Welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman! I wish a very happy start-of-the-week to you all.
I am continuing my study of Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” and am still studying the word “peace”. The Hebrew word translated as “peace” in this passage is shalom spelled Shin (ש) Lamed (ל) Mem (ם). I see something new in the meaning of the Shin every time I look at it but I did intend to move on to the Lamed this week. I got sidetracked by a passage I needed to understand so didn’t get as much study on the Lamed as I had wished but, as the Holy Spirit always does, He brought me full circle. I didn’t so much as study the Lamed this week as I experienced its meaning.
Allow me to explain-
I am reading through a series of studies on the Book of Revelation and got hung up on Revelation 13:8 which says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (NKJV). The study I am reading pointed out the Greek word translated “names” in this passage is singular rather than plural as it is rendered in the Emphatic Diaglott: “And will worship him all those dwelling on the earth, of which not has been written the name in the scroll of the life of the lamb of that having been killed, from a casting down of a world”. The study also suggests a more proper rendering of the Greek Grammar in this passage is more akin to what we find in the New American Bible and the New Revised Standard Version: “and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered” (NRSV).
The translations I use the most often-the New King James, Young’s Literal, Amplified, and New International-all render this passage as if it is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world rather than the names being written-or not, as the case may be-from the foundation of the world in the book belonging to the Lamb who was slain. Which is correct? I am not yet prepared to say which translation I find the most accurate as I’m not finished with my study of this passage. The reason I stopped everything to scrutinize this passage was because, curious what Francois du Toit’s commentary had to say on this passage, I looked it up in his Mirror Study Bible.
Mr. du Toit translates this passage this way: “The plan was to engage the entire earthbound population of the planet to worship the Beast [The counterfeit “slain and risen lamb”]. This would endorse the idea [of the religious system] that there were individuals, since the fall of the cosmos, whose names were not included in the slain Lamb’s Book of Life.” Mr. du Toit then has some extensive comments on this passage which I found worthy of consideration. I do not disagree with his conclusions but I am unsure whether or not I agree with his paraphrase of this verse. More study is needed. I do wonder…if “the name not written from the foundation (or fall) of the world in the book belonging to the Lamb who was slain” is the correct translation, then is this passage meant to distinguish between the two lambs? Is it referencing back to the Lamb slain in Revelation 5:6 so that we have this image in our minds when we read about the false lamb in Revelation 13:11?
I do not know. Yet. What I do know is that I am not afraid to ask these questions because I know the Holy Spirit will answer them. It’s His job: the Bible tells me so. “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). “I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:12-13). “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and it not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).
What am I saying and what does it have to do with peace? As I began to look at the Lamed, I found the root word for the word Lamed means “to learn, study, or become familiar with.” This is awesome. When we know Jesus Christ, we have peace. We know Him because His Spirit lives within us, revealing Him to us, teaching us who He is, and leading us into the truth that is Jesus Christ. I value my mentors and teachers. I value those who I don’t agree with because they are a catalyst for me to search the scriptures for myself as Paul encourages Timothy to do. (See 2 Timothy 2:15). I value them and I search the scriptures but they are not of greater importance than the Life of Jesus Christ in me. John’s gospel records Jesus as saying, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (5:39-40). I say it again: nothing takes preeminence over His life.
I recently heard a fellow believer say we should have scripture interpreted for us by our pastors and that I wholeheartedly disagree with. If we have the Spirit of the Living God living in us, the Spirit of truth, I do not need anyone to interpret scripture for me. That province belongs exclusively to the Holy Spirit. I listen to various teachers and I do so respectfully. When I hear something I don’t agree with, I take it to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show me what is true. This is my right and privilege under the New Covenant.
He does teach me. There are teachings and books I have picked up that He has said “no” to. I obey and stop reading them. I read things I see vilified by fellow believers and I go to Him and ask if I should be concerned. I wait and listen for His direction and, when I have it, I obey. I know I am hearing from Him because I inevitably have peace. When I am deliberately, with intention, moving in union with and in the flow of the Holy Spirit, I experience the fullness of shalom. I am not swayed by the attempts of others to instill fear in me because of something I might read. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) and thus has been my experience: His “no’s” are gentle and I obey them because I know and trust Him.
He can be trusted. Father, Son, and Spirit want us to know Him (See Hebrews 8:11, Jeremiah 31:34). He leads us into paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23: 3). He will keep us in perfect peace because our minds are stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). His peace is the fruit of His Spirit within me and, as the Apostle Paul says, it is His peace that rules in my heart (Colossians 3:15).
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Scripture taken from THE MIRROR. Copyright © 2012. Used by permission of The Author.
Revelation 13:8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb who was slain. (biblehub.com)
The Comparative Study Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984
Bentorah, Chaim, Hebrew Word Study: Beyond the Lexicon, Trafford Publishing, North America & International, 2014, Pages 113-119
Du Toit, Francois. Mirror Study Bible: The Romance of the Ages, Mirror Word Publishing, Pages 600-601
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990
Young, Robert, Modern Young’s Literal Translation: New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs, Greater Truth Publishers, Lafayette, Indiana, 2005