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Do You Believe The Bible? November 5, 2011

Posted by arkwork in Cessationism.
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Get ready for an introduction to what is probably the oldest, most important (but least known) Bible manuscript discovery within the last 2000 years! Then you’ll be well on your way to recognizing the excitement it has generated in me, and hopefully it will in you, too.

When John Maxwell1 held a seminar at a church I once attended years ago, he peppered his presentation with this little phrase, “Do you believe the Bible?” He then proceeded to show many of us that we didn’t believe the Bible nearly as much as we thought we did.

It took a little time for us to realize that we were alternately funny and pathetic. We laughed and we cried, but when we left that service we were changed people . . . people who hopefully had a stronger belief in the Bible.

Now, let’s see if you believe the Bible as much as you think you do.

One of the most challenging verses in the bible is found in Mark 16:17. This verse says: “These signs will accompany those who believe . . . .” The trouble is, just about every Bible commentary tells us Mark did not write that verse in his Gospel. The scholars who write these commentaries tell us that some unknown person, some presumptuous person, some unauthorized person, wrote the last twelve verses that purportedly quote Jesus, including verse 17.

What a powerful statement! Isn’t it just too bad that Mark didn’t actually say, “These signs will accompany those who believe . . . ,” or did he?

You’re in for a BIG surprise . . .

First we need to document the conventional view presented by these scholars before getting to our surprise. Two of the most ancient Bible manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, do not contain the last twelve verses that appear in the King James Version of Mark’s Gospel.2d Here is what the Nelson Study Bible’s footnotes say about those verses in Mark:

ArkWork Logo eludes to Noahs Ark and working on end-time preperation

ArkWork Logo

“The authenticity of these last twelve verses has been disputed. Those who doubt Mark’s authorship of this passage point to two fourth-century manuscripts that omit these verses. Others believe that they should be included because even those two manuscripts leave space for all or some of these verses, indicating that their copyists knew of their existence. The difficulty is in knowing whether the space is for this longer version of Mark’s ending or for one of the alternate endings found in the manuscripts. Practically all other manuscripts contain vv. 9-20, and this passage is endorsed by such early church fathers as Justin Martyr (A.D. 155), Tatian (A.D. 170), and Irenaeus (A.D. 180). It does not seem likely that Mark would end his story on a note of fear (v. 8).” 

Here is what the Ryrie Study Bible commentary says about Mark 16:9-20:

“These verses do not appear in two of the most trustworthy manuscripts of the N.T., though they are part of many other manuscripts and versions. If they are not a part of the genuine text of Mark, the abrupt ending at verse 8 is probably because the original closing verses were lost. The doubtful genuineness of verses 9-20 makes it unwise to build a doctrine or base an experience on them (especially vv. 16-18).” 

Yet, the Nelson Study Bible makes this historically accurate statement about verses 17 and 18.

“These signs were evident in the early church. Casting out demons demonstrated victory over Satan (Acts 16:18). Speaking with new tongues began at Pentecost (Acts 2:4-11). Healing the sick occurred in several instances, including Acts 28:8. Taking up serpents occurred in Paul’s encounter with a poisonous snake, which did not produce ill effects (Acts 28:1-6). The New Testament does not record Christians drinking anything deadly without harm.” 

Well, this scholarly speculation is about to end.

CODEX WASHINGTONENSIS

The trouble is, these scholars are not aware of another ancient Codex2d (or manuscript) that completely blows away all of their skepticism and speculation.2f Allow me to introduce you to the great manuscript discoveryI alluded to earlier—Codex Washingtonensis, or Codex W for short. 2b But first let me explain to you (if you are a non-scholar) why this discovery is so tremendously important to everything you and I believe.

CODEX W IS AN ORIGINAL (according to Dr. Lee Woodard)! In fact, it is the ONLY original First Century Gospel Manuscripts ever found, and therefore the greatest gospel manuscript discovery ever made. All other manuscripts are copies of other copies of the original ancient codex.

This Codex is a bound collection of four separate manuscripts that were written (in whole or in part) in the actual handwriting of the four Gospel authors. We can see the signatures and seals of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John written both in Greek and Aramaic! Just seeing their signatures is an awesome experience!2e

This Codex is just loaded with marvelously informative Aramaic notes and dates. For that reason this discovery just begs for Dead Sea scroll scholars to study these enlightening Aramaic notes.

In short, this is an incredible find that authenticates what these four holy men set forth for us to read and believe.

As of this writing I am one of the few non-scholars aware of these facts, and I have a passion to share this good news with you.

A SHORT HISTORY LESSON ABOUT CODEX W

After this incredible manuscript of the four Gospels was discovered, several prominent Greek scholars studied it. But it wasn’t until 19812a that a scholar who had the right combination of credentials read this manuscript and made discoveries the other Scholars overlooked.This scholar is Dr. Lee W. Woodard who has a background of forty plus years in Biblical, Paleographical, Historical, and linguistic studies. He recorded his research findings in a fascinating 184-page book containing many facsimiles of pages from this ancient codex.2

This Codex was found in 1906,during an excavation of some sandy ruins in Medinet Dimay, a walled and fortified city in Egypt.2cCodex W was bound2h with a wood cover, then sealed in a case and buried in the sand under a church. It is not known when Codex W was buried, but probably sometime in the second century during one of the several periods of persecutions by the Roman government.

If you want to know more about this incredible find you will want to read my extensive and informative endnotes.2

MARK WROTE ALL THE ENDINGS

Now for the big surprise we have been working up to!

Mark himself wrote those endings to his gospel over a period of three years, between 69 A.D. and 72 A.D. His official seal and the date are by each ending, and he signed his name at the bottom for all to see. Therefore, these endings are as valid, as inspired, and canonical as the rest of the gospel of Mark.2g

R. C. H. Lenski’s commentary on Mark contains a lengthy discussion dealing with the theories made by the commentators above. Briefly, his answers to the above theories are in this order:

  • Mark wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. He quit when the anointing lifted. The Bible says all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

  • Tradition says that Mark lived a number of years beyond the writing of his Gospel. If the last page was lost shortly after he wrote it, he could have supplied it again.

  • This makes God (who knows all things, and therefore knew when Mark would die) so inept that he didn’t start anointing Mark early enough to that he would have time to finish the work before he died. 

If I could enter a fourth answer to Lenski’s three, it would emphasize that the disputed passage is a purported quote from Jesus Himself. It is absolutely outlandish to suggest that any scribe would be so audacious and presumptuous as to put words in the Master’s mouth. Now we have a quote from Jesus Himself that confirms Paul and Luke’s account of these spiritual gifts as they described them in Acts and in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14.

The King James Version translates Mark 16:14-20 correctly (as seen in Codex W), but I will use “Throckmorton’s Synopsis of the Four Gospels” in order to show the longer ending unique to Codex W.

14. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

15. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

16. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

17. And these signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them;

18. they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God,

20. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.

Here is Mark’s longer ending that extends from verse 20 in Codex W, as seen in Throckmorton’s translation.

21. And they replied saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who by means of unclean spirits does not allow men to comprehend the true power of God; therefore reveal now thy righteousness.” Thus they spoke to Christ; and Christ answered them: “The limit of the years of the authority of Satan is fulfilled; but other afflictions draw near, even for those sinners on whose behalf I was delivered up to death, in order that they might return to the truth and sin no more; that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness which is in heaven.”

Mark must have felt led to include this ending in 72 A.D. after seeing the extreme wickedness manifested in the horrible siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Great Temple, etc., in 70 A.D. He felt that what he was including (as to the expansion of Jesus’ words) was fully in accord with the earlier revelation from Jesus, following the Resurrection.

It should be pointed out that the contents of Codex W are essentially the same as the good copies mentioned above. What makes this discovery different and exciting is the fact that:

  • Codex W is the only first century original, and

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did indeed write the gospel attributed to them, and

  • Mark did indeed write all those endings himself, therefore

  • Codex W is the most reliable of all gospel manuscripts.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO US?

Now that we know Mark actually wrote all the endings to his gospel, we can dismiss the opinion of all those well-meaning scholars who said someone else wrote them. And for that reason we will now have to take this passage seriously. Let’s read it again.

And these signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.

Mark 16:17-18

This is no, “Bow your head and repeat after me” prayer. The early apostles proclaimed God’s word “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” that the faith of those who listened would “not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Cor 2:4,5). Notice how much that passage sounds like this undisputed quote from Jesus.

And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give.

Matthew 10:7-8

Dear friend, how many of these gifts have ever followed you?

I don’t think he meant that ALL of these signs would follow EVERY believer. Most probably he meant that one or more of these signs (at the absolute minimum) would accompany a believer at least once in their lifetime.

For instance, a viper bit Paul while he was gathering firewood. He didn’t deliberately handle the viper and tempt God, as is the practice of some. And, according to legend, John the Revelator’s persecutors forced him to take a cup of poison. He didn’t deliberately drink anything deadly, but he was not harmed by it.

People tend to get hung up on these more exceptional “signs” and as a result, overlook the “signs” that we see following hundreds of believers in the book of Acts and in 1 Corinthians 12.

These “signs” follow true believers because the Holy Spirit indwells them. So, these Spiritual “signs” or “gifts” are a virtue of the Holy Spirit to use at His digression. Since the Holy Spirit indwells us, He can manifest His gifts through us as He wills. We have no control over the Holy Spirit or His “signs” or “gifts”, but we must allow, and not resist the Holy Spirit to work through us.

Verses 17 & 18 are really saying that God is well able to protect us from all harm and danger. The mission field can often be a perilous place. Come to think of it, EVERY PLACE is a perilous place now days. Missionaries—all Christians—have to believe that God will provide the means and the protection that must go withourcalling, or the strength to die a martyr’s death that glorifies Him. We see examples of both in the Bible.

In a minute we will look at another scriptural way to understand this passage.

The point is: God really did deliver Paul and John with these rare and exceptional “sign” gifts. And Jesus Himself spoke these words—these are red-letter words—so therefore they are a commandment and prophecy to us.

Some will argue that Jesus was speaking only to the eleven apostles in this passage. But verses 15 and 16 make it clear that Jesus was talking to “he who has believed and has been baptized” as a result of the evangelization of the eleven.

Since water baptism does not save, Jesus was undoubtedly talking about baptism in the Holy Spirit. If you have believed and were baptized, that verse includes you. Have any of these signs accompanied you since you have believed?

A final thought: Even without Codex W there is more than enough evidence presented here to prove that verses 17 through 20 were, and are, valid. Which brings us back to our nagging question…

Do you believe the Bible?

PARTIAL AND INCOMPLETE

Again, here is a simple spiritual law that should be self-evident to be truth. If anything is good, perfect, and glorifies God—then God did it!

Such non-apostles as Stephen, Philip, and Ananias, and such congregations as the ones in Galatia, Corinth, Philippi, and Jewish Christian congregations; all experienced and practiced the ministry of the Kingdom. Their Kingdom message included more than the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins. They also proclaimed and practiced the healing of sickness and the driving out of demons. Many passages in the Bible tell us about ordinary Christians who cast out demons, spoke in new tongues, and laid hands on the sick.

We, like the disciples, stumble if we do not do likewise, even if we misuse and abuse and prove ourselves to be the imperfect, stumbling, bumbling saints that we are. Jesus brought His Kingdom into the messiness of the world, knowing that his Holy Word would be misused and abused, as would the precious gifts of His Spirit.

But, back to the question: Do you believe the Bible?

Let’s put it to the test. We will examine (or re-examine) three subjects that some modern Christians have attached a faith-shattering stigma to. As you read about these subjects, ask yourself, “Is this in the Bible?” And, “Do I believe the Bible concerning these stigmas?”

THE SNAKE STIGMA

Now let’s read this part of verses 17 and 18 again:

These signs will follow those who believe. . . they will take up serpents . . .

Mark 16 (NKJV)

This passage, “They shall take up serpents,” has caused two controversies. At the suggestion of handling snakes, some (who say they believe in the infallibility of the Bible) have rejected the passage altogether. Another doctrinal group takes this passage as a literal commandment to handle rattle snakes in church. As a result, some have suffered snakebites and died. Needless to say, neither position is valid.

While the scholars (who don’t know about Codex W yet) argue whether verses 17 and 18 were penned by Mark and whether they were inspired or not, we can go to other Bible verses (as the Nelson commentary points out) to confirm the same message.

Now, before making a careful study of verse 18, let’s read it one more time. It says, “They will take up serpents . . .” The Greek verb, airo, “take up,” means, “to seize, bear away, cast out,” in the sense of removing violently. Keep in mind that Paul did not pick up that snake on Patmos Island. The snake attached itself to Paul and he violently cast it off into the campfire (see Acts 28:1-6).

John the Baptist used the same word, ario, in introducing Jesus. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus never touches sin; He casts out . . . He takes away sin . . . violently.

The verse that says,“They will take up serpents,”is a parallel to“I give you authority to trample on serpents . . .” (Luke 10:19). Jesus spoke these two parables to teach Christians how to “trample” and “snatch away” demonic power using the authority of Jesus’ name (see Mark 9:38).

Is this a solidly scriptural teaching?

Do you believe the Bible?

THE TONGUES STIGMA

The day of Pentecost in Acts 2 marked the glorious beginning of the Church (see Matt. 16:18). Then, in Acts 10 and 11, we see another major event that is sometimes called “the Gentile Pentecost.”

In both events we see a group of people gathered together to hear from God. And in both events, the Holy Spirit fell upon all that were present, and they spoke in tongues.

44. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

45. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also.

46. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.

Acts 10

In Acts 2, the Jews ran out into the street and in Acts 10, the Gentiles stayed in the room. In Acts 2, the Jews spoke in the languages of the crowd on the street, and in Acts 10 we are not told what language they spoke.

Now, let me show you in Acts 19:2 where Paul asked some disciples in Corinth, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” If the gift of the Spirit and tongues are given at the time of believing, why did Paul ask them a stupid question?

However, that aside, when Paul had laid his hands upon them the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying” (Acts 19:6). Again, we don’t know what languages they spoke, and we do not know what they prophesied. Furthermore, there is no mention of interpretation of tongues.

Those who argue that tongues are for the exclusive purpose of evangelizing run into a real problem. Here is why Acts 2 makes a weak argument for them. Acts 2:11 says; “we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” Speaking of the mighty deeds of God” is witnessing, and not necessarily evangelizing. It was Peter who evangelized when he began to preach his famous message recorded in Acts 2:14-36. In all the other instances recorded in Acts, everyone present was already saved, and no one preached after tongues were spoken, and no one heard of the mighty deeds of God in tongues. Tongues are for a sign.

Here is another problem. Paul said (in 1 Cor. 13:1): “ . . . I speak with the tongues of men and of angels . . . “

What is angel language? If Paul had only said he spoke in the language of angels, we could point out that the word “angels” could (and often did) mean “men.” But since he mentioned both men and angels in the same sentence, it would be ridiculous to conclude that Paul actually said, “I speak in the language of men and men.”

If tongues are for evangelism only, then does that mean we are to evangelize angels?

14. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

15. What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also.

1 Corinthians 14

If you will read 1 Corinthians 14:14-21, it will be clear to you that praying and singing in tongues helps us give praise to God and to allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, because in some difficult situations we don’t know how to pray (Rom. 8:26,27).

The point is: 1 Corinthians 14 makes it clear that the use of tongues is not always for the purpose of evangelizing!

Those who make this “evangelism” argument are trying their very best to discourage the use of tongues. They pay lip service to tongues because they can’t deny that tongues are Scriptural. They assure us that there is a proper place for tongues, but they never seem to find that place. And if they did, many churches would ask them to leave. It is an enigma . . . a stigma.

Surely it is time to admit that tongues are valid for today, and rather than deny or ignore tongues any longer, we must now hear God’s call to incorporate this Spiritual gift into our churches. I am sure that incorporating tongues into the traditions and style of worship of all the different doctrinal groups will result in a lot of diversity, but that is only to be expected.

THE ISAIAH 28:11-12 SIGN

There is another peculiar objection to tongues. The proof text this argument uses is found in 1 Corinthians 14:21 where Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11-12 (which is very similar to a passage in Deut. 28 and Jer. 25).

In the law it is written, “By MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME,” says the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:21

The Ryrie commentary on this verse says: “Tongues were given as a sign to provoke the Jews to consider the truth of the Christian message.” That is an excellent explanation, but not all explanations are so valid.

For instance, there is the teaching that tongues were for a sign, or prophecy, to Jews only; and that tongues ceased to exist in 70 AD when this Isaiah 28:11-12 prophecy was fulfilled and Judea ceased to be a nation. Since Mark dated his last entry in the year 72 A.D., that really discredits the 70 A.D. theory. Besides, it should be pointed out that in Acts 10 it was Gentile Romans who spoke in tongues, not Jews. And if Peter understood a word of those tongues, the Bible never mentions that.

At any rate, this teaching goes far beyond the context of what Paul was saying about tongues being a sign gift. And to this day most Jews still are not listening to what God is telling them about their Messiah.

Before we get too harsh with these dear brethren we need to ask ourselves, “Do I believe the Bible?” As John Maxwell points out, we Christians are just sure we do, and are shocked to discover that there are some Bible verses we wish were NOT in there. What verses do you and I stumble over?

Since it is a fact that these verses are often left out of the discussion on tongues, one has to ask, “Why?”

THE EXORCISM STIGMA

And as you go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give.

Matthew 10:7,8

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

James 2:18

When the seventy-two followers returned, they were excited and said, Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name! Jesus told them . . . I have given you power to. . . defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you.

Luke 10:17, 19 (The Promise)

13. Some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

14. And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

15. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

16. And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Acts 19

Notice that the evil spirit manifested itself and spoke to these seven foolish brothers (Acts 19). And notice that the seventy-two cast out demons in Jesus name (Luke 10).

What difference was there between the seven and the seventy-two? The seventy-two—as believers—had the authority to invoke the power in Jesus’ name to defeat the power of Satan and cast out demons without suffering harm. The seven got beat up for using Jesus’ name as sort of a magical charm. Exorcism is dangerous unless the exorcist is anointed by the Holy Spirit and is genuinely dealing with real demonic powers.

Although exorcism is solidly scriptural, few practice it today because we are too sophisticated to believe in the boogieman anymore. Besides, we prefer psychology to exorcism. Yet, there is no Scripture that in any way hints the demonic world became silent and harmless.

DEMONIC CESSATIONISM

Forgive me for asking a dumb question, but did the demons leave planet earth (close shop, or diminish their activity) when the last apostle died? Of course not! Here is what Paul said about the spiritual forces of wickedness and how we can stand firm against them:

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly.

Ephesians 6:11,12

We all have heard numerous sermons and Sunday school lessons on what it means to “put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

In the Spirit world, nothing has changed since before the Garden of Eden; but there will be a big change when Jesus comes again. Yet, some cessationists believe that the demons —as well as God—do not manifest themselves (i.e., speak or intervene) in the affairs of sophisticated, modern man. In short, some Christians do not believe in the supernatural. Yet, whatever the Spirit world was in the Garden of Eden, it still is. And whatever Satan’s b.c. agenda was, it still is in the a.d. And since demons are still in our midst, we still need power to overcome them.

It seems to me that we would not have authority to defeat the power of demons in Jesus’ name today, and we would not need the full armor of God —IF—the cessationist view were valid. But the demons are still with us, are they not? Therefore, we still need an offensive weapon against them.

Or, are we now at their mercy?

God forbid!

THE RESTORATION MESSAGE

Jesus Christ has not changed. God has not replaced Christ’s gospel of the kingdom of heaven with impotent religion; both Christ and the Holy Spirit are with us, “even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).

Dear brethren, the first century text is still the last century text (Heb. 1:1,2). Nothing has been added to, or taken away (Rev. 22:18,19). Let us walk in this divine truth. And may our lives bare our testimony that we truly believe the Bible. 

FOOTNOTES: Do You Believe The Bible?

1. John Maxwell conducts lay ministry training seminars across the country, and is a frequent speaker at Promise Keeper rallies.  The subject of his sermon that day worked well for this article.

2. Dr. Lee W. Woodard, DBA, Kodex W: Old and Holy, Printed by Lee W. Woodard, P. O. Box 1605, Sallisaw, Oklahoma 74955, www.lasallemonument.com. Dr. Lee W. Woodard has a forty plus years background of in Biblical, Paleographical, Historical, and linguistic studies, and presently pastors a Christian church in Sallisaw.

Since the Latin-English expression “Codex” is dealing with documents written in ancient Greek, which has no “C,” as such the author chose to change “Codex” into a combined Anglican-Greek-Germanic “Kodex.” Thus becoming part of the book title, “Kodex W.”

2a. In 1981 while attending Phillips University Graduate Seminary, Enid, Oklahoma, Dr. Woodard was studying the “Infancy Narratives.” He became convinced that there was a recognizable poetic rhyme within Joseph’s dream about the miraculous conception of Jesus. His professor, Dr. Boring, suggested that he look at some photographic facsimiles of the actual pages of some of the oldest known manuscripts to further his study. He was looking for manuscripts with line arrangements or some sort of small scribal notations or markings of rhyming words. Most manuscript facsimiles had very little by way of scribal notes or markings, which would apply to what he was studying, until he came to Codex Washingtonensis, or Codex W for short. Then he realized that he had discovered something potentially far more important. Strangely, no one prior to him had noticed the marvelously informative Aramaic notes.

2b. Washingtonensis is Latin for Washington, the city where that old Codes came to be housed. It is on display at the Charles Lang Freer National Gallery of Art, which is a significant portion of the Smithsonian Institution and Museum complex in Washington, D.C.

2c. On December 19, 1906, Cheikh Aly Arabi of Gizeh, Egypt sold codex W and other old Bible manuscripts to Charles L. Freer. Freer was a wealthy man who made his fortune manufacturing railroad passenger cars. Cheikh Aly probably got these manuscripts from an illegal artifacts digger, so the exact location of the find is unknown. But the digger said he found this Codex in a wooden housing buried in the sand in the ruins of an ancient Christian Church-Monastic community in Medinet Dismay, Egypt.

2d. Codex is a formal Latin expression for an old and important collection of historically valuable manuscript(s), or, in this case, a bound, velum (sheep and goatskin) paged “book:” composed of four old codices, or originally separate manuscripts, bound together within that larger book. These four codices were composed of the four Gospels of Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark (bound in that order),

2e. We know from history that a scribe did not sign an author’s signature, but the scribe would write, “signed by Levi Mark.” Sometimes patriarchs (such as Mark) would dictate to a scribe. Then the author would proof the work and sign it. One time Paul said, “signed with my own hand.” John signed his gospel this way, “I Jesus’ John sign this.” There may well have been a class of professional scribes, such as Fortunatus, Sylvanus, Tertius, etc, who did part of the tedious scribal and manuscript reproduction duties.

All four of the gospels and Acts were progressive works that took years to complete. The first edition of Matthew’s gospel did not contain the genealogy, nor the birth and escape into Egypt. Copies of it were made and passed around. Then years later Matthew pinned the beginning we know.

It would take pages to explain all the history behind the gospels. The historians of the time, and other letters and records tell us these things.

Since the authors signed their names in both Greek and Aramaic, and since their personal seal is by their name, and since the date it was signed is usually in Aramaic and a special coding method, this proves that Codex W is an original. No other gospel manuscript has a signature in both languages, just a scribal notation of who signed it.

Most commentaries date Codex W to about 400 A.D., but the dates on the manuscripts and in the pictures— written in Aramaic—are all first century. The scholars who estimated the date at 400 A.D. could not read Aramaic, and hesitantly made their estimate on other factors.

Some of the Old Testament scholars will probably think of the Dead Sea discoveries as being just as important (at least to them). But this discovery needs some of those Dead Sea scholars to issue agreements to some of the Aramaic on Codex W.

2f. It may seem outlandish to claim that a First Century codex containing the four Gospels has been found that is in the actual handwriting—in whole or in part— of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But in all areas of science and academia the validity of EVERY discovery and theory is disputed, and ALL GREAT DISCOVERIES are rejected for a few years before they are accepted.

As a result of Dr. Woodard’s research, this discovery is being recognized by an ever-growing number of scholars, but is virtually unknown outside of this small circle of academics. There may be folks who will want to argue with some aspects of Dr. Woodard’s claim (at least for a while); but he predicts that eventually all of the academic community will recognize Codex W as being an original.

Once this discovery becomes fully recognized there will be a lot of interest in those samples of first century AD Aramaic, even though most of them are of small script and some of them smudged and difficult to read. Additionally, there are those who might be searching for the latest in New Testament studies.

2g. On the last page of Mark’s Gospel three endings are visible, along with his seal after each of them, and his signature and date at the bottom. Shorter endings were copied and passed on before the longer endings were added. The Codex W ending was Mark’s last extension while living in Egypt. Although Jerome quoted part of it, this ending did not get passed on. Perhaps that ending was added not very long before this collection of the four Gospels was bound and then buried. Dr. Woodard believes that the ending within the KJV is from the first century AD, and from Mark himself in 72 AD.

Dr. Woodard is of the opinion that Mark himself authorized and approved the various endings for his Gospel; and he may very well have penned them himself. It should be kept in mind, however, that there were trained Scribes and penmanship experts who often did the final versions of those Manuscripts; but in such cases Mark (and other Gospel namesakes) would still have affixed their own seals and signatures, approving what they had authorized for the text.

It is unreasonable to believe that scribes invented the Text. They just rewrote it in fine script to fit what the gospel namesakes were intending and approving; and it is reasonable to believe that the endings of quite a few Gospels and Epistles were altered by the namesakes — witness Mark, John, Paul.

The wooden book cover on the front and back of the manuscripts helped preserve the codex. The front cover has a portrait of Matthew and John painted on it, and the back cover has a portrait of Mark and Luke. Their names are painted into the pictures in Aramaic and Greek, so there is no missing who the pictures represent. Dates and location are also encoded into the pictures. Except for John, the paintings are in fair condition, giving us some idea of what these great men looked like. The manuscripts of the four gospels were assembled in this order: Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke.

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