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Day 5: Theological Propaganda

For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (KJV) John 1:17

But – You won’t find the Greek word for this translation in Today’s Word index because there is no Greek word in the original text. The translation adds the word “but” to the sentence. That little addition changes everything. It’s not a slip. It’s deliberate. And it’s deliberate propaganda!

About a month ago I got a letter from Boaz Michael (First Fruits of Zion). He mentioned this verse in his letter, pointing out that the addition of “but” created a terrible tragedy for believers. It is the tragedy of thinking that law and grace are opposed to each other; that Moses and Jesus don’t say the same thing. When the translators added “but” to the sentence, they implied that Christians and Jews have different gospels. They separated believers into two camps: those who lived under the Mosaic code and those who lived under the free grace of the Gospels.

What a disaster for all of us! It’s hard to imagine that men took such steps to break the Word of God in two, but they did. They wanted an unbridgeable gap between the Older Testament and the Newer Testament. For hundreds of years they have succeeded, convincing millions of God-fearing, humble followers that Jesus did not teach what Moses was given. All those followers struggled to find a clear path of obedience. Some succeeded. Many did not. God always uses what we are able to give, but we certainly made it much harder by believing what the “professionals” told us rather than looking for ourselves. They got away with theological destruction – and we let them.

The first principle of biblical interpretation is this: God does not contradict Himself. If He tells Moses that there are certain steps to be taken in obedience to Him (steps that will insure our greatest usefulness in His purposes), you can be assured that Jesus did not say something different. This is even more the case when we profess that Jesus is God. When it comes to salvation, God has not changed His mind. Salvation is by grace and grace alone. That was true for Moses and it’s true for us. That is exactly what Jesus taught. But usefulness comes through obedience, and obedience is determined by a code of conduct revealed to Moses and endorsed by Jesus. That has also always been the case. Don’t let any translator slip that one past you. You do not serve two gods. You serve only One God and He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I know that many of us struggle with this truth. We have been hearing the gospel of grace and the evils of the Law so long that we are convinced that Jesus was a radical revisionary. Please look again. You have nothing to lose by asking yourself “What exactly did Jesus teach about the Mosaic code of conduct?” But you have a great deal to lose if you just go on thinking that none of the “Law” applies to you. Don’t become a “yes-man” just because your favorite translation adds a word here or there. Insist on truth. Demand that those who know tell you what words are really in the text and what words aren’t. Pray that God will lead to you someone who will help you know what He said. God listens to those kinds of prayers. I know because I was blind myself before He heard my cry. This is a journey and we are traveling together. Just hold on to the one who is a step in front of you and ask a lot of questions.


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