INTRODUCTION TO PREFACE
In 1963 (and several later revised editions), the Scripture Research Association published the Holy Name Bible which restored the Sacred Names of our Father Yahweh and His Son Yahshua along with other scriptural corrections. Although this Bible has been out of print for many years due to the death of Elder A. B. Traina, the Preface of that Bible is well worth printing.
PREFACE TO THE HOLY NAME BIBLE
If you were planning a trip through a strange country, would you knowingly choose an inaccurate map which shows non-existent roads and bridges? Of course not. You would get the most accurate map available.
The Holy Name Version provides a more nearly accurate map of the Kingdom of Heaven and the roads and paths leading to and through it and more clearly marks the pitfalls and dangers awaiting the traveler than any other version now available.
To the extent that a person's beliefs and conduct are based upon doctrinal misinformation supported by mistranslation, he follows a distorted map of spiritual territory.
The Holy Name Version is an improvement over other versions--a better map--simply because it makes use of data which have been known for a long time but which generally have been confined to footnotes, commentaries, encyclopedias, and technical publications.
The efforts at producing a more understandable translation of Holy Scriptures have resulted in a legion of versions by many learned men with more of the same scheduled in the immediate future, including a plan for a Catholic-Protestant Bible.
The question may be asked, "Why so many translations?" The answer is simply that men continue translating the Bible because none of their versions satisfy the hunger for spiritual food which Yahweh has placed in the hearts of His people.
Thus far these extant translations have failed to bring out the true message of the Scriptures because of the following reasons:
1. THE MASORITES
The Jewish scholars of the Great Synagogue in closing the canon of the Old Testament Text, which is known as the Masoretic Text, made changes and modifications of many passages to conform to their traditional teachings. Thus, they established a fixed doctrine for the Jewish dispersion.
These same scholars, in their attempt to safeguard the unity of divine worship at Jerusalem, changed the passage in Isaiah 19:18 to read, "On that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt, speaking the language of Canaan and swearing by Yahweh of Hosts, and one shall be called, the city of the sun." The King James translators translated this last phrase, "the city of destruction," but the original was, "the city of righteousness."
The Masorites, in safeguarding the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter Holy Name of the Most High), substituted in over 130 places in the Hebrew Text, the name of the Canaanitish deity, Adonay, and in some places, Elohim, wherever anthropomorphism (ascribing the physical attributes of man to Yahweh) was implied. Wherever they left the Tetragrammaton intact, they placed diacritical marks beneath it to indicate the pronunciation of the word to be spoken, Adonay, not the word written, Yahweh, which the Jews considered too sacred to be spoken aloud.
The chapters of the Prophetic Books were so put together, regardless of their historic or prophetic sequence, that the ordinary reader is at a loss to know which comes first. An extreme illustration of this is the book of the prophet Daniel, which throws the prophetic student into a confusion of date setting that has made Daniel and its companion apocalyptical book of Revelation difficult to understand.
Also, in their effort to divert their people from the apostolic New Testament, the Masorites altered many texts in opposing the Messianic teachings.
2. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGIANS
Christian theologians have translated the Scriptures from a non-Israelite approach to both the Old and New Testaments, thus losing sight of what the Great Apostle said in the ninth chapter of Romans, verses 1-11 and 22-29, that the Scriptures were written for Israel, and to them the oracles of Yahweh were committed. [NOTE: Israel is the Caucasian race. Reference is made to Treasure In the Field and Union Now, A. B. Traina, Scripture Research Association; and Before the Bible: The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations, Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, New York: Harper and Brothers.] Israel, in turn, was to transmit the message to other nations that they also might obtain the same promises through faith (Genesis 9:27; Isaiah 56:6-7 and Ephesians 3:5-6).
3. HEBREW TRANSLATION
Some have tried to translate the Bible in what they call a literal translation but the Hebrew language cannot be literally translated into a classical language. Hebrew is an idiomatic language, and one Hebrew word may have from three to ten different meanings depending on the context. Sometimes it has opposing meanings. In the Bible whole thoughts, not words must, therefore, be translated.
4. THE SACRED NAMES
Another common error among most of the translators is their elimination of heaven's revealed Name of the Most High, Yahweh, and the Name of His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, and substituting the names of the local deities of the nations among whom they dwelt (Psalms 96:5), expressly transgressing Yahweh's commandments as given in Exodus 20:7 and 23:13.
For Yahweh, they have substituted Baal, the Babylonian deity and Adonay, the Canaanitish deity of the Phoenicians, both corresponding to the English word Lord.
The characteristic appellation of the Most High, Elohim, has been substituted by the Assyrian deity Gawd, or God in English, and is repudiated by Yahweh in Isaiah 65:11 which reads as follows, "But ye are they that forsake Yahweh, that forget My holy mountain, and furnish a table for God, and furnish a drink offering to Meni." No wonder the people of Scotland and some parts of northern England celebrate the Hogmanay, which in Hebrew means the feast of the god Meni, on New Year's Eve with a fellowship drink for good luck!
The name of the Son, Yahshua, has been substituted by Jesus, Iesus, and Easeus (Healing Zeus). Webster says that Zeus is the sky god and is also known as Deus (Latin), Dio (Italian), Dios (Spanish), Dayus (Sanscript), and Zeus Soter meaning Zeus the Savior. Even in the French Bible, they have substituted Dieu. Isaiah 65:11 truly expresses what Yahweh thinks of Christian worship.
The substitution of the Names of Yahweh and Yahshua by the names of the pagan deities of the nations has brought immeasurable harm. Such names as Lord, God, Jesus, and Christ in no way represent the meaning of the Name revealed by the Most High to Moses and the ancient Hebrew leaders. By employing these names the people unknowingly turn the worship of Yahweh into that of idols and actually ascribe the benevolent characteristics of the Mighty One of Israel to the pagan deities (Hosea 2:8).
In the original, the Sacred Names have deep literal and symbolic meaning which have been almost entirely lost by the substitution of the names of the local gods. From time to time attempts have been made at partial restoration as in the case of the Abbe Crampon text: "Mais vous qui avez abandonne Yahweh oublie Ma montagne sainte, qui dressez un table a Gad et remplissez une coupe pour Meni Je Vous destine au glaive et vous vous courberez tous pour etre egorges." [NOTE: Crampon, L'Abbe A., La Sainte Bible n. 565; Paris: Desclee et Cie, 1923; Livre D'Isaie Chap. LXV, ii; used by permission.]
Moffatt in his Introduction makes the following statement concerning the Name: "Strictly speaking this ought to be rendered 'Yahweh' which is familiar to modern readers in the erroneous form of 'Jehovah.' Were this version intended for students of the original, there would be no hesitation whatever in printing 'Yahweh.'" [NOTE: From The Bible: A New Translation, by James Moffatt; copyright 1935 by Harper & Bros., used by permission.]
Although Moffatt substitutes "the Eternal" in place of Yahweh, he fully admits a distinct loss of meaning in this. [NOTE: Loc. cit.]
The disadvantages of substitution have been recognized for a long time. The 1872 edition of Smith's Bible Dictionary states: "The substitution of the word Lord is most unhappy; for, while it in no way represents the meaning of the sacred name, the mind has constantly to guard against a confusion with its lower uses, and, above all, the direct personal bearing of the name on the revelation of God...is kept injuriously out of sight." [NOTE: Smith, William, A Smaller Dictionary of the Bible; London: John Murray, 1872, pp. 195-196.]
Rotherham devotes a chapter of his Introduction [NOTE: Rotherham, Joseph Bryant, The Emphasized Bible: A New Translation; Cincinnati, The Standard Publishing Co., 1902] to an explanation of "The Name," the reasons for and consequences of its suppression and the need for its restoration. Regarding its suppression, he says in I Ch. IV, 22-29: "It is, therefore, the most natural presumption that the suppression of The Name has entailed upon the reader, and especially upon the hearer, irreparable loss."
Restoration of the Name, Yahweh, is necessary he says," Because its suppression was a mistake. So grave a mistake cannot be corrected too soon. An unwarrantable liberty has been taken; the path of humility is to retrace our steps."
The Sacred Name of the Creator, Yahweh or its short form, Yah (See KJV, Psalm 68:4), is the one and only Name by which He is known in the entire Scriptures. "That men may know that Thou, Whose Name alone is Yahweh, art the Most High over all the earth," (Psalm 83:18).
The word, Yahweh, is composed of parts of the verb "to be," and signifies "self-existent." While He has many titles such as Eloah, El-Elyon and Elohim; and while He is characterized as Yahweh-nissi (Yahweh our Banner, Exodus 17:8-15), Yahweh-rapha (Yahweh our healer, Exodus 15:26), Yahweh-ra-ah (Yahweh my shepherd, Psalm 21), Yahweh tsidkenu (Yahweh our righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6), Yahweh shalom (Yahweh our peace, Judah 6:24); Yahweh sabbaoth (Yahweh of hosts), and Yahweh yireh (Yahweh that provideth, Genesis 22:13-14), the Name in each case is Yahweh, coupled with a distinctive characteristic. The Scriptures are specific and leave no doubt about the importance of His Name and our responsibilities concerning it.
"I am Yahweh: that is My Name, and My glory will I not give to another [name] neither My praise to graven images," (Isaiah 42:8).
"Oh Yahweh, Thy Name abideth for ages; Oh Yahweh, Thy memorial is to generation after generation," (Psalm 135:13).
"If Yahweh be Elohim, follow Him; And if Baal [the Lord] then follow Him," (1 Kings 18:21; Hebrew Baal=Lord, a Phoenician deity).
"How long shall it be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, which think to cause My people to forget My Name--as their fathers have forgotten My Name for Baal [the Lord]," (Jeremiah 23:26-27).
* "I will take the names of Baalim [Lords] out of her mouth and they shall no more be remembered by their name," (Hosea 2:17: Hebrew plural of Baal, i.e., Lords).
"I will declare thy Name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto Thee," (Hebrews 2:12 and Psalm 22:22).
"And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the Name of Yahweh shall be saved," (Acts 2:21 and Joel 2:32).
"And they that know Thy Name will put their trust in Thee," (Psalm 9:10).
"Thus saith Yahweh, the maker thereof, Yahweh that formed it, to establish it, Yahweh is His Name; Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and hidden things which thou knowest not," (Jeremiah 33:3).
"I have manifested Thy Name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world," (John 17:6).
"And I have declared unto them Thy Name and will declare it," (John 17:26).
"Hallowed be Thy Name," (Matthew 6:9).
The Sacred Name of the Messiah, Yahshua, is the only Name by which He was known to His disciples, though He has several titles such as Rabbi, Son of Man, Savior, Anointed and King of Kings.
"What is His Name and what is His Son's Name, if thou canst tell?" (Proverbs 30:4).
His Name is composed of two parts: Yah-shua (Savior). Thus, the contraction Yahshua signifies Yahweh-Savior and strikingly bears out the logic of Matthew 1:21:
"And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His Name YAHSHUA, for He shall save His people from their sins."
"I am come in My Father's Name and ye receive Me not--," (John 5:43).
"Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the Name of Yahweh," (John 12:13).
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in My Name I will do it," (John 14:13-14).
"--for there is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," (Acts 4:12).
"And I looked and Lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred and forty and four thousand having His Name and His Father's Name written in their foreheads," (Revelation 14:1, Revised Version).
The combined result of the four reasons mentioned in the foregoing has brought into the New Testament many pagan elements of varying degrees so that the original prophetic and apostolic teachings on the Holy Scriptures have reverted to the apostate Baalism of Jezebel (Revelation 2:20). No wonder then the Scriptures call this system Babylon.
Misleading ideas and beliefs were implanted during the process of carrying the Hebrew ideas and ideals into the context of a pagan Greek and Roman world. The Hellenizing of the original books of the Bible brought about distortions which still plague earnest Scripture students. An illustration of this occurs in the use of the Greek word hades (with all its mythological connotations as a place of endless torture to which the Greek gods relegated those who displeased them), as a purported equivalent of the Hebrew sheol and gehenna, neither of which conveyed any such notion. The doctrine that the Messiah "descended into hell" was thus an outgrowth of adopting the Greek context of hades in place of the Hebrew connotation of sheol (the tomb).
Many of the errors of literal translation which crept into the New Testament after the first century have been kept alive and intact because of the belief by numerous excellent scholars that the New Testament originals were written in, nay inspired in, the Greek language. Such a state of mind made it seem sacrilegious to question the authenticity of the Greek text even though portions of it seemed unintelligible. In recent years, however, much light has been shed on this hitherto taboo subject. The eminent Dr. Charles Cutler Torrey, Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University, states in Our Translated Gospels [NOTE: Torrey, Charles Cutler, Our Translated Gospels; New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1936; used by permission]: "At the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis in New York City in December 1934, I challenged my New Testament colleagues to designate even one passage, from any of the Four Gospels, giving clear evidence of a date later than 50 A.D., or of origin outside Palestine. The challenge was not met, nor will it be, for there is no such passage."
Dr. Torrey then proceeds to cite hundreds of instances of Greek mistranslation from the Aramaic, which the Christian community has rather indiscriminately accepted as gospel.
The process of substitution continued in various lands and languages, so that much of the original meaning of the New Testament has been obscured. Consider the distortion involved in changing the names of the prophets, the Messiah and the Creator. Hosea became "Osee"; Elisha "Eliseus"; Isaiah "Esaias"; Miriam "Mary"; Yahshua "Jesus"; and Yahweh "Lord," "God," "Gott," "Dios," "Manitou," or whatever happened to be the name of the local idol.
Now you may inquire why these distortions are so vitally important to us. They are of utmost importance because they obscure our instructions for spiritual survival and because they introduce seeming contradictions which in turn raise conscious or subconscious doubts in the minds of sincere individuals. The pagan elements today found in Christianity have made it appear falsely similar to other religions and have thus cast stumbling blocks before those who recognize this heathenism for what it is. By correcting the known distortions and purging the pseudo-Christian beliefs which have resulted, doctrinal integrity and consistency can be restored, thus making possible the wholeheartedness which the first-century brethren demonstrated but which is so sadly lacking among so-called Christians today.
Lack of wholeheartedness in belief and conduct is taken for granted by our society. Ours is an era of "lip service," notorious for the hiatus between avowed ideals and sordid performance. Its symptoms are found in all walks of life, from interpersonal relationships to international diplomacy, socially-minded writers, including members of the clergy, frequently deplore this condition but seem unable to recognize that it is a symptom of the underlying conceptual malaise: the theological neurosis of modern Christianity so pointedly described in Revelation: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth, because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked," (Revelation 3:15-17).
This ailment is lamented by our contemporaries as "secularism" "illness of the spirit," and "death of the heart"; but whatever it is labeled, the condition is caused by failure to integrate that which professed believers do with that which they profess to believe. It amounts to an unconscious outward manifestation of a mass of unresolved internal conflicts and a kind of unconscious rebellion against further self-deception and confusion of values.
Since church hierarchies so unanimously complain about the symptoms of the disease why have they not long ago taken the steps essential to removing its cause? Why do they, in fact, display such astonishing ingenuity in avoiding recognition of their own share in the ideological confusion? Perhaps the answer may be found in the well-known phenomenon of neurosis wherein its possessor blinds himself to its very existence and resists any efforts to effect a cure. This explanation appears to be borne out by the verses quoted above and by verse 18 which counsels the application of "eyesalve." Is this not strikingly reminiscent of the condition described in Isaiah 6:9-10: "--lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and change and be healed"?
What then, can twentieth-century believers do to become more open-eyed and wholehearted in their belief--genuine doers of the Word? How can they attain deep and enduring faith comparable to that of the first-century brethren? One prerequisite is a degree of doctrinal coherence comparable to that of the first century; another is recognition of unsubstantiated scientific dogma as such.
The popular a priori theories concerning the origin and antiquity of man and of the universe are examples of such generally-accepted assumptions about which there remain extremely large gaps in scientific knowledge. Our immediate objective concerns the first of these essentials: the elimination of doctrinal incoherence supported by the common versions.
The Holy Name Bible is a comprehensive effort to bring to twentieth-century believers that integrity of concept which was present in the Hebrew and Aramaic originals--to make possible in the twentieth century the wholehearted integration of doctrine, belief and conduct characteristic of Yahweh's congregation from its inception in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:1-4) through the apostolic phase of the first century. The church of the Old Testament cannot be separated from that of the New, except that the former looked forward by faith to Yahshua's sacrifice. The victorious congregation is the one which adheres to all of Yahweh's eternal truths; it sings the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3).
Why have we retained so much of the text of the King James Version? Why have we not chosen to use "modern" language entirely? The reverent style of the King James language makes it appropriate for its hallowed purpose. Our chief concern is to convey the original meanings as faithfully as possible. Therefore changes have been made in the King James Version only where necessary to clarify meanings. This policy has additional features, also. The popularity of the King James Version with Bible readers is generally recognized. The Holy Name Version is intended for use by many of these same Bible readers. Comparison of the two texts provides a convenient method of identifying the corrections which have been made in the Holy Name Version. Further, the Scripture verses which many of us have memorized, or with which we have long been familiar, are especially precious to us and we would not, except for excellent reasons, alter them.
The instances where corrections have been made may be generally classified in the following categories:
Where it seemed that archaic language would obscure the meaning for the average reader, modern equivalents have been employed.
Where literal translations of Hebrew idioms into English, or Aramaic idioms into Greek and thence into English has resulted in a loss of the initial meaning.
In certain instances, where substitution of any English word would be misleading, the original Aramaic or Hebrew has been restored. That is, words are left untranslated where no satisfactory English equivalent exists.
Where there had been an addition, generally recognized by scholars as spurious, such added material has been omitted. [NOTE: to illustrate, see marginal note regarding 1 John 5:7 in the Scofield Reference Bible; New York; Oxford University Press, 1917; p. 1325.]
Where the New Testament Text quotes directly from the Old Testament, quotation marks and citations have usually been employed.
Where Hellenized proper names have been carried over in the King James New Testament, most of the original forms have been restored.
Special attention has been given to restoration of the Sacred Names. Their profound significance has been generally overlooked by Christian students.
The extensive yet careful research and analysis of source material which has been necessary in the preparation of the Holy Name Version has, because of our rather limited resources, required some twenty years. Our gratitude must be expressed, not only to members of the Association who during this period have contributed to the various labors of research, clerical work, typing and proof-reading, but also to friends throughout the country who have give encouragement in various ways to the execution of the task, by making books and documents available, and by critical discussions which have been both stimulating and fruitful.
Special acknowledgment is made of the help received from the works of Burney [Burney, C.F., Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel: 1922]; Cureton [Cureton, W., Remains of a very ancient [sic] recession of the four Gospels in Syriac, hitherto unknown in Europe: 1858]; Gibson [Gibson, M.D., Isho'dad of Merv. Commentaries (c.850 A.D.) in Syriac and English 4c,; edited and translated, 1911-13]; Gwynn [Gwynn, J., On a Syriac manuscript of the New Testament belonging to the Earl of Crawford and Bakarres and on an inedited [sic] version of the Apocalypse therein contained; 1893]; Lewis [Lewis, A.S., Some pages of the four Gospels re-transcribed from the Sinaitic palimpsest with a translation of the whole text; 1896]; Schonfield [Schonfield, H.J., An old Hebrew text of Matthew's Gospel, translated with an introduction, notes and appendices; Edinburgh: 1927]; and Torrey [Torrey, Charles C., The Four Gospels; New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1933; Our Translated Gospels; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1936; Documents of the Primitive Church; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941]; and from the Oracles ascribed to Matthew by Papias of Hierapolis.
Thanks must go to the Zion Research Library of Brookline, Massachusetts, for permitting the use of numerous valuable books and documents, and to various publishing houses for permission to quote from their publications.
We believe in the principle that dogmatic rejection of Scriptural enlightenment leads to spiritual barrenness and rigidity, whereas its acceptance, after proper investigation, brings continued spiritual growth. With this thought in mind, we prayerfully and hopefully present this Holy Name Bible.