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XXVII. REFUTATION OF ARGUMENTS FOR TRADITIONAL MAT 28:19

 

Some people will simply dismiss all our arguments as not important, but if it is in the word of God, then it must have some importance. If the Apostles taught that people should be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, then we just can not simply dismiss their teaching as not important.

Others will dismiss our arguments as false; which is easy to say, but can they prove their accusation? Anyone can lightly dismiss or deny something they do not believe and just push it to the side; because they do not want to deal with it but the question is; can they prove their case conclusively? If what we have written in these pages is false then there should be no problem in proving it.

Some people will simply attack our message with lies. The main weapon of false teachers and false prophets is deception, deceit and lies. And no wonder for their father is a liar and the father of lies. He was a liar from the beginning and abode not in the truth. No wonder those who teach lies about God have to resort to lies, they cannot help it, for it is in their nature to lie and then keep on lying to cover up their previous lie. Some even have a doctrine called “the pious lie” which says it is OK to lie, if something good will come out of it. In their world view it is OK to lie if there is no other way to prove their doctrine.

 

In the religious world anyone can claim anything based upon “divine revelation” or on any self-proclaimed superior spirituality. I have heard and read all kinds of weird doctrines and strange doctrines, some backed up by some supposed inspiration of God or some sort of secret revelation. There is a lady who wrote a book, where each member of the trinity spoke to her great words of “wisdom”, pretty much a bunch of “pseudo spiritual” nonsense garbage. Please do not ask me what the name of that book is; I am not going to promote her lying foolishness. Please if you are going to argue for the traditional Matthew 28:19, do not try to use the tired trick of “you have received a divine revelation”, do not even bother to use some fictitious story or dream you have, those kinds of lying tricks often were used in the past by the Catholic clergy upon the gullible, but they will not be accepted as any kind of evidence.

Millions of lies have been told and even written in support of the trinity, what is one more to keep the traditional text in Matthew 28:19, when all the evidence points out, that it is false. You can shout, get angry and lie all you want to defend the trinity, but none of that can make a false doctrine true. If you want to argue please do so with truthful evidence, not with those fabricated interpolations or the fantasy stories which Catholics are too fond of using.

 

Tradition has a very strong hold on people, some like the Fiddler on the roof, have no idea where a tradition came from or even understand it, but because it is a tradition, they in a knee jerk reaction will defend it, even to death. A traditionalist does not care if the tradition is right or wrong, to these kinds of people; the tradition is all that matters. Jesus spoke of this people who reject the commandments of God in order to keep their traditions.

 

There are some people who having known the arguments against the validity of Matthew 28:19 have tried to defend the traditional text. Here we present some of the most commons arguments they have presented.

 

1. The first argument for the validity is that all known ancient texts conform to this reading.

 

Our answer:

 

  1. “The main argument in favor of the usual text is the alleged improbability that all existing Mss. and versions should agree in a wrong reading; but against this may be set the view of many students of the text that no existing MSS or versions do more than represent comparatively late recessions; the probability that baptismal use undoubtedly very early influenced the text; and the improbability, in view of the great importance attached to baptism, that such a form as the Eusebian text of Matt. xxviii. 19 could ever have evolved out of the ordinary text. Moreover, those who ascribe an early date to Matthew ought naturally to be inclined to prefer the Eusebian text, for they are then relieved from the well-known difficulty caused by the fact that in the Acts baptism is always in the name of Christ (or a similar expression), and never in the Trinitarian formula. The balance of argument seems to be in favor of the Eusebian text.” The Historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1907) p. 88 by Doctor of Divinity Kirsopp Lake.

  2. Actually we have many ancient Greek manuscripts where the ending of Matthew is lacking; the African Old Latin and the Old Syriac versions have been damaged; Matthew 28 is missing! And there are strong indications that those endings were cut on purpose and not accidentally. We may ask of these texts. Why would someone cut or tear on purpose the ending of Matthew and not those of the other gospels or other books? Were some people trying to hide the real ending of Matthew 28:19 and intentionally took out that part from all those ancient texts? How come none of the other gospels or books has this problem of many missing ends? The Traditionalists automatically include in their count those MS of Matthew with the missing end as supporting them, which is false, for how can they count a missing text as support for them? If we subtract all the MS of Matthew with missing endings it becomes quite clear that the Traditionalists have much less support than they claim.

  3. Can a case be made without tangible evidence? Yes it can be made, many people have been convicted of rape, molestation and even murder, even though there was no tangible evidence. A murderer cannot simply disappear the body and expect no conviction.  The prosecutor presents the evidence so abundant and solid that despite there not being a body, the verdict is guilty. I believe that I have presented enough evidence that the lack of an actual Greek Manuscript is irrelevant. At the present there might not be a Greek Manuscript of Matthew with the text “in my name”, but there is always the possibility one will appear; after all archeology keeps on making new discoveries.
    1. Atheists argued for many years that Moses could not have writing the Pentateuch for writing did not exist in his time; that was until The Code of Hammurabi was found in 1901, which predated Moses by hundredths of years.
    2. For years skeptics considered Ur of the Chaldeans as a myth for there was no evidence of its existence until it was discovered in the 1920s.
    3. King David was regarded by atheists as a mythological figure that never existed, until the recent discovery of The Tel Dan Inscription in 1993.

  4. We do have one text that disagrees, The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew (rewritten by Shem-Tob) says. "Go and teach them to carry out all the things which I have commanded you forever."

  5. It is well known that during the second century many spurious gospels and forgeries were created, not only that but also changes to many New Testament documents were done, in order to support particular views. The possibility is credible that this was a text that was expanded [changed] to accommodate a Theological position. After all the Father and the Holy Spirit could not be left out of salvation and had to be somehow included.

  6. The official cannon was not established until the 4th century, before then different competing versions of many New Testament documents circulated. Some early Christian groups didn’t even have the Gospel of Matthew in their scriptures. When the Church finally got around to establishing the cannon on the 4th century the doctrine of the Trinity had already become well entrenched at Rome, although not in many outer regions.

  7. The Catholic Encyclopedia itself acknowledged that there were thousands of fabrications and false documents created by their own people. They call these “pia fraus” which means “Pious Frauds”. The idea being that it is OK to lie if something good will come out of it. In the eyes of the Catholic Church if lying will make people believe in the trinity then the lie is acceptable. It would not be surprising at all if one of their “pious lies” was the traditional text in Matthew 28:19.

  8. The main supporter of the Trinity doctrine is the Catholic Church, but it is really hard to trust any Catholic doctrine for everything that the Catholic Church teaches is false. Their numerous false doctrines makes it really hard to accept or take at face value the main foundation of the Catholic Church, which they themselves proclaim is the doctrine of the Trinity. They laid the foundation with the lie of the Trinity and just piled more lies on top of that one.

The big question then is; can we really trust a self-admitted lying organization to tell the truth about Matthew 28:19 being their fabrication, even when confronted with a lot of evidence that it is an alteration? No amount of evidence would ever be enough for them for then they would have to admit that they have lied to the people for almost 2,000 years.

 

One thing I find rather surprising is that many protestant denominations accuse the Catholic Church of getting just about every Christian doctrine wrong, yet they still follow their doctrine of the trinity and the traditional baptism without hesitation. What really makes those denominations believe that the Catholic Church would actually get those two doctrines right?

 

One just has to wonder just what is hidden away in the two huge libraries of the Vatican. L' archivio segreto vaticano; The Vatican Secret Archives and The Vatican Library. Only a few people are authorized to enter these libraries with special permission and always guided by a priest, for it has many rare and valuable items. There are manuscript curators tending to the tens of thousands of books and volumes under their care. Some are handwritten and so heavy that one person cannot lift them. It is estimated the Vatican library has over 1.1 million printed books and 75,000 volumes and the Archives contains at least 150,000 other documents and archives. These Vatican libraries hold many ancient and rare books and perhaps the only copies in existence of many such books. No one knows for sure what is inside those libraries, but it is rumored that it contains many banned heretical books and other documents too sensitive for public display. Not only that but we must also take into account all the other manuscripts and books in their monasteries and convents scattered through the ancient lands. The secret archives of the Vatican (1969) by Maria Luisa Ambrosini.

 

2. The second argument is the length of time this reading has been accepted.

 

Our answer:

a). The time something has been accepted as true is not an indicator that it is true. People have believed wrong ideas for centuries, until science demonstrated those were wrong beliefs. The antiquity of a belief has nothing to do with its veracity.

 

b). The “Comma Johanneum” (1 John 5:7) was accepted as authentic for hundredths of years, but now no modern Bible translation has it.

 

3. The third argument is the number of people who have believe this verse is authentic.

Our answer:

a). The minority has sometimes been correct. The stories of Noah and Lot do show us that the majority of people can be totally wrong. In the 16th century the only proponent of the heliocentric theory was the Polish astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus). Kopernik was so afraid that he confided his theory to only a few friends and made arrangements for his theory to be published after his death. The Catholic Church's chief censor, Dominican Bartolomeo Spina, tried to stamp out his theory as a heresy, but eventually Copernicus was proven right and the majority of people had to accept it.

b). The fact that the majority of people have believed a lie does not surprises me; Jesus himself said that many false prophets would deceive many people. Unfortunately many people prefer to believe the false prophets rather than the Apostles of the Lord who preached baptism in the name of Jesus.

c). Jesus also said that narrow is the way that leads to heaven and few are that find it. The reality is that the majority of people prefer to believe a lie rather than the truth.

4. The fourth argument is that the King James Version has it.

 

Our answer:

a). The KJV is simply a translation of the Bible; it is not the original writings of the Apostles. And the text (Textus Receptus) itself was also not an original. What we know today as the Textus Receptus (TR) or Received Text is a combination of a few manuscripts and many revisions.

Erasmus used less than ten different manuscripts to create his Greek New Testament; Erasmus made so many mistakes on the first edition, that he issued a second edition and then a third, and much later a fourth and a fifth edition. However it was his third edition that was used by
Stephanus to produce his New Testament. Stephanus was not happy with Erasmus work so he revised it four times. Later on Theodore Beza used Stephanus work to produce his New Testament, Beza then edited the text 9 more times. The Text that was used for creating the KJV was reviewed 3 times by Erasmus, 4 times by Stephanus, and finally 9 times by Beza a total of 16 revisions; how can we be sure all those revisions were enough to get the correct text just right or a few more were needed?

 

It was the 1598 and 1588/89 Greek editions of Theodore Beza that the KJV translators mainly used to produce their English New Testament. The 54 translators of the KJV also consulted other English Bibles, especially the Bishops’ Bible. But in the end what these translators really did was to create a revision of the 1534 Tyndale’s Bible, for it contains over 90 percent of the same text. Now Tyndale did his translation basically by himself while in hiding, fearing for his life before he was betrayed, imprisoned for over a year then hanged and burned on October 6, 1536.

 

Prior to 1611 the text of the King James Version did not truly exist in one Bible. The process was pretty much similar to a cut and paste job. They copied some parts from this text, and some parts from another text and a little bit from that other text, and so on. All the Bibles we use today are “eclectic”, which means they come from mixing different texts.  Below is a sample of the KJV of 1611 combination of different texts.

2 Corinthians1:11

Ye also helping.................................... Bishops’ Bible, 1568

Together.............................................. Geneva Bible, 1557

by prayer for us, that........................... Tyndale Bible, 1526

for the.................................................. Geneva Bible, 1560

gift....................................................... The Great Bible, 1539

bestowed upon us................................ Geneva Bible, 1557

by the means of many......................... Tyndale Bible, 1526

persons................................................. The Great Bible, 1539

thanks may be given............................ Tyndale Bible, 1526

by......................................................... Geneva Bible, 1557

many on our behalf.............................. Tyndale Bible, 1526

 

The translators basically took the best material that was available and then polished it, the KJV is basically a pastiche from different Bibles, but it reflects the best parts from all those early translations. The translation manuscript An English translation of the epistles of Paule the Apostle give us proof that the translation process was not smooth or flawless as some suppose, for this manuscript had letters added, spellings corrected, and punctuation changes.

The translators had debates and arguments about the proper translation of certain passages and words. When there was not a clear consensus of the proper translation they added margin notes that offered different possible translations of words and phrases. The whole process was pretty typical of a translation work, not of a divinely inspired translation. God’s secretaries: The making of the King James Bible. (2003) by Adam Nicholson, Baron of Carnock.

b). The KJV came into existence in 1611, so it would be absurd to suggest that before then for centuries the people did not have the word of God. One of the reasons the KJV became so popular and endured for so long is because the translators managed a great feat, apart from doing a great job in translation; they managed to create a smooth flow in the textual readings. Also the Hebrew bible is full of poetic language, but poetry translates rather poorly, however the KJV translators managed to bring out some of the biblical poetry in their translation.

People have been saved for centuries without reading the KJV of 1611, so it is absurd to say that people can only be saved by reading a bible that came in 1611. According to this logic no one was saved before 1611, salvation is only possible to the people born after 1611, everyone else is lost. And since according to the KJV Only proponents only in this Bible is there salvation, it means the rest of the world must learn English if they want to be saved.

The KJV is a great translation and it is well known, those are some of the reasons the Holy Apostolic Bible (HAB) used it as its foundational text, with just a few minor changes; however it is by no means a perfect translation. After researching and studying many Bibles we are left with the conclusion that there some excellent translations, some acceptable translations and some that are just awful translations, but there really is no perfect translation, not even the KJV.

 

5. The fifth argument is that the phrase is written in other ancient documents like the Didache and other post-apostolic writings.

 

Our answer

            a). It is well known that the Didache is spurious, it is a composite work and the first six chapters come from a Jewish document titled The Two Ways. And not only that but this writing has both baptism in the name of the Lord (9.5) and baptism in the traditional way (7:1). So it is obvious that the Didache contradicts itself. Excavating Q (2000) pp. 134-135 by Professor of religion John S. Kloppenborg.

The following scholars mention the traditional baptismal formula in the Didache as an interpolation

A. Hamman, Prières des premiers chrétiens (1952)

I. Lenzman, L'Origine du Christianisme (1961)

Dr. Michael Gough, De Eerste Christenen (1963)

Oscar Cullmann, La foi et le culte de l'Eglise primitive (1963)

Kretschmar, Georg, Die Geschichte des Taufgottesdienstes in der alten Kirche (1970)

Peter L. Griffiths, Who wrote the New Testament and Why? (1994)

Elmar R Gruber, The Original Jesus (1995)

Willy Rodorf, The Didache in Modern Research; Baptims according to the Didache (1996)

Matthew D'Ancona, Eyewitness to Jesus (1996)

 

            b). Now regarding the mention by other post-apostolic writers, it s well known that the Trinitarian supporters eventually won against those who were against it. So it would not be surprising that “corrections” and outright fabrications were done to make it seem as if the Trinitarian doctrine was older than it really was.

c). Backdating and ageing documents is well known to be done by forgers in order to convince people that a document is older than its actual date. Many forged documents were created by the Popes to support all kinds of claims and ideas. The donation of Constantine is their most famous such forgery. Of course we are now beginning to discover that many ancient documents were also “corrected”, altered and doctored, the technology to detect those ancient forgeries is becoming better in these times.

Thanks to the technology of multi-spectral imaging, reflectance transformation imaging and digital imaging enhancement we are now able to recuperate texts that were erased and rewritten over and we can also see when someone made a change in a text. Unfortunately these technologies are expensive and not widely available, but I just wonder what would be discovered if we could investigate all the ancient Greek MS using all the latest technology? A scientist working in the Codex Sinaiticus made this comment “in some cases a scribe or maybe even a later corrector erased some of the under-writing and wrote over it and with Multi-spectral imagining technology we can possibly have access at layers that have been erased.”

 

The earliest mentions of Trinitarian baptism are unreliable: Some Trinitarians in their arguments bring out “ancient” citations of the trinity, which sound quite impressive and intimidating but on close investigation they quickly fall apart. The first times we encountered these ancient quotations we were puzzled, but we decided to dig deeper and find everything that we could on them. Here are our results.

 

In 140 AD Justinus in his book “Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos” mentions the trinity, the only problem is that he also mentions Irenius and Origen who just happens to live almost fifty years after Justinus; Irenius was born in 130 AD so in 140 AD Irenius would have been only 10 years old and Origen was born in 182 AD so he would not be born for another 42 years and to show just how false this book is, it is not even mentioned by Eusebius or Jerome, both of whom had a list of all the writings of Justinus. This fictitious book is most probably the work of Diodorus of Tarsus in the fifth century and later edited by Papadopulos-Kerameus in 1895. This book has no real life connection to Justinus at all. It is a poor attempt to make the trinity doctrine appear older than it really is. Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (2008) edited by Eduard Iricinschi and Holger M. Zellentin. Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church (1908) by Otto Bardenhewer.

 

Around (160-175) AD Tatian created his Diatessaron, which contains the traditional text, for a time we were stumped by this book for this appeared to be an original. We begun to think that perhaps this was where the traditional text was first used; however after a long time we finally found that this is not such an original text as we first were led to believe. Scholars are still debating whether the Diatessaron was first composed in Greek or in Syriac, for Tatian was well versed in both languages. There are also many translations of Tatian’s original work extant even though these were made after its language had been vulgarized or assimilated either to the text of the Peshitta or to the Latin Vulgate. It was these two vulgarized versions of the Diat. that formed the basis of many translations. Vulgarization presents scholars engaged in the recovery of the text of the Diat. with its greatest problem. New Evidence for the Question of the Original Language of the Diatessaron (1986) p. 325-343 by W.L. Peterson. The book The History of the New Testament Canon in the Syrian Church (1900) p.17 by Doctor Julius A. Bewer says “It is a great misfortune that we do not possess the original of Tatian's Diatessaron.”  

In 1957 a partial commentary on it by Ephrem the Syrian was found, after more research more parts of the commentary was found and in 1993 it was almost complete (Chester Beatty Syriac MS 709); Ephrem’s commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron has sometimes different text than the Arabian version of Diatessaron from the 11th century. Since Ephrem lived from c. 310-373, so it is quite clear that up to this time the text of the Diatessaron was slightly different than what we have now. Ephrem cites Matthew 28:19 in context of Matthew 10:5,6,8–Luke 10:1 as…

“Go out into the whole world and proclaim my Gospel to the whole of creation, and baptize all the Gentiles.” (VIII, §1b.) Saint Ephrem’s Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron, by Carmel McCarthy, 1993.

 

As we can see, the Diatessaron was censored! It evidently occurred somewhere between the 4th–11th century. Dr Bewer says: “The Arabic Diatessaron must have undergone considerable changes, not only owing to the translations from one language into the other. Peculiar readings will have been erased by orthodox men, so as to make the work more conformed to the Orthodox New Testament.” (p. 17f). Another fact that gives credence to this reading is the fact that Tatian was a strict Monotheist, which was one of the reasons he is considered heretical.

This whole paragraph is omitted from the Armenian version.

“For he kept the promise which was with Abraham, especially that he might confute the cunning of the Jews, lest they say that they crucified [the Lord] because he associated with the Gentiles. After they crucified him, he commanded his disciples, Go out into the whole world and proclaim my gospel to the whole creation and baptize all the Gentiles.”

 

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, purported to be from the 1st century, in Chapter 2 says: “Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to "baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost....". The falsehood of this epistle is demonstrated by the fact that there is a shorter epistle that DOES NOT contains the traditional wording of “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost” anywhere, because it is the original epistle. All scholars have already dismissed the longer epistle as spurious. Anyone can compare the shorter version with the longer version and see that the text was changed by a later different writer. The longer epistle of Ignatius appeared in 1840 (almost 1,700 years of distance from the 1st century) and it bears the indubitable proof of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatius lived. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome reference it; and it is now by common consent set aside as a forgery, to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch. The idea that Ignatius was a Trinitarian and even quoted the traditional baptismal text is beyond absurd, anyone who has read the original writings of Ignatius will clearly see it. Scratch out that obvious fake expanded longer version epistle. Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1 “Ignatius” p.45. Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church (1908) by Otto Bardenhewer.

 

Hippolytus (170-235) AD says in Fragments: Part II.-Dogmatical and Historical.-Against the Heresy of One Noetus, "gave this charge to the disciples after He rose from the dead: Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Hippolytus apparently wrote this in 220 AD the second century; the only problem with this text is that Epiphanius, Basnage and Fabricius place Noetus ministry in 240-245 AD, that is at least five to ten years after Hypolytus died, so the question is how can a dead man write against anybody? Dr. Nathaniel Lardner comments: “But here ought to be remembered the account formerly given of the works ascribed to Hyppolytus, and that few or none of them can be relied upon as genuine and uncorrupted. If this piece be his, yet it is to be feared that there are in it some interpolations.” Hyppolytus text was found by Minoides Mynas in a monastery at Mount Athos in 1842, which is 18 centuries after the birth of the church. 16 centuries too late, also the validity of this document is highly doubted. (Almost 1,500 years of distance from the 3rd century), toss it aside. Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. (1911) by Henry Wace. The writings of Hypolitus (1871) by Stewart Dingwall Fordyce Salmond. The works of Nathaniel Lardner (1838) Vol 2.

Around 220 AD Tertullian is supposed to mention a similar formula to the traditional baptism in his On Baptism, Ch. XIII and as well in Against Praxeas, ch. 2. Both of these citations have been debated as to their authenticity for they appear to be contrived. Yet his document hints at the real baptism for it also says “into him, you will be baptized”. The earliest manuscript we have of On Baptism dates from the 12th century, a manuscript which has been called a document of dubious authenticity. And the earliest manuscript on Against Praxeas dates from the 11th century; hardly do any of these documents inspire any confidence as to their veracity. (Almost 1,000 years of distance from the 3rd century), two more “proofs” down.

 

Cyprian (200-258 AD) in The Seventh Council of Carthage under Cyprian says, and again, after His resurrection, sending His apostles, He gave them charge, saying, "All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth. Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." and alludes to the same passage in other places as well. Although this text has been considered authentic by some, others like H. L. Ramsey, cast doubts upon its authenticity, “Our Oldest MSS of St. Cyprian, III: The Contents and Order of the Manuscripts L N P,” The Journal of Theological Studies 3 (1902): 585-94. In here Professor Ramsey writes that he found this text was modified by some post-medieval scribe and that the oldest fragment and that is just a few letters are from late in the 5th century. The letters of St. Cyprian were published in Rome in 1471, quite a long time from the actual events, hardly a reliable document at all. (Almost 1,200 years of distance from the 3rd century). Modified text, hmm sounds familiar. Charges of forgeries in Cyprian’s works are quite abundant. Cyprian: His Life, His Times, His Work (1897) by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

Gregory Thaumaturgus (205-265 AD) in A Sectional Confession of Faith, XIII (says: “the Lord sends forth His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?” This is another writer which has texts that are known to be spurious and from the 16th Century. (1,400 years of distance from the 3rd century) Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius (1893) History of early Christian literature to Eusebius p. 431 by Adolf Harnack.

 

Even Eusebius uses the full traditional formula at least four times, twice in Contra Marcellum, once in De Ecclesiastica Theologia, and once in a letter written to the church at Caesarea. However there are serious doubts about whether Eusebius even wrote Contra Marcellum and the letter to Caesarea, some consider them as outright forgeries. So only in one decidedly authentic work of Eusebius do we find the traditional text; however there plenty of reasons to believe this is an interpolation. The number one reason is that the traditional citation is made totally unrelated to the text; the second most obvious reason is the total lack of commentary by Eusebius regarding such phrase. Eusebius was not a man to just simply quote a biblical text and leave it at that, no sir; he would explain, exalt and expand on the meaning of such a text, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. His one citation of the traditional text without any comments at all lacks the hallmarks of Eusebius characteristic writings. I have read that single citation of Eusebius and have compared it to his many citations with the shorter formula and I have no doubt whatsoever that it is indeed an interpolation.

 

There you have it, at first glance it appears the Traditionalists have a case, but on close inspection serious doubts immediately arise as to the actual authenticity of these texts. Here below are the main reasons; there is a strong basis to doubt the veracity of such citations.

 

1. All of them are copies of copies, not one single one is an original text. What is even worse is that although archeology has discovered many ancient texts validating some other ancient writings not a single Ms recently discovered has validated any of these passages.

2. They were discovered almost a thousand years later. It seems that the real age from the “ancient” quotations to the actual manuscripts range almost a thousand years and even older, from the actual events they are reporting. The reality is that the oldest of these post-apostolic texts that mention Matthew 28:19 and claims to be from the 3rd century are almost 1,000 years apart from the 3rd century and a thousand years is a huge distance in time to be really reliable at all.

 

3. They all came from Catholic locations. The Catholic Church has a long history of forging or altering documents. Anything that comes out of a Catholic institution is usually viewed with deep suspicion. For they have often forged or altered many documents to make their doctrines appear older than they are or to say things that supported their catholic theology.

 

4. They were not quoted by any other concurrent authors. Authors frequently quote other authors to make a point or validate an argument, yet none of the contemporaries of these writers quotes them at all. So they supposedly wrote these texts, yet not one of their peers mentioned that they did or quoted those texts from them.

5. The text does not seem to fit the content or subject being discussed. Scholars who read these texts often get the feeling that some texts appear to be forced or inserted into the body of the document or even that the whole document belongs to a different era. After a few years of reading ancient documents a person often develops a sense of what belongs in what century. For we have to remember that the Catholics themselves admit that the doctrine of the Trinity was developed over the years and we have the proof in the statements of their councils. So finding a fully develop Trinitarian statement before its time naturally arises strong suspicion.

 

6. Actually the scarcity of this phrase (6 dubious citations) is itself proof of its late insertion.  For if this text was actually authentic it would have been quoted in a whole lot more documents than the ones they have been cited on. There are plenty of texts from before the 3rd century that speak of baptism, yet most of those texts omit the traditional baptism phrase.

 

Yes there are a handful of texts which mention the traditional baptism in the second century, but all of them are dismissed by scholars as fabrications or interpolations. There are some few other texts which mention the traditional baptism in the third century but most scholars viewed them with suspicion.

There is not a single reliable document that mentions the traditional baptism before the 4th century, none whatsoever that is known as of this current date. All the previous texts have been dismissed by scholars as later fabrications or subject to suspicion.

 

Our ministry actually has copies of many of those “Apostolic Fathers” books (Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene fathers and many other early writings) and has researched them. Sometimes the texts seem to change subjects without warning or transitions. Sometimes a subject is elaborated and discussed Ad nauseam and at other times the tone changes without a reason. No one who has read some of these ancient texts can say with a straight face that these texts were not altered. Often people who quote those post-apostolic fathers do it without knowing all the facts. There are absolutely no ancient reliable documents at all anywhere that ever mention the Matthew 28:19 trinity text in the second century or even early in the third century. There is Zero, zip, zilch, nada of evidence that this text existed before the early 3rd century.

 

We have already encountered this “Ancient Trinitarian” quotations argument many times before and we know that many scholars consider those supposedly "Post- Apostolic Writings" to be either spurious, lies or later alterations. It is well known that forgeries and alterations to ancient writings were done quite frequently. So we are not impressed, intimidated or moved from our position.

 

There may be some other Post-Apostolic writings or fragments that mention the traditional reading of Matthew 28:19, but all of them suffer from the same problem of trust, writings that are unreliable as to the date of the document or the trustworthiness of who the real writer was. (There are absolutely no reliable early documents at all from before the 3rd century which show baptism in anything else but the name of Jesus Christ.)

 

The Codex Vaticanus: The oldest known manuscript containing the traditional text of Matthew 28:19 is Codex Vaticanus (Codex B), from c. 325-350 C.E, possibly produced in Alexandria. This uncial manuscript was “found” in 1481 in the Vatican Library in Rome. Besides this one there is no earlier Matthew text than this, absolutely none; this is a gap of 300 years from the time of Christ.

 

Dr. David Brown said that the Codex Vaticanus had been “overwritten, doctored, changed and added to for more than 10 centuries”.

 

Dr. Frederick H. A. Scrivener, who worked with many New Testament texts said: “The Codex is covered with alterations of an obviously correctional character, brought in by at least ten different revisers” therefore he did not consider it a reliable text at all.

 

Dean John William Burgon, a master Greek scholar who spend years examining New Testaments texts examined it thoroughly and writes: “Codex B differs from the commonly received Text of Scripture in the Gospels alone in 7578 places; of which no less than 2877 are instances of omission....The differences between B and the Received Text at 7578, and those which divide א and the received Text as reaching 8,972. He divided these totals respectively under 2,877 and 3,455 omissions, 536 and 839 additions, 2,098 and 2,299 transpositions, ad 2,067 and 2,379 substitutions and modifications combined.”  The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels (1896) by John William Burgon.

 

The oldest most authentic manuscript with the traditional Matthew 28:19 formula; The Codex Vaticanus has been declared corrupted, altered, doctored and unreliable by great scholars, and yet we are supposed to accept its reading of Matthew 28:19 as correct? Am I missing something? On the margin, at the text of Hebrews 1:3 has a correction to a prior correction and next to the text there is a sharp rebuke that says “Fool and knave, can’t you leave the old reading alone and not alter it!”

Codex Vaticanus

 

The Codex Sinaiticus: The second oldest manuscript that contains the text of Matthew 28:19 is Codex Sinaiticus. This codex may be a little younger than Codex B and is dated from 330-360 C.E. It was found in 1844 in a Catholic Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai and it has a multitude of corrections. It is estimated to have about 15,000 alterations. There are even small markings called -distigme obelos-, which show where some changes were made to the text. Viewed under ultra-violet light it was possible to read letters that had been erased and written over; this was to show decisively that at least three scribes were responsible for the manuscript (Tischendorf had called the anonymous scribes A, B, C, and D, he suspected 4 scribes). Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus (2007) by Dr. Dirk Jongkind, Manuscript Expert. Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus (1938) by Herbert John Mansfield Milne, Theodore Cressy Skeat.

 

What most people do not know is that the Codex Sinaiticus has readings not found in any other Greek Manuscripts, which makes one wonder where in the world did the readings of the Sinaiticus came from, were they copied from some original work or were it some sort of loose copy of the ancient texts.

            Early upon its discovery there were allegations that this Codex was really a forgery, that it was created by Constantine Simonides. This created much controversy and although the majority of scholars have accepted that the Codex Sinaiticus is an authentic document from around 330-260 AD, there still a few scholars who are not fully convinced it is authentic.

 

WHICH VERSION? (1924) by Lawyer Philip Mauro attack both codices. Codex Vaticanus has about 36,000 (!) alterations; it is one of the most corrupted texts, totally unreliable. It has a great number of omissions, insertions and amendments. It was “corrected” in the 8th, 10th and 15th centuries. Regarding Codex Sinaiticus he says “It is beyond any doubt whatever, the most defective, corrupt and untrustworthy.” Obviously Mauro considered both manuscripts highly corrupted. Of course the vast majority of those differences are minor and perhaps due to careless copying, but sometimes just a mistake in a letter can change the whole meaning of a sentence. Errors in spelling were quite common in antiquity, and we need to realize that even today with automatic spell checkers, mistakes are still made in modern books.

 

Codex Vaticanus vs Codex Sinaiticus. To show how much of corrections were done to both codices, when the two oldest codices are compared, the text differs by so much it is like two completely different versions. They have at least 7,000 differences between them. These two over-corrected Manuscripts have the oldest traditional text of Mathew 28:19 from the middle of the 4th Century. (325 to 360 AD)  The Revision Revised (1881) by Dean John William Burgon. Codex B and Its Allies, a Study and an Indictment (1914) by biblical scholar Herman Charles Hoskier.

Differences between Codex Vaticanus (B) and Codex Sinaiticus (א)

 

B

א

Additions

 536

 839

Transpositions

2098

2299

Substitutions

2067

2379

Omissions

2877

3455

TOTAL:

7578

8972

 

The information can simply not be trusted: We already mention that none of the ancient citations or Manuscripts are reliable and not only is the great age of those manuscripts a problem but also the source. Can we really trust the Catholic Church with a vested interested to have kept these manuscripts as they originally were? If they themselves admit to having made many text alterations and ancient forgeries, can we really believe that these documents which came from their own convents, libraries and monasteries to be pure from any alterations? Can we believe that for over a thousand years they faithfully kept these manuscripts intact and made no changes?

Nope the documents themselves show that they were changes done to them in many places.

 

6. The sixth argument is that if our reading was the correct one then there surely should be other documents left that testify by mentioning it.

 

Our answer:

A.    Ignorance: Well most people do not know that there are at least 9 ancient documents that give a different reading of the great Commission in Matthew. Eusebius (over 100 citations in different books), Annarikhus, Aphraates, Ephrem, Thaddaeus (The Acts of Thaddaeus), Peter (The letter of Peter to Philip), Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I), The “Nobla Leycon", the Shem-tob.

 

B.     Scarcity: To begin there was never an abundance of documents in an age when documents were copied by hand. So just the scarcity of documents would by itself contribute to the disappearance of a belief deemed heretical.

C.     Regular use: A manuscript that was used over and over eventually started to decay and fell apart. It is simply part of the process that occurs thru regular use.

D.    Accidental destruction: Rare and precious books have been destroyed accidentally, by fire, water and sometimes a child got a hold of a book or even a pet.

 

E.     Christian persecution: There were at least ten severe persecutions that the early Christians went through up to the second century which contributed to the destruction of many early Christians documents. Bonfires were built where the bibles and writings of the hated Christians were cast into.

F.      Hidden manuscripts: Some of the early biblical manuscripts were hidden in caves and even underground; to keep them safe, but there were left there. The only reason some of the Gnostic writings survived is because they were very well hidden, until the Nag Hammadi Library was found in 1945, which was a good thing, for if this library had been found in an earlier century no doubt it would have been destroyed. There are probably many manuscripts still buried under ground waiting to be discovered.

 

G.    Catholic suppression: Later on any documents which contained material deemed heretical would make it likely that it end up being destroyed by the Trinitarian church adherents, for history does record the burning of heretical writings by Trinitarian believers. They had over a thousand years to destroy all the heretical writings they could find.

H.    Material destruction: We need to take into consideration the natural destruction of the writing material. Papyrus was fragile and would be destroyed by ink degradation, humidity, mold, and insects. Only in the dry sands of Egypt have some papyrus texts survived.

 

I.       Parchment reuse: Due to fragility of papyrus, parchment became common, but parchment was expensive, so reuse of parchments was common, powdered pumice was used to delete texts that had become illegible thru use and time and the parchment was then written over with new text. A few parchments that were washed with milk and oat bran still retain a faint image of the prior text.

 

J.       Natural disasters: Such things as fires, rains, storms and other kind of natural phenomena caused much destruction in ancient times even as it causes now. A great many ancient texts fell victims to Mother Nature.

K.    War destruction: In the past 2,000 years there have been all sorts of wars and invasions in the holy land and in Europe. Whole towns were destroyed by one side or another, although the destruction of books was incidental during war time, the result was the same as purposeful destruction.

 

L.     Production: The smaller a group is the smaller the number of text it can produce or copy by hand; if the group is a persecuted group then the more difficult it becomes for that group to spread their writings. It is therefore not surprising that nothing survived at all of the writings of some small heretical groups.

 

M.   Destructive handling: Amateur scholars and early archeologists often were careless and even destructive in their handling of ancient texts. Illiterate people often found ancient texts and used them for fuel for the words meant nothing to them. In Egypt some mummy mask were covered with New Testament manuscripts. Market vendors often used pages from old books to wrap up food items.

 

Actually the fact that the traditional reading of Matthew 28:19 has so few early quotations from the second century testify to the novelty of it. For if it had been a well known scripture it would have been much more widely quoted, not just in a few (Later, unreliable and quite possible forged) documents. In The Catholic Historical Review (1924/25) Vol. 10 (1924), p. 515 art. “The formula of Baptism in the Early Church” by Dr. Leo F. Miller a staunch Trinitarian, he is forced to admit “there is so little evidence in the literature of the first three centuries to prove the existence of the [Trinitarian] formula of baptism, and this is commonly admitted by Catholic theologians ”

 

Tentative narrative: Before a lawyer ends the presentation of a case, he or she will tie all the evidence into a short narrative; although I am not a lawyer, I will provide a tentative narrative of what all the evidence indicates may have happened.

 

The Church begun about 33 AD, then about 30 years later Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew, some copies were made and circulated among the Jewish Christian community. The Ebonites and the Nazoreans inherited some of the early copies. (it is uncertain if any Greek translations had been made at this time). After 70 AD when the Apostle Bartholomew went east he took with him the original Gospel that Matthew wrote, where it remained in India for many years.

            Perhaps some made attempts to make a translation from the Ebionites texts, which may account for some of the minor variations found in the ancient texts, but this is uncertain. After many years of remaining in India where it may or may not have suffered alterations, (although it is highly unlikely) the original gospel of Matthew was brought to Alexandria in 192 AD by Pantaenus.

Eventually, possibly after Origen left Alexandria in 230 AD, someone from the Alexandrian school decided to make a translation of the original Gospel of Matthew. During the translation, the traditional text may have been inserted in the margin as an explanatory note, from where it eventually migrated into the text itself or perhaps it was put right into the text itself. We must keep in mind that the only citations of the traditional text that could possibly be considered authentic (Although those citations may also be interpolations) begun around the year 240 AD. Yet despite a few (suspicious) citations of such text, strangely it is not mentioned at all in any of the triniarian wars in this century, it is not until about a 100 years later that we begun hearing this text more often from the Trinitarian advocates.

This new more “complete” gospel translated from the original Gospel of Matthew went on to become the standard Greek text and replace the partial or poor translations that may have been made by others. The only other alternative to this new Matthew was the Hebrew Matthew of the Ebionites and the Nazoreans, which many considered to have been altered by the Ebionites.

It is well known that the Ebionites Hebrew Gospel differed from the Greek Matthew, most probably the Ebionites had the original text but since they were considered a heretical sect neither their testimony nor their gospel were given much credence.

So that is how the Alexandrian Greek translation of the original gospel of Matthew went on to become the accepted standard in the church. By this time few in the church could understand the original Hebrew, but that might not have mattered for it is highly unlikely that those in the Alexandrian school would release their treasure to outsiders.

By the way, where did that precious original Gospel of Matthew ended up at? It simply disappeared from history without any trace; could something so valuable have been destroyed or lost without anyone mentioning it?  Could the translators of Alexandria been so perverse or desperate to win their theological arguments that they actually destroyed the original gospel of Matthew in order to hide their deed? Well, Jerome hinted that it was in Caesarea, taken there by Pamphilus.

If such a gospel was hidden away and still exists, it may lie in some secret place perhaps somewhere in Alexandria or somewhere in the sands of Egypt, maybe in Caesarea or even in the secretive Vatican Library taken there for its protection by some believers during the conquest of Caesare by the Turks.

 

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