“Candlestick” or “lamp stand”? Is the King James Bible in error?
There are several men who have written laundry lists of what they think are errors in the King James Bible. Of course not one of them actually believes in the existence of a complete, inspired and 100% true Bible (66 books in one volume) in ANY language. But this does not stop them from taking potshots at the only Bible believed by thousands of blood bought children of God even today as being God’s infallible Book.
Here are two of them with their comments. Then I will make my rebuttal to show that the King James Bible is absolutely correct, as always.
One such Bible critic is Al Maxey. He uses the ever changing Vatican influenced, constantly changing NIVs and then has the effrontery to attempt to find fault with the King James Bible. See
Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASB, Holman Standard, NET etc. are the new "Vatican Versions"
Mr. Maxey writes: “In England in the 17th century it was normal practice to light a "candle" and place it on a "candlestick." This was NOT the case in ancient Palestine. They used oil lamps, which were then placed on lampstands. Throughout the NT the KJV translators changed "lamps" and "lampstands" to "candles" and "candlesticks" (Matt. 5:15; Luke 15:8; Rev. 1:12f).
Rick Joyner, another man who does not believe that ANY Bible is the infallible words of God, criticizes the word “candlestick” in the KJB saying: - “In Exodus 25:31-38 the KJV describes the making of the candlestick for the tabernacle, but no candles are mentioned in this passage. Verse 37 says, "make the lamps thereof." The description that is given to us is a lampstand with seven branches, a beautifully wrought stand for seven lamps. The oil which the lamp would burn is described in Exodus 27:20. Throughout the KJV, the translators call a lampstand a candlestick. Examples in the New Testament where "candlestick" should be "lampstand" are Matthew 5:15 and Revelation 1:20,13. The NASB always says lampstand. Certainly this is clearer.”
As a side note, does Rick Joyner believe his NASB is the infallible words of God? Of course not; not on his life. Mr. Joyner is just another Bible correcting unbeliever in the infallibility of ANY Bible in ANY language. He is a Bible Rummager who has made his own mind, understanding and personal preferences his “final authority”. But the man has NO infallible Bible to believe in himself or to recommend to anyone else.
Now for my rebuttal.
These King James Bible critics should learn more about their own English language before they attempt to make such a criticism about the use of the words “candle” and “candlestick”.
You might also be interested to learn something about candles and when and where they were first invented. As usual, these Bible critics are misinformed. See this interesting article about the history of candle making here -
The “candlestick” was not the actual candle itself, but was the stand that was composed of 7 branches, a shaft, knops and bowls in which was placed an oil that burned and was referred to as a “lamp”. Obviously we are not referring to “electrical” lamps, but rather the extended meaning of both “lamps” and “candles” which is simply any kind of artificial light.
Webster's Revised and Unabridged Dictionary 1913 - Can"dle*stick` n. [AS. candel-sticca; candel candle + sticca stick.] An instrument or utensil for supporting a candle.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English language - Candlestick - "A holder with a cup or spike for a candle."
Macmillan Dictionary - Candlestick - "an object for holding a candle"
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - Candlestick - " An object that holds a candle."
Please notice that the "candlestick" was NOT the actual "candle" (we will define this word in a moment) but was the instrument or utensil that held the candle, just as it is described in Exodus when Moses was ordered to build the furniture for the tabernacle, and when Jesus referred to the candle and the candlestick in Luke 8:16.
"No man, when he hath lighted A CANDLE, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on A CANDLESTICK, that they which enter in may see the light." Luke 8:16
These Bible critics recommend versions that use the word “lamp stand” and “lamps” and yet these terms themselves need to be explained and defined. They certainly did not have what most kids think of today when they hear of “lamps” and “lamp stands” being used back in the days of Moses or the apostle John.
The NASB has both “bulbs” and a “lamp stand” in Exodus 25:35- “A bulb shall be under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lampstand.”
The NIV has “lamps” on the “lamp stand” - “The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold. “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it.”
The “easy to understand” ESV has “calyxes” on the “lamp stand”, both of which need to be explained - “and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out from the lampstand.”
And the NKJV has “seven lamps” for the “lamp stand”, which once again is not what the average 20 year old today thinks it is. It needs to be explained.
As any good dictionary tells us, one of the meanings of a candle is an artificial light of any kind as opposed to the natural light of the sun or moon. And what, pray tell, comes to mind when you read the word "lamp stand"?
Cambridge International Dictionary - "Lampstand, a heavy, often decorative, base for an electric light which stands on a table or the floor." Is this what Moses used in the tabernacle? I think not.
Encyclopedia.Com. The evidence of ancient writings is not conclusive as to the history of the candle; words translated as "candle" may have meant "torch" or "lamp" and the "candlestick" was a stand for one of these lights.
Easton Bible Dictionary
Candle - Heb. ner, Job 18:6; 29:3; Ps. 18:28; Prov. 24:20 The Hebrew word denotes properly any kind of candle or lamp or torch. It is used as a figure of conscience (Prov. 20:27), of a Christian example (Matt. 5:14, 15), and of prosperity (Job 21:17; Prov. 13:9).
1. A long, but small cylindrical body of tallow, wax or spermaceti, formed on a wick composed of linen or cotton threads, twisted loosely; used for a portable light of domestic use. (Tallow is the fat of cattle or sheep)
2. A light. (Notice, the word candle can simply refer to a light!)
3. A light; a luminary. In scripture, the candle of the Lord is the divine favor and blessing, Job 14:3; or the conscience or understanding. Prov. 20:27.
Not only does the King James Bible use the words CANDLE and CANDLESTICK but so also do Wycliffe’s bible 1395 - “and thou schalt sette tho on the candilstike”, Tyndale 1525 - “I sawe vii golde candelstyckes” (Rev. 1:12 etc), Coverdale 1535 - “I sawe seue golde candestyckes”, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “ the 1917 JPS (Jewish Publication Society) and 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company translation - “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold”, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Noyes Translation 1869, the Revised Version 1881- “I saw seven golden CANDLESTICKS”, the American Standard Version 1901, Godbey’s N.T. 1902, Young's 1898, Darby 1890 - “both the CANDLESTICK and the table” (Hebrews 9:2), the Amplified Bible 1987 - “And this was the workmanship of the CANDLESTICK” (Numbers 8:4; Daniel 5:5; Zechariah 4:6 - “the bowl to the CANDLESTICK, causing it to yield a ceaseless supply of oil from the olive trees”, Douay-Rheims 1610, Webster's 1833 translation, Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac (many times), Murdock’s and Etheridge’s translations of the Syriac Peshitta - “And you shall make a CANDLESTICK of pure gold”
The Living Bible 1971 - “there behind me were seven CANDLESTICKS of gold.” (See also 1 Chron.28:15; Job 4:21; Isaiah 43:17; Jer. 52:19; Hebrews 9:2; Rev. 1:12, 20; 2:5 and 11:4 - "These two prophets are the two olive trees, and two CANDLESTICKS standing before the God of all the earth."), the New Life Version 1969 (Psalm 22:14 "My heart is like a melted CANDLE within me.", Psalm 68:2; 97:5 and Micah 1:4 - "The mountains will melt under Him and the valleys will break open, like a CANDLE in front of the fire"), the KJV 21st Century 1994, the Third Millenium Bible 1998, the Complete Jewish Bible 1998 - “We’ll put a bed and a table in it for him, and a stool and a CANDLESTICK.” (2 Kings 4:10), the Updated Bible Version of 2004 - “I saw seven golden CANDLESTICKS”, the Jubilee Bible 2010 - “the CANDLESTICK over against the table on the side of the tabernacle” (Exodus 26:25; Dan. 5:5), the Voice 2012 (Proverbs 24:20 -"the wicked will be snuffed out like A CANDLE", Isaiah 42:3; 43:17 and Matthew 12:20) and the New Living Translation 2013 (Isaiah 42:3; 43:17) and Matthew 12:20 - "He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering CANDLE."
Other English Bibles that continue to use the words "CANDLE" and "CANDLESTICK" are The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907, The Word of Yah 1993, God's First Truth 1999, The Sacred Scriptures of Yah 2001, The Tomson New Testament 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, the Context Group Version 2007, the Bond Slave Version 2009, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011 and The Modern English Version 2014 - "No one, when he lights a CANDLE, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a CANDLESTICK"
So Mr. Maxey's and Mr. Joyner’s "lampstand" is better than "candlestick", huh? Both these men are straining at gnats with this alleged “translational error" and yet both of them use what are in fact the modern Vatican Versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB that NOBODY seriously believes (including Maxey and Joyner) is the complete and infallible words of God.
Truly this is a case of the blind leading the blind and as our Lord said “Let them alone. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14.
The King James Bible is right, as always. Accept no substitutes.
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