From time to time there comes about what Jude spoke of relating to defending the faith and the word of God due to misinformation, outright lies, and a falling away from revealed truth. Anyway, Satan can gain an entrance into some situations to deprecate the word of God and he will do so!
I. THE SCRIPTURES ARE THE PLENARY, INSPIRED WORDS OF GOD PRESERVED DOWN THROUGH THE CENTURIES!
One that has been around for some time now, (placed in the notes of almost every translation of the Bible in the USA), is the utilization of spurious and false, fake and outright heretical mss found some centuries ago. Principally, those mss called the “Vaticanus B and Codex Sinaiticus, Or the Vatican or Sinaitic manuscripts), or the false or wrong other mss existing some years after Christ, which have been discovered. They have so many errors, false ideas, and wrong or falsified approaches it is pathetic and really so bad you wonder why any Christian would be entertaining consideration of their value.
There are approximately 3,119 Greek manuscripts of the NT existing today. Over 1800 of them contain verses 9-20 except for 3. Any footnote in your modern translations which carry’s words like this are publishing a lie. For there are early writings which substantiate the verses as authentic and inspired writings by Mark too in fact. So whether the translators, etc., knowingly or not knowingly doesn’t matter, it is a lie! A half truth really is a lie! The statement goes like this – “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9-20”, or “these verses are not in the oldest, best, most reliable Greek manuscripts.” That is a total lie! The footnotes making such statements, are deliberately misleading in intimating that these verses are not the word of God. I will share with you some of the reasons I consider it so, and other very well educated men in the field of Textual Criticism do also!
The verses certainly are not in the 4th century Greek manuscripts Vaticanus B and the Sinaiticus Aleph ORIGEN (AD 185-250) used. Origen, one of the first more popular unorthodox writers and ministers, whom I think would be a liberal modernist if he were alive today, rather than a orthodox faithful expositor of the word of God. He spiritualized everything he could and wasn’t dependable as a expositor of the word as we would normally consider a faithful servant of Christ.
Let’s look at just a few points about Vaticanus B, a “uncial” manuscript. Uncial has to do with style, such as Block letters, no spaces between words, and no vowels. It is a codex – a book not a scroll.
This book has the following big time errors.
- It includes the Apocrypha as being inspired, and it is NOT! Just writings with some historical value but not doctrinal and spiritual value for a Christian. The writings contain fairy tale stories and very odd writings to say the least. Roman Catholics use it and from it have been influenced in many of their unbiblical teachings. God said do not “ADD” to the word of God. This addition brings God’s displeasure and chastening on those who do.
- It contains also the Un-Inspired Book of Barnabas which teaches water baptism saves souls!
- The Word of God in many places has been DELETED in those MSS, such as Vaticanus B does NOT include: Genesis 1:1-46:28; Psalms 106-138; Matthew 16: 2-3: Romans 16:24. It also does not include any of Paul’s Pastoral Epistles (1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and Philemon. In addition, the Book of Revelation and Hebrews 9:15-13:25 are missing. This portion of scripture in Hebrews teaches the ONCE for ALL sacrifice of Jesus ending the sacraments forever! There is also a conspicuous BLANK SPACE where MARK 16: 9-20 should be, the only Blank Space in the entire 759 leaf MSS should alert us that something is very wrong with these MSS, especially seeing how so much other scripture was deleted from the word of God by its writers or scribes.
- In regard to the Codex Sinaiticus Aleph being always referred to as a Complete GREEK New Testament, which it is NOT! It ADDS for instance, “The Shepherd of Hermas” and Barnabas to the New Testament writings. It also deletes or omits John 5:4, 8:1-11; Matthew 16:2-3; Romans 16:24; Mark 16:9-20; 1 John 5:7; Acts 8:37 and about a Dozen other verses.
- In these two sets of MSS they have a serious reading which is in error. Aleph, reads, John 1:18 as saying, “Jesus was the only begotten “GOD” instead of the only begotten “SON”. That is the original Arian heresy that became popular for a while. The most widely used Greek text today in Bible colleges and seminaries is the Eberhard Nestle’s Greek Text. This text is NOT reliable and does not follow the Received Text on many important Biblical words and verses. Nestle is reflecting the following error about the Incarnation as follows ……”only begotten GOD”, which means God had a little God named Jesus who is thus a lesser God than the Father. The point is, our God and our Lord Jesus was and always had been God. One and the same in essence and co-equal! The point is, at the incarnation, God begat a son who, in so far as His deity is concerned, is ETERNAL (Micah 5:2).
These readings make the MSS as untrustworthy, and actually depraved! Yet these two manuscripts are the most venerated by many textual critics over the last century in the USA! How sad!!
These corrupt Greek texts replaced the ACCEPTED AND TRADITIONAL, “TEXTUS RECEPTUS” GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, which the believing Church had always followed as the Inerrant Word inspired by God. These MSS have been found to have their history as far back as AD 66. Even up until 1904, the Greek Orthodox Church guaranteed the Byzantine text of the Textus Receptus. Textus Receptus means “Received Text”! That is why the word of God usually had in its beginning pages or a title shown as the “Authorized Version”! Authorized in the sense of it being understood that the MSS’S from which it was derived were the inspired words of God.
Mark 16: 1-20 is quoted by the following important figures who have a history back to the Apostles being identified as knowing and affiliated with them and these are as follows:
The passage is quoted by Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the 2nd or 3rd century. Hippolytus in the years from 170-236 AD had these passages in his work. Also, Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons in 180 AD had these verses in his writings. He was a student of Polycarp – Bishop of Smyrna, Revelation 2. Polycarp was martyred in 156 AD. He had been a Christian for 86 years and was a Disciple of John the Apostle. If Mark’s words were not considered Scripture they would not have referred to them at all in their teachings and preachings! So much for the Vatican B and Sinaitic MSS! They should not be considered as reliable in any form or fashion when we deal with the Eternal word of God except to show how Satan uses very sinister methods to detract or remove words from the Holy Writ!!
To end this dialog on the subject matter I present the following:
Not only is the Greek manuscript attestation ratio over 600 to 1 in supporting the verses (1,800 to 3 = 99.99%) – all but one of the approximately 8,000 extant Latin MSS, ALL but one of the approximately 1,000 Syriac Versions as well as all the over 2,000 known Greek Lectionaries contain the Verse.
Mark 16: 9-20 was cited by Church Fathers who lived 150 years or more before Vaticanus B or Sinaiticus Aleph were written: Here are the names of some of them:
Papias – c100
Justin Martyr – c150
Irenaeus – c180
Tertullian – c195
Hippolytus – c200.
I would like to share some more important information on the overall problem that causes this particular matter to arise again on the scene in the local Churches. In or around 1881, the English Bible (KJV) was revised. That revision was called the Revised Version. Sadly, but true, this version abandoned the Greek text of the New Testament which had been until this point, not only for the KJV, but for all Bibles translated during the Reformation period, e.g., Luther’s Bible, Dutch Bible authorized by the Synod of Dort as examples.
The revision used the Greek text advocated by the textual translators by the name of Westcott and Hort. All subsequent English versions even today, except the New King James Version, the Modern King James Version, The Literal Translation of the Bible, and the Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible have used these two men’s developed text. They both regarded the Greek Text of the KJV as an inferior text and actually hated it.
Thankfully, one godly scholar opposed their work in the 19th century. He was a English Textual scholar by the name of John W. Burgon, who graduated from Oxford in 1841. He was considered a man who was absolutely dedicated to the defense of the infallible Word of God and its inspiration. He worked hard to stop the modernist movement during his lifetime which began in the Church of England to be a big problem. In 1860, while serving as a temporary Chaplain of the English congregation at Rome, he made a personal examination of Codex B (Vaticanus), and in 1862 he inspected the treasures of St. Catherine’s Convent on Mt. Sinai, Of all the critics of the 19th century, Burgon alone was consistently Christian in his vindication of the Divine inspiration and providential preservation of the text of Holy Scripture which both Westcott and Hort did not believe in. If one doesn’t believe in Divine Inspiration, they will not handle the word of God correctly in their teaching or in their own life as they read it. Inspiration means the very words or considered as being “verbal plenary inspired words”! God is in the business of Preserving His word down through the centuries.
Burgon defended strongly the Greek text of the KJV calling it the Traditional Text and which is referred to today as the Majority Greek Text, which has some 1,500 minor differences with the Textus Receptus but not creating any major problems, as the authentic text of the New Testament Scripture. He criticized Westcott and Hort text as False and dangerous. He considered their hands as unholy hands handling the word of God.
For instance, Westcott and Hort omit “God” in the text found in 11 Timothy 3:16 which God was manifested in the flesh. W-H omit the word God. W-H omit also the woman taken in adultery in John 7:53-8:11. Then there are the omission of Marks’ words relating to the last Twelve verses of the 16th chapter of Mark.
These men were considered in their day and into our own past years, by Bible believing Churches of all denominational backgrounds, (except the modernist neo-orthodox types), these men were spreading heresy, guilty of infidelity, apostasy and many other problems. That they were guilty of doing great damage to the true text of the word of God. Those charges were not speculative but actually known, and even many public writings of those two men reveal that these things are true.
So, it is imperative we do not blindly accept the work of any scholar so – called, without investigating their beliefs and background regarding the Bible and doctrine.
W-H were responsible for the greatest feat in textual criticism perhaps ever. They replaced the Universal Received Text of the Authorized Version of the Bible with the Local Text of Egypt (Alexandrian) and the Roman Catholic Church. They were deceived into believing the two manuscripts Vaticanus and Aleph, were better mss just because they were older that some others. However, even Hort admitted that the Antiochian ( from Antioch, a city where the first followers of Christ were called Christians), or Universal Text was equal in antiquity. He even admitted that the “fundamental text of the late preserved Greek MSS generally is beyond all question identical with the dominant Antiochian or Graeco-Syrian Text of the 2nd half of the Fourth Century. “
In spite of the fact that the readings of the Universal Text were found to be as OLD or Older, Westcott and Hort still sought to dislodge it from its place of high standing in Biblical history. He even spoke badly of it by these type of words, “the villainous Textus Receptus….Think of the Vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late MSS; it is a blessing there are such early ones.” These men knew that the few uncial MSS they used did not even agree with each other. But they formed their system anyway.
We must consider these things, for how can God use men who do not even believe that HIS BOOK is any different than Shakespeare, or Plato, or Dickens? These men did not consider them Inspired by God. What is so strange is these men became famous for being able to deny scriptural truth and were upheld by even fundamental Christianity as Biblical Scholars and authorities!! It is absolutely unbelievable!! They deny almost all of the major Doctrines which are essential to our faith! And yet they are Greek Textual authorities we use? Let it not be!
Hort for instance, denies the reality of the Garden of Eden. He and Westcott, deny the Bible is infallible. Hort had great admiration of Charles Darwin. He denied the existence of the Devil. Hort denied the existence of hell. He was a devout follower of the fictitious places called Purgatory which is taught in the Roman Catholic movement. There was also his rejection of Christ’s atoning death for the sins of mankind. On and on we could go. He even hated our Republic, the United States, and considered any democracy not good, but Communism he seemed to enjoy and like. All of these charges are factual and can be found in writing by these very men. So it is no speculation or presumption of my part. One can look up their writings and find it all.
Wescott did not believe in Genesis chapter 1 through 3 as being literal. He also said “David” is only a spiritual person not a chronological person. The first three chapters of Genesis are all allegorical to him. He doubted most miracles listed in the word of God. And Wescott believed that the 2nd Coming of Christ was not going to be a physical coming at all, but only some type of spiritual coming. Heaven to him was a state of being and not a real place.
So, these are the convictions of men greatly responsible for the destruction of the Christian faith in the Greek Text of the Authorized Version or Received Text. Place Mr. Wescott and Mr. Hort next to any present orthodox evangelical preacher or educator, and they would be judged a modernist, an heretic and a liberal. They would not be supported at all. Yet, on their work, we have our schools and seminaries and bible colleges using their works as if they are just fine! Sad day!
My final word is this; On the matter of Mark 16:9-20, these words are the inspired words of God given to the writer Mark and we should teach them in context as such. They were spoken and written about by the Church fathers in the very days nearer to the time of Christ and during the times of the Apostles and the ministers who knew the Apostles.
Their, the early Church fathers, “non-inspired” writings, show they considered these words as being in the Holy Writings called Scripture, or they would not have written them down as such. By the way, the words in Mark are actually directed to the last 11 Apostles, by Christ Jesus, sharing with them what He wanted them to do.
They were to go out and preach the Gospel and He would give them “special Apostolic miracle gifts” which He did. Those are found operating in the Book of Acts as God added an Apostle to replace Judas, making a total of twelve Apostles to the Jews and another man named Paul, was chosen by Christ to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, even though he was Jew.
These men had these special gifts and when they died, the office of the Apostle ceased, for none could qualify for a person had to have not only seen Christ but was taught by Him so that requriment cannot be met after those men passed away. Each Apostle had to have seen the Risen Christ.
Plus the special miracles stopped also. However, that does not mean that the 1 Corinthian lists of gifts have ceased, for God can do as He pleases in this area and give them when, where, and to whom He so chooses down through time. He never states HE would ever stop those from being around among His people down through the coming centuries.
So, the portion in Mark we speak of, should be taught to all of God’s people for it is the word of God and Mark was the special servant chosen to share it with all in the future as the holy God breathed scripture!
(Much of the historical facts here were derived from the work of Floyd Nolen Jones, in his writings entitled “The Mutilation of Mark 16: 9-20 and the writings of Dean John Burgon)
For addtional studies on this issue I would recommend the following sources:
The Revision Revised; The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to Mark – John Burgon
The Text of the New Testament 3rd edition by Bruce Metzger.
II. FALSE TEACHINGS HAVE BEEN FOUND WITHIN THE LOCAL CONGREGATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST CALLED THE ECCLESIA, OR CHURCH AS TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH FROM THE GREEK, HEBREW AND ARAMAIC LANGUAGES.
Common and public names of groups which have added to or taken away from the word of God, or have mistranslated and misinterpreted portions of scripture teaching the non-truth as being truth! Some of those are as follows:
Jehovah Witnesses; Roman Catholics; Seventh Day Adventists; Church of Christ; Mormons; Moonies; Christian Science; United Pentecostal; Within local churches which have a higher posture of essential truths they teach can be found however, heresies and false teachings also, and almost all Denominations will fall into that category such as; Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostal, Congregational, Christian Churches, Independent Churches, etc.! Within these the doctrines of Armenius, (works salvation – decisionism), along with Legalism, and Moral Deism or Behavioral Modification works to make one holy, etc. exist!
Paul stated in Galatians 6:17 these words;
“From henceforth, let no man trouble me for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. (What does he mean?) He means this: “God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is Crucified unto me and I unto the world. ”
In other words, stop talking to me about circumcision, I am not interested. Stop talking to me about the observers of the Seventh Day or Sabbaths, or any other particular sect. Stop talking about all these things that are held to be absolute essentials if I am to be a complete Christian. I do not want them!
God forbid that I should glory, I will make my boast in nothing and in no one , nor in any special teaching save in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and that is it. He is enough, because by Him the world has been crucified to me and I am crucified unto the world.
He is saying anything added to or anything taken away from the word I don’t want to hear about it at all. It is rubbish! No good! Errors are not acceptable. I only want to know Christ Jesus and His Apostolic message of Grace.
So heresies exist, and we must KNOW the word of God and be acquainted with it very much in order to discriminate or be able to see errors! Let it be so in each of our lives!