• David Lee Brown

Choose Your Battles Wisely


“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:13 KJV) “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Revelation 8:13 ESV)

During my usual research I came across a preacher on You-Tube that was dogmatically defending the Antioch manuscripts over the Alexandrian manuscripts. These manuscripts are where the various translations of the Bible come from. I wasn’t real fond of the dogmatism though. There are only a few things that require dogmatic steadfastness. One of these dogmatic imperatives being that the only way to Heaven and eternal life is through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ and acceptance of his lordship over your life. This preacher went far beyond necessary dogmatism, complaining about relatively minor details.

For instance: the two versions of Revelation 8:13 that are listed above are similar but not exactly alike. I’ve underlined the words he honed in on – angel vs. eagle – the Young’s translation reads “messenger” but in the grand scheme of things does it really matter. The Greek word translated angel, eagle and messenger is Aetou – Eagle, but does that make the other translations wrong? I don’t think so. God is sharing that something is crying or saying in a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe” to the people of the earth. I know that God can speak through anyone or anything if he chooses, so why be dogmatic about such a small insignificant detail. There’s just no reason.

His primary complaint about the Alexandrian manuscript translation of this passage was that “eagles don’t talk.” He felt that angels and messengers can speak, but eagles can’t, so the Alexandrian manuscripts were corrupted. Now, obviously he had much more to say about this and was very convincing throughout most of his sermon, but this dogmatism just struck me wrong. I thought to myself – What about Balaam’s donkey? – “And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass [donkey], and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28) Donkeys can’t speak either, yet she spoke to Balaam because the Lord “opened” her mouth.

I believe this You-Tube preacher was unintentionally putting limits on God. God can make an eagle speak, He can make a donkey speak and if He wanted to, He could make my left shoe speak, although I’m dubious about that ever occurring. My point is that God is all powerful and all knowing, so He can literally do anything. He has no human or naturalistic limitations.

Choose your battles wisely and don’t put human or naturalistic limitations on our Almighty God.