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XXI. PROBLEMS OF MATTHEW 28:19

 

Most people gloss over the text of Matthew 28:19 without taking a moment to really look at the text and think about it. After over 10 years of focusing and studying this text I begun to see many problems with this text.

 

There is more than one way to interpret the traditional text: The Trinitarians vehemently reject the charge that they have three Gods, but their own terminology betrays them, because the Trinitarians believe that Matthew 28:19 always has to be interpreted as

(God, the Father; God, the Son; God, the Holy Spirit.) = 3 Gods

They clearly mention 3 Gods in there, anyone with basic math skills can count them.

One thing that many fail to grasp in Matthew 28:19 is that there is no mention of God. The passage mentions the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but does not refer to these three as "God.", there is zero mention of any divinity.

 

However we can refuse to accept their erroneous interpretation.

The traditional Matthew 28:19 can also be interpreted as

(God The Father, The Son of God, The Spirit of God) or

(God, God's Son, and God's Holy Spirit) or

(God the Father, his son, his Holy Spirit) or

(God the Father, in the Son, by his Holy Spirit) = 1 God

None of these statements mean more than one God; they all mean only one God which is in complete agreement with the doctrine taught by the Old Testament.

No wonder the Trinitarians rejected the baptism of Peter, Philip and Paul and created their own baptism, for just like they split God into three, they had to split their loyalties to the three persons of their Trinity.

 

More interpretations: Of course there are many other ways to interpret Matthew 28:19 without saying that they are three gods.

The Greek work and (kai) can mean even or indeed, this would allow us to interpret the text as follows.

“baptizing them in the name of the Father, who is also the Son, who is also the Holy Spirit.”

“baptizing them in the name of the Father, indeed the son, indeed the Holy Spirit.”

Since the word for name (ónoma) can also mean power or authority, we can interpret it to mean “baptizing them in the power of the father, given to the son, distributed by the Holy Spirit.”

“baptizing in the authority of the Father, given to the Son, administered by the Holy Spirit”

 

Three names does not equal three persons

The President, George Herbert Walker Bush had 2 first names and 2 last names, was he two persons?

Was there a person named George, a second person named Herbert a third person named Walker and perhaps a fourth person named Bush?

One of the Apostles was known by three names Peter, Simon and Cephas;
does that make him three persons?

Someone has the name “Adam James Oliver”, which are acatully all first names;
does it make him three persons?

 

Ok, if mentioning three names means three gods then each time the word God is mentioned it must mean another God. Here is a verse that does mention 4 times the word God, then this means there must be 4 gods. Exodus 3:6 “"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." So according to the logic of the Trinitarians Moses encountered 4 Gods.

  1. I am the God of your father, (this one was the God of Amram, Moses’ father)
  2. the God of Abraham, (The oldest God since this one is the God of Abraham)
  3. the God of Isaac, (A younger God since Isaac was the son of Abraham)
  4. the God of Jacob (Another young God since Jacob was the son of Isaac)

There you have it, following the traditional way Matthew is interpreted, Moses encountered 4 Gods. 

 

Repetition does not make three Gods:  Repeating three names for the same individual does not make that person three. Jesus said “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” does that mean there were three Gods? Saying my Lord, Savior and God does it mean I am addressing three different persons? Saying in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is simply a form of repetition. The prophet Isaiah gave many different titles to the same individual person. (Isaiah 9:6) For Jesus is “The Eternal Father”, He is the Begotten Son, and he is The Holy Spirit. It seems the deluded Traditionalists have a hard time accepting this prophecy at face value. If it says that the name of that Son is the Eternal Father, then that is exactly who he is, otherwise we end up with the absurdity of two fathers in the Godhead.

 

Three names do not mean equality: Mentioning three names does not mean they are equal; in 1Timothy 5:21we read: “I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels.” Since the elect Angels are mentioned together with God and Jesus then I guess the angels are now part of the Trinity. If the president of the United States is mentioned along with two other names does it means all three of them are one president? Unless something is explicitly told we cannot make the assumption that the mention of three names makes them all be the same. Peter, James and John are mentioned together in Luke 9:28, does that make them a trinity?

When a British police officer says “Stop in the name of the Queen, God and Country” does it mean that the queen is equal to God or to a Country? Or that the Country is a person? Is the name of the Queen, queen or is the name of the Country, Country, is the name of God, God? Is the County equal to God?

 

If a political commentator said “France, England, and Germany are united in their fight against poverty” Does it mean that they are one single country? or that they are all equal?

 

The father and the Son problem: The Trinitarians affirm that the members of the Trinity are co-equal, but what they fail to see in Matthew 28:19 is that the wording itself denies any equality among them. Actually the wording itself indicates an inequality. If one is the Father, and the other is the begotten Son, then the Father is indeed superior to the begotten Son. For the Father is first and then the son. The scriptures clearly say “This day, I have begotten you”.  This clearly indicates a beginning for the first day of time begun when God created the heavens and the Earth. The Bible clearly says “and the evening and the morning were the first day” before then there was no day. When the Trinitarians were confronted with this contradiction, they resorted to creating the doctrine of eternal generation. In this theory which has no scriptural backing whatsoever the son is eternally begotten. This is another one of the pretzel twisting done in an attempt to obfuscate the obvious that if one is a son and the other a Father then there must have been a time when the son did not exist.

 

The Father and the Spirit problem: There is a tremendous inequality between the Father and the Holy Spirit, for the Bible often says that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father, but nowhere do we hear of the Holy Spirit sending the Father. I mean if they are equal, then there should be no problem in the Holy Spirit sending the father.

 

The word “and” does not mean two persons:

God and the Father; Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 1:3, Colossians 3:17, James 1:27.

Lord and Saviour; 2 Peter 1:11, 2 Peter 2:20, 2 Peter 3:2, 2 Peter 3:18 / Lord and Christ; Acts 2:36

According to the twisted logic of the Trinitarians this would mean that there are two persons, one is God and the other is the Father and also two separate persons in Christ, one who is the Lord and the other the Saviour. It is clear that the word “and” does not always mean a separation. Sometimes the word “and” actually refers to the same thing or person.

 

The wording denies any equality in the Trinity:

  1. If one is the Father, and the other is the begotten Son, then the Father is indeed superior to the Son
  2. If one is the Father and the other is the proceeding Spirit, then the Father is indeed superior to the Spirit
  3. For there to be an equality they would all have be begotten of each other
  4. For there to be an equality they have to proceed from each other
  5. The Father would have to be begotten of the Son and also begotten of the Holy Spirit
  6. The Father would have to proceed from the Son and also from the Holy Spirit
  7. The Holy Spirit would have to be begotten of the Father and also begotten of the Son
  8. The Holy Spirit would have to proceed from the Father and also from the Son
  9. The Son would have to be begotten of the Father and of the Holy Spirit
  10. The Son would have to proceed from the Father and from the Holy Spirit
  11. Which means that all 3 would Fathers, all 3 would be Sons and all 3 would be Holy Spirits
  12. To be equal they would all have to submit to each other with no one greater than the other

If they all begot and proceed from each other and no one is greater than another, then there would be no Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Clearly the text in Matthew 28:19 is contradictory to the doctrine of the Trinity which teaches an absolute equality.

 

One verse only: It is kind of ironic that people call us “Jesus Only” for we only baptize in the name of Jesus, while they have Only one verse to support their baptism. The Trinitarians often accuse us of relaying upon Acts 2:38, well I say fine, let us take out that one verse out of the Bible and see what happens. If they take Acts 2:38 out there is no problem I have plenty of other verses where I can teach the exact same message, but if we take out Matthew 28:19 there is no other verse where the baptism is in the triune name. We Christians are supposed to compare scriptures with scriptures, but the problem is that there is no other scripture to compare Matthew 28:19 with; none at all. Think about this baptism in the name of Jesus is woven through the whole New Testament.

We can learn the gospel from many of the books in the Bible, someone can even take out the whole book of Matthew and I can still teach the gospel out of Mark, Luke and John. The Bible says that you only need 2 witnesses but God gave us 4 witnesses about Jesus in the 4 gospels.  Philip didn’t even need a New Testament book; for he taught the gospel using just the book of Isaiah. I believe that perhaps someone on purpose tampered with the witness testimony of Matthew sometime after he was not longer around.  So the next time someone asks you, are you “Jesus Only” you can retort by saying “Are you Matthew 28:19 Only”?

 

A one column structure: Why do so many Trinitarians hang on desperately to this verse and quote it over and over? Well, because the whole doctrine of the trinity is supported by just this one verse. It is like if someone built a huge building and used only one single column to hold it up. If we take out the corrupted Matthew 28:19 verse, the whole Trinitarian structure falls apart, for there is no other verse that can be used to teach the trinity. How strange that all the biblical doctrines are supported by more than one scripture, yet this seemingly super important doctrine is only supported by one single verse.

The Oneness of God is also woven throughout the whole Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it is not dependent upon any single scripture. It would take the removal of hundredths of scriptures to remove the absolute monotheism teaching in the Bible. Isn’t it strange how blind people are, the Bible in hundredths of scriptures teaches that God is one, yet those people get fooled by one single dubious verse that seems to imply that he is three, and they fall for it.

This kinds of reminds me of the time when Eve had at her disposal all the many trees in the garden, yet the devil made her focus on just one single tree and ignore the rest. We have hundredths and hundredths of scriptures telling us that God is one, and the devil wants us to focus on just one single lonely scripture that could be interpreted to mean he is more than one and ignore all the rest.

 

The traditional text of Matthew 28:19 suffers from something more than the “only lonely” syndrome, but it also suffers from being an invisible and ignored scripture.

 

No one mentions this phrase in the first 2 centuries: Apart from its sudden and strange appearance in Matthew, none of the Apostles ever cited it. Where is a comment in an epistle by the Apostles saying Jesus told us this, but we interpreted it to mean this other thing; where is there a single discussion of the difference or the reconciliation between Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38? Where is there an allusion to this text? Where is there an explanation or an argument about this text? The absolute silence by the apostles is baffling if such words were actually spoken by Jesus. There is nothing, zero, nada zilch no mention whatsoever by any apostle.

The primitive church knew only baptism in Jesus name, none of the believers of the early church is ever quoted as using the traditional phrase. They listened to the Apostle’s teachings for years yet not one of them ever quotes the Apostles nor do they themselves ever mention this phrase. None of the early Post-Apostolic fathers ever mention any of the Apostles or their early disciples mentioning this phrase, it seems like it was a ghostly scripture for no one ever cited it. If Matthew 28:19 was original, then why none of the Apostles or Post-Apostolic believers explained it or commented on it and did they not explain why they baptized differently than what was “supposedly” commanded by Jesus.

 

Ancient forgeries: Of course a person who is not well informed might bring up some supposed ancient citation; however the few mentions of the traditional text in these 2 centuries have already proven to be either forgeries or later alterations, purposely backdated to make the traditional text appear older than what it actually is. (The Didache, which is purported to be from the 2nd century, was discovered in 1873. The Didache only surviving Greek copy dates from 1056, and the earliest Latin copy is from the Ten Century; it is removed by over 800 years from the time period it is believe to discuss. Its witness of the traditional text is unreliable for it is a patchwork of different altered texts put together.) Even the existing copies have diverse textual variants. The Didache also has many heretical teachings and practices that obviously were not from the first or even the second century. The Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics states about the Didache that perhaps in the Didache chapter 7:1 originally read "in the name of the Lord" like in 9:5 (art. “Baptism (New Testament)” [Kirsopp Lake], 1926, vol. 2, p. 378). https://archive.org/details/encyclopaediaofr02hast

Jonathan A. Draper argued that Didache 9:5 was a better preservation of the earliest baptismal formula as opposed to the phrases in 7:1 and 7:3 "The Apostolic Fathers: The Didache." Expository Times 117, No 5 (February 2006)

The truth stands that baptism in the name of Jesus was the standard way for the church in the first two centuries. It is until sometime later at the end of the third century or beginning of the 4th Century, that a new formula for baptism starts to get mentioned. Because so many interpolations were made to ancient texts, it is therefore impossible to know with precision when such new baptismal formula begun to arise. Yet there is abundant evidence which shows that the initial baptism in the name of Jesus continued to be practiced by the majority of the church members for a long time; but eventually it was displaced by the traditional baptism, and survived only in the “heretical” groups that have troubled the Catholic Church throughout the centuries.

 

Why there are no early mentions of this change?: Of the ancient writers only Eusebius mentioned that the Matthean text was altered on purpose. There are many reasons that more such accusations have not surfaced. Perhaps there were other writers who also mentioned such corruptions but most likely their texts were destroyed by natural means or on purpose. But in that time and age few had access to earlier Greek or Hebrew texts and if the case be that this variant was only found in the Hebrew text, and then was must keep in mind that Hebrew at that time had become a dead language and only few knew the language. The Trinitarians had imposed their doctrine by violence, so anyone who even dared to suggest fraud, would face formidable foes. That makes it a perfect environment where the few learned writers could be silenced and a corrupted text easily be passed as an original.

 

The arguments over Matthew 28:19: Of all the accusations of changed texts in the gospel of Matthew by the Catholic Church, none has been more contested, argued over and attacked than the Matthew 28:19 traditional text. This has been a sore point of contention among theologians for a long time. All the other textual battles pale in comparison to this one. The only other text that has generated such intense heated debate was 1 John 5:7 the “Comma Johanneum” and the Trinitarians pretty much have lost that battle. The validity of Matthew 28:19 has been questioned by a great number of scholars and theologians; it has been bitterly denounced by many as a corruption, as a spurious text.

            Some say that the case of Matthew 28:19 is not the same as with 1 John 5:7 where there is plenty of evidence it was a fabrication. However their textual affinity does link them together, as the saying goes “birds of a feather…” If one is a confirmed interpolation and the other one is a close parallel, then it surely is bound to raise suspicion in rational thinking minds.

 

Matthew 28:19 was an early alteration: Although we have over 5,800 Greek manuscripts, one problem is that about 90% of those 5,800 ancient Greek texts are long after the 4th century, so they cannot serve as witnesses to what the earlier text actually said, of the other 10 percent, not all of them have the gospel of Matthew and many of them have the ending of Matthew cut off in a manner which suggests it was done on purpose; which is indeed intriguing.

The Trinitarians needed a text that supported their doctrine, so it is possible that when a change that supported the Trinitarian doctrine was made whether accidentally or on purpose, the Trinitarian proponents quickly adopted and championed it.

Eusebius, therefore, is not without grounds for accusing the adherents of Athanasius and the newly-risen doctrine of the trinity of falsifying the Bible even more than once…The striking contrast and the illogical internal coherence of the passage… lead to a presumption of an intentional corruption in the interest of the Trinity. In ancient Christian times a tendency of certain parties to corrupt the text of the New Testament was certainly often imputed. This increases our doubt almost to a decisive certainty concerning the genuineness of the passage," E. K. in The Fraternal Visitor, Article, The Question of the Trinity and Matthew 28:19. 1924, pp. 147-151, translated from the Christadelphian Monatshefte.

 

Matthew 28:19 was a scribal notation: There is also the strong possibility that Matthew 28:19 was actually a scribal notation. Sometimes a scribe would make a notation or a small comment on the margins of the text, then later on another copyist would come along and thinking that the notation or comment was a part of the text would include it as part of the text. Perhaps a scribe noticed that the name of Jesus contained in its compound form the name of the father and made a marginal note about the baptism being made in the name of both the Father and the Son, and the next scribe just copied the notation as part of the text.

The Text of New Testament (2005) Bruce M. Metzger

 

Perhaps an editorial addition: “Matthew 28:16-20 seems to be an editorial addition” Matthew apostle and evangelist (1959) p. 41[Professor Kirsopp Lake] by Edgar J. Goodspeed. Matthew 28:15, “This would appear to be the end of the Gospel. What follows, from the nature of what is said, would then be a later addition.” The Original New Testament (1985) by Hugh J. Schonfield, historian and Biblical archeologist.

 

When was this alteration done?: We do know for certain that the gospels were composed in the first century When were our gospels written? (1866) by Constantin von Tischendorf, biblical scholar. Finding the exact date when this alteration to Matthew was done is difficult to determine, but we can get an approximate era. The Gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew somewhere between 42 and 69 AD. According to the legend this original gospel was taken by Bartholomew to India, where he left it in their charge before he continued in his travels to China where it is said that he introduced Christianity. 

Some have mentioned that this corruption occurred real early perhaps sometime in 140 AD and others have mentioned that it came after 192 AD, when Pantænus returned from India with the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, while other estimate some other later dates, but what is almost certain is that by 256 it was already known but not widely embraced or accepted, for even in the Trinitarian debates of the 3rd and 4th centuries no one uses it at all in any of the debates. However the earliest reliable date that this traditional scripture has been found is in the Codex Vaticanus which is dated around 325 to 350 AD, although there are doubts even this mention is authentic. Is the Codex Vaticanus citation of Matthew 28:19 authentic or not, well it is hard to give a definite answer, for the Codex Vaticanus is heavily corrected.  But even if it is authentic we have to wonder how come there are is not one single text until then.

 

The early defenders of the trinity never once quoted the traditional Matthew 28:19 in their arguments, which means that they were not aware of it, it did not exist or perhaps there were copies with a different text. The Didache and other Post-apostolic earlier citations have already been proven to be falsifications or dubious passages. So this change was probably done sometime late in the second century or early in the third century, which is right about the time that accusations of some changes to the gospels point to. The Gospels in the Second Century: (1876) by William Sanday, theologian and biblical scholar. Jesus not a myth (1942) p. 120 by Arthur Denner Howell Smith.

There are accusations of “correctors” changing the scriptures to support the new emerging doctrine of the Trinity. James Rendel Harris, biblical scholar and curator of manuscripts, in the Harvard Theological Review 18 (1925) says “The evangelical stream is demonstrably discolored by the media through which it passes. The Bible of any given church becomes affected by the church in which it circulates. The people who handle the text leave their finger-prints on the pages, and the trained detective can identify the criminal who made the marks.”

 

A possible answer: The answer to the riddle of why there are no Greek texts with this reading; perhaps is in Eusebius history of the church Book V. Chapter 10; where he makes some interesting comments about events around 190 AD.

"Pantænus was one of these, and is said to have gone to India. It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they had preserved till that time."

We know from Hippolytus (170–235 AD) that the Indians had the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew “Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia.”

We know from Jerome that Pantænus returned from India around 192 AD and brought with him to Alexandria, The Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew. Which coincidentally it is the place where Professor Bullinger mentions as the possible source of such corruption. "It looks, therefore, as though the words got into the text (perhaps from the margin) in the Church of North Africa (Alexandria); and that the Syrian Churches did not have them in the MSS. at their disposal." (Bullinger, Word Studies on the HOLY SPIRIT, pp.48, 49)

 

The Alexandrian connection: Alexandria was a major center of early Christianity but it was also a cultural and intellectual center for various philosophers and philosophies such as Platonism, Aristotelianism, Pythagoreanism and Stoicism. Pantænus was one of the early theologians which tried to mix Greek platonic philosophy with Christian theology. Perhaps all these pagan influences were the reason why Alexandria was the source of corruption for Christianity, for many heresies begun at Alexandria. There the Gnostics begun and flourished and one thing is quite clear; the doctrine of the Trinity arose from the theologians at the Alexandrian school. Historian Will Durant: "Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . .From Egypt (Alexandria) came the ideas of a divine trinity."

It was probably one of Pantænus’ disciples; Clement, Origen or Alexander who most probably translated the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew into Greek; these three individuals stand out as the most likely persons to have altered the text in Matthew 28:19 when the translation was done. However there are strong reasons to believe that the translation was not done by Clement or Origen; because both of them were monarchians and cited baptism in the name of Jesus. Of course it is also possible that this translation was done by someone else from that Alexandrian school.  A probable reason that no Greek manuscripts with a different ending text have been found could be because there are none. That original Hebrew Gospel was perhaps used to create a Greek translation with a correction done at Mathhew 28:19 among other corrections and then the original was probably hidden away or destroyed so that is why there is no other Greek manuscripts with a  different ending.

 

One person who appears to believe this could have happened is C. H. Forney, who wrote The Christian Ordinances (1883) where in Chapter X, about the Baptismal formula makes the following statements.

“What more natural than that the concurrence of these two facts, namely: The more complete and perfect development of the trinus, [82]  threefold or three-in-one God, and the discovery of the Gospel by Matthew with its baptismal formula, "into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," should have had sufficient influence to change the single into a threefold baptism--the "one baptism in three immersions" to correspond with the one Godhead in three persons? And how natural, too, that it should at once, and with assurance, be asserted that this mode of baptism is authorized by the formula, and so is of Apostolic origin.

 

Another person who had a slightly different idea was Jeremiah Jones who believed that perhaps the Gospel of Matthew already had some interpolations before it was brought to Alexandria by Pantænus; he writes in his book A new and full method of setting the canonical authority of the New Testament (1798)  "And, if I may be allowed to guess, I would offer it as probable, that when Pantænus brought it to Alexandria, it had at length inserted into it the interpolations of the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, which the judaizing Christians there made use of."

 

Could a different Matthean text have been destroyed?: Some Trinitarians have argued that for an alteration of this kind, then all the copies of Matthew had to be altered, (what they are implying is that it would be an impossible task) well not necessarily so. First of all if the Hebrew Gospel that Pantænus brought from India had been translated and corrupted during the translation, then there is no need to look any further for the explaination. However if there were other prior translations they were not in great abundance; early on there were not millions of texts of Matthew, for they were actually quite scarce due to their extreme cost. Then there were ten persecutions of Christians which had drastically reduced the actual number of biblical texts. The recent Diocletian persecution was perhaps the most destructive of Christian texts, and after that massive destruction there were probably at most only a few hundredths of copies of the text of Matthew. And there was no agreed upon text of the Gospel of Matthew for most of them had variants. Once a certain text became predominant or adopted as canonical, it would become standardized by continual copying while any variants would be abandoned and end up destroyed thru natural processes or even by purposeful destruction. Why would this text be particularly chosen for destruction? Well if the Trinitarians were capable of murdering people because of the Trinity; then it would not be good for them if a different text was allowed to survive? If they somehow managed to destroy every single Greek or Hebrew manuscript with a variant, the internal evidence is plentiful enough to convict them of their heinous crime. Sometimes the old copies were simply collected and replaced by the new copies. Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, near the Euphrates, about 420 A.D., speaks of having collected and put away some 200 copies of the Diatessaron, replacing them by [newer] copies of the four evangelists.

 

The Catholic Traditionalists were in charge of canonizing the Gospels: Because of the proliferation of spurious writings and variations in those considered authentic writings; by the third century the Church of Rome started making an effort to collect and canonize the New Testament. There were disputes as to which books belonged in the New Testament. Many false gospels and writings were rejected as spurious. During the selection of the books to canonize for the New Testament a second problem arose. Just about every gospel and epistle had variations in them. In order to get the most reliable original readings comparisons were made among the existing texts and even from quotation from other writings to determine the correct reading of the texts. This process corrected most of the minor errors; unfortunately, some textual errors were allowed to remain. Sometimes these errors remained for centuries. The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels (1896) by John William Burgon.

However the problem of variations in the New Testament got so bad that in 383 AD Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome to create a new version of the Bible using the Greek texts. Jerome complained to the Pope “You urge me to revise the old Latin version, and, as it were, to sit in judgment on the copies of the Scriptures which are now scattered throughout the whole world; and, inasmuch as they differ from one another, you would have me decide which of them agree with the Greek original”, “If indeed faith is administered by the Latin version, they might respond by which, for they are nearly as many as the books!” Jerome was clearly quite unhappy and bewildered with all the variants that existed in the New Testament. So Jerome reviewed the Greek texts and chose the variations that appeared to him to be correct and created the Latin vulgate which became the standard during the Middle Ages. No one doubts that Jerome was a learned man, but to leave the choosing of which texts should belong in the New Testament and which ones were to be rejected as corrupt to the judgement of a single Catholic man, was not a wise decision.

 

As we see the choice of which books and which variant texts were reliable of course was done by the Catholics so everything that conformed to their doctrine was allowed to remain. Any variations of the text that went against Catholic teaching were called corruptions done by “heretics” and anything that did not quite conform was declared erroneous and changed or destroyed [of course the Catholics argue fervently that they chose the most accepted or common variants].

Just before and during the middle ages the Greek texts were copied by Catholic monks, and sometimes by mistake they made minor alterations to the text, but there are some people who accuse those monks of altering on purpose the Greek texts [of course the Catholic Church vehemently proclaims that their scribes copied faithfully the Greek texts, and that any minor variations were simply human error, unfortunately for them we have thousands of their copies, which clearly show that their monks were not that faithful to the Greek texts. Some of their copies were fairly good, but others seem to indicate that the monks were either half asleep or had too much wine, or perhaps both.)

Most of the changes to the Greek texts were very minor [But we need to be aware that even a letter changed in a word can change the whole meaning of a phrase]. Of course the Catholic Church could not change everything, even if it wanted, it would be impossible to change everything; it would be too obvious, so here and there scriptures were left that revealed doctrines contrary to their theology. Since they could not make major changes to the scriptures the Catholics resorted to declare themselves as the correct interpreters of what a scripture meant. They have decreed that it is their interpretation of scripture that it is the correct one and any other incorrect. So when the scriptures mention the brothers of Jesus, the Catholic Church reinterprets this to mean the cousins of Jesus. This is the standard way the Catholic Church deals with the Greek texts which contradict their doctrines, they simply reinterpret the texts to mean whatever they want them to mean.

In August 28, 397 at the Council of Carthage, the first list of canonical books was issued; it included some books in the apocrypha. In 416 AD the synod of Carthage refined the canon even further and added the book of Revelation.

 

Matthew 28:19 is a unique scripture: This scripture has at least three distinct characteristics not found anywhere in the Bible. It is like the proverbial nail that sticks out.

 

1.      Grouping. This is the only scripture that groups the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in such manner, the other scripture that grouped them in such a way (1 John 5:7) has already proven to be false and it is not longer in any modern Bible, so this scripture has no similar counterpart at all.

2.      Orthodoxy. This is the only place where the text appears exactly as in the Orthodox canon, most people do know that there was a long battle to impose the Orthodox canon, if this scripture really was in existence, then why would it take centuries and so many theological battles and then finally end up imposing the Orthodox canon by force?

3.      Formulaic. This is the only formula ever given by Jesus, look everywhere and there is no other formula given by Jesus about anything else. Why would this one be the exception?

 

In these and many other ways Matthew 28:19 clearly stands out from all other scriptures.

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