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Deliberate Fabrication in Acts 15:24 From 10th Century

I was listening to J. Vernon McGee on the radio yesterday (August 2, 2017). He was quoting from Acts 15:24 where it supposedly says the apostles decided it was "wicked to tell gentiles to still follow the Law," as McGee construed this verse.

I was disappointed to hear this claim, and even think that rebroadcasts that accept a long-ago exposed forgery should be deleted by those hosting replays to prevent erroneous commentary. Long prior to McGee's radio speech, scholarship determined that this message was falsely inserted into Acts 15:24. It began by small steps by commentators in the late 300s without altering the actual scripture until a full-blown forgery was committed in the 10th Century. Thus, I wish to share with you a dialogue from 2013 with a pastor named Jonas who used Acts 15:24 with me to argue the same point J. Vernon McGee was making and how I responded.

Jonas, A Pastor, October 8 2013

The reason I asked about Acts 15 is because men came from Judea representing that the apostles were teaching the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. Paul went to meet with the apostles to determine if this was indeed their position on the matter. After much discussion The Apostle Peter stood up and said [in King James of Acts 15]

 "And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even ashe did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must

be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:25 it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The conclusion the Apostles of Jesus Christ came to was as follows:

1. Why do we tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples. which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.

(could not bear what? The Law of Moses. Surely he wasn't referring to circumcision on the eighth day being a burden.

2. By preaching the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses the Apostles concluded they were subverting their souls.  ( are you sure based on the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ you are not subverting souls by saying we need to keep the Law of Moses)

3. The Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ called Barnabas and Paul beloved "Men who hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely they were not rebuking them as false brethren. 

These were the words of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. They sided with Paul's position.  The Gentiles did not have to be circumcised or keep the Law Of Moses.  Be Blessed, Jonas.

My Response October 13, 2013

Jonas

I just noticed I did not respond to your quote of James in Acts 15:24 where it attributes to James that he said that they (the apostles) gave no command to obey the Law. But you of course agree we are talking about Acts 15 written by Luke, and not inserted later. I already did an in depth study on that verse-- and it first came into existence [in the NT] in the 10th Century. Here is footnote 24 from ch. 5 of Jesus' Words Only (2006):

The KJV atypically accepts one late textual corruption. This is in James' mouth in Acts 15:24. This makes it appear James said the Law does not apply at all to Gentiles. The KJV has it that James says some have tried "subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment." (Act 15:24.) However, the ASV, ESV, [ISV, Holman, Douay], & NIV correctly omits "ye must be circumcised and keep the law," saying instead some tried "subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment." [See Bible Hub of each version.]

Why did the KJV add the above bolded words?

The UBS' Greek New Testament (4th Ed [2006]) says this entire phrase first appears in the miniscule 1175 (pg. 476), which dates from the Tenth Century A.D. (pg. 17). [See also this link on 10th Century as the correct date.] The phrase "keep the Law" first appears in quotations of Acts 15:24 in the Apostolic Constitutions [allegedly in 6:64] and in the writings of Amphilochius (pg. 467). Amphilochius died "after 394," and this copy of the Apostolic Constitutions [6:64] is dated to "about 380" (pg. 31.) All the earlier versions of Constitutions [see CCEL version lacks 6:64] and the NT, [including the Latin Vulgate commissioned in 382 AD], omit both changes to Acts 15:24.

 

[Also, no church 'father' in the first 379 years ever quotes Acts 15:24 having included "you must be circumcised" or "keep the law." See e-catena for Acts 15 at Early Christian Writings.]

Where is the origin of this change in Acts 15:24? And what motivated the change?

I explained that when the pagan emperor Constantine wantedGreek New Testament UBS 4th Face page in 325 AD Christians to worship Sol Invictus in the guise of "Jesus", and stop resting on Sabbath, and move this to Sun-day -- the worship day of the god Sol Invictus, Paul's status was elevated because he alone aided the notion the sabbath was abolished, and the Law did not have to be followed. See Council of Nicea of 325 AD, and The Sabbath Command

[So there was some effort to interject additional words in some commentaries after 380, but no New Testament prior to the 10th Century has any of these words "you must be circumcised and obey the Law." We can prove this also by checking all major strains of the NT up through the 10th century.

First, the oldest Greek NT recovered is the Sinaiticus from 340 AD. It lacks those words. Here is a photograph of what it looks like at this Sinaiticus webpage if you open up 15:24: 

Acts 15 24

 

 

 

Thus, it truly reads: "since we have heard that some gone out from among us and troubled you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no commandment." A You Tube entitled "Tampering with Sacred Texts" does an excellent comparison of what was original, and what was added centuries later: Tampering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alexandrinus Codex version of the NT in Greek and its lineage -- the form that predominates "in earliest surviving documents" up through the 10th Century -- also lacks entirely "you be circumcised and obey the law." (See reference to Gil in Bible.hub at this link.)

Here also is the oldest translated version of  Acts 15:24 from the Latin Vulgate by Jerome commissioned in 382 AD, and it too lacks these words. It reads: "Quoniam audivimus quia quidam ex nobis exeuntes, turbaverunt vos verbis, evertentes animas vestras, quibus non mandavimus." Link.

In English, this would be: "Since we have heard that certain [ones] which went out from us, have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no such commandment,...."

You can readily see there is no mention "you must be circumcised and obey the Law...."]

So around 380 AD and later, this verse begins to be explained in commentary books as meaning such views. However, Acts 15:24 was not modified with these words to make such views "official" into the NT [in Greek, Latin or Ethiopian NT]. It was not until the 10th century when these words first appear in a small Miniscule 1175 within the actual verse of Acts 15:24. This is why the Nestle Aland -- the modern compilation of the best estimate of the original Greek of the NT -- entirely omits “you be circumcised and obey the Law," as is mentioned by the NKJV in its footnote to Acts 15:24. See link. See final Greek reconstructed text in Nestle Aland is at this link.]

Can you dispute that, and prove 15:24 in the KJV was originally written by Luke? If you cannot, please realize that the NT manuscripts have been tampered with -- 1%-2% -- usually to edge things slightly to help Paul's validity to abrogate the Law - beginning in the late 300s because of this strenuous battle to wipe out Sabbath observance, and replace it with observance of Sun-Day -- first passed as a pagan Roman law in 321 AD.

Blessings,

Doug

NOTE.

Pastor Jonas of a large church stopped corresponding with me after this email. So I believe he must have confirmed these facts were accurate. 

FURTHER NOTE.

We have not found these words in fact are in any version of the Constitution of the Apostles dating at any time, let alone existing in language from the late 300s. These words are supposed to be in alleged chapter 6:64. Likewise, Amphilocius' discussion of 15:24 in the late 4th century (396 AD appx.) apparently mentions these words in conjunction. The text is supposedly Lambi ad Seleucum but this has not yet been found either.