trimm of The Society of Nazarene Judaism is a member of the of the Messianic Friends Network to which Messengers of Messiah belongs. 5. Mr. Trimm is in the process of translating a Semitic New Testament based on Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts which he believes to be source documents. These would be Semitic versions of New Testament books which are thought to have been translated from an original Semitic text. James Trimm's new website for the Hebrew/Aramaic New Testament Research Institute and the Semitic New Testament Project is found at: http://www.nazarene.net/hantri/

"'This website deals with the Hebrew and/or Aramaic Origin of the New Testament.' "The work on the Semitic New Testament Project continues. This week I would like to answer those of you who have sent e-mail asking about what Hebrew and Aramaic source documents for the New Testament have survived.

"Several Semitic versions of New Testament books have come down to us which may have some claim to being descendants of the original Semitic text. These include the Shem Tob and Du Tillet Hebrew versions of Matthew; the Old Syriac Aramaic version of the four Gospels; The Peshitta Aramaic New Testament and the Crawford Aramaic version of Revelation..."

The Messianic Friends Network interconnects a large number of Messianic, Hebrew Roots and Nazarene organizations, such as Messengers of Messiah, which can be assumed to have some measure of agreement on doctrinal issues. We may therefore expect that, upon completion of Mr. Trimm's Semitic New Testament, there will be considerable interest on the part of these ministries, which will promote it as a preferable alternative to the Greek-based New Testament traditionally used by Christians.

A number of Aramaic Bible organizations also link to James Trimm's Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism. One of these which interconnects is the Ancient Aramaic New Testament website of Victor Alexander, who is also engaged in a project to translate the Aramaic New Testament into English. Mr. Alexander defends the Aramaic New Testament as the original:

http://www.v-a.com/bible/confession.html "...the Catholic Latin version was a translation of the Greek, which is itself, by definition, a translation of the words of Jesus Christ spoken in ancient Aramaic. In contrast the Church of the East at least had the original ancient Aramaic Scriptures, hand copied without any changes from the original tongue.

"Judging by the thousands of idioms that only make complete sense in the Aramaic, there is no doubt as to the origin of the ancient Aramaic New Testament. The Church of the East ancient Aramaic New Testament is the original Gospel of Jesus Christ. All others are translations."

One rationale behind the Aramaic New Testament project is also a theme expressed by the Hebrew Roots ministries: i.e., the presumed anti-Semitism on the part of the Gentile Church, in whose care has been entrusted the translation of the Scriptures:

"The project's relationship to larger themes or issues in the humanities is the renewed historical perspective this translation offers, an airing of the prejudicial considerations of the so-called 'Gentile' converts and the resulting jealousy and prejudice directed at the original Jewish Christians and their customs. Subsequently much of the alienation of the Jews in Europe owes to the continued emphasis on and the tangential interpretation of the Scriptures as God's gift to the "Gentiles," a totally erroneous concept if there ever was one. One need not go into all the ramifications of the constant repression against the Jews throughout history, based on strictly non-Scriptural misinterpretations of the European establishment, in order to see the humanitarian need for a non-prejudicial and therefore, by definition, authentic translation of the holy Scriptures."

Mr. Alexander intends to make a social statement through his Aramaic New Testament, which will mitigate the injustice suffered by Jewish people due to the alleged prejudices inherent in the Greek New Testament. Apparently he plans to document within his translation the "clear and systematic mistranslating" which has prejudiced Christians against Jews "from the very beginning."

"There is clear and systematic mistranslating that can be footnoted or presented in the final compilation of translator notes that will demonstrate the deliberate attempt committed by translators, that ended up destroying a significant bond that would have existed between the Jews and Christians from the very beginning, even if there was no meeting of the minds on theological matters to the very end."

Is it true that Christian Bibles have mistranslated the Scriptures so as to misrepresent the Jews? Peter Michas protests that the Christian Bible translations have erred by stating that the Jews demanded the death of Jesus Christ, when the real culprits were the Edomites. He quotes Malcolm Lowe's Understanding John's Gospel:

"At this point it is essential to clarify the meaning of the Greek words, hoi Ioudiaoi, translated 'the Jews.' According to Malcolm Lowe, a Christian writer, editor and lecturer residing in Jerusalem:

"'Sometimes hoi Ioudaioi means the Judean population in general, sometimes specifically their leaders... "'Moreover, John's Gospel says that the people of Judea stopped opposing Jesus. After he raised Lazarus from the dead, most of the people changed to admiring him. When John 19 is read carefully, one finds that the people had no role in the death of Jesus. Even those who call for the freeing of Barabbas are not a crowd of people, but just the chief priests and their officers...'" 6.

These statements are hard to defend, for John 19, in conjunction with the record of Jesus' trial in Matthew 27, characterize the chief priests and the multitude as those whose Law included the uniquely Jewish Passover and prohibition of blasphemy:

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God...
19:12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out saying, If houlet this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
19:14 And it was preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
Matt. 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
27:21 And the governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said Barabbas.
27:22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
27:23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multi-tude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Peter Michas pushes the envelope even further by proposing that the priesthood of Israel was composed of Edomites, not Jews: "But who was the real power in the leadership at the time of Yeshua?
"The Herodian dynasty was founded by Herod the Great, whose father was an Edomite (Idumean) and whose mother was a Nabatean Arab. Recall that the Hasomonean dynasty which annexed Idumea compelled the Edomites to adopt Judaism. For this reason, Herod considered himself to be a Jew. However, the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of the people, and the Jewish people never accepted Herod and his descendants as legitimate rulers. In fact, Herod required assistance from Rome to become installed as King of the Jews.

"No only were the Edomites the actual political power at that time, but the religious leadership was totally under their control... The Herodian Edomites totally controlled the office [of High Priest] and filled it with illegitimate priests based solely on political considerations...

"At Passover, the people could choose to release one man condemned to die. Pilate offered Yeshua as that man but the corrupt religious leaders and their associates chose Barabbas. The people were not present and so no represented. Scripture clearly indicates that the Jewish people as a whole accepted Yeshua as a prophet from God, and that it was the chief priests (the religious leadership and the rulers (the Edomite leadership) who were responsible for condemning and crucifying Him..." 7.

There is no evidence found in Scripture to warrant the statement that the high priest, Caiphas, was an Edomite or that the Levitical priesthood had been supplanted by descendants of Esau. Are the Christian translations of the Greek anti-Semitic or do they state the facts accurately so as to bring the Jews to repentance? While it is certain that the Jews were responsible for rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, every Christian well understands that the ultimate cause of Christ's death was the sinful condition of lost men, Jews and Gentiles alike. It is likely there were Jews in the multitude who later repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Having been born again as new creatures in Christ, they would thereby escape the wrath to come. Those who did not would suffer judgment: "His blood be on us, and on our children."

We know from prophecy that God has not cast off the Jews forever, and will yet fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant with the remnant of Israel. However, the proper attitude of the Christian Church toward the Jews during the present dispensation is given in Scripture, as expounded in William R. Newell's Commentary on Romans 11:

"In Acts 28, Paul officially shuts the door to national Israel. 'Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers,'-- quoting this Isaiah Six and declaring: "Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they also will hear."

"Since this awful use of Isaiah 6, the gospel has no Jewish bounds or bonds whatever! And it is presumption and danger, now, to give the Jews any other place than that of common sinners! 'No distinction between Jew and Greek,' says God. Those that preach thus, have God's blessing. Those that would give any special place whatever to Jews, since that day, do so contrary to the gospel; and we fear, for private advantage. Tell Jews the truth! Their Messiah was offered to their nation, and rejected. And God is not offering a Messiah to Israel now, but has Himself rejected them: all except a 'remnant,' who leave Jewish earthly hopes, break down into sinners only, and receive a sinner's Savior, not a 'Jewish' one! Then they become 'partakers of a heavenly calling.'

"We dare not believe in any of the modern reports of national Jewish 'turning to the Lord.' They will go into yet greater darkness (after the Rapture of the Church). There will be the former evil spirit of idolatry "taking with itself seven other spirits more wicked than itself," entering in and dwelling this present evil generation of Israel (Matt. 12.45). Do not be deceived. At our Lord's coming, and not until that beleaguered nation sees 'the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven' (Matt. 24.30),--which will be that 'looking upon Him whom they pierced' of Zechariah 12, will they have faith.

"...their fall was made the occasion of salvation to the Gentiles; and this again is to provoke them to jealousy'---that they may be saved. God's manifest blessing to Gentiles causes the careless, self-satisfied Jew to awake,--first to ridicule Gentile testimony; then,--seeing the reality of Divine visitation to the despised Gentile, to arouse to a deep jealousy.

"How amazingly different Paul's method of 'provoking the Jews to jealousy,' from that pursued by many Jewish mission workers today. The Jew must have a 'special' place as a Jew. In some quarters they are even organizing 'Jewish assemblies,' and in other quarters advocating 'the literary method of approaching Israel.' All this, we cannot but feel, is abominable kow-towing to Jewish flesh, and hinders their salvation. Jews now are common sinners, who have for the present been set aside nationally, and must come to rely, as individual sinners, hopelessly guilty and helpless, upon the shed blood of Christ, an upon Him risen from the dead. It is an awful thing to make present day 'Jewish' claims when God says Jews are, for the present, no different from Gentiles, before God: but are just--sinners!" 8.

The Christians of the early church were not anti-Semites, however, like Paul, they carefully guarded the New Covenant in Christ's blood. Those Jews who intruded upon the newly planted churches in order to deprive believers of their liberty in Christ were justly rebuffed. Today, the Church finds itself in precisely the same predicament with a movement of unconverted or partially-converted Jews, having infiltrated with the intent to redefine and thereby destroy the purity of the Christian faith. Those Christians who reject the Judaizing movement do not hate the Jews, but rather they refuse to surrender the precious faith of Jesus Christ for a religious system which only prefigured Christ. Converted Jews must renounce their former religious traditions, as all sinners must come out of their respective religious systems. Every true convert will do so with joy upon conversion to the Saviour.

"And Jesus said unto them...No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." (Mt. 9:16,17)

This is not to deny that there have been attempts to mistranslate the Scriptures by certain scribes who have a racialist agenda. In the 19th century, there was evidence of an elite racism on the part of two Angican scholars, who presumed to revise the Greek New Testament and the English Bible. The Westcott and Hort Greek Text of 1881 was used 50 years later in Germany, when Adolf Hitler commissioned Gerhard Kittel to create a Theological Dictionary of the New Testament for the inculcation of Aryan doctrine in ministers and seminary students. Kittel began his massive project using the Textus Receptus, but soon departed to the Westcott-Hort Greek Text. Currently, an apology for the NIV entitled The NIV, The Making of a Contemporary Translation, cites Kittel's encyclopedia as "the" reference source consulted by NIV translators. 9.

The 1950 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament was the successor to the Westcott-Hort New Greek Text and has been the underlying text for all modern translations, except the NKJV which does use it on occasion. 10. For the Old Testament, the NKJV and all new versions follow the corrupt Ben Asher Biblia Hebraica, translated by Gerhard Kittel's brother, Rudolph, rather than the traditional Hebrew Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text. 11.

As a result, some modern Bible versions (notably the NASB) translate words like seed, brethren and generation as "race," although neither the KJV nor any Greek manuscript contains the word for "race" in that context. Some versions even translate I Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen race." Gail Riplinger, who has collated word-for-word the modern Bible versions, Greek editions and manuscripts of the entire New Testament, mentioned some of the distortions:

"(The) Aleph and B (Alexandrian minority manuscripts)... have numerous instances of anti-Semitism. New versions, based on Aleph and B in I Thessalonians 2:15 say the Jews killed 'the prophets' rather than just 'their own prophets,' as cited in the KJV and Majority text... [N]ew versions change Acts 26:17 from 'Delivering thee from the people' to 'from the Jewish people.' No Greek support exists for adding the word 'Jewish.' Again, in Acts 23:12, the NIV and NASB have all of 'the Jews' conspiring 'under a curse' to kill Paul, whereas the verse really says 'certain of the Jews'...

"Did Jesus forgive the Jews? Not according to the new versions. The NASB, NAB and Living Bible add 'the guilt of' to Matt. 23:35, words which appear in no Greek manuscript. In addition, the verse, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34) is 'probably not in the original writings,' according to the New American Bible, the NASB Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Nestle's Greek and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation. The NIV casts doubt on its inclusion with a marginal note. The verse is found in the vast majority of manuscripts..." 12.

 

THE SYRIAC PESHITTA

One of the presumed source documents for use in the Semitic New Testaments, the Syriac Peshitta, will be of particular interest for our report. James Trimm notes the original composition of this "source document" and its derivation from the Old Syriac, rather than the Greek text: "The Peshitta New Testament is the Aramaic version of the New Testament which has been preserved by the Church of the East... It includes all of the books except 2Peter; 2John; 3John; Jude and Revelation. These books were not canonized by the Church of the East until 508 C. E. The Peshitta is not merely a translation from the Greek text, but rather a revision of the Old Syriac, as Arthur Voobus writes: "... the Peshitta is not a translation, but a revision of an Old Syriac version." (Studies in the History of the Gospel Text in Syriac; 1951; p. 46 see also pp. 54-55)." 13.

The Hypertext Webster's Dictionary defines the Syriac language as "more correctly rendered 'Aramaic,' including the Syriac and the Chaldee languages." Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary describes the Syriac Peshitta as a departure from the Greek New Testament in that Apocryphal books were included and books of the later canon were omitted:

"A Syriac version of the Old Testament, containing all the canonical books, along with some apocryphal books (called the Peshitto, i.e., simple translation, and not a paraphrase), was made early in the second century, and is therefore the first Christian translation of the Old Testament. It was made directly from the original, and not from the LXX Version. The New Testament was also translated from Greek into Syriac about the same time. It is noticeable that this version does not contain the Second and Third Epistles of John, 2 Peter, Jude and the Apocalypse. These were, however, translated subsequently and placed in the version."

The Biblical Literature website also indicates the growing importance placed on the Peshitta by the fact that a critical edition is now underway:

"There are many manuscripts of the Peshitta, of which the oldest bears the date 442. Only four complete codices are extant from between the 5th and 12th centuries. No critical edition yet exists, but one is being prepared by the Peshitta Commission of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament."

 

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Although the Semitic and Aramaic New Testament Projects will draw upon other Semitic versions, the Syriac Peshitta has the distinction of being recognized by Fundamental Bible scholars as a legitimate translation. Inexplicably, there is a unanimity of Fundamentalist opinion that the Peshitta follows the Textus Receptus, based on the assertion of arch-rival, Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort!

David Otis Fuller: "It is generally admitted that the Bible was translated from the original languages into Syrian about 150 A.D. This version is known as the Peshitto (the correct or simple). This Bible even today generally follows the Received Text [quoting F.J.A. Hort, Introduction, p. 143]. 14.

Dean John Burgon: "It is well known that the Peshitto is mainly in agreement with the traditional text. What therefore proves one, virtually proves the order. If, as Dr. Hort admits, the traditional text prevailed at Antioch from the middle of the fourth century, is it not more probable that it should have been made without a record of history, and that in a part of the world which has been always alien to change." 15.

D.A. Waite: "The Peshitta Syriac version, (150 A.D., the second century)... was based on the Received Text." 16.

Jack Moorman: "...the Peshitta...manuscripts (now numbering over 259) are in line with the Received Text." 17.

Edward F. Hills: "The Peshitta Syriac version and the Gothic version also belong to the Traditional family of New Testament documents. And the New Testament quotations of Chrysostom and the other Fathers of Antioch in Asia Minor seem generally to agree with the Traditional Text." 18.

William P. Grady: "True to the meaning of its name (straight or rule), the Peshitta set the standard because of its early composition [A.D. 145] and strong agreement with the Greek Text underlying the King James Bible..." 19.

Gail Riplinger: "...the Peshitta Syriac (now dated much earlier than the fifth century) agrees with the KJV." 20.

Peter Ruckman: "The orthodox view of Bible-believing scholars for 1700 years was that the Peshitta was written early in the second century. Since it agrees over and over again with the King James' readings..." 21.

Add to these superlative recommendations of the Syriac Peshitta the repudiation of Greek New Testament by leading textual scholar, Gordon Fee, whose book, How To Read the Bible for All It's Worth, is required reading in some Christian colleges:

"Jesus' primary tongue was Aramaic; his teachings come to us only in a Greek translation...to some this reality can be threatening..." 22.

A 1995 article in Christianity Today also cites 'leading text-critical scholar' Gordon Fee as doubtful of the reference in I Timothy 3:16 that "God was manifest in the flesh."

"Given the nature of the debate of the deity of Jesus Christ that took place during the third and fourth centuries, would that the early manuscripts had read "God"! The debate about Christ's deity would have been resolved like a gavel to the bench. As [leading text-critical scholar Gordon D.] Fee suggests, 'The argument from silence in this case is an extremely telling one.'" 23.

And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (II Tim. 3:16 KJV)

Gordon Fee's reference to the Greek New Testament as a translation points to an original in Aramaic. The early mss. which omit the word "God" in II Timothy 3:16 seem to be logical references to the Syriac Peshitta and the Old Syriac. The Peshitta reads "He who" rather than "'God' was manifest in the flesh."

Having laid this foundation of trust in the Peshitta, and doubt upon the Greek New Testament, can it be only a matter of time before Fundamentalist Bible scholars are prevailed upon by the Hebraisers to admit that perhaps the Old Syriac, of which the Peshitta was a revision, was the ORIGINAL text upon which the Greek texts were based?

Considering the agreement among Fundamentalist scholars regarding the pedigree of the Peshitta and the incongruity of its acceptance by two groups of scholars which are fundamentally opposed to one another on essential doctrines such as the Trinity and divine inspiration of Scripture, we thought the Aramaic Text in question warranted a close inspection. Our investigation commenced with the following questions in mind:

What religious groups currently use the Syriac Peshitta?

What is the origin and history of the Peshitta?

What religious groups have historically used the Peshitta?

Are there textual variations between the Syriac Peshitta and the Textus Receptus?

If there are significant variations, do they affect essential doctrine?

 

ENDNOTES

* David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, The Difficult Words of Jesus, 1984, reprinted 1994 and 1995, pp. 19,20 (pp. 2,3 in 1994 edition).
* Ibid. p 19-20 (pages 2 and 3 in 1994 edition).
* Peter A. Michas & Robert Vander Maten, The Rod of An Almond Tree in God's Master Plan, WinePress Pub., 1997, p. 19.
* http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/363_Transp/Orthodoxy/Chabad.html
* Messianic Friends Network, http://www.ezl.com/~peterm/Links.html http://www.messianic.com/friends.htm .
* The Rod of an Almond Tree, p. 179.
* Ibid., p. 180-81.
* William R. Newell, Romans, Kregel Classics, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994, p. 415.
* Kenneth Barker, The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation (Zondervan Corp., 1986), pp. 166, 110.; New Age Bible Versions, p. 594.
* D.A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, Bible for Today Press, 1992, p. 39;
* G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, A.V. Publications, 1993, p. 594.
* New Age Bible Versions, pp. 605, 606.
* Email: From: James Trimm jstrimm@swbell.net, To: losttribes@nazarene.net losttribes@nazarene.net, Subject: [losttribes] SNTP update (sources), Date: Monday, February 22, 1999 7:00 PM.
* David Otis Fuller, Which Bible?, Grand Rapids Int. Pub., 1970, pp. 197-98.
* Which Bible?, p. 130.
* D.A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, p. 45.
* Jack Moorman, Modern Bibles - The Dark Secret, Foundation Magazine, Sept-Oct. 1992, p. 30.
* Edward F. Hills, The King James Bible Defended, Des Moines, IA, Christian Research Press, 1993, 1956, p. 121.
* William P. Grady, Final Authority: A Christian's Guide to the King James Version, Shererville, IN, Grady Publications, 1993, p. 34.
* G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p. 488.
* Peter Ruckman, The Christian's Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 94.
* "When Manuscripts Collide," Wendy Murray Zoba, Christianity Today, Oct. 23, 1995, p. 30-1.
* Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth, Zondervan Publishing House, 1981, 1993, p. 114.

 

THE SEMITIC NEW TESTAMENT

Part II

 

THE CHURCH OF ANTIOCH

Last December, the Religious News Service reported the growing number of Maronite and other Catholic denominations, whose liturgies are written in Aramaic and whose New Testament is the Syriac Peshitta. Those who are familiar with the Hebrew Roots rationale for turning to the Semitic languages will note the parallels, emphasized in bold letters:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - To many, it may seem as dead as Latin, but Aramaic - the language Jesus spoke - is alive every weekend at St. Elias Maronite Church here and in communities across the nation from San Diego, Calif., to Yonkers, N.Y.

"It's as close as we can get to the words Jesus spoke," said the Rev. Richard Saad, pastor of St. Elias, a Lebanese Christian congregation. "It's a holy language, it's a liturgical language, it's the language Jesus spoke." And because Jesus taught and told his often-puzzling parables in Aramaic, the language also holds the key to interpreting passages that have long been misunderstood by Westerners, said Aramaic scholar Roco Erricco, author of "Treasures From the Language of Jesus."

"In biblical scholarship and translation, its becoming more important," said Erricco, president of the Noohra Foundation in Santa Fe, N.M. "It helps clarify passages that are obscure. Especially since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940's, the importance of Aramaic - a general term that includes a group of closely related Semitic dialects - has grown in offering clues to biblical scholars. When they run into difficulty, they turn to Aramaic," Erricco said.

 

Three key biblical languages

"The three languages that are crucial for biblical scholarship are Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic," he added. "When the New Testament went west, it was in Greek. When it went eastward, it was in Aramaic."

The current interest in Aramaic crosses denominational boundaries and puts Aramaic speakers and translators like Erricco in great demand. I can hardly keep up with it," he said, "People are really interested in it. What I'm doing is showing the Bible through the eyes of the Middle East, the Semitic languages of Aramaic and Hebrew, the ancient culture, psychology, idioms and symbolism of the ancient Near East."

At the same time, Aramaic is not just a "dead," scholarly language, like Latin. Many people from the Middle East who have migrated to other parts of the world have kept Aramaic as their primary language, Errico said. Indeed, there are communities of Aramaic speakers as large as 3,000 in San Diego, Calif., Chicago, and Yonkers, N.Y. Other Middle Eastern Christians who migrated to Australia and Russia also speak it, he said...

 

Aramaic spoken here

At the 3,000-member St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon, Calif., "they still speak Aramaic in their community" and continue to use it in the liturgy, Erricco said. "The people preserved it and kept it. Today the Aramaic language is still alive. The liturgy is still alive in the services, In Iraq and Kurdistan, thousands still speak Aramaic."

At St. Elias, a church of Lebanese immigrants, "it's definitely part of our spiritual culture," Saad said. Throughout the Mass, prayers and Scripture are recited in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic. When Saad holds up a communion wafer during the consecration of the Eucharist, he recites a Gospel account of the Last Supper in Syriac. In the church library, there is a Syriac manuscript of Holy Week services handwritten by monks and copies of the Peshitta, a Syriac translation of the Bible. Above the front door, the name of the Church is written in Syriac.

The liturgy dates back to a time before Muslims conquered most of the Middle East, beginning in the seventh century, when Arabic became the dominant language of the region. "It put Aramaic on the back shelf," Saad said. Aramaic is a Semitic language, closely related to both Hebrew and Arabic. It is written right to left and uses the same alphabet, syntax and grammar.

 

Gospels in Greek

The earliest existing copies of the Gospels were written in Greek but maintained 46 words of Aramaic, which some scholars feel point back to an Aramaic original before Greek, Erricco said... 24.

 

THE SYRIAC PESHITTA

The Maronites were a gnostic sect that was excommunicated in the 7th century for holding to the doctrine of Monotheletism, the heretical belief that Christ had one will (Divine), as opposed to orthodox doctrine which maintained that Christ has both Divine and human wills. The heresy of Monotheletism eventuated in a great schism in Christianity from about 640-681, at which time the Council of Constantinople [680-681] condemned Monotheletism.

[Previously, the Council of Chalcedon in 452 had condemned Monophysitism, an advanced type of Alexandrian theology, maintained that the human and divine in Jesus Christ constituted but one composite nature. This ensued in the fatal defection of Syria and Egypt. Nearly the entire Eastern Church had apostacized from Roman orthodoxy with the signing of the Monophysite Henotican in 482 by the Eastern bishops.]

The Columbia Encyclopedia entry for "Maronites" identifies the headquarters of the Maronite community as Antioch:

Maronites, a Christian community of Arabs in communion with the Pope. By emigration they have spread to Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt, South America and the United States and now number about 1 million. Their liturgy (said mainly in liturgical Syriac) is of the Antiochian type, with innovations taken from the Latin rite. Their ecclesiastical head, under the Pope, is called Patriarch of Antioch; he lives in Lebanon... The Maronites have been a distinct community since the 7th cent., when they separated in the doctrinal dispute over Monotheletism; they returned to communion with the Pope in the 12th cent. In the 19th cent., massacres of Maronites by the Druses brought French intervention; this gave France its modern hold in Lebanon and Syria. Besides the Maronites, there are two other groups in Syria in communion with the Pope-the Melkites and the Syrian Catholics.25.

The newspaper article arrested our attention, as we recalled that Peter Michas' Preface to The Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan advanced the possibility that "the Gospels were originally written... in Antioch (the largest Christian community of the earliest Church)..." Located in Syria, Antioch is also identified in Acts 11:26 as the location where the disciples were first called Christians. In Which Bible? David Otis Fuller again quotes Dr. F.J.A. Hort on the importance of the Church at Antioch and translation of the Greek New Testament into the Syrian language (not vice versa):

It was at Antioch, capital of Syria, that the believers were first called Christians. And as time rolled on, the Syrian-speaking Christians could be numbered by the thousands. It is generally admitted that the Bible was translated from the original languages into Syrian about 150 A.D. This version is known as the Peshitto (the correct or simple). 26.

The Interpreter's Bible Dictionary confirms that the Syriac Peshitta was missing important New Testament books for a prolonged period of time.

"The canon of the Peshitta does not included II Peter, II and III John, Jude, and the Apocalypse, and so represents the ancient canon used in the Patriarchate of Antioch in the fourth century." 27.

The Britannica Online states that these books were not considered canonical by the Syrian Church:

"Of the vernacular versions of the Bible, the Old Testament Peshitta is second only to the Greek Septuagint in antiquity, dating from probably the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The earliest parts in Old Syriac are thought to have been translated from Hebrew or Aramaic texts by Jewish Christians at Edessa, although the Old Testament Peshitta was later revised according to Greek textual principles. The earliest extant versions of the New Testament Peshitta date to the 5th century AD and exclude The Second Letter of Peter, The Second Letter of John, the Third Letter of John, The Letter of Jude, and The Revelation to John, which were not canonical in the Syrian church." 28.

Other sources such as the Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics confirm that the Syriac Peshitta was the bible of the School of Antioch, and did not include the complete canon:

"In their canon of Scripture [the Antiochan School] followed the tradition of the Antiochian and Syrian Churches (which is also represented in the Peshitta or Vulgate Syriac version), and did not included in the N.T. Canon the Apocalypse, II Peter, II and III John, or Jude. Theodore, on subjective grounds, also rejected the epistle of St. James." 29.

The Biblical Literature website indicates that non-believers were predominantly involved in its translation, noting the Jewish influences found in the Peshitta:

 

Syriac Versions

"The Bible of the Syriac Churches is known as the Peshitta ("simple" translation). Though neither the reason for the title nor the origins of the versions are known, the earliest translations most likely served the needs of the Jewish communities in the region of Adiabene (in Mesopotamia), which are known to have existed as early as the 1st century CE. This probably explains the archaic stratum unquestionably present in the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Psalms of the Peshitta, as well as the undoubtedly Jewish influences generally, though Jewish-Christians also may have been involved in the rendering."

The Encyclopedia Britannica Online states that the Syriac Peshitta became the accepted bible of all the Syrian Churches from the late third century onward:

"(Syriac: "simple," or "common"), Syriac version of the Bible, the accepted Bible of Syrian Christian churches from the end of the 3rd century AD. The name Peshitta was first employed by Moses bar Kepha in the 9th century to suggest (as does the name of the Latin Vulgate) that the text was in common use. The name also may have been employed in contradistinction to the more complex Syro-Hexaplar version.

The apostle Paul indicated that corruption of the New Testament began during the apostolic period: "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God."

Textual scholars give support to this interpretation of II Corinthians 2:17a. In the 19th century, Dr. Frederick H. A. Scrivener served on the Committee for the English Revised Version where he opposed the Westcott-Hort agenda to replace the Textus Receptus with a New Greek Text. His contemporary, Dean John Burgon, vigorously defended the Textus Receptus and refuted the Westcott-Hort Greek Text. Their statements on early corruption are noted by D.A. Waite and David Otis Fuller:

"Dr. Scrivener and Dean Burgon both agree, that during the first 100 years after the New Testament was written, the greatest corruptions took place to the Received Text by the early church." 30.

"Prebendary Scrivener, another great scholar, is quoted by Burgon as follows: 'It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound that the worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within one hundred years after it was composed -- that Irenaeus and the African fathers and the whole western with a portion of the Syriac church used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica or Erasmus or Stevens thirteen centuries later when molding the Textus Receptus.' 'Therefore, [Burgon] antiquity alone affords no security that the manuscript in our hands is not infected with the corruption which sprang up largely in the first and second centuries.'" 31.

 

EARLY HERESIES IN ANTIOCH

Antioch seems to have been the source of much heresy of the early church period. The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics informs us that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which was addressed in the book of Revelation, originated from Antioch:

"Nicolas had been one of the first deacons ordained by the Apostles. He came originally from Antioch. It is against his doctrine that the Johanine Apocalypse (II:6 and 15,16) warns the churches of Ephesus and Pergamos." 32.

The Church at Antioch is documented in Acts 15 as a target of the Judaizers, who would make salvation conditional on keeping the Law of Moses.

15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to, Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question...

15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter...

Acts 15:19-21 records the decision of the Council of Jerusalem not to impose upon the Gentile churches any bondage to the Law, other than a few reasonable requirements. Luke recorded the joyful reaction of the Church at Antioch when a company of brethren returned with Paul and Barnabas carrying letters expressing the Council's decision:

15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

15:31 Which when they read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets, also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

It is believed that Paul's second missionary journey was motivated by his desire to take a copy of this ruling to all the Christian communities which he founded. The decision at the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 49) did not put an end to the controversy, however. Proponents of the view that one must keep Jewish customs in order to follow Christ attended Paul wherever he went, determined to create opposition against him. This band, referred to the book of Galatians as the Judaizers, eventually become known as the Ebionites, an heretical sect which continued to exist for another two centuries.

Like Paul, Ignatius the bishop of Antioch subsequent to the Jerusalem Council, had to deal with the Judaizing heresy during the late first century until his martyrdom in Rome c. 110 A.D. The Encyclopedia Britannica entry states that "Ignatius apparently fought two groups of heretics: (1) Judaizers, who did not accept the authority of the New Testament and clung to such Jewish practices as observing the Sabbath, and (2) the Docetists..."

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

"IGNATIUS THEOPHOROS (Greek: "God Bearer") (d. c. 110, Rome), bishop of Antioch, Syria, known mainly from seven highly regarded letters that he wrote during a trip to Rome, as a prisoner condemned to be executed for his beliefs. He was apparently eager to counteract the teachings of two groups--the Judaizers, who did not accept the authority of the New Testament, and the Docetists, who held that Christ's sufferings and death were apparent but not real. The letters have often been cited as a source of knowledge of the Christian church at the beginning of the 2nd century. Ignatius represented the Christian religion in transition from its Jewish origins to its assimilation in the Greco-Roman world."

The trademark of Judaizers, who have come into prominence at various times in church history, is their devaluation or total rejection of the Greek New Testament. The Watch Unto Prayer series of reports on The Hebrew Roots Movement examines the premise, propositions and resources used by the current Judaizing movement to supplant the Greek New Testament. The profile of Ignatius explained the other heresy infecting the Church of Antioch during his bishopric:

"The Docetists believed that the spiritual Christ entered the human Jesus at His baptism, and left before the crucifixion. For Scriptural support, Docetists appealed to St. Paul's reference to a "spiritual" body in 1 Corinthians 15. 42-50. This view denied that the suffering of Jesus was attributed to a divine person, and thus the redemption would be finite. The incarnation also would be an illusion. In a letter prior to his pending martyrdom, Ignatius of Antioch wrote of their error:

"But if, as some atheists, that is unbelievers, claim, His suffering was only a make- believe, when really they themselves are make-believes: why am I in chains? Why do I even want to fight with the beasts? Then I die in vain. My testimony is only a lie about the Lord." 33.

 

LATER HERESIES OF ANTIOCH

II Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not received, or another, ye might well bear with him.

II Cor. 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

Following Ignatius' controversy with the Judaizers and subsequent martyrdom at Rome, Antioch would become notorious for heresy, succumbing successively to Docetism, Modalism, Arianism, Nestorianism, and Monophysitism. After 451, it became increasingly Monophysite. It fell to the Persians in 538 and to the Arab Moslems in 637. Only after a millenium, many bishops of Antioch and a third of the people submitted to Rome in 1724. These were known as the Melkites.

[Of interest, Paul Weyrich, a major figure in the CNP/Religious Right is a deacon in the Melkite Church. See profile on Weyrich: http://watch.pair.com/heritage.html ]

By the 4th century, as the Holy Roman Empire was forming, the Church fathers were becoming painfully aware that the churches in the East had become the epicenter of false doctrine. A series of ecumenical councils commenced to address these issues, and these may be credited with preserving the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith against the onslaught of gnostic teachings which issued from the Alexandrian School of Egypt and the School of Antioch in Syria. Certain men who promoted doctrines that were declared heretical are pertinent to our discussion of Antioch:

 

1. ARIUS (c. 250-336)

Arius was a famous presbyter at Alexandria, Egypt when he introduced his belief that the Son or Logos, was not of the same substance as the Father, but was created for the purpose of creating the world. Arius was greatly influenced by Lucian of Antioch, who had laid great stress on the Judaic monotheistic origins of Christianity. 34.

The following entry on the Arian controversy from the Encycopedia of Religion reveals the enormous impact of this heresy on Eastern Christendom:

"Three distinct streams of influence merged in the sea of doctrinal upheaval of Christianity in the fourth century: (1) the theological system developed by Arius himself, which was his private and pastoral accomplishment; (2) the moderate and conservative Origenism of the majority of Eastern bishops who found themselves in consonance with Arius's own Origenian background; and (3) the political initiatives of these bishops against Alexander of Alexandria. The complex state of church affairs arising from the confluence of these three streams has become known as the Arian controversy."

Like the Kabbalists, Arian stressed the absolute unity of God, who was also incommunicable:

"In Arius's thought, certain trends of Alexandrian theology, formulated by Origen a few generations earlier, reached their ultimate consequences. Arius's concept of the Christian godhead was monarchic, that is, it held that the first and unique absolute principle of divinity is the Father. Consequently, any other divine reality was considered by him as secondary to the Father. He applied this view of all to the Logos, the Word of God, the Son who becomes the instrument of the divine plan of creation and salvation. The Son, being bound to the decision of the Father in the very process of his how generation as the Son, is not eternal in the same sense as the Father is eternal; more important, he is not eternal because only the Faterh is ungenerated. On the other hand, being the instrument of the fulfillment of the Father's will, the Son is by nature linked with the divine creation. He is, so to speak, the first transcendent creature, the principle of all things." 35.

Historical sources agree that the influence of Lucian at the School of Antioch led Arius and other prominent leaders into controversy with the Bishop of Alexandria and departure from sound doctrine.

Prolegomena. The Life & Writings of Eusebius of C'sarea

"About the year 318, while Alexander was bishop of Alexandria, the Arian controversy broke out in that city, and the whole Eastern Church was soon involved in the strife. We cannot enter here into a discussion of Arius' views; but in order to understand the rapidity with which the Arian party grew, and the strong hold which it possessed from the very start in Syria and Asia Minor, we must remember that Arius was not himself the author of that system which we know as Arianism, but that he learned the essentials of it from his instructor Lucian. The latter was one of the most learned men of his age in the Oriental Church, and rounded an exegetico-theological school in Antioch, which for a number of years stood outside of the communion of the orthodox Church in that city, but shortly before the martyrdom of Lucian himself (which took place in 311 or 312) made its peace with the Church, and was recognized by it. He was held in the highest reverence by his disciples, and exerted a great influence over them even after his death. Among them were such men as Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Asterius, and others who were afterward known as staunch Arianists.

A Chronology of the Arian Controversy demonstrates the spiritual principle that a little leaven eventually leavens the whole church:

318 or 319 CE: Egypt - In an informal discussion on the Trinity between Bishop Alexander and his presbyters, Arius accuses Alexander of Sabellianism. He goes on to frame his adoptionist views following the theology of Lucian of Antioch. Afterwards, Alexander of Alexandria convenes a council that condemns and exiles Arius. Arius then writes his Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia in which he complains of being unjustly persecuted. The letter mentions that Eusebius of Caesarea and many other Eastern bishops have also been condemned. Arius then travels to Nicomedia at the invitation of Eusebius, after which Eusebius advances a letter writing campaign to the bishops of Asia Minor in support of Arius. Due to his rigorous support of Arius, Eusebius "transform[s] what might have remained an Egyptian dispute into an ecumenical controversy" (Quasten III, 191).

The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., in which Athanasius was prominent in the debate, decreed the divinity of Christ as set forth in the Nicene Creed. The tenacity of this heresy was astounding, however, and it endured for centuries. "But the eastern Bishops at a Council in Antioch... did not disapprove of Arius, and was noncommittal about the nature of the unity of the Son with the Father."

 

2. DIODORUS (c. 330-390)

Information from various sources describes the sequence of heresies which followed Arianism and were unique to the School of Antioch. Apollinarism had valiantly debated with Athanasius against Arianism, but denied that Christ had a human rational soul. From this heresy there arose another:

"In his anxiety to vindicate the significance of the human element in the person of Christ and in the Scriptures... in controversy with Apollinaris, Diodorus had put forth a theory of the relation of the two natures of Christ which seemed to dissolve the one divine-human Person into two. According to the fragments still preserved of the work called into question ("Against the Synusiasts" and "On the Holy Spirit"), he apparently distinguished between the Logos and the Son of David, one the Son of God by nature, the other by grace." 36.

 

3. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407)

Among Diodorus' students at the School of Antioch were John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia. The various encyclopedias agree that Chrysostom's view of sin was unscriptural:

"[Chrysostom's] conception of the Divine image in man, which he regards as consisting in his dominion over creation recalls Diodorus and Theodore. He regards the Fall as resulting in a privation of gifts which were not a part of man's natural constitution. He does not teach a complete loss of the Divine image. He agrees with Theodore in insisting on free will and denying original sin... He denies that mortality is the cause of sin." 37.

"[Chrysostom] expressly controverts the view...that sin is an integral part of our nature." 38.

The Chrysostom Society is a group of neo-gnostics founded and led by Richard Foster. Members include Madeline L'Engle of the New Age St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York, Karen Mains, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message and similar pseudo-Christians who have sought to mainstream the esoteric as Christianity. Foster noted the similarity of Chrysostom's theology to that of the famous gnostic of the School of Alexandria:

"In his later life, Chrysostom was much maligned for his agreement with much of Origen's theology..." 39.

 

4. THEODORUS (350-428)

Diodorus seems to have inculcated in his students other views at variance with Scripture:

On election according to grace:

"...Both Theodore and Chrysostom...reject the idea of an absolute predestination in favor of a conditional predestination. God's purpose, says Theodore, is dependent on man's free will." 40.

On salvation:

"From Ephesians 1:10, Theodore drew the conclusion that all men and all rational creatures will finally look to Christ and attain perfect harmony. The eschatological teaching of Diodorus and Theodore is one of the few points of agreement between them and Origen... The hope that, though the wicked will suffer just punishment for their sins, this punishment will not be everlasting." 41.

On the atonement:

"Theodorus['s] views upon human nature and sin led him to find the central significance of Christ's work not so much in his death as in His Resurrection. The purpose of the Incarnation was the perfection rather than the restitution of humanity. Christ is the new creation, who exhibits God's plan in its final completeness. In Him, there is set forth that image of God which man was meant to attain, but which he failed to attain...The deliverance which He has won for men is already potentially theirs, though it is only in the future that it fully takes effect. The omissions are significant. The conceptions of guilt and responsibility, and the idea of Christ's death as an atonement are absent. Death is but a necessary stage, through which Christ passes to the Resurrection and inaugurates the higher and final stage of man's development. The necessity of the Incarnation is not based on the Fall, but on the general conception of the Divine purpose for man, which required that he should be delivered from his present state of mortality." 42.

A Christian Israel Identity web site, Stone Kingdom Ministries, asserts that the school of Antioch taught Universal Salvation:

Later, because some Christians disagreed with the methods of interpretation used by the Alexandrian and Caesarian schools, the school of Antioch was founded. Although the teachings of the Antiochian school were somewhat at variance with the teachings of the two earlier schools, they too taught Universal Reconciliation.

Seeking to prove the concept of Universal Salvation, proponents must resort to citing the gnostics as Church Fathers, i.e., Clement, Origen, Eusebius, Chrysostom:

Universalism:

The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years

It is shown in this volume [Lecky's Rationalism in Europe, I] that not only were Diodore, Theodore, and others of the Antiochan school Universalists but that for centuries four theological schools taught the doctrine.

Neander says: "... The Antiochan school were led to this doctrine, not by Origen but by their own thinkings and examinations of the Scripture. They regarded the two-fold division of the development of the creature as a general law of the universe. This led to the final result of universal participation in the unchangeable divine life."

Dr. Beecher pays this remarkable testimony: "I do not know an unworthy, low, or mean character in any prominent, open, and avowed Restorationist of that age of freedom of inquiry which was inaugurated by the Alexandrine school, and defended by Origen. But besides this it is true that these ancient believers in final restoration lived and toiled and suffered, in an atmosphere of joy and hope, and were not loaded with a painful and crushing burden of sorrow in view of the endless misery of innumerable multitudes. It may not be true that these results were owing mainly to the doctrine of universal restoration. It may be that their views of Christ and the Gospel, which were decidedly Orthodox, exerted the main power to produce these results. But one thing is true: the doctrine of universal restoration did not hinder them. If not, then the inquiry will arise, Why should it now?"

It seems not without reason that the Antioch School refused to canonize the books of II Peter, II and III John, Jude and Revelation. The doctrine of the Universal Salvation might be easily refuted by the five books which contained so many verses on eternal judgment as to render them irrepressible:

II Peter 2:4-9 - For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkenss, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashed condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly...The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:..."

II Peter 3:7 - But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Jude 5-7 - I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Revelation 20:11-15 - And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Peter Michas flirts with the concept of Universal Salvation in numerous (18) references to the "salvation of humankind" or similar phrases in his book, The Rod of an Almond Tree. On page 129 he openly states:

"Many have been fascinated by the search for the Ark of the Covenant. Even more fascinating is to trace the rod of God and search out its essential role in the universal redemption of mankind."

Theodorus was finally condemned at the second general Council at Constantinople in 381 for teaching that Jesus been a sinful man who, nevertheless, became perfect:

"The second general Council, at Constantinople in 381, condemned impious Theodore of Mopsuestia who said that the Logos of God is one, Christ was another, suffering molestations from passions of soul and desires of the flesh, and gradually leaving the worse things, becoming better with advance in [good] works and becoming immaculate by living, was baptized as a mere man in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and by Baptism received the grace of the Holy Spirit and merited to become a son." (DS 434). We notice: "1) The clear implication of two persons, one who was morally inferior, gradually became better, was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - implying that the Son [the Logos] was one person, and Christ was another person, as the opening line had said. 'mere man.' [psilon anthropon] and merited to become a son. 2) He said Jesus was subject to disorderly passions - like the infamous movie, 'The Last Temptation.'" 43.

 

5. NESTORIUS (c 381-451)

That an evil tree cannot produce good fruit was tragically demonstrated as the School of Antioch turned out more and greater heresy. Nestorius studied under Theodore at the School of Antioch and would end up teaching that Christ was actually two distinct persons.

Columbia Encyclopedia: "...Nestorius directly derived his views, considered heretical from Theodore." 44.

Encyclopedia Britannica: "[Nestorius] received his education at Antioch, probably under Theodore of Mopsuestia. As a monk in the neighboring monastery of Euprepius, and afterwards as presbyter, he became celebrated in the diocese for his asceticism, his orthodoxy and his eloquence." 45.

David Otis Fuller: "Nestorius denied the union of the two natures of God and man in the one person of Christ. He was accused of teaching that there were two distinct persons, the Person of God the Son and the Person of the man Christ Jesus. This teaching was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 at which Cyril of Alexandria presided." 46.

Condemnation of this heresy at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. would signal the demise of the School of Antioch, which had left a grievous legacy for the churches of the East:

Encyclopedia Britannica: "The [Nestorian] church traced its doctrines to Theodore of Mopsuestia rather than to Nestorius, whose name they first repudiated not regarding themselves as having been proselytized to any new teaching." 47.

Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics: "The condemnation of Nestorianism by the Church in AD 431, was fatal to the development to the school of Antioch and to the reputation of its great representatives. Marius Mercator about 431 maintained that Theodore was the real author of Pelagianism, and later on called attention to the Nestorian tendency of his teaching." 48.

The Hastings Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics provides further evidence of the apostasy of the Church of Antioch:

"...The Antiochenes...regarded the purpose of the Incarnation as the accomplishment of man's destiny rather than the deliverance of him from the consequence of sin." 49.

"The Antiochenes held LXX [Septuagint] in the highest reverence..." 50.

Respected nineteenth century textual scholar, Dean Burgon, identified in his volume on the Traditional Text those heretical sects that still use the Peshitta:

"One authority tells us this -- 'The Peshitto in our days is found in use amongst the Nestorians, who have always kept it, by the Monophysites on the plains of Syria, the Christians of St. Thomas in Malabar, and by the Maronites, on the mountain terraces of Lebanon." 51.

Fundamentalists seriously misrepresent the Antioch Church as a center of orthodoxy, which instead was the source of the major heresies. Furthering the misconception, Jack Moorman presents a misleading image of the Church of Antioch as the source of the Textus Receptus:

"One view of the origin of the Old Latin is that it was translated in Antioch, Syria, by missionaries of the West. Support for this view is demonstrated by the strong Syrian and Aramaic tendencies in the existing manuscripts. If this is the case then the Old Latin is associated with that city which was not only the missionary center in the book of Acts, but also the place that history accords as the fountainhead of the Received Text." 52.

The truth seems more available in secular histories, which catalog the famous heretics indigenous to Syria, as well as Egypt. The Secret Book Of The Egyptian Gnostics by Jean Doresse declares Syria, with special mention of Antioch, to be the origin of Gnosticism, whence the leadership of this pernicious heresy removed to Alexandria:

"Gnosticism appeared originally in Syria. It is in Samaria and the Valley of the Lycos that we trace it for the first time. Simon [the sorcerer] is a man of Gitta and Samaria; Menander is originally of Capparetia - again in Samaria; Satornel is of Antioch; Cerdon is a Syrian; Cerinthus comes from Asia Minor;...In the time of Hadrian (A.D. 110-38), Gnosticism passes over from Syria into Egypt: it is in Alexandria that the greatest doctors of the heresy are flourishing - Bacilides, Carpocrates, and Valentinus. Then it reaches Rome; and this is the moment when the Christian doctors realize the importance of heresies which, in the East, had been incubating for a considerable time... Marcion was in Rome from 140, and thence expelled by the Church in 144, being by excommunicated by his own father, the Bishop of Sinope." 53.

The Lord's condemnation in Revelation 2:15 of Nicolas of Antioch, whose doctrine distinguished between the perfect and the non-perfect, seems indicative of the gnostic leavening therein and thus the Holy Spirit's departure from this center of gnosticism. By 95 A.D., God had moved on to other churches -- those whom the Lord Jesus Christ specifically addressed in Revelation 2 and 3.

Revelation 1:4 - John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.

Revelation 1:10,11 - I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

As pastor of the Church of Ephesus, Timothy had been entrusted with the "parchments" of Paul, the true Word of God (II Timothy 4:13).

"The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time." 54.

The Book of the Revelation was committed to the seven Churches of Asia Minor, not Antioch. Upon the latter it seems that God had declared ICHABOD - 'the glory has departed'. Biblical Literature online notes the schism in the 5th century which separated the Syrian Church into the Nestorian and Jacobite traditions. The Syriac Peshitta was identified with both traditions, which were major heretical sects.

"Following the split in the Syriac Church in the 5th century into Nestorian (East Syrian) and Jacobite (West Syrian) traditions, the textual history of the Peshitta became bifurcated. Because the Nestorian Church was relatively isolated, its manuscripts are considered to be superior..."

 

ENDNOTES:

"Thus Spake Jesus Christ," Greg Garrison, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dec. 12, 1998, Religious News Service.

* Columbia Encyclopedia, "Maronites," p. 1700.
* Which Bible?, p. 197-8.
* Interpreter's Bible Dictionary, Supplementary Volume, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1993, p. 853.
* Britannica Online, "Syriac Peshitta," http://www.eb.com/ .
* Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics, "Antiochene Theology," p. 585.
* D.A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, Bible for Today Press, 1992, p. 45.
* David Otis Fuller, Which Bible?, Grand Rapids International Publications, 1970, p. 125.
* Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, Jean Doresse, p. 13.
* "Outline of Christology," William G. Most, http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/CHRI602.TXT
* Arius-The Trinity Controversy in the Church, Fazal Ahmad - UK The Review of Religions, September 1996 http://www.flash.net/~royal/controversy.html
* Mircea Eliade, Encyclopedia of Religion, "Arianism", Vol. 1, p. 405.
* New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Diodorus," Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., Grand Rapids MI: Baker Book House, 1964, p. 435.
* Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics, James Hastings, NY: Charles Scribner Sons, 1951, "Antiochene Theology", p. 587.
* New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Chrysostom," p. 75.
* Devotional Classics, Richard Foster, p. 326.
* New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, James Hastings, NY: Charles Scribner Sons, 1951, "Antiochene Theology", p. 591.
* Ibid., p. 592.
* Ibid., p. 590.
* "Outline of Christology," William G. Most, http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/CHRI602.TXT
* Columbia Encyclopedia, "Theodore of Mopsuestia", p. 2728.
* Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910, "Nestorius," p. 409.
* True or False?, David Otis Fuller, Grand Rapids International Publications, 1973, 1983, Terrence H. Brown, "God - Was Manifest in the Flesh...(I Timothy 3:16)", p. 33-4.
* Encyclopedia Britannica, "Nestorius," p. 407.
* Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics, James Hastings, NY: Charles Scribner Sons, 1951, "Antiochene Theology", p. 592.
* Ibid., p. 593.
* Ibid., p. 585.
* Which Bible?, p. 198, citing Dean John Burgon and Miller, The Traditional Text, p. 128.
* Jack Moorman, Modern Bibles: The Dark Secret, p. 29.
* Jean Doresse, Secret Book Of The Egyptian Gnostics," p. 12.
* The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version, Footnote: II Timothy. World Bible Publishers.

 

THE SEMITIC NEW TESTAMENT

Part III

 

THE CELTIC CHURCH

The Church of Antioch, origin of the Syriac Peshitta, would continue in two traditions, the East Syrian or Nestorian Church and the West Syrian or Jacobite Church. These two branches, whose Patriarchates still reside in Antioch, would also comprise the Celtic Church which occupied the British Isles, according to The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders.

"The Celtic Church - closer in doctrine and in its rituals and ceremonies to Syria than to Rome, still exists. Although it is not a secret society, it may be regarded as such by many western Christians because of the infusion of pre-Christian and non-Christian Celtic beliefs.

"As with many of the secular groups in the present book, the Celtic Church is not in fact a true survival, but a restoration.

"The archbishop of Dol and the Celts is of still more recent origin dating from 1952 and related directly to the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch; the other branch derives from the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch." 55.

The term "Jacobite" derives from a Merovingian fable that the stone upon which the Patriarch Jacob slept was an anointed Stone of the Covenant which determined the legitimate kings of Scotland and England. These kings were believed to be lineal descendants in the messianic bloodline of Jesus Christ, as explained in Bloodline of the Holy Grail:

"Not only were the Grail Knights and Templars appointed Guardians of the Stewart Sangreal [Holy Grail] in Scotland, they also became protectors of the Stone of Destiny (the Stone of Scone). This most sacred of Scots treasures had been brought to Scotland from Ireland by Fergus Mor mac Erc, the first King of Dalriada, in the 5th century, having originally been carried to Ireland from Judah in about 586 BC. The venerated holy relic was said to be the Stone of the Covenant, known as 'Jacob's Pillow' (Gen. 28:18-22), on which Jacob laid his head and saw the ladder reaching up to Heaven at Beth-el. In a dream God promised Jacob that his seed would generate the line of kingship to follow - the line which in due course became the Davidic succession.

"When the Jews were persecuted by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Mattaniah, the son of King Josiah (and a direct descendant of David), was installed in Judah. Known as King Zedekiah, he acceded to the throne of Jerusalem in 598 BC. Twelve years later Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, whereupon Zedekiah was taken to Babylon and blinded (Jer. 39:6-7, 52:10-11). His sons were murdered, but his daughter Tamar was removed to Ireland (via Egypt and Spain) by the prophet Jeremiah. He also brought the anointed Stone of the Covenant, which became known as Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny). In Latin it was the Saxum Fatale.

"Princess Tamar (Teamhair) gave her name to Tara, the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and she married Ard Ri (High King) Eochaid, ancestor of Ugaine Mar (Ugaine the Great). Subsequently, over a millenium, Eochaid's successors were crowned in the presence of the sacred Stone. The Irish heritage then progressed to Scotland, where the relic of Judah became synonymous with the Kings of Dalriada. King Kenneth (MacAlpin (844-859) later moved the Stone to Scone Abbey when he united the Scots and the Picts. By the time of William the Lion (d. 1214), the Stone of Destiny bore witness to nearly a hundred coronations in sovereign descent from King Zedekiah." 56.

The Messianic Legacy boasts of the various heretics par excellence in the early Church era, who were considered to be the founding fathers of Celtic Christianity:

"If Celtic Christianity drew heavily on Egypt, it also drew heavily on the more explicitly heretical traditions of Syria, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia. We have already discussed how Nestorian thought served as a repository for certain Nazarean traditions. As early as 430 - the time of Saint Patrick - a book explaining the teachings of Nestorius was being circulated in the West. Nestorius himself had studied at the theological school of Antioch, where his mentor was a man known as Theodore of Mopsuestia. At the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, Theodore and all his works were officially anathematised and declared heretical. In consequence, most of his teachings have long since vanquished. And yet much of what we know of him today comes from Ireland. One of his major scriptural commentaries survives only in an old Irish manuscript. Additional material from Theodore turns up in other Irish manuscripts, dating from the eighth century, the ninth century and, in one case, from the late tenth century - more than four hundred years after Theodore was condemned. It has been suggested that Theodore's works were translated and brought to Ireland by no less a figure than Saint Columba..." 57.

Authors Biagent and Leigh also identify the Celtic Church as the repository of the Nazarean tradition of Syria:

"In its organization, then, in its use of certain texts, in many of its outward aspects, the Celtic Church circumvented the Church of Rome and functioned as a repository for elements of Nazarean tradition transmitted from Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor." 58.

The Celtic Church used various heretical texts to support their doctrines:

"As we have noted, the Celtic Church drew upon a broad spectrum of texts beyond Rome's sphere of influence - Nazarean texts, Nestorian texts, Priscillianist texts, Gnostic and Manichean texts, books of both Judaic and 'Christian' apocrypha. In one instance, the Book of Cerne, a prayer is found ultimately deriving from a work in the corpus found at Nag Hammadi." 59.

The Celtic Church has always claimed to represent true Christianity and post-modern culture has been inundated with popular literature designed to create that image. For example, The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland, by Prince Michael Stewart always frames the issue in terms of the Roman Church as the antagonist, which persecutes the true Christian Celtic Church. The reader will notice in the following excerpt that the fabled King Arthur and St. Augustine would have been contemporaries in Britain, albeit on opposing sides of doctrinal issues. This was Augustine of Canterbury, not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo who opposed the Manicheans two centuries earlier.

The "Christian message" in this Stewart claim to orthodoxy was the body of doctrine preserved by the heretic Nestorius, who denied the union of the two natures of God and man in the person of Christ:

"St. Columba had brought the original Christian message (preserved by the Syrian bishop Nestorius) into Ireland and Scotland from the Middle East, so that both the Old and New Testaments received equal status within the Celtic Church. In deed it was Columba who, in 574, had crowned and anointed King Aedan mac Garan of Dalraida (Celtic Pendragon and father of King Arthur) - the first British monarch to be installed by priestly ordination - and this greatly upset the Church of Rome. Following Columba's death in 597, the Pope sent St Augustine to dismantle the Celtic Church in Britain, but although he became England's new Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, his mission failed in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, where the Celtic Church prevailed." 60.

Sounding much like the various and sundry rebbes which have inundated the Church to teach the Christians their Hebrew Roots, Prince Michael laments the removal of Jewish traditions by the Big Bad Roman Church:

"Early Celtic Christianity was the closest of all religious teachings to the original doctrines of Jesus, and it had emerged within a few years of the Crucifixion as the foremost Church of the Christian world. Christians of the Celtic Church were recorded in Ireland in the latter reign of Emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37), long before St Peter went to Rome. Given that Jesus' own teachings formed the basis of the faith, the Mosaic structure of the Old Testament was duly incorporated. Judaic marriage laws were observed, together with the celebrations of the Sabbath and Passover, while Easter was correctly held as the traditional feast-day of the Spring goddess, Eostre, long before the Roman Church foisted a new significance on the old Celtic festival at the Synod of Whitby in 644.

"Contrary to traditional belief, Emperor Constantine the Great (AD 274-337) did not embrace Christianity as the religion of Rome; he adapted Christianity into a new form which was implemented as the religion of Rome. Constantine's reign as Emperor was actually related to the Syrian Sol Invictus cult of sun worship, but he determined to create a purpose-built religion to divert Christianity from its Judaic origins. He redefined Jesus' birthday to comply with the Sun Festival on 25 December, and substituted the sacred Sabbath (Saturday) with the Sun-day. Indeed by a series of such manoevres, the high-points of Judaic Christianity were conveniently merged with the pagan tradition, and the Persian cult of Mithras, which stressed the concept of final judgement, was also partially enveloped.

"The outcome, from a purely political base, was the uniquely contrived and controllable State 'hybrid' of the Roman Church. On being formalized at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, the new Roman doctrine proclaimed all alternative faiths heretical, all except for the Celtic Church, which was too well-established to provoke. Any such attempt would have been tantamount to a declaration of war, particularly against Ireland; and at that time Rome did not have the military capability to confront the fierce troops of the Irish kings." 61.

Laurence Gardiner, author of Bloodline of the Holy Grail, describes Celtic Christianity as Torah observant, the type of mixture which would have developed out of the Judaized Syrian Church. Celtic spirituality is frequently characterized by the term "Nazarene" - a name also given to the Essene Community at Qumran:

"A unique and indigenous culture thus developed in the form of Celtic Christianity. It derived primarily from Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia, and its precepts were distinctly Nazarene. The liturgy was largely Alexandrian and, because Jesus's own teachings formed the basis of the faith, the Mosaic content of the Old Testament was duly retained. The old Jewish marriage laws were observed, together with the celebration of the Sabbath and Passover, while the divinity of Jesus and the Roman dogma of the Trinity played no part in the doctrine. The Celtic Church had no diocesan bishops but was essentially under the direction of abbots (monastic elders). The whole was organized on a clan structure, with its activities focused on scholarship and learning." 62.

Authors of The Messianic Legacy mention the Celts' alternative scriptures, most likely based on the Syriac Peshitta:

"[The Celtic Church] even had its own translation of the Bible - a translation which Rome deemed unacceptable." 63.

Where do we find a disproportionately large number of Syriac Peshitta manuscripts today? Forever Settled by Jack Moorman, locates them -- where else? -- in the British Museum...

"In 1950, Kenyon stated that there were 250 extant Peshitta manuscripts, of which more than 100 were in the British Museum." 64.

For some unfathomable reason, many Fundamentalist scholars identify as "Christian" the Celtic Church and certain other religious sects that are historically known to be gnostic and even deeply occultic. Following are two examples of this type of misinformation as they are found in the books of David Otis Fuller and D.A. Waite. David Otis Fuller wrote in Which Bible?:

"The first stream [of manuscripts] which carried the Received Text in Hebrew and Greek, began with the apostolic churches, and reappearing at intervals down the Christian Era among enlightened believers, was protected by the wisdom and scholarship of the pure church in her different phases: precious manuscripts were preserved by...the Syrian Church of Antioch which produced eminent scholarship; by the Italic Church in northern Italy; and also at the same time by the Gallic Church in southern France and by the Celtic Church in Great Britain; by the pre-Waldensian, the Waldensian, and the churches of the Reformation." 65.

Defending the King James Bible, by D.A. Waite, catalogues various churches which used the Old Latin and Syriac Peshitta as translations of the Textus Receptus:

 

a. Historical Evidences for the Received Text During the Apostolic Age (33-100 A.D.)

        (1) All of the Apostolic Churches used the Received Text.
        (2) The churches in Palestine used the Received Text.
        (3) The Syrian Church at Antioch used the Received Text

b. Historical Evidences for the Received Text During the Early Church Period (100-312 A.D.)...

        (4) The Peshitta Syriac Version, (150 A.D....) This was based on the Received Text
        (5) Papyrus #66 used the Received Text
        (6) The Italic Church in Northern Italy (157 A.D)
        (7) The Gallic Church of Southern France (177 A.D.) (8) The Celtic Church in Great Britain used the
        Received Text

"Why did all these have their Bibles based on the Received Text? -- the churches in Italy, France, and Great Britain -- why? Because that was the true Word of God, and they knew it. That was the Received Text...The Churches used this text and not any other....

        (9) Church of Scotland and Ireland used the Received Text
        (10) The Pre-Waldensian churches used the Received Text
        (11) The Waldensian (120 A.D. and onward) used the Received Text. 66.

Fundamentalists are fond of listing the Waldensians and pre-Waldensians as the churches which preserved the stream of manuscripts which would later be called the Textus Receptus. There is some disagreement as to whether the Waldensians were heretical, however, there can be no question that the Celtic Church and those sects described as pre-Waldensian - the Cathari, Bogomils and Albigenses - were gnostic in the extreme. David Cloud has written volumes of anti-Catholic material to vindicate these heretical sects which were the object of the Papal Inquisition:

"The persecutions which were poured out upon these Bible-believing people beginning in the 7th century caused them to be scattered throughout Europe, everywhere carrying with them the New Testament faith. The Lutheran historian Mosheim, writing in the 17th century, says:...They were later known by many names, including Paterini, Cathari, Bulgarians, Patarins, Gazarians, Turlupins, Runcarians, and Albigenses... The term 'Albigenses' probably derived from a Council which was held in the year 1176 at the town of Lombers near Albi, "for the purpose of examining certain reputed heretics" (Faber, p. 221)...

"The Bogomiles, possibly an offshoot from the Paulicians, were condemned as heretics and suffered great persecution...The Alibgenses rejected the Roman Church and esteemed the New Testament above all its traditions and ceremonies... Reineriou also falsely accused the Waldensians with Manicheanism. This Reinerius is probably the same persecutor employed by Pope Innocent III to hunt out the 'heretical' Waldenses and Cathari throughout southern France and northern Spain..." 67.

"We have now seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called Anabaptists. ... were the original Waldenses, and have long in the history of the Church received the honor of that origin. On this account, the Baptists may be considered the only Christian community which has stood since the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through all ages." 68.

Examination of historical records unveils a far different picture of the Waldensian and pre-Waldensian churches, which are found to be instead among the guardians of the gnostic heresies. Space does not permit a full treatment of this subject, but a sampling of encyclopedias and other sources bears witness to this assertion:

International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies & Fraternal Orders:

"The Waldenses were part of the Manichean-Bogomil-Cathari- Albigensian tradition... They first came to prominence in the south of France in the late 12th century..." 69. Columbia Encyclopedia, "Manichaeism":

"Little is heard of the Manichees in the West after the 6th cent., but their doctrines reappear in the medieval heresies of the Cathari, Albigenses, and Bogomils. It was the practice in the Middle Ages to call by the name of Manicheaism any dualistic Christian heresy." 70.

Glossary of Christian History

"Albigenses: A group commonly called Cathari, meaning "pure ones." Since they were especially influential in and about the town of Albi in southern France some people called them Albigenses. Although most of what we know about the Albigenses comes from their enemies, it is likely that they filtered into Europe from Bulgaria. Like the gnostics in the early church, the Cathari held that the universe is the scene of an eternal conflict between two powers, the one good, the other evil. Matter, including the human body, is the work of this evil power, the god of the Old Testament. He had imprisoned the human soul in its earthly body. To escape from the power of the flesh the true Cathar was supposed to avoid marriage, sexual intercourse, eating of meat, and material possessions. Here was a radical poverty, but not one based on the example of Jesus so much as on the perceived nature of the universe. The Cathari rejected not only popes and bishops, but basic Christianity. They tried to escape from evil, not by repentance and faith but by dividing the self in two. Not only did the Cathari succeed in reviving the ancient dualist heresy, by 1200 they had gained the protection of the princes of Toulouse, a cultural area in southern France, and were spreading at an alarming rate. The Roman church eventually unleashed the Inquisition against the Cathari to rout them out and destroy them and the movement was brought to an end before the thirteenth century closed."

The Occult Theocrasy by Lady Queenborough Edith Starr Miller

"Manicheism, with its hierarchy and missionary system, had taken root in Europe and, with its chief seat in Bulgaria, had thus found it way into Northern Italy and the southern part of France. Unquestionably Manicheans in their beliefs and teachings, the Cathares (purifiers or pure) held the unadulterated tradition of Manes. Their hierarchy was that established by their founder. In the 12th century, their chief supreme chief was in Bulgaria having under him, bishops, priests, deacons and simple Perfects. These composed the class of Perfects who were distinguised from the second degree of Believers...

"As to the Albigenses, their name derived from Albi, a town of Languedoc, covered not one but many sects issued form Manicheism and Arianism, and counted also many Jews or judaised Christians. Under this appellation of Albigenses, historians, whether political or religious, have almost unanimously included the Cathares.

"[A revolt against the then existing Church power of the 12th century]... gained many adherents and left numerous disciples whose Manichean opposition to the Church was identical with that of the Cathares. Upon such grounds fell the preaching of Peter Waldo who, although he repudiated the dualist doctrine of the Manicheans, formed a serious opposition to the Church. He created the sect of the Waldenses divided in two degrees, Perfect and Believers. The fomer made a vow of Poverty and as such took the names of Poor Brethren, the latter formed the Outer or Third Order..." 71.

Languedoc, the home of the Catharis and Albigenses in southern France, was linked to the Albigensian heresy and the Grail treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau by authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail -- and also to the Cabala:

"The Languedoc had much in common with Byzantium. Learning, for example, was highly esteemed... Greek, Arabic and Hebrew were enthusiastically studied; and at Lunel and Narbonne, schools devoted to the Cabala - the ancient esoteric tradition of Judaism - were thriving... And while culture flourished in the Languedoc, something else flourished as well - the major heresy of medieval Christendom. In the words of Church authorities the Languedoc was 'infected' by the Albigensian heresy, 'the foul leprosy of the south.' ...Not infrequently they were branded or stigmatized with the names of Arian, Marcionite, and Manichean...

"Elusive though it is, there does seem to be some link between the Cathars and the whole cult of the Grail as it evolved during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A number of writers have argued that the Grail romances - those of Chretien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach, for example - are an interpolation of Cathar thought...Something had been smuggled out of Montsegur just after the truce expired. According to tradition the four men who escaped from the doomed citadel carried with them the Cathar treasure, but the monetary treasure had been smuggled out three months earlier. Could the Cathar 'treasure', like the 'treasure' Sauniere discovered, have consisted primarily of a secret? Could that secret have been related in some unimaginable way to something that became known as the Holy Grail?" 72.

A. E. Waite was prominent member of the Rosicruciana in Anglia and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn during the late 19th/early 20th century. Waite wrote in The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal that, within Christianity, the gnosticism of the East held the "pearl of great price", a gnostic reference to the hidden knowledge and esoteric wisdom of remote antiquity:

"Behind all this I should look assuredly to the East, in the direction of that pure catholic gnosticism which lies like a pearl of great price within the...shell of external Christianity, which is not of Marcion or Valentinus, of Cerenthus and all their cohorts, but is the unexpressed mystery of experience in deep wells whence issue no strife or sects." 73.

It is not the prerogative of this writer to judge the motives of Fundamentalist scholars who mislead by portraying the Church of Antioch and its descendants - the Waldensian, Cathari, Albigensian and the Celtic churches - as bastions of Christian orthodoxy. It seems reasonable to assume that many of these scholars have reiterated, at times nearly verbatim, the statements of their predecessors, without verification of actual history. However, an error of this magnitude seems intended to deceive. At some point, one or more of these scholars set forth a monstrous lie which was received as truth by their admiring disciples, who trusted in the credentials and reputation of impressive persons, and did not conduct their own research on the subject.

The implications of such a deception within Fundamentalism is nigh unthinkable, considering that the Celtic Church claims to be the authentic Christianity and is preparing to place on the Throne (Mercy Seat) in the rebuilt Temple of Jerusalem a false messiah of the lineage of Jesus Christ! The Stone of Destiny as 'Jacob's Pillow' will be used in the coronation of their "Christ" as the King of Israel:

"On declaring himself Overlord of Scotland in 1296, Edward I of England stole what he thought was the Stone of Destiny. What he actually got was a piece of sandstone from a monastery doorway, which has since rested beneath the Coronation Throne at Westminster Abbey. This piece of rubble is 26 inches long by 11 inches deep (c. 66x 28 cm) and weighs about 335 lbs (c. 152 kg). Royal seals of the early Scots kings depict a much larger installation rock, but this rock was not the sacred Stone of Destiny -- no more than is the medieval masonry prize of King Edward. The real Stone of Destiny is said to be smaller, more naturally rounded, and is of inscribed black basalt, not of hand-cut sandstone. It was hidden by the Cistercian Abbot of Scone in 1296, and it has remained hidden ever since. The Columbian tradition tells us that, on secreting the Stone, the Abbot prophesied that one day 'The Michael' would return to his inheritance." 74.

[This conspiracy is treated in our report The Prieuré de Sion vs. The Vatican.]

Those who have sought to mainstream the Celtic Church, and with it the Syriac Peshitta, have set the parameters of the discussion carefully. It is the old Hegelian dialectic of two opposing sides -- within Christianity the proponents of the KJV [Textus Receptus/ Fundamental] vs. those of modern versions [Alexandrian/Catholic] -- which are vying for supremacy in a contest whose end has been predetermined. Having valiantly contended for their respective Greek texts and English translations, the believers will soon be offered the synthesis -- the Semitic New Testament based on various Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts such as the Syriac Peshitta.

For the facilitators of this Process do not make known to the warring factions that, while they are preoccupied with a divisive controversy, they are also being channeled into a planned resolution or synthesis. This writer believes that the facilitators are strategically placed in leadership with assignments to conduct the debate with as much acrimony as possible, thereby dividing and conquering the bewildered Christians. The facilitators, who originally framed the issue in a biased and adversarial context, are skillfully bringing the dialectical process to its desired conclusion -- consensus. Thesis (KJV/TR) + Antithesis (modern versions)
= Synthesis (Hebrew/Aramaic texts)

The Third Way is the objective of the One World Religionists, and the preordained method of atttaining synthesis is through the dialectical process. Modern translations have already prepared the way of apostasy for multitudes to accept counterfeit scriptures. Fundmentalism is the last stronghold contending for the Received Text as found in the KJV. Now that these brethren have been assured by their revered scholars that the Syriac Peshitta and the Old Latin Bibles, the texts of Antioch, are also based upon the TR, they will not suspect otherwise. In this way, the last bastion of orthodoxy will be drawn into the camp of the new Christianity, of the Nazarene variety which characterizes the Eastern Churches. The infiltration of Protestant and Catholic Churches by the Hebrew Roots / Nazarene Movement is already well advanced and the Rebbes will soon be offering the Judaized Church a Semitic New Testament which supports the historic heresies.

Continued in Part IV: Verse Comparisons: Syriac Peshitta vs. Textus Receptus

 

ENDNOTES

55. Alan Axelrod, The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders, Checkmark Books, 1997, p. 47-8.
56. Laurence Gardner, Bloodline Of The Holy Grail, "The Stone Of Destiny," Element Books, 1996, p. 299
57. The Messianic Legacy , Michael Biagent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Dell Publishing, 1986, p. 119.
58. The Messianic Legacy, p. 120.
59. The Messianic Legacy , p. 124
60. Prince Michael Stewart, The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland, Element Books, 1998, p. 29.
61. The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland, p. 30.
62. Bloodline of the Holy Grail, p. 189.
63. The Messianic Legacy, p. 122.
64. Jack Moorman, Forever Settled, p. 121.
65. Which Bible, p. 187.
66. Defending the King James Bible, pp. 45-6.
67. David Cloud, Rome and the Bible, Way of Life Literature, 1996, p. 34, 36, 37.
68. David Cloud, Way of Life Encyclopedia, Roman Catholic Dominion 500-1500 A.D.
69. The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders, p. 121.
70. Columbia Encyclopedia, p. 1680.
71. Lady Queenborough, Edith Starr Miller, The Occult Theocrasy, Los Angeles, 1933, pp. 162-3.
72. Biagent, Lincoln & Leigh, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Dell Pub., 1982, pp. 51-2, 61-2.
73. Arthur Edward Waite, The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal, London: Rebman Ltd., 1909, p. 681.
74. Bloodline Of The Holy Grail, "The Stone Of Destiny," p. 299.

 

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