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Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Reluctant Post on the King James Bible Version

Here is a link to a previous short study on the names of God which may help in how we approach names and titles in scripture and in our English Bibles: LINK


There are far too many Christians (and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt) who spend day and night arguing that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is inerrant and inspired in its entirety. That argument falls apart with just the first two verses in Genesis.

This obsession leads them into finding supposedly secret Satan-worshiping in the other English versions. They particularly hate the NIV. What I'm about the do in addressing just one fantastic accusation against the NIV is to use their own reasoning. I do this a lot in my general apologetic work (I do it with my own reasoning), so I just continue that methodology here.

One KJV-Only site pointed to the NIV's use of "Morning Star" in its translation of Isaiah 4:12. This title is give by the Lord Jesus Christ to himself in Rev 22:16. They argue the NIV i supposedly calling Jesus "Lucifer." If that was their intent, they've done really terrible job of it. We'll also see that titles given to Christ are sometimes given to men and angels and even to fallen angels in one form or another. This is true in the KJV. No one with could honestly believe anyone is trying to equate these other creatures with Christ

How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
-Isaiah 14:12 (NIV from Hebrew)

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” -Rev 22:16 (NIV from Greek)

If the verse from Isaiah 14 (even without the rest of the context) somehow makes you think they're trying to bring some kind of glory to Satan or some equivalence to Christ, your blinders are pretty dark and tight.

Now let's look at how the KJV handles these two:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! -Isaiah 14:12 (KJV)

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star. -Rev 22:16 (KJV)

Before we go anywhere, let's look at how Strong in his concordance handles the Hebrew "hey-lel."

From H1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning star: - lucifer

We could look at a number of other commentaries, but I'll leave us with E.W. Bullinger's note on Is 14:12.

Lucifer = Morning-star. Worshipped by the Assyrians as male at sunrise, female at sunset. A name of Satan.

Let's Stick With their Line of Reasoning

The argument is that the same title is used of Lucifer and of Christ ("morning star").  When we look at Strong's Concordance and Bullinger's notes, we see that the Hebrew name "Lucifer" has the connotation of "morning star." The use of the same words or titles being used of different entities in scripture (from God to angels to Satan, to men) is not unique to these two verses as we shall see.

The KJV limits itself to the English as KJV-Only adherents believe it is the inspired word of God in English. So, let us look at an example in the KJV English of this practice. This example is found in the Revelation. 

For some reason the KJV translators translated two different Greek words as "beast(s)" thus putting the Cherubs in the same category as the Antichrist. Context supplies the difference, but it's still a bad choice of words. But the KJV-only crowd don't care much about context when it comes to another duplicate wording.

We note here that both of these words are not only in the same language (Greek) but in the same book (The Revelation). If you hold the KJV to be inspired, "beast" thus is the God-breathed word for both the Cherubs of God and the Antichrist despite being different words in the Textus Receptus Greek Texts (used for the KJV translation).

This practice of using the same English word leads to confusion in the KJV's handling of John 21 as well. There, different words for "love" in the Greek are translated by a single word. Let's compare the KJV with the Rotherham translation.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao] thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee. -John 21:15 (KJV from Textus Receptus Greek)

When, therefore, they had broken their fast, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter—Simon, son of John! lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him—Yea, Lord! thou, knowest that I am fond of thee. -John 21:15 (Rotherham)

If we say that for the English reader, he must accept the KJV as God-breathed, we can lose some of the majesty of this exchange.

Same Title Given to God and His Creations

We are still using their line of reasoning.

In Job 38:7, the angelic host are called "the morning stars" (KJV). As Lucifer, not yet fallen, he would have been counted in that number (singular: morning star). They're also called "the sons of God" in Job (KJV). In Genesis, even fallen angels are still called "sons of God" (KJV). Do we equate them with Christ? Of course not. Do we argue the KJV is calling Jesus a fallen angel? Nonsense conclusion.

The NIV passage in question in Isaiah 14 refers to Lucifer as "son of the dawn." The NIV also uses "morning star." It's a legitimate rendering of the Hebrew. Others do use "Lucifer," but there is some variety across translations.  But the replication of the English "morning star" is no more offensive or blasphemous than the KJV's use of "beasts" in the Revelation.

The point Isaiah is making is that Lucifer was once part of the heavenly host surrounding God. Ezekiel refers to him as "the anointed cherub that covereth" (KJV). Interestingly, the KJV casts this in the present tense, "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth." So, is the KJV teaching that Lucifer hadn't fallen yet? (Yeah, silly conclusion, I know.)

Ezekiel further adds, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (KJV). As Lucifer, he was "perfect" in his ways and "perfect in beauty" (KJV). After he exalted himself, he was deemed "profane." Scripture distinguishes his high calling as Lucifer from his fallen state as Satan.

As Lucifer, he did have "brightness" as a "son of the morning" and as "the anointed cherub" and as a "son of God." Ezekiel continues, "thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness" (all KJV). The perfect creation of God, was corrupted. He fell. This is not hidden in the NIV. It is not even hidden in the very verse in question.

How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
-Isaiah 14:12 (NIV from Hebrew)

Ezekiel is called "son of man" by the Lord. Jesus is also called "son of man." Is God equating Daniel with Christ? Is the KJV doing this? 

David is called "the LORD's Messiah [anointed]" (1 Sam 26:9). Cyrus is called God's "anointed" (Messiah). Is that a blasphemy? Is the KJV lowering Christ to Cyrus or exalting Cyrus as Christ? No, in context we understand it.

Ironically, the KJV, takes the Hebrew word for "oil" in its 23 uses in Hebrew, and only once translates it as "anointed," Zech 14:4. There, the KJV reads, "two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Are they saying there are two Messiahs? The Hebrew words used are literally "sons of fresh oil" not "Messiah," but, since the KJV-only folks want to deal in "inspired English," why do they use "anointed" for men and for the Lord? Is this also blasphemy?

The reason "Messiah" or "anointed" is used of Lucifer, men, and Christ is because that is how God breathed it in the original Greek and Hebrew. The Holy Spirit is not blaspheming Christ!

When it comes to our own experience, we know the the scripture refers to "spirit" and sometimes it means our new nature and sometimes it means the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the KJV fails to make this distinction and we lose precious truths such as those in Romans 8, thus leading many into bondage to fear. It leads to a denial of the finished work of Christ.

For more on that, see our series on Walking in the Spirit.

Selectively picking verses like Isaiah 14:12, picking two words, ignoring context and other examples while screeching that the NIV equates Lucifer with Christ is the kind of gnat-swatting many in the KJV-Only crowd engage in.

I'm not a big NIV fan. I don't use it much. But if you think they secretly wanted to equate Lucifer with Christ, you're predisposed to believe it. And let's assume they set out to do just that for a moment. Has anyone reading Isaiah in the NIV ever concluded, "Hey, Jesus is Lucifer!" Only if you're looking for it, I suppose.