Literalism or Symbolism?
It Is Both
It Just Depends on the Circumstances
The purpose of this two-part (1)
sequence of documents is to dismount another technique that is often
used to disfigure people's faith - whichever the faith of their choice
We have touched on one facet of this danger in earlier documents (2) ; now we will identify
the other, and far more dangerous, facet: the technique used by those
who, quoting the Holy Scriptures: (a) justify just about any criminal
act "in the Name of God"; and (b) "can show" that there are key
contradictions in them thus "proving" the inherent "unreliability" of
Why is this so important? Unfortunately men have been erroneously
taught to place their faith in either an institution or in a book
instead of placing their faith and entire trust in God. (3) The institution and book
are the instruments
to develop, and help place and strengthen our faith in God; they are not to become the
object of our faith. When the faith is not based on God, all the
unbelievers have to do is to discredit the "institution" (4) and prove the "book"
wrong (5). Once
that is done, the little faith man has will simply vanish away.
How are we going to accomplish this? Precisely using their same
techniques, but in reverse.
We will point out apparent errors in the Holy Scriptures and other
religious texts and show that they are not really errors, even though
they may appear as such to the average under Evangelized
Do not, O Christians, make the mistake of thinking: "That would never
happen to me!" Jesus Himself warned us that:
unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for
the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened... For there shall
arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and
wonders, inasmuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect." [Matthew 24: 22-24]
Should you doubt those words, then listen to what M. Gorbachev
complains about. (6)
As we have said many times, even the evil ones have to serve God!
This will not be an exhaustive study of the issue at hand. That would
generate unnecessary volumes upon volumes of examples. Through Parts I
and II of this document, we shall only utilize a few examples to
illustrate the point, and to underscore
the importance of continually seeking the Guidance of the Holy
Spirit in the understanding, interpretation and application of the Holy
Scriptures and other religious texts.
There are several reasons why the Holy Scriptures and lesser religious
texts may appear contradictory or outright wrong.
(a) The adjustment of a communication
from God to the intellectual level of the recipients of the
communication at a particular point in time is difficult.
(b) The Judeo-Christian Holy Scriptures have been translated 3,000
times, and in far too many cases altered just to suit very temporal
agendas. Temporal agendas change with time, while the Divine Agenda
(c) The Holy Scriptures show only "window shots" of events that were
(d) The interpretation of the Holy Scriptures is colored by the social
and religious customs of the area and the time in question and the
degree of Illumination by the Holy Spirit of God.
(e) The Greek texts and other religious texts which become "Holy
Reference Points" for the theologian, scholar and faithful may be
(i) it was convenient to some
(ii) the popular passions decided to make it so "for our own good"; or
(iii) incorrect translations may be wrong to the extent of directly
contradicting the version of the Word of God they themselves believe.
(iv) the original
Greek texts of the New Testament were lost long ago -
even before St. Jerome translated copies of them into latin.
Let us now take one category at a time...
(a) The adjustment of a communication
from God to the intellectual and development level of the recipients of
the communication at a particular point in time is difficult.
This was covered in our just released
document Creation vs Evolution (2).
(b) The translation of the
Judeo-Christian Holy Scriptures.
Anyone who speaks/understands more than
one language realizes that just the mechanical translation of words does not convey the true
meaning of a thought. The translation of the words must also be
accompanied by their expression within the cultural
framework of the language it is being translated into.
An interesting exercise to illustrate this point is to have a native
Portuguese and a native Brazilian who are fluent in English (but not
intimately familiar with, say, the US culture) translate a brief text
in Portuguese to American English and to King's English. The four
documents will convey different imagery and inaccuracies.
Do the same with a representative of all Spanish speaking countries in
Latin America and Spain and you will have a menagerie of images
conveying the message and many of them will deviate greatly from the
concept contained in the original US English version of the text.
When, to this dimension, we add thousands upon thousands of years of
cultural and linguistic evolution and the ever evolving archeological
interpretation and re-interpretations of those past cultures, one must
be very careful in not placing too much weight in the meaning of
certain isolated words or statements.
In addition to all of that, there is yet another dimension to be
concerned about: The spiritual dimension of the concept being
It is totally possible to translate a spiritual text from, say, English
to Portuguese and convey the exact same spiritual message, while the
mechanical translation of said text, even taking into account the
cultural coloring of both languages today, would appear totally wrong.
The reverse is also true.
In many cases the errors are simply out of ignorance and the poor
spiritual illumination of those who study to be theologians, but do not know God, or
those who study to be shepherds and who do not know God either.
The "knowledge of God" (that is, intimate communion with God) is the
foundation of all knowledge. With the exception of Paul of Tarsus, most
of those selected by Jesus were uneducated men (i.e., culturally and
religiously ignorant), but it was through their intimate communion with
Him that the foundation of Christian knowledge was laid.
An example of a translation problem
Let us review the various versions of Colossians
1: 24 and compare them with its true translation:
makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make
up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the
sake of His body, the Church - The New Jerusalem Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of
Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church. - The
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for
your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the
afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church
- The New American Bible
It makes me happy to suffer for you,
as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up
all that has still be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the
Church - Daily Roman Missal - English Edition prepared by Rev.
James Socias, a devotee of Jose María Escrivá and his work.
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in
my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: - King James
The overall impression is that Christ's suffering was incomplete. His
passion, crucifixion and death just was not sufficient suffering - just
"did not quite make it" - and Paul has now to "make up the difference."
This concept/translation is somewhere between blasphemy and heresy.
However, in the most accurate translation of the original texts that we
have found found we read:
enjoy the sufferings I endure because of you, and the suffering of
Christ, which are still
lacking in my flesh, are being fulfilled in favor of His Body,
which is the Church. - Translated from the original Greek text
by Msgr. Dr. Juan Straubinger
As the reader can easily see, the suffering that was lacking was not
Christ's suffering but His suffering manifested in Paul's flesh
for the benefit of Christ's Body, the Church. This is a tremendous
difference from all other man centered versions.
No Biblical error. Paul did not make a mistake either - it was simply
that it did not occur to the translators, except to Msgr. Straubinger,
that all that is Christ and of Christ was, is and will ever be perfect
and no man can even think of making up something that Christ lacked,
except, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Moon (7) who seem to be the
latest version of the Antichrist and claim to be making up Christ's
incomplete mission. But that is another story altogether; a story well
covered in False Dawn (8).
Many, many other apparent errors could be brought to light but we are
only trying to show one or two examples of each category.
(c) The Holy Scriptures show only
"window shots" of events that were continually evolving.
There are Biblical passages where we may find outright (apparent)
contradictions and those are used in many cases to prove that the Holy
Scriptures cannot be trusted. What is being forgotten is that the
events that we are reading about are on-going. One individual may say
"yes" in one of the Gospels and then say "no" in another of the
Gospels. Was the time exactly the same? No. You may agree with us now
and ten minutes later you may not - that does not show incoherence,
that show that the circumstances were different ten minutes apart.
An example of such - "window shot" -
Luke 23: 39-42
And one of the malefactors which were
hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God,
seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we
receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing
amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into
thy kingdom. - King's James Version
Matthew 27:38 - 44
Then were there two thieves crucified
with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that
passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, ... He saved others;
himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come
down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let
him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of
God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, "cast the same in
his teeth" ["cast the same in his teeth" means that they were
joining in the insults] - King's James Version
Incoherence? No. Both thieves could have been indeed mocking Him as we
read in Matthew 27:38-44 until one of them was awe struck by Jesus'
demeanor, even in such condition, and had a conversion upon which he
then did say what we read in Luke 23: 39-42.
One "instant" before miguel de Portugal's flash conversion, he was
supernaturally seeking ways to force a decadent life upon himself, and
was unaware of what was about to happen. In the instant after the flash
conversion, what he had been seeking was no longer important or of
interest. It was immediately discarded since his priorities had been
instantaneously changed. If one would report the "instant before" and
the "instant after" there would appear to be total incoherence, unless
one knew what happened in between.
As the Biblical example shown above - there are many more situations
which only reflect a report at two different "windows of time" and do
not reflect errors in the Holy Scriptures.
(d) The interpretation of the Holy
Scriptures hinges on the social and religious customs of the area and
the time in question.
To translate ancient texts one must understand the social and religious
customs of the time in question lest the translation of the Word of God
becomes a vehicle of perdition.
An example of the consequences of
ignoring customs at the time in question
Luke 17: 28-36
Likewise also as it was in the days
of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted,
they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained
fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall
it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. ...
[after setting the Sodom backdrop we continue to read]
I tell you, in that night there shall
be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be
left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and
the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken,
and the other left. - King's James Version
This passage has obviously given headaches to many non spiritual
translators and shepherds. We could see this passage being grossly
misinterpreted since a question would come (or brought) up - without a
doubt - regarding the two men in a bed: Obviously one was in the "wrong
position" and was left but the other was in the "right position" and
was taken. The reader may use his/her imagination to see how much
disinformation could be squeezed out of this monumental error.
Dr. Straubinger was the only one that we found (in five languages) that
had the correct translation:
tell you, that night there will be two men reclining at the same table:
one would be taken... etc.
"Elementary, my dear Watson" - as Sherlock Homes would say. In spite of
Da Vinci's Last Supper, dining tables as we know them now did not exist
then. There were more like very low platforms and men reclined by them
while eating the food placed on those low platforms.
Someone mistranslated "reclining" to "lying", ignored the fact that it
was a food related scene [women would be grinding grain (logically in
the kitchen) and men working (cultivating) in the field] and added the
"bed" because there is in a bed where one normally lies these days -
and Presto! a major translation error which most Bibles have and about
which we have the sinking feeling that has been (and continues to be)
used for the justification of improper behavior/acts.
Once again, errors of this type abound from the many non spiritual and
culturally impoverished translators.
(e) Many other religious texts which
become "Holy Reference Points" for the faithful because:
it is convenient to some institution; or (ii) the popular passions decide to
make it so "for your own good"; or (iii)
incorrect translations - are downright wrong - to the extent of
directly contradicting the version of the Word of God they themselves
We will just cite a few of these without categorizing them. The reader
should be able to do so on his/her own.
Example No. 1
In Volume II (Lenten Season) of the
Liturgy of the Hours, Page 976, in Second Reading in a Treatise by St.
Basil we read in the last sentence that "...we become God". This is
troubling because this sounds like New Age (9) philosophy.
We Comment: We find
the same phrase in the Portuguese Version - Page 898. Thus it is not an
error of translation into English. Unfortunately we find that in too
many accepted and approved religious texts. Although man was created in
the image of God man will never become a God. We repeat the cry of
Michael the Archangel: "Who is like unto God?" and we answer it: "No
one will ever be like unto God!" This is the ugly head of the Genesis
serpent finding its way into approved religious texts to claim the
Example No. 2
the intercession of Mary many souls are in Paradise... for God has
entrusted Her with the keys and treasures of the Heavenly Kingdom."
St. Thomas Aquinas (10)
We Comment: The
Catholic Church teaches that it is the Successor of Peter who has the
Keys of the Heavenly Kingdom - Where is the coherence? In addition, as
we have shown (11),
when a human is born in Time, his soul also is in his final destination
- Heaven or Hell in the Eternal Frame since, in Eternity, all is
present, there is no past nor future.
Example No. 3
Speaking of Israel: "What is your iniquity, O daughter of
Jacob, that your chastisement is so severe? You have dishonored the
King and the King's Son, you shameless one, you harlot!" St.
Example No. 4
Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent and their eyes cast
downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them."
St. Augustine (10)
We Comment on both of the
above: "What is Good for the Goose, is Good for the Gander" (12) and "...forgive us our
sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us..." (13)
Example No. 5
who are not baptized cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven." Ven.
Louis of Granada (10)
We Comment: If that
were true, imagine the fate of those who are responsible for the failed
Evangelization effort and the lack of universal conversion.
Example No. 6
cannot do that which is against the faith. He cannot do what is against
the truth." St. Ambrose (10)
We Comment: Now it
seems that the Faith sets the limits for God or that the Faith is as
perfect as God. That is blasphemy!
Example No. 7
of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection." Pope
Innocent III (10)
We Comment: Papal
infallibility? Just when is convenient...
Example No. 8
who does not believe contracts an incurable sin; for by his disbelief
he dares to assert that God is either impotent or a liar." St.
John Chrysostom (10)
We Comment: To
contract a disease one has to be infected by someone. In this case
"someone" are those who - through poor examples and a failed
Evangelization effort - have led many away from the True Faith.
Therefore, from the condition of the world today, if we are to apply
St. John Chrysostom's rule to the Church Administration we can confirm
our evaluation of them: They have been and are ill, very ill.
Amongst the many less than fortunate statements made by men and women
honored by the Roman Catholic Church, there are also many true gems.
This is just another example of the absolute need to make the Holy
Spirit of God an integral part of our daily lives since amongst the
fine wheat there is is much chaff - both sowed by the same sower. With
the Light of the Holy Spirit of God we can easily separate the wheat
from the chaff without falling in grave sin just because St. So and So
It is Jesus and Mary Whom to Whom we must look for examples to emulate
and not the Saints. The Saints are to be examples and reminders that "For man
all is possible with God", but they are never, ever, to replace Divine
Wisdom and much less take the place of image of God that we must strive
(iv) The original Greek texts
upon which the New Testament are based were lost long ago. This will be
covered in Part
II of this document - but "dark" as it may appear, it has a "happy
and faith building conclusion".
Biblical literalism or symbolism? It is both; it just depends on the
circumstances. With an intimate relationship with God we will be able
to sail through the End of These Times with a minimum of errors and
difficulties, remembering the admonishment from Our Lord Jesus Christ:
there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show
great signs and wonders, inasmuch
as to deceive (if possible) even the elect." [Matthew 24: 24]
Dawn - The United
Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion
Digest - Complete and Final Edition - 1987
All Documents of This Series
En Español: Interpretación
Bíblica Literal o Simbólica - Parte I
Published on June 24, 2005 -
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist • Reviewed and Confirmed on July
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