#3. (Isa 53:10-12)
#4. (Gal 3:16)
#5. (John 15:6)
#6. (Heb 5:7)
#7. (Mark )
Please open your Bibles to Psalm (2X). You find the Psalms almost in the middle of your Bible. The title of this sermon is "Muddied Water" (2X). In this sermon I intend to show how the New International Version of the Bible muddies the water of the Gospel. The New International Version, also known as the NIV, is the most popular Bible these days. Popularity with man does not always mean popularity with God. What God wants from us is that we remain faithful to His Word. That does not mean faithful to a translation of His Word, but faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek texts that God has handed down during a period of about 1500 years. For example, in the Bible God has a great deal to say about Hell. There are at least 100 verses in the Bible referring to Hell in some way or another. The question I have heard many times is:
Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Where is this place called Hell? It is a place where people will be sent after God has judged them on the Last Day. God creates this place on the Last Day. From this Hell there is no fire escape. And notice who are the people who will be sent there: "The wicked, and all the nations that forget God". In other words, not only those who do wickedly shall go to Hell, but all the people who forget God shall also go to Hell. A man or a woman may be a decent, moral, law abiding citizen, never takes the name of the Lord in vain, never hurts anyone, never even steals a pencil from his or her employer, but if he or she forgets God then he or she shall pay for their own sins in Hell forever and ever. What a horrible idea. But that is what God says here. And why is that so? It is because all those who forget God are people who trust in their own good works and in their own obedience to the Law. But God says in Gal 2:16, "by the works of the flesh shall no flesh be justified". Did you know that the NIV says in Psalm 9:
Psalm 9:17, The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God. (2X).
What kind of nonsense is that? Everyone will die and be put in the grave, not only the wicked and all those that forget God. They have changed the word "Hell" to "the grave", because the translators of the NIV do not like Hell. Of course, Hell is not a pleasant subject to talk about, but God put it there in the Bible, and do we then dare to change it? Well, the translators of the NIV looked at that Hebrew word "Sheol" that has been translated "Hell" in the KJV. The Hebrew word "Sheol" in the OT is the same word as the Greek word "Hades" in the NT. They reasoned that "Sheol", or "Hades", means, "the place for the departed souls of men", or "the abode of the dead", and so they used "the grave" almost in every place where the Hebrew word "Sheol" appears. Is that correct? Absolutely not! Here in Psalm 9:17 the context clearly shows that the proper translation for "Sheol" must be "Hell". The KJV translators correctly understood that "the abode of the dead" must be different for the saints as it is for the wicked. Therefore, whenever "Sheol" refers to the abode for the saints, they translated it "the grave", and whenever "Sheol" refers to the abode for the wicked they translated it "Hell". Is that correct? Absolutely yes! The context defines the meaning of a word. The reason for this variety of translation is that "Hell" is normally thought of as a place of punishment and a place of torment. Therefore, "the grave" is substituted when the reference is to the souls of saints. But the NIV muddied the water of the Gospel by excluding the word "Hell" altogether from the OT, and by excluding "Hell" from all the places where we find the Greek word "Hades" in the NT.
Let us now return to the question: "Where is Hell?" On the Last Day Hell will be created as a place, and it is called "The Lake of Fire". The Lord Jesus said in Matt 25 that Hell is a place "prepared for the Devil and his angels". The Devil is not in that Hell yet, because we read in I Peter 5 that "our adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". But there is at present something that resembles "Hell". Think for a moment what the characteristics of "Hell" are: #1. There is an absence of righteousness. #2. There is a separation from God. #3. There is a condition of being under the wrath of God. Are there presently people who are in this state, or in this condition? Absolutely yes! We read, for example, in John 3:36,
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
"The wrath of God abideth on him". All those who presently do not believe are in this condition that is called "Hell". More properly it should be called "The Bottomless Pit". #1. There is no righteousness at all in their life. Their personal unrighteousness makes them unable to get right with a holy God. #2. In their spirit they are separated from God, and in their mind there is no intention to move closer to God, because there is NONE that seeketh after God. #3. According to John 3:36, they are presently in a condition that is called "under the wrath of God". If they die in that condition they will on the Last Day stand before the Judgment throne of God, and they will be permanently removed to a place called "The Lake of Fire". At that time the spiritual accursedness they experienced in their soul, while on this earth, will be enlarged to an accursedness of their soul and body in "Hell". Now that we have answered the question "Where is Hell", we now are faced with a similar question:
#1. For Whom Is Hell? (Matt 25:41, Eph 2:3)
Hell is to be under the curse of God, or to be under the wrath of God. Who comes under the wrath of God? The Lord Jesus said in Matt 25:41, "The everlasting fire is prepared for the Devil and his angels". Literally this should be stated as, "prepared for the Devil and his messengers". Who are the messengers of the Devil? True, all the fallen angels that followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God are messengers of the Devil. All those fallen angels, called demons, will have to go to Hell on the Last Day. But all the human beings who have chosen to be on the side of Satan are also messengers of the Devil. And this does not leave one human being out. We all were born as messengers of Satan and we all were born as rebels against God. God says in Eph 2:3 that, "We all were by nature the children of wrath even as others", because we all bear the guilt of Adam's sin, and we all bear the guilt of our own sins which we committed as soon as we were born. Therefore, we all deserve to be sent to Hell for an eternity, as payment for our sins. Everyone who bears the guilt of sin must come under the wrath of God, because "The wages of sin is death", and the death that God has in view is the second death in the Lake of Fire. Therefore, in principle, every human being must spend an eternity in Hell. Moreover, Hell is for Christ. If God the Father has sent God the Son to this earth to bear the guilt of sins for many, then He too must suffer the consequences of bearing sins, even though these are the sins of others He came to save. It is not widely known, and it is not widely believed that the Lord Jesus Christ had to endure Hell for our sins. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah chapter 53:10 (2X). Allow me to list NINE evidences that the Lord Jesus Christ was required to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for our sins. There are a great deal more, but I have time only for 9 evidences. Do yourself a favor and write down these 9 evidences.
#1. The righteousness of God requires it. God is an absolutely righteous judge. God the righteous judge will not reduce a sentence for the sake of special circumstances. God the righteous judge will not reduce a sentence if His Son would stand before the judgment throne. God the righteous judge will not reduce a sentence even if all the angels in heaven would plead with Him to do so. A righteous Judge must give the penalty that was prescribed for the crime, regardless who it is. Only then will His righteousness be satisfied. The penalty for our sins is an eternity in Hell. This is the penalty that must be paid, either by us, or by the Lord Jesus when He represented us, laden with our sins.
#2. All the OT sacrifices were burnt offerings. The NT tells us that all the animals offered as sacrifices to the Lord throughout the entire OT period of time, were all types and figures of the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement on the cross. Even the grain offering and the drink offering of wine had to be burned on the altar, because these too were symbols of Christ in His atonement on the cross. The grain offering and the wine offering are again seen in the elements at the Lord's Supper. But when we look at Christ on the cross, where is the fire? With the naked eye we do not see any fire, but with the eye of faith we can see that in His soul He was enduring the fire of the wrath of God.
#3. In the OT we read in Isa 53:10-12,
Isaiah 53:10 ¶ Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him (Lit: crush Him); he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin (Lit: guilt offering), he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isaiah 53:11 He shall see
of the travail of his soul, (
and) He shall be satisfied: By his
knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their
Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Here are three references to the Soul, which is the Spirit of Christ: #1. He shall make His Soul an
offering for sin. #2. He shall see of the travail of His Soul. #3. He hath poured out His Soul unto death. How did the Lord Jesus Christ pour out His Soul unto death? There is only one way: He must have suffered in His Soul at the same time that He suffered in His body. He must have suffered in His Soul a great deal more than in His body, because His Soul was made a guilt offering, which is an offering made by fire, which also is a type or figure of the second death. Now turn to John 15:6 (2X).
#4. "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" (Gal 3:16). God declared that the Lord Jesus Christ was accursed by God when He hung on the cross. However, He was not accursed for anything He had done, but He was made a curse for us, in our place. To be under the curse of God means that He was enduring the wrath of God in His Soul, or in His Spirit essence. He was experiencing the curse of God, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, hanging on the cross. How could Christ be only bodily under the wrath of God? The grave does not have anything to do with payment for souls.
#5. "He is cast forth as The Branch" (John 15:6). We read in John 15:6,
John 15:6 If anyone abide not in me, he is cast forth as The Branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
This is not easily seen in your KJV Bibles. The KJV reads "a branch", but the Greek interlinear says "The Branch". Who in the Bible is known as The Branch? In several places in the OT the Lord Jesus Christ is known as "My Servant The Branch". Now, what this verse is saying is this: If anyone abides not in Christ, he will be cast forth into the fires of Hell as Christ was cast forth into the fires of Hell, spiritually, when He was enduring the wrath of God on our behalf. Now turn to Heb 5:7 (2X).
#6. "With Strong crying and tears", Heb 5:7 (2X). In the Garden of Gethsemane the Lord Jesus pleaded with His Father three times: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me". Was Jesus afraid of physical death? Was Jesus afraid to suffer like thousands of people have suffered crucifixion before Him? Perish the thought! But now He was confronted with the degree of suffering that is equivalent to an eternity in Hell. Now He earnestly seeks to be rescued from the sufferings of Hell: "Father, is it possible that this horrible cup that I am now drinking, this horrible cup of the wrath of God be removed from Me?" There was no answer on Thursday evening. But we read in Heb 5:7,
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Do you see that? "to save him from death, and was heard in that He feared". Literally the Greek text says: "and having been heard from godly fear" (2X). Christ's request to save Him from death was granted, because as God's Son He truly had a godly fear. But Christ did die a physical death. His request did not seem granted. O, but He was rescued from the second death: the sufferings of the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. On Friday at about 3 O'clock in the afternoon His request was granted, and He came out the other end of Hell. When the Lord Jesus cried out victoriously: "It is finished" He finished enduring Hell for our sins. Please turn now to Mark 15:34 (2X).
#7. "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani". The Lord Jesus was crucified on April 3, in the year AD 33, on Friday at about 9 O'clock in the morning, and He hung there until about 3 O'clock in the afternoon. Ever since His sufferings for our sins began on Thursday evening, when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, His sufferings intensified, until at about 3 O'clock in the afternoon, we read in Mark 15:
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
The Lord Jesus was forsaken by God in body and Soul. What does this mean? These words were recorded for our benefit, so that we may understand a little bit from these words what the Lord Jesus suffered. In His Soul the Lord Jesus never ceased to be God. And yet we read here that He was forsaken by God. Does that not mean that He was suffering Hell for us? Remember, the essence of Hell is to suffer a separation from God and suffer under the wrath of God. Based on this saying of the Lord Jesus, we understand that He was separated from God and He was under the wrath of God.
#8. "There was darkness over all the earth". We talked about this last week. In Matthew, Mark and Luke we read that from about Noon until about 3 O'clock there was a physical darkness over all the earth. This physical darkness was just symbolic of the spiritual darkness that enveloped the entire earth. The whole world was in the grip of Satan, and through the help of Judas Iscariot and through the Scribes and Pharisees the Devil has even laid his hands on the Son of God. And now the Lord Jesus Himself is surrounded by a thick darkness. What was this darkness a sign of? The Lord Jesus Himself said that Hell was like a place of outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. One of the two thieves on the cross next to Jesus was gnashing his teeth. Later on he would be weeping, because the Roman soldiers were going to smash his legs. God communicated by this darkness that in His Soul the Lord Jesus was suffering in the midst of Hell.
Please turn to the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2:22 (2X). We have here the second half of Peter's sermon on Pentecost Sunday, 49 days after the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. And now Peter is testifying that the Lord Jesus bodily rose from the grave. Speaking to Jews who came to Jerusalem to worship on one of the days required by the Law, Peter said in Acts 2:22,
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Acts 2:23-24 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Acts 2:25-26 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue
was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Acts 2:27-28 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Acts 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Acts 2:34-35 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit Peter is speaking of both the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. The one cannot be separated from the other. We must always consider both the crucifixion and the resurrection together in the Atonement. In verses 25-28 Peter quotes from Psalm 16:8-11. Let us now focus on verses 26 and 27, which in the OT read identical to these verses in the NT: "Moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope, because Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell (in Hades or in Sheol), neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption". Most commentators discuss whether Christ in His Spirit could have gone to a place called Hades or Sheol in the time between His death and His resurrection. That is absolutely a non-issue. We will not waste our time with such nonsense. These words in verses 26 and 27 are the words of Christ. What does Christ mean with these words? Paraphrased the Lord Jesus says, "My body shall be in the grave resting in the full assurance of a resurrection. I am assured for two reasons: I have finished the Atonement completely and perfectly by enduring the torments of Hell on the cross, and Thou, Father, wilt not allow the body of Thine only begotten Son, to see corruption". Words with the same meaning are repeated in verse 31, because Peter indicated that these were not the words of David, but the words of Christ. The Greek word "Hades" is here translated "Hell". In Psalm 16:10 the Hebrew word "Sheol" is also translated "Hell". This is correct in both instances, because we have already seen eight evidences that Christ successfully endured the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for our sins. We must realize: When Jesus cried triumphantly, "It is finished", His bodily resurrection was sure.
How does the NIV translate verses 26 and 27? Let me read it to you, and compare with the KJV:
Acts 2:26-27, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay" (2X).
What have they done? They have changed "My Soul" to "me", as if Christ does not have a Soul. They have also changed "Hell" to "the grave", as if Christ did not suffer in His Soul but only in His body. They have done the same trick to Psalm 16:10, which in the NIV reads the same as Acts 2:27.
What must it be? Hell or the Grave? Certainly the Greek word "Hades" has the same meaning as the Hebrew word "Sheol". But Hades and Sheol do not mean "the grave". In fact, it is remarkable that the word "Sheol" is never used as a synonym for the Hebrew word "Qeber", which properly means a grave or a sepulchre. The words "Sheol" and "Hades" refer to the abode of the dead "down there", deep in the earth. The OT does not convey a clear understanding of the destiny of the souls of men that we have in the NT. We understand that, when the body dies, the souls of unsaved people go to a place of silence, waiting for the judgment on the Last Day, whereas the souls of the saved people go immediately to live and reign with Christ in heaven. This was not clearly known in the OT time since "Sheol" was not a clearly defined concept. God kept it hidden for His own purposes. We can now see His purposes enfolding. This hidden concept was also kept hidden from the translators of the NIV. God has used the ignorance of pastors and teachers of the Word of God, and God has used the ignorance of the NIV translators to help them remove the word Hell out of most places in their NIV Bibles. And so the church is being prepared for Judgment Day. Then truly the words of Hosea apply,
Hosea 4:6 ¶ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (2X): because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
We cannot assign a single meaning to the word "Sheol" or "Hades". The context must define one of three meanings. It either means Hell, as conveyed by the KJV translators, or it means "the abode of the souls of unsaved men" who wait in silence, or it means "the abode of the souls of saved people in heaven". If Hades uniformly means the abode for the dead, the place where the souls of men go when their body has died, then we know that the Soul of Christ never went to such a place. To one of the thieves on the cross the Lord Jesus promised: "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise". And about three hours later the Lord Jesus said: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit". His Soul left His body and instantly went to be with His Father in heaven. His body went into the grave. But notice: The Bible says that we were buried with Christ, in order that we also will be raised with Christ when His body was raised from the dead. The dead body of the Lord Jesus represented us. Compare that with the fact that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world when Christ, God the Son, was still a Spirit like God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore when the Spirit of Christ, which is the Soul of Christ, ascended into heaven when His body died on the cross, He ascended as a Spirit that was different from the Spirit who descended and was incarnated in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Before the incarnation the Spirit of Christ represented us, for we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. But after Christ died the dead body of the Lord Jesus represented us. That is why His Atonement for us was not completed when He cried, "It is finished". His sufferings for our sins were finished, but we were still represented by His dead body.
The NIV does not dwell on these details, because the NIV usually does not deal with people consisting of a body and a soul. This is a doctrine of man that is characteristic to the KJV of the Bible, but it is also a doctrine stated in the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT Scriptures. This brings us to:
Not only has the NIV muddied the water of the Gospel in Acts 2:27 and 31, but also in verse 30. Verse 30 in the KJV reads:
Acts 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
What did God say in this verse? Why does God have to swear an oath? God is not obligated to follow up His promises with an oath. But when "God was willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, He confirmed it by an oath", so that we in our day and age might have comfort in the hope that is set before us. And what is that hope that is set before us? It is the Bible, the Holy Scriptures in the Hebrew OT and in the Greek NT. What did God swear to David? God had revealed to David that out of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. These words, "according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ" are left out in the NIV Bible. This is how verse 30 reads in the NIV:
Acts 2:30, "But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne." (2X).
"According to the flesh" is omitted. This is a serious omission, for we read in I John 4:2-3,
1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Why is this such a serious matter? By this translation the NIV annuls OT prophecies, which were stated in II Sam 7:12, and in Psalm 89:3-4, and in Psalm 132:11. By leaving out this portion in Acts 2:30 the NIV denies us the understanding that Christ was the one whom God was going to set upon the throne of Israel. NO, not the physical Israel. This verse is not speaking about Christ reigning from Jerusalem for a thousand years with the Jews evangelizing the world. Absolutely NOT! The physical Jerusalem there East of the Mediterranean, whether Jew or Moslem, is under the curse of the Law. God says in Gal 4:24-25 that "the Jerusalem which now is", is represented by "Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage". Therefore, "the Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children". But God speaks in Acts 2:30 about the spiritual Israel, which is the church. As David sat and reigned on the throne of the nation of Israel, so Christ reigns over the Israel of God, the Kingdom of God, which consists of the saints in heaven and the saints still living on this earth. The Lord Jesus Christ was born in the line of David. Therefore the prophecy of a King was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. By removing the fact that Christ came in the flesh, the NIV moves in the direction of denying the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus, and the next step is denying that He is God. By removing the fact that Christ was raised bodily, the NIV moves in the direction of new age and cultic teachings that Christ was raised only spiritually and not bodily. This is a sly attack on all the basic teachings of the Bible.
My primary goal today was to expose just one passage of the Bible, and to show how the NIV has muddied the Water of the Gospel. But there were thousands of changes made in the NIV, all of which were attempts to chip away at the doctrine that Christ is God, and at the doctrine of His Atonement.
To anyone who owns an NIV my advice is that you trash it and buy a KJV. You will be blessed greatly. But whom are you going to believe? If your church promotes the use of an NIV, will you believe what your church tells you to believe, or will you search out this matter and believe the Bible?
Now I would like to return to the texts we have at hand, Acts 2:27 and 31.
God has made known to us that Christ descended into the depths of Hell and that He has endured all there is to endure for the payment of our sins. We, who were in Christ when He was crucified, also went with Him through the torments of Hell, which means that we cannot be sent to Hell again.
Many are the temptations and the trials that we go through in the wilderness of this life. We are attacked from within and from the outside, to move us from this sure confidence we have in Christ, that our sins are forgiven, and that we have received eternal life and righteousness purely by grace. Our own conscience accuses us, our sin from within brings us to doubting and we are afraid that God's wrath is still upon us. Can we then be saved? From where can we draw some comfort?
Let us then remember that God gave us faith. This is not some flimsy faith in some god out there. God gave us the faith to believe each and every word He has spoken, as written down in our KJ Bible In all these temptations we cling by faith to the death of the Son of God, who finished in our place and on our behalf the sufferings in Hell that we rightly deserve, and that we would have to endure if we would not have been saved. How do we know that we have been saved? We know because we believe each and every word that God has spoken. God declared that I am forgiven, and that is why I am forgiven. Not for anything we have done, but by grace He saved us. We rest on the death of the Son of God, as the complete satisfaction for all our sins. Nothing can separate us from His love.
Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.