The King James version calls the alter in Joshua chapter 22 verse 34 ‘Ed’:
And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God. (Joshua 22:34 KJV)
All the modern versions call the altar ‘Witness’ because the word ‘Ed’ is not found in the original Hebrew texts:
The children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar, Witness, “For it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.” (Joshua 22:34 NKJV)
My simple point is that we need to be extremely discerning more now than ever because of the various resources a Christian has access to, brought about by modern technology. Opposing views, teachings, and opinions are everywhere. There are those that hold fast to the King James Version only, while looking at all other versions as being heresy along with anyone that uses them as being heretics. But, as you can see in my example with the altar called ‘Ed’, the King James version has its own shortcomings. Not only that, the King James version is archaic in its ability to communicate clearly to today’s generation simply because our use of the English language has changed quite dramatically since 1611.
You will find that I use many different Bible translations in my articles on this website. The reason being is that I want to communicate the teachings as clearly as possible in the present day English language while staying true to the original Hebrew and Greek. Yet, I come under scrutiny by certain readers for using certain translations they deem heretical, even though the verse that I use is strictly in accordance with the original Greek or Hebrew. Remember that the perfection of Scripture lies in the original text.
Another example is when I use material from a source that certain readers deem heretical because of something they came across from that source that was cross-grained to their beliefs on secondary issues. We are discouraged by Scripture to get into arguments over secondary issues.
Instead, my concerns are what I believe God would be concerned with most and are are as follows:
1. Is the material I am using spot on Biblically?
2. Is the material source true to the major doctrines of the Orthodox Church, especially the deity of Jesus Christ and the hypostatic union?
3. Is the teaching I am trying to convey, staying true to the original intent of the Scripture, without adding to or taking away from the Word of God?
Another area is in the copywriting of Christian materials. I believe this is important to protect the source from someone taking the material and twisting it to say something different, and in so doing they bring shame to the source. But, as far as the Holy Spirit truly speaking through a Christian teacher, who really is the author? And if the Holy Spirit is truly the author, the teacher is nothing more than a vehicle. How then can that vehicle claim full possession of it? On the personal level, I rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write the articles on this website. That is why there is no set time span between articles, nor is there any exact sequence to the articles. It is as the Holy Spirit moves to the needs. I am happy when someone can take what I write and spread it for the Kingdom’s sake.
Enough said in those areas. Let’s go back to the beginning of this article and look deeper into this alter named ‘Ed’, or more properly named ‘Witness’. This altar raised a stir between the tribes of Israel, much the same as the stir that is within Christianity today, as I have already discussed in this article. Here is the stir this altar caused and how it was rectified:
But while they were still in Canaan, and when they came to a place called Geliloth near the Jordan River, the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh stopped to build a large and imposing altar. The rest of Israel heard that the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at Geliloth at the edge of the land of Canaan, on the west side of the Jordan River. So the whole community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against them. First, however, they sent a delegation led by Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to talk with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. In this delegation were ten leaders of Israel, one from each of the ten tribes, and each the head of his family within the clans of Israel. When they arrived in the land of Gilead, they said to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, “The whole community of the Lord demands to know why you are betraying the God of Israel. How could you turn away from the Lord and build an altar for yourselves in rebellion against him? Then the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered the heads of the clans of Israel: “The Lord, the Mighty One, is God! The Lord, the Mighty One, is God! He knows the truth, and may Israel know it, too! We have not built the altar in treacherous rebellion against the Lord. If we have done so, do not spare our lives this day. “The truth is, we have built this altar because we fear that in the future your descendants will say to ours, ‘What right do you have to worship the Lord, the God of Israel? The Lord has placed the Jordan River as a barrier between our people and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have no claim to the Lord.’ So your descendants may prevent our descendants from worshiping the Lord. “So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no claim to the Lord.’ When Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the community—the heads of the clans of Israel—heard this from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, they were satisfied. Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, and the other leaders left the tribes of Reuben and Gad in Gilead and returned to the land of Canaan to tell the Israelites what had happened. And all the Israelites were satisfied and praised God and spoke no more of war against Reuben and Gad. (Joshua 22:10-16, 21-22, 24-27, 30, 32-33 NLT)
It all came down to discernment with the purpose of the altar. The same it comes down to today when it comes to Christian resources and teachers we have instant access to. Proper spiritual discernment is vital. If not, someone can be lead to deadly consequences just like what could have happened in Joshua chapter 22, if the Israelites on the west side of the Jordan would not have gotten to the bottom of the situation before war broke out.
I beg of you, please do not be a lazy Christian. Test all things as each of us are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. I know what I state as fact next will definitely step on some toes, but I must be true to the Holy Spirit. Be especially careful of any music ministries that are smoke screens for any parent ministries that are laced with heresies such as Jesus Culture/Bethel Music that are the enticers for Bill Johnson and Bethel Chapel. Remember that music has a powerful effect on our being and can lead us unaware to teachings we should run from. As a matter of fact, every ministry I have come across that grew as a result of the ‘Toronto Blessing’, I have found to be toxic. Do not forget that Satan is a master of mixing 99% truth with 1% lie. 1% poison in a most enticing drink can lead to your death!