The purpose of this two-part (1)
sequence of documents is to tackle a technique that is often used
to disfigure people's faith - whichever the faith of their choice may
We have touched on one facet of this danger in earlier documents (2) ; now we will identify the other, and far more dangerous, facet: the technique used by those who, quoting the Holy Scriptures: (a) justify just about any criminal act "in the Name of God"; and (b) "can show" that there are key contradictions in them thus "proving" the inherent "unreliability" of Scriptures.
How are we going to achieve the purpose of this document? Precisely using the same techniques the enemies of God do, but in reverse. We will point out apparent errors in the Holy Scriptures and other religious texts and show that they are not really errors, even though they may appear as such to the average under Evangelized individual.
Do not, O Christians, make the mistake of thinking: “That would never happen to me!” Jesus Himself warned us that:
“And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened… For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.” [Matthew 24: 22-24]
Should you doubt those words, then listen to what M. Gorbachev complains about. (6) As we have said many times, even the evil ones have to serve God!
This will not be an exhaustive study of the issue at hand. That
would generate unnecessary volumes upon volumes of examples. Through
Parts I and II of this document, we shall only utilize a few
examples to illustrate the point, and to underscore the importance
of continually seeking the Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the
understanding, interpretation and application of the Holy Scriptures
and other religious texts.
There are several reasons why the Holy Scriptures and as well as religious texts may appear contradictory or outright wrong.
Let us now discuss each point…
(a) The adjustment of a communication from God to the intellectual and development level of the recipients of the communication.
This was amply covered in our document Creation vs Evolution - Part I (2).
(b) The translation of the Judeo-Christian Holy Scriptures.
Anyone who speaks/understands more than one language realizes that just the mechanical translation of words does not convey the true meaning of a thought. The translation of the words must also be accompanied by their expression within the cultural framework of the language it is being translated into.
An interesting exercise to illustrate this point is to have a native Portuguese and a native Brazilian who are both fluent in English (but not intimately familiar with, say, the U.S. culture) translate a brief text in Portuguese to American English and to King’s English. The four documents, most likely, will convey different imagery and contain inaccuracies.
Do the same with representatives of all Spanish speaking countries in Latin America and Spain and you will have a menagerie of images conveying the message and many of them will deviate greatly from the concept contained in the original US English version of the text.
When to this dimension we add thousands of years of cultural and linguistic evolution and the ever evolving archeological interpretation and re-interpretations of those past cultures, one must be very careful in not placing too much weight in the meaning of certain isolated words or statements.
In addition to all of that, there is yet another dimension to be concerned about: The spiritual dimension of the concept being transmitted.
It is totally possible to translate a spiritual text from, say, English to Portuguese and convey the exact same spiritual message, while the mechanical translation of said text, even taking into account the cultural coloring of both languages today, would appear totally wrong. The reverse is also true.
In many cases the errors are simply out of ignorance and the poor spiritual illumination of those who study to be theologians, but do not know God, or those who study to be shepherds and who do not know God either. The “knowledge of God” (that is, intimate communion with God) is the foundation of all knowledge. With the exception of Paul of Tarsus, most of those selected by Jesus were uneducated men (i.e., culturally and religiously ignorant), but it was through their intimate communion with Him that the foundation of Christian knowledge was laid.
An example of a translation problem
Let us review the various versions of Colossians 1: 24 and compare them with its true translation:
It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His body, the Church - The New Jerusalem Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church. - The Douay-Rheims Version
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church - The New American Bible
It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church - Daily Roman Missal - English Edition prepared by Rev. James Socias, a devotee of Jose María Escrivá and his work.
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: - King James Version
The overall impression is that Christ’s suffering was incomplete, as if His passion, crucifixion and death just were not sufficient suffering - just “did not quite make it” - and Paul had now to “make up the difference.” This concept/translation is somewhere between blasphemy and heresy. However, in the most accurate translation of the original texts that we have found we read:
Now I enjoy the sufferings I endure because of you, and the suffering of Christ, which are still lacking in my flesh, are being fulfilled in favor of His Body, which is the Church. - Translated from the original Greek text by Msgr. Dr. Juan Straubinger
As the reader can easily see, the suffering that was lacking was not Christ’s suffering but His suffering manifested in Paul’s flesh for the benefit of Christ’s Body, the Church. This is a tremendous difference from all other man centered versions.
No Biblical error. Paul did not make a mistake either - it was simply that it did not occur to the translators, except to Msgr. Straubinger, that all that is Christ and of Christ was, is and will ever be perfect and no man can even think of making up something that Christ lacked, except, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Moon (7) who seemed to be the latest version of the Antichrist and claim to be making up Christ’s incomplete mission. But that is another story altogether; a story well covered in False Dawn (8).
Many, many other apparent errors could be brought to light but we
are only trying to show one or two examples of each category.
(c) The Holy Scriptures show only “window shots” of events that were continually evolving.
There are Biblical passages where we may find outright (apparent) contradictions and those are used in many cases to prove that the Holy Scriptures cannot be trusted. What is being forgotten is that the events that we are reading about were on-going event at that time. One individual may say “yes” in one of the Gospels and then say “no” in another of the Gospels. Was the time exactly the same? No. You may agree with us now and ten minutes later you may not - that does not show incoherence, that show that the circumstances were different ten minutes apart.
An example of such - “window shot” - problem:
In Luke 23: 39-42 we read:
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. - King’s James Version
In Matthew 27:38 - 44 we read:
Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, … He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, “cast the same in his teeth” [“cast the same in his teeth” means that they were joining in the insults.] - King’s James Version
Incoherence? No. Both thieves could have been indeed mocking Him as we read in Matthew 27:38-44 until one of them was awe struck by Jesus’ demeanor and had a conversion upon which he then did say what we read in Luke 23: 39-42.
One “instant” before miguel de Portugal’s flash conversion, he was supernaturally seeking ways to force a decadent life upon himself, and was unaware of what was about to happen. In the instant after the flash conversion, what he had been seeking was no longer important or of interest. It was immediately discarded since his priorities had been instantaneously changed. If one would report the “instant before” and the “instant after” there would appear to be total incoherence, unless one knew what happened in between.
As the Biblical examples used above - there are many more situations
which only reflect a report at two different “windows of time” and do
not reflect errors in the Holy Scriptures.
(d) The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures hinges on the social and religious customs of the area and the time in question.
To translate ancient texts one must understand the social and religious customs of the time in question lest the translation of the Word of God becomes a vehicle of perdition.
An example of the consequences of ignoring customs at the time in question:
In Luke 17: 28-36 we read:
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. …
[after setting the Sodom backdrop we continue to read]
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. - King’s James Version
This passage has obviously given headaches to many non-spiritual translators and shepherds. We could see this passage being grossly misinterpreted since a question would come (or brought) up - without a doubt - regarding the two men in a bed, as if one were in the “wrong position” and was left but the other were in the “right position” and was taken. The reader may use his/her imagination to see how much disinformation could be squeezed out of this monumental error.
Dr. Straubinger was the only one that we found (in five languages) that had the correct translation:
I tell you, that night there will be two men reclining at the same table: one would be taken… etc.
“Elementary, my dear Watson” - as Sherlock Holmes would say. In spite of Da Vinci’s Last Supper imagery, dining tables as we know them now did not exist at the time of Jesus. They were more like very low platforms and men reclined by them while eating the food placed on those low platforms.
Someone mistranslated “reclining” to “lying”, ignored the fact that it was a food related scene [women would be grinding grain (logically in the kitchen) and men working (cultivating) in the field] and added the “bed” because there is in a bed where one normally lies these days - and Presto! a major translation error which most Bibles have and about which we have the sinking feeling that has been (and continues to be) used for the justification of improper behavior/acts.
Once again, errors of this type abound from the many non spiritual
and culturally impoverished translators.
(e) Many other religious texts become “Holy Reference Points” for the faithful because:
We will just cite a few of these without categorizing them. The reader should be able to do so on his/her own.
Example No. 1: In Volume II (Lenten Season) of the Liturgy of the Hours, p. 976, in Second Reading in a Treatise by St. Basil we read in the last sentence that “–we become God”. This is troubling because this sounds like New Age (9) philosophy.
Comment: We find the same phrase in the Portuguese Version - p. 898. Thus it is not an error of translation into English. Unfortunately we find also that in too many accepted and approved religious texts. Although man was created in the image of God, man will never become a God. We repeat the cry of Michael the Archangel: “Who is like unto God?” and we answer it: “No one will ever be like unto God!” This is the ugly head of the Genesis serpent finding its way into approved religious texts to claim the unclaimable.
Example No. 2: “Through the intercession of Mary many souls are in Paradise… for God has entrusted Her with the keys and treasures of the Heavenly Kingdom.” St. Thomas Aquinas (10)
Comment: The Catholic Church teaches that it is the Successor of Peter who has the Keys of the Heavenly Kingdom - Where is the coherence? In addition, as we have shown (11), when a human is born in Time, his soul also is in his final destination - Heaven or Hell in the Eternal Frame since, in Eternity, all is present, there is no past nor future.
Example No. 3: Speaking of Israel: “What is your iniquity, O daughter of Jacob, that your chastisement is so severe? You have dishonored the King and the King’s Son, you shameless one, you harlot!” St. Ephrem (10)
Example No. 4: “The Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them.” St. Augustine (10)
Comment on Examples No. 3 and 4: Who should be condemned first - those who crucified the physical body of Christ or those who have been crucifying the Mystical Body of Christ for 1,600 years? (12) and What about: “…forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us…”? (13)
Example No. 5: “They who are not baptized cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Ven. Louis of Granada (10)
Comment: If that were true, imagine the fate of those who are to blame for a failed Evangelization effort and the lack of universal conversion - with the Administrators of the Roman Catholic Church at the top of the list.
Example No. 6: “God cannot do that which is against the faith. He cannot do what is against the truth.” St. Ambrose (10)
Comment: Now it seems that the Faith sets the limits for God or that the Faith is as perfect as God. That is blasphemy!
Example No. 7: “Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection.” Pope Innocent III (10)
Comment: Who should be condemned first - those who crucified the physical body of Christ or those who have been crucifying the Mystical Body of Christ for 1,600 years? (12)
Example No. 8: “He who does not believe contracts an incurable sin; for by his disbelief he dares to assert that God is either impotent or a liar.” St. John Chrysostom (10)
Comment: To contract a disease one has to be infected by someone. In this case “someone” are those who through poor examples and a failed Evangelization effort have led many away from the True Faith. Therefore, from the condition of the world today, if we are to apply St. John Chrysostom’s rule to the Church Administration we can confirm our evaluation of them: They have been and are ill, very ill.
Amongst the many less than fortunate statements made by men and women greatly revered by the Roman Catholic Church, there are also many true gems. This is just another example of the absolute need to make the Holy Spirit of God an integral part of our daily lives since amongst the fine wheat there is is much chaff - both sowed by the same sower. With the Light of the Holy Spirit of God we can easily separate the wheat from the chaff without falling in grave sin just because some unholy, but greatly revered, individual said it!
It is Jesus and Mary Whom we have to look for examples to emulate and not the Saints. The Saints are to be reminders that “For man all is possible with God”, but they are never, ever, to replace Divine Wisdom and much less take the place of image of God that we must strive to emulate!
(iv) The original Greek texts upon which the New Testament
are based were lost long ago. This topic will be covered in in Part II
of this document (1).
However dark such
reality may seem, it has a happy and faith building conclusion.
Is it Biblical Literalism or Symbolism? It is both; it just depends on the circumstances. With an intimate relationship with God we will be able to sail through the End of These Times with a minimum of errors and difficulties, remembering the admonishment from Our Lord Jesus Christ:
“For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.” [Matthew 24: 24]
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