The MESSAGE is Clear

The Message translation of the New Testament was translated by Eugene Peterson and published in 1993, with the entirety of the Old Testament being completed by 2002. Since that time, substantial criticism has arisen over his choice of words in several passages. Peterson has had twenty-six years and multiple print runs to mull these choices over and to provide any revisions he felt might be necessary. To date, none of these verses have been altered in any way since the original printing, despite much protest and criticism from scholars, theologians, and lay people alike.

I will outline three of the most head-scratching examples and let you come to your own conclusions.

MATTHEW 6:10

King James Version:
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The Message Version:
Do what’s best—as above, so below.

 “As above, so below is an aphorism associated with Sacred geometry, Hermeticism, and the Tarot…the phrase derives from a passage in the Emerald Tablet” (Wikipedia).

According to AlchemyLab.com, “The Emerald Tablet is an ancient artifact that reveals a profound spiritual technology, which has survived to this day despite centuries of effort to suppress it. Encoded within the tablet’s mysterious wording is a powerful formula that works in very specific and comprehensible steps on all levels of reality at once — the physical, the mental, and the spiritual — and shows us how to achieve personal transformation and even accelerate the evolution of our species.”

Phrases such as “personal transformation” and “evolution of our species” should evoke in your mind modern technological and alchemical concepts such as the New Age “Ascension” theory as well as Transhumanism, aka eternal life through the satanic savior of science, not Jesus Christ.

Though touted within the tablets of a tome hidden from the masses for many a millennia, as above, so below still managed to somehow seep out into the mainstream; its most notorious purveyor being Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible and the book, “As Above, So Below: The Satanic Writings of a Modern-Day Heretic.”

As above, so below is also pictured in the upward and downward pointing hands of the Baphomet, as well as within Sacred geometry as the intersecting upward and downward facing triangles (more commonly known to laymen as a “Star of David”) but known among initiates and grand masters as the central configuration within “Metatron’s Cube.” (The “archangel Metatron,” according to ancient Kabbalistic beliefs is that Metatron is the name given to Enoch after ascending to Heaven and being transmuted into an angel).

MICAH 7:14

King James Version:
Feed thy people with thy rod,
the flock of thine heritage,
which dwell solitarily in the wood,
in the midst of Carmel

The Message Version:
Shepherd, O God, your people with your staff,
    your dear and precious flock.
Uniquely yours in a grove of trees,
    centered in lotus land.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Lotus-Eater in Greek mythology, one of a tribe encountered by the Greek hero Odysseus during his return from Troy, after a north wind had driven him and his men from Cape Malea (Homer, Odyssey, Book IX). The local inhabitants, whose distinctive practice is indicated by their name, invited Odysseus’ scouts to eat of the mysterious plant. Those who did so were overcome by a blissful forgetfulness; they had to be dragged back to the ship and chained to the rowing-benches, or they would never have returned to their duties.

The Greeks called several non-narcotic plants lōtos, but the name may have been used in this case for the opium poppy, the ripe seed pod of which resembles the pod of the true lotus. The phrase “to eat lotus” is used metaphorically by numerous ancient writers to mean “to forget,” or “to be unmindful.”

Opioids, I believe, fall within the discourse of pharmakia. Pharmakia is the Greek word for “drug” and where we English speakers derive our word pharmacy. However, phramakia is often translated in our Bibles, not as drugs, but as the word witchcraft or sorceries. The King James translators used the words synonymously because 400+ years ago, the primary drug users were witches, mediums, and sorcerers who used drugs to aid them in their communication with the spirit world.

God has given His children direct access to the throne. We do not need a séance or tools of divination to contact Him or to communicate with Him. We have prayer, the Spirit of God, and the Word. Who needs a medium when they have a Mediator? And so, I will state the obvious—what is an ambiguous phrase like lotus land doing in a translation of the Word of God?

ROMANS 15:13

King James Version:
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Message Version:
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Green hope? Life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit? Is “green” a hat-tip to environmentalism? Gaia worship? Some writers of this same topic online speculate that green is in reference to the color of the crystals used by New Agers. I also wonder, however, if this could be a veiled reference to Celia Green, a writer on philosophical skepticism and a proponent of Gnostic Christianity.

Gnosticism (“having knowledge”) is the modern iteration of an ancient belief system that postulates that there is a “divine spark” suppressed within every man that can be liberated through (secret) knowledge.

Pure speculation here, but could it be that Eugene Peterson is in essence saying here in his bastardized version of Romans 15:13, “May the Gnostic false god of Celia Green fill you up with hope, joy, peace and believing with the life-giving energy of a spirit that will unleash your divine spark”? Your divine spark, i.e. self-ascension—redemption without a Messiah.

Fact is, I don’t know what “green hope” means, and I wonder if Peterson does either. What I do know is, when translating complex documents (such as the Bible) into idiomatic paraphrases—the point is to make things (pun intended) crystal clear. So, what would possess (pun once again intended) a translator to introduce strange adjectives and phrases into a text that only serve to confuse an already-easy-to-understand passage?

But alas, this is not a Eugene Peterson witch hunt, or a call for you to organize a book burning in your local town square. I am merely presenting some problematic verses and allowing you to prayerfully decide for yourself whether The Message is a suitable translation for your devotional time and study.


“Study to show thyself approved”

The Apostle Paul

“They [Christians] should be studying it [the Bible] less, not more.” 

Eugene Peterson

2 thoughts on “The MESSAGE is Clear

  1. I’d always avoided this “translation” like the plague. Funny you cited first, the first verse I’m aware I’ve encountered from it, (reading Dr Lake’s The Sheeriyth Imparative). Thank you for another well written article that covers the matter so concisely. That last quote is the nail in the coffin.

  2. An excellent article – perhaps you should have named it “The MESSAGE is Crystal Clear”? The Globalists are doing a fine job in following Alice Bailey’s mandate to recruit the professing church into the agenda of the Theosophical Society. The leaven is spreading and the whole will soon be leavened. It’s imperative as disciples of Christ to steep themselves in the Word of GOD, not just in its study (which is uncommon these days) but in its application; the love of the truth, by the Spirit of truth, and love of JESUS (which is synonymous with love of the truth) will keep us from becoming cold due to the iniquity of this era abounding.
    One of the primary tactics of the enemy is to dilute the WORD of GOD with these paraphrases and ultra-modern translations. Weaning saints off of the truth of GOD’s Word.
    Let us not slumber or become listless – but vigilant and alert, ever wary of the subtlety of the enemy. The LORD bless you!!!

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