Rev. 16:5 in the KJV

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by fralo4truth, Nov 10, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fralo4truth

    fralo4truth Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm currently reading 'The King James Only Controversy' by James White. He makes mention that the text found in Rev. 16:5 according to the KJV reads:

    "O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be..."

    Whereas the actual reading is "...who art and who was, O Holy One".

    I am by no means an authority on this subject at all, but this didn't set well with me. There are a few places in the Revelation in which the past, present, and future time elements are contained (e.g. 1:4,8,18,19). The actual reading, according to Mr. White, eliminates the future element by omitting 'and shall be', or a comparable expression. I have always enjoyed seeing this text in the same light as those expressions in the first chapter mentioned above, but now that has been lost somewhat if Mr. White is correct. He probably is correct, but I just wanted to share this with you all.

  2. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    We've got around 200 manuscripts of Rev. 16:5, and none of them follow the Textus Receptus, or King James Version. There is literally no witness to the KJV version in this verse historically or right now. The church has never had it.

    And that doesn't change one single, minor detail of Christian faith. Read the King James Version with full confidence that it is the Word of God, even though in some minor details it falls short, just like all the other versions.
  3. christianhope

    christianhope Puritan Board Freshman


    I wondered also about Rev 16:5 and asked one of the translation scholars from the Trinitarian Bible Society about it, this man is very well educated in textual criticism, and is a supporter of the Received text. Here was his reply on this verse:

    Revelation 16.5. OK. This is probably the thorniest issue with respect to Textus Receptus, because it involves a critical emendation that was made by Theodore Beza. As you may know, all the Greek texts other than Beza, including Erasmus, read "Righteous are thou, O thou who wast, and art, the Holy One, for thou hast judged these things." Whereas, Beza, looking at the other passages in which the words "O thou who wast, and art," edited the text to read with the others "and who art to come." Even the Vulgate reads "Thou art just, Lord which art, and who art holy." So, Beza did not get this reading from the Vulgate. As he himself admitted, he critically emended the text.

    Beza is also criticised for having changed Luke 2.22, which reads in the Textus Receptus of Beza, "And when the days of her purification were accomplished," where Stephanus and the Majority Text and the Critical Text all read "And when the days of their purification were accomplished" (which would mean that Christ was ceremonially unclean from birth). Beza here simply brought over the reading of the Complutensian Polyglot.

    With respect to Revelation 16.5: I personally fear the LORD, and tremble at the doctrine of Providential Preservation. Myself, I think it could have been the finger of God that led Beza to make this alteration. That said, because it is a critical emendation, at some point, I would favour a marginal note that simply put the reading of the Majority Texts in the margin.

    My reason for that is thus: the Hebrew Massorites never changed a text reading put before them. They even at times copied errors right into the text. The pointings manifest that the word before them was manifestly a spelling mistake. However, they then inserted in a Massoretic note what they thought the right reading was, or, maybe even put an alternate reading in the margin from another manuscript. This is the policy I would favour in such situations.

    With respect, though, to Luke 2.22, obviously, the Complutensian is alone correct. Accordingly to Leviticus, only the woman was made unclean by childbirth; never the child itself.

    Keep in mind: these two verses are very singular in the Textus Receptus. We're talking less than seven or eight such verses. A marginal note would suffice. Edward Hills make a similar recommendation in Revelation 17.4, where the word for "uncleanness" in the Greek is misspelled in Erasmus.
  4. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Actually Beza emended it because of the doctrinal point it contains.
  5. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Pastor:

    I do not understand the doctrinal point? Jesus Christ, as He is God, is a fully actualized being (without potential). The phrase "is to come" implies a potential in Jesus that is not yet fulfilled.

    I don't believe an appeal to His human nature would satisfy this "doctrinal point" since Jesus Christ, in both His Divine and human nature, is now sitting at the right hand of His Father in all perfection.

    I do not have a problem saying that the Textus Receptus is wrong at this point, because it is corrected by the Byzantine copies of which the TR is simply a collation.

    Grace and Peace,

  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    "Behold, he cometh with clouds," Rev. 1:7.

    That may or may not be the case, but alleging a difference in the text does not affect doctrine is obviously not correct, not if words mean anything.
  7. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Changing a text that has no basis in the language for theological/doctrinal reasons is frightening.
  8. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    Well, God has used the KJV to bear much good fruit. He used Godly men to translate it. That is the first thing to look at. It has been the most popular English translation by a mile, and even in 2009 the second best selling English translation on the market.

    I think a pretty good case is built in my mind that the reason the KJV reads correctly here is that it is pure. We know that there is only one original and that we don't have it. We know that Arians corrupted scriptural texts to take out anything that rings of trinity even triune metrical texts such as Rev 16:5. St. Jerome even claims that the "comma" in 1 John 5:7 is indeed original but was deleted by Arians.

    "pre 550 A.D. JEROME prologue to the Catholic Epistles. "Preserved in the Codex Fuldensis (PL 29, 827-31)." per RB. Jerome writes in his prologue that the Comma (1John5:7-8) is genuine but has been omitted by unfaithful translators"

    I don't see why the formula isn't the same or similar here.

    The Arians would have taken over Christianity if God didn't use Athanasius against "the world" to stop that heresy. It is hard for me to articulate but there is enough doubt in my mind in regard to the newly found texts that I don't trust them very much and though I am not a KJV onlyist because I know the word of God can be heard in the probably corrupt Westcott-Hort modern translations, I do believe, however, that the KJV is superior and is in the English language the closest thing we have to the original inerrant written Word of God, so I check everything against it for accuracy. What can I say? I simply have more faith in God's providence and the piety of the sources of the KJV. By God's providence, I think the way the passage reads in the KJV is the way John wrote it.

    Here is what I dug up on this passage:

    From E Sword:

    Rev 16:5 KJV
    And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

    KJV with Strong's numbers for the underlying Greek text:

    Rev 16:5 AndG2532 I heardG191 theG3588 angelG32 of theG3588 watersG5204 say,G3004 Thou artG1488 righteous,G1342 O Lord,G2962 which art,G5607 andG2532 wast,G2258 andG2532 shalt be,G2071 becauseG3754 thou hast judgedG2919 thus.G5023

    Future tense of G1510; will be: - shall (should) be (have), (shall) come (to pass), X may have, X fall, what would follow, X live long, X sojourn.


    Beza's note on the passage from his greek new testament:

    "And shall be": The usual publication is "holy one," which shows a division, contrary to the whole phrase which is foolish, distorting what is put forth in scripture. The Vulgate, however, whether it is articulately correct or not, is not proper in making the change to "holy," since a section (of the text) has worn away the part after "and," which would be absolutely necessary in connecting "righteous" and "holy one." But with John there remains a completeness where the name of Jehovah (the Lord) is used, just as we have said before, 1:4; he always uses the three closely together, therefore it is certainly "and shall be," for why would he pass over it in this place? And so without doubting the genuine writing in this ancient manuscript, I faithfully restored in the good book what was certainly there, "shall be." So why not truthfully, with good reason, write "which is to come" as before in four other places, namely 1:4 and 8; likewise in 4:3 and 11:17, because the point is the just Christ shall come away from there and bring them into being: in this way he will in fact appear setting in judgment and exercising his just and eternal decrees.

    (Theodore Beza, Nouum Sive Nouum Foedus Iesu Christi, 1589. Translated into English from the Latin footnote.)

    An interesting comparison on the passsage from biblos:

    Revelation 16:5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged;

    An interesting article:

    Revelation 16:5
  9. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Kevin,

    I've responded to James White on the matter of Revelation 16:5. You can see where if you go to the thread, and in your browser's search function enter Revelation 16:5. My discussion starts at the 3rd appearance of that phrase. As you're reading his book on the KJO Controversy, you may find the entire (long!) post of interest.

    I've interacted with his views in some of the threads linked in this thread:; note, for instance, the two on the defense of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew and Luke. And here are additional resources.

    Hope this is of help.

  10. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you, pastor, for that answer, but I am still confused.

    That Jesus will one day come in the clouds of Glory is an act on His part. However, the phrase, "Who was, and is, and is to come" does not relate to His actions, but His being.

    Are you suggesting that Jesus, in His being, is not fully actualized because not all of His works are completed?


  11. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The words "shalt be" do not require potentiality any more than "wast" requires deceased existence.
  12. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Ok - so what do the words indicate in the passage?


  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    He exists at every point in time and therefore His righteousness never fails to bring forth judgment.
  14. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you, Pastor!

    You have shown that the doctrine contained in Beza's variant to be consistent with the teachings of the rest of the Scriptures. What you need to show is the Text Critical evidence that the Apostle John actually wrote it.

    I have found JerusalemBlade's exposition on this to be rather spurious.


  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Basically what you are asking is impossible because we cannot prove by "Text Critical evidence" that any apostle wrote a single word of the New Testament. I am content to label the reading under "questionable" so far as textual criticism is concerned; but I can receive it, as many saints have received it, because it accords with the analogy of faith.
  16. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Oh. I am not asking the impossible, because I know that the Byzantine copies we have today are the authentic apographia of the autographs. Therefore, we do know what the Apostles wrote because we have their writings which have been copied down through the centuries.


  17. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    CalvinandHodges says,

    That's a bit of a cheap shot, Rob — care to elaborate?
  18. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    You say that because of your "faith" in providential preservation. The reality is that the "Byzantine copies" have disagreements among themselves, so you would be forced by "textual criticism" to choose one reading over another on multiple occasions.
  19. TaylorWest

    TaylorWest Puritan Board Freshman

    Very interesting, I'm new around here, but I really didn't think one could be Reformed and hold to a TR position. We learn something new every day.
  20. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Oooops! my bad - sorry.

    I remember reading your section on that verse a while ago and thought it was rather weak. When I have the time I will hunt it down and make comments.

    Until then, consider this a plea for forgiveness.


  21. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Pastor:

    Somehow I fail to see the reasonable nature of your above statement. The TR is simply a collation of the Byzantine MSS. Infallibility is not in the collation, but in the Byzantine copies from which that collation is derived.

    There are, the last I heard, 5,401 Byzantine MSS available. Within these copies the whole, complete, perfect, and infallible New Testament is contained. Every word which the NT writers wrote under the Inspiration of the Spirit of God is Providentially Preserved within those copies. The TR is derived from these copies, and, insofar as it reflects the Apographia of the Autographs, then it is Infallible - because it is an exact copy of the Original. However, because it is a collation of copies, it is possible that errors have crept into the text - such errors are not infallible - but can be easily weeded out of the Textus Receptus.

    Rev 16:5 appears to me to be one of these errors. Therefore, instead of involving myself in a futile attempt at textual cover up. I have no problem with admitting an error, and seeking to fix it. Is that not the mature thing to do?

    Now, my question for you still stands: Show me your textual basis for keeping this abberrant reading?

    In Jesus,

  22. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Infallibility is in the preservation. The whole reason you emphasise the Byzantine mss. is because you believe in preservation. But you cannot point to anything in these mss. which gives material evidence that the apostles wrote them. You can't produce any evidence in any ms. to that effect. Hence your insistence that I produce mss. to prove an apostolic saying is without grounds.

    I haven't engaged in textual cover up. On textual grounds I have stated clearly that the reading is questionable. So your comments are irrelevant.
  23. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    According to your theory, then, How do you know that any passage in the Scriptures was written by the Apostles or Prophets?

    I was not accusing you in cover up - it is just that there are those who would seek to defend the TR in such a way that is not healthy.


  24. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Provisional apology accepted.

    May I assume, because of your current view on the Byz mss, you have given up on 1 John 5:7? (I don't want to debate this — plus it's off topic — but want to understand the ramifications of your new position.)

  25. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Steve, before we change the subject, do you object to Pastor Winzer's opinion that the TR reading of Rev. 16:5 is questionable?
  26. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    As I referenced above in post 9, this is what I said to James White on the verse:

    Among us there are two schools of thought concerning this text. One of them is that of E.F. Hills, who opined that it is a “conjectural emendation” and ought not be recognized as original; this would agree with the methodology of John Owen (noted above), although I do not know Owen’s view of this particular verse. According to Hills, and in principle by Owen, this is the proper domain of discerning the true text – within the parameters of the TR editions and mss, and not elsewhere. So there is no inconsistency when this camp of the AV / TR advocates select other TR readings and deny this one.

    The other school, represented by Will Kinney, Dr. Thomas Holland, and others, have a presuppositional view that holds the providential preservation of God is to be seen in the fait accompli of the King James Bible deriving from the Hebrew and Greek Texts underlying it – and that this divine accomplishment by its very existence overrides evidentiary considerations to the contrary....

    To sum on Rev 16:5: Whether one takes the Hills / Owen position that there may be minute variations within the narrow precincts of the TR manuscripts, or the Kinney / Holland view that God was able to and actually did restore the readings He had preserved elsewhere than the Byz to the text editions available to the 1611 translators, these two AV / TR options are, to my view (and many others) certainly at least as plausible as the hypotheses you formulate.​
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    By faith in the singular care and providence of God, that what He has written He has kept pure in all ages.
  28. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Armorbearer wrote:

    Yes - I can point to evidence in the MSS that proves that the Apostles wrote them - the Providentially Preserved copies which we have today have been "Kept pure in all ages" - including our age.

    So, where is the Providentially Preserved copy which contains the Rev 16:5 currently in the TR?


    1 John 5:7,8 is a Byzantine reading. So, why would I object to it?


  29. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    So by your own admission the reception of apostolic authorship has nothing to do with the fact that a reading is in a ms., but because the reading is providentially preserved. So why do you keep asking me for ms. evidence to prove apostolic authorship? As noted, I allow the reading is questionable on ms. evidence. As you and I question the reading on precisely the same grounds, I am at a loss to know why you are continuing to ask for ms. evidence.
  30. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Pastor:

    You keep telling me that my request of you is "impossible." I keep telling you that it is not impossible, and that we can know the actual words which the Apostles wrote because they are contained in the Byzantine MSS. To say that a reading is "questionable" is to throw doubt upon the Word of God. The reading is not questionable - Beza just got it wrong.

    If there are no Byzantine copies that contain this varient reading, then you do not have the warrant to use such a reading.

    Also, I do not believe that Conjectural Emendation is relevant here - as the passage is clear.


Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page