Thursday, May 29, 2014
“For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day” (Hebrews 4:8 KJV).
Why did our scholarly King James translators render this verse in such an oft-derided manner?
Emulating countless others, an arrogant seminary professor once wrote a scathing article about so-called “King James Bible errors.” The wayward professor included today’s Scripture in his list of flaws: he criticized our 1611 translators by arguing that the Greek word they rendered “Jesus” should actually be “Joshua” to fit the context (the modern Bible publishers were thrilled to receive publicity and backing!).
Before we grow angry with God’s Word for being right 100 percent of the time, and before we attack the 400-year-old King James Bible, we would do well to let God teach us instead of us “correcting” Him. A quick lesson in anthroponomastics will cause us to appreciate why our King James Bible says “Jesus” not “Joshua” in Hebrews 4:8 (and Acts 7:45); the related anti-KJB remark will also be manifested as pointless.
“Joshua” is the contracted version of the Hebrew “Jehoshua” (which is pronounced “yahowshuwa”)—Hebrew is the language of most of the Old Testament Scriptures. In Greek, the language of the New Testament, “Joshua” is “Iesous” (ee-ay-sooce), and in English, “Jesus” (meaning “saviour, deliverer;” see Matthew 1:21). Interestingly, “Jehoshua”/“Joshua”/“Iesous”/“Jesus” means “Jehovah-Saviour” (in English, we pronounce “JEHOVAH,” the name of Israel’s God, as “jahovah,” but in Hebrew, it is pronounced “yahovah”).
Today’s Scripture refers to Israel entering the Promised Land under Joshua, Moses’ successor (recorded in the Old Testament book of Joshua). According to Numbers 27:15-23, which see, Moses said Joshua was to be Israel’s “shepherd,” the man to lead Israel into God’s Holy Land to possess it (God would have then established His earthly kingdom). Historically, Israel rebelled against God by following pagan idols, thereby delaying God’s earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ—Israel’s true Shepherd (John 10:1-30) whom Joshua pictured/typified (see Acts 7:45)—will lead God’s people Israel into her Promised Land to establish His earthly kingdom (see Isaiah 35:1-10; Ezekiel 37:1-28; Hebrews 4:1-11).
Basically, our King James translators alerted us in Hebrews 4:8 that Joshua’s leadership represented Jesus Christ’s future headship of Israel. Our Authorized Version translators are hereby vindicated, and their critics still puzzled! 🙂