King Josiah and me…

Recently, I reread the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings, and marveled at how applicable it seems in light of where God has opened the eyes of our understanding this past year.

Josiah became king at the age of eight. Ten years later, at age eighteen, God tells us in 2 Kings 22:8, that in the course of repairing the temple,a book of the law was discovered anew after evidently having been lost…interesting to note here, is that the scribe bringing news of this lost book, doesn’t seem to give its discovery the great importance it deserves. If you go to the passage and read verses 8-10, maybe you’ll see what I mean.

But King Josiah’s own reaction to this discovery is one of heartbreak. 2 Kings 22:11 tells us,

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.”

If you keep reading, in verse 13 he says to four of his trusted men,

“Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

God answers King Josiah, in verses 15-20, through Huldah the prophetess, but it is verse 19 that really speaks to me, in light of my own belief that God is calling us to greater discernment of modern bible versions in these end times,

“Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.”

King Josiah immediately called for the people and read the book of the law to them, and with the people, made a covenant to the Lord promising to walk in His ways, keep all his commandments, testimonies and statutes with their whole hearts and souls, according to every word in the book. ThKing Josiah cleansing the land of idols, 2 Kings 23 : 24en the king proceeded to purge his land from idols and all things pagan. It’s an amazing story of a king totally ignorant of the depths to which his forefathers had been disregarding God’s ways and His words. But God saw Josiah’s tender heart, his keen brokenness over the things he’d unknowingly done, and God had mercy.

Wow. I really identify with this. For me, discovering the KJV is like a treasure I found buried in a field…the more my eyes became open to the stakes of this issue, the more my heart was broken over my own areas of blindness, broken yet awestruck at God’s majesty and holiness. Now my daily prayer is for God’s word to be a “light unto my path”, to keep me from stumbling, from deception, to renew my mind, and transform my every way.

Remember the Martyrs

KJVBiblePop quiz: What were the best-selling books in the Middle Ages?

  1. The Holy Bible–1611
  2. Pilgrim’s Progress–John Bunyan, 1672
  3. Foxes Book of Martyrs–John Foxe, 8 volumes, 1563 (note that modern copies of this book are severely truncated…leaving out around 6,000 pages)
Also interesting to note, is that the original title for Foxes Book of Martyrs was as follows:
“Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Day, Touching Matters of the Church, Wherein Are Comprehended and Describes the Great Persecutions and Horrible Troubles That Have Been Wrought and Practised by the Romish Prelates, Specially In This Realm of England and Scotland, From the Year of Our Lord A Thousand, Unto the Time Now Present. Gathered and Collected According To the True Copies and Writings Certified As Well Of the Parties Themselves That Suffered, As Also Out of the Bishops Registers, Which Were the Doers Thereof, by John Foxe.”
Imagine an eight volume set of books covering the tragic deaths of so many Christians being number 3 on the best-seller’s list. We’re talking  6,000+ pages here…could it be because people truly valued the sacrifices made by these brave men, women and children, and wanted never to forget the price paid by those who gave all to stand for Christ and the scriptures?

This past Sunday evening at Awanas, I shared some martyr “stories of the faith” with our AWANA Trek Clubbers. We’ve titled our contest theme this year “Track the Trek Tract Challenge”. Our goal with the Trek club is to hand out a certain number of tracts this year, and if we meet our goal, we’ll have a pizza party to celebrate. The kids earn tracts just as they earn Awana dollars, one tract per section signed in the handbook. They’ve enjoyed collecting and reading all of the tracts from chick.com before giving them away. Each week we share the unique places we’ve left tracts, and “track” how many we’ve left.

We’re also exploring a “Do Hard Things” theme. Hence, my wanting to share about the martyrs this past week. I think you all will be amazed by these stories as well.

With a blood-filled pen…

In 1557, Ralph Allerton was burned at the stake. Because he had no ink in prison, he wrote with his own blood, a report of his trial and a letter of encouragement to a widow. His bloody letters pleaded thus,

“I believe the Scripture to be true, and in the defence of the same I intend to give my life, rather than I will deny any part thereof, God willing.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 408

I have to admit, I never realized the Biblical extent of the stakes these martyrs were standing for…that they were not dying for their faith in Jesus–because their Catholic persecutors claimed to believe in Jesus also–but rather for standing strong in defense of the holy scripture, and the veracity of every single word contained therein. That is so important to understand. You see, in the Dark Ages (c. 500-1500), Rome taught that the scriptures could only be understood by a ‘language scholar’, by a priest or member of the laity. The Bible was illegal in the hands of the people. But the word of God was with the people regardless, and they stood firm against any tampering thereof.

For instance, John Cavel, in 1556, was burned at the stake along with five others, for refusing to go to a church that ‘corrected’ the Bible one week, and preached the gospel the next:

“John Cavel…answered, that the cause why he did forbear the coming to the church, was, that the parson there had preached two contrary doctrines. For first, in a sermon that he made…he did exhort the people to believe the gospel; for it was the truth, and if they did not believe it, they should be damned. But in a second sermon, he preached that the Testament was false in forty places, which contrariety in him was a cause amongst others of his absenting from the church.” Foxe, vol. 8, p. 106

These saints had a choice–burn the Bible word by word, or be burned themselves.

Memorizing huge portions of scripture…

Adam Wallace was taken to be burned at the stake. The men who took him,

“…spoiled him of his Bible, which always, til after he was condemned, was with him wherever he went. ” He spent the night before he was burned at the stake, singing the entire book of Psalms by heart or “without book” as they called it then.” Foxe, vol. 5 pp. 637-641Titlepage of Great Bible, from the Hebrew and Greek Texts, c.1539

Memorizing whole books of the Bible was very common in those days. Paper being scarce, Bibles were a precious commodity, and also, people were poor. Persecution was everywhere. Christians took to heart as many scriptures as they could…and in this way, groups like the Vaudois or Waldensians were able to preserve the purity of the scriptures and protect them against the corruption of those days. It gives all new meaning to Psalm 119:11,

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 2, p. 475, says:

“We can safely say that they would have been able to reproduce much the same translation as we have…through long years of memorization and recitation…”

Here is what one “Inquisitor’s Tract” relayed in 1260,

For I have heard and seen a certain unlettered countryman, who used to recite Job word for word and many others who knew the whole New Testament perfectly” M. Deansley, The Lollard Bible, 1920, p. 62

This would have been of illegal proportions to the mind of an “inquisitor”…the title of which should ring alarms tolling back to history classes and the Roman Catholic Inquisition, when Christianity any other way than the pope’s way, was a sure ticket to torture and death. Keeping God’s word from the people was of primary importance. But these “unlettered” Christians, in the face of persecution, memorized the whole New Testament!

A blind  girl’s pennies…

 Joan Waste, a blind girl residing in the town of Derby, was burned at the stake at the young age of 22. Her crime was three-fold. She objected to the services being read in Latin, she was found the owner of a New Testament, and she denied the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation holding that the “bread and wine were just that”. Here is her amazing story.

Although blind, she was able to “recite many chapters of the New Testament without book.” With money earned from knitting and rope making, she procured a copy of the New Testament, and as she was able, she saved out “a penny or two” to pay people to read the Bible to her. She was reported to have held the hand of her twin brother on her way to her death. (Foxe, vol. 8, pp. 247-248)

Practical application: Beloved…contend for the faith!
Jude 1:3,

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

William Tyndale, martyred in 1536, who was the first to make an English translation directly from the Greek and Hebrew texts, has this to say to parents:

“Thou shalt buy them wholesome books, as the holy gospel, the epistles of the holy apostles, yea both the New and Old Testament, that they may understand and drink of the sweet fountain and waters of life”…”Bring thy children to the church, to hear the sermon; and when thou shalt come home, thou shalt ask them what they have kept in memory of the sermon…”   Foxe, vol. 5, p. 598

I wonder what William Tyndale would have thought of little league, Guitar Hero or Harry Potter.  What about us adults? I’m just as guilty of the many ways we keep so busy in the ways of the world, which are so far from God’s ways.  Surely too busy to memorize the 27 books of the New Testament.

Remembering the martyrs might be a good place to effect some change. In my house as well as yours.

Lessons From Church History

John Foxe, of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs fame, is an amazing source for authentic church history. I just have to share here some must-know history that you won’t learn in your typical Sunday School…

In 1583, on worldwide persecution, John Foxe writes,

…it was universally through all the churches in the world fierce and vehement, so in this realm of Britain also it was so sore, that, as all our English chronicles do testify and record, all Christianity almost in the whole land was destroyed, churches subverted, all books of the Scriptures burned, many of the faithful, both men and women, were slain.” The Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1, London: R.B. Seely and W. Burnide, 1836, p. 312

Can you imagine that kind of persecution, to almost wipe Christianity off the face of the earth? This was in the Roman Catholic Inquisition time period…estimates of 50-65 million Christians were tortured and martyred for not only their faith, but their refusal to forfeit their pure copies of the scriptures. You see, even back then, the early church fathers warned against corrupt Bibles, which were supposedly being “corrected” by the scholars or religious leaders of their time. Among these keepers of the faith were the Apostle John (2 John 1:7-11), the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:17), Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus (2nd century), Victor of Antioch (AD 425-440)…Eusebius (Eccleastical History)  here cites:

“The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within one hundred years (AD 90-190) after it was composed.”

Dean John Burgon in The Revision Revised on page 323 quotes Gaius (AD 175),

“The Divine Scriptures these heretics have audaciously corrupted (see 2 Corinthians 2:17)…laying violent hands upon them, under pretense of correcting them.”

Gaius speaks of the source of these corruptions that survived in the early papyri, P45, P46, P66, P75 and B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus).

When our family visited the subject of textual criticism and modern Bible translations, and fell amazingly in love with the King James Version Bible, not surprisingly, many well-meaning friends wondered how today’s leading scholars and Bible seminaries could be so wrong in claiming that 1% of all extant manuscripts, mainly the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts (cited above by early fathers as corrupt), are the best out there upon which to base our modern English translations. Well, it’s a multi-faceted answer, at the root of which you’ll find the theories of Westcott and Hort in the late 1800’s (two men who dallied with demonic spirit-guides), but the easy answer is, modern scholars base everything on the assumption that these two manuscripts were the oldest. Oldest is not necessarily purest, especially in light John Foxe’s quote above, “all books of Scriptures burned”…and recent discoveries (1950’s-60’s) of 92 papryi have vindicated the KJV Bible believers, causing Nestle’s 26th edition to be changed in 500 places to go back to the KJV reading!

I also want to say, that many good men are deceived. Even Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:13, says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Peter was so spiritual that his shadow healed people, but in Galations 2:14 we see that “he walked not uprightly”–a good man, but deceived. Later, Jesus, talking to Peter in Matthew 16:23, said, “Get thee behind me Satan…” 

The KJV has long been the butt of jokes at churches and seminaries, sadly defiled as Jesus was defiled. Jesus uses lowly people, the lowly form of things, the opposite of what the world uses to attract. He will not be associated wtih the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or the pride of life. God has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Interestingly in this case, the KJV is the most majestic book ever written, in terms of poetry, rhythm, language and harmony. For 400 years now, it has born undeniable fruit for God’s kingdom.  Hardly surprising, when you consider that the providentially preserved texts underlying the KJV, would produce anything less than a masterpiece? Let us not forget who was the original Author.Yet modern text critics would have us believe that the least harmonious and most abbreviated manuscripts, one of which was discovered in the trash can at a Catholic monastery, are the best.  

Another thing to consider when it comes to bearing fruit…over the past 100 years, we have had over 200 English versions of the Bible spring up…where are the great evangelists, when was the last great revival to sweep the land? Have American Christians been drifting closer to God, or further away?

Also, we need to be careful what sinners think, as opposed to what God says. The word scholar is rarely, if ever, used in a positive connotation in the Bible.  A few examples for you:

  • Mark 12:38, and Luke 20:46, “Beware of the scribes…” Scribes (writers) have great power. Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
  • Malachi 2:8 says the scholars “have corrupted the covenant…”, and 2:12.
  • Luke 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

This post is for those of you who always wondered why all Bibles are not equal. Perhaps, like us, when you read the Bible around as a family, using different versions, you wonder, “Why’d they change that?” Why, indeed.

Maybe the idea of corrupted Bibles startles you, as it did me. But why wouldn’t Satan want to attack God’s word, when it was the very first thing he did in the garden of Eden with Eve? He questioned God’s word, “Yea, hath God said?” He then misquoted God’s word, “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” Then he flatly contradicted God’s word, “Ye shall not surely die!” On top of that, consider that the word of God is our sword of the spirit, the only offensive weapon against the evil one in the hands of the Christian as outlined in the armor of God passage. It would suit Satan’s plans perfectly to get a suitable counterfeit into the hands of every believer. Why else were pure scriptures in the hands of Christians such a threat in the Dark Ages, resulting in so many Christian’s deaths, in so many Bibles being burned? In those days, Satan’s attack was overt, and obvious. Christians knew who their enemy was. Today, he is more subtle. We must be looking for the wolves amongst the sheep.

And why is it, that only the King James Version Bible is the one being reviled, questioned, argued against, when the modern versions have a multitude of unbelievable ommissions, attacks on the key doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ, very minor manuscript evidence (1% as opposed to the KJV’s 99% manuscript evidence!). Have we blindly been led astray like sheep?

God promised in Psalm 12:6-7,

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

God promises to preserve His words perfectly, as silver burned to purity…forever. The question that burns to be answered…is where is this Bible?

And where are the corrupt ones we’re warned about in 2 Corinthians 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.”

2 Corinthians 11:3,

 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

And lastly, Jeremiah 13:15, 17…

 “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken…But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.”

Don’t take my word for something this monumental. Pray about it, and research for yourself using God’s word as the light to your path. Church history is a great place to start. And if you are local to me, I have thousands of pages on the subject in my personal library that I would be honored to share to assist you in your journey.

This is a journey for which you must count the cost. At the very least, you could be misunderstood, criticized, laughed at behind your back, or called a church splitter. Yes, even in America. Even when there is no unity to compare to the unity of God’s people steeping themselves in His pure, holy, perfectly preserved words.

Rejoicing at having the privilege to share this here, as a sister in Christ,

Mary

What the word of God says about itself…

KJVBibleRecently I decided to study up on what God says about His word in the Bible. This study changed my life, as I fell in love with God’s word as never before! Did you know that God esteems His words more highly than His name? And He promises to perfectly preserve these words for us? And that heaven and earth shall pass away but His words will last forever? 
This is an important study in a world of Bible scholars claiming that only the original Hebrew and Greek contain the infallible, inspired words of God. Christians need to realize that there is no longer any original Hebrew and Greek…even in Bible days God’s people were relying on copies of scriptures. Does that make God’s words any less inspired, or do His promises to perfectly preserve those inspired words mean anything to us in modern times? If God and His words are our final authority, then this study is of paramount importance.
Here are my favorite scriptures on this subject, and I’m constantly adding to the list. Feel free to add more in comments! A study such as this truly humbles one…to think that God provided such a precious treasure trove for His people, common everyday mankind. A bridge across the great divide, to span thousands of years to eternity.
John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2 Timothy 3:16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
Jeremiah 15:16, ” Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”
Job 23:12, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Psalm 12:6-7, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them oh Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.”
Prov. 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
1 Cor. 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
1 Thess. 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Romans 10: 16-17, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “
Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Psalm 19:7-14, but verse 7-8 is all I’ll share here,  “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Proverbs 22:20-21, “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” 
 
medieval_warriorWarnings for the Christian…to gird up for battle, be on the alert.
Eph. 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”…this one tells us that the sword of the spirit for the armed Christian is the word of God! How better for Satan to cripple the church today, than to attack the one offensive weapon named to the Christian–God’s word. Do you have God’s word? How can you know? Keep reading.
1 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Rightly dividing the word of truth”. How much reliance and faith do you have in modern translations/translators rightly dividing the word of truth? Which Greek and Hebrew are they using? There are many and they are not all equal. 
We are warned 3 times (that I’m aware of, maybe more) in scripture not to add to or subtract from the scriptures:
Rev. 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
 Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Proverbs 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Yet another red flag for the Bible believer: 
 2 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.”
Are there corrupt Bible versions out there today? Most certainly. Sadly most of us don’t know our Bibles forwards and backwards enough to recognize that key doctrines of the Christian faith are fading from modern translations. Be on the alert, beloved! Please do your homework on this subject.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump…” Galations 5:9, 1 Corinthians 5:6.
One last parting scripture,
2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
 The study of the “word” of God is a very enlightening one! Count the cost!