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John Thomas wrote during a period when 4th century Greek Manuscripts were just being brought to light and published .
The famous Codex Sinaiticus had recently been discovered by Tischendorf in 1844 (though it was not published until some years later. It is referred to in John Thomas’s Herald of the Kingdom, 1859). The Vatican manuscript was edited and published during the period 1860 to 1890 (though John Thomas says that an edition was available in 1859 for about 45$).
The manuscripts at that time (and referred to by John Thomas in the following ) were identified as follows:
A. Codex Alexandrinus.
- Codex Vaticanus.
- Codex Ephraemi
In 1866 John Thomas wrote:
“The Rev. S. P. Tregelles, a dissenting minister of Plymouth, England, is learned in the languages of the East, a clear writer, and not without authority in the wisdom of the world-religious. He has published a translation of the apocalypse “from the Greek text according to the ancient authorities” not more modern than twelve hundred years, and the far greater part fourteen hundred years ago. He has published this translation by itself, and introduced it by a very interesting preface. On reading this, I supposed that an enlightened critic had appeared among the divines of the apostasy, who had risen above the bias of his religious metaphysics, and would therefore give us a reliable version of the book. But, alas, how disappointed was I when I came to examine the result of the rules and principles by which he had promised to work. The following specimens of new translation based on his “ancient authorities” will show of themselves to “the servants of the Deity” what I mean:
- In ch. 1:6—“He hath made for us a kingdom—priests unto Him who is his God and Father.”
- In ch. 5:10—“Thou hast made them unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign on the earth.”
- In ch. 6 before us, he omits “and see” in the four places where the phrase “Come and see” therein occurs.
Now, the first two instances prove to an intelligent believer of the gospel that Mr. Tregelles’ “ancient authorities” are unreliable; and that, if he understood “the truth as it is in Jesus” he would not have been led by them. Fourteen hundred years ago carries us back to the latter half of the fifth century, or A.D. 464, about 140 years after the complete establishment of Laodicean Catholicism as the religion of Daniel’s Fourth Beast.(Editor’s note These Mss have since been dated to the 4th cent. The principle here stated unaffected however. This Church and State establishment was then regarded as God’s kingdom, and the Laodicean ecclesiastics as his priests. Now, some Greek MSS., of this epoch read as Tregelles has given it; while others read “kings and priests, and they shall,” not they “do,” “reign on earth.” Here is a discrepancy—some fifth century manuscripts against some less ancient. Tregelles prefers the former because of their relative antiquity, and is biased, though he may not be aware of it, by the Laodicean dogma that the Church is the kingdom, that Christ is now reigning, and the saints with him as they join him in the skies. We have, therefore, no hesitation in rejecting the authority of his new translation based on such readings which are utterly at variance with the first principles of the oracles of God. The readings are self-evident corruptions of the true text by transcribers who sought to make the apocalyptic saints sing in harmony with the traditions of the Laodicean Apostasy. True believers are now kings and priests elect for God. He has promised them a kingdom, and they shall reign on the earth. This is the teaching of the word ministered by prophets and apostles, and not readings of Greek MSS… even if written in the days of John, affirming the contrary, could be anything else but spurious”.
Eureka Chapter VI . Introduction (Brown Version Vol. 2. Page 127).
Again in 1868 John Thomas wrote:
“It may be further remarked here, that in regard to ch. 11:17, all the recent editors cancel the words, kai ho erchomenos, on the authority of (A.B.C.)*, certain manuscripts of the fifth and seventh centuries; their omission is therefore recommended by the annotator of the new Baptist Version. I have no other objection to this, than that the Apocalypse when given, was a prophecy of things afterwards to transpire, preparatory to, and introductory of, the thief like and glorious manifestation of Him “who is coming”. The Divine formula, therefore, where introduced, as much required the words “and who is coming,” as the words “who is and who was,” in order to keep constantly before the minds of “the servants of the Deity” in all intermediate ages and generations, the great truth, until it shall be verified in the visible apocalypse of ho erchomenos, THE COMING ONE. In the times of the (A.B.C.)* manuscripts, the appearing of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was deemed a pestilent heresy by the party in place and power; who had no scruples about altering and omitting words and phrases, if it suited their purpose. This being the fact, the testimony of their manuscripts is questionable. It is true, that in ch. 11:17, the omission would seem warranted by the reason given for thanksgiving—“because thou hast taken thy great power and reigned;” which implies, that the almighty Elohim had come, and that therefore, after this event, to affirm that he is coming, would be anachronistic and inappropriate. This is true, still, for the reason given, I conclude, that the words were a part of the prophecy originally delivered to John, and ought not therefore to be omitted.
Eureka Chapter 16. 4. Act III. (Brown Version Vol. 5. page 141).