Thursday, June 13, 2013

Moses, Horns and All

We have all seen portrayals of Moses with big horns jutting out of his head. This was because an early translation says when he came down from Siniai he had rays of light coming from his face. The form of the light was translated as "horns" in the Latin Vulgate Bible. We know better today and have corrected this error.

How about early Christians described as having double tongues of fire over their heads? A better understanding is that the "cloven" tongues were separate fires over each person's head, and not just one big flame. One big flame would be a miracle, but the divided, or personal, flames show us that each person at Pentecost was gifted with the Holy Spirit.

Some people might cite these differences as evidence of errors in translation. But any failure is in the presentation of real events. All Bibles tell us that Moses had bright light coming from his face, and that in one event, the origin of the church, men in Jerusalem had signs of the Spirit of God visible to those present. When I say, "all Bibles" I mean sources in ancient texts, of which there are thousands. No ancient book has so many supporting texts.

The form of the light and the shape of the tongues of flame are not essential to any doctrine, and are mainly problems for illustrators. I say these things as a "naive believer" or fundamentalist, in witness to my belief in the infallibility of Scripture.

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