Biblical Errors...Many & Various

 

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Biblical Error -The Need For Messengers ...Uncensored...??

A disturbingly large number of people in the world today believe the Bible to be literally true, the very word of God, absolutely verbatim, as it were. I was reminded of this some weeks ago when I endured yet another doorstep visit from local Jehovah’s Witnesses keen to convert me to their version of ‘The Truth’. I enlightened them about the excesses of Jehovah’s people. They seemed unfamiliar with the Book of Numbers. They did not then ‘stand upon the order of their going’.

Indeed, much of the Creationist movement in the United States is driven by ‘folks’ who believe that the Bible is without error. Such people could well have made the difference in the 2004 presidential election which returned a supposedly staunch, evangelical Christian to the White House, someone whose life was turned around when he came to ’know Jesus’.

Over 40% of Americans are reported to attend church on a Sunday, which would make them one of the most God-fearing societies on earth. Other aspects of American society cast doubt on the value of this statistic. Nonetheless, there is now a vocal school of thought which is promoting the belief that the Bible is without error, even if the same cannot be said about this same high profile Christian.

This was brought home to me a couple of days ago when Jenny returned from a doctor’s appointment with a six month old copy of the New Zealand magazine Investigate which she had found in the waiting room. She read out to me a letter to the editor from a contributor in Vienna, Hans Weichelbaum. He complained that his arguments had been either ignored or misrepresented. His original contribution and this subsequent letter had arisen because the author and owner of Investigate, Ian Wishart, was promulgating the view that the Old Testament was totally devoid of error. In this edition, March 2005, the Editor replied to this letter and reiterated his claim at some length in a full article ‘Tough Questions - A Viennese Waltz on whether you can believe in the Bible’.

I had written to Ian Wishart myself some years earlier about my evidence, both for prophecy and intelligent design. The long personal reply I received was essentially a lecture on how Jesus died for all our sins. He hardly referred to a word I had written. Nor did Investigate publish any of my letter. So I could sympathise with Dr. Weichelbaum who, by strange coincidence, like me, has a Doctorate in Chemistry.

As Jenny read on, I became more and more irritated. How could any thinking, educated man claim that the Old Testament was devoid of error?

As a result of reading this article, I wrote to Ian Wishart as follows:

I find your position that the Old Testament is ‘without error’ incomprehensible. You appear to believe that to admit to its error is to also accept that God cannot communicate accurately with mankind. I have no doubt of God’s ability to communicate accurately with certain men through the ages, be it through some of the Old Testament prophets, through Christ, or through Mohammed, and even through men who predated any of these. What I do not accept is the ability of man to transfer this inspiration into written form and transfer it, free of ‘improvements’ even over decades, let alone centuries.

There is one very clear example of an error in transmission. It surprises me that no one has ever bothered to correct the world’s oldest ‘typo’at the end of the Second Book of Chronicles in the Old Testament at 2 Chronicles 36. Chapter 23 ends with the words ‘Let him go up’. At this point, it is not clear whether the original monk was caught short, stopped for his tea or was suddenly called to his Maker.

The next book of the Old Testament, Ezra, in effect goes back to the start of Chapter 22 of 2 Chronicles 36. There is a ‘carriage return’, new page, new section, and 2 Chronicles 36,22 becomes Ezra 1,1. And in Ezra 1,3, it then becomes clear where ‘he’ is to ‘go up to’. The last sentence in the Second Book of Chronicles should end with the words ‘Jerusalem which is Judah’.

I am indebted to Thomas Paine for first drawing this early typo to my attention in his book The Age of Reason. This is a book which catalogues the manifold errors to be found in both the Old Testament and the New. However, as he only wrote in 1795, perhaps it is early days yet for the idea of biblical errors to get around to priests.

You really should read what he says. He does believe in the existence of God. But unlike you, he did not accept that God could become as trivial and insignificant a creature as man, through some kind of sacrificial incarnation.

How much of it are you really familiar with? Have you never read any Biblical criticism? Or is it, as with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, only carefully selected highlights which are read to the faithful? ‘Behold a virgin will conceive’ or ‘Unto us a son is born’ or ‘Wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of Peace’? The words are so memorable to us, so ingrained in our culture, but is there really any evidence they really refer to Christ. The context would tend to deny this. What does the Old Testament actually say? Is there not some confusion over the virgin who conceives (Isaiah 7,14)? Is it Mary or the prophetess (Isaiah 8,3)? And is the name of the child Immanuel to be Maher-shalal-hashbaz or, as it is later claimed in the New Testament and Christian tradition for this particular prophecy, Jesus?

‘Unto us a child is born’ - In fact, one would have thought Isaiah 9,6 would be little short of blasphemous to the Jews - a child who shall be a mighty god. Consider the subsequent words ‘... of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David’. How on earth could that, in any shape or form, refer to Christ? Where is the evidence of the ‘increase of his government and peace’ anywhere on earth, especially in Jerusalem, the throne of David?

As for Biblical truth, what kind of god is it that you worship? Have you ever read the account of the valiant deeds of the precious Moses in Numbers 31, 13? Having returned from a slaughter and pillage expedition, not only sanctioned but indeed at the behest of Jehovah, the heads of the Israelite army, in their hour of triumph find themselves admonished for not having slaughtered enough. After all, they had only killed all of the men of Midian. Clearly Moses had forgotten his Sixth Commandment - Exodus 20, 13 - Thou shalt not kill! His experience of the burning bush must not have made such an impression on him, after all. Maybe the tablets had got broken and he had a poor memory or perhaps it was a different God who had said that! He asks……

15. Have you saved all the women alive?.......
17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

How do you or your god justify that? The justification, as given in Numbers 31,16, is that the Midians were the cause of the self-proclaimed ‘Chosen People’ straying from the ways of Jehovah. So the Midians all had to be slaughtered. But like everyone else, the Chosen People could surely choose for themselves. Why should others be punished for the free choices of the Chosen? Sound any bells with the sacrifice of the lamb?

Incidentally, have you heard of John Martin, the Victorian painter? His paintings tended to dwell on the theme of the Wrath of God - Belshazzar’s Feast, the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, The Flood, The Destruction of Ninevah and of course his final three Judgement Paintings. His painting of a self-evident Old Testament error hangs in the Freemason’s Hall in London. It seems appropriate, for theirs is indeed a house of error. Any god will do, as long as you swear your Masonic oaths of allegiance on whatever god this is. If you progress through the higher ranks of Freemasonry, you eventually reach the 33rd degree, the Order of the Holy Royal Arch. In that ritual, you finally learn the sacred name for God - Jahbulon. Would that be the unholy trinity of Jehovah, Baal and Amon?

The painting to which I am referring here is Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still. It is based on the text of Joshua 10,12. What an amazing feat for Joshua to perform! The sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon in the Valley of Ajalon. This time it was the Amorites who were delivered up by Jehovah to the tender mercies of the children of Israel. But mass slaughter takes time, so the sun stood still for a whole day so that their worthy task could be brought to completion, that is if Joshua 10,13 is to be believed. One can sympathise. Mass slaughter in the dark must be difficult; some might escape the wrath of Jehovah. If Joshua is not to be believed, then your proposition falls. The Old Testament does contain error. (John Martin himself did not accept that God could be the vicious, unjust,  biased, evil monster portrayed in so much of the Old Testament.)

Clearly whoever wrote that piece in Joshua did not understand the rules of planetary motion. But in 1609, Kepler’s elucidations of the laws of the planets made sleepless nights a thing of the past. Science had finally proved that there was an intricate order in the heavens. All was not chaos, after all. Kepler demonstrated, from his own observations and those of Tycho Brahe, that not only did the earth and the other planets revolve around the sun, but the path described by the each planet was that of an ellipse, with the sun at one principal focus. Kepler then went on to work out his other two laws of planetary motion. Kepler’s faith in both science and God was vindicated.

But I am reminded that it was with the same intransigence as you show that the Catholic priests and cardinals of the Inquisition imposed their version of ‘truth’. Not long afterwards in 1633, they forced Galileo to retract his belief in this ‘erroneous science’. He was made to admit that it is indeed the sun which moves round the earth. But his confession changed nothing. It merely saved his life. Contrary to appearances, the earth still moved around the sun, not vice versa.

God, as their creator, had known the laws of the planets all along, one can only suppose. It was only man who was slow to understand. So the error of the sun and moon standing still in Gibeon is man’s error - not God’s. But it is an error in the Old Testament, no less. It is a falsehood. Neither the sun nor the moon stood still over Gibeon or Ajalon, or anywhere else. As for either earth or sun standing still, can you imagine the forces which the tiniest deviation in the earth’s orbit would unleash upon mankind? The rest of the Book of Joshua is a tale of unmitigated evil. The walls of Jericho came down, thanks to Jehovah and the priests and their trumpet rituals. The worthy Israelites hurtle in and, as usual, slaughter everything that moves in the city, bar the prostitute who first helped their advance guard of spies. What a tale of valour and righteous living! Do you never wonder about the real nature of the god you profess to worship?

There is evidence that Christ was indeed sent by God to give a new Testament, but this is not exactly the ‘New’ Testament we have today. That volume has been heavily corrupted by St. Paul. He should surely be celebrated as the first marketing executive in history. In the PR calendar, St. Paul’s Day... (25th January Date added 13th Oct 2012 - That date - 25th Jan in 2010 became very significant in March 2010, but I did not realise it was St Paul's day until on 16th September, 2012, looking for a calendar for 1882 (ref NZH edition numbers) my old Victorian Book of Common Preyer (1859) fell open at the Conversion of St Paul - more 'book finding' . See A Tale of Two Daniels ) St Paul's day should be a public holiday, in recognition of his unique contribution to the profession of hype and lies. With a brilliant insight, he realised that ‘salvation’ had much more ‘sales appeal’ than the idea of personal responsibility and God’s judgement. It is to Paul that we really owe the concept of salvation and the death of the lamb for the sins of the world. You are not a Christian, but a Paulian. Not satisfied with this gross error, the Christians went even further. The man who had been sent to turn men to God was turned by these same men into God. The Council of Nicea dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s in 325 AD. So the triune god was born, the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Is it just a coincidence that The Koran speaks so much of God’s Judgement, much more so than does The Bible? In fact, the teachings of the New Testament and the Koran have much in common, bar two things. First, there is no salvation in the Koran. Every man and woman is held accountable for his or her own deeds. It is a much more moral precept than the vicarious sacrifice of the innocent man/god for the sins of all mankind. Secondly, ‘God is One’ is thundered again and again and again in the Koran. So, did God send Christ to correct the errors of the Jews, if indeed Numbers, Joshua, etc be considered to be ‘right living’ according to Jehovah? Perhaps He got tired of all the burnt offerings, if Isaiah 1, 11-15 is anything to go by. And did He in turn send Mohammed to correct the errors of the Christians who had succeeded in turning Christ into God, a god who ‘died for their manifold sins and wickedness’?

In the course of time, the revelations to Mohammed were also corrupted. Strangely, the Koran even recounts the fable of the virgin birth of Jesus, but sets it under a palm tree, rather than in the Bethlehem stable. Not to be outdone, the Koran then invokes an extra miracle. The baby, barely an hour old, proclaims his purpose in coming into the world and foretells his eventual fate. He is compelled to do this in order to defend his virgin mother’s virtue.

But man seems unable to free himself from the concept that his sins can be forgiven through rituals involving the sacrifice of others. The Old Testament hangs heavy with the stench of burnt offerings, despite the admonitions which come at the very start of Isaiah. Clearly God has the measure of man and his hypocrisy.

Was this insistence on sacrifice another error of the Jews which caused God to send Christ? If so, it was to no avail, because the man who came to show men the error of their ways became instead the ultimate sacrifice. This was the pure man without sin, not tainted even by sex, let alone killing, who was to be sacrificed for the expiation of the many. The sins of the many, past, present and future inhabitants of the earth would be forgiven ‘en block’. The concept really is quite astonishing in its utter lack of morality. It has certainly done little in the past two millennia to improve the behaviour of man. Perhaps it has done the opposite. However black your sins, you could always ‘truly repent’.

And if in time God did send Mohammed to correct the errors of the Christians, with their new found symbolic sacrifice of their triune God, He was to be disappointed there too. For the Moslems proved themselves unwilling to forego their ritual sacrifices for the new revelation. Halal slaughter has much in common with Kosher. For in that, the Moslems are far closer to the Old Testament than they are to the New Testament. The same animal is taboo - the pig. Even today in New Zealand, all cattle are slaughtered with maximum cruelty in the halal way. Who cares about the suffering of animals bleeding to death, as long as the killing has a ritual purity to satisfy the lucrative export trade to the Islamic world? By chance, or was it design, that my waste water treatment job has been for the past eight years in this particular field of mass slaughter. That job has helped in no small measure to confirm the truth of Mary, Daughter of Elohim.

The climax of the Haj occurs with the Eid el Adha, the feast of the sacrifice. Disasters at Christmas 1988 and Eid el Adha in 1990 were the two key events that led us to begin our deciphering of the Alpha and Omega Codes. As for throwing stones at the devil at Mina, it is much easier than resisting the devil in your personal, home or professional life.

There is no easy way out. Sacrifices are the currency of priests, not the currency of God. They are the ultimate flexible friend, your theological credit card. In time though, you pay the full price yourself.

As for ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ we have the fine examples of David and Solomon. Abraham merely hands over his wife to Pharaoh, as his ‘sister’, to save his skin. But this has all been explained to me by the devout as “things were different then”! John Martin was no more convinced of its truth than am I.

Too much of the Old Testament conveys the message that it is acceptable to Jehovah, indeed a duty, to slaughter in the name of a god. Perhaps we do not have the full text of the Ten Commandments. Should the sixth commandment not have said Thou shalt not kill (Israelites)? Then the slaughter in the later Books of Moses would not be seen as Jehovah contradicting himself. Perhaps it might have appeared too partisan to spell it out. It was just how it came to operate. I am reminded of George Orwell’s inspired book Animal Farm and the way the ‘rules’ were changed later on in the revolution as the Pigs assumed more and more the position of the usurped farmer. ‘All animals are equal’ evolved into ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ The original edict ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed’ was amended by the addition of the words ‘with sheets’.

The edict of ‘Go forth and slaughter’ is a message which is totally alien to the New Testament, although that has not prevented Christians doing precisely that through the ages. Unwittingly or not, perhaps they used the Old Testament examples for guidance.

Today the Koran is likewise misused to claim that the will of Allah is for good Muslims to kill in the name of Islam. ‘Jihad’ used to mean ‘struggle’. But the struggle which it was, and is ever more so, is for the decent to live an honest life in a world progressively more decadent and evil. It was this struggle to live a worthy life which in time would bring the reward of the glories of heaven, rather than the punishment of the torments of hell. Now Jihad means ‘killing others’ - back to ‘Go forth and slaughter’, but with the bonus of ‘a short cut to paradise guaranteed’. Once again, false priests make false promises like Heaven, with its seventy plus virgins for those who die for Allah. But it would be interesting to know where precisely in the Koran this particular promise is to be found. Given the carnage which is Iraq today, one begins to wonder if there is not now something of a shortage of virgins in Paradise. ( Some years after a censored version of this article was published in the NZ magazine Uncensored a Danish cartoon caused uproar in the Muslim world with almost those very words.)  Or perhaps the balance is maintained through the numbers of innocent women and children who are also slaughtered? I suspect the original words which came to Mohammed referred more to the laying down of one’s own life for truth and justice, not the indiscriminate slaughter of others.

In the past, neither Islam, through the lands of North Africa to Spain, nor the Catholic Church in Central and South America has hesitated to spread the faith through the edge of the sword. It has been reported that George W. Bush, in one of his ‘religious experiences’, was told by God to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq. It is not clear whether this message came through a tame priest, priestess or pastor, or direct from ‘on high’. Either way, this ‘god’ appears to bear an uncanny resemblance to the god of the Old Testament - ‘Go forth and slaughter’ - in the name of Freedom, of course. Is that the same god in new clothes?

Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said so well in his Preface to the first ever edition of the English Book of Common Prayer in 1549, 'There was never anything by the wit of man so well devised or so surely established which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted.' He was referring to the ‘commonly called divine service’ as then to be found in the infant Church of England. But his words apply equally well to the versions we now have of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Even worse is what men do, supposedly in the names of these Books.

Are we seriously to believe that all of these contradictory books, Old Testament, New Testament and Koran, are the unadulterated word of God, when commonsense should cause us to want to separate the wheat from the chaff? There are elements of original inspiration to be found in each of these Books, but much else beside, much of it wrong, or at best misleading.

I have not a shred of doubt that God exists. He has warned mankind for millennia. On every occasion, man has corrupted the words of His messengers, over time. Even the corrupted, weakened words are ignored by the masses today. It is clear we live in the End Times. Thou shalt not steal, kill, covet, lust after.......Is there anything left which makes modern life worth living? How can anyone turn an honest profit?

But God did not cease to communicate with man after the death of Moses or of the prophets, after the death of Christ or the apostles, or after the death of Mohammed. God has inspired men over the intervening centuries. In music, Handel springs to mind. The Messiah was written in exactly three weeks, not by picking out his notes on a harpsichord either! In art, the works of John Martin are paramount. William Blake is another artist who stands out. In literature, many novels have strange elements of inspiration. There is Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels of 1726 and Morgan Robertson’s 1898 novel Futility which tells the story of the loss of the Titanic, then 14 years in the future. Bram Stoker’s 1903 novel The Jewel of Seven Stars is not without significance. Then there are also more recent novels which appear to have strong elements of inspiration, such as The Nostradamus Inheritance (Raymond Leonard), The Hammer of God (Arthur C. Clark), and The Hermes Fall (John Baxter). ( For more on inspired books see Inspiration )  Nor should the many inspired hymn writers and composers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries be forgotten. The 20th century contributed few and probably the 21st will continue the decline. ( For inspired Hymns see our Voice of God website )

The Source of Intelligence, whether known as God, Allah or Elohim, still attempts to communicate with men today, but it is a losing battle. Money talks today to a greater extent than ever before and men prefer to listen to that. And women are in no way behind in this regard; they may even be out in front. Two thousand years after Christ died, many things which are now happening in the world today would suggest that we have finally come to the End Times.   We owe so much to the gospel of greed and the world of market forces. It is indeed a true Gospel for the End Times.

I dare you to publish this, and then counter my arguments in print, if you can.  But you would not want too many Christians to read The Age of Reason. They might begin to wonder about the real nature of their Holy Book. Horror of horrors! They might even begin to think for themselves! It is not just cosy stories of Christmas or the tragedy of Easter. For that is all most people know of the Bible, even so-called committed Christians.

I expect you to take the easy way out and just ignore this letter. That will not correct the errors in the Bible, but at least fewer people will be made aware of the extent of them.

c May, 2004

Edited 13th October, 2012  9:53pm  Knowing.

 
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