Revelation 16:5 KJB - "Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and wast, AND SHALT BE, because thou hast judged thus."
ESV (NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, Jehovah Witness NWT) - "Just you are, O HOLY ONE, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments."
The Book of Revelation has more textual variants than any other New Testament book. The reading found in the King James Bible in Revelation 16:5 represents one of the hundreds of such textual variants. It is admittedly a minority reading, but it should be noted that for every One minority reading found in the KJB, there are at least 20 such minority readings found in the modern Vatican Versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, NET and Holman Standard.
These modern versions often do not even agree with each other. One will follow a particular minority reading while the other will disagree and follow another.
It is also fallacious and hypocritical to suggest that just because a particular reading is not "in the majority of texts" that it therefore cannot be legitimate, when the very men who are behind the ever-changing modern critical text versions admit that the true reading may be found in a few or even one manuscript.
Westcott and Hort, the very men who introduced the Critical Text methods found in the RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, themselves said: "A few documents are not, by reason of their paucity, appreciably less likely to be right than a multitude opposed to them" (Introduction to the Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament, 1881, p. 45)
J. K. Elliott, a modern textual critic comments on transcriptional probabilities: "By using criteria such as the above the critic may reach a conclusion in discussing textual variants and be able to say which variant is the original reading. However, it is legitimate to ask: can a reading be accepted as genuine if it is supported by only one ms.? There is no reason why an original reading should not have been preserved in only one ms. but obviously a reading can be accepted with greater confidence, when it has stronger support."
Even Kurt Aland says: "Theoretically, the original readings can be hidden in a single mss. thus standing alone against the rest of tradition," and Tasker has a similar comment: "The possibility must be left open that in some cases the true reading may have been preserved in only a few witnesses or even in a single relatively late witness." - The Effect of Recent Textual Criticism upon New Testament Studies," The Background of the New Testament and its Eschatology, ed. W. D. Davies and D. Daube (Cambridge: The Cambridge University Press, 1956)
Let me briefly illustrate the complexity and inconsistency of the modern versions and the so called "science" of textual criticism by looking at just one verse in Revelation 2:20 and comparing the KJV, NASB, ESV and NIV. The same types of differences and changes can be shown hundreds of times over, but it is a very tedious and time consuming work. Remember, James White and others like him are often criticizing a single word found in the King James Bible.
In the King James Bible (and many others as well) we read: Revelation 2:20 - "Notwithstanding I have A FEW THINGS against thee (κατὰ σοῦ ὀλίγα) because thou SUFFEREST THAT woman JEZEBEL, which calleth herself a PROPHETESS, TO TEACH AND TO SEDUCE my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
ESV - "But I have THIS against you, that you TOLERATE that woman JEZEBEL, who calls herself a PROPHETESS AND IS TEACHING AND SEDUCING my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols."
First of all, the Traditional Greek texts read "A FEW THINGS against thee" = κατὰ σοῦ ὀλίγα, but Sinaiticus actually says "MUCH against thee (you singular) and in the Greek looks like this - κατὰ σοῦ πολὺ. But not even the modern versions followed the Sinaitic manuscript here, though they DO follow it and reject the Traditional Text in many other places. Other Greek texts read "MANY THINGS against thee" = κατὰ σοῦ πολλὰ, but nobody followed this reading.
So far we have three different Greek readings - 1. "a few things"; 2. "much" and 3. "many things". So what did the versions like the ESV, NIV and NASB do? They put a word in there that is NOT found in ANY Greek manuscript and say "But I have THIS against you".
Secondly the verb "sufferest" in the text that underlies the King James Bible is ἐᾷς, which is a normal word for "to suffer, to allow, to permit." But there are at least THREE other verb forms found in other texts that differ from each other in how they are spelled and the one chosen by the UBS/Nestle-Aland critical texts is an entirely different Greek word than the one that underlies the KJB. It is the word ἀφεῖς, which itself is AN IRREGULAR FORM of aphieemi, but it means about the same thing. But other Greek manuscripts have another Greek word spelled ἀφηῖς and then there is the Sinaiticus correction ἀφηκας.
Thirdly when we get to the phrase "THAT woman JEZEBEL" we find that MOST Greek texts actually read "YOUR woman Jezebel" = γυναῖκα σου, but nobody followed the Majority reading here! And there are THREE different ways the name Jezebel is spelled among the manuscripts. A and C spell it one way - Ἰεζάβελ, and Sinaiticus spells it another way - Ἰαζάβελ, and then we have the third way - Ἰεζάβηλ.
Fourthly when we get to the Greek word for "PROPHETESS" it is a singular Feminine noun, which is what we would expect. It is NOT the Masculine form "prophet". The KJB, ESV, NASB and the NIV 1973, 1978 and 1984 editions all correctly have the word "prophetess". However the NIV 2011 edition now reads "who calls herself A PROPHET."
And fifthly, other TEXTUAL differences among the various Greek manuscripts in just this ONE verse are TWO different ways of spelling the word for "nevertheless" (ἀλλὰ and ἀλλ). There are THREE different ways of spelling or saying "which CALLS herself a prophetess" - 1. ἡ λέγει; 2. ἡ λέγουσα and 3. τὴν λέγουσαν, and there are at least TWO very different ways of saying either the infinitive "TO teach and TO seduce" (KJB) - διδάσκειν καὶ πλανᾶσθαι versus conjugated verbs "TEACHES and SEDUCES" (NASB, ESV) which the NIV paraphrases and adds words to - "BY HER TEACHING she misleads" (NIV)
These are the types of very real textual differences that exist for almost every verse found in the Greek New Testament. The King James Bible believer maintains that only God knows for sure which readings are His inspired words and only God can guide a group of men to the correct texts and the right meanings of those texts. We believe He has done this in making up His masterpiece, the Authorized King James Holy Bible.
On the other hand, the Bible agnostics (they don't know for sure) and unbelievers in the infallibility of ANY Bible in ANY language do not believe God has done this and they are still working on it themselves.
Note: There is a very good reason for calling these modern versions the "new" Vatican Versions because the Vatican is directly involved in the creation of the United Bible Society's "interconfessional" text that forms the basis of all these critical text bibles. See Undeniable Proof the NIV, ESV, NASB are the new Vatican Versions -
Examples of variant readings: In Revelation 15:3 the KJB, NKJV, Tyndale, Geneva, Young's, Spanish Reina Valera say: "just and true are thy ways, thou King OF SAINTS." (ἁγίων)
The NASB follows other texts and says: "King OF THE NATIONS" (τῶν ἐθνῶν), while the NIV 1984 edition follows different ones still and says: "King OF THE AGES" (τῶν αἰώνων). Oh, but wait! Now the 2011 edition of the NIV has come out and they have once again changed this to read "King of NATIONS".
This is very similar to the other Catholic versions. The older Douay-Rheims and the Douay of 1950 read "king of AGES". Then the 1970 St. Joseph New American Bible and the 1985 New Jerusalem changed this to "king of NATIONS" but now once again the 2009 Catholic Public Domain Version has gone back to "king of AGES". You never know what is going to come down the pike next.
Another instance of fickle changes and disagreements among the modern versions is found in Revelation 13:10. There we read: "...HE THAT KILLETH with the sword MUST (δεῖ) be killed with the sword..."
"He that killeth with the sword MUST" is in the active voice; he is doing the killing. And there is the additional word "must" which in Greek is a three letter word DEI. This is the reading of the Textus Receptus, Sinaiticus and manuscript C. It also used to read this way in the previous Westcott-Hort and the Nestle-Aland Greek texts. I have a copy of the Nestle critical Greek text 4th edition, 1934 and it clearly reads the active voice and has the additional word "dei". "he that killeth must..." (apoktenei dei)
"HE THAT KILLETH with the sword MUST..." (active voice, and includes the word "must") is the reading of Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the RSV, NRSV, NASB, NKJV, the Spanish Reina Valera and Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta.
However, later on, the Nestle Greek text was once again changed and they decided to follow the reading of ONE manuscript, that is, Alexandrinus. This single manuscript changes the reading from "he that killeth" (ἀποκτενεῖ) to "he that is to be killed" (ἀποκτανθῆναι) and it also removes the Greek word "must" - δεῖ.
Now, the NIV, ESV and Holman versions have adopted this new reading based on ONE manuscript, and they now read: "IF ANYONE IS TO BE KILLED with the sword, with the sword he will be killed."
Notice that the RSV and NRSV both followed the King James reading, but now the new ESV (a revision of the old RSV, NRSV) has now "scientifically" decided to go along with the NIV and follow a different text, and the 1995 NASB doesn't even follow the newest UBS 4th edition text, so it must be "out of date".
The older Catholic Douay version read like the KJB and the Traditional Text, but the newer St. Joseph NAB now reads like the NIV, ESV, Holman and ISV, because they are all based on the same ever changing UBS "interconfessional" critical text. This is how the "scholars' game" is played.
Revelation 18:2 - KJB - "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful BIRD." (orneou)
So read the Majority of all texts, the TR AND Sinaiticus. "every unclean and hateful BIRD" is also the reading of the RV, ASV, NKJV, NASB, RSV, The Message, and the NIV 1973 and 1984 editions.
However manuscript A (Alexandrinus) reads "the cage of every unclean and hateful BEAST." and omits the part about "cage of every unclean bird" (theerion)
The previous Westcott-Hort, Nestle's Greek texts read as do the King James Bible and even the NASB, NIV 1984, but later on the UBS Greek "scholars" decided to change it, and it now includes both readings in full.
So now the 2003 Holman Standard and the 2001 ESV, and the brand new ISV (International Standard Version) have come out and they add this extra reading of five Greek words which follows neither the Majority text, Sinaiticus nor Alexandrinus. These three latest versions read:
“Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great! She has become a lair for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, A HAUNT FOR EVERY UNCLEAN BIRD, AND A HAUNT FOR EVERY UNCLEAN AND DESPICABLE BEAST." (Holman Standard 2003, ESV 2001.)
"He cried out in a powerful voice, "Fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen! She has become a home for demons. She is A PRISON FOR EVERY UNCLEAN SPIRIT, A PRISON FOR EVERY UNCLEAN BIRD, AND A PRISON FOR EVERY UNCLEAN AND HATED BEAST." (ISV).
So, it looks like not even the "old" NIVs of 1973, 1978 and 1984 nor the 1995 NASB are now "up to date with the latest scholarly findings"!!!
Revelation 18:2 NIV 1984 - “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a HOME for demons and a haunt for every EVIL spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable BIRD."
Revelation 18:2 NIV 2011 - "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a DWELLING for demons and a haunt for every IMPURE spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, A HAUNT FOR EVERY UNCLEAN AND and detestable ANIMAL."
The new NIV 2011 now takes part from the majority of texts and the other 5 words they add from just one manuscript which also omits the previous 5 Greek words found in the other manuscripts. So, they now include both readings in a single verse, and there is no Greek manuscript on this earth that reads that way. They just "made it up" by combining the various readings from among several manuscripts.
Modern Textual Criticism is a "science", don't ya know ;-)
Here are a few more examples of how the modern versions follow different texts and don't agree among themselves.
Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of HEAVEN saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, AND BE THEIR GOD."
There are two textual problems with this verse. The word HEAVEN is the Majority reading, as well as that of the TR, the Syriac, Coptic, Old Latin, the Spanish Reina Valera 1569 to 1995, the French Martin 1744, French Ostervald 1996, the Portuguese Almeida 1681, Tyndale, Great Bible, Matthew's Bible, Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible and the NKJV.
However the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV follow Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, and say: "I heard a great voice out of THE THRONE saying..." "the throne" instead of "out of heaven" is also the reading of the Catholic Douay-Rheims, St. Joseph New American bible and the New Jerusalem bible 1985.
The second textual variant is where we see more of the hypocrisy and fickleness of what they call the "science of textual criticism". The final words in this verse: "AND BE THEIR GOD" are found in multiplied scores of Greek manuscripts including Alexandrinus, the Syriac Peshitta, Philoxenian, Harclean, and the Old Latin.
"And be their God" is also the reading of Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Geneva Bible, the Revised Version of 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, the NKJV, the NIV, the TNIV, the 2004 Holman Standard and the new ESV (English Standard Version).
However the NASB from 1960 to 1995 continues to omit these words, as well as the RSV and the NRSV. The silly and misleading footnote in the NASB of 1995 should be noted. The 1960 NASB footnotes: "Some ancient manuscripts add "and be their God". The RSV footnote says: "Other ancient authorities add "and be their God"
BUT now the new 1995 NASB tells us: "ONE early manuscript reads: "and be their God". This is flat out deception!!! The UBS Greek text lists ONLY ONE manuscript that OMITS these words, and that is Sinaiticus. Wallace's NET bible version also omits these precious words of inspired Scripture.
The older Nestle Greek text omitted these words, but the newer critical Greek UBS text has once again changed, and they now include these words, though in brackets. Notice too that the previous RSV, and NRSV omitted them, but now the revision of the revision of the revision has once again placed them back into the verse as it has always stood in the King James Bible.
Such is the true nature of what the scholars like to call "the science of textual criticism".
In the very last verse of Revelation 22:21 we read in the KJB and the NKJV: "The grace of OUR lord Jesus CHRIST, be with YOU all."
Here the ESV, NASB, NIV unite in omitting "our" and "Christ" but instead of reading "you all" (pantwn humwn) the NASB follows neither the Majority, nor the TR, but Alexandrinus which omits "you" and says: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with ALL." This is the reading of ONE Greek manuscript.
The NIV, on the other hand, follows Sinaiticus and even paraphrases this. Sinaiticus says "grace...be with THE SAINTS (twn hagiwn) and the NIV reads: "the grace....be with GOD'S PEOPLE." Again, this is the reading of ONE Greek manuscript.
The ESV omits the words "our" and "Christ" and changes "with YOU all" to merely "with all." It reads: "The grace of THE Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." (Again, following ONE Greek manuscript)
"Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and wast, AND SHALT BE, because thou hast judged thus."
The texts that underlie Revelation 16:5 vary greatly among themselves.
Only 4 Greek manuscripts of Revelation 16:5 exist from before the 10th century and the 3 earliest witnesses of Revelation 16:5 do not even agree.
We can see early Greek corruption
The earliest witnesses to Revelation 16:5 read:
ο ων και ος ην και οσιος (Papyrus 47 3rd Century)
ο ων και ο ην ο οσιος (Sinaiticus fourth century*)
ο ων και ο ην οσιος (Alexandrinus fifth-century)
* (Although this date has been hotly contested Sinaiticus.net)
It seems the phrase got shorter with the passage of time. We can see from these three early witnesses that corruption set in early. “Lord” is also missing in some mss, yet is present in many Reformation Bibles. This is reflected in modern versions, but none seem to follow the “and” of Papyrus 47.
The word LORD is found in 051, 296, 2049, some Latin copies, the Coptic Boharic and Ethiopic ancient versions.* (Additional information about the Ethiopic version will be given below)
LORD is also the reading of Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549 the Geneva Bible 1587, KJB, NKJV, Young's, Webster's 1833 translation, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Third Millennium Bible 1998, Italian Diodati, Spanish Reina Valera, and Green's Literal KJV. It was also found in the previous Catholic translations like the Douay-Rheims and the Douay of 1950.
The NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV all omit the word LORD, along with the more modern Vatican versions like the St. Joseph NAB 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible of 1985.
The second part is the one that is more hotly debated - "AND SHALT BE". It is so hypocritical to hear a man like James White complain about this single reading made up of a single word and make the claim that if the King James Bible reading is correct, then the church was left without the true words of God for 15 centuries.
Well, Mr. White. If your reasoning is sound here, then we would also have to conclude that "the church was left without the true words of God for TWENTY centuries", because your constantly changing UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican Critical text is changing all the time and they introduced several textual changes as recently as 2012 in the Nestle-Aland Critical Greek text that STILL haven't found their way even into the modern versions yet. And they are already working on the 29 edition!
The fact is we do not know what thousands of manuscripts read in this single verse simply because they no longer exist, but there is ancient support for this reading, as we shall soon see.
Mr. James White himself sides with the view that some 3000 words (enough to make up both First and Second Peter) were in most of the church's bibles for centuries that he thinks should not have been there at all. To this day James White still does not believe that the church EVER HAD much less HAS NOW any Bible in any language that is the complete, inspired and infallible words of God.
All you have to do is ask the man where we can get a copy of this "inspired and infallible Bible" he PROFESSES to believe in so that we can read it for ourselves to see the differences and similarities to the bible we are reading now.
But he will NEVER do this. Why? Simply because James White's "inspired and infallible Bible" is a mystical, unseen, philosophical and hypothetical product of his own imagination. He has no tangible infallible Bible to give you, and couldn't show you one if his life depended on it.
It is more than a little hypocritical of James White and others like him to criticize the particular Greek readings that underlie the King James Bible New Testament, the Textus Receptus, by telling us "There is NO Greek manuscript on this earth that reads the way the Textus Receptus that underlies the King James Bible does.", as though this were some kind of proof that the King James Bible could not possibly be the true words of God.
It should be pointed out to Mr. White (though I'm quite sure he knows this already) that neither is there ANY Greek manuscript on this earth that reads like his ever changing UBS, Nestle-Aland Critical Greek text either! So his "point" is pointless.
Literally thousands of Greek manuscripts have either turned to dust or been deliberately destroyed either because they were old and worn out or during the Catholic persecutions. History records that around 331 A.D. Emperor Constantine had Eusebius create 50 copies of the Greek New Testament on expensive and long lasting vellum, yet not one of these copies exists today.
Even the editors of the UBS Critical Greek text admit that multitudes of Greek manuscripts that once exited are no longer accessible.
Consider this statement by Kurt and Barbara Aland: "INNUMERABLE MANUSCRIPTS WERE DESTROYED during the persecutions and had to be replaced. The result was a widespread scarcity of New Testament manuscripts which became all the more acute when the persecution ceased... There also followed a sudden demand for large numbers of New Testament manuscripts in all provinces of the empire" (Aland, The Text of the New Testament, p. 65)
It is supremely important to have faith in God, both for our salvation and for believing that He has kept and preserved His words throughout every generation as He promised to do. If you cannot believe God has kept His promise to preserve His words, then how can you believe He will keep His promise to preserve your soul?
Ask anybody who criticizes ANY verse or individual reading found the King James Bible if they believe there exists such a thing today as the complete, inspired and 100% historically true words of God type Bible in ANY language. If they tell you that they do, then ask them to show you a copy of this infallible Bible they apparently want you to think they believe in. They will NEVER tell you where to get a copy of it.
In fact, most of them will tell you that "ONLY the originals were inspired and inerrant". Yet these King James Bible critics have never seen a single word of these long lost and imaginary originals a day in their lives. So, they end up professing a faith in something that they KNOW does not exist and they have NO infallible and perfect Bible to give you or anybody else, and they know they don't.
Now, here is the supreme irony. How many "Greek and Hebrew manuscripts" do these "original only" Christians have for their theory of where God's inspired and perfect words were? The answer is a resounding ZERO, NADA, ZIP, NOTHING! There ARE NO original manuscripts!
I and many thousands of other blood bought Christians DO believe that God, in His Providence, HAS given to the world His preserved, perfect, inspired and infallible words in "the book of the LORD" (Isaiah 34:16) and history and the internal evidence clearly points to the King James Bible as being this Book.
For more detail of some of the reasons the King James Bible is God's perfect Bible see Absolute Standard of Written Truth here -
As I recently said to another man who does not believe in the infallibility of any Bible in any language: "Don't blame the King James Bible believers for the widespread unbelief in the infallibility of the Scriptures. It is YOU GUYS and your own "scholars", seminary professors and bible translators that are openly telling people that there is no perfect or infallible Bible; not us.
ALL your modern versions and their promoters are continually criticizing just ONE Bible and trying to convince others that it has errors and is based on the wrong texts. You Bible Agnostics are the ones who started this fight; not us."
See "Who Started This Attack on the Bible?"
Then you have a frontman for the "Bible Agnostics Pretending to be Bible Believers Club" - James White - who hypocritically picks on one or two verses or individual words, that are still found in the NKJV which in his own book he calls "a reliable translation" and he ignores the multiple examples found in his own recommended Vatican Versions that are either based on extremely minor textual support or where they have just flat out made up their own creative readings.
James White's for the moment favorite "Bible of the Month Club Version" he now seems to prefer is the ESV (which has already changed about 300 of their own verses from the 2001 edition to the 2007 edition and then changed some more in the 2011 edition).
Ask James White what textual support or evidence he has for the ESV's "HE was manifested in the flesh" instead of "GOD was manifest in the flesh" in 1 Timoty 3:16. There is no known text anywhere on this earth that says "He".
Or for his textual evidence for the ESV's "establish THEM" instead of the KJB's "establish YOU" in 2 Thes. 2:17. Again, there is no known Greek text in existence that reads this way.
Ask James White why his ESV and NASB, NIV, RSV, ASV, Holman, Catholic St. Joseph and New Jerusalem bibles all omit the literal Greek and add words paraphrasing 2 Peter 2:5 where ALL Greek texts say "Noah THE EIGHTH person" (Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops' bible, the Geneva Bible, NKJV) and change it to "Noah AND SEVEN OTHERS".
Eight is the number of a new beginning. Circumcision was to be done on the eighth day. (Gen. 17:12, Luke 1:59, Phil. 3:5). The new crop was to be sown in the eighth year (Lev. 25:22). We have a seven day week and then the eighth day is a new beginning of the next week and Christ was raised on this day to give us a new beginning, and new life and a new covenant. God inspired the word "eighth" here in 2 Peter 2:5, so why change it?
Or ask James White about his ESV 2001 edition's famous blank spaces in 1 Samuel 13:1 where his ESV 2001 edition says: "Saul was...years old when he began to reign, and he reigned...and two years over Israel." instead of "Saul reigned ONE year; and when he had reigned TWO years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel".
Or you might ask James why his ESV rejects so many Hebrew readings and adds hundreds of words to the inspired Hebrew texts taken from the so called Greek Septuagint. See my study on this here -
James White has no infallible Bible to give or recommend to anyone - but he is perfectly willing to lie about it, and try to make you think that he does believe "The Bible IS the infallible words of God". James White is a Multiple Choice, Greek Apparatus Variant Readings Bible Agnostic who wants you and all his followers to think he actually believes in the infallibility of "the Bible"; But he will NEVER identify it for ANYBODY!
Revelation 16:5 continued -
"AND SHALT BE" (ὁ ἐσόμενος) is the reading found in the Greek texts of Beza 1589 and 1598 editions, which the KJB translators mainly used, and in the Trinitarian Bible Society's printed Greek text by Scrivener 1894.
Scrivener tells us in his book, The Authorized Edition of the English Bible 1611, on page 257 that the reading of "and shalt be" was in Beza's last three editions of the Greek text as well as in that of Elzevir in 1633.
It is the reading found in the King James Bible, the Bill Bible 1671, The Clarke N.T. 1795, A Revised Translation 1815 by David Macrae; The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments 1808 by Charles Thomson, The Revised Translation 1815 - "AND SHALT BE", Webster's Bible 1833, The Longman Version 1841, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Smith Bible 1876 - "AND WILL BE", The Dillard New Testament 1885, Young's 'literal' 1898 - "righteous, O Lord, art Thou, who art, and who wast, AND WHO SHALT BE", the NKJV 1982, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, the Third Millennium Bible of 1998, Green's Literal KJV 2000 edition, The Urim-Thummin Version 2001, The Evidence Bible 2003, The Bond Slave Version 2012 - "and WILL BE", The Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), the Natural Israelite Bible of 2012.
"And shall be" is also the reading of J.P. Green's interlinear Greek 1985, The Koster Scriptures 1998 (Institute for Scripture Research) - “And I heard the messenger of the waters saying, “You are righteous, O יהוה, the One who is and who was AND WHO SHALL BE, because You have judged these.”, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia), The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010 by Paul Becker - “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was AND WHO IS TO BE, because You have judged these things”, the Conservative Bible 2011 - "You are just, O Lord, Who are, and were, AND WILL BE, because you have ruled in this way!”, The Sacred Scripture of Yahuwah 2014 - “You are righteous, O Yahuwah, that is, and was, AND WILL BE , because You have judged these things”, and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 - “You are righteous, O Lord, who is and was and WHO IS TO BE, because You have judged these things.”
The Natural Israelite Bible 2012 - “You are righteous, O Yahweh, The One who is and who was AND WHO IS TO BE, Because You have judged these things.”
The 2012 Hebraic Roots Bible combines both readings, saying - "You are righteous, O holy one who is, and who was and WHO WILL BE, because you judged these things."
The Worldwide English New Testament 1998 also combines both readings, saying: “And I heard the angel of the water say, `Holy One, you who live now and who always have lived, AND WILL LIVE FOREVER; you are right because you have punished them this way.”
Foreign language Bibles that also read "AND SHALT BE" are the French Martin of 1744 and the French Ostervald of 1996 - "Tu es juste, Seigneur, QUI ES, et QUI ÉTAIS, et QUI SERAS saint, parce que tu as exercé css judgments", the Spanish Cipriano de Valera of 1602 and the 1865 revision by Angel de Mora and the 2004-2010 Reina Valera Gómez Bible - "Y oí al ángel de las aguas, que decía: Justo eres tú, Oh Señor, que eres y que eras, Y QUE SERAS porque has juzgado estas cosas." = "and shall be", and the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - "Drept eşti tu, Doamne, care eşti, care erai şi care vei fi, pentru că ai judecat astfel." = "You are Righteous, Lord, who is, and who was and WHO WILL BE, because you have so judged." and The Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible also reads as does the King James Bible - "Die is, en Die was, en Die zijn zal" = Who is and who was and who shall be."
As a side note, just to show how confused and contradictory "the Greek scholars" can be among themselves, the published Greek text of Tregelles read this way in Rev. 16:5 - "καὶ ἤκουσα τοῦ ἀγγέλου τῶν ὑδάτων λέγοντος, Δίκαιος εἶ, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν ὅσιος, ὅτι ταῦτα ἔκρινας·"
This is very different from the Westcott-Hort text and the Textus Receptus. Tregelles' text says: "And I heard the angel of the waters saying, Thou art Righteous, who is AND WHO WAS HOLY, because thou hast judged these things (thus)." The American Bible Union New Testament, Noyes N.T. and a few others actually translate it this way: "Righteous art thou, who art and who wast holy, because thou didst thus judge."
Beza himself comments on this change in a marginal note of 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.)
Beza's reasoning is sound. If you look at the theme of the book of Revelation itself, we see in Revelation 1:4 and 8: "Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;" - "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." In Revelation 4:8 we read: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." and in Revelation 11:17 "We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come". These verses fit in perfectly with the constant theme of our coming Lord who is the beginning and the ending, the Alpha and Omega "Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus."
Side Note: When Bible critics like James White complain about what they call the "conjectural emendation" made by Theodore Beza in Revelation 16:5, they only reveal their own inconsistencies. The Critical Text promoters do the same thing with even less support. The latest Nestle-Aland Critical text 28th edition has altered the text of 2 Peter 3:10 - "conjectural emendation" - based on zero Greek manuscripts. See my article on this verse here -
The KJB reading in Revelation 16:5 is also supported by a Latin commentary on the book of Revelation done way back in 380 A.D. by Beatus. Beatus of Liebana’s compiled commentary on the book of Revelation (786 A.D.) where he uses the Latin phrase “qui fuisti et futures es”. In this compilation he was preserving the commentary of Tyconius (approx 380 A.D.). So there is manuscript support found in the Latin witnesses. Whether Beza knew of it or not, the 1611 translators may well have, and we do not know what manuscripts they had at their disposal. Their own writings refer to Greek manuscripts they used in the making of their masterpiece that we do not have today four centuries later.
Revelation 16:5. Good article from KJB Textual Technology
Yet in the 4th century, Gregory of Nyssa evidently quoted the Beza-type shall be rendering (kjvtoday.com/.../shalt-be-or-holy-one-in-revelation-165), which indicates there once was an early Greek text that read this way, pointing to Greek manuscript loss in early centuries, and the need to verify authenticity by the internal evidence.
We also see that Jerome bore witness to the reading of "and shalt be" in his Latin translation. You can see it here -
Jerome’s (347 A.D. - 420) early Latin translation of Revelation 16:5 “and shalt be” - “et futurus es”
The ancient Ethiopic Version
In addition to the early commentaries on the book of Revelation in Latin, the reading found in Revelation 16:5 "and shalt be" is also that of the early Ethiopian Version. The early 20th century textual critic Herman Hoskier cited the Ethiopic version as containing the phrase "and shalt be" in Revelation 16:5. This information is found in Hoskier's 'Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse: Collation of All Existing Available Greek Documents with the Standard Text of Stephen's Third Edition Together with the Testimony of the Versions, Commentaries and Fathers', 2 volumes, London: Bernard Quaritch, 1929.
This is what Hoskier found: Ethiopic version as cited by Herman Hoskier in Latin - "...Justus es, Domine, et Rectus qui fuisti et eris". Translation of Ethiopic from Latin = "Just thou art, and Righteous that saws AND WILL BE". King James Bible - "Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, AND SHALT BE..."
* The ancient Ethiopic Version
Revelation 16:5 Textus Receptus, Beza Vindicated
Brian Walton (1600 – 1661) was an English priest, divine and scholar. He published a massive polyglot between 1654 and 1657 in nine languages: Hebrew, Chaldee, Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopic, Greek and Latin. Among his collaborators were James Ussher, John Lightfoot and Edward Pococke, Edmund Castell, Abraham Wheelocke and Patrick Young, Thomas Hyde and Thomas Greaves. It has been considered as the last and most scholarly ever printed.
In Revelation 16:5 his 1549 Ethiopian (Known today as Amharic, and formerly as Ge'ez) version has a Latin translation with the words:
Justus es Domine, et rectus qui fuisti et eris,..
Eris is a Latin Verb that is the second-person singular future active indicative of sum "you will be"
Herman Hoskier also noted this. So in addition to the early commentaries on the book of Revelation in Latin, the reading found in Revelation 16:5 "and shalt be" is also that of the Ethiopian Version. The early 20th century textual critic Herman Hoskier cited the Ethiopic version as containing the phrase "and shalt be" in Revelation 16:5. This information is found in Hoskier's 'Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse: Collation of All Existing Available Greek Documents with the Standard Text of Stephen's Third Edition Together with the Testimony of the Versions, Commentaries and Fathers', 2 volumes, London: Bernard Quaritch, 1929.
The Ethiopic version as cited by Herman Hoskier in Latin:
Translation of Ethiopic from Latin =
King James Version
Jack Moorman, in his "When the King James Departs from the “Majority Text”, says: The King James reading is in harmony with the four other places in Revelation where this phrase is found.
1:4 “him which is, and which was, and which is to come” 1:8 “the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” 4:8 “Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” 11:17 “Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come”
Indeed Christ is the Holy One, but in the Scriptures of the Apostle John the title is found only once (1 John 2:20), and there, a totally different Greek word is used. The Preface to the Authorized Version reads, “With the former translations diligently compared and revised”. (Jack Moorman)What is of great interest is the English Hexapla Greek-5 English versions of 1841. Though the Greek text used in this printed Greek text follows the reading of ὁ ὅσιος or "Holy", yet it footnotes that the reading of the Greek Received text is esomenos or "and shalt be". It was called the Received Text reading way back in 1841. You can see the site here: http://bible.zoxt.net/hex/_1304.htm
One well known modern Italian Bible is interesting in that it has combined the two readings. It is the 1991 New Italian Diodati and it reads "Tu sei giusto, o Signore, che sei e che eri e che hai da venire, il Santo, per aver giudicato queste cose."
Translated this would be "You are just, O Lord, who is and who was and WHO IS TO COME, THE HOLY, because you have judged thus." For some reason, they include BOTH the Textus Receptus reading that underlies the KJB and some others, along with the other reading of "the Holy".
There is also a recent English translation that has done the same thing in Revelation 16:5. The Contemporary English Bible 1997 (British and Foreign Bible Society) also combines both readings in a paraphrase this way - “Then I heard the angel, who has power over water, say, “You have always been, and YOU ALWAYS WILL BE THE HOLY GOD. You had the right to judge in this way.”
What is also of interest is that the earlier English Bibles apparently followed some other Greek texts because they do not read as the King James Bible nor as the Critical text versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV. Wycliffe's translation of 1395 reads: “Just art thou, Lord, that art, and that were hooli, that demest these thingis;” Wycliffe left out “and wast” and has the awkward reading that God “WERE Holy”.
This came from the Latin Vulgate, which came along after the Old Latin. On the other hand, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535 and the Bishops Bible 1568 all read: Lord, which art, and wast, thou art RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY, because thou hast given such judgements.” Here they add the word “righteous” Then the Geneva Bible came along and it differed from all four previous English bibles reading: “Lord, thou art iust, Which art, and Which wast: and Holy, because thou hast iudged these things.”
"First of all, to change the Trinitarian phraseology (which is used in Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:3; and 11:17) does break the sense of the passage and is inconsistent with the phrase used elsewhere by John. Furthermore, the addition of "Holy One" is awkward and is repetitive of the use of the phrase "Thou art righteous, O Lord."
Secondly, there are some textual variances among the changes made. The Greek text of Beza reads, "o wn, kai o hn, kai o esomenos" (who is, and was, and shall be).
Thirdly, P47 is not the only Greek text which is worn here. In fact, while P47 is slightly worn, the Greek text which Beza used was greatly worn. This is so noted by Beza himself in his footnote on Revelation 16:5 as he gives reason for his conjectural emendation.
Wordsworth also points out that in Revelation 16:5, Beatus of Liebana (who compiled a commentary on the book of Revelation) uses the Latin phrase "qui fuisti et futures es." This gives some additional evidence for the Greek reading by Beza (although he apparently drew his conclusion for other reasons). Beatus compiled his commentary in 786 AD.
Furthermore, Beatus was not writing his own commentary. Instead he was making a compilation and thus preserving the work of Tyconius, who wrote his commentary on Revelation around 380 AD (Aland and Aland, 211 and 216. Altaner, 437. Wordsword, 533.). So, it would seem that as early as 786, and possibly even as early as 380, their was an Old Latin text which read as Beza's Greek text does." (end of article by Dr. Thomas Holland)
Instead of "and shalt be" (ho esomenos) most texts read "the Holy" (ho hosios). However there is variation even among these. P47, which is the oldest remaining Greek copy and dates to the third century has a nonsensical reading of "who was AND holy". Vaticanus does not contain the book of Revelation, so we cannot look to it for confirmation one way or the other.
Sinaiticus says "who was THE Holy", while Alexandrinus reads: "who was Holy", omitting the word "the". Even among the so called Majority of texts, there are four slightly different readings found, some adding extra definite articles or the word "and", while others do not in varying combinations.
Another King James Bible believer sent me the following site where you can actually see the Sinaiticus manuscript and what it looks like. He writes: These images might be interesting too. It's the line "ο ων και ο ην ο οσιος" (who is and who was that holy one)" in Sinaiticus. The smaller image is a close-up of the word which appears to be οσιος. But as you can see, the last four letters of οσιοs are disproportionately smaller, scrunched together and barely legible. It's very suspicious, and indicative of a scribal "correction." The images are from
If you go to the site and look at the Sinaiticus manuscript where Revelation 16:5 is found, what you find are very large capital letters in the entire line, but at the very edge of the line on the border of the manuscript the letters sios which make up osios are about one-forth the size of the previous letters and they are scrunched together and barely legible.
You can read much more about the evolution of the textual varieties found in Revelation 16:5 and how not even the remaining earliest manuscripts are in agreement among themselves in this single verse here:
For the modern versionists who depend on one of the so called "oldest and best manuscripts", namely Sinaiticus, it may be an eye opener to see some of the really strange readings found in this text in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 4:8 "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." But Sinaiticus says: " Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty..."
Revelation 7:4 and 14:3 Both verses mention the number of 144,000. However Sinaiticus has 140,000 in 7:4 and 141,000 in 14:3.
Revelation 10:1 "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and A RAINBOW was upon his head..." Sinaiticus says: "clothed with a cloud with HAIR on his head."
Revelation 21:4 "For THE FORMER THINGS are passed away". Sinaiticus reads: "For THE SHEEP are passed away."
Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I make all things NEW", while Sinaiticus says: "Behold, I make all things EMPTY."
What we have here in Revelation 16:5 is a very common cluster of divergent readings and the King James Bible went with one reading while other versions went with another.
It is a well documented fact that many ancient Greek manuscripts were available to the translators of early English Bible versions that we no longer have today. Another "minority reading" found in the KJB is 1 John 5:7 "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one".
Only a few Greek manuscripts exist today which contain this reading, yet it was not always so. See my article on 1 John 5:7. The Reformers believed it was inspired Scripture.
The King James Bible translators did not slavishly follow Beza's Greek text, but after much prayer, study and comparison, did include Beza's reading of "and shalt be" in Revelation 16:5. We do not know what other Greek texts the KJB translators possessed at that time that may have helped them in their decisions. They then passed this reading on to future generations in the greatest Bible ever written. Since God has clearly placed His mark of divine approval upon the KJB throughout the last 400 years, I trust that He providentially guided the translators to give us His true words.
"Kept by the power of God through faith" - 1 Peter 1:5
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KJV Today - The Book of Revelation in the Textus Receptus
The “minority” readings in the book of Revelation.
Highly recommended KJV Today article on Revelation 16:5 with lots more information.
Beza and Revelation 16:5